“Reducetarian Steps” Are Neither “Beautiful,” Nor “A Contribution”

I recently came across the following article after it was shared by someone in a Facebook group for Vegans and non-Vegans:

https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2018/09/24/650437498/opinion-as-florence-kills-pigs-and-millions-of-chickens-we-must-open-our-hearts?

This article will do worse than nothing for animals. Why do I say worse than nothing? Because of this line in the article:

“So here’s a personal note for everyone out there who isn’t prepared to give up all meat, cheese, and dairy: Taking reducetarian steps makes a beautiful contribution, too.”

We live Vegan because we understand why we need to observe the right of nonhumans not to be used merely as chattel property of humans. Just as we reject human slavery or the rape, torture or murder of humans for any reason, so too do we reject all of those same things when it comes to nonhumans. The basis for our rejection of the idea that nonhumans should be used as property is exactly the same as it is with humans: the fact that, just as we know that humans are capable of feeling pain and other sensations, we also know that nonhumans are capable of this; this makes them -if we value moral consistency- part of the same moral sphere as humans. This also means that they inherently have the same basic, most important pre-legal negative moral right that humans have: the right to not be used as the property of humans.

There is one other problematic point in the article that I’d like to touch on before I get to the main point though. It’s that the wording “who isn’t prepared to give up all meat, cheese, and dairy” makes it seem as though only “meat” (a term we need to stop using as in reality it’s the flesh of a nonhuman and the term “meat” is just a euphemism that was fabricated specifically to divert our attention from this fact) cheese and dairy (cheese is dairy by the way) are the only things that we need to reject if we care about animals’ rights.

If we are committed to moral consistency, as we all need to be, then we should recognize that all use of nonhumans is morally wrong: there is no moral distinction between inflicting unnecessary suffering and death on nonhumans for the purpose of eating their flesh or dairy and inflicting unnecessary suffering and death on them for the purpose of eating their eggs, their honey, using their skins as clothing, using them for entertainment, or any other use that is unnecessary.

Now the main point of my concern: let’s say that in this day and age that we’re talking about the idea of humans being used as slaves -as we actually did allow legally in the US before 1863- and we already understand that slavery is morally wrong, as (hopefully) you and I already do. In other words, we already take the moral stance personally that it’s wrong to use humans as slaves at all. We have this idea that we may be able to get people to stop hurting humans unnecessarily through their use as slaves by talking to them about how we see the issue, so we decide to mount a campaign to educate them about it.

Within the context of this campaign, let’s say that we said to all the people who buy slave-made goods that “we know you’re not interested in eliminating the amount of those goods you buy completely” and so -instead of abolishing human slavery- it’s morally acceptable to “just partially reduce the amount of slavery-based products you buy;” or perhaps we would tell slave-owners that instead of owning 50 slaves they should only own 15 slaves. Would that sound like a rational response to the fact that we knew that slavery was morally wrong?

Of course not. Advocating for only owning 15 human slaves is still advocating for owning human slaves. If we human animals think that using other human animals merely as chattel property is wrong, we have a moral obligation to not tell people that there is a moral distinction between only using *some* humans as slaves and using some other higher number of humans as slaves. There may be a quantitative distinction in the utilitarian calculation of amounts of suffering, but that does not mean that there is a qualitative distinction regarding the morality of slavery. In other words, we have a moral obligation -if we think that it’s wrong to use humans as slaves- to only tell people that we think that all slavery is morally wrong. And that is what was called “Abolitionism” prior to 1863 and that is exactly what was advocated for by any morally consistent humans at that time.

