V@((ination Is Anti-Vegan – The Moral Reason I Don’t V@((inate (and neither should you)

Hens -as well as other nonhuman individuals- are used for v@((ine fabrication

Recently I’ve been seeing a lot of people who self-identify as “vegan” making pro-v@((ination posts on social media.

This is just another symptom of the main problem with “the animal movement”: most people have no idea what Veganism actually is about. As Professor Gary Francione has stated on more than one occasion, the Vegan movement is a continuation of the peace movement of the 1960s; my observation is that it’s really an enhancement of that movement through an integration of the argument for nonhuman rights with the argument for human rights and other factors, which should have been the case all along. But too many people who claim they “love animals” have bought into the false narrative that’s been perpetuated in our societal paradigm by the speciesist public for over 200 years: that having moral concern for nonhumans means merely trying to modify the “cruelty” inherent in our immoral treatment of them, rather than completely eliminating our immoral use of them to begin with through living Vegan and educating others about why they also need to live Vegan.

One of the mechanisms -though far from the only one- used by the speciesist society we live in to propagate this narrative is the idea that Veganism can be thought of -and therefore morally dismissed- as merely a diet or a human health issue. Even a cursory examination of the writings of the founders of the Vegan movement yields the discovery that this is far from the truth. However, this strategy does cause many people to ignore the fact that they have a moral obligation to animals, which is the entire reason it makes for such an effective method for reinforcing speciesism in society. Unfortunately, it is true that if you repeat a big lie enough times, many people will start to believe it. Quite ironically, this only serves to accelerate the destruction of the very species who believe they stand to benefit from animal use in the first place.

Our animal exploitation is killing them and us.

Trying To -Once Again- Solve Our Problems By Using Violence

One thing that most people don’t realize is that the problem of most major infectious diseases -not just chronic diseases- is a problem that was created by the exploitation of nonhuman animals by human animals, to begin with. Our species is currently engaged in the completely unnecessary mass rights-violations of breeding, confining, and/or slaughtering over 74,000,000,000 sentient nonhuman individuals who live on the land and over 1,000,000,000,000 sentient nonhuman individuals who live in the water -and we’re exploiting them in higher and higher numbers every year- which is causing the problem of disease that is associated with and stems from this to get worse each year. Our mass confinement of nonhumans for “food” not only created all of the worst infectious diseases that originated in the past, but our consumption of those innocent beings’ flesh and secretions also increases our susceptibility to contracting such disease -through the suppression of our immune system and the general degradation of our metabolism, among other mechanisms- as well as exacerbating and prolonging the symptoms of infectious disease that we experience, by similar mechanisms. And our continuing use of nonhumans in this way is creating more and more horrible new diseases and newer, deadlier strains of the older diseases every day.

Not only is using nonhumans in this way the root cause and reinforcement of almost all human disease, but -more importantly- it’s the root cause of our moral destruction, due to the massive, nightmarish rights violations that have created a literal living hell for the nonhumans we enslave. At the same time, it’s also the primary cause of the apocalyptically devastating ecological damage that is precipitating the 6th great extinction, of which not only our species but almost every other species on the planet is likely to become a final, absolute victim of -as most credible scientists now think- within 30 years. And -last but not least- it’s also the root cause of every bit of misery, despair and death we experience through all of the systemic human rights violations that morally conscious people abhor.

Each year, a number of humans suffer and/or die due to infections that are caused by micro-organisms, many of which can be transmitted from one animal -human or otherwise- to another. Our current attempts to solve this problem involve exploiting many additional nonhuman individuals. We are currently using many million of nonhumans each year in both the fabrication and testing of v@((ines in the attempt to prevent that human suffering and death. Many people have intentionally -and quite erroneously- been convinced that a small number of pathogens have become a ravening epidemic that is killing hordes and hordes of humans in developed nations each year, and that the only solution is to use nonhuman animals by the scores to save ourselves. This myth was by design.

There are some major problems there. One is that many people are ignoring many of the particulars of the pathogens that we’re trying to eradicate. Many of these infections actually don’t cause anywhere near the amount of suffering or death we’re being led to believe that they do when the affected populations have access to good nutrition, clean water, and other hygiene improvements, and as they actually do cause in otherwise unhealthy populations. And once the person who suffers from any one of several of the communicable illnesses we try to v@((inate against has successfully worked through their first bout with the disease, the pathogen confers lifelong immunity against that disease (v@((ines don’t). Not only that, but some of those diseases actually confer protection on us from other, worse diseases.

Also, animal exploitation is a problem of violence. Trying to solve the problem of violence with violence doesn’t work. It only compounds the problem, by adding not only your violence to the equation but also by encouraging others to use violence, thus multiplying the violence exponentially. Similarly, trying to solve a problem that’s caused by animal exploitation through even more animal exploitation won’t work. The only way to solve a problem that comes from animal exploitation is through the categorical rejection of animal exploitation, just as the only way to solve a problem of violence is through the categorical rejection of violence.

Non-Vegans Who Are Pro-V@((ination – The Genesis Of The Problem At Hand

The general ideology that non-Vegans use to justify using nonhumans for v@((ine fabrication works like this:

  1. People in our speciesist society generally accept the erroneous idea that nonhumans are not as morally valuable as humans (or not valuable at all) so we torture them and otherwise exploit them to obtain v@((ines (if you want to understand the arguments that prove that humans are not morally superior to nonhumans, you can read this and then come back to finish this post).
  2. Since nonhumans are not biologically identical to humans, using nonhumans to obtain v@((ines -and then also using even more nonhumans to test those v@((ines- means that the v@((ines are not only less effective than if we tortured humans to death to obtain them (I’m not interested in talking to those who claim that we would ever be morally justified in allowing consenting humans to be tortured to death, that argument is a non-starter. When -in a just and fair society- would that ever be allowed?), but will also cause more suffering for innocent humans who are prescribed the v@((ines after the testing phase is over. This means that logically speaking -from a purely practical scientific standpoint- it would make more sense to torture humans to fabricate and test v@((ines than to use nonhumans; more human suffering would be avoided and more human lives saved. Interestingly, most people have been conditioned by our speciesist societal paradigm to ignore this reality to the point where they almost always don’t even think about it.
  3. The average non-Vegan’s moral objections against using humans in this way are that “Humans are morally valuable, therefore they have the right to not be used that way. That is why we should use nonhumans instead.” But what most people attempt to ignore is that human animals are not morally more valuable than nonhuman animals. So if it’s immoral to use humans -such as infants and the severely intellectually underdeveloped- for these purposes, and so ostensibly it must never be done, then that is exactly why we must never use nonhumans for those purposes either.

The basis for this speciesist argument -the idea that it should be morally justifiable to “save” a set number of beings by harming a different set of beings- is a product of the moral framework called “Utilitarianism.” Utilitarianism itself is a product of a philosophy called Consequentialism, which is a moral system whereby the ends unequivocally justify the means. In other words, you should be able to commit harms to X amount of beings if “more than X” will benefit to the same proportion per being. So in Utilitarian terms, if I can save a billion humans from a certain amount of suffering and death each by inflicting proportionally the same suffering and death each on a million humans, it’s morally justifiable for me to inflict that suffering. Utilitarianism is diametrically opposed to Deontology, which is a moral system based on the idea that an act can be right or wrong regardless of the consequences, which leads to the notion that sentient beings have what we call “rights.”

However, most people in our society are severely confused about this, because we usually fail to stick to either one of these opposing moral systems and instead switch from one to the other -always without even realizing it- when a physical characteristic is changed in the argument. When humans, in general, talk about whether it’s morally acceptable to harm nonhumans, we use a Utilitarian framework to determine our arguments. But when we talk about whether it’s morally acceptable to harm humans in the exact same situations, suddenly the argument changes and the way the same people more often determine if it’s acceptable or not acceptable is by the argument “humans have rights.” The thing is, “rights” for anyone, human or nonhuman, don’t exist in a Utilitarian moral framework.

  • Note: Utilitarianism is nonsense, to begin with since there is a very easy way to determine that a die-hard Utilitarian either does not understand or does not believe in what they’re advocating for (or has severe psychological problems). This involves pointing out that they can’t coherently answer who should be the one to decide which of the Utilitarian interlocutor’s loved ones should be included in the group to be tortured to obtain the v@((ines or other medical treatments (or whatever negative outcome there would be for them in regards to whatever issue you’re addressing).

So we can see how the moral double standard works here in relation to which species the subjects of our argument belong to. Since we think nonhuman animals are morally inferior to humans, instead of bothering to torture humans, we would just torture nonhumans instead… our double-standard in this issue shows that when we use Utilitarian methods to determine our actions, we are severely morally confused. The truth is, since humans aren’t morally superior to nonhumans, either it’s true that both human and nonhuman animals have the right to not be tortured to save some other animals, or it’s true that neither of us has that right. If neither, then that proves that we should be using unconsenting humans instead. If both, then that proves that we should be using neither human animals nor nonhuman animals as unconsenting subjects.

General “Pro-Vaxxer” Arguments Against “Anti-Vaxxers”

When people try in general to refute the idea that we shouldn’t be using v@((ines, the argument used almost always relies on some number of 3 main points:

  • “V@((ination doesn’t cause autism, so the people making the claim that it does are either ignorant, stupid, or insane, which in turn means that there is nothing wrong with v@((ination and so we should use v@((ines.”
  • “V@((ination is at some level of effectiveness in eliminating diseases, and there is ample evidence because we now have eliminated many diseases through v@((ination where other methods failed, so we need to keep using v@((ines.”
  • “Without v@((ination, many more innocents will suffer/die each year than would suffer or die if we v@((inate everyone.”

None of these 3 arguments is sound in the first place: there is ample evidence against each of them being a valid basis to justify using v@((ines. Of course, when you try to explain an argument against v@((ines to a non-Vegan pro-v@((ine person -most of whom will refuse to view actual peer-reviewed evidence when it’s presented to them- the most prevalent response you’ll get is “blogs and youtubes and googles aren’t valid evidence.”

However, there is an airtight case against v@((ination -if you want to follow a consistent moral code of minimum harm, which is the entire point of Veganism- that does not rely on any of the above points.

