What Is The Only Form Of Animal Activism That Is Both Morally Justifiable And Effective?

Veganism Survey 01a

I engaged in C.N.O.V.A. (Creative Non-Oppressive Vegan Advocacy) a few times in the past few days, and when someone on Facebook asked me to tell them in detail how I feel that I most effectively get random pre-Vegans to consider the validity of Veganism as a moral stance, it got me thinking about the best way to post my thoughts. I’m going to write up the actual individual instances where I did the C.N.O.V.A. as soon as I find the time, but first I figured I’d bang this out while my thoughts were still fresh.

This type of Vegan education is based on the work of Professor Gary L. Francione:

http://abolitionistapproach.com

The way it works is pretty simple. First, these things are all a given:

1. Not every person we educate will go Vegan in the end – This is completely irrelevant to our educational approach however. Not everyone cares about animals enough to go Vegan. Also irrelevant. Another reality is that not everyone isn’t a psychopath. A few people are. But a rational person accepts the idea that enough people have moral concern for animals that the number who don’t, don’t matter. In order to accept this idea we must think that more than 50% of all humans on the planet are not completely morally void. I think that is a pretty safe assumption.

2. Not everyone who goes Vegan will go Vegan immediately – Also an irrelevant fact. How quickly someone goes Vegan is not something we control. What we control is whether we are being absolutely clear about 3 main things when we educate pre-Vegans about Veganism:

a) Veganism is the non-negotiable “moral baseline.” – It’s the absolute minimum we must do if we care morally about animals at all. Otherwise we don’t really have courage in our own conviction.

b) Veganism is not difficult – Whether someone transitioning finds it difficult at all is not relevant. That may or may not be so, but it’s our moral responsibility to never intentionally make them think it’s difficult. That would be intentionally doing something counter-productive to our goal, which is to get people to align their actions with their already extant moral code, that nonhumans have the right to not be made to suffer unless it’s absolutely necessary. So making people think Veganism is hard to adopt equates to intentionally causing more suffering for more animals.

If someone finds it difficult to curb cravings or find the right foods for their budget, we can help them to do so. The first step is getting them to acknowledge that there even is a reason for them to stop using animals, however. Everything else is secondary to that one task.

c) You can go Vegan immediately – How long it takes each person is irrelevant. A Vegan educator’s moral responsibility is to tell pre-Vegans the truth, that they can go Vegan immediately. Then, whatever the pre-Vegan does is up to them. We can’t force them to go Vegan or to go Vegan at the speed which we want them to, but it would be immoral (not to mention irrational) to promote to them that the way to go Vegan would be to take longer, such as talking about vegetarianism first, or “baby steps,” etc.

3. Not everyone will take well to the arguments presented – in fact, some people will be defensive, some will use irrational arguments to attempt to refute ours, some may even become angry, or even violent. All irrelevant. You gauge how receptive someone is by their first reaction, and if they seem un-receptive, you move on to someone else who seems more receptive. We don’t want to be wasting precious time, energy and other resources that we could be using to educate on someone who is not interested at all. It’s that simple.

4. The one thing we don’t use or promote when doing CNOVA: Welfarism – We don’t need  S.I.C.s (single issue campaigns in regards to nonhuman animals) or any of that; we can just do C.N.O.V.A. anywhere, at any time. Since the “C” stands for “Creative”: we can talk to friends or family; we can hand out literature (Abolitionist only) to random people (on the streets, in businesses, wherever); we can do Vegan bake sales (“free cupcake with conversation about Veganism,” etc.); we can do public speaking in front of audiences; we can make a Youtube video; we can simply post links and text online where pre-Vegans will likely come across them; or whatever non-speciesist way we can dream up using our imaginations; and we can do many of these things at any time of day, on any day of the year:

“Vegan Education: A Background”:
http://uvearchives.wordpress.com/2008/04/03/vegan-education-a-background-part-1-of-2
http://uvearchives.wordpress.com/2008/05/16/vegan-education-an-incremental-abolitionist-approach-part-2-of-2

“Ten Crucial Tips for Public Outreach Work”:
http://www.internationalvegan.org/ten-crucial-tips-for-public-outreach-work

Anything but welfarism and S.I.C.s. They are immoral and counter-productive and so, make no sense. We shouldn’t even favor doing C.N.O.V.A. at the site of an S.I.C. because it encourages us to just go for “the low-hanging fruit” of people who already have a heightened “concern for animals” but have already heard many arguments for not exploiting them and are still not Vegan, for instance. It can also imply to observers that we favor the S.I.C. as well. It’s much more productive and less discriminatory to just go for random pre-Vegans who really never even thought about the subject, and get them thinking. I’ve even made a post about how to best educate over the phone:

https://legacyofpythagoras.wordpress.com/2015/09/11/cnova-on-the-phone

So, after we decide to keep those things in mind, then we need to be sure we are, ourselves, educated about Veganism. For me, that’s easy, because I love knowledge and I love learning. I absorb knowledge like a sponge. But for some, it may be a little bit of a challenge. That is one reason I compiled my “Master List Of Vegan Info”:

https://legacyofpythagoras.wordpress.com/2014/04/10/master-list-of-vegan-info

so people could both educate themselves in preparation for educating others, and so they could share it online with a short note and educate just by helping others educate themselves, etc.

Next, we go out and we find people to educate. This is most easily accomplished by finding the type of people in your day-to-day life that you already interact with, for instance, when you are at a store and some stranger strikes up a conversation (or you have the chance to do so), or even when you are on the street. Anything that gets you to talking with someone works. There is even a really cool Abolitionist Vegan educator named Chris Petty who came up with a questionnaire about Veganism to start conversations with people. He basically just came up with a set of “survey” questions that get the ball rolling. You can see a .jpeg of the survey questions at the top of this page. I’ve also explained in depth some great ways to use this survey.