After all, if we think that we’re doing something morally wrong in taking away the lives and freedoms of humans by taking their mere existence out of the realm of “someone who has moral value” and placing them into the category of “property of a human,” then what sense does it make to argue that we should merely “cut down on the number of property that we use” instead of being direct and telling someone that they are doing something wrong by using humans as property? If we care about the individual humans who we want people to stop using when they reduce their use of humans, then what about the individual humans who they are still going to be using? Does that mean that we don’t take a moral stance against the taking away of the lives and freedoms of those humans? Do we think that those humans -who are ceaselessly having their lives and freedoms taken from them and being subjected to enormous amounts of unending suffering- feel good about the fact that we advocated for a mere partial reduction in the number of humans being used? Because that is how it would look to anyone observing our campaign.

Moreover, if anyone who had never heard the idea that there was anything wrong with slavery was observing us say that we should merely “reduce the number of slave goods that we buy,” one of the obvious thoughts that would occur to them would be that we actually don’t care about whether people used humans as slaves in general, because we’re not clearly and unequivocally advocating for all humans to be free; they wouldn’t think that someone who is merely concerned with the partial reduction of the number of slaves who exist is morally against the institution of slavery at all.

They would automatically think that we were merely concerned about humans as some sort of aggregate of suffering (and most likely that we thought that the people being used as slaves should have about the same moral status that we currently accord nonhumans, as that is exactly what did happen in the past) rather than the idea that each human is an individual who we believe has a right to their own lives and freedoms; they would probably think that we merely thought that the overall treatment of the human slaves was not up to some arbitrary level of “kindness” that each individual campaigner had created in our own heads. And this makes it exceedingly easy for pro-slavery campaigners to argue unceasingly about whose arbitrary level of kindness should be the standard, which is exactly what they are doing regarding the slavery of nonhumans right now.

Contrary to what many people believe, the humans who use slaves are not so stupid that the majority of them won’t immediately realize that if someone is morally against slavery, that the most logical thing that person could do is immediately make the statement that all slavery needs to end immediately. Conversely, those same people will recognize that if someone is unwilling to make that claim, then they don’t actually believe that slavery is a moral wrong.

Both of these problems are exactly what we are seeing right now in regards to the nonhuman animals who we currently use as slaves in our society. Just as it happened before 1863, there are some people arguing that we don’t need to live Vegan, but just “reduce the number of others that we harm” -by using them as slaves- by an undefined but always arbitrary number. It’s no coincidence that these people are almost always the ones who argue that merely changing the way we treat the animals who we use as slaves eliminates the need to observe their actual rights as well. Those people who argued for better treatment of human slaves also often argued against the abolition of human slavery. In the context of human slavery they were arguing merely for the “welfare” of the slaves, as opposed to “the abolition of slavery.” That’s why we now have the terms “welfarist” and “Abolitionist Vegan” regarding the slavery of nonhumans in our current society.

There are also people in our current society who try to argue that we can make a claim for better welfare of slaves while still calling for slavery to end. These people have been dubbed “new welfarists” by some. However, the very fact that a person argues that we need to treat slaves better while we’re using them necessitates the position that using them is not a morally reprehensible crime that needs to end immediately. We can’t argue on moral grounds that something needs to immediately end if we’re arguing that it should be improved in some way. It just doesn’t work, from a moral standpoint or a tactical one. New welfarism and Abolitionist Veganism are by necessity contradictory positions.

It’s a major problem in our society that some people -who should understand that it would make no sense for those morally opposed to slavery to argue that we should just reduce the number of slave goods we buy that are made by human slaves- tend to make that exact argument when they talk about what we should do when deciding whether to buy the products of nonhuman slavery. When we change our moral argument from a categorical rejection of slavery to the idea that it’s morally acceptable to us to merely reduce the amount of slavery we engage in, solely because we have replaced the species membership of the human victims with “nonhuman,” that indicates an arbitrary moral double-standard that’s been dubbed “speciesism.” Speciesism is a product of a myth that we’re indoctrinated in since birth called “human supremacy.” Speciesism is every bit as much of a problem as racism, sexism, homophobia, or any other moral double-standard based on any other physical characteristic; in fact it’s even more of a problem, since it’s the root cause of all of the others.