V@((ines Cause Massive Unnecessary Harm – *Regardless* Of Their Harm To Humans

List of v@((ine ingredients, including nonhuman
bodily substances used as growth media

Using v@((ines is morally wrong, aside from any sort of argument as to whether they cause humans injury, based on 2 main points:

  • 1) Currently, the fabrication of all v@((ines (I’m not talking about how v@((ines are tested, but the fabrication of their ingredients) relies on the infliction of suffering and death on nonhuman animals:
    • 1a) It’s morally wrong to do this because human animals are not morally superior to nonhuman animals, which means that if it’s wrong to use humans, then it’s wrong to use nonhumans.
    • 1b) If we used unconsenting humans instead of unconsenting nonhumans we would save more humans from suffering or death; thus -in order to not be morally contradictory- if we’re not going to stop using others for v@((ine production, we should be using unconsenting humans instead of using nonhumans. It should be illegal right this minute to use nonhumans, not in some vague, undefined “someday” time period (which will never come when we refuse to understand that the time needs to be now).
    • 1c) The fact that we’re not doing that -based on our confused moral stance against using humans but in favor of using nonhumans- shows that our use of nonhumans for this purpose is a moral atrocity and needs to simply end without any alternative since -due to the fact that it’s morally wrong to use individual members of any animal species to obtain them- there doesn’t seem to be any. Just as if the only way to obtain cures for diseases was to use unconsenting humans, the only morally justifiable option would be to refuse to use said humans without any other option. A violation of a sentient being’s rights doesn’t suddenly become Morally Just simply because an individual with a different species membership was used as the victim in place of using an individual of the human species as the victim. And inflicting unnecessary suffering and death on others who did not initiate a conflict with us doesn’t become morally justifiable simply because our life or health happens to become threatened by an illness, which was not the fault of the nonhuman we’re torturing for the “cure.”
  • 2) V@((ination is not necessary since changing our behavior in regards to nonhumans to a 100% consistent moral code -not to mention learning even just a tiny bit about v@((ine science– would eliminate the need for anything that resembles v@((ines in the first place.

If people really meant what they said when they said it’s wrong to inflict unnecessary suffering and death on animals they would do everything in their power to make sure there wasn’t a valid argument that using v@((ines fabricated from nonhumans was unnecessary. But the general response of the pro-v@((ine people who call themselves vegan is “all pro-v@((ine people say v@((ines are good, which means that anti-v@((ine people are either ignorant, stupid, or insane, therefore they have no evidence, therefore I am not going to look at their evidence.” This is not a rational mindset. If you think this way, you should not be calling yourself a reasonable person, let alone a Vegan.

Once we accept this, it prompts the question: “so if we used no nonhumans or humans to obtain them then mandatory v@((inations would be ok?”

Answer: No, because mandating v@((ines is forcing moral agents (or patients) to do something that isn’t necessary, and that’s still a human rights violation.

Many People Who Claim They’re Vegan Are Wrong (about v@((ination *and* Veganism)

Generally speaking, the argument in favor of v@((ines used by people who call themselves vegan is always similar to this:

  • “Veganism is only a stance against ‘unnecessary’ harm. I have moral concern for nonhumans, but v@((ination is necessary for my health, so it’s vegan to v@((inate.”
  • “People who are against v@((ination are either intellectually impaired or have severe psychological problems (a more technical version of “stupid or crazy”), so the arguments they use against v@((ination are nonsense. Thus I have no need to actually examine any evidence they may claim to have that v@((ines are unsafe or ineffective.”

But living Vegan doesn’t mean only doing the right thing when it’s the easiest thing to do. At the very least it means doing the right thing even though it may mean we have to spend a few hours, days or even weeks researching something until there are no questions left to be answered as to whether it’s necessary or not. Anyone can do the right thing when it’s the easiest thing to do. The real test of whether someone is Vegan or not is if they actually put enough effort into learning whether it’s necessary to harm animals when putting forth that effort is difficult to some extent.

And “researching” something doesn’t mean we only look at the evidence that was supplied by people who agree with everything we already believed; that’s called “confirmation bias.” It means looking carefully at all the evidence we haven’t already looked at that’s supplied by the people who have the opposing viewpoint to ours. This is what I did when I heard that some people believe the planet we’re on is a flat disk, it’s what I did when I first got interested in learning why some people argue that a deity exists, and so on. If we truly did have moral concern at all for nonhumans we would never entertain the idea of dismissing anti-v@((ination dissenters without first obtaining as much research as we could from them.

Pro-v@((ination people may then ask: “but even if using nonhumans to obtain v@((ines isn’t morally justifiable, at the very least it’s morally excusable, right?”

The term “morally justifiable” means that there is nothing wrong with an action, regardless of the circumstances surrounding it. In other words, engaging in that action hurts no one. “Morally excusable”  means that an action is morally wrong, but because the actor was under duress (for example, in fear for their life if they didn’t engage in the action) they should still be forgiven for that action.

Under some imaginable circumstances, using nonhumans for certain reasons could be unjustifiable morally, but still morally excusable. In other words, still absolutely wrong, but forgivable due to the exigent circumstances. However, an action like using v@((ines is not even morally excusable. The only way it could possibly be morally excusable is if we can prove that there are exigent circumstances; in other words, if we could absolutely prove that there is a necessity to do so. And not only has that not been proven, but when we ridicule the people showing us the evidence that it had not been proven we’re proving that we’re not actually interested in learning why, which is an anti-Vegan action.

The fact that even people who call themselves vegan refuse to stop using nonhumans in this way while not even bothering to study this issue at all shows that those people are not Vegan. Veganism means a moral stance against using nonhumans based on their right to not be used, which they share with us. If those people were Vegan they would first research whether v@((ines are necessary or not, and then take a moral stand against v@((inations based on that right, rather than just shrugging their shoulders and going ahead with the animal use because they’re too lazy to exhaust every avenue of study open to them on the issue. The animal use is still a moral wrong, which means that the only way it’s excusable would be if we still did our absolute best to prove that it’s still necessary. And that has never been done with v@((ines, by anyone.

Update: Many so-called “vegans” are now pointing out that they think that CoViD-19 v@((ines will be “vegan” because those v@((ines are not going to be tested on nonhumans. But that is a misconception:
“Evaluation of the mRNA-1273 Vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 in Nonhuman Primates”:
https://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJMoa2024671

The arguments in favor of v@((ines are no stronger than the arguments in favor of consuming animal flesh and secretions as “food.” Those who call themselves vegan but support v@((ine dogma need to recognize that what they are doing is no different than what anti-Vegans do to them every day.

The So-Called “Necessity” Of V@((ination

In the arena of debate, there is a logical fallacy called “The Nirvana Fallacy.” This is when someone takes a perfect -but unobtainable- solution to a problem, and compares it to an imperfect -but still good- solution, and discounts the good solution because it’s not the unobtainable perfect solution. This is also called “making the perfect the enemy of the good.” People who consider themselves vegans are now falling to a sort of reverse of this fallacy, where they believe that as long as they avoid the forms of animal use that are the easier ones to avoid, that they don’t have to worry about the ones that are harder to avoid. In other words, that as long as they don’t make being unable to avoid some animal uses -like the fact that there are substances extracted from animal blood in plastic, metal and concrete- a reason to live non-Vegan, that they are just fine not even trying to avoid using animals in other ways (medicine, “organic” food or vaccines, for instance).

This has caused people who call themselves vegan to not only become lazy, refusing to acknowledge that there is something they still need to learn about in regards to forms of animal use, but to actually become dishonest with themselves on the issue as well.

There is also the point that v@((ination -like bio-medical testing on unconsenting sentient beings of any species, including humans- would be largely unnecessary if around 98% of our species were not consuming animal flesh or secretions since the levels of infection we currently see for pretty much all infectious disease is maintained by both the production and the consumption of animal substances in our diet.

Almost all chronic disease (chronic meaning long-term disease not caused by a pathogen) is now understood by scientists to be caused by animal flesh and secretions in our diet. The chronic disease that may not be caused by animal substances in our diet is still severely exacerbated by them. This is not really even a question anymore, scientifically speaking. There are some doctors who deny this, of course, but mainly either they haven’t read the science or they are desperate to not admit to themselves that they are inflicting unnecessary suffering and death on animals and promoting the same deadly habit to their patients.

So we have the fact that chronic disease is created and supported by eating animal substances. Then add to that the fact that pretty much every major infectious disease was created by the mass confinement and consumption of nonhumans. Not a lot of people know that, but the whole story is there for people to learn if they actually bother to check.

And the third factor in this problem is that habitually consuming animal substances is a major cause of depressing your metabolism, immune system, etc. This causes us to be not only more susceptible to contracting infectious diseases, but also to increase the duration -and exacerbate the severity- of the symptoms of those diseases. The science shows that Vegans who consume a 100% whole-foods plants-only diet get less colds, flu, and every other infectious disease than non-Vegans.

When you put all 3 together, you get a perfect storm that results in animal-laden diets causing the majority of the cause and the duration of infectious disease in our society. This means that the Earth’s entire human population living Vegan would eventually result in a massive decrease in not only the rates of chronic disease in our species, but infectious disease as well. This would almost completely eliminate the need for anything even similar to v@((ination. But that can’t happen unless we all start living Vegan and stop using v@((ines as part of that new, Vegan paradigm.

Under our current paradigm, the public is generally opposed to Veganism, as most humans have been indoctrinated by our mainstream media to believe that Veganism is nothing more than some “extreme,” ill-founded “diet” that will kill us. And there’s a very good reason this idea is perpetuated by many small but extremely vocal facets of society. Think about it: If all opposition to Veganism stopped and we went Vegan en masse, the 1% -who are not only inveterately speciesist but also rely on selling the results of the massive exploitation of nonhumans to maintain their death-grip on their power over everyone- couldn’t keep us as slaves anymore either.

So, is it any wonder that we’ve been spoon-fed this myth that we need to torture animals to obtain injections that are meant to prevent us from suffering from many diseases that wouldn’t even exist to begin with if we weren’t torturing an uncountable number of animals to death every year and consuming them?

Some Conclusions We Can Make:

As I said at the beginning of this essay, our species is currently engaged in the completely unnecessary mass rights-violations of breeding, confining, and/or slaughtering over 74,000,000,000 sentient nonhuman individuals who live on the land and over 1,000,000,000,000 sentient nonhuman individuals who live in the water each year, and we’re exploiting them in successively higher numbers each year, which is causing the problem to get worse every year. Not only is the mass confinement and exploitation of nonhumans the original cause of every major infectious disease, but every year we’re causing worse strains of these diseases and horrible new diseases to emerge through this morally unjustifiable behavior.

Simultaneously, the US government -bolstered by those people in our society who refuse to learn the facts at the center of this issue- is gearing up to force everyone to submit to having poison regularly injected into their bodies against their will. Does it really make sense to allow them to poison us with something that ostensibly wouldn’t even be necessary -regardless if it was even effective at all– if we weren’t joyously participating in the cause of the very problem the poison was supposed to be able to solve?

The best way to eliminate disease in our species -both chronic and infectious- would be for the highest number of people possible to start living Vegan and to quit v@((ination wholesale. Since v@((ines are not only completely unnecessary but also can be understood to be counter-productive by anyone who is not totally bereft of understanding regarding how our bodies need to be maintained and cannot be used without unnecessary suffering and death being inflicted on both nonhumans and humans, this shows that v@((ine technology clearly needs to be abolished, and not just “made safer” or “reformed.”

The arguments presented in this essay are also pretty much identical to the arguments against vivisection, so they can be used equally well on both subjects. And that brings me to the main point: the people who call themselves vegan but are in favor of using v@((ines that use nonhuman animals are largely the same people who recoil in horror at the thought of what nonhumans are subjected to when they’re used for vivisection in regards to products and uses that are transparently frivolous, and can’t wait to condemn that use of nonhumans; but when the subject of v@((ines comes up, their response is that there’s no evidence to refute their belief that v@((ines are safe or effective and so anyone who would even question them is either stupid or insane.

It’s absolutely ridiculous that the same people who claim that the government, pharmaceutical industry -who have most doctors either under their thumb or completely bamboozled- and the mainstream media -all of whom they know are lying when they try to convince the public that animal use is necessary and normal for their own agenda- would never lie to us when they tell us that v@((ines are safe or effective or that they are the only way to save us all from infectious disease. Their decision -instead of calmly agreeing to look at the evidence for the argument presented- is to ridicule the ones trying to educate them about v@((ines, just like anti-Vegans ridicule Vegans trying to educate them about why any other form of animal use is wrong.

The so-called “vegans” who are pro-v@((ination are completely willing to trust the government and doctors who take enormous bonuses as long as they get almost all of their patients to allow them to inject them with poison -the very people who they themselves usually think are engaged in misinformation regarding the idea that animal exploitation is natural, normal or necessary- over fellow Vegans who are trying desperately to get them to stop inflicting unnecessary suffering and death on animals. This is irrefutably anti-Vegan behavior.

There is also a mountain of evidence regarding the actual harm done to human health by v@((inations as well as the fact that most of the disease that people claim was eliminated by v@((ination actually wasn’t, which I’ll cover on this site.

Research what Veganism and “the myth of human moral supremacy” actually mean. Research what v@((ine pushers are really trying to obtain. Stop immorally exploiting animals for medical benefits that we never even needed to begin with. End speciesism. Live Vegan.


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.

“Abolitionist Single-Issue Campaigns” Are In The Domain Of Welfarism Too

Protest Signs 01

There are quite a few people involved in “the animal movement” who support what Prof. Gary Francione has termed “new welfarism” (that is, the idea that we can achieve the abolition of all animal use through implementing a gradual buildup of  individual reforms of our treatment of animals) who have presented the idea that there is a morally significant difference between single-issue campaigns that they claim are “abolitionist” in nature and ones that are overtly welfarist.

But this thinking is logically unsound.

These people claim that there are SICs (if you haven’t read anything before on why SICs are problematic, you may want to do so now and then come back to finish this essay) that are not welfarist because they attempt to abolish a particular kind of animal use -instead of changing the treatment of only a certain species of animals- and so are not “reforms” and/or are not speciesist and so are supposedly not problematic.

SICs of that type are merely “incremental” reforms, in that the people engaging in them are trying to abolish all use by abolishing one type of use at a time. The campaigns for these kinds of incremental reforms are still part of what makes the mindset of welfarism so harmful to animals. They seem like Abolitionism but they are merely welfarist types of actions; just bent and twisted so they can be disguised as Abolitionism and used to a welfarist purpose.

Welfarism is concerned with incremental reforms for “farmed animals” and “pets” etc. “Non-Welfare” SICs are merely incremental reforms for all different species of animals. They purport to abolish harms to each species as a whole, but doing that is just incremental in the overall arena of the exploitation of all species. The main problem with these kinds of campaigns is that they, unfortunately, focus many people’s attention  -inadvertently or not, it makes no real difference- on the idea that by eliminating whatever one type of animal use that the campaign is focusing on, that they can discharge their entire moral obligation to animals and thus go back to their complacent, speciesist lives. They also cause the observers to believe that if they’re not one of the people who participate in the type of animal use targeted by the campaign, that they have no need to change their behavior towards animals and thus, no need to learn why they need to live Vegan.

In this way, all SICs can clearly be seen to be closely tied to welfarism. The key here is that they’re single issue campaigns. By definition, since they’re concerned with single issues, they are not campaigns to advocate Veganism as the moral baseline, which makes them inherently speciesist.

In contrast, Creative Non-Oppressive Vegan Advocacy abolishes all exploitation at once. Anything that focuses on a single issue is just an incremental half-measure, but they are not productive half-measures by any means. Almost all half-measures in regards to Animal Rights are profoundly counter-productive. And the main point here is that single-issues are always something that we need to avoid focusing people’s attention on if we’re serious about our efforts to advocate for the nonhuman animals who we share this planet with. We need to advocate solely for the abolition of animal use, and if we question why this is the case, the links scattered throughout this piece and other writings on this blog as well as the others linked to give us ample evidence to answer that question.

Many SIC supporters also claim that “rescue” (trap-neuter-return/adopt/foster/volunteer/etc.) of cats and dogs (and other animals) and Creative Non-Oppressive Vegan Advocacy are also SICs, in an effort to paint Abolitionist Vegans as somehow “hypocrites” or in some other way confused about why they should criticize SICs. This is simply not true. There are 3 main categories of action we can take regarding nonhuman animals: Single-Issue Campaigns, Direct Action, and Vegan Education. These 3 forms of activism can be distinguished from each other in these ways: single-issue campaigns involve only engaging in a public plea to observers -who may or may not be in the immediate area- to change their behavior in some way as it relates to a single type of animal use, to change their treatment of animals in a single specific way, etc.; direct action involves only directly physically intervening and taking a nonhuman out of whatever situation may be harming or threatening to harm them; and Vegan Education involves only explaining to others why Veganism is the non-negotiable moral baseline and why their moral obligation is to live Vegan.

In this way we can see that things such as protests, petitions and the like are examples of SICs, while “animal rescue” is an example of Direct Action (although not the only example by far and DA certainly includes many problematic kinds of actions), and Vegan Education is by definition not in either of the other categories.

Again, if we claim to take seriously the idea that we need to represent the interests of nonhuman individuals and so attempt to bring about an end to the agony, misery and despair that we as a species subject each of them to every second of every hour of every single day by the thousands, we need to reject the use of any speciesist or otherwise counter-productive activities and stick to exclusively engaging in the education of others on Veganism as the moral baseline. Here’s how to start:

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 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.

Lab Flesh And Anti-Speciesism – guest blog by Dan Kelly

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The following post about why “lab flesh” is non-Vegan was post by Dan Kelly on his Facebook timeline. It’s one of the best posts on this subject that I’ve seen:

“ ‘Clean meat’ is a speciesist term meaning flesh made from animal cells, blood products taken from fetal calves, hormones, antibiotics and additives to keep the cells growing. I’ll call it “lab flesh,” but it can be called biotech flesh, bioengineered flesh, clean flesh or any other indication that it’s not directly from a slaughtered innocent.

As most of you likely know, lab flesh is being developed for benefits related to the environment, health, and animal welfare. Industrial animal agriculture 1) is the worst polluter on the planet, especially when you combine air and water pollution; 2) damages ecosystems; 3) is a leading cause of deforestation; 4) generates salmonella, listeria, E. coli and other contamination of flesh and downstream vegetables, causing severe illness and death to humans; 5) is a major cause of heart disease, diabetes and other illnesses, and 6) is a life of torture, terror and hell to 65 billion innocent land animals and hundreds of billions of water animals, annually. If there were an Ig Nobel Prize for Stupidity, animal agriculture and its customers and supporters should win it annually. The developers of lab flesh seek to significantly reduce the six problems, even if they can’t eliminate them.

Antispeciesist vegans oppose lab flesh for the same reason most people would oppose creating human flesh for consumption (aside from cannibal diseases): flesh isn’t food. Lab flesh is a speciesist “solution” to the six problems.

Antispeciesist vegans are well-aware that there’s no stopping lab flesh from coming to market in the next 10 to 20 years, except possibly for difficulties in mass production. It will be one choice of many kinds of flesh available on the market, from traditional flesh from slaughtered or “hunted” innocents to lab flesh from various species: cows, chickens, pigs, dogs and others. It will amount to more speciesist choices of thousands of speciesist choices in a global, capitalist system. There are plenty of bioengineers and others who would love to get wealthy on the idea, and several billionaires and the giant corporations of animal agriculture are eager to invest in it, so it needs no encouragement from speciesist vegans. (Yes, some behavioral vegans can be quite speciesist in attitudes and beliefs.) Lab flesh will happen.

Lab flesh won’t put a dent in speciesism, though. People will still stalk and kill millions of free roaming innocents annually; still hook and net billions of water animals annually; still breed, confine and slaughter tens of billions of innocents annually; still go to zoos and rodeos; still wear skin and fur coats; still experiment on millions of dogs, mice and other innocents annually; still own and torture “pets”; and still bash vegan and antispeciesist advocates. Lab flesh will, at best, keep traditional animal agriculture at its present levels, instead of doubling over the next 30 years, and that’s if people actually choose it over traditional flesh. There will be marketing pushback against lab flesh, and it’s likely that many nonvegans won’t choose lab flesh over traditional flesh.

Lab flesh is what speciesists do, even if those speciesist are behavioral vegans and otherwise avoid using or consuming animal products. Being vegan and doing vegan and antispeciesist advocacy is what antispeciesist, abolitionist vegan advocates do. They are two different paradigms.

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions is one of the best known books in the philosophy of science. In the book, Thomas Kuhn popularized the phrase “paradigm shift” and explained that there is usually a lot of resistance to new scientific paradigms, and it often takes older generations of scientists dying off before new scientific paradigms are accepted, no matter how powerful the new paradigms are or how much evidence supports them.

Although there are significant differences between scientific paradigms and moral paradigms, including differences in the reasons for resisting new paradigms, resistance to new paradigms that are eventually accepted is at least as common for moral, social and cultural paradigm shifts as it is for scientific ones.

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The strong similarity between scientific and moral paradigm shifts is that proponents of each paradigm generally talk past each other when arguing for their paradigm, sticking to the logic internal to the paradigm they’re defending, logic which makes little or no sense outside of their paradigm. It’s like looking at the duck and rabbit photo and defending one without seeing the other. This doesn’t imply the paradigms are equally sound, or even close. Unlike the duck and rabbit photo in which both views are equally sound, in scientific and moral paradigms, one paradigm is usually far better at describing reality (in science) or far more coherent with generally accepted underlying values, such as objectivity and fairness (in morality).

