What DxE Doesn’t Understand (or doesn’t want to) About “Baselines”

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There’s been a lot of talk recently from “DxE” (Direct Action Everywhere) supporters about how “activism,” and not Veganism, is “the moral baseline.”

You can read a great article about this whole phenomenon here. What I want to address with this piece is the fact that this stance by DxE betrays a fundamental lack of understanding on their part of what “a moral baseline” actually means. I’ve previously written something on what a moral baseline is (and why that baseline is Veganism), but this time I’m going to use a different analogy to attempt to get people’s thinking back on a logical track regarding this issue.

Let’s say that you’re standing flat on the ground, on bare dirt. Someone hands you a shovel. You begin to dig. You want to go higher, but since all you have is a shovel and soft earth, you start digging. You dig down to about 10 feet below ground level. As you dig, you slowly realize that you also have the ability to use your mind to make yourself hover above the ground. So you stop digging, and you start hovering. And you go up to about 6-10 feet or so (for example, not necessarily exactly that) above the original ground level that you started from.

So, when you were standing on the ground, without digging, you were at the lowest point you could be without digging. You were also at the highest point you could be without hovering. With me so far? (If not, please see the man in the shorts in the image below)

Now, imagine that standing on the ground without digging or hovering is “moral neutrality.” In other words, it means that we are not doing anything morally negative, such as intentionally inflicting unnecessary suffering or death on beings who can feel pain. But we are also not doing anything morally positive, such as trying to go out of our way to support the affirmative interests of those beings either (feeding them, helping them to heal from sickness or injury, etc.).

Now further imagine that engaging in any action that means intentionally inflicting unnecessary suffering, for any reason (be it food, clothing, research or entertainment), is the equivalent of digging down into the ground. In this instance, we would be at the position of the man in the suit in the below image. Conversely, trying to engage in some action to positively support the interests of these pain-capable beings (feeding them, helping them to heal from sickness or injury, etc.) is the equivalent to hovering upward from the ground. Still with me? In this latter case. we would be hovering above the head of the man in the shorts.

Standing on the ground without digging or hovering is the base position you start from, before you could start either digging or hovering. It’s standing on a horizontal line, and it’s the base of your actions of going either up or down away from that line. It’s the base, and it’s a line. Base-line. Get it? This is why we call “moral neutrality” the “baseline for morality.”

Now, Veganism is by definition the attempt to do the least amount of intentional unnecessary harm we can. In other words, it’s not doing anything morally positive. It’s not a diet either, but it’s the moral stance against doing any intentional harm that our society is already (erroneously) telling us is morally acceptable. It’s not the act of doing even more than just refraining from harm, but it’s just “do no harm.” Don’t do anything morally negative, even if you’re not going to do anything morally positive. Being Vegan doesn’t mean that we must intentionally refrain from doing anything morally positive, it just means that we must intentionally refrain from doing anything morally negative.

The Baseline 01

The reason that it makes sense to call Veganism “The Moral Baseline” is because refraining from intentionally doing any unnecessary harm is the least that we can do if we claim that animals have moral valueBeing Vegan doesn’t mean that we’re doing the most that we can do for animals. That would be an added action that we can do once we’ve gone Vegan, however.

One reason we can’t make The Moral Baseline “doing the most that we can do” for animals is because no 2 people can do exactly the same positive actions or the same amount of positive actions for animals (in other words, positive actions above and beyond simply doing no harmful ones). To try to tell someone that a baseline for that person is to do more than just refrain from causing harm would be to put an unfair strain on those people who can’t do more. It also muddies the waters regarding the way people think about morality, at a time when we need for others (and ourselves) to be perfectly clear and consistent on this issue.

Society at large (every human as one large group) is already engaging in massive morally negative actions towards nonhumans. This is due to a phenomenon called “speciesism” that you can read more about here and here. Due to speciesism and the myth of human moral supremacy, we are currently breeding, against their will, many many billions of nonhumans per year, who we use merely as replaceable resources. Then, when they’re of more use to us dead than alive, we slaughter them (which is impossible to do without using violence) and we use their bodies and secretions whenever and however we wish. We are also engaged in intentional actions that harm many other nonhumans who do not fall into the category of animals who we use for food. These actions are all completely unnecessary for us, and are all massive violations of the inherent rights of those nonhumans to their own lives and freedoms.

In essence, society at large is already engaged in digging a massive hole of morally negative actions when it comes to animals. Veganism is not an attempt to “hover above the ground,” it’s merely an attempt to rise back up to ground level (in regards to our own moral stance), since before going Vegan, almost all of us were inarguably participating in various morally negative actions. Veganism is an attempt to climb out of that speciesist hole, by recognizing the rights of nonhumans and therefore acting in a morally responsible and morally consistent manner towards them.

When we educate others about Veganism, that would be considered “hovering.” In other words, a morally positive action that goes beyond just standing on the baseline (the figurative “ground” in our analogy). Nonhuman animal rescue, adoption, foster, etc., when done in a way that doesn’t encourage animal exploitation (which is considered peaceful Direct Action), is another powerful way of “hovering.” In fact, these are the only 2 forms of action on behalf of animals that can easily be done without encouraging speciesism, and can also be combined.

So, we can see that, since society is engaged in all of the speciesist, morally negative actions, there are many people who erroneously believe that we don’t need to live Vegan, but that we can still “do good for animals.” In other words, for instance, we have people who engage in “animal rescue” who are not Vegan. They eat, wear, and otherwise use some animals, while trying to save some other animals from being intentionally harmed, or harmed through neglect. Any Vegan worthy of calling themselves Vegan knows that this is an enormously speciesist stance and indicative of massive moral confusion on the part of the “rescuer.”

Welfare reform campaigns and other single-issue campaigns, as well as militant direct action, are counter-productive, and therefore harmful, ways of attempting to advocate for animals. These counter-productive actions are made by our speciesist, morally confused society to seem like they are ways to hover, but are actually causing the hole we’re digging to get deeper instead. Even many people who self-identify as vegans fall prey to the idea that we don’t need to stop engaging in morally negative actions to do good for animals. I’ve seen countless instances of “vegans” online saying that we can engage in welfare reforms, for instance, and help animals, even though welfare reforms are proven to increase harm to animals, not help them. If you view, read or listen to more than one of the hyperlinks embedded in the paragraph you just got through reading, you’ll understand exactly why this is (Also worth noting: DxE’s stance on the “animal organizations” who promote these welfare reforms and other speciesist campaigns the hardest is that we must not criticize them for this at all).

Likewise, all of the people who are trying to save wild animal species from harm or extinction, but are having barbecues and other such animal-exploitative events in order to raise money, or simply awareness (almost always money though) are suffering from the same moral confusion. This doesn’t mean that they’re “bad people” by any means, simply that they’re confused about morality, and need to be educated on that subject or to educate themselves. Indeed, almost all of them obviously have their hearts in the right place, but that has never stopped people from committing a harmful action in regards to any other issue.

There is massive confusion among “animal people” as to what moral consistency regarding animals is. Society keeps on trying to dig the hole regarding animals deeper, and “animal people” in general are (ostensibly) trying to learn how to hover (read: help animals), while they are also for some as-of-yet-unexplained (and probably inexplicable) reason using those shovels right alongside everyone else. And some of them think that they’re hovering, but not everyone thinks that hovering at the same height is the moral baseline, etc. etc., ad nauseam. In this way, DxE is just another organization that is promoting the same confused, speciesist stance in regards to animals that society in general has been following for all of recorded history. They are nothing radical nor revolutionary, in a time when a radical, revolutionary idea on peaceful ways to shift the non-Vegan paradigm to a Vegan one is the only thing that animals really need.

And this is the crucial point: How can hovering 5 feet above the ground be the “baseline,” when the ground itself was already “a baseline?” If your idea that “doing something beyond Veganism” which in your opinion is hovering at 5 feet up (or whatever it is), is the baseline, then what about the non-Vegan who says that you must do something even more, while still being non-Vegan, to be at “the baseline?” Why is their idea of hovering 100 feet off the ground  (while still being non-Vegan) not the baseline? Why is being in a pit 10 feet below the surface not the baseline? What makes your arbitrary “do something beyond Veganism” more valid as the moral baseline than anyone else’s arbitrary “do this or that for animals?” And this is why DxE’s position on “activism” being the moral baseline makes no sense. It’s really nothing more than an attempt to contradict an already rationally sound premise in order to somehow score some sort of points; to try to show the public that DxE is somehow different and “knows their stuff” more than the people who are involved in the only real movement that’s making any significant headway in the struggle to end animal oppression.

You see, if we make the baseline something other than moral neutrality, the term “baseline” becomes open to interpretation as anything, by anyone, and so becomes totally meaningless. And this is the whole point of making “moral neutrality,” which is, inarguably, living Vegan, as the only rational moral baseline. Because, do anything else, and we’re just digging our hole deeper. And morally speaking, none of us wants that for the animals. It means that we’re burying them right alongside us.

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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:
https://legacyofpythagoras.wordpress.com/2014/04/10/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, cissexism, 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.

On Militant Direct Action

Truth.

If you’re not already Vegan, and you think animals matter morally, then please go Vegan. It’s easy and great for you, incredible for the animals, 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:
https://legacyofpythagoras.wordpress.com/2014/04/10/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.

UVE Archives

“There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root, and it may be that he who bestows the largest amount of time and money on the needy is doing the most by his mode of life to produce that misery which he strives in vain to relieve.”

~ Henry David Thoreau, Walden, Economy (Chapter 1-E)First, do no harm.

~ Origin unknownDirect action is a catch-all term for any action taken on behalf of animals with the intention of rescuing, liberating, or saving them, individually or collectively, from exploitation, imprisonment, enslavement, torture, or intentionally inflicted harm or death.Direct action can be legal, as in the case of adopting a rescued dog from a local shelter or taking a stray goat or chicken to a sanctuary that will provide a permanent, loving home.

Direct action can also be illegal, and range from…

View original post 2,578 more words

Vegan and vegetarian – why they are not similar

Why we need to forget vegetarianism and go Vegan – better than I could have said it myself.

If you’re not already Vegan, and you think animals matter morally, then please go Vegan. It’s easy and great for you, incredible for the animals, 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:
https://legacyofpythagoras.wordpress.com/2014/04/10/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.

There's an Elephant in the Room blog

1013974_407459766056297_898097802_nI’ve written on this subject before but it definitely bears repeating. I used to eat a vegetarian diet and although I eventually became vegan, eating that vegetarian diet was not ‘part of my journey’, or ‘a step in the right direction’, or ‘raising my awareness’ because my awareness was utterly dead in the water, wallowing quietly in the misplaced confidence that the donations I sent in return for the horrific images in the mail were helping to ‘stop cruelty’.

No, being vegetarian did not lead me to veganism and I’d still have been vegetarian to this day were it not for Facebook. I became vegan because I stumbled across information that taught me that because I sincerely cared about animals, I logically had no choice but to be vegan. It’s as straightforward as that. Vegan education was what it took.

The light bulb moment

The decision to become vegan is a light bulb moment…

View original post 2,308 more words

Dealing with the nightmare

Perfectly captures the reasons we need to stop using graphic imagery in advocacy… a must read.

If you’re not already Vegan, and you think animals matter morally, then please go Vegan. It’s easy and great for you, incredible for the animals, 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:
https://legacyofpythagoras.wordpress.com/2014/04/10/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.

There's an Elephant in the Room blog

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I was first introduced to images of animal suffering through mail drops by animal welfare organisations. They use such images as a tool to trigger a vague and unresolved sense of guilt in order to gather donations and the word vegan is never mentioned as a necessity. Why would it be? For any business that makes their income from the exploitation of nonhuman individuals, of course they don’t mention veganism. Why? Because veganism marks the end of their business venture.

The unspoken dialogue that the images suggest, and this is true not only of animal welfare groups, but of other charities too, goes along the lines of, ‘ Look at this. Isn’t it shocking? Give us money and then leave it with us to make it stop.’ Really, if we examine that concept a bit more closely, it begs far too many questions. But it’s very effective. I know it is because before I was…

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On Morality: What Does “Veganism Is The Non-Negotiable Moral Baseline” Mean?

All moral codes held by individuals have a minimum standard that the individual must adhere to in order to claim that the specified code is morally coherent or consistent. This is what is known as a “baseline” in regards to a moral code.

Almost all humans claim that intentionally harming another sentient being unnecessarily is immoral. In other words, the basis of all moral codes is that if we don’t need to cause others to suffer, then it would be wrong to do so. This is what is known as “The Golden Rule” which is presented as “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”

Anyone who does not follow this code is either following an inconsistent moral code (this is easily proven by logic) or no moral code at all (the second would be a case of “Might Makes Right” which is what led to things like “The Old West” before law and governance was installed, all dictatorships, and such things as post-apocalyptic scenarios).

Just to refresh our memories, let’s re-visit the meaning of Veganism:

Veganism as coined by Donald Watson in England in 1944 ~ “A philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude – as far as is possible and practical – all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.”

Veganism is essentially an attempt to eliminate speciesism.

Speciesism is defined as “The assignment of different values, rights, or special consideration to individuals solely on the basis of their species membership. Speciesism is a prejudice similar to racism or sexism, in that the treatment of individuals is predicated on group membership and morally irrelevant physical differences.”

The primary mandate of Veganism can be expressed this way – “Do the most you can to not harm any animal at all, while not unnecessarily allowing yourself to be harmed.”

Add to this the fact that according to all logic and objective fact, human animals are not morally superior to nonhuman animals, and we can see that we now have a 100% rational and coherent moral stance.

As we can see, Veganism is nothing but an attempt to (rightfully) include nonhuman animals in the circle of “others” for whom we have moral concern as presented by the adherence to The Golden Rule. Now let’s see how this relates to the idea of “A Moral Baseline.”

Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that there is a scale of how much intentional harmful or helpful actions you are doing to other sentient beings. On one end, at negative 100, we have the maximum amount of suffering you could possibly inflict on everyone else, regardless of (and including) what you are doing that is helpful, and at the other end, at positive 100, there is the most help you could give to everyone, regardless of (and including) any harm you are committing. Zero is when you are doing nothing harmful at all, and also nothing helpful. Zero is moral neutrality.

So, we draw a representation of this concept thusly:

Baseline 01

The idea that “Veganism is the non-negotiable moral baseline” means that if we are Vegan, we would be positioned at Zero. We are not intentionally doing anything morally positive by simply being Vegan… we are merely not intentionally doing anything negative, aka harmful. Veganism is a morally neutral position. Being Vegan is not a positive action on behalf of animals. It’s simply acting in a decent manner and refraining from immorally committing harm to them, just like not molesting or beating or starving or killing children is the LEAST you can do regarding your moral responsibilities to children.

There are many things we can do to help sentient nonhuman beings that ARE morally positive; things such as adopting nonhuman refugees of domestication, TNR, running sanctuaries, volunteering at shelters, and the biggest one – educating non-Vegans about why Veganism is the non-negotiable moral baseline. But those are all things that must be done in addition to living Vegan; if you’re not already Vegan, then whatever other measures you’re taking to help sentient beings are being undermined and negated by the intentional harm you’re doing.

This is why any form of “activism” that does not explicitly explain why Veganism is the non-negotiable moral baseline (such as single-issue campaigns and other Welfarist objectives) is counter-productive to Animal Rights (meaning that it will cause people to harm more animals than it can help). If we are advocating for anything less than a 100% coherent moral stance (as all single-issue campaigns do) we are both confusing the issue and implying to observers that they can discharge their absolute moral responsibility to do the least harm possible (which you may remember is the definition of Veganism) by doing something less than causing the least harm they can (i.e. Veganism).

“But if most people claim that it’s wrong to unnecessarily harm others, why aren’t they already Vegan?”

The answer to this is simple. Although most people claim that it’s wrong, they also have never been told that all nonhuman animals should be included in the category of “others,” meaning other sentient beings like themselves. Most humans, once they are properly educated about this issue, will either go Vegan immediately, or give serious consideration to going Vegan.

Why Vegan Education Is Not As Hard As They’re Trying To Make It:

“If they won’t go Vegan immediately, then what good does it do to even bother educating them?”

There is no imposition involved at all in educating people about Veganism as the non-negotiable moral baseline. Almost every single human on the planet agrees with the phrase “It’s wrong to make animals suffer unnecessarily.” They already agree with the moral baseline “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Educating someone properly is actually easy, once you know the secret. It has nothing to do with forcing them to agree to a notion of morality that is at odds with their own, it’s merely getting them to recognize that they already believe in the basic concepts behind Veganism, they just haven’t been informed about the fact that: a) we don’t have any real NECESSITY to exploit nonhumans, b) nonhumans have a right not to be exploited, and c) why.

We can’t force people to go Vegan; the only thing we can do is educate them and allow them to choose what they think are the morally correct actions to commit from then on. Because of this, logically it doesn’t make sense to actually do anything other than educate them about Veganism in the most clear, compassionate and non-speciesist way possible. This is, rationally speaking, the only thing that can eliminate speciesism, which is the one thing we have to do to end the atrocities that humans have been committing on nonhumans for all of these millennia.

Regardless of whether they’ll go Vegan immediately or not, what WE do is morally important to US as well as to others. If we are not doing something we think is important, according to our own moral code, then we have a moral obligation to ourselves and other sentient beings to do that thing. Likewise, if we are doing something that is inconsistent with our own moral code, such as attempting to use speciesism to eliminate speciesism, then we have a moral obligation to stop doing that thing.

Often we don’t even realize we’re doing something that is inconsistent while we’re doing it… it may be brought to our attention by someone else, just like when we first learn about Veganism as the non-negotiable moral baseline. But, when we find that we are doing something wrong, we have a decision to make; either we continue to commit that wrong-action (often while vocally defending it), or we can admit that we were wrong, cease engaging in that behavior, and take whatever steps we need to take to get right with ourselves and those who may have been harmed by our actions.

That last part, incidentally, is how our moral commitment is measured. In other words, how committed we are to being “morally just” individuals.

The reason it’s called “non-negotiable” is because it’s irrational to think that we can try to hedge our moral bets. Claiming that we could do something to help animals while still inflicting unnecessary suffering on them by intentionally exploiting them and thereby form a coherent moral code is just not logical. If we care about humans, and we think it’s wrong to say, hurt children unnecessarily, then it would be wrong to beat some children while simultaneously giving money to a charity designed to help starving children. If we care about children morally, then the absolute minimum moral stance we must take is to not harm children intentionally in any instance that we could harm them, completely aside from any positive actions we might take to help children. This idea applies in an identical manner to the way we interact with nonhumans. The idea that this issue changes when we change the species membership of the victims is a biased, irrational double standard based on morally irrelevant criteria, which is known as speciesism. This is why all the non-Vegans (as well as those people who self-identify as Vegan) who claim they are doing good for animals by engaging in protests, signing petitions, and various other single-issue campaigns, which are invariably speciesist and always counter-productive, are obviously severely morally confused.

Which is why, unless our form of activism explicitly includes the idea that Veganism is the non-negotiable moral baseline, then that activism is based on an incoherent chain of logic. Unless we explicitly advocate Veganism as the moral baseline, we are still, knowing or unknowingly, implying that inflicting *some* amount of unnecessary suffering and death to nonhumans is morally justifiable, when it’s not. And doing that results in reinforcing the observer’s speciesism, which is why it’s actually counter-productive and harms more nonhumans instead of helping them, as Vegan Education does.

People who claim that persuading people to go Vegan is difficult just don’t understand all of this. That’s understandable when you’re new to a concept: both Veganism as the non-negotiable moral baseline; and that Vegan education can be easy; that it doesn’t have to be the same “drag-me-to-the-dentist-with-a-tractor” problem that people who haven’t discovered the secrets to doing it have always thought it would be.

“But what about those people who don’t see The Golden Rule as their moral baseline?”

Of course there are those who think that it’s perfectly fine to inflict unnecessary suffering and death. These people range from thinking that killing nonhumans so we can eat them is great, even if it causes massive suffering and we have no necessity, to the worst mass-murderers and participants in atrocities against humans in history. What of it? Those people make up the tiny minority of humans. If we think that those are the type of people we should be focusing on persuading to go Vegan, then there is something seriously wrong with our logic.

If you’re not already Vegan, and you think animals matter morally, then please go Vegan. It’s easy and great for you, incredible for the animals, 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:
https://legacyofpythagoras.wordpress.com/2014/04/10/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.

What Is “Animal Rights,” What is “Welfarism,” What Is “An Abolitionist Vegan” And Am I One?

There is a common misconception about what’s known collectively by the public as “The Animal Rights Movement”; that it’s one huge group of many thousands or millions of people who are each sharing a common philosophy and goal.

In reality, there are many smaller factions that each have their own ideas about what “Animal Rights” even means, as well as what their goals should be and how to go about obtaining them. Not all of these factions are actually even Animal Rights people (or truly understand what it is they’re doing in terms of advocacy, to be honest).

For instance, the 3 main factions that style themselves as “Animal People” are:

1. Animal Welfarists; these people believe that exploiting nonhuman animals is ok, but we should be “nice” about it. In other words, they believe that humans are morally justified in enslaving, raping, and slaughtering nonhuman animals, as long as we don’t “torture” them first. This is, obviously, a morally incoherent position.

Welfarists in general use Single Issue Campaigns such as protests and petitions to attempt to reform or eliminate specific instances of harm being done to nonhuman animals by human animals.

Some notable Animal Welfarists are Jeremy Bentham, John Stuart Mill, and Peter Singer, among others. The governments of most countries, the large animal orgs such as the ASPCA, RSPCA, HSUS etc. also take a Welfare approach.

2. “New Welfarists” – These are people who believe that Welfarism will get us to Abolition, or the complete elimination of exploitation, and they usually focus on the idea that the reduction of suffering is the goal of Veganism, both of which are completely erroneous. The goal of Veganism is to eliminate speciesism in humans in general, and along with it, the intentional exploitation of nonhumans as much as is possible. Welfarism is not going to get us to that.

New Welfarists may do such things as occasionally eat some animal substances, wear animal substances, ride horses, use “service animals”, go to animal theme parks, etc. etc. ad nauseam. Many of them don’t even believe that such things are exploitation at all, because those individuals believe that how you use animals determines whether it’s exploitation, not that you use them. In addition, New Welfarists also use Single Issue Campaigns to attempt to bring light to the problems of our interactions with animals.

Many of the people who create or run the large non-governmental animal orgs are “New Welfarists,” (although most do not consider themselves such) such as Ingrid Newkirk, Bruce Friedrich and Matt Ball (Tom Regan falls into this category as well).

Here’s some more clear thinking about the problems with Welfarism and New Welfarism.

3. actual Animal Rightists; these are people who make the claim that in general, nonhuman animals should not be intentionally exploited by human animals at all.

We can further break down the Animal Rights faction into 2 smaller factions:

3a. Non-Vegans – people who believe animals have rights but continue to exploit them unnecessarily for reasons of their own pleasure, amusement, or convenience. Many Vegetarians also fall under this term. These people do not have a rationally coherent or consistent moral framework as far as how they determine what actions they should take in their day-to-day lives. They simply mistakenly believe that they can work towards getting animals rights while simultaneously exploiting them.

3b. Vegans – members of a social justice movement that is concerned with not intentionally exploiting nonhumans for any reason, and who choose to do the most they can to not harm any animal, whenever possible and practical.

We can further break down “Vegans” into 2 main categories, but this is really only due to the misguidedness of the people in question more than anything else:

3b1. “Plant-Based Dieters” – These people are not actually Vegans per se, but may erroneously consider themselves so. They consume a 100% plants-only diet (or close to that) because they care about various things like human health and the environment for their own reasons, but may not care about nonhuman animals that much or at all. Unfortunately, the public at large often fails to see the difference, and considers anyone who eats a PBD to be the same as a Vegan (who is in it for Animal Rights reasons first and foremost). PBDers may do such things as occasionally eat some animal substances, wear animal substances, ride horses, use “service animals”, go to animal theme parks, etc. etc. ad nauseam.

There are many PBDers, including almost all of the celebrities that the public thinks are Vegans. Many of them claim to be in it for the animals, but their actions often belie their words. Often, the list of celebrities who do this changes in a major way, as some of them go back to consuming animal substances, and some learn about the health benefits of a plants-only diet, so I won’t be listing them here. Some other people who fall into this category are Durian Rider, Freelee, and many of the other “Youtube Vegans” who post popular videos about combinations of plant-based nutrition and exercise. Almost all the doctors and scientists who post about PBDs also fall into this category.

3b2. Abolitionist Vegans – This faction of the “A.R.M.” understands that we need to completely eliminate all intentional exploitation of nonhuman animals by human animals. They understand that we need to abolish the property status of “animals” and accord them a minimum of one basic “negative right”; the right to not be used by humans merely as a resource for human amusement, pleasure or convenience. They understand that this is the only morally coherent position due to 3 main, unassailable, rationally provable facts:

a) Human animals are not morally superior to nonhuman animals.
b) There is no actual necessity for 99.99% or more of the human population of the world to intentionally exploit nonhuman animals for any reason.
c) Nonhuman animals in general have an interest in not being harmed and otherwise exploited.

Abolitionist Vegans further understand that Veganism is first and foremost about the nonhumans, and that if we are not in it for them, we are not really Vegan. Abolitionist Vegans also do not use any Single-Issue Campaigns or otherwise believe in Welfarism, because they understand why those actions are counter-productive to Animal Rights and so cause even more nonhumans to be harmed than if we never engaged in those actions at all.

Notable Abolitionist Vegans are Professor Gary L. Francione, Trish RobertsChris Petty, and  Keith Berger, among others.

I will make a note here that I belong in the Abolitionist Vegan category. I believe that The Abolitionist Approach is the only logically and morally coherent position we can take in our interactions with nonhuman animals.

However, there has recently been an increasing number of “New Welfarists” and other people (including people who consider themselves “Vegan” but still engage in speciesism and exploitative behaviors) who have been co-opting the term “Abolitionist” for their own purposes. In addition, there are some people who consider themselves Vegans, but also believe in using violence and other non-Vegan tactics to protect animals. There are also people lately who have been abandoning the meaning of Veganism in order to use the term to promote human rights issues while marginalizing the rights of nonhumans. For instance, they claim that because of the racism or sexism of some people who claim to be Vegans, that it’s morally acceptable for “vegans” to use animals at some point, as long as those “vegans” are doing really good human rights advocacy. These people often work under the term “Intersectional vegans.”

Hopefully, this post will continue to be accurate and dispel many of the common misconceptions that people have regarding Animal Rights advocates. So now, when you’re wondering which “faction” you belong to, all you have to do is ask yourself, what do I really think is logically and morally valid concerning the way we interact with nonhumans? Then you can base your decision on how to label yourself from that and respond accordingly, whether that be “friending” like-minded people or simply reading more about that category.

If you’re not already Vegan, and you think animals matter morally, then please go Vegan. It’s easy and great for you, incredible for the animals, 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:
https://legacyofpythagoras.wordpress.com/2014/04/10/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.

What’s Wrong With Vegetarianism?

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I’m making separate posts on individual issues related to Veganism, so that anyone who wants a handy reference guide to each issue won’t have to go through my entire link list to find it. The links included in each individual post may not be updated regularly, so the Master List will be the only place to find complete updates. These posts will be comprehensive enough to cover most or all questions related to each issue however.

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.

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Here are explanations of why vegetarianism is not a morally coherent position:

Sub-Section 1B19b11:
What’s Wrong With Vegetarianism?:”Commentary #1: Vegetarianism as a “Gateway” to Veganism?”

http://www.abolitionistapproach.com/vegetarianism-as-a-gateway-to-veganism”Some Comments on Vegetarianism as a “Gateway” to Veganism”:

Some Comments on Vegetarianism as a “Gateway” to Veganism

http://www.abolitionistapproach.com/media/pdf/the-vegan-2010spring.pdf

“What Is Wrong with Vegetarianism?”:
http://uvearchives.wordpress.com/2008/09/09/what-is-wrong-with-vegetarianism

“Vegan and vegetarian: Why they are not similar”:
https://theresanelephantintheroomblog.wordpress.com/2015/11/07/vegan-and-vegetarian-why-they-are-not-similar

“I Wonder What Donald Watson, Founder of the Vegan Society, Would Think”:
http://www.abolitionistapproach.com/i-wonder-what-donald-watson-founder-of-the-vegan-society-would-think

“It’s Not 1946”:

It’s Not 1946

“The Need for a Vegan Society”:
http://www.abolitionistapproach.com/the-need-for-a-vegan-society

“Vegetarianism First?”:

Vegetarianism First?

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Sub-Section 1B8:
Issues With Various Animal Substances:

Sub-Section 1B8a:
Milk:
“Cheese consumption is the largest enemy of cows & calves”:
http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=346258155480729

“Happy Cows; Behind The Myth”:
http://www.humanemyth.org/happycows.htm

An article written by a former small-scale goat dairy farmer from the US:
http://www.humanemyth.org/cheriezell.htm

“Learn about the Goat Dairy Industry (including organic) here”:
http://www.milkmyths.org.uk/animal-welfare/nanny-state-truth-about-goats-milk

Meet the Woodstock Sanctuary goats:
http://www.woodstocksanctuary.org/meet-the-animals/goats

“”Humane Animal Farming?”:
http://www.peacefulprairie.org/humane-myth.html

_

Sub-Section 1B8b:
Eggs:
“What’s wrong with eating eggs?”:
http://theveganpensieve.wordpress.com/2012/01/15/whats-wrong-with-eating-eggs

“What’s Wrong with Backyard Eggs?”:
http://gentleworld.org/whats-wrong-with-backyard-eggs

“Backyard Chicken Farming Leads to Abandoned Hens”:
http://gentleworld.org/backyard-chicken-farming-leads-to-abandoned-hens

“What’s Wrong with Backyard Eggs?”:
http://peacefulprairie.org/backyard-eggs.html

Sub-Section 1B8c:
Honey:
“Why Honey Is Not Vegan”:
http://www.vegetus.org/honey/honey.htm

If you’re not already Vegan, and you think animals matter morally, then please go Vegan. It’s easy and great for you, incredible for the animals, 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:
https://legacyofpythagoras.wordpress.com/2014/04/10/master-list-of-vegan-info