Speciesism is the real threat from human animals to nonhuman animals in this world. When we make a speciesist argument like “we should reduce our consumption of meat or dairy” -rather than saying that we should end all of our participation in all forms of slavery- that has the unfortunate consequence of reinforcing the speciesism that is already saturated into every part of our society. The more speciesism in society, the more people will inflict completely unnecessary suffering and death on nonhumans. That is the main reason why I said the article will do more harm than good.

The article starts out ok by making the point that we should have moral concern for the nonhumans who are being killed, but it’s the conclusion they come to in the end that is counter-productive to the stated goal. If we truly want people to stop inflicting unnecessary suffering and death on nonhumans, the only thing we really need is for the highest number of people to reject speciesism. That is the only way that we can put an end to the root cause of the problem that is illustrated here, and keep things like these pointless deaths from happening over and over again for the rest of time.

Some people have criticized the idea that we need to verbally take a clear, strong and unequivocal moral stand that it’s wrong to use nonhumans as slaves by saying that “attacking people” for taking “reducetarian steps” will cause them to hate Vegans, or at the very least become defensive and choose to not make any changes in their consumption of nonhumans at all. There are several problems with this position however. Number one, criticizing the idea that as “animal advocates” that we should not be telling people that reducetarianism is morally unjustifiable is not “an attack,” any more than -if we are against human slavery- telling people that it’s wrong to engage in human trafficking in this day and age, or rape, or murder is “an attack.”

When someone is doing something wrong to a human, then it’s our moral responsibility to speak out and explain why what they’re doing is wrong. Changing the species of the victim from human to nonhuman doesn’t change this. Claiming that it does is purely due to speciesism. And there is a difference between saying that an action is morally wrong and saying that someone is a bad person. If we’re doing our jobs as Vegan Educators in the only morally justifiable and effective way that we can, then we’re criticizing the moral action, not attacking the character of the moral actor.

Number two, no one is making the moral claim that the act of reducing one’s consumption of animal flesh, dairy or any other form of animal use based on their moral concern for animals is a bad thing in and of itself. It’s very easy to praise someone for “taking steps in the reduction of their consumption of animal products” due to their moral concern, without implying that they don’t need to go all the way and live Vegan. It’s not the “taking steps” that are at issue, it’s the idea that we should merely say that taking steps is a good thing, and say nothing else. The idea that taking steps is a good thing does not mean that it’s morally justifiable for us as Vegans to be telling people that the way to express their moral concern for nonhumans is to merely “take some steps.”

Also of note is that when we verbally take a clear, strong and unequivocal moral stand against all animal use, those who are observing are most likely to understand why we think that they need to live Vegan. The highest number of those people will positively consider the idea of living Vegan out of any results from any different kind of advocacy that we can do. Out of those who don’t start living Vegan soon after, some will merely choose to reduce the amount of animal products they consume, and some will choose to do absolutely nothing at all; but that does not say anything positive about the idea that as Vegans we should be pushing for mere partial reduction of animal use as a tactical matter.

As I just said, when we advocate for unequivocal Veganism as the moral baseline, we get at least some portion of people going Vegan immediately or soon thereafter. But in contrast, if we advocate for mere reduction and don’t take a stand for Veganism, we don’t even get anyone to go Vegan at all. The most we get in that case is reduction, and in many cases, nothing at all. So we can see that even as purely a tactical matter, advocating for reducetarianism makes no sense. It also makes no sense that someone observing our advocacy for reducetarianism -or indeed, any single-issue campaign- will somehow magically discover their moral obligation to live Vegan by some sort of weird osmosis, as is being claimed by quite a few new welfarists.

The rejection of speciesism as a moral wrong is the real meaning of living Vegan. If we reject speciesism by living Vegan, then we need to understand that we must also reject the idea that it’s morally justifiable to claim that “Taking reducetarian steps makes a beautiful contribution, too.” If we think that nonhumans matter morally and that they are entitled to their lives and freedoms, then it rationally follows that we have a moral obligation to -if we’re going to say anything to anyone on the subject of nonhuman slavery- explain to them why they already agree that they need to live Vegan, although they don’t yet know it. This means that we need to be exclusively engaging in creative Vegan education, as that is the only way to get people to reject speciesism.

Please live Vegan friends, and educate others about why they also need to live Vegan.

More reading on the problems of reducetarianism:

http://blog.veganeducationgroup.com/on-welfarism-abolitionism-and-playing-well-with-others

The most effective way to educate non-Vegans on why Veganism is our moral obligation to animals:

https://legacyofpythagoras.wordpress.com/2014/07/01/how-to-create-vegans

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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Animal Welfare Is A Trap

Welfarism is a trap; one that our entire society has been caught in for around 200 years.

Our society begins our indoctrination in welfarism since the day we learn to talk, and doesn’t stop piling it onto us until the day we die. Those people living right now who call themselves “vegan” but repeat the mantras (which they erroneously call “arguments”) supporting welfarism are merely repeating the same ideas propagated by non-Vegans that we’ve been bogged down in for all this time regarding how we should be *treating* nonhuman animals. The same ideas, over and over. Where has that gotten us? We’re currently enslaving or needlessly slaughtering many times more nonhuman animals each year than we were 200 years ago.

In reality, the process we call “going Vegan” has been corrupted by welfarism into something that most people -even those of us who think we’re Vegan at first- completely misconstrue. We think that once we’ve gone Vegan, that means that if we care about getting people to stop hurting animals, we need to sign petitions, engage in “protests,” tell people “baby steps are good” or “every little bit helps.”

In short, this is because welfarism has corrupted the meaning of “going Vegan” to support itself. When we really live Vegan, we completely reject everything that is not part of a coherent, consistent framework of Animal Rights. Welfarism is directly opposed to that framework, so one of the only ways that welfarism can counteract Rights is to corrupt people’s understanding of Rights to support welfarism.

However, once someone who has been indoctrinated in welfarism recognizes this, they can then begin the process of freeing themselves from it. This is actually like a second “going Vegan.” If we recognize this, then we have begun a process which should culminate in our understanding of what really does constitute Animal Rights and what doesn’t. This is not an instantaneous process in almost any cases, but usually spans a bit of time spent researching and learning, even for the most astute among us. But as I said, once it’s over, it means that we reject any and all of the activities that support welfarism (after all, how can making the same old mistake over and over again get us a new, better result?).  The people who have already done this are called “Abolitionist Vegans.”

The tenets of Abolitionist Veganism -in stark contrast to those of welfarism- are that nonhumans have the right not to be used for human interests, regardless of how “nicely” we use them; and that their use -being wrong- is what we need to abolish, not that we need to merely change our treatment of them. It’s really not that difficult a concept to grasp.

The tenets of welfarism -which are meant to divert our attention from Animal Rights discussions and reinforce the ideological framework of welfarism- include the ideas that: we don’t need to stop using animals as long as we change their treatment; that animals don’t care if they or their loved ones die, they only care whether they suffer in the moment; that there is a hierarchy of species with humans at the top, which means that our interests are more important than theirs; that there is a moral hierarchy of wrong acts so that some are more wrong than others, which allows us to somehow “rank” how bad other people are in comparison to ourselves and each other; that Veganism is a matter merely of human health or some other human-centric concern; that we need to focus our anger on the human “abusers” instead of focusing our peaceful education efforts on all non-Vegans; that hating other humans because they “torture” nonhuman animals and inflicting violence or destructive acts on them or their property is not counter-productive to our goal; that even if petitions, protests, and other such campaigns on behalf of nonhuman animals are speciesist (and they are, all of them), that this doesn’t matter because “at least it’s DOING SOMETHING”; that “getting someone to ‘go vegan’ is progress” even though what the welfarist who is saying this doesn’t realize is that the people they are talking about are actually now just “plant-based” welfarists; and more.

Some of you may ask, “but if you don’t do all these old types of ‘activism,’ then what do you do instead?”

The answer: we do the only thing that isn’t harmful -which welfarism is- and that has the ability to help instead – we educate people on why they need to live as Abolitionist Vegans. This activity is what is responsible for *any* progress that has been made in regards to Animal Rights in the past few decades.

If you think it’s wrong to hurt animals and that’s why you’re Vegan, please join us in educating people about why they need to live Vegan. Here’s how we start:
https://legacyofpythagoras.wordpress.com/2014/07/01/create-new-vegans

And here’s much more info on which actions are counter-productive to the Animal Rights Movement:
https://legacyofpythagoras.wordpress.com/2014/06/17/welfare-watch

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.

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

grave-six-feet-under

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 -in the image below- we would be at the position of the man in the suit. 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 position that you start from in beginning 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.” In other words, “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. So, this means that “activism” could be called a “moral opportunity” rather than a “moral baseline” or “moral obligation.” We don’t have a moral responsibility to engage in “activism,” while we do have a moral responsibility to refrain from engaging in morally negative actions.

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 (see the above explanation about the difference between a “moral obligation” and a “moral opportunity”), at a time when we need for others -and ourselves- to be perfectly clear and consistent on this issue.

Human society at large 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 and without their consent- 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 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 metaphorically “hover above the ground” in regards to our moral stance. It’s merely an attempt to rise back up to ground level in regards to that stance, since -before going Vegan- almost all of us were inarguably participating in various intentional 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 actionare counter-productive, and therefore harmful, ways of attempting to advocate for animals. These counter-productive actions are made to seem by our speciesist, morally confused society 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). All the 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 _____ or _____ 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.

Guest Blog: Gee Krupke’s Take On The A.L.F.

The ALF 01

The following item was posted on Facebook by Gee Krupke:

Why I don’t support Animal Liberation Front:

1. They increase the amount of suffering due to taking one suffering individual to have them replaced by another individual who will suffer.

2. It’s a poor use of time and resources towards something that will never change until people reject the use of animals, i.e. accepting veganism. They should use their limited time and resources to educate [everyone], because that is only when the widespread use of animals will end.

3. They engage in and encourage criminal acts which paints the movement as being about violent extremism. That pushes people away and makes the job of education that much harder.

With that said, I, of course, support rescuing but not when it increases demand for individuals to be birthed into bondage: adopt at a shelter or any place outside the forces of objectification. They need our help too, and it doesn’t conflict with justness, like the activities of ALF.

A question posed to this argument:

“What if you were the suffering, sentient being that was being held & tortured, wouldn’t you want someone to do something illegal to get you out?”

Not at the expense of others. And with that argument, it would happen in perpetuity, if all were given the option (due to the issue of supply and demand). A more concrete example: I would not want to be rescued from a concentration camp if it was on the condition of another person being born or captured to take my place. So it seems to me an argument that is based on tokenism, not equality, that results in condemning one individual to suffering while aiding another (who will very often succumb to a really miserable end anyways, due to their unhealthy breeding and conditions they were kept in). On top of that, we have the option of rescuing others who are in need and without increasing suffering that necessarily occurs while animal use is demanded. It’s not an issue of illegality here but of wrongness in further compounding the problem.

In response to the position that “every movement needs radicals”:

What’s truly radical, meaning going to the root, is challenging the notion of animals as property by advocating for their right not to be used. That is what undermines the system in a fundamental way; people no longer taking part in the use of animals. I want nothing more than non-humans to be safe and free, like all vegans, but we must do it in a reasonable way that, at the very least, doesn’t increase the body count.

