Tag Archives: language

Language Matters Vol. 1 – Vegan / Non-Vegan

Courtesy: Colin Wright https://legacyofpythagoras.wordpress.com/

“There are two kinds of people in the world: those who divide the world into two kinds of people, and…” ūüėČ

Language Matters

Although there seem to be countless, ever-increasing variations on the theme of what to call those who intentionally support, promote and personally benefit from animal use and exploitation to satisfy their personal pleasure, comfort and convenience, please consider the following:

When it comes to humans, there are those who live vegan and those who do not, hence there are only vegans and non-vegans.

Veganism is NOT a Diet

While there is certainly a dietary component to living vegan, this nonviolent, justice-focused way of living goes far beyond the end of one’s fork.

Image courtesy of Vegan Musings @ https://www.facebook.com/ThoughtsPicturesPoems/

Since veganism¬†is not defined by simple abstinence from eating animals and their secretions but rather follows the ethical principle of eschewing¬†any use/exploitation of non-human individuals wherever possible and practicable, terms like “omni”, “omnivore”, “carnivore”, “necrovore”, “flesh-eater”, “carnist”, “corpse-muncher”, etc. are problematic in multiple ways, some of which are discussed below.

First, these terms are inherently speciesist in that they put the focus on “meat” (animal flesh) and fail to take into account the consumption of animal secretions such as milk, eggs and honey. ¬†Further, they overlook the myriad uses of non-human animals for other than dietary reasons which unfortunately causes confusion as to what veganism truly means. ¬†The animal agriculture industry and their¬†supporters are doing a fine job of purposefully muddying those waters already – I implore vegans not to unwittingly aid animal ag in their subversion of our efforts to dismantle speciesism and bring an end to animal exploitation by engaging in speciesism themselves.

Antagonism –> Alienation

Next, many of the aforementioned terms and others like them are frequently used pejoratively, hence they have a high potential to trigger defensive reactions from those we might otherwise engage and educate about veganism, thereby limiting our advocacy opportunities by turning conversations into confrontations.

Antagonism is a form of violence and, since veganism represents a commitment to living nonviolently, it is counterproductive to engage in a behavior we are trying to end. ¬†If our goal is to continue making progress in shifting the current¬†speciesist paradigm that not only allows but¬†demands the enslavement, exploitation and execution of billions of non-human individuals each year to satisfy human gluttony, it’s important to remember that it’s always better to educate than to alienate.

Image courtesy of https://veganismisnonviolence.com/

While some may grow tired of the same old phrasing and wish to spice things up with new and clever variations Рespecially ones that sell lots of books but are ultimately misleading and based on false premises Рit is preferable to avoid unnecessary confusion by keeping things simple and remaining consistent in the language we use.  It is also important to not engage in the same forms of oppression one is working to end.

Remember Рthere are vegans and there are non-vegans.  This wheel does not need reinventing.

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Dismantle speciesism.  Live vegan.  Educate others.
 
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BeFairBeVegan.com

Please enjoy this related essay:

On Defining Veganism