"My interest lies in animal liberation, not making more vegans" - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 06-29-2012, 04:56 PM
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I purposefully chose a provocative title, so before you spend time formulating the hate mail in your head that you intend to send me, be patient and listen to my argument.

animal liberation: (noun) the freeing of animals from exploitation and cruel treatment by humans.
The main mission in the animal rights movement at present is towards creating more vegans. Sadly, this obsession has caused us to subordinate animal liberation. It has also created a mentality of “do whatever it takes” to make more vegans. This mentality has moved us away from the ethical/animal argument and more toward health, consumer lifestyle and environmentalism. This has created enormous compromises in the both the message and the outreach.

For instance, there is an inordinate amount of attention paid to celebrities who have gone “vegan” – meaning celebrities who have made a self-serving choice to eat plants. Very few of them ever mention their shift was due to animals or ethics. Not only are we countering a shallow culture with a shallow argument for why people need to support animal liberation, but we are bastardizing the philosophy of veganism. It is shocking to me how many vegans get upset when you point out that veganism encompasses food, clothing, entertainment, and vivisection – and that it is not a diet. What is so radical about using the term for the philosophy properly?

There is so much effort made to express what veganism is going to do for the person being reached out to, rather than what using animals actually does to animals. I see so much outreach about weight loss, reversing or preventing diabetes, heart disease, cancers, clearing up your skin, silkier hair, vegan cupcakes, how delicious the food is. What does any of that have to do with animal liberation? Veganism is not concerned with your health or your skin. Veganism is concerned with the rights of animals to be viewed as persons and members of the moral community, not as objects to be used for greed, taste and entertainment. The meaning has not changed since 1944, when Vegan Society co-founder Donald Watson coined the term “vegan” to mean “a way of living which excludes all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, the animal kingdom,” as well as stating it is “not so much about welfare [of animals] as liberation.”

http://thethinkingvegan.com/articles/my-interest-lies-in-animal-liberation-not-making-more-vegans/

I have kind of mixed feelings about this post. I mostly agree, it is definitely important that we keep the ethics and what is happening to the animals at the forefront of the discussion, and I don't want to see veganism turned into just a trend or a fad diet. The AR message can't get lost, because if enough people aren't motivated by real compassion lasting change is going to be difficult.

On the other hand people consuming less animal products is good for the animals whatever the motivations behind it might be. Also, going vegan CAN be fun and talking about delicious food like vegan cupcakes, gossiping about celebrities, vegan fashion, vegan beauty tips, etc. is inspiring and motivates people to stick with it. And I think we have to have some discussion about health because if people are eating nothing but vegan crap and getting ill they will most likely go back to what they were doing before.

What do you think?

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#2 Old 06-29-2012, 05:20 PM
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This might seem cynical, but I think a lot of people would not accept animal rights. A sizable chunk of the population would not go vegan for the animals. They don't care to look, or they feel it is natural, whatever. I've heard my friends and family comment on it freely, without being defensive, and a lot of them might agree with animal welfare, but none of them seem into the idea of animal rights. The best we could do with them is get them to eat "humane" meat.

 

Keep the animal rights on the side, there are some people willing to listen, but I would rather have a person go vegan for themselves than not at all. And I am sure that there is a segment of  the population who would never go vegan for the animals. And once a person goes vegan, for whatever reason, they are more likely to adopt other reasons for being vegan. A lot of the animal rights is just causally thrown in with the vegan cupcakes and celebrity news. It might not be at the core of it, but if it were I think we would end up frightening away more vegans than we would draw.

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#3 Old 06-29-2012, 05:38 PM
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Is there a bad reason for chosing to buy fair trade? Must someone believe in human rights in order to act in ways that benefit other humans?

 

Is there a wrong way to buy organic? Does it matter that most people do it because they think it's healthier than because they care about farm workers' exposure to pesticides or environmental damage caused by pesticides?

 

Would it be wrong to donate to an environmental charity purely to "show off" to coworkers or friends? Do you think the charity would care if someone does it for the wrong reason?

 

Do you think the animals really care about the "bastardizing" of vegan philosophy???

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#4 Old 06-29-2012, 06:12 PM
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The term, vegan, may have been coined about 1944, but its principles were certainly not invented then; people throughout history have lived this lifestyle. We may thank the man Watson for the word, but through common usage, it has been liberated beyond the confines of a single movement and resides in the public domain.

 

I would point out that the animal kingdom includes humans.


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#5 Old 06-29-2012, 07:43 PM
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I 100% agree with it. I don't like the idea of the ethics of veganism getting swept under the rug because a few people are afraid to come out of be against factory farms and being vegan for the animals, that or it's for selfish needs. I think a lot of society today is leaning toward narcissism, where everyone only seems to care about what's best for them right now, and not really even considering the consequences that the fulfilling of those desires has on others, both good and bad. I really don't want to see veganism turn into something vain or narcissistic. Let it be what it was meant to be about; for the animals.

 

I understand that by having more vegans they would inadvertently be helping animals anyway, and while that's good, there is still that piece, that piece of oneness and connection with the world, missing. I don't want to lose that, and I try not to contribute to the loss of that. Yes we do have to have some discussion about health, but I believe, since we know that veganism is already healthy, that should come after the rights of the animals and the philosophy behind veganism are explained.

 

On that note, veganism should be fun! Who says we can't still enjoy talking about baking and recipes, animal friendly fashion, and beauty? We can all enjoy that stuff with the knowing that the pleasure of those moments would not just be for ourselves, but for our fellow animal beings in oneness, peace, and harmony. (LOL I feel like I'm writing some sort of lyrics)


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#6 Old 06-29-2012, 08:36 PM
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I think there are many reasons for deciding not to eat meat. If I were to judge another's reasons as not as good, pure, or cool as mine, it would not help one animal.

On the other hand, I can understand many young AR vegans' annoyance with old sick people looking for solutions clogging up their fun forums.
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#7 Old 06-29-2012, 09:53 PM
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Where did that post originally appear? It's a quote apparently, but from where?

 

In general I agree with the thrust of the bit, but the specifics are problematic. It's too close to the 'correct reason to be vegan' hand wringing that pops up from time to time.

 

And I have to point out this:

 

 

Quote:
Veganism is concerned with the rights of animals to be viewed as persons and members of the moral community, not as objects to be used for greed, taste and entertainment. The meaning has not changed since 1944, when Vegan Society co-founder Donald Watson coined the term “vegan” to mean “a way of living which excludes all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, the animal kingdom,”

 

One definition for veganism is given (one which, as a definition rather than description, dates to the late 80s or so) and then a DIFFERENT definition is given (Watson's). And the fact that TWO definitions are in the paragraph ... pet peeve of mine.


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#8 Old 06-29-2012, 09:59 PM
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I don't think it's a bad thing that the animal rights movement is moving away from animal liberation. On one hand animal liberation saves the lives of animals and takes money away from the industries using them but it's just not a solution to the problem. Any animals that are rescued will just be replaced and most of these companies are so filthy rich that losing a little money won't end them. And perhaps most importantly animal liberation scares people away from animal rights. It makes people think that animal rights is violent and that all animal rights activists are crazy nuts putting bombs in the cars of college students. And if no one will suport animal rights we aren't going to get anywhere.

Lastly history repeats itself. If the animal rights movement wants to be succesful I think it'd be wise to follow the same pattern as other succesful movements such as the civil rights movement for example. Martin Luther King made civil rights a 100% peaceful movement and it worked. We should do the same. By being a peaceful movement we will get far more support and that is what matters.

As far people going vegan for the "wrong" reasons, there's no wrong reason to go vegan. I don't care if someone goes vegan because they are a die-hard animal rights supporter or because they want to make cute vegan cupcakes. And I don't the animals being killed in slaughter houses care either.

