I’ve written before on why welfarism and SICs (single-issue campaigns) don’t work here:
I think the basic argument welfarists believe in as to why petitions and other SICs have value in activism is that because we see certain “victories” like one country banning certain species of animals being used or animals being treated in certain ways, that overall, SICs just need time to fix all the world’s problems. Since you can’t immediately use anecdotal evidence to prove that it won’t happen that way, people think that it’s better to take a chance and engage in an activity that helps some animals now, than “gamble” that Abolitionist Veganism will free all animals later. Many people tend to see CNOVA (Creative Non-Oppressive Vegan Advocacy) as “doing nothing” because there’s no immediate physical evidence that specific single animals are helped simply by people learning about Veganism.
But there’s a flaw in that train of thought. Educating people about Veganism isn’t “doing nothing”. It works much better than all the SICs put together. Let me explain why:
We only have a limited amount of time each day to engage in activism. We can go back in time and redo the time we already spent on one kind doing another kind. We have a moral responsibility to the nonhumans who are currently suffering in domestication to make every second of that time count. So how is spending it talking about limited single issues not worse than talking to people about going Vegan?
Let’s say you’re a pre-Vegan and you sign a petition for saving mice from labs. You get 10,000 other pre-Vegan people to sign the petition (and some people who are already Vegan but we’ll leave them out of our math because they don’t affect it). You get what you wanted, and 100,000 mice are saved because of your petition (this is being generous). Seems like a victory, right?
Look again. Nobody who signed the petition learned about Veganism. So each person will continue to kill animals for “food.” Over the course of their lifetimes, each of them will kill around 9000 animals for “food.”
Ok, so we’ll do a little quick math. With 10,000 people killing 9000 animals each, over their lifetimes they’ll kill a total of 90,000,000 animals. Also, the total number of animals killed every year for food is a staggering 60 billion land animals ( around 50 billion are chickens alone) and upwards of one trillion sea animals (that’s 1,000,000,000,000!). And that number is growing each year because more new people are being born each year, and almost all of them will be pre-Vegans for at least the first few years of their lives.
So even if “activists” saved 900,000 animals per year (which is an extremely generous estimate), it’s likely that the number killed for the production of “food” would increase by more than that each year. It’s extremely unlikely that those “activists” will ever “save” enough animals in one year to make SICs worthwhile just on that aspect alone. And the more pre-Vegan activists you add to the equation, the worse it gets.
Also, since there are so many different non-“food” species that need “saving”, and put together, all of those only equal a tiny percentage of the total number of animals exploited and harmed overall, “activists” will spend all their time for their entire lives trying to save just those species and completely ignoring the part of animal exploitation that harms animals more than all other parts combined: using animals for “food.”
Now, let’s say instead of a petition for mice, one Vegan educator educates 125 people about Veganism in one year (this could easily be achieved simply by posting links to Vegan info online, and even many more people by other means). Of those people, only 5 go Vegan and educate others. Those 5 each educate 125 people per year and each get 5 to go Vegan and educate etc. In 10 years you have over 60,000,000 Vegan educators!* And that was from 1 educator in the beginning. There are many more than 1 educator right now!
Now let’s see the really amazing math: 60,000,000 Vegan educators x 9000 animals = 540,000,000,000 animals saved, simply by not eating them. That’s 540 billion.
Now, you’re wondering “then why isn’t the entire world Vegan or all the animals saved already?” The answer is simple. More humans are being born every day that are going to be pre-Vegans for at least a while. Also, not enough Vegan educators are able to get through to enough pre-Vegans. Most of the reason for this is because of welfarism and SICs. SICs and the idea that it’s the abuse of animals, not the use of animals that needs to end is what makes less people go Vegan. This is why welfarism has to stop. And why we desperately need more Abolitionist Vegan educators.
If we take all the Vegan Educators alive today and they each converted 10 or 20 people a year to Vegan Educators, compounded, the entire world would go Vegan in a very short time. But in order for that to happen, welfarism has to stop.
For the record, I’m not talking about Vegans doing CNOVA at a site where an SIC is taking place. If you’re doing CNOVA that is by nature not engaging in an SIC. But think about it. What is the point of even doing the CNOVA at the site of the protest or whatever? You can do CNOVA anywhere. Some AbVegans are doing tabling/street stalls and various other effective forms of advocacy all the time. Why not just dispense with the SICs altogether and just engage exclusively in CNOVA instead? This would eliminate the possibility that anyone would be confused as to whether you were in support of the SIC.
To learn more about Creative Non-Oppressive Vegan Advocacy and how you can start making a real difference in the lives of both nonhuman and human animals, see my blog post here:
Science And Statistics:
“How Sweden And The World Will Go Vegan”:
“Minority Rules: Scientists Discover Tipping Point for the Spread of Ideas”:
*Note: my original math was way off. I had it pegged at over 9 million, but in fact I forgot one step in the equation. It’s really over 60 mil.
Here’s my work:
1 + 5 = 6
6 x 5 = 30 + 6 = 36
36 x 5 = 180 + 36 = 216
216 x 5 = 1,080 + 216 = 1,296
1,296 x 5 = 6,480 + 1,296 = 7,776
7,776 x 5 = 38,880 + 7,776 = 46,656
46,656 x 5 = 23,3280 + 46,656 = 279,936
279,936 x 5 = 1,399,680 + 279,936 = 1,679,616
1,679,616 x 5 = 8,398,080 + 1,679,616 = 10,077,696
10,077,696 x 5 = 50,388,480 + 10,077,696 = 60,466,176
If you’re not already Vegan, and you think animals matter morally, then please go Vegan. It’s incredible for the animals, easy and great for you, and wonderful for the planet. If you’re already Vegan, please educate non-Vegans about why they should go Vegan. Please rescue, volunteer, adopt, foster, spay, and neuter the nonhuman refugees of domestication whenever you can. Please feed your nonhuman family Vegan where you can. These things are the most important, morally responsible things to do and are desperately needed by everyone.
To learn more about Abolitionist Veganism and the issues I’ve outlined in this post, check out The Master List Of Vegan Info:
Disclaimer: My only goal with this list is to produce as comprehensive a resource for Vegan information as possible. I am 100% Abolitionist Vegan and 100% against exploitation of nonhuman or human animals, any type of violence against human or nonhuman persons or property, welfare regulation, any form of speciesism, ethnic bigotry, genderism, ableism, heterosexism, etc., any of the large governmental or non-governmental nonhuman animal organizations, “happy meat,” vegetarianism, veg*nism, Meat-Free Mondays, or other forms of reductionism and anything else that makes it seem like any form of violence or exploitation of animals is ok. If any of those positions are endorsed on any site in this list, or any language is used to imply that, it’s not that I included that link because I agree, but simply because I don’t control every bit of information on all of these sites.