As superior as a new paradigm may be, the new paradigm requires strong advocates if it is to ever replace the old paradigm. Without strong advocacy from start to finish, the old paradigm, with its own internal logic, will stay in place indefinitely.

Lab flesh is a small modification of the old, broken paradigm (speciesism and welfarism) that is incommensurate with the new paradigm (antispeciesism and abolitionism). The old paradigm relied on previous generations’ ignorance of modern nutrition science and other technological advancements. Modern nutrition science and other non-food advancements in technology have made the old paradigm obsolete. We have no need to use nonhuman beings. We must reject speciesism, reject lab flesh, be vegan for life, and strongly advocate that others do the same. You can’t expect new paradigm thinkers to accept old paradigm nonsense.

Antispeciesists are in this for the long haul over decades. We know we’re on the right side of history. We know lab flesh will come and go, eventually replaced by vegan meats as society’s moral paradigm gradually changes.”

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.

“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 human slavery to argue that we should just reduce the number of human-slave-made goods that we buy- 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 -or rape, or murder- in this day and age 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.

On Morality: Why Not Use Speciesist -And Other Kinds Of- Oppressive Language?

 Confused (1)

Our language is a window into the way we think.

“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi

The way we think about nonhumans informs the way we speak about them, and the way we speak about them influences the way others think about them. And finally, that influences how they act towards them. So we can see that our language is vital in taking not just the first but many important steps towards ceasing to harm them.

Carefully choosing the words we use is incredibly important. If you’ve ever had someone make a completely inadvertently insensitive remark in your presence and you’ve been offended, or even if you’ve been blatantly insulted on purpose, you know exactly what I mean. And yet, pretty much every one of us has made a slip like the former at one time or another, and most of us have intentionally done the latter. The hallmark of a truly wise person is how they learn and grow from their mistakes. Criticism -the constructive kind, naturally- is a valuable tool in helping us learn and grow.

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Part 1: The Vocabulary Of Speciesism

Part 1a: Establishing Our Moral Agreement

The first part of this post is about how we refer to nonhuman animals in our daily language. But before I get into examples, I’d like to pose a question: Do you think animals matter morally? I’m going to assume -for the sake of argument- that you’ve already read at least one of my pieces on our moral obligation to live Vegan and stop our “physical” (as opposed to what we would call “verbal”) violence towards nonhumans. If not, please read something here, here or here and then come back to finish this essay. If you merely need a definition for speciesism, the gist is when a human animal places a different moral value on a member or group of members of one species than we do on another species, merely because of the morally irrelevant criteria of their species membership. This includes thinking that the human species is morally superior to any nonhuman species (“anthropo-centrism” aka “human supremacy”), and also that any nonhuman species is morally superior to any other nonhuman species. To understand why this is problematic from a moral perspective, go ahead and read one of the above-linked items.

If you do think that nonhumans have moral status of any kind, then you should want the intentional suffering and death inflicted on them by humans to decrease, shouldn’t you? And if you want that to happen -as a way of effecting that you- should want others to feel that way as well, shouldn’t you? And if you want that, then it only makes sense for you to think and talk as though nonhumans have moral status. Which is why using the correct words in referring to them only makes sense, right? In other words, we don’t want to give other people the wrong impression, and so cause them to get the wrong idea, which they would then logically act on by committing wrongs on sentient beings.

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Part 1b: Pronouns And Other Such Problems

I’ve seen a lot of people in our current speciesist, morally confused societal paradigm use extremely problematic words to refer to nonhumans. And I’m even talking about people who “rescue” animals and claim they have moral concern for animals; even some people who call themselves Vegans. Words like “it,” “that,” “thing,” “where,” etc. As in, “I saw a pig, it was running across the street,” “I saw a cute pig that was running across the street,” or “We should respect the rights of every living thing that feels pain, even pigs that are running across a busy street,” or “Where did this meat come from? Did it come from the pig that was killed while running across the street?” etc.

If we think that nonhumans matter morally (and so we want others to consider them as beings who are morally worthy of not having their rights violated) we should recognize that -in any discussion that refers to others who we consider worthy of moral concern (aka “moral discussion”)- beings who can feel pain (which is what we mean by “sentient beings“) are completely different from insentient objects, that can’t. Words like “it,” “that,” and “thing” are used to refer to insentient objects, such as rocks, metal, plastic, and trees. These are objects –whether they are “living” or not- that cannot be proven to feel pain and therefore are not owed any moral weight by us; as opposed to subjects, to whom we do owe our moral concern. Before anyone reading this is tempted to argue that plants are sentient beings, read this or this, and understand that I’m not interested in that debate at all.

In regards to moral discussions, nonhuman animals are considered sentient beings and so should be referred to as “she,” “he,” “her,” “him,” “they,” “them,” “who,” and “being,” etc. As in “I saw a pig, they were running across the street,” “I saw a cute pig who was running across the street,” “we should respect the rights of every living being who feels pain, even pigs who are running across a busy street” or “who did that oink come from? Did it come from the pig who was running across the street?”

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The fact that we use the same pronouns for nonhuman animals as we do for inanimate objects and that we would not use for human animals under the same circumstances shows a profound lack of respect for nonhumans.

Note: Some people have criticized this word choice by claiming that it makes no sense to use the pronoun “they” when the singular subject’s gender is in doubt. Really, it makes all the sense in the world. It may be awkward in our mouths when unpracticed, but it works well enough for us to use it every day for humans who are oppressed -when their gender is in doubt- and so it should work for us. People have criticized this choice of wording by saying that using “they” is confusing because it implies plurality, as in more than one human or nonhuman. This is patently false in any case where it’s already been established how many beings are the subject of a sentence. When we’ve already established that we’re only talking about someone –and not more than one someones- there is no problem there.

Plus, we already do use it in that way. Think about it: If we were referring to humans, we wouldn’t say “I saw a cloaked and hooded person walk down the street, and then I lost sight of it when it turned into an alleyway.” No. We would say “I saw a cloaked and hooded person walk down the street, and then I lost sight of them when they turned into an alleyway” because the being in question is a “person,” but we have no idea which gender that person is.

Humans are sentient beings, so we usually consider it disrespectful to refer to a “human person” as “it.” But when it comes to nonhuman persons, our speciesist society refuses to grant them the same consideration. This is the way we frame things in our minds so we can turn sentient beings into objects, which is the only way we can reconcile what we know, if we really examine them, to be massive atrocities our society commits daily on those innocents.

Some further criticize our anti-speciesist word choice by giving the example that we commonly refer to human babies as “it.” As in “Mary just had a baby, I wonder which sex it is?” I don’t think this proves that the word “it” should also be used for humans, however. Rather it betrays a lack of respect for children on the part of the speaker. It should become common practice for us to say “I wonder which sex they are?” or even better “I wonder what their sex is?” instead (Notwithstanding theories about whether sex even exists or not). Consider the following section of this article (even though I would argue that the author has a wrong view of “the singular they”):

Samuel Taylor Coleridge, in the posthumously published Anima Poetae, argued that ‘it’ was the right pronoun for referring to indefinite nouns like ‘everyone’ or ‘the person’, ‘in order to avoid particularising man or woman, or in order to express either sex indifferently’. Thus: ‘Everyone misplaces its keys.’ Uncanniness results, but Coleridge was undeterred, insisting that ‘both the specific intention and general etymon of “Person” in such sentences, fully authorise the use of it and which instead of, he, she, him, her, who, whom.’ (He was not the first on record to promote the virtues of ‘it’. Someone called Molly Dolan wrote to the Ballyshannon Herald in 1843 that ‘ “IT” is the onely propper pronoun to be applied to an unknown correspondent – the name being neither fish, flesh, nor fowl.’)

Fully authorised by the general etymon or not, few have been taken with the idea of allowing ‘it’ to stand in for humans, at least adult ones. ‘It’ was once commonly used for babies, as in George Eliot’s Silas Marner, in which the baby Eppie is sometimes referred to as ‘it’. More recently, ‘it’ was used on Twitter for a newborn child by an Iraqi doctor who was documenting fatal birth defects caused by the allied forces’ use of depleted uranium during the 2003 invasion. The doctor, who was presumably tweeting in their non-native language, was lambasted by English-speaking Twitter users for ‘dehumanising’ the infant. It apparently didn’t occur to them that they were accusing a doctor of ‘dehumanising’ babies harmed in a war perpetrated by their own countries. They were correct, however, in sensing the power of the pronoun ‘it’ to mock, insult and demean, a use to which it has been put since at least the 16th century. For this reason, ‘it’ is no longer considered apt for babies – or, in the view of people with dogs or cats, for dogs or cats.

In 1792 the Scottish philosopher James Anderson noted that ‘it’ indicated ‘a high degree of contempt’, suggesting instead the gender-neutral pronoun ou, then common in Gloucestershire dialect. Kentucky’s 1850 Constitution declared: ‘The right of the owner of a slave to such slave, and its increase, is ... as inviolable as the right of the owner of any property whatever.’ In defence of the Kentucky legislature’s choice of pronoun to refer to slaves, the New York Evening Post wrote that ‘the objectors have forgotten to estimate the effect of colour upon gender’ – which is to say, enslaved women and men were neutered by their blackness. And, genderless, they were mere things.

It may feel strange when we try to retrain ourselves to use non-speciesist terminology in the matter, but that is purely a result of the speciesist conditioning that our society puts us through, not whether it’s “wrong” to use the non-speciesist term.

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Part 1c: The Euphemism, or “A Great Way To Distract You From The Truth”

The second point I’d like to make is about how we talk about the nonhumans who we humans use for our interests. Or more specifically, I’d like to talk about them as well as their flesh and secretions. If we’re going to talk about nonhumans and their rights, let’s be perfectly clear: The term “meat” is really a euphemism meant to divert attention from the real issue, which is that we’re talking about the flesh of a being who is easily provable, using only fact and logic, to be morally equal to any human. An innocent individual being who could feel pain, fear and other sensations, just as much as humans can. An individual who had an interest in their own survival and freedoms just as much as you and I do. The reality is that it’s impossible to obtain the flesh of those beings for us to consume without inflicting unnecessary suffering and death on them. Every land-dwelling nonhuman -as well as many sea-dwelling ones- whose flesh or secretions we consume was forced into existence; all nonhumans we use were exploited, and then slaughtered using violence, and it was completely unnecessary.

Using nonhuman animals for their flesh is also not morally distinguishable from using any sentient being as merely a replaceable resource for any other human purpose either. All forms of exploitation of any animal, nonhuman or human, are equally morally wrong. Furthermore, to distinguish morally between different kinds of exploitation ensures that the people observing our arguments will inflict even more unnecessary suffering and death on nonhumans (and humans) than before.

So we can understand that using the term “meat” to refer to an animal’s flesh is highly problematic from a rights perspective. It creates and reinforces the notion in others that who we’re consuming is merely an inanimate object, completely divorced from the breathing, sentient being who was unnecessarily harmed in order to obtain it. Similarly, words like “pork,” “beef,” “bacon,” “mutton,” “ivory,” “leather,” “wool,” “down,” etc. are equally problematic.

Coats are not made of “leather,” they’re made of the skin of sentient beings who were killed for completely unnecessary reasons. Sweaters are not “wool,” they’re the hair of sentient beings who have immense suffering inflicted on them and are then killed for their flesh when they can’t produce enough hair to be profitable anymore. Pillows aren’t filled with “down,” they’re filled with the feathers of sentient beings who are fully capable of desiring not to be used as resources or killed, and who have been proven to care about their families as much as we human animals care about ours.

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When you think about it, the very existence of “cheese” is completely messed up, let alone the word itself. Do we see any other species enslaving other animals so that they can use the milk that rightfully belongs to them and their babies to make “cheese?” Using that word in reference to animal dairy is adding insult (and by extension, further injury) to an already grave injury. These are the lives and secretions of sentient beings; we have a responsibility to the nonhumans who lived and died in humans’ immoral quest for our own palate pleasure to use terms that reflect the truth about what these substances are in actual reality: animal flesh and animal secretions at the very least, products of suffering and death if we want to bring passion to our rhetoric. But never “meat,” “leather,” wool,” “down,” etc.

In addition, Varun Virlan presented this proposition in the Facebook group “Unlearning Speciesism” in the context of addressing the objections by speciesists that “nonhumans don’t care what you call them or what kind of language you use for them, they just want to not be eaten”:

There are a few problems with this argument, so I will address them:

1. Just because someone does not understand how you are describing or talking about them does not mean you get a free pass to use oppressive language for them. There are humans who do not understand the English language, it does not mean that it is okay to use racist/xenophobic/oppressive language for them (in English).

2. Just focusing on getting humans to stop eating other animals does not end speciesism. Speciesism is taught through our language, our culture, our institutions, and our religions. Unless you do not challenge those oppressive institutions that enable speciesism, other animals won’t be fully liberated.

3. Language creates social norms. For instance, using “it” for other animals normalizes their objectification, and using “meat” for their bodies normalizes the idea that they are consumable.

The point of challenging oppressive & speciesist language is to create a society where objectifying other animals is unacceptable.

Very wise words.

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Part 1d: Possession Is 9 Points Of The Very Speciesist Law

Also, very similarly to the above point, we should avoid using the term “my,” “mine,” “ours,” etc. when talking about nonhumans. Although they are most certainly our property -in the sense that the laws and conventions of our society render them thus- they are not objects, and thus not our possessions in the moral sense. That distinction is extremely important for us to make in our advocacy. Morally speaking, they are not ours to use; their lives, freedoms, family, and suffering are not ours to exploit; they belong to themselves. So, it’s not “my meat,” – it’s the flesh of an individual who was immorally exploited and caused to suffer and die for unnecessary reasons. To me, the nonhuman animals I rescue and keep in my home are not “my cats” in the sense of me thinking that that belong to me as my mere possessions, they are “my family” in the same way that other humans are my family. They certainly have a relationship to me -as does any human I interact with- and this latter usage is the version of the word “my” that we can use and still observe a sense of justice for them. It’s the only non-speciesist way in which we can refer to nonhumans as being “mine.”

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Moreover, we don’t think that it’s necessary to use euphemisms when referring to circumstances where humans have been exploited, oppressed, or otherwise harmed. If a human is intentionally killed by another human merely for selfish reasons, we decry that as “murder.” If a nonhuman suffers the same fate, we call it “putting them down,” or even more divorced from the act, “harvesting.” If a human is used as a replaceable resource to perform unconsenting labor of any kind, we call them “a slave,” but if the victims in question are nonhumans, we call them “livestock,” “units” etc. Discourse about the fact that these terms are intentionally pushed onto the average person as a form of indoctrination -to keep us from thinking about nonhumans as moral persons- could take up an entire essay by itself, but the point is that this is purely speciesism in it’s most obvious form. In fact, these are only a small portion of the instances where speciesist language occurs. Pointing out every instance in just the English language alone could fill an entire book.

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Part 1e: A Little Pejorative Goes A Long Way

Another way in which we use speciesism to reinforce the idea that nonhumans are our moral inferiors is to use terms that pertain to them as pejoratives. To make but one example, we think absolutely nothing of using the terms “bullshit” or “horseshit” to describe something that we find objectionable or a lie. Let me ask the obvious question: why is a male bovine’s excrement morally worse than that of any other being? If it’s not, then why do we need to point out that the thing we find objectionable is like it? This is only the tip of a very large iceberg when it comes to this particular form of speciesist language.

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We also use the very names for nonhuman species as pejoratives. This not only demonstrates that we think nonhumans -in general- are morally inferior to us, but also that we have some kind of strange, erroneous idea that all the individuals who make up one species are mentally identical parts of some sort of monolith. As if every animal in a species is part of a hive mind; they can’t act any differently than each other, and are not individuals who have different personalities from one another. This is extremely far from the truth.

When someone is disgusting to us, we call them “a pig.” Pigs are only doing what they need to do to be healthy, it’s not their fault that getting mud and other grime on their skin or having a lot of weight on their bodies is something humans find objectionable. Saying that we should judge them in that way would be like judging whether a jellyfish is sexually attractive by the standards of a giraffe.

To make matters worse, when a pig who is in captivity demonstrates a behavior that we may find disgusting, it’s almost always because we put them in the position to have no choice but to do that. For instance, keeping pigs inside an enclosure instead of letting them roam free forces them to wallow in their own excrement, which we then vilify them for. Pigs are morally innocent and trying to use their characteristics to vilify humans for something that pigs not only aren’t capable of changing but are usually our fault demonstrates our lack of respect for nonhumans in general.

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Similarly, we say that someone who is shifty or treacherous is “a snake.” Just like all nonhumans, snakes are morally innocent. Humans are not able to prove that snakes are even capable of betrayal. When snakes harm other animals, they do so largely out of fear/self-defense, the need to eat, or other survival-related needs. Their actions have very little to no relation to our human motives to deceive or betray.

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We also project many of the same human qualities onto rats that we do onto snakes. Rats are actually quite capable of strong social bonds, with each other but also with humans and even other species of animals. They have been shown to feel all the same emotions that most mammals do; they are quite caring about their own families as well as complete strangers. Rats have even been shown in (completely immoral) experiments to be willing to suffer in order to keep others from the same fate. Saying that someone who betrays us is “a rat” is ignoring the fact that rats are most likely the last animals who would betray anyone.

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When we see humans who have a trait we find objectionable -in this case, a lack of awareness or other such reason that makes them refuse to question authority and merely follow the example of a large group- we call those humans “sheep.” Sheep don’t follow along with what other sheep do because they’re stupid: they’re easily tricked because they have immense trust in us, which is something that they have no choice but to do, since we control everything about their lives from their birth to the moment of their deaths; for our part, we betray them at every turn.

We’re the ones who do wrong to them, and then we blame their lack of ability to rebel on our erroneous idea that they’re not as intelligent as we are when the truth is that they’re actually more intelligent than many of the humans who violate their rights. For instance, most sheep would protect other sheep and even humans, even those very same humans who would torture and kill them.

In general, sheep are wonderful people who are morally blameless;  we commit atrocities on them, and then -to pile insult on top of injury- we claim that they’re mentally inferior as well. Sheep are every bit as intelligent as they should be. There are many humans who are not capable of thinking as clearly as sheep can about a number of things. Yet in general, we show more respect for those humans than we do for sheep. That is our failing, not theirs.

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When we want to claim that someone is easily frightened, we call them “a chicken.” Chickens are absolutely one of the most abused animals on the planet, right up there with fishes. Their ancestors, the Asian Red Jungle Fowl, are preyed upon by other nonhumans in their wild habitat homes, to begin with. Then, add on everything that we’ve done to them. And we think it’s not normal for them to be afraid of so many beings and things? On the contrary, not only is it perfectly normal from an evolutionary standpoint, but it’s completely understandable due to our own actions towards them as well. They would be well advised to be afraid of everything, most especially us. Talk about blaming others for our own shortcomings. And yet, when we demonstrate to a chicken that we should be trusted, just like most birds or mammals they’re quite capable of letting go of their fear of humans. They’re eminently capable of curiosity, affection and many other traits that we rarely -if ever- give them credit for.

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There are a huge number of other examples of this particular kind of disrespect for nonhumans from us, especially when you start delving into the realm of languages other than English. I think you get the gist though.

Some other problematic phrases are “dumb as an ox” (this is both ableist, as it uses a word for not being able to speak as a pejorative, and speciesist, as it implies that all oxen are stupid), “the world is your oyster” (implies that we should own nonhumans and therefore use them as we see fit), “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” (both ableist and speciesist as it implies that all elderly humans or dogs are incapable of something that younger ones are capable of and also that we should be teaching dogs to do tricks for our amusement), “use ____ as a guinea pig” (implies that using nonhumans as unconsenting test subjects is justifiable), “hold your horses” (implies that we should own and use nonhumans as we see fit), “pick of the litter” (implies that we should use nonhumans like dogs and others as we see fit), “like shooting fish in a barrel” (should be obvious), “like a bull in a china shop” (implies that all bulls are clumsy and destructive when the reality is that all nonhumans are individuals who are significantly varying in their demeanors), and these are only a few. I’m adding a bunch of alternatives to phrases that normalize and trivialize violence and exploitation here:

Note: although I am vehemently opposed to using the concept of “compassion” as a behavior to base a rights movement on (and am similarly against promoting “vegetarianism”), this video by Colleen Patrick Boudreau is a good source for the following phrases (and quite a lot of other clear thinking on speciesism in our language as well):

  • Instead of “kill two birds with one stone” we can say “cut two carrots with one knife.”
  • Instead of “more than one way to skin a cat” we can say “more than one way to squeeze a lemon” or “more than one way to peel a potato.”
  • Instead of “no use beating a dead horse” we can say “no use watering a dead flower” or “no use feeding a fed horse.”
  • Instead of “take the bull by the horns” we can say “take the bicycle by the handlebars” or “take the rose by the thorns” meaning to “jump in with both feet” or to “take the plunge.”
  • Instead of “open a can of worms” we can say “open a can of spaghetti” or “open Pandora’s box.”
  • Instead of “don’t put the cart before the horse” we can say “don’t put your shoes on before your socks” or “don’t slice the bread before it’s baked.”

