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Straight talk about veganism - the funcrunch files


May. 20th, 2014 08:52 am Straight talk about veganism

I consider the consumption of animal products for the purposes of pleasure or convenience to be a violent and immoral act. Full stop. If that statement sounds judgmental, it is. I will not apologize for stating it that way even if it hurts someone's feelings. An animal's life is more important than a human's feelings.

Our exploitation of animals is paralleled in our exploitation of humans. I'm reading The World Peace Diet by Will Tuttle right now, and the links are clear and undeniable. As long as we consider it normal, healthy, and appropriate to enslave animals for our pleasure and amusement, we will always have a violent world.

I have often wondered but rarely asked my white friends if they would have opposed human slavery had they lived in the antebellum South. Not just refused to own slaves themselves, but openly criticized their friends and neighbors who owned them, no matter how kindly the slaves were treated. It's an uncomfortable question, and for damn good reasons. And I haven't liked the answers I've gotten when I've asked.

I'm not doing this activism to get karma points, thanks, or even happiness. I can never be thanked by the beneficiaries of this work, because they will never even exist if my goal is realized and the world stops breeding domestic animals. I'm doing this work because it needs to be done. All of the large animal welfare organizations have sold out the animals' interests in favor of "happy exploitation". They are selling indulgences and making people feel better about eating animal products. Only grassroots abolitionists are sending an uncompromising, unwavering message that veganism is the moral baseline.

I might lose every friend I have over this issue. It will be worth losing a hundred friends if I convince one stranger to go vegan and stay vegan. And that person will convince another, and so on. The work won't be finished in my lifetime. But I will not live with the world the way it is now.

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Comments:

From:plymouth
Date:May 20th, 2014 06:31 pm (UTC)
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It's not that it "hurts my feelings". It's that I consider having someone tell me I am an immoral person incompatible with friendship. I don't need to surround myself with that kind of negativity. I already get more than I need from people I DON'T consider friends.
From:maestrodog
Date:May 20th, 2014 07:15 pm (UTC)

Word.

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Sorry I did not mean the post to be anonymous.

Word. While I find your personal strong self-convictions admirable, what I see in this post is very akin to forceful proselytizing over any other strongly-held belief that happens not to match your own, in the guise of "convincing" someone and hiding behind the "morality" flag. I've heard very similar words from anti gay-marriage activists...it doesn't matter how many "pro-gay" people alienate them if they can convince just one person to "turn straight" to their cause.

Words like this usually accomplish the opposite purpose of what the speaker intends; nobody likes to be called violent or immoral.
From:funcrunch
Date:May 21st, 2014 12:12 am (UTC)

Re: Word.

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Words like this usually accomplish the opposite purpose of what the speaker intends; nobody likes to be called violent or immoral.

I don't care if anyone likes it or not. I'm calling it like I see it.
From:maestrodog
Date:May 21st, 2014 05:22 pm (UTC)

Re: Word.

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I totally understand, but how about more honey and less vinegar? For instance, offer a few recipes that taste really good that you might recommend for first-timers who prefer meat over veggies? Maybe show a gradual program about why people might be inspired into going vegan instead of bullied into it? Anecdotal stories about people you know personally who made the switch and are stronger, healthier, or reduced some health condition or even got rid of it altogether, by doing what you feel is right? That way you can keep your friends and really and truly convince them without bullying them. It would get you a lot further, I think.
From:funcrunch
Date:May 21st, 2014 07:33 pm (UTC)

Re: Word.

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First of all, I am not "bullying" anyone. I have not called anyone names or said that they were horrible people or that they should starve or kill themselves, all things that have been said to me and other vegans quite frequently. I have not told anyone that they "have to" be vegan. I have not advocated passing any legislation that would require people to be vegan.

I have said that I consider eating animal products to be violent and immoral acts because that is my conclusion based on observable and documented facts. Not because some religious book or authority told me to say it. The comparisons of eating animal products to rape, slavery, and murder are controversial but I strongly believe that the parallels are justified. (And it's telling that no one has commented on either the slavery issue raised in this post or on my own history of being sexually abused in the "Rapeless Mondays" post.)

Your suggestions have been tried for decades by other vegans. Sharing recipes and health benefits* is great and I'm happy to do it, have done it and will continue to do it. But that isn't going to convince any more people to become lifelong vegans than the abolitionist approach. Gary Francione has shown that. He's worked directly with animal welfare organizations and has seen the failure of their campaigns and the softening of their stances over the years, in order to not offend their funding bases that consist increasingly of "flexitarians". They are just convincing people to see veganism as another lifestyle choice, like whether to take up tennis instead of running, eat more carbs instead or more fat, etc.

Veganism isn't a diet. It's a moral choice. It's literally a life or death issue for the animals, and for me. I'm not going to pretend otherwise.

* I have really downplayed the health aspect because there are "junk food" vegans who are not healthy, and omnivores who are healthy. Health concerns often convince people to reduce their use of animal products, but they are rarely convinced to eliminate these products completely and permanently without moral concern for animals. Same goes for concerns about the environment.