I usually just walk up to someone and ask them if I can ask a question, but sometimes I wait ’til someone is already talking about a subject that can be related to Veganism by me, and then make that connection for them. It all depends on the circumstances, such as timing (sometimes we don’t have a lot of time to talk), my confidence in their apparent receptiveness or my confidence in my own skills at that day or time, etc.

Once I’m talking to them, I’ll at some point say something like “Can I ask you something?” and then “Do you think it’s wrong to inflict unnecessary suffering and death on animals?” or “Should animals suffer and die unnecessarily?”

Most people will say yes, it’s wrong (and no, they shouldn’t). So, after that, you say something along the lines of:

“The thing is, 100% of the intentional suffering and death that humans inflict on nonhuman animals is completely unnecessary. We have no real need to eat their flesh or secretions, wear them, use them for medical research, or for entertainment. The top 18 health organizations on the planet have made statements that we have no dietary need for animal substances. In addition, not only is it not morally justifiable to use them in biomedical research, but the more nonhuman animals we use for that purpose, the more humans suffer as a result. And lastly, we have no real need to use the animals you see in zoos, circuses, marine parks, TV shows and movies. All these animals are treated badly and ‘trained’ in horrible ways, and they all have the right to not be exploited for any reason in the first place.”

“Each individual nonhuman animal feels sensations such as pain, pleasure or fear, which humans also feel. This means that they each have an interest in their own continued survival and freedoms, just like we do. If they have the same interests in their lives that we do, then that means they have the same right to not be unnecessarily harmed or by us that we do. To harm them unnecessarily is immoral, in the same way that humans harming humans for no good reason is immoral.”

“Moreover, the reason we believe it’s ok to exploit them is due to something called ‘speciesism’, which is the irrational belief by humans that individuals have a higher or lower moral value based on the arbitrary, morally irrelevant criteria of species membership. This is similar to the discrimination that we engage in when we believe that we should exploit, harm, or otherwise exclude another human from our moral sphere based solely on ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, physical ability, or any other morally irrelevant characteristic.”

We have no real need to exploit nonhuman animals for any reason. Since doing so harms them, just like it would harm us, and we have no real need for it, then why do we do it? Merely because we enjoy the taste of their flesh or secretions, or the convenience of wearing their skin or other body parts; or we enjoy watching them perform; or we irrationally believe we have the right to kill millions of them simply because we MIGHT find a “cure” for some disease that we most likely wouldn’t have gotten if we weren’t eating their flesh or secretions in the first place.”

“The great part about all this is, we can easily stop doing all of that horrible exploitation of animals, and it actually makes our own lives better as well as those of all the other living beings on the planet! We can actually thrive, be much healthier, and much happier by not exploiting them. It’s not difficult either. The thing I hear the most from the pre-Vegans I talk to is ‘I don’t think I could ever go completely Vegan’ and the thing I hear the most from the Vegans I talk to (and I feel this way too) is ‘Veganism is the greatest thing I ever did. I wish I’d gone Vegan sooner’!”

Now, we don’t need to go through this word for word, these are just examples of the way I’ve explained these issues in the past. However, the person I’m talking to will most likely have long since interrupted with a million questions. And that’s the key right there. You don’t have to finish the whole presentation in the order in which you conceived of it, because the most powerful part of the prepared speech is the part between the beginning and the part that makes them start asking the questions; those questions are where you really hook them.

As long as you can answer each question with peaceful honesty and at least a minimum of knowledge on the subject, and if you need to, refer them to more info (AbVegan flyers and my own Master List are good for that) then you have a much better shot of convincing them that what you’re saying is the only valid way to follow their own existing moral convictions.

See, when we do C.N.O.V.A. properly, we’re not really trying to get people to see our moral stance at all; we’re really just trying to educate them about the issues surrounding Veganism and forge the connection for them about how they can simply live up to their own already existing moral stance on unnecessary suffering and death.


Side-Note:
Some people believe what they say, and do think it’s wrong to inflict unnecessary suffering. Some will just have said that to placate you, will later on admit that they really don’t care. There are some that really don’t care, or use irrational arguments (like the ones that really just boil down to “we should exploit nonhumans because they’re not human”) but if you’re dead set on arguing it out (as I sometimes do online, not even necessarily for the sake of the person I’m debating, but sometimes more for the observers) there is another theory you can use:

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

I rarely have to resort to the Anti-Human-Supremacy arguments anywhere but online anyway. Most people offline get the point just on the “sentience/speciesism” argument alone. If I was going to use the full Superiority Myth argument offline it would usually only have to be against an institutional exploiter; for example, an executive of a meat company or a vivisectionist (although a simplified version is great to answer more irrational random non-Vegans); and those are not the people who we should be concentrating on anyway; They are not the people who drive the demand for animal products. The mass pre-Vegan public does that, and so they are the ones we most need to be educating about Veganism.

If I have enough time when educating offline, I usually ask them at or near the end of the conversation whether they would now consider changing to a Vegan way of life. As I said before, the reactions are pretty well mixed, but most people at least admit that they are now considering the argument for it quite well.

These things really do work. I don’t even go in the streets and educate that often, and I’ve had great success with them. One thing is, you don’t really even have to focus on how many people you know for a fact that you made go Vegan. You could keep track if you wanted to (you should also follow up with some people and see if they need help or encouragement if you know they might and it’s possible for you to do so), but I don’t really bother “keeping score.” I only know I’ve made a few people already go Vegan for a fact (they told me) and suspect a few more did, or are going to soon. I know I’ve made a ton of people think about the issue and consider Veganism though, and whether I ever find out they went Vegan or not, the most I can hope for is to get them thinking about it. AbVegans call it “planting seeds of Veganism.” The pre-Vegans do what they will do when and if they do it. It’s up to us to plant the seed, but only the aspiring Vegan can give it what it needs to blossom.

Plant the seeds of Veganism. It’s the only morally justifiable way of educating that has a great chance of making new Vegans. And that is what we all desperately need.