 

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#9 Old 06-29-2012, 10:34 PM
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Originally Posted by BlueSkies&Rainbows View Post

I don't think it's a bad thing that the animal rights movement is moving away from animal liberation. On one hand animal liberation saves the lives of animals and takes money away from the industries using them but it's just not a solution to the problem. Any animals that are rescued will just be replaced and most of these companies are so filthy rich that losing a little money won't end them. And perhaps most importantly animal liberation scares people away from animal rights. It makes people think that animal rights is violent and that all animal rights activists are crazy nuts putting bombs in the cars of college students. And if no one will suport animal rights we aren't going to get anywhere.

Lastly history repeats itself. If the animal rights movement wants to be succesful I think it'd be wise to follow the same pattern as other succesful movements such as the civil rights movement for example. Martin Luther King made civil rights a 100% peaceful movement and it worked. We should do the same. By being a peaceful movement we will get far more support and that is what matters.

I'm not sure how you get from the above quote that the author is talking about direct physical liberation of animals or bombs in this context.  The words liberation and rights are often used interchangeably. 

 

Also, I think your analysis of the political use of nonviolence is too simplistic.

Quote:

...He criticizes the conventional narrative of India’s liberation, in which Mahatma Gandhi-led acts of “protest, noncooperation, economic boycotts, hunger strikes, and other acts of disobedience … made British imperialism unworkable.” This narrative erases the militants who fought for independence by assassinating British officials in the 1920s and 1930s, such as Chandrasekhar Azad and Bhagat Singh. Subhas Chandra Bose, an advocate of violent resistance and a rival of Mr. Ghandi’s, was twice elected president of the Indian National Congress, in 1938 and 1939.

 

Mr. Gelderloos also insists that the nonviolent elements of the U.S. civil-rights movement of the 1960s “cannot be distilled and separated from its revolutionary parts.” He says that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s nine-month civil-disobedience campaign in Albany, Ga., in 1961 achieved very little. Dr. King’s famous Birmingham, Ala., campaign in 1963 succeeded in bringing about desegregation, he says, only because, on top of the nonviolent protests, 3,000 people eventually fought against the aggression of the police with rocks and bottles. “The largest victory of the civil rights movement came when black people demonstrated that they would not remain peaceful forever,” says Mr. Gelderloos.

http://blogs.wsj.com/informedreader/2007/05/09/without-violences-help-nonviolence-doesnt-do-much/#comments

 

Nonviolence movements do not exist in a vacuum but are generally backed up with a threat or possibility of violence.

 

Regardless, I would not consider directly liberating animals "violence" under most any scenario.

 

This is off-topic though because I think it's based on a misreading of the original post.


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#10 Old 06-29-2012, 11:13 PM
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I'm disappointed. I thought the author was proposing that we focus on actively liberating animals rather than promoting veganism. Then he/she seems not to argue for anything to do with liberating animals and instead just argues that we shouldn't promote veganism in the wrong way. And some of it strikes me as incorrect. Many celebrities DO speak out about the ethics of food for the animals' sake. Peter Dinklage, Alec Baldwin and Russel Simmons come to mind although I don't know if they're vegans. Not every celebrity is a self-serving cynic. And then there's the gripe relating to the very tired debate about how strictly the word 'vegan' should be used. I can't say I don't agree with some of what the author wrote, but it's far less provocative or controversial than I expected and doesn't strike me as all that productive. I see a lot of "here's what's not to do" without much "here's what to do".

 

An "animal liberation" vegan in my mind is one who supports more direct action against animal exploitation than simply not buying the spoils.


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#11 Old 06-30-2012, 12:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Dave in MPLS View Post

Where did that post originally appear? It's a quote apparently, but from where?

In general I agree with the thrust of the bit, but the specifics are problematic. It's too close to the 'correct reason to be vegan' hand wringing that pops up from time to time.

And I have to point out this:



One definition for veganism is given (one which, as a definition rather than description, dates to the late 80s or so) and then a DIFFERENT definition is given (Watson's). And the fact that TWO definitions are in the paragraph ... pet peeve of mine.

Doh! I edited to include the link blush.gif

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