If any one of us were to encounter someone who considered they were a nice person, but who liked to drown puppies and kittens, who had done this all their life and was clearly going to carry doing it for ever more, what would we do?
Would we say, ‘Why not try to drown fewer puppies and kittens?’ or ‘don’t drown puppies’, or maybe ‘don’t drown kittens’? Might we even suggest they find a different method to kill puppies and kittens; or do it in a different place? Might we campaign for better regulations to deal with how puppies and kittens should be killed?
Would we say, ‘Stop this! There is no need for you to drown puppies and kittens. In fact there is no need for you to harm any other individuals because they are exactly like us in every way that matters. Stop because it makes them suffer pain and fear just as we would. Stop because there is nothing that we need that can justify taking the lives of other individuals who value those lives and don’t want to die.’
Having heard our words, would our audience stop drowning puppies and kittens? Maybe. There’s a chance they would do exactly what we asked. There’s a chance they would carry on exactly as before. There’s equally a chance that they would seek to rationalise their actions in their own mind but would cut back on their destructive behaviour in some way.
The point is that, on being asked to change their behaviour, while the actions they would take depend entirely on the character of the individual, when we clearly advocate veganism, we ensure that those who inflict harm are made aware of the reasons why their actions are unacceptable – even by their own standards as people who think of themselves as ‘nice’. This knowledge may plant a seed that will inspire change in the future.
The species harmed by our actions when we are not vegan are no different to the puppies and kittens that we would instinctively seek to protect. Our victims are sentient, unique individuals and they value their lives. They share bonds with their families and friends. They do not want to die and yet they are defenceless against our brute force, technology and the implements by which we subjugate them to our will.
Only if we clearly call for an end to unnecessary harm, is there is a chance that the harm will end. Only if we advocate and educate about veganism will those who harm nonhuman animals be aware that their actions are unnecessary and harmful. And we owe every single one of our desperate, defenceless victims nothing less.
Be vegan and ask for veganism. Because asking for anything less is a sell out.