A Message to My Fellow Vegans: We’re All Adults Here, Baby Steps Are For Babies

 

“Become vegan and the world says you’re extreme.   Become abolitionist vegan and vegans say you’re extreme” – Keith Berger

When I began living vegan in 2004, I immediately began involving myself in every bit of animal rights activism I could find, feeling a passionate, desperate need to “do something” about the horrors and injustices I suddenly understood were taking place all around me and all around the world.  I didn’t know where to start and I couldn’t see where or how it all might end – all I knew is that I had to get involved and start making a difference.  I continued engaging in various avenues of activism, hoping to educate people that, for example, to attend animal circuses is to directly support slavery and abuse.  I wrote letters to editors and was published.  I took part in city council meetings to have circuses banned.  I removed countless discount circus coupons from local businesses and took down circus advertisements.  I attended demonstrations, held signs, passed out leaflets and engaged circus-goers in groups and one-to-one on their way in and out of the arena, giving them the best I had in what little time was available, which was often no longer than a few seconds.  I stood and watched, with tears in my eyes, the Parade of Slaves as burly men armed with bullhooks marched dispirited elephants through parking lots and into the next performance.  Was this effective?  Possibly, but if the effect was merely to open a person’s eyes to one specific type of abuse and convince her/him to tear up their tickets and take the kids home only so they could get to their neighbor’s barbecue and eat the burnt corpses of dead animals or stop at McDonald’s a few hours earlier, then my definition of “effective” needed an overhaul.  Where was the message that making the choice to live vegan was the real answer to ending animal exploitation?  Were we all hoping the people we challenged outside the circus (including the circus employees themselves) would go home, research these issues and be moved to change their lives and, in doing so, change the world?  That was doubtful, especially considering that, as I looked around at my fellow activists, very few were vegan and many didn’t even seem open to the message of living vegan when we brought it up.  They were “just here to help the poor elephants”.

When I began reading Professor Gary Francione’s* work regarding the abolitionist approach to animal rights, my eyes, mind and heart opened even wider and my definition of “effective” did indeed begin to change.

[*please read our Disclaimer regarding the mention of individuals and/or groups not necessarily endorsed by or affiliated with this site, our group or its members.]

The animal rights movement abounds with myriad single-issue campaigns (SICs) – circuses, gestation crates, fur farms, vivisection, “humane” slaughter methods, whales, orcas, dolphins, cat and dog meat… the list is endless – that serve to be most effective at doing one thing: reducing the effectiveness of our movement by sending us scurrying in a thousand (a conservative estimate) different directions and thereby preventing us from presenting a unified, unequivocal message that, if we truly believe in and desire liberty and justice for all, veganism must be the moral baseline for our behavior toward non-human animals.  Start there, and the rest of the issues will begin to fall away.  Continue on the present course and be divided and conquered.  Giving support to welfarist organizations that treat veganism like an afterthought or a nice, but unattainable, ideal (or worse – denigrate it as a quest for “personal purity”) is a misuse of valuable time, energy, money and resources.

This essay deals with one such SIC I see every week and the speciesism behind it: Meatless Monday.

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The problem is not how we exploit animals – the problem is that we exploit animals in the first place, so  the solution is not to reduce animal abuse; it’s to eliminate animal use… and that solution lies in educating people to live vegan.

If you’re a bank robber and one day realize that robbing banks is morally wrong, you don’t seek better ways to rob banks – you just stop robbing them (unless you’re determined to be a criminal and are willing to pay the consequences if caught, or a sociopath and can’t determine right from wrong).  To paraphrase the Roman philosopher Seneca’s wise words, there’s no point in trying to find the right way to do a wrong thing.

According to my research, the idea of Meatless Monday began nearly 100 years in the United States as a way to ration food to help with the war effort.  It was revived in 2003, according to www.meatlessmonday.com, as a “public health awareness campaign” in order to address “…the prevalence of preventable illnesses associated with excessive meat consumption.”  On their “Why Meatless?” page, in 11 paragraphs and 796 words, there is nothing that speaks about the suffering, confinement, enslavement and slaughter of the non-human animals the campaign is suggesting people abstain from eating one day a week.  This campaign is clearly not part of any social justice movement intended to help abolish the property status of animals, nor to help any animal in any way – unless that animal is of the human variety and wants to optimize her/his health, as its stated aim is to help humans lower their risk of contracting preventable chronic diseases linked with the consumption of animal products (heart disease, diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease, to name a few).  In short, Meatless Monday is rooted in the same self-centered egotism, speciesism and myth of human supremacy that allows humans the self-proclaimed “right” to destroy the lives of non-human animals wantonly and with no regard to their well-being or feelings.

Even though it’s clear that the Meatless Monday campaign has nothing to do with helping to bring an end to the exploitation of non-human animals (even though some people claim every meatless meal “saves” x-number of animals, as if skipping a hamburger results in, somewhere, a cow being magically transported from a slaughterhouse to a sanctuary) , many vegans and high-profile celebrity vegans lend their name to and continue to support this campaign, rationalizing that it is “part of the journey” toward veganism.  Some seem to believe it’s necessary to encourage non-vegans to take “baby steps” and that “every little bit helps”.  It’s my contention that one does not encourage another to practice ethical behavior only when personally convenient or in accordance with some arbitrary set of rules.  Coddling those who continue to exploit others when they are well aware that their choices and behaviors condemn individuals to miserable lives and horrific deaths is simply unacceptable.  We would never suggest that serial killers take “baby steps” and observe Murder-Free Mondays, would we?  Of course not.  We would explain to them why their behavior is wrong (assuming they didn’t already know) and demand they stop at once or face dire consequences.  What consequences do we impose on those who pay others to do their killing for them so they can dine on the carcasses of animals?  None… but Nature does (see preventable chronic diseases listed above).

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While people are taking “baby steps” toward living vegan, billions of innocent babies continue to suffer and die each year.  Given the opportunity, would those baby-steppers be willing to baby-step through a slaughterhouse and look those suffering individuals on Death Row in their haunted eyes and tell them “Gee, I think living vegan is a great idea for some people, I’m working on going vegan but I need more time, I’m just not ready, it’s such a big change to make, my family wouldn’t understand, I’m really sorry but you’ll be dead and eaten by the time I make a commitment to justice instead of my own selfishness”?  Would anyone be willing to take that kind of personal responsibility for their unwillingness to spare someone’s life at the expense of their own palate pleasure?  Supporting animal exploitation 6 days a week instead of 7 is like supporting spousal abuse 85% of the time instead of 100%.  Who does that??

Perpetrators who want to get away with what they can whenever they can, that’s who.

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There are those who support the baby-step “journeys” of non-vegans to become vegan – some of which take 2-3 decades – and suggest we should “give them a break, they will eventually arrive”.  While I understand that not every person will go vegan overnight (though many of us have), we vegans must remain clear that this is their choice and not our suggestion, remaining unequivocal that anything less than embracing veganism as the moral baseline for our treatment of individuals of other species is to continue being complicit in animal exploitation and needless death.  For the animals who suffer and die waiting for “eventually” to happen, “eventually” is unacceptable and arrives much too late.  If we see a woman being raped, we don’t go help her “eventually”, nor do we wait for the rapist to complete his “journey” to living a rape-free life, asking him to maybe rape a little less every day and applauding him when he goes a whole day without raping anyone.  What drives some people to accept such an unacceptable double-standard when the victims are non-human animals?  The answer is speciesism, the most egregious and deadly form of racism in existence on our planet today.

Veganism should be the starting point on a journey to live as ethically as possible, not some future goal to attain when one is finally ready to live nonviolently.

Some ask why this same debate repeats every “Meatless” Monday, so here’s why – because every Monday, some people take a mere 16 hours off from participating in an endless worldwide animal holocaust and actually seem to believe this is somehow commendable and effective.  During the Holocaust, I’m sure all the Nazis took naps now and then.  That didn’t help their victims at all because, after nap time was over, the terrorism and killing continued.  The sad reality of this ineffectual campaign is that every Meaningless Monday is immediately followed by a Return to Terrorism Tuesday and a We Keep Killing Wednesday.  Imagine if there were campaigns for Rape-Free Fridays or Child Abuse-Free Thursdays.  Should we applaud those well-intentioned baby steps too, or shouldn’t we base our work on creating Exploitation-Free EveryDay?

If we, as vegans, can’t commit to a 100% effort toward clear, consistent, unequivocal vegan education, how do we expect non-vegans to commit to a 100% vegan life when, by engaging in and promoting SICs, we’re essentially giving them permission to exploit animals most, but not all, of the time?  Would you tell a heroin addict to only shoot dope every other day (and thereby continue to cause himself harm and support the livelihood of his drug dealer and his dealer’s dealer), or would you suggest total abstinence?

Baby steps are for babies.  I challenge my fellow vegans to be the adults we are and stop making the unacceptable seem acceptable.  This is known as enabling and, the sooner it stops, the sooner real change begins.  If you’re already vegan, please stop making it OK for others to continue destroying the lives of non-human animals by lending your support to half-measures like Meatless Monday and the other useless, ineffective and counter-productive single-issue campaigns promoted by animal welfarist organizations that treat “vegan” like a dirty word.  Instead, let’s focus our efforts on clear, consistent vegan education wherever and whenever we can, being unequivocal about the idea of veganism as the moral baseline for our treatment of the animals with whom we share this small planet.

Live vegan.  Educate others.  Start now, here’s how:

www.HowToGoVegan.org
www.VeganEducationGroup.com
www.BeFairBeVegan.com

Dismantling Speciesism

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Speciesism, analogous with racism and sexism, can be defined as a double standard created by humans placing higher moral value on some individual animals over other individual animals, based solely on the morally irrelevant criterion of species membership.

As I sat in a recent lecture about weight stigma and body shaming, listening to the speakers discuss the intersectionality of various forms of oppression, I waited for them to mention the elephant in the room, speciesism… and they never did.  That’s when I realized:

Speciesism isn’t just an elephant in the room.  It’s much more than that.  It’s a cow, a pig, a chicken, a fish, a turkey, a lamb… and it’s much more than that.  The fact is, there are billions of land animals and countless sea animals in the room and NO ONE is talking about them.  NO ONE is acknowledging them and their basic right to live free from exploitation, objectification and commodification.  NO ONE is thinking of these individuals as anything more than disposable, replaceable “things” – objects to be used, like the chairs in which we sit – to satisfy some fleeting desire or convenience.  Instead, they’re eating their exploited remains and wearing skins, furs and feathers ripped from their dead bodies (and, in many cases, their still-living bodies).

I will admit that there is an error in my comments above.  I say that no one is talking about, acknowledging or thinking about these individuals, but this is untrue.

Vegans are talking about, acknowledging and thinking about these individuals and their right to an autonomous life and, more importantly, we’re doing something about the speciesism pervasive in our society that demands the continued exploitation, enslavement and execution of non-human animals for morally unjustifiable reasons.  Some vegans are simply abstaining from participating in those injustices, as that is the least they can do as a moral obligation.  Others, especially abolitionist vegans, are actively educating the public through various creative means about their engagement in and support of speciesism and letting them know that the simplest and most immediate action one can take to stop the violent oppression and exploitation of the most vulnerable members of our global society – non-human individuals – is to start living vegan.

Speciesism, rooted in the myth of human supremacy, begets all other forms of oppression toward the vulnerable that we see running rampant on our planet today.  We believe the abolition and dismantling of speciesism are integral in starting the chain of conscious evolution that will lead to the end of racism, sexism, heterosexism, classism, ableism and the like.  The application of speciesism provides a blueprint for all other forms of exploitation, as what we would do to the most vulnerable members of our global society – non-human individuals – we would then find ways to do to those less vulnerable but still able to be dominated and oppressed (it is no accident that the techniques employed in the mass extermination of millions of humans in Europe in the 1930s and 1940s were born in slaughterhouses).  Conversely, the dismantling of speciesism, through living vegan and educating others to live vegan, gives us a blueprint for treating all individuals as we ourselves wish to be treated – with fairness, justice and the right to live autonomous lives, free from the enslavement of more powerful “others”.

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If you oppose at least one form of violent oppression because you recognize it is morally wrong, then to live in integrity requires opposing all forms of violent oppression because they are all morally wrong.  Speciesism, simply by virtue of having the largest number of victims and the highest death toll worldwide, is the most egregious form of violent oppression our world has ever known.  It’s time to dismantle speciesism, and the way to do that, again, is through living vegan and educating others to live vegan.

Live vegan.  Educate others.  Start now, here’s how:

www.HowToGoVegan.org
www.VeganEducationGroup.com
www.BeFairBeVegan.com

Until Cages Are Only A Memory

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One rallying cry of some animal welfare activists and organizations, “Until every cage is empty”, may sound good on the surface, however one of the problems with this approach is that it does nothing to address the central problem of animal exploitation as a whole.  Rather, it represents yet another attempt by animal welfarists to bring about incremental change in animal use, an approach that has failed miserably for over 200 years.

Imagine if, in the days when slavery-related lynchings were common, anti-slavery activists had rallied behind weak, toothless slogans like “Until every noose is empty” or “Say no to whips!” (the equivalent of modern-day circus protesters holding signs emblazoned with “Say no to bullhooks!”) rather than directly addressing racism as a moral issue.   Conceivably, such an approach might have led to the following position:

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Marketing – noun – lies designed to separate people from their money and their morals

“Yes, I can see the effectiveness of working to specifically end the practice of lynching.  I’m anti-slavery on the whole, of course, and consider myself an ‘abolitionist’, but if we can at least put a stop to lynching, that seems like a good thing.  Lynching is really bad and seems worse in some ways than other manifestations of racism, so let’s get that under control and we can worry about the other million issues that surround it later.  We need to take baby steps because not everyone agrees that racism is wrong.”

When you disallow an abuser to use one weapon, the abuser will invariably find another weapon or means of abuse not yet made verboten, and the status quo remains in place.  Insisting that a right-handed spousal abuser administer beatings with his left hand doesn’t even come close to solving the underlying problem.

cage-free-facilityConsider this: there isn’t a single cage, full or empty, in a “free-range” or “cage-free” egg production facility, yet untold numbers of animals are still confined there to be exploited and slaughtered when they are no longer productive.  Essentially, the entire operation is a cage.  Does a cage-free egg represent a “victory”, as organizations like H$U$, Mercy For Animals, Compassion Over Killing, Farm Sanctuary, PETA, Vague-an Outreach (the list is endless – let’s just call them all what they really are – Donations Over Animals) would have us believe?  Does emptying cages help when the results are still the same – exploitation and death?  Does sending donor dollars to organizations such as these who are clearly in bed with the animal agriculture industry and assisting them in maximizing profits help bring about justice for animals in any way?

I think not.  In fact, after a decade of living under the delusion that welfarism is effective as an approach to animal rights (and despite what animal welfarist organizations will state in their own defense), I have come to believe exactly the opposite.  Rest assured that when an animal agriculture organization makes a “concession” to change some practice as asked or “demanded” of them by an animal welfare organization, it does so with its own profits clearly in mind and only stands to gain monetarily from “succumbing to the pressure” with a nod and a wink.  The welfarist organization trumpets “Victory!”, sending the “good news” to its donors and asking for more money to continue this “important work”, and the donor dollars arrive in a flood.  It’s a sick game, the animals always lose and justice is never achieved.

Our goal as animal rights activists should not be to eliminate the instruments of animal exploitation one by one, but rather to dismantle speciesism and change the paradigm that allows animals to be used and exploited for human purposes in the first place – and the clearest path to this goal is through clear, consistent, unequivocal vegan education.  Having empty cages in warehouses is no better than leaving empty nooses swinging from trees.  In fact, it keeps the ideas of these things alive in our collective consciousness and points the way to a slippery slope back to re-implementing their use.  These instruments of exploitation should be forevermore in disuse until they become nothing more than dusty relics of our barbaric past and bad memories from a fading nightmare.

Live vegan.  Educate others.  Start now.  Here’s how:

www.HowToGoVegan.org

http://www.VeganEducationGroup.com

“But Meat, Cheese, Eggs and Milk Taste Good!”

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One common argument against veganism is, “I like eating meat, cheese, eggs and milk. They taste good!”  While that may be the case for some people (I certainly felt that way in my pre-vegan days), personal taste preference is irrelevant in matters of fundamental justice and here’s what this argument really means:

“The satisfaction of my personal pleasure is more important than another individual’s right to have their body treated with respect and not be used as an object.”

Essentially, this same argument could be used by a rapist to justify rape, or by a human trafficker to justify commercial sexual exploitation.  If such analogies seem off the mark or offensive, consider that the non-human animals used by humans to provide food are routinely sexually abused by their human “caretakers” through, among other things, non-consensual, forced penetration and manipulation of their reproductive organs under the euphemism of “animal husbandry” (even this term has the ring of bestiality to it…).

The ability to take something from someone else (property, sex, children, money) does not mean we should take those things from them.  On the contrary, it means that we, as the more powerful entities in the situation, have a moral obligation to do what is right and not take that which does not rightfully belong to us.  To proceed otherwise is to act unethically, unjustly and immorally.  It is to act as a bully, an oppressor and a tyrant.

Is that the best we can aspire to, or can we make the simple decision to remove ourselves from the violent oppression and exploitation of the most vulnerable members of our global society – non-human individuals – and start living vegan, right here and right now?

The choice is clear.

Live vegan.  Educate others.  Start now, here’s how:

www.HowToGoVegan.org
www.VeganEducationGroup.com
www.BeFairBeVegan.com

My Thoughts on Single-Issue Animal “Rights” Campaigns

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[cover photo courtesy of Abolitionist Vegan Resources]

I had a light bulb moment one afternoon when thinking about welfarism vs. abolition.  I’m sure the idea was inspired by Professor Gary Francione’s work and exists in much simpler terms, but I suddenly saw it so clearly that I practically danced around the room:

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

When it comes to SICs, my contention is that we are striking at the branches of a very diseased tree rather than at the root where the problem begins, and are therefore keeping the status quo rolling along.  Working to find acceptable ways to do unacceptable things normalizes the unacceptable things – namely, enslaving and commodifying animals to be used for food, clothing, entertainment, laboratory testing and human conveniences – and makes them seem acceptable.  Over the course of a decade of welfarist outreach, I’ve spoken with countless non-vegans who said the same thing – “Eating animals is fine, it’s normal.  I’m never gonna stop.  They shouldn’t abuse them, though.  That’s just wrong”.  If we focus our time, effort and energy on minimizing the discomfort of the animals who will ultimately be killed and eaten regardless of their comfort level, it only serves to make it even easier for people such as I’ve described (again, those were actual experiences and quotes) to keep on eating animals, drinking their secretions, wearing their skins and lining up for seconds, sometimes doubling their complicity in animal exploitation by, say, having a hot dog at the circus or a burger at the zoo.  If those people felt a twinge of conscience for a second about the abuses we showed them, that’s sure to be alleviated once the abuses seemingly stop or are at least reduced.  So it seems that when we work to reduce – but not eliminate – animal suffering (as is the hallmark of all the welfarist organizations), there’s an unintended consequence – non-vegans can keep eating and otherwise exploiting animals now with a clear conscience and no reason nor desire to ever stop.

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

Please read this wonderful essay from There’s an Elephant in the Room for what I consider to be a brilliant take on the issue:

My thoughts on petitions and single issues

Image courtesy of Vegan Trove (www.VeganTrove.com)
Image courtesy of Vegan Trove (www.VeganTrove.com)

I’ve been accused of having an all-or-nothing attitude of “you have to choose one or the other”, however that is not my attitude.   Each individual is free to do as they choose and will make the choice that best suits them, their morals and their ethics.  My belief after a decade of welfarism is that when we have the opportunity to choose to educate people about veganism as a moral imperative, then as vegans it is incumbent upon us to do so.   Educate one person to become vegan and you almost immediately eliminate support for literally dozens of animal exploitation issues.  Educate ten and you multiply the effect accordingly.  Conversely, educate one person that fur is bad (a popular SIC) and that person may or may not stop wearing fur, and probably won’t make the connection about other animals not used in the fur trade.  Which sounds more effective?  Once a person stops going to the circus… well… they stop going to the circus.  For most people, that’s pretty much where it ends:

“Look, people holding signs!  Losers!  Get a life! –> Huh?  What’s that sign say?  Circuses hurt elephants?  That can’t be! –> Oh, here’s some literature about circuses, hmm, maybe they’re right  –> Well, I don’t want elephants to be hurt… –> OK, I’ll stop supporting circuses –> I did a good thing! —–> We’re leaving, kids.  I’m hungry, I think we’ll stop on the way home for some cheeseburgers and milk (they’re elephant-free)”.  They don’t necessarily start living vegan or stop being complicit in any other form of animal exploitation, and why would they if no one has taken the time and effort to educate them properly?  And again, it’s my belief and observation that single-issue campaigns leave out the vegan piece almost entirely.  I can point to numerous publications and campaigns by PeTA, Mercy for Animals, Compassion Over Killing and Veg(etari)an Outreach (more like outrage…) that either don’t mention the word “vegan” at all or bury it so far in the conversation that it’s hardly noticeable.  After all, donation-based animal welfare corporations don’t want to alienate the donor base and risk losing the donor dollars that keep them in business and employed.  If they pooled their resources and put their focus, energy and money toward proper vegan education, they would eventually put themselves right out of business and that’s just not part of a sound corporate business model.

Keith in full welfare mode
Keith in full welfare mode, January 2009.

One of the SICs I worked on passionately for ten years, both through protests and legislative means, was Ringling Brothers and their treatment of elephants and other exploited circus animals (as can be seen in the photo above, not only am I foregoing any chance at vegan education in lieu of focusing on this single issue, I am also promoting not one but two welfarist organizations, Farm Sanctuary and Animal Rights Foundation of Florida.  I am not proud of this image).  When the news broke in 2015 that Ringling is planning to “retire” their performing elephants, everyone and their mother trumpeted “VICTORY!” from every available mountaintop.  I also thought we had achieved a victory – for about five minutes, until I looked a little more closely and saw the reality of the situation: Ringling has agreed to do nothing more than move their slaves off the road – years in the future – and back to their own breeding facility in Florida (it ain’t no sanctuary…) – the SAME facility in which these suffering individuals were tortured (Ringling calls it “training”), had their spirits broken as babies, were introduced to bull hooks and electric prods and completely subjugated to the will of men.  What kind of victory is that?  They’re returning to the exact location where their physical and psychological trauma was born, which is tantamount to sending a neglected foster child back home to her abusive foster parents except that, in the elephants’ case, they’ve been with their abusers the entire time.  Did anyone believe life was gonna get better for them once they returned “home”?  Oh, and Ringling is also going to loan them out to zoos (I believe that’s being done already) for breeding purposes, as they are still property to be used as Ringling sees fit, which continues their enslavement and brings in a new generation of slaves.  The slaves remain slaves – we just don’t get to see public displays anymore.  Also, Ringling is bringing other animals on the road to replace the elephants, so we’d better hurry and get out our markers and change our protest signs from elephants to camels.  This is not a victory – this is a ploy to appease some activists and remain profitable.  Ringling didn’t suddenly have a change of heart and realize that what they’ve been doing for over a hundred years is wrong. They just found a way to do damage control.  I never once saw anyone doing vegan education at a Ringling protest, as these events are simply not conducive to that happening.  When we did manage to turn people around from entering the circus, we can rest assured they simply went home a few hours earlier to the neighbor’s barbecue and stopped at McDonald’s on the way.  I find that kind of “victory” hollow at best and counterproductive at worst.

The distinction between abolitionism and welfarism was being made as far back as 1967 by H. Jay Dinshah
The distinction between abolitionism and welfarism was being made as far back as 1967 by H. Jay Dinshah

I’ve been told by animal welfarists that “there is room for us all”, which is almost an exact quote from a presentation I attended in 2009 by World Heavyweight Champion welfarist and consummate salesperson Wayne Pacelle, CEO of H$U$, “the nation’s largest and most effective animal protection organization” (I recall him using the phrase, “We’re a big tent movement”, which at the time I thought was great.  I washed it down with a cup of Every Little Bit Helps Kool-Aid).  This guy is head of an organization that, in the course of raking in hundreds of millions of dollars a year, offers bacon coupons(!!!) on their Facebook page, hosted an atrocity called “Hoofin’ It“, “a 4-night slaughter-fest dining event featuring a menu of cows, pigs, bison, and sheep” [description courtesy of Bob Linden](!!!!) and cozies up with animal agriculture/exploitation organizations while promoting countless SICs every year to make sure the animals their friends are going to kill, butcher and eat are comfy in their slave quarters beforehand.  Animal protection, my ass.  I can’t be the only one who finds those kinds of mixed messages maddeningly confusing, utterly disheartening and completely unacceptable, and yet the donations keep pouring in by the millions.

If we should be out protesting something, it should be against welfarist organizations like that, which gives us the perfect opportunity to blend protests and vegan education: “Hey, if you’re vegan, why are you picketing PeTA?”  “Because, while PeTA is pointing you in these fifteen directions, here’s the most important thing they’re NOT telling you: The simplest and most immediate action one can take to stop the violence, oppression and exploitation of the most vulnerable members of our global society – non-human individuals – is to start living vegan.  There are no valid reasons not to; there are only morally unjustifiable excuses to hide behind”.

I was once asked if I want a vegan world.  I do, absolutely.  That’s why I’m doing what I believe will have the greatest impact – clear, consistent, unequiVOCAL vegan education – and leaving behind that which I believe will not.

Keith Berger

Live vegan.  Educate others.  Start now, here’s how: