Imagine you and your family are traveling in a foreign country that considers people from your country to be of an inferior race, and that the country’s economy is based on capturing, enslaving and ultimately murdering citizens of your country once they’re no longer useful with no serious legal repercussions other than an economic inconvenience here and there and a couple of low-level patsies losing their jobs after some undercover video evidence of “horrific practices” is leaked (but soon finding jobs in similar situations), mostly slap-on-the-wrist stuff leading to promises to “be more humane” and assurances that “We had no idea about these isolated incidences, we are appalled!”.
Imagine you’re all taken hostage and your captors’ stated intentions are that the males in your family are to be put to hard labor, tortured and then executed and the females kept alive to be tortured, raped and forced to produce more offspring for enslavement (again, eventually everyone’s executed once their “productivity” wanes) and keep the cycle going for generations, as has been their common practice for years. Now, as one of the hostages (pick a gender), would you want, need or be in any way satisfied with advocates working to get you “improvements” such as a better view while you wait to die, a smaller blowtorch with which to be tortured or a more comfortable bed on which to be repeatedly raped? Doubtful. If those are the goals for which they advocate, they might as well help sharpen the killing blade while they’re at it to make your death as painless as possible (another “improvement”, some might say) because, inevitably, death is what’s coming.
But the scenario I’ve just described isn’t a simple hostage situation and isn’t really about “us” – it’s about animals. This is what humans do to individuals of other species by the billions every year across the world. And what we would NEVER knowingly or willingly allow to happen to humans for any preventable length of time, we keep allowing to happen to animals. “But we’re really trying“, say those who, with all good intentions, implement, support and engage in single-issue, welfarist campaigns designed to minimize – as oppose to end – the injustices we regularly impose on non-human animals (there’s a saying in certain circles that “trying is lying”). Our current laws consider animals our “property”, which gives them no real rights ever and essentially gives permission for humans to do as they please to non-humans. There is no “negotiation” to gain freedom for these individuals, as they are someone’s property and there’s nothing illegal about confining them against their will, as there is with kidnapping humans. In fact, if one rescues an animal from such a situation, the “rescuer” is the one who has broken the law. Since changes in law follow social change rather than the reverse being true, when we advocate for anything less than living vegan we engender, foster and support speciesism, a double standard (analogous with racism and sexism) 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. It would logically follow that those who do not support racism and sexism would have a moral obligation not to support speciesism, and yet, people of seemingly good moral character continue to do just that, offering no better reasons than palate pleasure, comfort, convenience, entertainment and habit – in short, selfishness.
There is another factor that should be considered in scenarios where animals are stolen from facilities that confine and use them, which has again become fashionable under the designation “open rescue” as coordinated by various animal “welfare” corporations who do not focus on unequivocal vegan education but rather take a scattershot, every-little-bit-helps approach. As long as non-human animals are considered property/things and disposable, replaceable economic units, then every “rescued” animal will be replaced by at least one other individual in order to restock the shelves and keep the system rolling along and profitable. In order to bring in the replacement(s) for the one(s) rescued, someone needs to be held captive and forcibly impregnated with sperm forcibly obtained by someone else held captive (which is, without argument, interspecies sexual abuse) and another someone needs to be born and forcibly removed from their mother to be used to fill that newly empty space in the facility. So, sadly, while one individual has been granted some sort of freedom (and hopefully brought to a sanctuary, though that’s never a guarantee), at least three more will have been exploited and nothing will have changed in terms of shifting the current paradigm of animals-as-property.
It seems that the net result of such rescues is more exploitation and more death, rather than less, which would indicate that these forms of “activism” are ineffective at best and counterproductive at worst.
For those who are afraid of “driving people away” by unequivocally advocating veganism, I find this fear to be unfounded and without merit. If anything about vegan advocacy “drives people away”, it isn’t the idea of veganism; it’s likely the method by which some individuals aggressively and abrasively present the simple, gentle, logical idea of living a nonviolent vegan life. Isn’t it time we stopped operating from fear and just did what we know is right according to our own morals and ethics? Fear is the driving force behind every atrocity the world has ever known, including the animal holocaust we’re dealing with here. Einstein (by all accounts, a pretty bright fella) said, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them”.
If you’re “afraid” to be direct and honest about veganism, I challenge you to move through the fear and do what you know is right. After all, your “fear” is nothing compared to the real fears being felt right now by the animals we all want to save. To operate from fear in this light is to operate from pure selfishness and ego, and that helps no one. In fact, it only serves to allow more injustice, unnecessary suffering and death to all involved.
Dismantle speciesism. Live vegan. Educate others. Start now, here’s how: