A vegan parable

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.

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7 Responses to A vegan parable

  1. Wendy Jenks says:

    I hear so many arguments for both sides of this coin…the “steppers” who think any step towards fewer animals being harmed is a good thing, and the “absolutists” who think the ONLY valid option is total commitment to a vegan lifestyle. While I agree to a degree with the former–that ANY less harm to animals certainly can’t be a BAD thing–I just can’t stop myself there. It’s like giving people a free pass to keep killing and abusing, as long as they say they’re killing and abusing less. Gee, I’m sure the ones who are dying are soooo happy for the ones who are not.

    But supposedly the latter message is what makes people “hate” vegans and turns them off the message entirely. Is it just in the delivery? I have a hard time being pleasant after the first few “plants have feelings, too” comments.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Wendy – thank you for commenting. I know that many vegans share the mental conflict that you are clearly experiencing. If you’ve read some of my blogs, you’ll know that I’m firmly in the ‘become vegan now’ camp for a number of reasons. The main one is exactly as you have said. I have no right to give anyone a free pass to carry on harming other individuals. The lives that are being needlessly taken are not my life, they are the lives of our victims; lives that they value and are desperate to keep. I have no right to say to anyone on their behalf, ‘carry on inflicting misery, carry on tormenting, it’s ok.’ The thing that I have eventually come to realise is that when people think that cutting down on their use of nonvegan substances is positive – and praiseworthy – action, it demonstrates that they do have concern for animals and want to help, but it also means that they really haven’t grasped the fact that veganism is so much more than a menu option and I need to find a better way to explain. And yes, they may well be defensive when this is pointed out to them. But at its heart, veganism is truth and honesty. If we respect other people as we have learned to respect our former victims, then we owe them that truth and honesty even if they find it uncomfortable. I don’t know if they hate vegans as much as they hate the fact that they are being asked to consider whether their actions are aligning with their values. We are all our own harshest critic. To let them believe anything other than the honest truth is doing them a disservice as well as betraying those who are depending on us. Obviously delivery has some part to play but none of us is ever going to win a popularity contest with a vegan message. Have you read my blog https://theresanelephantintheroomblog.wordpress.com/2017/02/18/taking-our-time-taking-their-lives/ ? This tells of my own thoughts and feelings about diluting the message. It may strike a chord with you. Vegan best wishes. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. cushpigsmum says:

    Reblogged this on iliketowritewhatithink and commented:
    I know nobody who would not be outraged by someone who drowned puppies and kittens – although it was common practice once, with unwanted litters, of which there were many, and few people were bothered. I guess it will take a lot more time for people to wake up to the animal holocaust they are enabling with their habitual eating of products from other beings.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. cushpigsmum says:

    Nobody in my extended family would ever think it was fine to drown puppies or kittens but they all apparently think it is just fine to have animals sent through a slaughterhouse. None of them have ever bothered to look at the footage to see what they are enabling, condoning or supporting, they just blindly and indifferently carry on regardless. This is the only thing about my family that I can’t like. They never give me any stick for my vegan lifestyle, but they obviously think it’s just a diet choice, or – if they understand it is for ethical reasons – have never thought about whether they share my views or not. All of them are cat lovers, some are dog lovers, none would ever personally be actually physically cruel to any creature, as far as I know. One of my brothers even once said he hated the sight of blood on his steak – I doubt he could watch Earthlings and not pass out.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Spunky Bunny says:

    To all you “nice” animal-eaters out there- what you are doing to animals is most definitely “not nice”. Unfortunately, it seems that for most people, their insatiable need to feel powerful and superior to animals overrides any feelings of compassion or empathy or morals.


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