Here are some links that should help people transition. If you need any other help or have any questions, please ask me:

“How To Go Vegan”:
http://howtogovegan.org

Vegan Starter Kit:
http://www.vegankit.com

“On Becoming Vegan”:
https://legacyofpythagoras.wordpress.com/2014/08/07/on-becoming-vegan

“What Will I Eat As A Vegan?”:
https://legacyofpythagoras.wordpress.com/2014/08/07/what-will-i-eat-as-a-vegan

Here are some inspirational anecdotes to show how I’ve planted Vegan seeds in the past:

My Weekend Challenge Archives:
May 6th, 2014:
https://www.facebook.com/squeezeplay/posts/10202549120142443

Friday, May 30th, 2014:
https://www.facebook.com/squeezeplay/posts/10202952542227743

Saturday, May 31st, 2014:
https://www.facebook.com/squeezeplay/posts/10202960520347191

Sunday, June 1st, 2014:
https://www.facebook.com/squeezeplay/posts/10202966947067855

Tuesday, June 16th 2014:
https://www.facebook.com/squeezeplay/posts/10202978442155225

Vegan education by others:

Here are some pamphlets and flyers you can print out:

Flyers by me (click thumbnails and then choose “full-sized versions” at the bottom):

Tearoffs with various animals:

Or right click on the links below and choose “save link as”:

https://s16.postimg.org/j7bdd8jqp/Tearoff_poster_bee_01.jpg

https://s16.postimg.org/525kbfapd/Tearoff_poster_chickens_01.jpg

https://s16.postimg.org/jze1cfnxt/Tearoff_poster_cow_01.jpg

https://s16.postimg.org/nk9wvnshd/Tearoff_poster_fish_01.jpg

https://s16.postimg.org/p0lfdsve9/Tearoff_poster_goat_01.jpg

https://s16.postimg.org/w538mu2nl/Tearoff_poster_pig_01.jpg

https://s16.postimg.org/8s574bmk1/Tearoff_poster_sloth_01.jpg

https://s16.postimg.org/6c3dqh4hd/Tearoff_poster_turkey_01.jpg

Various wonderful pamphlets by others:

“Embracing Veganism” by South Florida Vegan Education Group:
https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B0zLVN2DeKCHTkg1OE9lQXdBUjQ

http://www.abolitionistapproach.com/text

http://www.internationalvegan.org/pamphlet

http://www.howdoigovegan.com/abolitionist-veganism/outreach-materials

Pamphlets by Vegan Musings:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bw3cXrKFRr62ZF81WFM0NFhVVjA/view

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bw3cXrKFRr62TlVvTEx2bV80ek0/view

“Reject Speciesism”:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bw3cXrKFRr62dHV1MnpmN0hVdE0/view

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.

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On Morality: Why Violence Will Never Advance The Animal Rights Movement (or any movement)

Happy-Photo-1

Violence can never advance the true Animal Rights movement (Abolitionist Veganism) because it does not solve problems, either in an abstract respect nor in a practical one.

Here, in my opinion, are the reasons why:

1. Violence is immoral – True Veganism is a movement that is fundamentally about non-violence; it’s not only against violence by humans towards nonhumans, but also against humans towards other humans. If violence by humans against nonhumans is immoral, then violence by humans against other humans is also immoral, using the same criteria. Also, raping women who wear fur or killing vivisectors and factory farm workers is not Self-Defense nor is it Defense Of Others. Self-Defense/Defense Of Others occurs when the person committing the original violence understands why their violence is wrong. Since  the people killing the factory farm workers or vivisectors etc. will not take the time to educate them all about Veganism, this rule does not apply, even in the abstract.

2. Violence harms the doer as much as the victim – When you commit violence, you’re harming your own psyche. Killing someone is one of the most harmful acts we can do… to ourselves as well. Even just harboring violent thoughts can harm us. People in the habit of thinking violent thoughts tend to harm other humans and even nonhumans much more often than people who think peaceful thoughts. Also, when you think violently, you tend to feel more stress, and your body reacts negatively to that as well. You will also not be able to advocate for nonhumans (or anyone) as effectively if you are known to use violence, in either words or deeds.

3. Violence does not teach people peace – If you are trying to stop violence it makes absolutely no rational sense to do violence in order to end violence. People don’t see someone commit violence and say “That person used violence, so it’s ok for them, but it’s not ok for me.”

4. Violence does not make pre-Vegans want to be Vegans – If anything, it makes pre-Vegans want to have nothing to do with Veganism. It makes them believe that Vegans are all violent, crazy, and out to hurt them all. Who would want to have anything to do with that? And using words of violence, anger and hatred can do as much damage as simply harming someone directly. Especially when online, since they stay around forever.

5. Violence makes others want vengeance – If you kill or otherwise harm a pre-Vegan, what reason do their friends and family – even if they are Vegan – have to not seek retribution against you? And so the cycle of violence is perpetuated. The old saying “An eye for an eye leaves everyone blind” was not coined for no reason. As soon as you harm someone else for reasons other than self-defense, someone else is going to want to harm you because you harmed that person, and someone will want to harm them for harming you, and it will just keep going back and forth until everyone has been harmed.

6. Who would you be using violence against? – Do you have pre-Vegan family and friends? Are the lives of insects worth less than the lives of mammals, or birds? If one of your pre-Vegan family or friends was about to kill an insect (or wipe out a whole bunch at one time) and nothing else you could do would dissuade them, would you kill them?

If not, then you just made a completely irrational arbitrary decision based on really… nothing. You care more about cows than you do about bees, for instance, when killing masses of bees is MUCH more likely to result in the death of this planet than killing the same number of cows. Your family is eating cows AND killing bees. Better get to killin’ ’em.

Let’s say you think we should kill only vivisectors, furriers and factory farm/slaughterhouse workers. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that we kill everyone involved in those 4 institutions. Will that end vivisection, the fur trade, or the consumption of animal substances? Why would it?

Since you’re attacking the supply side of the equation, and not the demand side, the demand for medical cures from animal testing, meat, dairy, eggs and fur is still there. So all you’ve done is kill a bunch of people who almost all thought they either were doing something good, or thought they had no other choice. You haven’t educated anyone about Veganism. Since the demand is still there, more vivisectors, furriers and producers of “animal foods” will just take over for the murdered ones. And the ones who died will be seen by the pre-Vegan public as as “martyrs to a cause greater than themselves.” In fact, the ones who take their place will be seen as “heroes nobly putting their own lives on the line to supply desperately needed medical cures, clothing and food to the masses.”

The only way to end the demand for these things is by educating the pre-Vegan public about Veganism. Nothing else will make the kind of lasting changes that every Vegan wants.

7. Violence has never been effective in ending violence – People have been using violence to try to solve problems that involve violence, and end violence altogether, for all of recorded history.  People who promote using violence claim that it’s necessary or something terrible will happen. But everyone has been using violence since the dawn of time, and something terrible always keeps happening.  We’re engaging in more violence now than in any other time in our history, per capita, and it’s only getting worse, not better. We’ve never tried not using violence as a species to “solve our problems.” It’s never been done. Any problem that’s come up, someone has always resorted to violence to “solve” it.

We keep trying the same thing over and over and over again, and we still have the problem of violence. If violence could solve the problem of violence, we’d be living in a 100% peaceful paradise by now.

“But there have been some social justice causes where violence was one tactic that was used and the campaign ended up abolishing the problem it was targeted at. Doesn’t that prove that violence helped?”

My answer to that is, if there was a car stalled at the bottom of a hill, and you had 10 people pushing it up the hill, but you had one person on the other end, pushing down, did the one person who was pushing down help them get that car up the hill? Sure they were engaging in an activity, but did it actually help at all? Just because someone did something within a social justice movement, doesn’t lead to the idea that they helped. The one does not automatically follow from the other.

People who think that violence will end violence always say “But you wouldn’t tell the people who wanted to fight Hitler to use peace instead.” Does that mean that we’ve never had a violent conflict since World War 2? We used violence against the Nazis and that didn’t end violence altogether. In fact, we’ve never been more violent than we are right now. The main problem is that people keep thinking that the threat is a specific person or people, when I maintain that the threat is violence itself. Ending “the threat” of a violent person or group of people by using violence doesn’t end the real threat, it perpetuates it.

“But animals are slaves, and the American Civil War ended the slavery of humans in the USA.”

Did it?

The war itself didn’t end slavery. That was the 13th amendment, a year after the war. Abolitionism is what ended slavery. If we relied on violence to solve our slavery problem, and not changing the hearts and minds of the average person, we would still have slaves to this day. Violence doesn’t change hearts and minds.

Violence only leads to more violence. Peace leads to peace. The day that something bad happens and nobody uses violence to “solve” that problem is the day that we truly begin to evolve as a species. If we are really serious about ending violence forever, then the same methods that will end a pre-Vegan world need to be used to end a violent one. We seem to think that being the one to end violence is always the responsibility of someone else: “I would be non-violent, but ‘they’ won’t be, so I can’t, or else they will destroy me.” Don’t say “We can’t stop using violence because THEY will never stop using violence.” “They” are saying the same thing about YOU. In the majority of wars, both sides think the other one will utterly destroy them if they don’t destroy the other side first.

It’s not the responsibility of “the other” to end violence by being non-violent. It’s the responsibility of each of us. Each one of us needs to make the decision to not ever use violence for any reason and also educate others why they should not ever use violence either. Until then, the cycle of violence will just continue.

Buddha - the thought manifests as the word 01

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 blog 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 Nonhuman Refugees Of Domestication

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

Disclaimer: My only goal with this list is to produce as comprehensive a resource for Vegan information as possible. I am 100% Abolitionist Vegan and 100% against exploitation of nonhuman or human animals, any type of violence against human or nonhuman persons or property, welfare regulation, any form of speciesism, ethnic bigotry, genderism, ableism, heterosexism, etc., any of the large governmental or non-governmental nonhuman animal organizations, “happy meat,” vegetarianism, veg*nism, Meat-Free Mondays, or other forms of reductionism and anything else that makes it seem like any form of violence or exploitation of animals is ok. If any of those positions are endorsed on any site in this list, or any language is used to imply that, it’s not that I included that link because I agree, but simply because I don’t control every bit of information on all of these sites.

This section is meant to shed some light on some of the problems that are inherent in humans keeping domesticated nonhumans as companions.

Sub-Section 1B14:
Our Nonhuman Family Members:

Sub-Section 1B14a:
Moral Theory (primarily):

” ‘Pets’: The Inherent Problems of Domestication”:
http://www.abolitionistapproach.com/pets-the-inherent-problems-of-domestication

“Commentary #2: ‘Pets’ ” On The Abolitionist Approach:

Commentary #2: “Pets”

http://www.abolitionistapproach.com/media/podcast/20090812-araa-commentary-2.mp3

“Commentary #4: Follow-Up to “Pets” Commentary: Non-Vegan Cats” On The Abolitionist Approach:

Commentary #4: Follow-Up to “Pets” Commentary: Non-Vegan Cats

http://www.abolitionistapproach.com/media/podcast/20090817-araa-commentary-4.mp3

“Should We Keep Pets?” On The Abolitionist Approach:
http://www.abolitionistapproach.com/media/links/p163/the-institution.pdf

“Animal Care and Control: The Sad Failure of New York City’s Municipal Shelter System” On The Abolitionist Approach:
http://www.abolitionistapproach.com/animal-care-and-control-the-sad-failure-of-new-york-citys-municipal-shelter-system

“VegPets”:
http://yourcybercourt.info/arveg/vegpets.html

“Evaluation of cats fed vegetarian diets and attitudes of their caregivers”:
http://avmajournals.avma.org/doi/abs/10.2460/javma.229.1.70

“Obligate Carnivore: Cats, Dogs, and What it Really Means to be Vegan”:
http://www.amazon.com/Obligate-Carnivore-Really-Means-Vegan/dp/0974218006

