Looking at words – ‘slaughter’

beef-1652978_960_720The word that keeps recurring to me today is ‘slaughter’. It’s a common word; everyone knows it, probably everyone uses it. I look on it as one of these words that we tend to use without examining too closely. It’s a bit like the word ‘suffering’ that I wrote about recently. It’s a word we glance at and we get the gist; a vague impression of something undesirable, unpleasant. And then we move on. Swiftly, thinking words like ‘necessary evil’ and ‘protection laws’. But today, indulge me, let’s have a closer look at what it really means.

Slaughter. What does the dictionary tell us? I looked at several and each has a slightly different definition. Disregarding colloquial use like ‘the football team was slaughtered’, definitions fall into two main categories; humans and nonhumans, and may be summarised as follows:

The killing or butchering of cattle, sheep, etc., especially for food;
Killing animals for food;
The killing of animals for their meat.

The brutal or violent killing of a person;
Killing people or animals in a cruel or violent way, typically in large numbers;
The violent killing of a large number of people;
The killing of many people cruelly and unfairly.

Hiding in plain sight

Isn’t it interesting what a dictionary tells us in terms of the double standards of our species? Note that definitions that broadly relate to nonhumans aim for a matter-of-fact tone with ‘killing’, ‘butchering’ whereas with only minor exceptions, definitions relating to humans, suddenly become ‘brutal’, ‘violent’, ‘cruel’ and ‘unfair’.

As always, our prejudices are hiding in plain sight. We skate over the facts unless our own species is involved, and then even our very dictionaries – where we look for facts and clarity – are dripping with speciesism.

Much is written about the preposterous term ‘humane’ slaughter. For me, it’s crystal clear that trying to insert the word ‘humane’ (merciful, kind, kindly, kindhearted, tender, compassionate, gentle, sympathetic; benevolent, benignant, charitable) into any of these definitions just won’t work. It doesn’t. It creates a completely nonsensical term.

Well so much for the wordplay.

Death is death

Put simply, nonhumans are slaughtered by the tens of billions every year to assuage consumer demand for their flesh and body parts, and as a direct result of our obsessive use of their eggs and milk. It is of absolutely no relevance what kind of prison our victims occupied while awaiting death or what kind of food they were given – things we are encouraged to obsess over and look upon as ‘welfare’ – they all end up in the same place. The slaughter process as inflicted on sentient mammals and birds varies depending on the species but in every case it is geared to achieving one thing; their death. The death of every one of our bird and mammal victims is by ‘exsanguination’, which means they bleed to death, are drained of blood.

This bleeding to death is done by the cutting open of the throat and severing the carotid arteries and jugular veins, or the blood vessels from which they arise. Gravity is enlisted to assist their hearts in this process of bleeding to death, hence the reason that the dying are hoisted upside down as their lifeblood pumps from their gashed necks. In other words, they are not dead at this stage.


I know many of us console ourselves that the practice of stunning is intended to prevent our victims from being aware of what is happening. Setting aside the fact that this can be an inexact procedure, particularly given the sheer volume of nonhumans passing through the death factories at ever-increasing speed each year, once we start to open our minds to what is really going on here, our common sense kicks in.

Many of our victims are massive individuals and their terror and awareness of their plight cause them to seek escape with a strength born of desperation. While much is made of stunning as some sort of ‘humane’ way of easing their distress, we need simply remind ourselves that this is all happening in the interest of profit and commerce, driven by nonvegan consumer demand. In other words, the main reason stunning happens is to reduce risk to the machinery and the operatives who are carrying out the processes. Common sense tells me that a large bovine hanging upside down by one leg is difficult to achieve unless the desperate individual is in some way disadvantaged. Once hoisted in this manner, the potential for the struggles to cause harm is severely restricted.

With smaller, helpless species like chickens, the issue of damage caused by their futile struggles is obviously not a consideration. Their deaths, however, take place on conveyor belts. Frantic fluttering would not be in the interests of efficiency.

It is easy to find procedural manuals for killing nonhumans online but I have no wish to become an expert. I know all I need to know and my common sense fills in the blanks. As will the common sense of any who allow themselves to turn away from the myths that we were all taught as children.

Hard to believe

And if, by any chance there are any ‘animal lovers’ out there who are still undecided about whether this word ‘slaughter’ relates to something morally justifiable, I would ask them to consider this.

It is recognised that our victims are sentient individuals, as are those species whom we regard as companions and indeed as are we ourselves. When considering other sentient species, we have far more similarities than differences.

Many, if not most of us have shared time with, and even loved, companions. I have shared my life with nonhumans, cats and a dog about whom I have written before. I have held trembling paws in my own shaking hands as the light faded from their beloved eyes, ebbing on the tide of drugs administered by a vet. I have held them in my arms and wept over them as their breathing slowed and stopped. To this day it torments me that they may have known an instant of fear or pain that medical expertise could have prevented.

If someone had tried to tell me that to stun them with a captive bold or by electric shock, hoist them upside down by one leg and cut open their throats was a ‘humane’ way to end the pain I could no longer prevent, I would have had no difficulty seeing it for the nonsense it was.

Common sense has not failed me and I’m confident yours won’t fail you. We have no need to slaughter anyone, can live and thrive without deliberately causing harm.

Be vegan.

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The persistence of childhood myths

cow-1724034_960_720I was taught that taking their milk does not harm cows. I was taught that taking their eggs does not harm hens. I was taught that animals ‘didn’t mind’ being killed for ‘meat’. I was too young to debate with those who told me these things and I became an adult with this ‘knowledge’ firmly in place. I’m guessing it’s the same for most of us.

As adults, despite our more mature knowledge of the mechanics of reproduction, many of us – and I include my former self in this – are easily placated by labels on products derived from the bodies and lives of other sentient individuals; only we don’t think of them as sentient individuals in any internal dialogue we have. We rarely acknowledge them as having any presence at all, except as a means for us to obtain ingredients, ‘ingredients’ that we were taught were necessary for our health. ‘Everybody else does the same’, we say. ‘It must be okay’, we tell ourselves. ‘There are laws’, we reassure ourselves.


So why is it then that as adults, we may take delight in catching others out in a lie or an error or even some harmless foolishness, but when it comes to what we were taught about animals and our merciless use of them, we resist checking out what the animal use industries and their skilful propaganda mouthpieces tell us? Why is it that we turn a blind eye to what logic and our adult common sense tell us and continue to support the blood-drenched nightmare that is the inevitable consequence of any trade that deals in lives, in broken families, in death and body parts for profit?

Even worse, even when presented with the unassailable truth, why is it that so many repeat what they were taught as infants as a gleeful ‘gotcha’, deriding the suggestion that using the lives and bodies of sentient individuals causes them catastrophic harm? Is it because we already suspect the truth? Is it because once we know the facts, we can’t un-know them and that may force us to take some form of action?

At some point each of us must decide if truth is important to us. If it is, and when we open our eyes to it, we realise that only by being vegan can we refuse to participate in the gravest injustice of our time; the unscrupulous, self-indulgent and unnecessary victimisation of billions of helpless and vulnerable individuals every single year.

Be vegan.

Links about veganism:

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Thoughts on the gift that is life

sheep-1672423_960_720Life itself is considered by many – if not most – humans to be the greatest gift there is, referred to as such by poets and writers throughout history.  Even those of us who have no religious beliefs, consider that being alive to greet each new day, living life with all its joys and sorrows, with friends, family, and the limitless potential that it offers us, is absolutely wonderful and each of us values that life beyond words. The flip side is that we also consider premature death, whether by illness, by accident or by some other method of killing, to be an utter tragedy. As long as we’re talking about humans, that is.

For those who are not human, well, it’s a completely different story.

Despite the fact that those whom we persecute are sentient and so in every relevant respect are exactly like ourselves, we have been raised in a society where myths of superiority  as well as flawed and mistaken tales of entitlement and necessity are fed to us from earliest childhood. By the time we reach adulthood, our learned behaviour has rendered our victims all but invisible to us, despite often repeated – and sincerely believed – claims to ‘love animals’. Our ‘love’ however, whilst we treat certain species as ‘pets’, stops abruptly short of those members of other species whom we use; those helpless, blameless, powerless ones who are our victims.

What do we want? When do we want it?

If we are completely honest, and if we consider them at all, we look upon the lives of our victims, not as a joyful expression of individual potential, but rather as an inconvenient preliminary to the main events that interest us.

What we really require is for our victims to be sufficiently mature to reproduce so that we may take for ourselves as a resource, the physical consequences of our manipulation of their helpless bodies; their milk, their eggs, even their adored babies themselves.

What we really require is for them to be dead so that we may flay them and devour their pitiful remains as recipe ingredients; so that we can use their skins, their fur, wool and feathers to ornament ourselves, our furnishings, our homes.

What we really require is for them to be well hidden from our sight and hearing so that we are not inconvenienced by their screams of agony, by their mute pleas and helpless terror while they die piece by piece, caged and pinioned in our laboratories and testing establishments for our toiletries and chemicals.

What we really require is for the substances and services derived from these processes to be cheap, plentiful and delivered in a sanitised way that does not confront or challenge our awareness.

Need I go on? It sounds shocking in those terms but nonetheless it is true. To these ends, as nonvegan consumers, we endorse and support the selective breeding that shortens inconvenient preliminaries as far as is possible, or that favours whichever physical attributes most suit our intended use. We are content to call it ‘farming’. It’s a good, sound, socially acceptable word that we don’t examine critically.

Love and hurt

Nevertheless, as we have been taught to believe that our actions constitute ‘loving animals’, we reassure ourselves and each other that we all oppose ‘cruelty’ and we bandy about the word ‘humane’ like a talisman that grants a free pass into the ‘animal lover’ club. In fact, few of us have the stomach to look into the facts of the animal use that our consumer demands necessitate, and those who do are forever changed by the knowledge.

However – and here’s a thing that really needs to be said.  As long as the fundamental brutality of our repeated manipulation of their reproductive processes,  as long the obscenity of inflicting premature death on uncounted billions every year, continue to be the main events that our consumer choices demand, a way will continue to be found to justify any and every atrocity that is committed on our victims while they are awaiting that event.

Why is this? Because for humans, as I have mentioned, we consider death to be the ultimate tragedy. If, therefore, we have so compartmentalised other species that we consider it perfectly acceptable to inflict this on gentle, innocent, blameless young individuals for absolutely no valid reason, then there is no way that we will ever consider that any other of our actions leading to this, are equally serious and deserving of censorship. In fact, one argument in favour of exploitation even goes so far as to claim that by causing our victims to be born, we are somehow conferring on them the gift of life and thus doing them a kindness. It’s hard to know where to start with that.

What makes life worth living?

For our victims, every single one exists on death row from the day they are born. Their lives, while they await execution for the crime of not being human, are so far from the lives of potential that we expect for ourselves that it defies belief. And as all our use of other individuals is unnecessary, any concern we claim, bears no critical scrutiny while we continue to participate in the very behaviours that are causing the horrors that we claim to wish to alleviate.

Only veganism recognises the right of every individual to own their life and to live it as the gift of limitless potential that it should be, that it deserves to be. We have no right, no need and no justification to deny this gift to any other individual. Realising this, and becoming vegan are one and the same thing.

After a lifetime of cultural conditioning, being honest with ourselves is not an easy thing, but the rewards are beyond what we could ever expect.  Our entire view of life shifts on its axis, and we forever view the world through a different lens. Each of us discovers this on the day we become vegan. Be vegan. Be vegan today.

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On trying to be vegan

sheep-1658211_960_720I’ve seen it so often, ‘I’m trying to go vegan but I’m not there yet’.  When I read or hear that, it tells me that the author simply doesn’t ‘get it’ …. yet.  It tells me that I need to try harder to find what it is that the author doesn’t yet know about the horrors that our non vegan consumer choices unavoidably cause, I have to find a way to reach them.

Now before that sparks off a defensive retaliation, please don’t get me wrong – I have never made a secret of the fact that it took me years, decades, to ‘get it’ so that in itself is not the issue. Until the penny finally dropped for me I had hardly even heard about veganism, except as a word without definition, or at best, a word with a whole host of preconceptions. I thought it was some weird abstemious diet for people who were ultra-strict vegetarians. It actually made no sense to me whatsoever. Why would anyone actually want to eat stuff that tasted like sawdust, even if it was healthy? I even had my doubts about the health aspect – it was all just a mystery. I thought veganism was a diet. I thought it was about humans. I was ‘mostly’ vegetarian so ‘obviously’ I was a caring consumer, or that’s what I told myself repeatedly.

Did I actually know any vegans? I don’t think so, but if I did, and if by some chance they were reading this, I’d like to tell them something. I wish with all my heart that they had told me the truth. I wish that they had slapped me – metaphorically or in reality – really hard and explained to me what veganism actually is. I wish they’d told me that veganism is a lived ethic that utterly rejects unnecessary use of other individuals to gratify the indulgence of our sad, pathetic species. I wish they’d pointed out that violence is part and parcel of everything we do when we are not vegan. I wish they had swept away my preconceptions and given me the gift of truth. Gift? Yes, when I finally found someone to explain veganism to me, it was truly a gift and one beyond price.

Veganism’s not meant to be a struggle. It’s not meant to be difficult. It’s a release. It’s an escape. It’s a joy. A sense of freedom and kinship. Liberation is a word I seldom use, because it’s seldom warranted. However becoming vegan is a liberation for each of us. It liberates us from the shackles of ignorance and conscience. It liberates us from our unending efforts to convince others – and more significantly ourselves – about how much we ‘love’ those gentle, innocent ones who are being condemned for our pretentious self indulgence.  Becoming vegan saves us from the futile struggle that we face as we repeatedly turn over and redefine the word ‘humane’ to mean anything we want it to mean.  Becoming vegan frees us from the endless trials of fictionalising and re-scripting our use of others in our vain attempts to avoid seeming like monsters even in our own eyes.

On the day we really ‘get it ‘, on the day we finally understand that other individuals are not ours to use; that we have absolutely no right to perpetrate the horrors of our self destructive and needless abuse on their trusting innocence, we cannot stop harming them fast enough. Our days of ‘trying’ are over. And they’re over – not because we are being judged by anyone, not because we are having anyone’s viewpoint ‘forced’ on us. Our days of ‘trying’ are over because our own sense of decency stands up and asserts itself – loudly. Once we see and recognise the truth for what it is, there is no going back.

Do vegans ‘judge’ people? Maybe, I don’t know about what others think in the privacy of their thoughts. However only those whose opinions we value have the power to hurt us, and when I look back at the dark time in my life before I was vegan, there is someone that I definitely judge. There is someone whose behaviour disappoints me deeply, wounds me to the point of grief. That person is myself.

Judge yourself. And be vegan.


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golden-retriever-1119568_960_720pbEvery day we read tributes on social media from those who have shared their lives with members of other species and they move me to tears. Without exception these writings and images invite us to share something special and personal from a wounded heart. It’s a window into private memories of times shared by two individuals, memories of love, admiration and respect that is felt and reciprocated.

Time after time I read of the departed friend’s unique personality, their quirky behaviour, their friendships, their brimming sense of joy and fun. I read of all that they did that made them different from every other individual in the world. Even the name that they each bear is a carefully chosen tribute to an incomparable individual.

In the case of individuals rescued from our species’ hellish industries of torment, there is always an awareness of the dark place from which the deceased escaped. Those fortunate few who escape alive, who find sanctuary in a place where they are valued for themselves, these few so often carry with them a legacy that they can never truly escape. With bodies selectively bred for the specific purpose of our merciless use, their days of joy are often few and marked by deteriorating health. They are not designed to be old.

And yet for whatever time they could manage, they have lived after rescue, and have found joy and love and friendship. They have felt sunshine and wind and rain, have walked on grass beneath open skies. Gentle hands have reached out to them and they have known an end to fear and torment.

And in the end, when their pain can’t be held at bay any longer, they die in the company of those who love them. They are mourned, and they are remembered. It’s all any of us could ever wish for ourselves.

The unremembered

Every single individual who is used for the substances that we don’t need; for milk, for eggs, for flesh, for honey, for their body coverings, for vivisection, for ‘entertainment’, every single one of them is exactly like the departed individual whose passing we mourn. They are exactly the same in that, if we had known them, we’d have loved each one. And for every single one, the heart of a friend would have seen the sparkle that made each one unique; could have written a tribute that would move us to tears.

Picture then the lonely, the unloved, the wounded and helpless, the terrified and the grief stricken; needless victims of the terminally destructive human indulgence that is nonveganism. They are on the slaughter trucks, they are standing in line at the slaughter house, they are being restrained and impregnated to keep milk flowing, they are giving birth to doomed infants, they are gazing through bars from the cages and pens, they are screaming and no one is listening but us. Imagine how many tears we would need for the millions who die alone and friendless every day?

Today, let’s think of them and resolve to work harder for a vegan world.

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‘Suffering’; a word we use without thought

pig-756026_960_720How can it be that we use words to protect ourselves from feeling, from connecting with the reality of the world?

My thoughts strayed in this direction when I was reading a piece earlier that mentioned the word ‘suffering’. Later, looking back on what I had read as I was doing something entirely unconnected, I realised that I had glanced at the word and moved on to see what was being said. Yet there it is, a word we all use; ‘suffering’. It’s a word we glance at and we get the gist; a vague impression of something undesirable, unpleasant. And then we move on.

I imagine there are many other words like that, words like ‘cruelty’, ‘pain’, ‘slaughter’, ‘death, ‘misery’ and hundreds more. We read them, we get the gist, we move on.  I previously wrote at length about ‘cruelty’, both the concept and our use of the word, and when I think about it, this word ‘suffering’ comes into the same family of words. All these words crop up frequently when discussing our use of members of other species and all of them are subjective. That means that not only does the real meaning of the word vary for each of us, the gist each of us takes from the word is different for us too.

It seemed to me at that moment that not only our language, but our very thoughts themselves, are designed to prevent us from truly connecting with the subjects we discuss. It seemed to me that as a species, we tend to speak in shorthand, using words that signify a general idea without actually connecting with the depth of meaning that exists within these words. Our use of language can act like pond skaters, words that skim over the calm surface without in any way connecting with whatever turbulence lies below. So I found myself looking again at ‘suffering’.

Suffering, what it means

There’s a world in that word. It has such depth and shades, such overtones and undertones, peaks and troughs. It’s a word that echoes with pain, with loss, with loneliness and despair. It shrieks with raw hurt and anguish. It whimpers with betrayal and fear. It’s a word that holds the image of gentle eyes, looking their last in helpless, impotent desolation at their pitifully crying child being taken to die, of eyes dull with hopelessness, of eyes whose owner has learned to want nothing, because nothing is all they have.

Suffering may be measured in the eternity of an existence of torment, in frustrated hopes and unsatisfied needs and wants. There is blood throbbing in the word, the nagging agony of raw cuts and bruises on bruises, powerless to shield damaged flesh from more, the aching, the cringing and cowering that is always futile but remains instinctive. There’s the iron tang of blood that flows, slick and hot; there’s blood that crusts black on old wounds.

‘Suffering’ is such a visceral word. It’s a word of restraints, of metal bars and clamps, of branding tools glowing white with heat or cold. ‘Suffering’ contains the sound of slicing, hacking, crunching and the blistering heat of knives, of cutters sharp or blunt, and tongs on flesh, teeth, beaks and bone. The word struggles to contain a sawing, endless screaming terror; a stomach-churning hurt that vomits, an agony that releases bowels and bladder into stinging streams down helpless, trembling legs, pooling in the fetid clanging that we call a ‘slaughterhouse’.

‘Suffering’ is a word that opens a gateway to hell. So perhaps it’s no surprise that our words and our thoughts skip over the meaning with a nod to the gist. Because when we open the gateway and look inside, it hurts us to the core.

Facing the truth

For each of us, if we consider ourselves to be the kind of person who would never in our worst nightmares consider inflicting that word ‘suffering’ on another, then there is something that we each must face. Every time we choose to use in any way or consume a substance derived from the body of an individual of a species other than our own, we are choosing to inflict ‘suffering’ in all its raging horror. Suffering and nonveganism are conjoined and impossible to separate.

Our ears may not hear the cacophony of misery, our hands may seem clean of the seeping body fluids of innocents, but we truly are each responsible for the horror that our consumer choices demand. Once we find the courage to confront this truth, we can choose to reject our part in the nightmare by being vegan.

Find out about veganism today. Be vegan.

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‘Hardly ever’ and ‘only a drop’

calf-1335472_960_720How often do we hear it said, ‘I hardly eat any meat’, or ‘I only take a drop of milk in tea’? It is as if we consider that the level of misery that we demand as consumers can be scaled down by such reductions.

This view occurs because we refuse to see our victims as individuals. Yet for the individual whose pitiful life was cut short in gore and screaming for us to have that piece of their desecrated flesh that we seek to downplay, the world ended a few days earlier and never again will they wake on a new day of hope. Their horror and their fear, their desperate struggles against the hard hands with their knives and saws, were no less for our trivialising. Their despair was not in any way lessened as the electric prods forced their faltering steps onto the kill floor.

For that ‘drop of milk’ that we smilingly seek to excuse as a trivial indulgence, a mother was pinioned and violated. For nine months, her womb nurtured her growing child while every day her swelling, mothering body was hooked up to our mechanical suction pumps. And when her time of labour came, as with any other mother, she knew the wrenching, draining, convulsions of her child’s birth; she cried out, bearing down as nature’s tides gripped her body in her toil, and her pain was no less that it would have been had she known of all those members of our species who ‘only take a drop in tea’.

Her anguish, her frantic fear as her infant was taken from her were in no way diminished by the frequency of our use, or the quantity we, as individuals, take. Her loss, her anguish and her degradation were devastating. Her infant’s sobs of fear and bewilderment, his futile whimpers for his mother’s milk and warmth were not in any way consoled by our trivialising. His death will be agonising and he will be more afraid that we can even imagine.

For it is not how much or how little we use our victims that is the issue.
It is not how often or how seldom we use our victims that is the issue.
It is not how ‘nicely’ we treat our victims that is the issue.
The issue is that we have victims at all. The issue is that this is unnecessary. The issue is that until we accept that these victims are not ours to use, this outrage will continue and whilst we may seek to excuse ourselves with a smile and a shrug, we truly cannot detach ourselves from the very real and inevitable consequences of our consumer choices.

When we refuse to participate in this nightmare for another moment, is the point at which we decide to become vegan. Please make that moment today.

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Thoughts about ‘waste’

sheep-1547720_960_720The notion of ‘waste’ as it pertains to substances derived from nonhumans is frequently a subject of heated debate. I see the topic mentioned most often in relation to eggs, but the practice of ‘waste prevention’ is also defended in connection with the wool sheared from the bodies of sheep as well as other substances derived from the lives and bodies of nonhuman animals. The general premise is that since these ‘products’ are being produced anyway, and since the beings who produce them don’t ‘seem’ to have any use for them, then it’s ‘wasteful’ for us not to use them. I’ve seen the same justification used about consuming dead flesh and using leather and other body parts; ‘the animals are dead anyway, it would be wasteful not to use them’. There’s even a tenuously related notion of it being somehow ‘respectful’ to use up every part of a nonhuman corpse and I find that particular fantasy to be breathtakingly self-serving but I’m not going to go into it here.

I’ve wondered where this deeply ingrained notion of ‘preventing waste’ comes from. Obviously as responsible adults in a world of finite resources, every one of us should, logically and morally, be aware of the impact of our living.  I wonder however if there’s perhaps a bit more to it than that. I’ve come to the conclusion that as with many other concepts relating to animals that our adult mind struggles to rationalise, there’s possibly an aspect that comes from our early childhood.


My generation was born in the mid 20th century, in a social climate still struggling to recover from the privations of war-time rationing. Although I never experienced it, my parents had known the severe restrictions this brought and I suspect their almost obsessive focus on waste prevention can be traced back to that. Every mealtime at their table was a battle to ensure that everything, no matter how I resisted the substances that disgusted me even then, everything on my plate was eaten. ‘You can’t waste that’, ‘don’t you dare waste that’, ‘some children don’t have enough to eat, get on with it and don’t waste it’ etc. It’s actually quite surprising how clearly I hear the words and voices echoing down the years. I doubt if my experience is unique.

Suffice to say that waste and the avoidance of it featured prominently in the household and as a small child I accepted it as part of life. I rebelled in small ways like refusing to eat some particularly nauseating offerings – or at least I tried – but in the end I was powerless in the face of authoritarian parenting and invariably gave in, in order to be permitted to leave the table.

It was not until much later in life that my rebellion truly took place against the ingrained, inconsistent and illogical notions of my upbringing. By that time these notions had been reinforced and legitimised over decades by a speciesist society; over the years, the roots of ideas never questioned had morphed into ‘knowledge’ that we all seemed to know but couldn’t recall learning. And as parents do, I passed it on. I’ve heard it said that we become our parents and to some extent this is true. I regret that I repeated their dogma for years. Until one day, I got lucky. My eyes were opened, I finally saw through the veils of fantasy and then I became vegan, because it was the only course of action that allowed me to truly be the person I had thought I always was. But returning to the subject in hand …

‘Wasting’ eggs

Here, our victim of choice is generally the hen although several other species are used to meet consumer demand for more ‘exotic’ products. When we say we consider it ‘wasteful’ not to consume eggs, we are implicitly asserting two things.  The first of these is because eggs exist – and the debate generally, although not always, centres around infertile eggs – we consider that we have the right to take them if we wish.  We are also asserting – and reinforcing the concept to others – that we consider eggs to be appropriate human ‘food’. This latter concept of eggs as ‘food’ is examined in painstaking detail in this link, however regardless of the health concerns, my focus is and always will be on the moral implications of our use of other sentient individuals as our resources

Nevertheless, by articulating our disapproval of ‘waste’, we elicit peer approval for our actions by suggesting that our actions are admirable and praiseworthy efforts in support of conserving resources. The implication is  along the lines of ‘naturally, as an ethical consumer, if hens had any use for eggs I might act differently. However as they don’t appear to, I’m simply conserving resources by using up what would otherwise be wasted.’ And then we stand back, waiting for the plaudits, responding defensively to any who challenge either of the two main justifications.

If we claim to hold concern for members of other species – and almost every one of us does – this proposal as justification for our continued use of eggs betrays a flawed understanding of the fundamental principles of supply and demand. For as long as we perpetuate the practice ourselves, or legitimise it with our approval, tacit or otherwise, there will be those who will demand eggs for consumption. The power of that consumer demand will ensure that a supply of eggs is provided to meet it, and that supply will be provided in the most economically advantageous manner, regardless of the catastrophic cost to the unconsenting individuals whose eggs these truly are. There is no such thing as a harmless way to use the lives and bodies of others for any purpose, and as far as eggs are concerned, please see the following link where the subject is discussed at length.

Not unsurprisingly, our values and views on the subject of eggs in general, are again inconsistent, a sign that I am coming to realise is a good indicator that the ‘knowledge’ about it stems from a time when we were too young to rationalise or debate it. For instance, many birds abandon their nests in springtime for a variety of reasons. And yet we take a very dim view of anyone removing eggs for any reason at all from the nest of any bird that is not held captive for the specific purpose of being used as a commodity by our species – in fact in many cases it’s even highly illegal. ‘Waste’ never seems to be considered as a factor in that case.

So what about wool?

The use of wool and the justifying of the shearing of those animals that produce it is, once more, an illustration of our lack of consideration or understanding about supply and demand. I am unable to improve on the explanation here by the excellent Gentle World whose article states:

…..just as the dairy industry implicitly supports the meat industry by supplying it with veal calves and female cows whose milk production levels have dropped, wool funnels sheep who are no longer producing profitable levels of wool into the meat industry, often through live export which entails its own unique set of abhorrent practices. Ultimately, every shorn sheep will be brought to slaughter.

One might also mistakenly believe that a sheep needs to be shorn, but the reality is more complicated. Undomesticated sheep produce only the amount of wool that they need to survive in their climate. Again, as we have bred chickens and pigs to grow so large that their legs can no longer support them, we have used genetic engineering to manipulate the sheep’s wool production to meet our designs.

In other words we have meddled with nature to create breeds that require human intervention and then we sanctimoniously go on to justify ourselves and our merciless use of their lives and bodies. We do this by re-framing our role in this unnatural and self-serving process as one of concerned and kindly husbandry providing essential care for comfort and wellbeing. And of course it’s no surprise that there’s a huge amount of money to be made in using these helpless and unconsenting innocents as our resources and commodities.

It is impossible to argue in favour of wool – or in fact any body hair from other individuals – being necessary in our lives. Plant materials like cotton, linen, bamboo and hemp, coupled with readily available synthetic fibres and fabrics can be substituted for almost any purpose we can think of.


Sadly, the country roads around my home are killing fields for a variety of individuals all year round. Hardly a day passes without my seeing the pitiful remains of pheasants, ducks, hedgehogs, rabbits and occasionally even deer, badgers and squirrels. When it’s nesting season, many birds are swooping low over roads and all too often misjudging the distances. Their little corpses plastered to the tarmac break my heart.

Hardly anyone would think it was acceptable to go around scooping up all these remains to use as ‘meat’, declaring that it would be a shame to ‘waste’ it all. Okay, some people undoubtedly do but the vast majority would be far more likely to phone the local council to ask them to dispose of a deceased deer or a badger, than would scoop it up with a menu choice in mind. Perhaps for some, their reluctance to do this is influenced by being all too well aware that a corpse on the road has already begun to putrefy and decay.

And the signs of inconsistency? Yes, they’re there, the tell-tale hallmark of our irrational childhood ‘knowledge’ is there once we know what to look for. If the body on the roadway happens to be a dog or a cat, what do we do? Many of us would try to assist by taking an injured individual to a vet, or if death had occurred, we may move the body to the side of the road to prevent further damage. We might even share information on social media and with local vets so that any human desperately concerned for their missing companion will at least find closure, and perhaps a body to mourn and bury.

And yet the fact that we are willing to consume corpses presented in shops and supermarkets seems to totally bypass the instinctive awareness we have of the fact that death of an animal marks the beginning of a process of decay. Like so many other substances presented to us as ‘food’ we assume that someone will have taken care of the technical details for us.

Waste or want?

Honey, feathers, leather, the list of substances we hate to ‘waste’ just keeps on going. Yet we feel no such compulsion about human lives, human corpses and human body parts (unless in the extremely rare case of organ donation where the supreme consideration in every case is informed consent); it’s completely forbidden territory. Anyone who demonstrated any such compulsion would be considered to require urgent psychiatric help.

As always, we are keen to think well of ourselves and to re-frame our exploitative behaviour as responsible, worthy and noble. By pretending that we are ‘preventing waste’ of substances derived from the bodies of animals at the cost of disregarding their every right as sentient individuals, many wilfully disregard the consumer-demand-led process by which these substances exist. We completely disregard the fact that it is completely unnecessary for us to even have victims in the first place. We ignore the fact that the end product that we are heroically refusing to ‘waste’ is the culmination of a systematic and merciless cycle that begins with manipulating the reproductive processes of vulnerable individuals, and ends in the mortuary aisle, as an ingredient in a domestic toiletry or chemical, cut in slivers for some microscope slide, on a hanger in a clothing store or on a sofa in a furniture shop.

The problem is that we cannot separate the demand from the ‘product’. When we delude ourselves that we’re ‘preventing waste’ we are in fact creating demand, or at least perpetuating the mistaken view that other sentient individuals and their secretions should be viewed as food, as clothing, as test subjects. They are not. We have no need and no right to do this. The conversation is not about waste. It’s about humans once again attempting to appease an uneasy conscience by seeking to find a right way to do something utterly wrong. It takes a lot less effort to just admit that and face the consequences of admitting to our indulgence. It takes a lot less effort to stop the mental gymnastics and take the readily accessible doorway that leads out of our own participation in the outrage being perpetrated on billions of helpless innocents by our species

That doorway leads to veganism. Why not take it today? Be vegan.

Posted in Advocacy, Speciesism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Thought for the day

cows-1209635_960_720Humans bring sentient individuals into existence through callous and unnatural manipulation of their reproductive processes for the sole purpose of using them as a resource that we have NO nutritional or other need for.

We tear apart their families, confine and use them in complete disregard of their every right to own their own bodies and their own lives.

We restrain them so we can test chemicals on their skin, in their eyes and by forcing them to ingest large doses; we take the milk they made for the infants we have killed. Through selective breeding we have altered an entire species so that their tiny bodies are time bombs, then we confine them so they will lay vast quantities of eggs. We pluck and shave their body coverings. We are ‘entertained’ by having forced their gentle innocence to submit to our domination.

And after all our callous, thoughtless, and brutally violent use, we flay, dismember, use, consume and excrete their corpses.

To top it all, we tell ourselves and anyone who will listen how much we care about animals and obsess over their treatment while they await the final horror of a slaughterhouse, conveniently overlooking the fact that death, for most, will be more horrific than we can ever imagine. We love to gloss over the bit where they actually must still be alive when their throats are hacked open so that their panicking hearts can pump out their precious lifeblood. We cannot distance ourselves from what is done in our name; the fact that we hand over money for the end result means that we have paid the wage of every one whose hands have tormented, and hacked and sawed.

None of this can ever fit in with any image we may cherish of ourselves as caring human beings. Just because society turns a blind eye to the brutality we inflict on those who cannot defend themselves, does not make it right.

It’s time to take responsibility for our actions and face up to the lies we tell ourselves. We must live true to our own principles and that means stepping away from the pack and saying, ‘Enough’.

That’s what we do when we become vegan. Why wait another day?

Find out about veganism here:


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Single issues and me

sheep-1286877_960_720There is much written about single issues and petitions. The two go hand in hand. It’s a hot topic and I’m not going to wade into the debate. If you read this and feel moved to seek to justify your own support of these, then all I can say is that not only have I stood in your shoes, I have heard every single angle there is, from ‘every little helps’ through ‘we can do both’ and ‘we’re all really on the same side / promoting the same goal’ right through to ‘it’s raising awareness’ via every other justification there is. We are an inventive species and that goes as much for our ability to dream up excuses as it does for everything else. But I no longer support or promote single issues and I never shall again.

Just to be clear, my own definition of ‘single issues’ would be;

All campaigns that focus on either general behaviour towards, general treatment of, general practices and/or specific instances of behavior, specific treatments or specific practices perpetrated on:

  • one individual member of a nonhuman species
  • a number of such individuals
  • a single species
  • a finite number of species.

Single issue campaigns call for prevention, change, regulation, punishment, reform; the action demanded by the campaign depends on the specifics of the topic.

Ordinary everyday people

I used to support single issues and petitions in a huge way; I spent hours and hours signing petitions, writing emails, letters, planning objections, you name it  – so please hear me out. I’m not going to quote any learned treatises, studies or statistics although I have most assuredly read a great many of these as they persuasively weigh the pros and cons. However it wasn’t the intellectual articles or the ethical essays that convinced me to stop supporting single issues. The reason I stopped has to do with looking inwards, examining my own thoughts and remembering my own past behaviour and reasoning. The reason I stopped is about what I know about myself and through that knowledge, what I know about others; what I observe in the people I meet everywhere and in every walk of life. In this essay, I examine my own memories and my own observations and I’m going to ask you to look back at YOUR memories and be absolutely honest. Not honest with me – but honest with yourself.

First I have to say I’m an extremely ordinary person; the kind of person you would pass in the street without even noticing. I’m making the assumption that most of the people who read this will be similarly ordinary – at least in their own eyes; we’re just ordinary people going about our business, making a living, trying to do our best to care for those we love. We’re everyday people leading everyday lives.

The lost years

I have often mentioned what I think of as my ‘lost’ years. These were years that are now lost to me in terms of the advocacy opportunities I was unable to pursue, years during which I realise that I myself was lost. I wandered in a murky, confusing and inconsistent fog, brimming with direction-less concern for animals of the nonhuman variety, washed over and sometimes crushed by waves of despair for my inability to make a dent on what I saw as the impossible task of alleviating their suffering at the hands of animals of the human variety.

For me, petitions, emails and letters were like the flotsam on these waves of despair. I grasped them eagerly, writing, signing, sending, because they allowed me to feel I was doing something, and because they were something to cling to. On my PC I had links to many petition sites and the horrors that I saw there can never be erased from my mind’s eye. No two petitions were the same, whether they were canvassing for the full force of the law to be brought to bear on individuals for specific instances of sickening vileness, or whether they were protesting what I now realise are the inevitable ‘routine’ horrors that go hand in hand with our culturally accepted use of nonhumans for as many purposes as our creative depravity can devise. These campaigns were the only thing that stood between me and despair; the only thing that enabled me to feel that I was raising my voice in protest against what I saw as the ‘inhumane’ actions of … others.

The actions of others. It was always others. It was never me.  The alarm bell about that wouldn’t start to ring for many years.

Coming into focus

The first thing that must be said is that when we promote any measure that reduces or regulates harm, when we promote or protest against any single issue as I defined above, we’re missing a huge, glaring point with a flashing light and a siren on it. Yet most of us have missed it at some time. When we demand the regulation or the reduction of harm, we are promoting regulated harm or reduced harm. Whatever we are demanding as a solution to our complaint, we are continuing to promote harm. I’ll repeat that, because it’s worth repeating. We are continuing to promote harm.

The harm that we are promoting is, presumably, hopefully, something that we as individual humans think is a ‘more acceptable’ kind of harm. But this in itself immediately begs the question, ‘Who are we to say what kind of harm is acceptable to another individual?’ Many of us might roll our eyes at this and declare that it’s completely obvious. But is it? Is it really?

What’s acceptable?

Let’s leave aside our consideration of other species for a moment and think this through. Given that by definition we are not demanding the cessation of harm, let’s consider familiar ground and wonder whether any of us could determine what level of harm would be acceptable for another human? For instance, if we were forced to decide which of our senses, which of our limbs, what aspect of our freedom and wellbeing we would be least distressed to lose, which would it be?

Let’s carry on with this line of thought. If we were asked to make a similar judgement on behalf of our children or a partner, would that change our perspective? It certainly would change mine. I would honestly rather die than face such a choice. If we had to decide what form of confinement and use, what type of deprivation, mutilation, the lifespan and the nature of the premature death that should be inflicted on each member of our family, could we make these decisions?