Again, there are quite a few more; some of which are also outlined in this excellent essay:
http://veganvine.blogspot.com/2016/06/speciesist-language-reinforces-animal.html

When we try to liken something we find problematic or objectionable (and it’s often some action that we humans engage in that we can be blamed for, but nonhumans can’t) to nonhuman characteristics or behavior, or just plain present nonhumans as things that are normal for us to own and use, we make obvious both our lack of respect for them and our confused logic.

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Part 1f: A Note On Miscellaneous Problematic Terms And Ideas

I’ve heard many Vegans say that nonhumans “should have rights.” Regarding pre-legal morality as a concept, nonhumans already do have rights. As a society, we’ve merely been violating their rights all along. We can’t give them moral rights nor take them away. Whether we are going to keep violating their rights -by living non-Vegan- or respect their rights by living Vegan does not change whether they have them or not. If we talk coherently about “giving them rights” this is only in regard to their legal status as property or persons. This is an important distinction to make (in those very words) in our speaking and writing.

Other speciesist phrases that our society sees as normal are ones such as “you’re an animal” in the context of vilifying someone for their negative actions. This is probably because most people are under the mistaken impression that any suffering and death inflicted by nonhumans on other nonhumans is somehow morally blame-worthy. So not only do we -often only subconsciously- excoriate ourselves for treating nonhumans in a way we -rightfully- know to be wrong, but we -often simultaneously- excoriate nonhumans for seemingly not being able to live up to some standard that we set for ourselves (confusedly, since most people don’t really understand morality from an academic standpoint and also aren’t following a consistent moral code in the first place). And throughout all of this, not only do we not realize the arbitrary and even contradictory nature of our mindset, we don’t even realize that all of this suffering we’re intentionally inflicting is completely unnecessary in the first place.

It’s only through Veganism (and by that I mean learning what Abolitionist Veganism means and thereafter practicing it) that we begin to untangle this ridiculous Gordian Knot of irrational, confused moral contradictions and myths that we’ve constructed about nonhumans. Only through recognizing what is unnecessary suffering; why sentient beings have rights and what rights those are, and how many different aspects of human and nonhuman behavior have been mythologized can we then fully realize just how deep our societal programming really extends; and thus, begin to reverse that programming. And one of the most effective tools for that reversal is in recognizing our problematic language and striving to choose our words more carefully at every opportunity.

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Part 2: The Vocabulary Of Human Oppressions

Part 2a: Identifying The Underlying Problem

“The vegan movement” is rife with not only speciesism but also racism, sexism, ableism, heterosexism, cis-sexism. and other oppressive positions of all kinds. The first rule in any human rights social justice movement is that you must listen to the members of a marginalized group and believe them when they tell you what is oppressive and offensive to them. When you are not a member of the group in question, you are not the person who decides what is oppressing them and what is not.

All forms of oppression reinforce and sustain every other form of oppression. This is why people who identify as vegan will never achieve the true end goal of the vegan movement as long as they are engaging in any of these forms of oppression. This is also why people who wish to end the injustice of “racism” or any other form of oppression will never achieve their goal while they are still engaging in speciesism or any other form of oppressive action. How can someone know how to help end oppression when they themselves are engaging in the worst forms of oppression? You can literally never eliminate violence being inflicted on one oppressed group by engaging in ableism, genderism, ethnic bigotry, or *any* other oppressive behavior.

When we engage in any form of oppression we are promoting the idea that it’s morally acceptable to dismiss others from our sphere of moral concern based on some sort of physical characteristic that they have that we don’t, or that we have that they lack. With speciesism, that characteristic is their species membership. It makes no sense to discriminate against others morally based on their species membership because if we do so, then that promotes the idea that others should be able to get away with discriminating against you based on your physical characteristics, such as your sex, gender, ethnic membership, sexual orientation, etc. This also works the opposite way; It makes no sense to say that it’s morally wrong to use nonhumans as mere replaceable resources for our interests but then turn around and show the same lack of moral concern for other humans based on some physical trait that they have and you don’t or that you have and they don’t.

And it isn’t just a case of men discriminating against women, white against black, etc. Promoting the use of animals is just as effective in encouraging P.O.C. to harm each other, white people, etc. and women to discriminate against others, and so on. Promoting violence encourages violence in all its forms.

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Part 2b: Identifying Each Problematic Term And Why It’s Wrong

When we use a word that was created to mean a disability -such as “dumb” means can’t speak, and “lame” means has trouble walking- as a pejorative (a negative connotation towards a thing or person we find morally wrong or objectionable) we cause the person with the disability to feel as if they are being vilified as a person. Even if the thing or person we’re using the term against has nothing to do with the disabled person. Just like saying “that’s gay” makes a gay person feel vilified. Or “that’s retarded” vilifies intellectually underdeveloped persons.

You may think that it’s not ableism to use “innocuous” terms like “dumb,” “lame,” “moron,” “idiot,” etc., but you are not the one with the disability being vilified! You using terms like “dumb” when *you* are not a speech-impaired person is ableism. You are not the oppressed, but you are being the oppressor. You have the privilege of being able to speak. Or being able to walk or get around without inconvenience or pain. Or you have a higher IQ than some people. You are not intellectually impaired.

Problematic terms to use as pejoratives include, but are not limited to: “retard” or “retarded,” “idiot” and “moron” (vilifies the intellectually underdeveloped), “dumb” (vilifies people who can’t speak), “lame” (vilifies those with mobility problems), “gay” (vilifies those who are of a different sexual orientation than “straight” people), “bitch” (this term is both sexist and speciesist, as it not only vilifies women -likening them to female dogs as a negative- but also vilifies female dogs as being somehow objectionable), “dick” (vilifies those who have a penis or who identify as male), and “pussy” or “cunt” (vilifies those who have a vagina or identify as female). It’s also problematic to use sex-negative terms like “cocksucker” as a pejorative because you’re vilifying both women and non-straight men.

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Part 2c: How We Defend Our Problematic Behavior

I constantly see those who are unwilling to consider the problematic nature of their speech making the claim “That term isn’t oppressive because _____ .”

If you’re not the one who is offended by the remarks, then chances are you’re not one of the people who have the trait that’s being vilified. Ergo, you have no standing to make any claim as to whether the remarks constitute oppression or not. Telling people who are being oppressed that they are not experiencing oppression is oppression! It’s marginalization through silencing dissent.

Also, the argument that “most people don’t use that term to mean _____ anymore, but now they use it to mean this non-oppressive thing instead” is not a valid argument. The argument I’m making has nothing to do with whether the person remarking is intentionally trying to hurt the person offended by the remark or “aiming” it at that person, it has to do with whether any observer is offended or not. If you’re unintentionally doing something that’s hurtful, you have the same moral obligation to moderate your behavior that you would if you were intending to hurt that person.

If I, as a “white” person, went up to someone and attempted to insult them by calling them a “nigger” and a P.O.C. was nearby and was offended, would it make sense for me to say to the P.O.C. “I wasn’t using that term to mean you, I was using it to mean this other thing or person I meant?” No. The term was created to mean something offensive. If we use it as a pejorative in regards to something not connected to the original pejorative it was coined to mean, we can’t expect the person who belongs to a group whose members were the target of the original pejorative to not be offended.

“That isn’t as bad as _____ (something someone else is doing) so it’s ok.”

“I’m doing a lot of good for _____ (whatever group) so you should overlook it when I do this much smaller wrong thing.”

Neither one of these arguments is valid when it pertains to any problematic behavior such as slavery, rape, torture or murder, and so it’s not valid in the case of any problematic behavior. For instance, we don’t expect a claim such as “There will always be people who murder other people, so, me beating my spouse or children is morally justifiable” to be taken seriously, likewise with a claim such as “I contribute a lot of money to/support organizations that fight child poverty and hunger, so it’s morally justifiable for me to kill other humans merely for my own interests occasionally.”

In the same way, it’s unreasonable to claim that just because someone else commits moral harms that you perceive as “worse” than merely using speciesist, racist, sexist, ableist, etc. terms, that it morally excuses us to do that. And the same can be said of claiming that just because we engage in some form of morally positive action that this excuses us from any blame for using various forms of problematic language either. In all cases, our moral responsibility is to not only refrain from committing the morally “worse” actions but all morally problematic actions that we can refrain from.

Yet another argument that I see people trying to use to justify their oppressive language is “I have a friend(s) who are ______ (insert characteristic the person just got through using as a pejorative) and they told me that they aren’t offended when I say ______ (insert oppressive term).” In other words, these are people who will claim that they have black friends who give them a pass for using racist terms, gay friends who give them a pass for using the term “that’s gay,” friends who are disabled who don’t care if they use terms like “lame” or “dumb,” etc.

This argument is not valid in this context, however. The argument against using oppressive terms hinges on the people who are offended by those terms, not the people who aren’t. Morality is about causing the least amount of harm, not seeing how much we can get away with before we’re called out on our behavior. In order to cause the least amount of harm, we need to live by the precautionary principle. Which means that if an action is unnecessary (meaning that it’s not something we need to do to thrive) and we know that there is a chance that any others could suffer because of that action, even if we don’t have direct knowledge of who those people are and where they are in relation to us, then we have a moral responsibility to err on the side of caution, which means not engaging in that action.

So if there are 100,000 people of a marginalized group in existence, and you only know 10 of them personally -and those 10 people tell you that it’s ok to use any term you want around them, regardless of what it is- that doesn’t mean that the other 99,990 people of that grouping would agree with that. Which means that you going out into public and openly using those terms is going to oppress someone from those groups, which is the only criterion necessary to make doing so morally wrong.

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Conclusions I’ve drawn from the last few years of Vegan advocacy

If we really want to insult others -although as someone who tries their best to follow a moral stance of non-violence in thought, word, and deed, I think that idea is really problematic (and just about the farthest thing from what we should be sticking to, which is peaceful Vegan education)- there are plenty of much more egalitarian insults we could use. I am not going to teach these to people since -as I stated- I think that insults are one thing we should be decreasing in our society.

In any moral discussion, the best way to react when someone brings up the idea that we’re doing something wrong is to carefully consider their words and ask ourselves if there is any way that we can make positive changes to our behavior. If we want to ask respectful questions to see if the person we’re talking to has any further information for us or suggestions as to how we can do this, that’s a great second step as well. The worst thing we can do is become defensive and angry at the messenger, as this keeps us from thinking clearly and hence, blocks us from any positive change.

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 Turn Off The News And Focus On Solving Our Problems

So now, we’re being told that we need to pay attention to the fight over whether an interpreter should testify about whether the president is lying or not…

Our species is made up of around 99% of individuals who are intentionally committing unnecessary violence against nonhumans on a daily basis. More than half of those people -probably much, much more- are intentionally or unintentionally committing overt acts of sexism/misogyny/cis-sexism and probably around the same number for racism and various kinds of homophobia/other discrimination based on sexual orientation. Those stats probably equal out -or come pretty close to it- for ableism, ageism, and many other less-talked-about forms of discrimination. This is not even taking into account all the people who merely benefit passively from those forms of oppression.

In a just world, our government would be educating us against such discrimination by focusing our attention on what each of us is doing wrong -including the members of our government- and explaining what they are doing to eliminate their own oppressive behaviors and how we could also try to do this ourselves. That is because this is the only way to solve any of the systemic problems that most of us keep wondering about how to solve. They would be doing this for each of us from the moment we entered public school, if not sooner.

In reality, instead of doing this, our government uses our mainstream news media outlets to pull our attention away from those things that are the root problems that we could easily change to stop our systemic problems and puts that focus directly onto the superficial symptoms of those systemic problems. They do this so that we’ll spend all of our precious time thinking that the symptoms *are* the problems and arguing about those symptoms instead of addressing our own complicity in the problems. This has the (intentional) result of actually encouraging many of the forms of oppression that we’re complicit in.

There is a very specific mechanism the mainstream news uses to divert our attention from real solutions:

The vast majority of stories they play are negative, from humans inflicting unnecessary suffering and death on each other to natural disasters that include massive suffering. The stories about humans hurting and killing each other are usually about people of one sex or gender hurting someone of another sex or gender, of people of one ethnicity or color hurting someone of another ethnicity or color, etc., etc. ad nauseam. This is carefully planned because it’s meant to keep you both depressed and people divided along various “political lines,” since as long as everyone is depressed and divided we’re more likely to wish harm on someone else and someone who constantly feels bad about the world is extremely unlikely to attempt to fix any significant problems in our society.

Then, they play the occasional “feel-good story” so that they can’t be accused of  only playing horrific stories. When they do report on a “positive” story, it almost always is something that supports the overall false narrative they’ve concocted about what issues are the main problems that we need to focus on, or at least doesn’t actually contradict that narrative. The “positive” story is always one that contains nothing but a distraction from any idea you might be able to use to actually fix things. In other words, they will always present a problem, but never the solution that you can use to fix it.

To give just a few of many, many examples:

Racism:
We have a huge problem with racism in our world. One of the ways in which this manifests itself is that white police officers sometimes murder black people. Then, an anti-racist group says “black lives matter.” So then cue a group of white people arguing with the first group, saying “blue lives matter.” And then a third group, saying “all lives matter.” People from all 3 groups argue, people from all 3 groups protest, people from Black Lives Matter get arrested, etc. etc. The mainstream news media covers all of this, and the people watching the news argue on and on about whether black lives or blue lives or all lives matter more.

Ever notice the mainstream news media never actually has any programming on about what racism really is and how those of us with white privilege could actually eliminate most of the racism from our world by simply taking the time to identify specific kinds of ideas and actions that are racist and making an effort to repudiate those ideas and actions every single time we encounter them in ourselves and others? All of the leaders in our government actually want us to perpetuate racism, since they stand to benefit most from that, so there’s no way they would let the media report on that.

Gun Violence:
Violence in general is one of the roots of most of the problems in our world. One of the ways in which this manifests itself is that sometimes a person takes guns and shoots a bunch of people in a school. Then one group of people starts saying “we need to ban _____ kind of guns” or “we need to make people wait ____ number of days to get a gun” or “we need to check their background before we allow them to have a gun” and another group says “no, it’s the opposite, we need to give more people more guns” and the mainstream news media covers this, so many groups of people who are watching argue on and on about what kind of guns are acceptable or not acceptable for random people to own and how many days we should have to wait to own those guns. In essence we are arguing about not only whether gun control laws reduce the amount of violence in the world but also whether it’s morally justifiable to enact such laws in the first place.

And the mainstream news media intersperses their stories on this issue with stories on how we need to “support our troops.” Even those people who are anti-standing-military or anti-violence need to support our troops, right? I mean, we should divorce the fact that those troops are being used by the government as a tool to inflict violence on innocent people and support the actual troops, because the actual people who are the troops are “good people,” so we need to support them as troops, right? That isn’t any kind of conflict with our stance against violence, is it?

Ever notice the mainstream news media never actually has any programming on about why violence in and of itself is wrong and how those of us who consume violent programming -and espouse the idea that responding to violence with violence is productive- could actually eliminate most of the violence from our world by resolving to disavow violence in all of it’s forms? Programming about how it’s not our laws about guns that are going to precipitate any truly meaningful change when society itself is saturated with a love of violence that gun violence is only one symptom of? All of the leaders in our government actually want us to perpetuate violence, since they stand to benefit most from that, so there’s no way they would let the media report on that.

Non-Veganism:
Human Supremacy is the root cause of pretty much every problem in the world. One of the ways that this manifests itself is that almost all the humans on the planet are currently enslaving and/or slaughtering over ONE TRILLION (that’s 1,000,000,000,000) nonhuman animals *every year* purely for the interest of human palate pleasure. Almost everyone, including our government, thinks that “cruelty to animals” is a problem, so we argue and argue about which welfare reforms to implement to decrease the amount of  cruelty we engage in regarding our use of animals, cruelty which is inherent to all animal use and wouldn’t even exist if not for the fact that we won’t stop our completely unnecessary use of them.

The news often plays stories about nonhuman animals, but the stories are always about animal welfare, never animal rights. Here is one major way you can tell the difference: an animal welfare story is about humans doing something to help a nonhuman animal or animals who needed help. In other words, they are engaging in an intentional action that helps the animals (which is almost always due to the fact that those animals would not have needed any help if we had not created the problem for them in the first place). Conversely, an Animal Rights story is about humans refraining from doing something that we are already doing wrong to animals, which is the solution to all of the problems that we face regarding how we interact with nonhumans in the first place.

The mainstream news media has numerous segments about welfarism not to mention all of the other shows that touch on or cover it, including fiction, documentaries, you name it. We keep watching and keep arguing about those welfare reforms, and wringing our hands at all the “cruelty,” and meanwhile we take a break from that to sit down and eat “our” bacon and “our” eggs and drink “our” milk while wearing “our” leather and wool and watching a show about which breeds of “our” dogs are the the best.

Ever notice the mainstream news media never actually has any programming on about the fact that just the mere action of using nonhumans against their will is inherently cruel, and that we could easily eliminate the majority of this problem of “cruelty to animals” simply by living Vegan and educating as many people as we can about why they also need to live Vegan? All of the leaders in our government actually wants us to perpetuate human supremacy, since they stand to benefit most from that, so there’s no way they would let the media report on that. In order to perpetuate the human supremacist paradigm they need to perpetuate the paradigm of welfarism, so the benefits of welfarism are the only thing they can allow the media to report on.

Two-Party System False Dichotomy:
We are told in the USA that we need to pick between republican and democrat or nothing will ever get done. Supposedly, the republicans are the conservatives who want to oppress everyone by keeping our world the same as it was in “the olden days” and the democrats are the liberals who want everyone to be sexual deviants and foreigners to come here and take over. So the mainstream news media covers only those 2 parties and the people watching argue about whether it’s better to be a republican conservative or democratic liberal and pretty soon we have a president who is sexist and racist and ableist and the list goes on and on.

And the people who are arguing about which of 2 parties is better are told that now they should argue about whether Russia is hacking us (flash info!: many other countries are also hacking us, Russia is just the target of a new cold-war-mongering campaign) or whether our president wears a toupee and now we have to argue about whether his translator is going to testify or not.

Ever notice the mainstream news media never actually has any programming on about the fact that the people who make up the leadership of both the democratic party and the republican party are just identical sides of the same two-headed coin, all of whom abuse whatever power they acquire as soon as they acquire it, who are all in bed with big oil, pHARMa, the institutional animal exploiters, and all the other corporations that seek to enslave us; programming about how we could ignore all of the stuff about republicans and democrats and actually solve the problems we have with our elected officials by refusing to vote for people from either of those parties; by finding people who belong to other political parties to vote for instead, as well as writing in candidates who belong to no political party at all? All of the leaders in our government want us to keep believing that we have only 2 options, because that is the only way they can keep us voting for someone who belongs to the power elite, so there’s no way they would let the media report on that.

The Point:
So the point to all of this, in case you haven’t noticed yet, is that it’s very easy to grab our attention and redirect it away from the real problems that we’re facing, which are problems of our making. They’re problems that were almost always created by each one of *us* at some point in our lives. Or at the very least, they’re problems that we each need to focus on avoiding participating in at every turn. When our focus is redirected away from the root problem and onto some idea about something trivial like whether the president is lying and why that makes him the real problem we need to address (of course he *always* lies, and he’s not the real problem, he’s just another symptom of the real problem), then it keeps us from looking hard at our own problematic actions and how we can deal with those.

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Arundhati Roy - Obsession With Trump 01

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When we focus on whether black lives matter or blue lives matter; whether guns should be more prevalent or be banned; whether the latest victim who speaks out in the #metoo movement is lying or not (rather than focusing on why sexism and the patriarchy are bad and how to eliminate them) as if those are the root problems, what almost always happens is that we end up creating a false dichotomy where we are the “good person” and the other people are all “bad people” because we think they’re all racists, sexists, homophobes, or some other kind of human supremacist, all the while forgetting that even though we may not overtly engage in some specific racist behavior, if we’re not a direct victim of racism then we most assuredly still benefit from racism in some way. Just like if we’re not a direct victim of the patriarchy, then we most likely benefit from sexism in some way. Even if that is something that we don’t want to happen.

And the same can be said for all other forms of oppression. And this false dichotomy we create makes it very easy to keep all of us -both “conservative straight white male” and “liberal queer black female” alike- grinding along as mere gear-slaves in the giant machine that’s being controlled by a very small percent of people who have no interest at all in the well-being of anyone but themselves. The primary tool used to refocus our attention in this way is what we call the mainstream media. In other words, “The News.”

What Can We Do About All This Though?:
The solution to this (the first step of it anyway) is to turn off The News. It’s full of lies, and watching it has actually been shown to make us less intelligent (The opening remarks about sugar in the preceding link are off the mark, but that is neither here nor there), not to mention less willing to make any positive changes. If we want to be informed, we need to find alternative news outlets, if we’re going to watch any “news” at all. And another step is to learn what critical thinking actually means and why we need to do that and read some actual science or other such facts instead of just believing whatever someone tells us, just because a bunch of other people are telling us that that person is an authority on that subject.

Those are not the only steps we need to take, but just taking those steps would at least put us well on the path to figuring out how to obtain a lot more of the truth than we’re currently getting. Something that we could substitute for watching The Mainstream News is to actually go out in public and find a person who is oppressed by the systemic power structures I’ve mentioned and ask them what they feel may be a solution to the problem.

As always, I’m going to leave you with the idea that another huge step is to think about whether nonhuman animals are mere things for us to use for our trivial interests, or whether we think that they are part of our moral community and should be respected, which means we shouldn’t be using them for our interests as much as we can help it.

If you want to find more information on these issues, here are some sources I would suggest you start with:

https://legacyofpythagoras.wordpress.com/2015/02/07/are-humans-superior (my piece on why eliminating systemic nonhuman rights violations will also incidentally eliminate most systemic human rights violations).

http://www.vegantrove.com/2016/12/01/vegan-trove-0046 (this blog is filled with great links to alternative news sources that present progressive takes on human rights issues).

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

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

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

Animal 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 central pillar of Abolitionist Veganism -in stark contrast to those of welfarism- are that nonhumans have the right to not 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 major pillars 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 -or that inflicting violence or destructive acts on those humans 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 but not actually Abolitionist Vegans; 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 counter-productive -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.

Re-Blog: Something Other Than They Are

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


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

 

metaevolutionary

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

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

View original post 1,225 more words

On Morality: Intent Vs. Consequence – Why “Good People” And “Evil People” Don’t Actually Exist

 Duality 01

I don’t think “evil” is something that exists.

By which I mean to say that I don’t believe in the idea that evil is a physical force which hovers in the air and enters people and makes them do things. Nor do I believe in the idea that “some people are ‘evil’ but some people are ‘good’.”

  • The Art Of Reductionism

Many people throughout history, no less on social media recently, have expressed the idea that specific people or groups of people “are evil” based on their actions towards human or nonhuman animals. This can range from simply saying that non-Vegans in general are bad people, to saying that hunters are worse than others, saying that people who torture animals are the worst, saying that pedophiles are all monsters, etc. etc. ad nauseam.

However, the idea that “some people are evil, and some people are good” doesn’t make much objective sense. All humans have the capability to perform actions that seem either “evil” or “good”, depending on the perspective of the person performing the action, as well as the person observing the action. Because of this, the very idea that some actions are “good” and some are “evil” doesn’t really make much sense either.

This is not to say that some actions are not destructive or harmful. But ascribing the term “evil” to a person because of an action that they’ve committed -as if simply using that term puts the action into a category that divorces it or the doer from all complexity or renders the doer incapable of being anything other than “evil”- is far too simplistic and narrow-minded.

  • A Re-Examination Of Rights

Our human concept of morality itself is an automatic, logical response to the recognition that each being who is capable of feeling pain has an individual interest in not suffering. This recognition is the basis for our notion of whether individuals have such things as “rights.” A “right” is merely a term that we use to mean that we agree to a rule that allows us to protect an interest that we all have. Chief among the “rights” that individuals have is the right to not be used as merely a replaceable resource for human pleasure and other non-necessary (aka non-survival, non-health) interests.

Our human system of justice is based on the notion of a human interest in creating a “social order”; this order aims to regulate our behavior in a way which induces the most happiness, satisfaction and “good health” in general in as many of the members of our moral community as possible, and the least pain, unhappiness, and other forms of suffering. But this is only because we recognize that individuals who are capable of suffering have this right to not be made to suffer for the non-necessary interests of a human.

  • Who Makes The Most Sense To Blame?

From a purely practical perspective (before even considering any abstract notions of moral philosophy) if we examine the ideas advanced by Chaos Theory – for instance – we see that any choice we make between a wide array of possible actions means that our chosen action will affect everything else in the world. So basically, everything that happens in the world is a product of a near-infinite number of different inter-connected actions that are performed by everyone and everything in reality over “the course of time” (since by our commonly-held perspective, time is linear, even though from what some people have postulated, it may not be): each action affecting or being affected by every other action.

This seems to indicate that any action we commit could have a near-infinite array of both positive and negative consequences. Indeed, each action, as well as each of the consequences which automatically follow from it, could seem either positive OR negative OR both from the perspective of the beings both observing and being affected by them (This has been recognized already for thousands of years by some cultures).

So taking all this into account, how do we determine whether an action that affects others is morally right or wrong for us to engage in? It’s simple: we must start by asking whether there are other beings who can feel pain who could become the victim of our immediate actions, or even whether we can predict an indirect link between the 2. Since our actions could be seen as either positive or negative depending on who’s perspective they’re being seen from, it should need no explanation why we should be using the perspective of a potential victim as the measuring stick for whether an action is harmful, and not the perspective of a potential victimizer.

It’s not just the actions themselves or the consequences of those actions which determine whether we are morally blameworthy, but our perspective on those actions and consequences. So that is the ruling factor in whether we should commit an action or not; our own knowledge of whether or not we ourselves perceive our intent and our resultant action to be morally justifiable, based on whether we know if others may or may not be harmed by them unnecessarily. In other words, we must endeavor to commit only actions that have the best chance of causing the least harm through causing the least violations of the rights of others.

In my estimation, this would indicate that the consequences of our actions have absolutely no bearing on our moral culpability. Our actions obviously need to follow logically from our intent, but only our intent means anything when we are determining whether an action fits within our notion of moral responsibility. In other words, only our intent, not the consequences of our actions, should give someone the ability to morally blame us or morally praise us.

  • Being Honest About What Evidence We Really Have

People often try to prove the argument that evil people exist with the assertion “But there definitely are people who are evil. I know this is true because this person committed this, this or this horrible action.”

 But this is merely a list of wrong-actions that the person committed. The point that someone committed an immoral action is not proof that the person in question is evil. Their actions can be morally justifiable, or not morally justifiable (what we call “immoral”) but that doesn’t make the person “immoral,” nor does it make them “moral.” Everyone, even those who have committed the most heinous acts, has the ability within themselves to change their moral stance so that they are never again going to commit such acts.

Many people often try to counter that argument with the assertion “But this person never did change, so this proves that they were evil. They committed those actions, never regretted it, and died without repenting. This means that they were evil.” But this argument doesn’t prove that at all. All it proves is that the person in question didn’t change, not that they couldn’t have if they’d lived longer or encountered the right set of circumstances. No human has been proven to be able to predict the future, so saying that we know whether someday someone will change or not is nonsense. There are amazing stories of people who have committed the most heinous actions doing a complete moral “about-face” years afterward. Add to this point the fact that there are plenty of people who, for one reason or another, have never let on about the regret they felt for their actions. In other words, we often have no way of knowing who will change their moral stance in a specific way, when they will change, or in many cases, even whether they’ve changed at all.

Even putting aside the obvious problems with considering people evil from a rational standpoint, there is a moral problem with just dismissing someone as evil before you’ve seen how their life will turn out. This is because it doesn’t take into consideration the fact that people are eminently capable of changing their moral actions based on new perspectives. In fact, the only real constant in human behavior is change. To dismiss or condemn the entirety of the person as morally worthless based on only some portion of their actions is illogical from a moral standpoint as well.

Also, keep in mind that there are a lot of factors involved in the viewpoints of various people on the myriad actions one could commit and how they relate to morality. In many cases, the intent of a person is to do good, but they are merely confused or unsure what the best course of action is. Some people have been heavily indoctrinated regarding whether an action or set of actions is morally justifiable or not, in various ways and regarding different kinds of beings. Some are more indoctrinated than others, and fear, especially when it’s not even consciously recognized by the fearful, is an incredibly powerful obstacle to moral consistency. There is also the existence of mental disorders, both created by physiological elements and also those related to trauma. These are only a few of the things that often cause perfectly “morally conscious” people to say or do immoral things.

  • What Action Does This Suggest We Should Take?

The point is, when we consider the question of how we should be responding to the actions and even the arguments used by non-Vegans to attempt to justify their actions regarding nonhumans, we should keep in mind that we’re not dealing with monsters. We’re dealing with humans, and humans are fallible. They are also capable of massive changes in their moral stance as well as incredible acts of bravery and kindness. I personally have met or have heard the stories from many people who now identify as Vegan and would never have considered living Vegan -some, in fact, who were die-hard anti-Vegans beforehand, including trophy hunters and slaughterhouse workers- if someone hadn’t been compassionate enough to forgive them and then educate them peacefully on why it’s wrong to use animals. If not for this, they would still be enthusiastically exploiting nonhumans to this day. They themselves admit this.

If we want the people who are harming animals for palate pleasure and/or simple convenience -who would otherwise consider ending that behavior- to consider Veganism, then we have to be willing to put our hatred aside and educate them with understanding, instead of condemning them. Representing them as evil -or even “sociopathic,” “psychotic,” etc.- to others, regardless of what they have done, merely causes them, and other people, to avoid our message about the rights of nonhumans. If we look at it from the more rational perspective that anyone who’s done wrong can change -even to the utmost- at any moment and that we have no idea when that may happen, it makes it much easier for us to allow ourselves the opportunity to influence them.

  • Our Conclusions, And Who They Say The Most About

Another point to consider: Many of our family and friends may be non-Vegan. They are inflicting just as much unnecessary suffering and death by living that way as any other non-Vegan. Are we ok with considering them “evil” as well? If not, we’re just arbitrarily picking and choosing whom we consider to be evil based on our own fits of anger, random self-interest, or whims. Almost all Vegans were non-Vegan at some point, probably including the person reading this (you). Were they evil? Were you? Doesn’t that mean you are still evil? If we think people are one or the other, good or evil, then where is the line? Where do we draw a line and say that this set of actions makes someone evil, but this other set of actions doesn’t? And who is the authority who draws that line? What makes one person’s opinion on what makes someone evil better than some other person’s completely different, arbitrary -and usually contradictory- opinion?

In summation, it’s irrational, not to mention cruel, to just dismiss someone as evil before you’ve seen how their life will turn out. And publicly stating that someone is evil is a great way to guarantee that they, and probably at least a few other non-Vegans, will refuse to go Vegan, which means that the nonhuman animals lose. Is that what we’re trying to accomplish? Is some sort of catharsis where we obtain a few moments of sick pleasure from publicly vilifying another person (which is almost always due to our own shame because we once engaged in the same non-Vegan actions that they currently are engaging in) worth the very real lives and suffering of nonhumans?

  • Let’s Resolve To Do Better

Veganism is a movement of peace. If you think animals have moral value, then follow the path of peace, towards humans and nonhumans alike. Remember that humans are also animals, and it makes no sense to say that “other people should have compassion for animals” and then show a lack of compassion for your fellow humans. Live Vegan. Educate others peacefully about why they need to live Vegan as well.

Yin-Yang 02

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.

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

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

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

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

Read more of this incredible post:

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

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

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

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