Vegans Must Step onto the Battlefield

by Roland Vincent and Camille Marino

Being vegan means we are doing no harm. It doesn’t mean we are doing any good. It means we simply abstain from participating in nonhuman animal’s deaths. We do not save a single animal’s life. Being vegan is being neutral. Like the Swiss in World War II.

Being vegan isn’t stopping animals from being killed at all. If an agri-abuser suffers a momentary loss because of fluctuations in demand, the government will subsidize the farmer to ensure his profits remain unaffected. The Wall Street Journal, observes that “the U.S. government has been protecting farmers against unpredictable hardships” since the 1930s.

Therefore, until vegans are a major economic force, our consumerism will never affect a farmer’s profits. Further, demand will never affect production in this paradigm. Production remains constant and, if a surplus is realized, it is routinely diverted into prisons and welfare programs, used in animal feed, pet food, fertilizer, and even used to pay down foreign debt.

For ethical vegans (there are lots of vegans who are vegan for health reasons, not for the animals) veganism is a given, not a goal. It is a moral imperative without consequence for the animals. We do not eat our friends. But not eating them is a far cry from doing anything to liberate them.

Most people do eat meat, eggs, and dairy, however. And they will not stop doing so as long as they can.

Therefore, our job is to make it as expensive and inconvenient as possible. Our job is to create the deterrents that will make it a liability for the complicit to continue undisturbed.

Politically, we should be demanding that meat, eggs, and dairy be taxed to reflect the cost to society of cardiovascular disease, obesity, and myriad other diseases caused by animal consumption. We should also demand that carnists pay higher insurance premiums along with smokers.

We should demand a ban on ownership of animals by corporations (a tactic that would appeal to family farmers) and would result in the sales of slaughterhouses, feedlots, packing plants, fishing fleets, etc to individuals (resulting in huge losses to Big Ag) and would drive up the cost of meat, egg, and dairy production. We are not advocating that it is preferable for an animal to die at the hands of a small farmer as opposed to inside a factory farm. What we are saying, however, is that in very practical terms, if we want to see animal agriculture fade into history, we must be willing to take real world steps to make the industry die. A rise in production cost would translate into higher consumer costs and drops in consumption. It is a fact that when cigarette prices began to skyrocket, it translated into anti-smoking campaigns gaining mainstream traction as smokers were forced to quit.

We should be demanding truth in labeling and advertising about GMOs and antibiotics and other chemicals fed to animals trapped in the food system. Public aversion to consuming GMOs and secondhand medicines would dramatically reduce the public’s demand. And for those who consume these animal-holocaust products anyway, let them pay higher insurances rates while we wait for them to drop dead.

The Animal Holocaust is so mind boggling in its scope that it is difficult to comprehend the extent of the horror.

Imagine all the dogs and cats that animal activists rescue around the world each year. A half million, maybe? A million? That many animals will be slaughtered in the next ten minutes! A number equal to the entire Nazi Holocaust each hour. 24/7. Year round. Six million innocent creatures an hour. Fifty BILLION a year. Every year.

If every decent person in the world rescued as many victims as they possibly could, we would forever be running behind the machine. We must begin to understand that we have a responsibility to engage, to confront the perveyors of death, and to dismantle their infrastructure piece by piece, abuser by abuser. The only way we will save all the animals is to shut down the systems of exploitation that demand their bodies, bones, and blood.

To end this atrocity cannot be accomplished by recruiting vegans. It can only end when it is prohibited by law. And that can happen only when we bring down the capitalist governments of the world. A distant dream, but our goal nonetheless.

Being vegan in the face of this horror is like not owning slaves before the Civil War. Slave owners did not care a whit whether Northerners owned slaves or not. That Northerners didn’t own slaves certainly didn’t stop the slave ships, the slave auctions, the slave trade.

Until the war, Northerners were like the vegans of today. They were non-combatants. Vegans will only impact the Animal Holocaust when we organize ourselves and enter the battlefield.

Roland Vincent has been a political strategist for over 40 years, and an animal activist since he was 12. He is also an attorney, a vegan, and a socialist. He advocates for vigilantism and social revolution.

Camille Marino is an activist, author, and former political prisoner. She is the founder of Negotiation is Over and the Eleventh Hour for Animals campaign to end vivisection at the University of Florida. She has long believed that the time for civil discourse has expired.

 

 

Editor’s Notes:

I am unaware of any other blog with the Armory’s mission of radicalizing the animal movement. I certainly hope I am not alone, and that there are similar sentiments being expressed by comrades unknown to me.

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20 thoughts on “Vegans Must Step onto the Battlefield

  1. Hi Geoff, I can’t seem to respond to your comment so I am hoping you will read see this. I agree with you about Steve’s words — the cement of our friendship that I considered us male and female versions of the same person in terms of Animal Liberation. I just filed an appeal in the New Mexico Supreme Court on Monday, challenging my last conviction. When he posted that video, I posted my own response with the truth of what really happened. He had me prosecuted and jailed under a restraining order for causing him “emotional distress” by exposing all of the lies in that video. I have absolutely nothing to hide. And we really need to ask ourselves what kind of an individual will prosecute a person to silence them? The answer is a coward who is afraid of being exposed as a fraud and a hypocrite.

    But I choose to look at this as a positive. While he exposed himself as a fraud, and his cultists exposed themselves as Steve Best activists as opposed to animal activists, I’m hoping what we’re left with is a movement of genuine and dedicated animal liberation animals; revolutionaries who take it upon themselves to force change for the animals — rather than making videos belitting other activists for being disabled, for using intimidation tactics against vivsectors, for doing time for our beliefs, and for getting just a little pissed off that he waged war on my while i was serving time for his actions.

    Animal Liberation whatver it may take

    camille

    Like

  2. To Camille;

    I, for one, am always interested in new ideas. If you have them, I’m listening.

    Yes, Roland has been a leader of no-holds-barred suggestions for animals, and we are grateful! But he also realizes that many of the ideas await their time. The suggestions in the post above, as Roland admits, “do not have a snowball’s chance in hell of becoming law.” Making this world a safe place for animals depends upon motivated, dedicated activists who are driven by the moral imperative of changing our relationship to nonhuman animals. But, as I noted above, it is also a numbers game, and we do not have the numbers. Vegans backslide into carnism, and many activists turn out to be “sunshine soldiers” in the war when it comes to sacrifice and long-term commitment.

    Obviously, what we have tried has not worked. We see petition after petition demanding punishment for terrible cruelties. The transport trucks still head out every morning to slaughterhouses with their innocent victims. Trophy hunters still post their triumphs on the Internet, etc., etc. When activists do have some success, such as SHAC’s battle against Huntingdon Life Sciences, they feel the full force of the law, as exemplified by the AEPA and AETA. Working within the confines of the law does not work. Venturing outside those limits has its penalties, as you know. Later came the ag-gag laws. The forces–considerable!–come out against us as needed when any success appears possible.

    In terms of slavery, some slaves did attempt to fight back, from the Stono Rebellion to Nat Turner’s Rebellion. All ended up badly for the freedom-seeking slaves. Emancipation was helped along by the growing abolition movement in the North and the increasing numbers of people who spoke out and put themselves at risk by participation in the Underground Railroad. In other words, the time was right for the idea and the number of supporters was increasing. But the abolitionists also had other cultural help, such as religious backing from the Second Great Awakening, something that animals do not have and have never had. So the analogy goes only so far.

    Knowing how much continues no matter how much some of us care or what we do is beyond frustrating. But so far we haven’t gotten beyond human exceptionalism and the species barrier we erected between us and the other animals.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Only one-half of one percent of the USA population–or 1.63 million–is vegan. The depressing news is that there are more lapsed than active vegan/vegetarians, at approximately 8 million. At this rate, the human species may doom itself off the planet before we achieve the numbers needed to protect animals.

    The ideas presented here make sense. It’s just that they won’t work.

    One suggestion is a ban on the corporate ownership of animals. That sounds like a hopeless task for vegans. To get more specific on the numbers, census data gives the US population in 2017 as 326,693,019. The vegan group would be 1,633,465. That leaves us fighting against a majority of 325,059, 554, who are not vegan or vegetarian and who would likely be against anything that might interfere with their love of meat. Such a law would also run afoul of this country’s love affair with the concept of private property. Saving animal lives by destroying Big Ag’s means of production would not be tolerated. So the majority would be flooding Congressional offices with calls, mail, and donations to defeat the ban. The vegans would be totally overpowered by the numbers and votes of nonvegans and the finances of Big Ag whose deep pockets would liberally provide donations to legislators and lobbyists.

    Trying to cut demand for meat by making its production more expensive would likely be equally problematic.
    The comparison with tobacco and reduced demand is not necessarily a good analogy. Cigarette smoking is a habit. Cigarettes were never part of a nutrition program promoted by Big Ag, nutritionists, and the medical profession. Meat has been considered a dietary necessity, one that most people are virtually addicted to. I don’t know if there would be “meat patches” to help people break the habit, but I doubt if they would ever be needed. As for the cost, pricing people out of meat could potentially end up being a social justice issue if it meant lower income people were locked out. It could result in another form of subsidy in the SNAP program in the interest of fairness. Thus production would not go down.

    A sin tax for meat in the form of higher insurance premiums for carnists and those with cardiovascular problems would also not likely be approved.

    The fact is we can’t change behavior that human beings find pleasurable. People still continue to smoke if they can afford it even with all the testimonials to the health risks. There is also information widely available on the health hazards of meat. Processed meat, especially, has been associated with various forms of cancer. High cholesterol in both meat and dairy products has been associated with cardiovascular disease. The relevant information has been all over the Internet, on TV, in newsprint, and on talk shows. The result? Ads for McDonald’s and its ilk offering double burgers with bacon strips, multiple kinds of cheese and ranch dressing; pizzas with thicker crusts, more cheese, and extra toppings, one piled on another; steak and lobster dinners with butter and sour cream.

    Here’s the problem: We’ve out of ideas. We’re tried passing laws, leafletting, clicktivism, boycotts, graphic videos, direct action, liberation, and vandalism. Animal activism may have made the culture more aware of cruelty, as in the case of Cecil and Harambe, but they still ended up dead. And with globalization, we have terrible cruelty from all over the world to fight.

    We keep running headlong into human stupidity, meanness, and greed. If we try to deal with abusive thugs and sadists with peace, love, and kumbaya, we’re suckers. If we actually cost them money, cause them inconvenience, or arouse their anxiety, we’re terrorists.

    Not surprising, then, when thoughts turn to John Brown and the vigilantes.

    Liked by 3 people

    • You are, of course, absolutely correct. None of the proposals I made have a snowball’s chance in Hell of becoming law. A ban on corporate ownership of animals, taxing meat, warning labeling, etc, are all political pipe dreams.
      I offer them as suggestions for campaigns to raise awareness and to recruit, with no expectations that they can be achieved.
      When they do not succeed, when the futility of appealing to reason and compassion becomes evident, when anti-capitalist sentiment reaches critical mass, it is my fervent hope and belief that others will reach the same conclusion as did you: John Brown and vigilantism is the only answer. Revolution!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Ahimsa, you state:

        “Here’s the problem: We’ve out of ideas. We’re tried passing laws, leafletting, clicktivism, boycotts, graphic videos, direct action, liberation, and vandalism. Animal activism may have made the culture more aware of cruelty, as in the case of Cecil and Harambe, but they still ended up dead. And with globalization, we have terrible cruelty from all over the world to fight.”

        I disagree that we are out of ideas — I for one am not. I’d like to suggest that if we were waging war to liberate ourselves from slavery, we would not be confining ourselves to the same tired old exercises that yield zero return. I believe that if it was our liberty at stake, we would not be debating the moral pros and cons of killing our captors to fee ourselves. I’m far from out of ideas. Read Roland’s site. He seems to adhere to an arsenal of creative and effective tactics.

        I think the problem is that the mainstream is willing to adhere to the tried and failed paradigm of ineffectiveness. I am hoping we’re on the threshhold of separating out those of us who are sickened by an ineffective mainstream model of feel-good social games and those of us who are willing to die to see an actual revolution through.

        Those are my ideas. What would you suggest”

        Camille Marino
        camillemarino.com

        Liked by 2 people

  4. With all due respect to the content of the column, I’m forced to question the inclusion of Camille Marino as a co-author. Don’t get me wrong, I contributed to Camille’s defense fund when she was jailed in Florida for her animal liberation activities and loved her “negotiation is over” stance.

    However, allegations and legal sanctions against her for allegedly stalking Steve Best, who at one time was a leading light of the animal liberation movement, are deeply troubling and need to be addressed if she is not to be dismissed as being mentally unstable. That doesn’t mean that anything she says here in this essay is wrong but it does go to the matter of credibility.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Geoff, thank you for your comments. I’d like to ask you to consider a few things:

      1- While Steve Best went on a malicious and hateful campaign to discredit me and drive me out of the movement, are you personally aware of anything in my activism, controversial as it may be, that you can identify as being anything less than an actual revolutionary and defender of the animals? If so, then please do not support me for those reasons.

      2- Please read my book when it comes out if, in fact, you are really more concerned with gossip than the animals. Quoting trial transcripts and with about 80 footnotes, there is zero ambiguity about what happened. I took a felony charge for Steven Best in 2012 because I allowed him to public a graphic post about a vivisector on my site. When i was facing 10 years in prison, he wet his pants, ran like a coward, severed all ties with me, and left me hanging. I never snitched, but I did have a nervous breakdown. Steve and everyone else in the movement may attack my reputation to their hearts content. My activism stands on its own merit. And unlike Steve, you will never find a court transcript anywere of me repeatedly defending vivisectors over and over again in court, testifying that an act of civil disobedience against a vivisector was, in his sworn words, “that’s Ms. Marino doing an act of civil disobedience, that her stalking a researcher. Even transcript is more of a betryal the animals and activists than the last.

      3- You are free to worship anyone you please because they make “militant” videos from their armchair. Couldn’t care less, but if you don’t understand what the difference between me — a frontline revolutionary who has never backed down to challenging any animal terrorist — and someone who sits in his living room talking about revolution, then you represent a very weak segment of our movement — those who are swayed by personalities, by gossip, who are more concerned with negotiating rumors and participating in hate campaigns — someone who would ignore the ideas Roland and I discussed to rather talk about a traitor, a man who is a disgrace to everything he pretended to be.

      Camille Marino
      camillemarino.com

      Liked by 2 people

      • Hi Camille – Thank you for responding. The only version of the Best/Marino fight that I heard came from Steve on his blog site and his case against you seemed damning. I’ll look forward to reading your book and hearing your side of the story. In the meantime, like Roland indicated, Steve Best seems to have gone AWOL from the movement which doesn’t exactly speak much for HIS credibility, or stamina. Still, he was, to my knowledge, the first one to articulate the three essential philosophic pillars upon which all radical animal rights activism are based: “animal standpoint theory”, “murderous humanism”, and “extensional self-defense”. For that contribution alone, I admire him.

        Best regards and thank you for the personal sacrifices you’ve made on behalf of animal liberation. Not many activists have suffered as much as you.
        Geoff

        Like

  5. It is a hopeless cause. I found that most people already have the information about the atrocities of egg and dairy industry, they just put it out of their minds so they can continue to eat what they are used to eating. It is mind numbing to know that at least half of the people we know already know what is happening behind the closed walls of factory farming.

    Yesterday, a colleague suggested we go to lunch at a sandwich and salad place near work. As we were discussing the menu, I mentioned I didn’t eat egg either. As a good vegan person, I threw in a short explanation, “egg industry grinds male chicks”. To that the colleague responded, “oh don’t tell me that it’s too painful to hear”. I found that statement somewhat odd. If the colleague finds what is going on too painful, why doesn’t she stop supporting the industry instead of shutting the facts out of her mind? The answer is obvious of course, she doesn’t want to stop eating eggs and dairy. Her response is not unique at all, it is quite the opposite, it is the typical response I get from everyone who isn’t vegan.

    Liked by 1 person

    • damovand,

      i think roland and i would agree that people are selfish an not likely to change. but rather, throw your hands up as if we’re powerless disturbs me. if you don’t support our ideas, then i invite you to share YOUR vision with hs.

      Camille Marino
      camillemarino.com

      Like

      • I don’t offer any suggestions, because I think there are none, nothing short of an all out war will change the course. And when the war comes, our side will lose because we are not killers by nature. This is just opinion pure and simple. But if you don’t want me to post my opinion here, please be clear. Thank you

        Like

      • By the way Camille, I respect and support you. I know we need to keep fighting and thank you for keeping the fight. I have been thinking for ways that I can make a difference, but so far I have not found a way to change even one person. I keep up with the activities of a dozen environmental, and animal welfare organizations and activists, and support them when they are not compromising and making deals with the giant food corporations and animal agriculture industry. So I am doing my part, however small.

        Like

      • Camille, I think achieving official recognition is the first priority. We should distinguish ourselves as people of many nations with one mind and one priority, animal equality. This is a good model that is being followed in a smaller scale by Dogwood Alliance, https://www.dogwoodalliance.org/. This is a small organization, but the members are energetic and uncompromising, they also have close working relations with their counterpart organizations in Europe. They work together to win relatively big wins for such small organizations on both side of the globe.

        I always think the first step in the war for animals is the publicity war. What is the best way to have our agenda to get coverage every hour of every day in main stream media? Create news! What is the best way to create news that is too good to be ignored? Have hundreds of thousands of people, maybe more, do one single common extraordinary act, act for the creation of a global nation with citizens from all over the world, with one common ideology, animal equality. To get the right start we will need money, lots of it, and some prominent national and international lawyers to draft a proposal and present it to international decision making agencies. We need to continue and keep at it, publicize the effort and invite people from different countries to join the new nation. We must try to attract iconic people (if there any of such people existing anymore) who can become the symbol of the movement. And we need soldiers.

        If we get the attention of the mainstream news media they would have discussions on the objectives of the movement and we will have the opportunity to tell the world of the atrocities done to animals. Yes, in the end it will not work, but it will put us on the front page for a while and that is something worth trying.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Those who are “vegan” for health reasons aren’t vegan at all, since they are very likely to use non-food animal products. They should be called strict vegetarians.

    Where are those of us who believe that the time for civil discourse has expired? What should we be doing at this point in time?

    Liked by 1 person

    • To Leeward Boatswain Bagehot:

      Civil discourse has gotten us nowhere, except scolding from fundamentalists calling us heretics and the bacon lovers calling us other, but no not-so-civil, things. There aren’t many (or any!) like Rod Coronado who have fire bombing, mink liberating, and sinking two whaling ships in their bona fides.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Pingback: Vegans Must Step onto the Battlefield – camille a. marino

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