Guest Blog: Why do I do it? How do I do it? Background issues and more.

Pierre and his nonhuman family, Aura, who is thriving on Evolution plants-only dog food.

The following was posted on the Facebook timeline of Pierre Roland Roy-Parent who is an AbVegan friend of mine and a great writer on the subject of Veganism. I’m happy to be able to present his writing here:

“Why do I do it? How do I do it? Background issues and more.
I fully realize that talking about the ethics of veganism turns some people off or makes them feel uncomfortable. I get it. I really do. This discomfort stems from the way most of us have been taught to think about animals from the time we were little kids; that it’s okay to love some while it’s also okay to eat/use others. This speciesism (which exists in every culture) is deeply ingrained in our minds and it has had and will continue to have a variety of serious repercussions over the years, obviously for the animals, the environment and for everyone’s health.

Why do I do it? So why do I talk about veganism and the importance of going vegan if it makes people feel uncomfortable? Well, I believe that one’s temporary discomfort (as it was for me when I was first exposed to veganism) is worth it, especially if it can lead to a re-conceptualization in the way we regard animals.

How do I do it? I often start with a basic question: “Do you believe that it’s wrong to inflict unnecessary harm on animals?” 99.99% of people will agree that it is wrong. So, in essence people believe in the concept of veganism. The problem is that about 98% of people’s actions do not align with their beliefs. We call this cognitive dissonance. There is a long list of reasons for this cognitive dissonance.

Ethical vegans see veganism as a social justice movement in much the same way as abolitionists did when they wanted to end slavery back in the day. Many of those who worked to abolish slavery would never have pushed for reducing slavery or making slavery more humane. It had to go. It was a violation of a person’s most basic right – the right to not be someone’s property.

Now when it comes to animal rights there are some similarities and there are important differences. Slaves are human. Many could and did speak up and did a lot more than just speak (they fought, they escaped, etc.) to gain their freedom. They also had a number of non-slave advocates who fought on their behalf. Animals now have more and more advocates who are willing to speak up on their behalf. They need us because they obviously cannot fight for their own freedom or escape in order to obtain the basic right not to be property.

I see the pursuit of animal rights as a question of fairness, as an extension of basic justice. Yes, we accord some basic justice to a few animals, especially those we anthropomorphize – the one we deem cuter (puppies, kittens), smarter (dolphins, great apes), magnificent (lions, elephants). We often regard these species as worthier of greater human care, kindness and justice while other species (typically those regarded as food animals) are viewed as dirty (pigs), dumb (cows), scary (sharks) and thus unworthy of extended human consideration pertaining to their rights.

None of the positive qualities we accord some animals or the negative qualities we accord to others should matter with respect to all animals having the right to live their lives. The only thing that should matter is that they are sentient, that they feel pain, can suffer and want to live. Their lives are important to them even if they are of no importance to anyone else.

I am always glad to keep the discussion with non-vegans going, to answer questions, to recommend books, films or websites. I am not going to condemn a person who eats/exploits animals (I was once a part of this group) but neither am I going to praise him/her/they (once they have understood the simple concept of veganism) for reducing their intake of animal products via a meatless Monday approach for example or a poorly defined baby steps approach having no defined end date in mind.

Praising a person who employed either of these strategies would be like praising someone for subscribing to racist-free Fridays or misogyny-free Mondays. I would no more throw the animals under the proverbial bus than I would people of colour or women. All of these prejudices are morally wrong (speciesism, racism, sexism) and they need to end.

I can’t (obviously) force anyone to end any of these prejudices by imposing my beliefs on them. It is something that people have to work out for themselves once they have examined the facts. I think that those who truly take the time to discuss the issues, do some reading, watch some films, check out some websites will begin to see that veganism makes sense and is the morally correct path to take. However, I do understand that just because it makes sense and is fair/just does not mean that people will all become vegan in the end. Some people have powerful conflicts of interests which will lead them to advocate for their continued use and exploitation of animals. Most of us do not have these powerful conflicts of interest.

I refuse to hate anyone who does not see things my way, frustrating as that may be, whether they do so through benign neglect (the willful ignorance approach) or by mounting a stringent defense of their self-interest in continuing to exploit animals. The law will nearly always reflect the opinion of the majority of us out there and until the tide shifts and people begin to extend an invitation to non-human animals to join the moral community the laws protecting some animals while allowing us to use and exploit other animals are not going to change.

Going vegan right now does not require anyone to wait for new legislation or new technologies to pave the way forward. It really is the easiest grassroots approach to making a change that will make a real difference for every species that exists.

So in the end, I am more than happy to engage in discussions with people, sharing food and recipes but I won’t advocate for better welfare regulations, reducing one’s animal intake, etc. If people choose to take any of these paths rather than immediately going vegan once they have examined the issues and checked out the facts, then they will do so anyway and they won’t need a pat on the back from people like me in order to do so.

Veganism is as close to a social justice/peace movement for all that there is out there. I hope in the end people will see it this way and embrace it.

Peace. Love. Justice.

Pierre

If you’re not already Vegan, and you think animals matter morally, then please live 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, cis-sexism, 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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Re-blog: Something Other Than They Are

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, cis-sexism, 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.


An incredibly powerful and useful perspective on the evil of domestication.

 

metaevolutionary

Recently I was involved in a discussion on another forum initiated by a hopeful vegan person asking if there was a humane source for animal based food for carnivorous pets.  My response was that there is not.  Though with great populations of domesticated carnivorous animals who are dependent on humans for food, we are, so far, fraught with choosing the life of one animal over another.

Plant stuffs can be formulated to meet the health and nutritional needs of some obligate carnivore species, namely domesticated cats.  And omnivorous ones, such as dogs, generally cruise easily on vegan diets.   However, should this option fail a particular animal, Gary Francione, esteemed promoter of the grassroots Abolitionist Approach to Animal Rights,  explains that in our responsibility to all domesticated species who are already in existence we may succumb to a morally excusable use of one animal for the food of another however morally…

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Re-blog: What we ask for, what we get ….

“As vegans, we all know that the world won’t go vegan overnight. Goodness, if we didn’t know, we’re reminded often enough. But likewise, we have to realise that there’s a big difference between compromising on material aspirations and compromising the rights of others; we have to keep our focus on who we’re fighting for. Just as I experienced with bullying, we all know that destructive behaviour isn’t going to stop overnight but that does not change the limits of the compromise that we are entitled to make.

Firstly we have a duty to our victims to educate those who needlessly harm them with use, that they, the victims, have a right to live unharmed and not to be used by our species as if they were our resources. Likewise those who are not vegan have the right to know that the myths they were taught about the necessity of harming others were completely false.

We owe everyone the absolute truth, that the only way that any of us can live true to our own values is to become vegan”

Read more of this incredible post:

Source: What we ask for, what we get ….

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, cis-sexism, 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.

Animal Rights Is Reason Enough – guest blog post by Vegan Musings

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A friend showed me this poster by an Abolitionist Vegan writer on Facebook called Vegan Musings (I’ve been following their awesome posters since soon after I became Vegan, which was in the end of the summer of 2013. Please check them out in the link provided).

It’s the perfect answer to the argument that some people try to use that “We have to focus on educating people about plants-only diets and how factory farms impact the environment because arguments about morality won’t get people to go Vegan”. Below is a record of the text that is on the image:

The Reason why veganism (i.e. not owning, exploiting, killing, or in any other way intentionally harming other animals) is important is not that practicing it or understanding how it impacts others and the whole world benefits humans, human justice issues, human society, and the environment on which we all depend (which it does). It is NOT that injustice to other animals informs injustice to humans (which it does). The reason why veganism (i.e. respecting the basic inherent rights of other animals and living accordingly) is important is that it is what’s right for other animals whose rights are violated. Not harming a particular group of persons intentionally means not doing wrong to them because that’s good and right for them.

Veganism is important because it’s important to the ones we won’t be harming anymore. And that reason should be more than a sufficient reason why it should be important to us, who cause this harm to them. Anything else is an inevitable beneficial consequence of living a life without deliberately harming other animals. Because these consequences can be positively transformative for core matters of all life, we should understand why it is so, as well as understand their interconnection, interdependence, and relation to veganism, but they are not WHY we primarily ought to accept the truth of animal rights and be vegan as a result.

When we want to end an injustice towards someone, we have to advocate directly for the ending of that injustice so that people understand that it’s wrong and they stop practicing it.

When one advocates anything else by using veganism, or what one may call “veganism” but isn’t, as means to that end, one doesn’t address the significance of the moral value of the lives of the persons who are immediately subjected to injustice, but treats them instead as a source of problems or solutions for others. Those others then become more important than the ones being subjected to the initial injustice, who are not even valued as individuals to begin with, and who are not viewed and advocated for as the true victims of that injustice.

Consequently, one discriminates against the victims, perpetuates speciesism, and doesn’t promote veganism.

Nonveganism is wrong because it is wrong for other animals. If people don’t understand this and act on this understanding, the using, killing and other ways of intentionally harming other animals will never end because humans won’t realize that speciesism is wrong and won’t become vegan, although some forms of injustice to other animals may change appearance. If one understands this simple and natural concept, then one can also understand the connection of this violence to other forms of human violence; the consequences of this violence to the essence of humans, human society, ethics among humans, and the planet; and advocate accordingly.

Vegan advocates should be able to realize that a justice cause is important in itself for the victims it represents and that this is exactly what everyone else should also understand.

Other animals are not the means to our ends, whether the means are their exploitation or their nonexploitation.” ~ Vegan Musings

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, cis-sexism, 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.

Re-blog: Thoughts on diluting the vegan message

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.


“The harm is incalculable as they peddle misinformation, sowing confusion and misleading those whose quest for information is genuine. Because unlike those who firmly believe that they’re Henry VIII or a visitor from Mars, when it comes to veganism, misinformation costs lives. Billions of them every year. Humanity’s victims are depending on us for a clear and consistent message as they stand quaking in the slaughterhouses awaiting their turn for their precious and only lives to be hacked from them for our convenience.”

 

There's an Elephant in the Room blog

sad-pigToday, one of the topics in cyberspace is sites, groups and individuals that call themselves ‘vegan’ when they very plainly are not. ‘So what’s the problem – aren’t they harmless?’ I hear some ask. So I found myself considering two aspects of this; the first is the fact that this hijacking and redefining of a concept such as veganism happens at all, and the second is that these phoney groups always seem to manage to gather followers.

It’s extremely encouraging to see veganism – true veganism – becoming more prevalent and mainstream in the world and that can only be a good thing.

However we live in a culture of media addiction where presentation triumphs so often over substance; a culture of celebrity worship, a culture where ‘trends’ are the star by so which many steer their moral compass through the shifting seas. ‘Vegan’ is becoming a ‘trendy’ word and as a result, there are those who…

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Reblog: The sadness of being vegan

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.


Stated perfectly. No thoughts to add here. Every post on this blog is great so far :^)

There's an Elephant in the Room blog

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You vegans

I’ve seen vegans called  many derogatory words. Nothing, it seems, provokes unbridled defensiveness and rudeness in quite the same way as coming out and stating that it is wrong to cause suffering and death to the helpless and vulnerable.

Excuses and insults

It doesn’t seem that radical to me, but as soon as it’s mentioned that humans have no nutritional or other need to use other beings in any way for any purpose, out will come a barrage of well used excuses: plants have feelings, canine teeth, what cavemen did, brain size and intelligence, we need meat to survive, my ‘personal choice’, ‘forcing your opinions on me’, the bible, eskimos, desert islands, etc.

Once these are out of the way, then come the personal insults: ‘it’s impossible to be 100% vegan’, ‘you probably step on insects every day’, ‘I bet your cleaning materials / car / PC harmed animals’, ‘what…

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Reblog: One problem, one solution

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.


The list of people who “get it” is growing…

There's an Elephant in the Room blog

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One problem or many?

It is not surprising that there is so much confusion in the ‘animal rights’ movement. It is all too easy to be misled into thinking that there are lots of different problems, and a range of different courses of action that an individual can take.  It is also all too easy to consider that these different actions are optional and vary in how ‘extreme’ they are.

Well surely there are lots of different problems…? After all, there’s anti fur campaigns, anti down and feather campaigns, anti hunting protests, a wide range of ‘welfare’ campaigns against factory farming practices, campaigns in favour of organic, free range animal farming, campaigns promoting CCTV in slaughterhouses, saving dolphins, anti bullfighting, anti eating dogs and cats, anti circus, anti zoo, anti poaching campaigns in support of elephants, rhinos, snow leopards… You name it – there’s a campaign and / or a protest. So…

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