And here’s another one. Would we be prepared to allow a child to be taken from us in order to spare our own life or in order to save one or more of our children? Could we choose which one should live? That scene from the film ‘Sophie’s Choice’ springs into my mind here. My throat constricts with grief as the officer tells Meryl Streep in the title role, ‘You may keep one of your children. The other must go away.’ It is hard to imagine how anyone could fail to be moved by the agony in her eyes, the tremulous horror in her voice as she says, ‘You mean I have to choose?’  The following scene where her screaming and terrified child is torn from her arms, a scene re-enacted on millions of dairy cows and their infants every single year, is heartbreaking almost beyond bearing.

Would we be content to let another make such choices on our behalf? I know I wouldn’t. And unless you and I are very different from each other after all, I’m guessing you wouldn’t either. My point is that we fully recognise that these are decisions that no human would ever feel comfortable about making for themselves, let alone make them on behalf of another human no matter how close they are.

Speciesism lurking in the wings

So let’s go back to individuals of other species. Having acknowledged the complete enormity of even considering making life and death decisions on behalf of other humans, why do we feel qualified to make them on behalf of individuals of different species? How do we know what matters most to another individual? How do we know what or whom they value, what they fear most, what their priorities are? One thing is absolutely certain; certain because it is a defining characteristic of being sentient. Their lives matter to them; they value their lives and their relationships with their family and friends. They do not want to die.

But when we promote harm regulation or harm reduction, fulfilling their desperate desire to live is not an option on  the table. We’re ignoring that one. When we are promoting what we perceive as harm reduction or harm regulation, as I said earlier we are still promoting harm; the harm that is an inherent part of a lifetime of use. We are still promoting the harm of being a commodity and a resource; the harm of enduring an existence – because it’s not really a life, is it? – an existence that for most land based individuals will end in terror, whimpering and screaming in the blood drenched violence of a slaughterhouse.

So let’s just be completely honest here, with ourselves if with no one else. Harm reduction and harm regulation decisions such as these form the backbone of single issue campaigning – bigger cages, shorter travelling times, use for flesh and eggs but not foie gras, anti fur, pro ‘free range farming’, the ‘don’t build it here, build it somewhere else’ nonsense of our opposition to facilities that overtly commodify nonhumans, etc. And the main reasons we would presume to make these decisions on behalf of another individual?

  1. they are not human and
  2. we think we know best because
  3. we assume that we are ‘superior’ and thus qualified to decide.

In other words, we are being completely and utterly speciesist.

Now at this point, I’m sure that the ‘less harm is better than more harm’ argument is being dusted down and readied for use. It is true, less harm is indeed better than more harm. But even if what I have just written does not convince the reader that perceptions of harm and our priorities in the face of it, are so profound that no sentient individual can make them for another, we need to refocus on what we are actually seeking to achieve here.

What do we want?

Is our goal to achieve ‘less harm’?

Some would tell you that it is; that it’s a ‘step in the right direction’ and ‘raising awareness’. And some would doubtless be large organisations that claim to promote animal interests. However, don’t be fooled. The official line trumpets lofty aspirations to ‘reduce harm’, ‘improve welfare’, bring about ‘better’, ‘more humane’ ‘treatment’. Note the number of subjective words there – subjective = meaning different things to different people. But it’s really not about these aspirations at all. So what IS it about?

Happy consumers spend lots of cash

It’s about consumer perception, because consumer perception  soothes consumer consciences. Soothed consumer conscience maintains or increases consumer demand for the body parts, secretions and services of sentient individuals whose interests are completely disregarded. Consumer demand leads to a cacophony of bells from the cash registers of the industries that use powerless nonhuman individuals as resources, as well as the jingle of donations landing in the coffers of the career ‘advocates’ and their organisations who partner with, and periodically dole out rewards to, the said exploitation industries in an unholy partnership.  The cash jingle and the till bells quite manage to drown out the whimpers of terror and agony from humanity’s victims as they are once again sold up the river.

The end result of all this elaborate charade is to create an atmosphere of consumer confidence; a perception that someone, some expert organisation, is looking out for animal interests so we can all shop in confidence, comforted that we are doing all we can to ensure that everyone is happy with the deal and no unnecessary harm is being caused.

My memory clears its throat and asks to share something. In the days when I was a ‘single issue activist’ signing petitions and protesting against what the animal organisations informed me were horrific practices that took place in ‘other’ countries, as I wrote my emails and submitted Not In My Back Yard planning objections against beagle-breeding farms, research laboratories and CAFOs, I ranted passionately about ‘cruelty’ and ‘welfare’ to family, friends and colleagues as I wrote my donation cheques and sought out the confidence-inspiring high-welfare labels. I fell for all the hype and thought that I was doing the absolute best that anyone could do by buying ‘humane products’ and protesting about what everyone else was doing. In my own view I was so very ethical and my purchases of meat, dairy, eggs, toiletries, domestic chemicals, leather, wool, feathers, silk all reflected my sincere concern. Of course I would never have been seen dead wearing fur and would never have bought substances like veal or foie gras because ‘obviously’ they were ‘cruel’. I thought the goal was to get everyone to do what I was doing while simultaneously striving to make the ‘necessary evil’ of industry practices as humane as they possibly could be. Have you spotted the glaring mistakes yet?

There are two words that I have not used in this essay so far and I have to apologise because it’s turning out to be a long one. The two words are RIGHTS and VEGANISM. Why do you think that is? The reason is actually quite simple. No one had ever mentioned them to me up to this point in my life.


I’d like to just clarify that animal welfare is NOT the same as animal rights despite what many would have you believe.  In fact, in the context of this essay, even welfare is not the dictionary definition of the word.  The dictionary definition of ‘welfare’ is ‘the health, happiness, and fortunes of a person or group’ (and that very plainly does not apply to any of of the victims of humanity’s obsession with harming and killing the vulnerable for our most trivial whims) whereas the dictionary definition of ‘animal welfare’ I tracked through many dictionaries without finding an objective definition. Even Wiki ducks and weaves, telling us what it’s not, and what it may sometimes be thought to be, and what it can be in certain contexts, but that these can vary, and standards are under constant review, and so on. In other words, there’s not a straight answer and once we delve into the facts of the matter, it’s hardly surprising.

The truth as I have come to understand it, is so unsavoury that I doubt that even the most uncritical eyes would slide over it without pause. However it is touted, in reality ‘animal welfare’ has to do with seeking to be seen to promote minimum standards of health, wellbeing and treatment of nonhumans. Welfare regulations seek to ensure that whilst their rights as sentient individuals are being completely disregarded, nonhumans are treated in a manner that is seen to be lacking in gratuitous and overt cruelty and violence providing this can be achieved in a financially advantageous and profitable manner. Any morally questionable practice such as the routine mutilations and surgery without pain relief, gross violation of reproductive processes, bodily integrity and infanticide that are part and parcel of commodifying sentient individuals as resources and that would make most decent people shudder, may be justified under a guise of paternalistic concern lest they ‘hurt themselves or each other’. Anything that can’t be glibly explained away is hidden, with legal action being sanctioned to prevent exposure.