And as a finale, a recapitulation of the argument in the form of a question:

If you could rescue a dog/cat/parrot (or any other animal that when rescued would not result in someone being bred or captured to take their place) or a chicken/cow/mink (or any other animal that when rescued would result in another individual being bred or captured to take their place) which would you choose? And this is the reality. To me it’s a simple equation of quantitative value.”

L.O.P. – Indeed. Militant Direct Action makes no sense from any standpoint. Forget M.D.A. and start educating people on Veganism as the moral baseline instead. If you want to rescue animals, make sure that you’re not just adding to the problem instead of the solution, and feed them Vegan wherever and whenever possible.

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, 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.

Abolitionism From The Mouth Of A Former Welfarist

It’s always a great pleasure for me to find that I’ve influenced a pre-Vegan so much that they’ve become Vegan. This is the only form of activism that Vegans en masse need to be doing, without a doubt. However, there is only one thing that gives me greater pleasure – seeing someone who was seemingly hopelessly mired in the morass of welfarism have that light bulb moment and recognize that they need to reject the single-issue campaigns and switch over to only Vegan Education efforts.

The change from welfarist to Abolitionist Vegan is the single most important change we need, for everyone, and it can happen at different points for everyone, whether or not they were still consuming non-Vegan food or had any particular stance on any non-food form of exploitation (When it happens with pre-Vegans, they go straight from non-Vegan to AbVegan). Unfortunately, with some people, it never happens, but that is true of most movements.

If we educate pre-Vegans correctly we get this automatically, but it’s even rarer that we can get someone who’s already seemingly well on down the path of eliminating speciesism from their life to immediately recognize the wisdom in our position. This is why it’s my supreme pleasure to note that I have a guest blog today from someone who I personally influenced to learn about the difference between welfarism and Abolitionism.

Without further ado, I’ll let you hear it from the man himself, Mr. Keith Berger:

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In defense of abolitionism… again

I had a light bulb moment recently when thinking about welfarism vs. abolition. I’m sure it comes from Professor Gary Francione’s work (www.abolitionistapproach.com) and exists in much simpler terms, but I suddenly saw it so clearly that I practically danced around the room:

When we educate a person that veganism needs to be the moral baseline for our treatment of individuals of other species and s/he stops eating animals and starts living vegan, that person pretty quickly ceases complicity in most of the atrocities and abuses that single-issue campaigns (SICs) focus on and will usually carry the vegan message to others, hence much is accomplished. Conversely, when any of the donation-based welfarist groups I call Donations Over Animals educates a person that fill-in-the-blank-single-issue is wrong and leaves out the vegan education component, that person *may* withdraw their support from that particular issue while remaining complicit in all the rest, hence nothing meaningful is accomplished and a valuable opportunity is wasted.

I’ve been accused of having an attitude of “you have to choose one or the other”, however that is not my attitude.  Everyone is free to do as s/he chooses and will make the choice that suits them, their morals and their ethics.  My belief after a decade of welfarism is that if we have the opportunity to choose to educate people about veganism as the moral baseline, then as vegans it is incumbent upon us to do so.  Educate one person to become vegan and you eliminate support for dozens of animal exploitation issues. Educate ten and you multiply the effect accordingly. Educate one person that fur is bad and s/he may or may not stop wearing fur, and probably won’t make the connection about animals not used in the fur trade. Which sounds more effective?

Once a person stops going to the circus… well… they stop going to the circus. For most people, that’s pretty much where it ends: “Look, people with signs!  Losers!  Get a life! –>Huh? Circuses hurt elephants? That can’t be! –>Oh, here’s some literature about circuses, maybe they’re right  –>Well, I don’t want elephants to be hurt –>OK, I’ll stop supporting circuses –>I did a good thing! —–>I’m hungry, I think I’ll have a cheeseburger and a glass of milk (it’s elephant-free)”.  They don’t necessarily go vegan or stop being complicit in any other form of animal exploitation, and why would they if no one has taken the time and effort to educate them properly?

And again, it’s my belief that single-issue campaigns too often leave out the vegan piece almost entirely. I can point to numerous publications and campaigns by Peta, Mercy for Animals, Compassion Over Killing, “Vegan” Outreach (more like outrage…) that either don’t mention the word “vegan” at all or bury it so far in the conversation that it’s hardly noticeable. After all, donation-based orgs don’t want to alienate the donor base and risk losing the donor dollars.

One of the SICs I worked on passionately for ten years, both through protests and legislative means, was Ringling Brothers and their treatment of elephants and other exploited animals.  When the news broke recently that Ringling is planning to “retire” their performing elephants, everyone and their mother trumpeted “VICTORY!” from every last mountaintop.  I also thought we had achieved a victory – for about five minutes, until I looked a little more closely and saw the reality of the situation: Ringling has agreed to do nothing more than move their slaves off the road – years in the future – and back to their own breeding facility in Florida (it ain’t no sanctuary…) – the SAME facility in which these suffering individuals were tortured (Ringling calls it “training”), had their spirits broken as babies, were introduced to bull hooks and electric prods and completely subjugated to the will of men. What kind of victory is that?

They’re returning them to the exact location where their physical and psychological trauma was born, which is tantamount to sending a neglected foster child back home to her abusive parents except that, in the elephants’ case, they’ve been with their abusers the entire time. Does anyone believe life is gonna get better for them once they’re “home”? Oh, and they’re also going to loan them out to zoos (I believe that’s being done already) for breeding purposes, as they are still property to be used as Ringling sees fit, which continues their enslavement and brings in a new generation of slaves. The slaves remain slaves – we just don’t get to see public displays anymore. Also, Ringling is bringing other animals on the road to replace the elephants, so we’d better hurry and get out our markers and change our protest signs from elephants to camels.

This is not a victory – this is a ploy to appease some activists and remain profitable. Ringling didn’t suddenly have a change of heart and realize that what they’ve been doing for over a hundred years is wrong. They just found a way to do damage control.  I never once saw anyone doing vegan education at a Ringling protest, as these events are simply not conducive to that. When we did manage to turn people around from entering the circus, we can rest assured they simply went home a few hours earlier to the neighbor’s barbecue and stopped at McDonald’s on the way. I find that kind of “victory” hollow at best and counterproductive at worst.

I’ve been told by animal welfarists that “there is room for us all”, which is almost an exact quote from a presentation I attended by World Heavyweight Champion welfarist Wayne Pacelle, CEO of H$U$, “the nation’s largest and most effective animal protection organization” (I recall him using the phrase, “We’re a big tent movement”, which at the time I thought was great. I washed it down with a cup of Every Little Bit Helps Kool-Aid). This guy is head of an organization that, in the course of raking in hundreds of millions of dollars a year, offers bacon coupons(!!!) on their Facebook page, has a pig farmer for a vice president(!!!!) and cozies up with animal agriculture/exploitation organizations while promoting countless SICs every year to make sure the animals their friends are going to kill, butcher and eat are comfy in their slave quarters beforehand. Animal protection, my ass. I can’t be the only one who finds those kinds of mixed messages maddeningly confusing, utterly disheartening and completely unacceptable, and yet the donations keep pouring in.

If we should be out protesting something, it should be against welfarist organizations like that, which gives us the perfect opportunity to blend protests and vegan education: “Hey, if you’re vegan, why are you picketing Peta?” “Because, while Peta is pointing you in these fifteen directions, here’s the most important thing they’re NOT telling you…”.

I was asked if I want a vegan world. Absolutely. That’s why I’m doing what I believe will have the greatest impact and leaving behind that which I believe will not.

When it comes to SICs, my contention is that we are striking at the branches of a very diseased tree rather than at the root where the problem begins, and are therefore keeping the status quo rolling along. Working to find acceptable ways to do unacceptable things normalizes the unacceptable thing – namely, killing animals for food – and makes it seem acceptable. While doing welfarist outreach, I’ve spoken with countless non-vegans who said the same thing – “Eating animals is fine, it’s normal. I’m never gonna stop. They shouldn’t abuse them, though.  That’s just wrong”.

If we work on minimizing the discomfort of the animals who will be killed and eaten regardless of their comfort level, it only serves to make it even easier for people such as I’ve described (again, those were actual experiences and quotes) to keep on eating animals, drinking their excretions, wearing their skins and lining up for seconds. If those people felt a twinge of conscience for a second about the abuses we showed them, that’s sure to be alleviated once the abuses seemingly stop. So it seems when we work to reduce – but not eliminate – animal suffering (as is the hallmark of the welfarist organizations), there’s a secondary gain – non-vegans can keep eating animals now with a clear conscience and no reason nor desire to ever stop.

From my perspective, that’s the opposite of progress.

Keith Berger, June 23, 2015

For more information –

http://www.howdoigovegan.com

http://www.abolitionistapproach.com

http://www.internationalvegan.org

https://www.facebook.com/veganeducationgroup

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The number of people who are recognizing that SICs and welfarism are immoral is rapidly growing. Please use your best judgement and join the movement?

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.

On The Intersection Of Oppressions And Alliance Politics

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.

Here’s one interesting view on the intersectionality of oppressions:

https://legacyofpythagoras.wordpress.com/2015/02/07/are-humans-superior

Sub-Section 1B6:
Intersectionality And Alliance Politics:

“Essentialism, Intersectionality, and Veganism as a Moral Baseline: Black Vegans Rock and the Humane Society of the United States”:
http://www.abolitionistapproach.com/essentialism-intersectionality-and-veganism-as-a-moral-baseline-black-vegans-rock-and-the-humane-society-of-the-united-states

“The Myth Of Vegan Progress In Israel”:
The Myth of Vegan Progress in Israel

“Vegan Killers: Israeli Vegan-Washing and the Manipulation of Morality”:
http://www.turkeyagenda.com/vegan-killers-israeli-vegan-washing-and-the-manipulation-of-morality-1656.html

“Intersectionality and Abolitionist Veganism: Part I”:
http://veganethos.wordpress.com/2014/12/14/intersectionality-and-abolitionist-veganism-part-i

“Abolitionist veganism is not a “white” practice”:
http://veganethos.wordpress.com/abolitionist-veganism-is-not-a-white-practice

“Workshop on Intersectionality and Alliance Politics”:
http://veganinformationproject.org/audio-workshop-on-intersectionality-and-alliance-politics

“Project Muse – Volume 65, Number 3, September 2013”:
http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/american_quarterly/toc/aq.65.3.html

“Animal Rights, Multiculturalism, and the Left” by Will Kymlicka and Sue Donaldson:
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/josp.12047/full

_

Sub-Section 1B3:
Main Vegan Blogs And Sites:

My own AR blog:
https://legacyofpythagoras.wordpress.com

“My Face Is On Fire”:
http://my-face-is-on-fire.blogspot.co.uk

“Veganarchism Ain’t No Joke”:
http://veganarchismaintnojoke.tumblr.com

Sub-Section 1B2:
Facebook Pages And Groups:

Sub-Section 1B2a:
Facebook Pages:

“International Vegan Association”:
https://www.facebook.com/internationalvegan

“Let’s Make a Vegan World”:
https://www.facebook.com/letsmakeaveganworld

“Vegan Information Project – VIP”:
https://www.facebook.com/theveganinformationproject
_

Sub-Section 1B2b:
Facebook Groups:

“South Florida Vegan Support and Education Group”:
http://www.facebook.com/VeganSupportGroup

“Vegan Philosophy Forum”:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/219573241562192

“Vegan Influence & Persuasion”:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/Vegan.Influence.and.Persuasion

“Vegan Scientific Facts”:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/vegan.scientificfacts

“The Human Vegan”:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/168804706659566

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

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.