“Vegan Diets for Dogs and Cats” by Armaiti May, DVM:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIMBX3jdYM0

“Dr. Andrew Knight introduces himself and his work with cats and dogs”:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K9m_liQppxQ

“Vegan Cat Ethics”:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYA1kTJCl1Y

“Quack Veterinarians Who Feed Cats a Vegan Diet”:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tt9_hEbvlqM

“Metabolic Misconceptions”:

_

Sub-Section 1B14b:
How To Feed Our Nonhuman Family Members Vegan (primarily):

“What’s Really in Pet Food”:
http://www.bornfreeusa.org/facts.php?p=359&more=1

Something I posted about feeding companion animals Vegan:
https://legacyofpythagoras.wordpress.com/2014/04/12/the-truth-about-pet-food

“Is it ‘unnatural’ to feed dogs a vegan diet?”:
http://thevegantruth.blogspot.co.nz/2011/11/is-it-unnatural-to-feed-dogs-vegan-diet.html
http://thevegantruth.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/v-dog-100-vegan-dog-food-owned-and.html

“Vegetarian Diets Can Be Healthy for Dogs”:
http://www.veganhealth.org/articles/vegan_dogs

“Making Your Own Vegan Dog Food”:
http://www.vegan-heartland.com/2012/06/making-your-own-vegan-dog-food.html?m=1

“Dog Health Survey”:
http://www.pkdiet.com/pdf/diet/Dog_Health_Survey.pdf

“Vegan Dog Food Products – Europe, U.S., Australia, N.Z.”:
http://thevegantruth.blogspot.com/2013/09/vegan-dog-food-products-europe-us.html

“The Vegan Feline: Can my feline companion be a vegan?” by Laurie Jeffreys DVM:
http://www.farmedanimalfriends.org/1/post/2013/05/the-vegan-feline-can-my-feline-companion-be-a-vegan-by-laurie-jeffreys-dvm.html

Vegan Cat Food Companies and Distributors:
Harbingers of a New Age (US, most other countries):
http://www.vegepet.com/
(They provide homemade recipes to use with the VegeCat supplement; they also provide the Vegecat Phi supplement that is pH adjusted for cats that are prone to urinary stones)
http://www.vegepet.com/international_distribution.html

Ami Cat (Italy, also available in the US and other countries):
http://www.v-pets.com
http://www.amipetfood.com
http://www.amipetfood.com/en/our-partners (Some distributors)
http://www.greenleafvegandist.com/where-to-buy.html (Distributes Ami in Canada)

VeganPet (Australia & New Zealand):
http://www.veganpet.com.au
http://veganpet.com.au/articles/?page_id=12 (distributors)

Benevo (Europe, South Africa, Hong Kong, India, Kenya, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan):
http://www.benevo.com
http://www.benevo.com/distributors
http://www.tiendanimal.es/ (Spain, distributor of Benevo and possibly others)

VegePet (Taiwan, not the same as the American company):
http://www.vegepet.com.tw

FeliGourmet (Germany):
http://www.veganversand.at/vegetarischetiernahrung/katzennahrung/index.php
(Also sells Benevo and Ami Cat)

VeganCats.com:
http://www.vegancats.com
Distributor of Ami, VegeCat in USA. They do ship internationally, but your country’s customs may reject the shipment.

The Mail Order Catalog for Healthy Eating:
http://www.healthy-eating.com
(I believe this company sells TVP that is made from non-GMO soy. You can use this for the VegePet recipes that require TVP if you are making those.)

Kitty Litter that tests urinary pH (check it a few months after transitioning, then once every few months thereafter. If pH becomes too alkaline, you should use the VegePet.com recipes with the “Vegecat Phi” supplement that is adjusted for cats that are prone to urinary stones.):

Health Meter Cat Litter:
http://healthmeter.blogspot.com

Ultra Monthly Monitor (Ultra Pet):
http://ultrapetcatlitter.com/products/ultra-monthly-monitor

Perfect Litter:
http://www.perfectlitter.com

Pet Ecology PerfectLitter:
http://www.perfectlitteralert.com

“Veggie Cats: Why should you test urinary pH?”:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6waDDYO8J18

“Cats with Allergies on a Plant-based Diet”:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHFT1B0_H_Y

_

Facebook Pages On Vegan Cats And Dogs:
“Vegan Cats”:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/669599113104942

“Vegan Dogs Thriving”:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Vegan-Dogs-Thriving/544580732238947

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

Does God Want Us To Exploit Animals? A Religious Argument For Veganism

Although I am personally an atheist, I did not write this.

I got this post from Dawn Fenton on Facebook, but who originally wrote it up has been lost track of. If you know, please post here and I’ll give them credit. I’ve found that there are strong arguments by Christians and other people of faith for Veganism:

“First, it’s simply false to say that “animals were created in this world to act as a source of food.” Challenge your friend to re-read Genesis 1 and 2. In Genesis 1, God creates the cosmos, the sun and moon, all the plants, the animals and then creates man and woman in God’s “image and likeness” and gives them “dominion” over the other creatures, which incidentally, means something more like “responsible stewardship”, NOT “ruthless tyranny” (Ultimately the New Testament portrays Christ’s self-sacrificing love for the weak and marginalized as the true image of dominion).

Then, in Genesis 1:29, God says, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.” Moreover, this vegetarian world is the arrangement that God calls “very good”. (Contrast this to the depiction of the world after the fall of man, in Genesis 6 where violence fills the earth and God is “sorry he made man”).

So, if the Bible does not say that animals were created to be used as food for humans, then what is the purpose of animals? Have your friend read Genesis 2: “Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner.” So out of the ground the Lord God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name” – Genesis 2:18-19

Here, the Bible seems to suggest that animals were created for companionship and communion with humans. So, the Bible is unequivocal about the original purpose of animals: animals are not created by God as food for humans, but to be companions, and friends of humans. Furthermore, while the Bible does give a reluctant concession to the human lust for flesh (Genesis 9:4), this is only after we are told sin and death enter the world, after the whole of creation itself becomes “fallen”.

Paul says, in Romans 8, that all of creation is “groaning in pain” awaiting it’s ultimate redemption. Ultimately, the Bible is clear, meat-eating has no place in the fully redeemed creation of God: prophetic visions of the eschatological kingdom of God, like those of Isaiah 11:6-9, 65:25; Hosea 2:18; and Revelation 5:13-14 are clear that animals have a place in the redeemed creation, and that there will be a return to the peace between species as depicted in Genesis 1:29.

Now, all of this may be religious symbolism, of course, but it illustrates the point that the Bible sees vegetarianism as the ideal, and sees meat-eating as part of a way of life that stands judged by God and is passing away. So, far from being a “sin”, as far as the Bible is concerned, vegetarianism is the ideal, while meat-eating is a reluctant concession (to need, or to sin) at best.

Finally there are a number of biblical passages relevant to the question of how Christians are to regard non-human animals: God has compassion on animals and is good to them (Psalm 145:49), preserves them (Psalm 36:6), provides for them (Psalm 104:10-14; Matthew 6:26), satisfies their desires (Psalm 145:16), Is concerned for their well-being (Jonah 4:11; Matthew 10:29). God warns that “your destruction of animals will terrify you” (Habakkuk 2:17), creates a covenantal promise to ensure the continuation of animal life (Genesis 9:8-17, and promises a future covenant in which animals are guaranteed safety (Hosea 2:18).

The torah (first five books of the Bible) encourages us to spare animals psychological and emotional grief (Exodus 23:19; 34:26; Deuteronomy 14:21), bids us to alleviate animal suffering (Deuteronomy 22:4; Exodus 23:5; Matthew 12:11; Luke 14:5), advises us against causing animals unnecessary hardships (Deuteronomy 22:10), cautions us against inflicting unnecessary pain on animals (Numbers 22:32; Genesis 49:6-7), to feed and care for (even wild) animals (Exodus 23:11; Genesis 24:32, 33:13), encourages us (contrary to factory farming and battery cages) to respect the natural desires of animals (Deuteronomy 25:4). Proverbs states that the righteous care for the needs of their animals (Prov 12:10).

The Bible recognizes that animals suffer pain, fear, and anxiety (Romans 8:22; Joel 1:18; Genesis 9:2; Psalm 104:29; Joel 2:22), teaches that animals posses a soul (nephesh in Hebrew, psyche in Greek), that animals, like humans, give praise to God (Psalm 148:7-10, 150:6), and will be present in the eternal state (Isaiah 65:25; Revelation 5:13-14). And finally, the Bible is clear that the redemptive purposes of God include both human and nonhuman animals (Ephesians 1:10; Colossians 1:20; Psalm 36:6).

So while, theologian Andrew Linzey may be right when he states that many “Christians haven’t got much further than thinking that the whole world was made for us, with the result that animals are only seen in an instrumental way as objects, machines, tools, and commodities, rather than fellow creatures,” there are more than enough resources within the Christian theological tradition (including the Bible) to support his further claim that: “Animals are God’s creatures, not human property, nor utilities, nor resources, nor commodities, but precious beings in God’s sight. … Christians whose eyes are fixed on the awfulness of crucifixion are in a special position to understand the awfulness of innocent suffering. The Cross of Christ is God’s absolute identification with the weak, the powerless, and the vulnerable, but most of all with unprotected, undefended, innocent suffering.”

In my opinion, there is one argument that perfectly sums up the question of why we should not harm nonhuman animals, regardless of what it may say in the bible. “If God wanted us to harm nonhuman animals, why did he create them to feel pain or fear? Why not just make them happy to be slaughtered?”

Here are some more religious arguments:

Sub-Section 1B8:
Religious Arguments For Veganism:

“Why Animals Matter: A Religious and Philosophical Perspective”
http://www.think-differently-about-sheep.com/Why_Animals_Matter_A%20Religious_Philosophical_Perspective_Philosophy_Quotations.htm

“Would Jesus Eat Meat Today?”:
http://www.all-creatures.org/cva/WJEMT-Jan10.pdf

“The Christian Basis for Veganism”:
http://freefromharm.org/veganism/christian-basis-veganism

Francis Of Paola on Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_of_Paola

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.

Please Help Me With The Master List

I need help expanding the Master List Of Vegan Info.

As some of you may already know, I’ve been working on this project for a couple of years now:

https://legacyofpythagoras.wordpress.com/2014/04/10/master-list-of-vegan-info

My goal is to have as comprehensive a resource for Vegan info as possible, in an attempt to answer every question a human might possibly have in regards to our interaction with nonhuman animals.

Recently however, due to time constraints imposed on me by both various offline and online activity, I’ve gotten hopelessly behind on both collecting and organizing links for inclusion in that list.

I’m looking for some person or persons to help me with the organizational aspect primarily. I still have some time to collect links, but I don’t have much time to investigate whether those links belong on the list/why/what section, or to check whether they are already on there. In addition, I could use minimal help with collecting the links, as your time permits (basically just in case you see any that catch your eye).

I would appreciate for anyone interested in helping me to friend me on FB (if you and I are not already friends) and PM me stating you’d like to help.

I am looking for people who fit the following criteria:

A) You are 100% Abolitionist Vegan who is anti-SIC and anti-violence.

B) You have some significant amount of free time each week (state how much in your communication).

C) You are capable of discerning both relevance and accuracy in the content of pro-Vegan information.

The work you’ll be performing (one or more of these, depending on your time and ambition):

1. I have a list of links that I need organized into 2 groups: viable and questionable.

Viable links are ones that are pro-Abolitionist Vegan in tone (Or at least contain accurate scientific or other information that supports Veganism) and contain no blatantly irrational or factually false information or welfarist/speciesist/pro-violence content and will be immediately added to the list by me without further verification (I am trusting you).

Questionable links include ones that have partial Veganic info and may have welfarist/speciesist/pro-violence info or links included in the content, but are pro-Abolitionist Vegan in tone, and will be further verified by me for inclusion or dismissal in the master list. A short description noting which section of the master list they should go in for each link (including the sub-section designation) is entirely optional but appreciated.

If you come across links that are not necessarily pro-Vegan in tone, but include any info that supports the idea that Abolitionist Veganism is a more viable way of life than non-Veganism, feel free to make a 3rd category or simply note this with each relevant link.

2. You’ll be looking around on any website or forum you come across in your online surfing and collecting any links that are pro-Vegan in tone.

The hierarchy of importance, from most to least: ethical, medical, environmental, then Veganism-related. Recipe/fitness sites are acceptable but of much lower priority. Also, it would be helpful to concentrate on areas of the existing list that are sparse and need expanding.

3. You’ll be verifying that said links are pro-Vegan and that any claims as far as logic and science on said links are factually accurate (to the best of your ability). The same goes for the new links re: the description in #1 re: welfare/speciesism/violence.

4. You’ll send links to me through PM or email periodically so that I can include them in the master list. Your list should follow the format of my Master List with the same structure of headers for each sub-section. Each link should be in the format on my Master List i.e. the title above and the link below. Titles that are the actual title should have quotes before and after and ones such as “so and so’s blog” etc. should have no quotes.

5. If, after you perform any one or more of the above actions, you wish to optionally go through the existing content on the master list and make any notes as to whether a link should be moved to another section, and why, or should be deleted from the list altogether, I would welcome that. In fact, any ideas on re-organization are welcome.

6. The same as number 5, except you’ll be adding titles to the existing links on The Master List that have no titles with them. Titles that are the actual title of the page on the site should have quotes before and after and ones such as “so and so’s blog” etc. should have no quotes.

Note: I may accept or reject your conclusions regarding any specific link at any time, for any reason, stated or otherwise (although as time permits I will endeavor to explain to the best of my ability). Please do not take this personally. Your work will be much appreciated and inclusion of links on the list does not reflect on your character in any way. Only on my strictness for certain criteria, whether I have previously adhered to those criteria, or they are new. In fact, I commonly anticipate that less than half the links that any one person finds (myself included) will ultimately be added to the list. Anything more will be a pleasant surprise to me. Please remember, we’re not doing this for our own sake, but in an attempt to completely halt a system of horrendous atrocities.

Also, I’m not sure I can offer any compensation for this work, except for the knowledge that I will be using the powerful fruits of your labor in advocating that the exploitation of nonhumans comes to a swift and joyful end for all involved (and possibly credit in terms of a resume if possible). And you can feel free to use the list in your own advocacy as well.

If you’re not already Vegan, and you think animals matter morally, then please go Vegan. It’s easy and great for you, incredible for the animals, and wonderful for the planet. If you’re already Vegan, please educate non-Vegans about why they should go Vegan. Please rescue, volunteer, adopt, foster, spay, and neuter the nonhuman refugees of domestication whenever you can. Please feed your nonhuman family Vegan where you can. These things are the most important, morally responsible things to do and are desperately needed by everyone.

To learn more about Abolitionist Veganism and the issues I’ve outlined in this post, check out The Master List Of Vegan Info:
https://legacyofpythagoras.wordpress.com/2014/04/10/master-list-of-vegan-info

Disclaimer: My only goal with this list is to produce as comprehensive a resource for Vegan information as possible. I am 100% Abolitionist Vegan and 100% against exploitation of nonhuman or human animals, any type of violence against human or nonhuman persons or property, welfare regulation, any form of speciesism, ethnic bigotry, genderism, ableism, heterosexism, etc., any of the large governmental or non-governmental nonhuman animal organizations, “happy meat,” vegetarianism, veg*nism, Meat-Free Mondays, or other forms of reductionism and anything else that makes it seem like any form of violence or exploitation of animals is ok. If any of those positions are endorsed on any site in this list, or any language is used to imply that, it’s not that I included that link because I agree, but simply because I don’t control every bit of information on all of these sites.

What Do We Do If Someone Is Teaching Our Children To Kill?

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Individual nonhuman animals are sentient; they have interests in their own continued survival and freedoms, just like each individual human animal does. Humans are not superior to nonhumans in any objective, factual sense. They can only be made to seem so if glimpsed through the lens of arbitrary irrational criteria and subjective personal opinion (and self-serving opinion at that).

This means that we can’t morally justify intentionally harming animals without also leaving the door open for moral justifications for harming humans. We then can’t claim that we ourselves should be protected from the threat of being harmed; any criteria we use to justify denying animals the right to not be harmed can also be used to exclude our own claim to that right.

Nor should we want to deny them the same rights we have. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is The Golden Rule for a reason. Most people know intuitively that we should not harm others for no good reason. The only questions we need to start asking ourselves are “why shouldn’t animals qualify as ‘others’?” and “what constitutes ‘a good reason to harm’?”

Regardless of any other definitions, “others” must include “all sentient beings”, and “a good reason to harm” MUST NOT include “merely for our own pleasure or other trivial selfish interests and desires.” To make but 2 examples, we have no dietary need for any animal substances at all; neither do we have a real need to mount the head of a slain animal on our wall. If we have no real need to harm sentient animals, then doing so merely for a trivial interest is immoral. Their right to not be harmed naturally supersedes our interest in harming them.

The objective truth is that all nonhuman animals have the right to not be intentionally exploited in any way by humans merely for our own pleasure or other trivial interests. This includes being used for “food”, clothing, entertainment, or medical research subjects. Either they do have the right to not be used for these things, just like we do, or neither nonhumans nor humans have that right. We can’t have it both ways.

In relation to children, explaining that they would not want themselves, their family members (including nonhuman animals they may love) or friends to be harmed is often the best way to explain why all animals should not be harmed. Children are born innocent by default; it usually takes quite a bit of persuasion and indoctrination to get them to engage in behaviors like hunting or slaughtering animals in any way, and it’s only made easier when they admire and want to either emulate or gratify an older role model, or both.

However, most children believe that the people they admire or love are commonly above any error or wrongdoing, unless and until they are disabused of this notion. In the situation where an older hunter is indoctrinating a young child in the idea that killing animals is somehow necessary, it’s paramount that it be explained to the child by another person that’s trusted by the child that the older hunter is not necessarily a bad person, but that they merely have the wrong ideas about whether it’s good to hurt innocent animals, and why their ideas are wrong.

The reasoning should be made clearly and strongly, so that the child knows that all killing of nonhuman animals except in self-defense is unnecessary, and therefore immoral. This reasoning should be extended to human animals as well.

If our species as a whole continues to believe that humans are superior to animals and that it’s therefore morally justifiable to harm and otherwise exploit them merely for reasons such as species membership or rational abilities, then we will continue to believe that it’s morally justifiable to harm and otherwise exploit each other for whatever arbitrary reason we deem acceptable. Which is why we already have so much racism, genderism, homophobia, ableism, tyranny, mass murder, and all the other human rights atrocities we commonly abhor.

When we teach our children, and ourselves, to stop exploiting nonhuman animals, we as a species begin to see how the exploitation of other humans in these ways can be ended. When we truly believe that these atrocities we are committing need to end, and we decide to match our actions to our beliefs in this regard, the only logical choice is to completely stop using animals for food, clothing, research or entertainment.

This is not a question of merely being “kind” or “loving animals”, it’s a question of moral justice, which is the most important thing for every human to observe. In my opinion, it’s the very heart of what it means to call ourselves human.

I hope that we can agree that this issue is something that anyone who wants to be a part of a just society should take to heart.

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.

Let’s Walk Our Talk, People!

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Do you think it’s wrong to inflict unnecessary suffering and death on animals?

100% of the suffering and death we intentionally inflict on nonhuman animals is unnecessary. 99.99% of that is in the matter of “food” alone. However, the ways in which we exploit nonhumans are numerous and go far beyond the mere production of “food.”

Nonhuman animals can feel pain, pleasure, fear, happiness, and many other sensations and emotions that humans do, which means that each individual animal has an interest in their own continued survival and freedoms, just like we do. If we claim that nonhumans matter morally, as most of us seem to do, how can we morally justify unnecessarily harming even one individual animal? And yet, each year, we intentionally kill around 60 billion nonhuman land animals and upwards of 1 TRILLION aquatic animals (that’s 1,000,000,000,000) for no other reason than our pleasure, amusement or convenience.

Humans are not superior to nonhumans in any objective or factual sense. They can only be made to seem so if glimpsed through the lens of arbitrary, morally irrelevant criteria and subjective personal opinion (and self-serving opinion at that).

This means that we can’t morally justify intentionally harming nonhumans without also leaving the door open for moral justifications for harming humans. We then can’t claim that we ourselves should be protected from the threat of being harmed; any criteria we use to justify violating an animal’s right to not be harmed can also be used to exclude our own claim to that right.

Nor should we want to deny them the same rights we have. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you is The Golden Rule for a reason. Most people know intuitively that we should not harm others for no good reason. The only questions we need to start asking ourselves are why shouldn’t nonhumans qualify as ‘others’?” and “what constitutes ‘a good reason to harm others’?

Regardless of any other definitions, others” must include “all sentient beings”, and “a good reason to harm” MUST NOT include “merely for our own pleasure or other trivial selfish interests and desires. To make but 2 examples, we have no dietary need for any animal substances at all; neither do we have a real need to mount the head of a slain animal on our wall. If we have no real need to harm sentient animals, then doing so merely for a trivial interest is immoral. Their right to not be harmed naturally supersedes our interest in harming them.

Not only is there no dietary requirement for flesh, dairy or eggs, but the consumption of those substances is the majority cause of chronic disease in humans. The production of those substances for “food” is the majority cause of all environmental destruction caused by humans as well.

All the worst infectious diseases have also been linked to the domestication of various nonhumans in the past. And we are creating worse and worse new infectious diseases in factory farms right now. Moreover, the consumption of animal substances as “food” both facilitates the contraction of infectious diseases and prolongs and exacerbates the symptoms of those diseases.

The intentional exploitation of nonhumans by humans is also directly and/or indirectly the cause of all the human rights problems we now face.

The objective truth is that all nonhuman animals already qualify as having the right to not be intentionally exploited in any way by humans merely for our own pleasure or other trivial interests. This includes being used for “food”, clothing, entertainment, or medical research subjects. Either they do have the right to not be used for these reasons, just like we do, or neither nonhumans nor humans have that right. We can’t have it both ways.

If our species as a whole continues to believe that human animals are superior to nonhuman animals and that it’s therefore morally justifiable to harm and otherwise exploit them merely for reasons such as species membership or rational abilities, then we will continue to believe that it’s morally justifiable to harm and otherwise exploit other humans for whatever arbitrary reason we deem acceptable. Until we evolve past our irrational belief in intentionally exploiting nonhumans merely for our trivial interests, we will continue to endure racism, genderism, homophobia, ableism, tyranny, mass murder, and all the other human rights atrocities we commonly abhor.

When we stop exploiting nonhumans, we as a species also begin to see how the exploitation of other humans in these ways can be ended. When we truly believe that these atrocities we are committing need to end, and we decide to match our actions to our beliefs in this regard, the only logical choice is to completely stop using animals for food, clothing, research or entertainment.

This is not a question of merely being “kind” or “loving animals”, its a question of moral justice, which is the most important thing for every human to observe. In my opinion, its the very heart of what it means to call ourselves human.

If we claim that animals matter morally, even the tiniest amount, then the only logical course of action is to stop exploiting them in any way. Not stopping means that we do not have the courage in our own convictions, and that we believe in irrational, subjective opinion and not objective fact. To stop intentionally exploiting animals completely means Abolitionist Veganism.

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.