And however we spin the tale, the only way out of a lifetime of servitude for our helpless victims, is death, more often than not in a slaughterhouse. We can get ourselves tied in knots with campaigns about treatment for the condemned but the bottom line is that they are going to be killed, they don’t want to die and their death will be violent in the way that death always is when the victim wants to hold on to life.

Starkly contrasted with this is the concept of animal rights. Animal rights advocates hold the position that no sentient individual should be regarded as the property of humans and any use of nonhuman animals by human animals is unacceptable.  And as there is absolutely no need for us to use the bodies, lives and services of nonhuman individuals, there is no reason for us not to recognise these rights. Veganism is simply what happens when this ethic is incorporated into our daily lives. Veganism and the recognition of nonhuman rights are synonymous.

So to answer a question I asked earlier, is our goal to promote less harm? No. Our goal must be to end all harm. And as all the use we make of others causes them harm, and as it is all unnecessary, our goal must be to end all use.

Can we do advocacy and single issues?

So coming back round to the start, what about this one then? This is a very common theme amongst vegans, with many choosing to hedge their bets and claiming that it’s possible to do both; namely promoting single issue campaigns in what many reassure themselves is an interim measure while ‘raising awareness’ that will ultimately end all use of our earthling kin.

Some advocates will advise that they oppose the promotion of single issues on efficiency grounds, suggesting that promoting veganism and nonviolent vegan education is making better use of limited advocacy time. Other advocates who see no inherent conflict between speciesist campaigns and creative nonviolent education about veganism frequently retort that they have plenty time to spend and are happy to divide their time thus.

Neither of these is the reason that I consider it inappropriate to promote single issues. As I’ve explained earlier in this essay, single issues are invariably speciesist and they do not, by definition, promote an end to use but rather focus on treatment. This implicitly suggests that if there’s a wrong way to treat the nonhumans we’re using, there must be a right way to treat the nonhumans that we’re using. The problem is that we are still using them unnecessarily, and still promoting harm. No vegan should EVER promote or endorse harm in any context. No vegan. Ever. To quote my friend Colin Wright whose comment below cut straight to the quick of the matter, ‘we can’t advocate for less harm and no harm at the same time, due to the fundamental nature of the arguments’.

The comforting reassurance of nonvegan activism

I remember the days before I had heard of veganism or rights. I remember how I was and I am sure I’m not unique. I had skimmed the surface and cherry picked my way through the concept of ethical consumption by following large groups that claim to protect animal interests and I thought I was doing the right thing. Thus, to a very large extent, I felt I had no need to update or expand my knowledge about animal rights and guess what? I didn’t. It’s an upsetting subject and no one wants to upset themselves continually with information about what we have been taught to consider a ‘necessary evil’ when we have been reassured that we’re already doing the best we can. I was soothed, comforted, reassured and easily parted from my cash, buying substances derived from the misery of others with a clear conscience.

Add to this that the groups I followed applauded the stance that people like me were taking. It is, after all, what they promote. Every campaign they came up with generated a new wave of signing and emails; a new wave of mail drops, and sometimes even ‘gifts’ (I remember getting a branded manicure set once), a new round of donations. Sometimes I despaired. The more campaigns I knew about, the more it seemed that there were, the higher the mountain I needed to climb. So many cruelties, so many heartbreaks, so much vileness.  It was always other people of course, and very often in other countries. It’s hard not to become xenophobic when we’re continually reminded of how barbaric people are in other countries. I knew many people who shared my outrage, many people I could and did encourage to sign and share petitions, YET I DID NOT KNOW ONE SINGLE VEGAN.

What’s that got to do with anything? It’s actually a critical point. My ‘awareness’ wasn’t being ‘raised’ and anyone who suggests it was is just wishful thinking. I was being misinformed, manipulated and used. My concern was being focussed outward, encouraging xenophobia while reinforcing the speciesist mind-set of my upbringing. I was being encouraged to rail against things that I now realise are standard industry practice; things that will NEVER change because the primary objective of organised campaigns and the outrage they generate is to reassure people by making them feel that they’re doing something, so that they will continue to miss the point that every single bit of it is unnecessary and keep on pouring their cash into the industries that form the harm system. No one had pointed out to me that every single petition and campaign that I supported were the myriad symptoms of ONE fundamental flaw in my thinking: the notion that all other species existed to be used by humans as resources and commodities. Speciesism.

There we were, myself and my nonvegan contemporaries, signing and sharing and being sickened and outraged about what others were doing. While we were responsible for the stuff of nightmares being inflicted on innocent creatures for our self-indulgent toiletries, cosmetics, clothing, entertainment and diet. Through these cynical and speciesist campaigns, I – and many others – was encouraged to believe I was ‘fighting for the animals’, ‘doing what I could’, blah blah blah.  And I did as much as I could, like so many others do. Maybe some other people had ‘be vegan’ at the end of the very long list but if they did, they kept it very quiet.

And then came veganism

Suffice to say, veganism changed every single thing in my world as previous essays describe. For a long time, I admit I couldn’t see the harm in single issues and petitions, but then, when I looked back and saw how I had acted and thought while these were a key part of my life, I realised that they did far more harm than good as far as my ‘awareness’ was concerned. They certainly did nothing for the animals save possibly a few short-term gains that were no doubt touted as ‘victories’ that soothed consciences all the way to the checkouts.

So where do I stand now? It all boils down to three things.

  1. There is no point in complaining about what others are doing when we ourselves are responsible for something just as bad, if not worse. The only way to opt out of the system of harm, is to be vegan.
  2. No vegan should ever promote harm, not the regulation of harm, not a reformed harm. No harm.
  3. When caring, conscientious people don’t know about veganism, these campaigns and petitions serve only to ease their conscience about continuing participation in the system of harm. Eased conscience = more spending. We need look no further than our own memories for the truth of this.

You see, it wasn’t about what others were doing after all. It was about what I was doing. Being vegan is not an ‘optional extra’. It’s the main event. All I ever needed to know was ‘be vegan’ and ‘tell others about why they need to be vegan too’.

And now I am and I do. Be vegan.

Posted in Abolition vs Welfare, Single Issue Campaigns, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments