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Fighting for animal liberation and an end to speciesism

Ellen says that she gets her eggs from someone who has backyard chickens although she doesn't say that she eats the eggs herself. Watch for yourself, and let us know in the comments if you think this video shows, as many people have been claiming, that Ellen isn't vegan and never has been vegan. Those claims seem unfair, what do you think?

More generally, do you think that vegans spend too much time "policing" the activities of other vegans?

 

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I think vegans need to stop getting off every time they hear about a vegan celebrity.  Sure, there may be some celebrities who genuinely "care" (however you want to interpret that) about animals.  But celebrities reflect the general, mainstream culture, and mainstream culture has give almost no thought to animal rights and could care less about animals, as evidenced by the fact that 30 billion animals annually murdered in the US alone for food.  The average person has not thought about "treatment" vs "use," and neither has any celebrity.  Celebrities, ultimately, enjoy adulation from mainstream society, so don't expect celebrities to wander far off from mainstream society's opinions, either because they genuinely believe them too or because they don't want to lose the love they receive from people.


I think many (most?) vegans feel validated about themselves and about veganism when they hear about celebrities who are/become vegan, and when any of those same celebrities slide from veganism their feel threatened.

And vegans need to stop expecting celebrities to be paragons of selflessness, truly committed to the ideals that veganism embodies and willing to go against the grain to fight for animals.  Vegans need to stop expecting celebrities to go above and beyond any average person in their commitment to veganism.  Vegans should start viewing celebrities as normal people: if a celebrity becomes vegan, great, but if the celebrity slides, don't be surprised.  They are human after all and most likely, like most all people, are loyal to their tastebuds and their desire to fit into society, not to selflessly fighting for animals.

I'm not saying that celebrities are evil people (hell, in another life, when the world is a much better place than it is today, with less bad things going on, I may very well like a profession that allows me to be a celebrity).  I'm just saying they are more like the the average person than you think, and we shouldn't expect most of them to be far off from mainstream society, and mainstream society is woefully underinformed about animal issues.  So maybe vegan education IS the key.

There's no "Like" button for comments in ARZone so consider this a "Like" for your comment. I am reminded by what you've said of the way I've seen people in the LGBTQ community talk about gay people in history, such as Leonardo da Vinci - it's always the geniuses and visionaries that are celebrated as gay, and almost never the idiots or despots. (I'm not denying that good people in history have been gay or that gay people today need to be able to reclaim their history as part of the process of validating the experience of their lives. I'm just saying that if there have been good people who were gay, then there have been bad people who were gay and one can't rightly claim the one without the other.)

Pranav Merchant said:

I think many (most?) vegans feel validated about themselves and about veganism when they hear about celebrities who are/become vegan, and when any of those same celebrities slide from veganism their feel threatened.

And vegans need to stop expecting celebrities to be paragons of selflessness, truly committed to the ideals that veganism embodies and willing to go against the grain to fight for animals.  Vegans need to stop expecting celebrities to go above and beyond any average person in their commitment to veganism.  Vegans should start viewing celebrities as normal people: if a celebrity becomes vegan, great, but if the celebrity slides, don't be surprised.  They are human after all and most likely, like most all people, are loyal to their tastebuds and their desire to fit into society, not to selflessly fighting for animals.

Thanks Tim, but I don't think I'm the one who made the LGBTQ comment you're referring to.

It's funny we're talking about celebrities, though, because I'm watching CNN Heroes as I type, and celebrities are introducing the Heroes from across the world.  All of the celebrities are introduced by host Anderson Cooper saying what causes/organizations they support.  When I find myself listening, I wonder whether these celebrities really care.  Now, it would be presumptuous of me to say that don't care at all, but I think there is something to that.  Celebrities do care about causes, but don't expect them to give up their fame, fortune, and, yes, celebrity to dedicate their lives to whatever causes they support.  And I can't help but wonder how much of the underlying motivation for them (as it could be for any human) in supporting the causes they do is 1) for PR 2) so that they can see themselves as not totally self-absorbed and therefore worthless and/or 3) so that they can feel that their lives truly are connected to something more than just making movies or singing songs or playing sports.

Let me just re-iterate, to my above post, that assuming celebrities care--and I assume that at least to a certain extent degree they do--about whatever causes, they usually WILL NOT be moral leaders (maybe with the rare exception of someone like Pat Tillman).  They won't be the ones to bring about change but will echo society's changing mores.  Vegans need to get that and stop thinking celebrities will help make veganism mainstream.  The celebrities who are vegan are vegan because veganism has become more accepted in society.   Maybe animal rights organizations like PETA need to understand this and stop spending their resources trying to get celebrity endorsements. 

And I'll end by saying this about causes in general.  I've sometimes wondered: can we say that people who donate lots of money to whatever cause, or act as a spokesperson for it, actually care about that cause.  To a certain extent, yes.  But only so much.  Because time is more valuable more than money, maybe the best way to tell whether someone--celebrity or not--cares about a cause is to see whether that individual has given her/his time to the cause.  Not just moments here or there, or photo-ops, or ambassadorships.  I mean have they dedicated their lives to the cause, or at least such a significant proportion of their time that much of their attention is focused on the cause (sorry if I'm ambiguoups, but you get the idea, I hope)?  If so, we can say they care.

With that said, how many celebrities have dedicated their lives and not just their money to veganism and animal rights?  None.
 
Tim Gier said:

There's no "Like" button for comments in ARZone so consider this a "Like" for your comment. I am reminded by what you've said of the way I've seen people in the LGBTQ community talk about gay people in history, such as Leonardo da Vinci - it's always the geniuses and visionaries that are celebrated as gay, and almost never the idiots or despots. (I'm not denying that good people in history have been gay or that gay people today need to be able to reclaim their history as part of the process of validating the experience of their lives. I'm just saying that if there have been good people who were gay, then there have been bad people who were gay and one can't rightly claim the one without the other.)

Pranav Merchant said:

I think many (most?) vegans feel validated about themselves and about veganism when they hear about celebrities who are/become vegan, and when any of those same celebrities slide from veganism their feel threatened.

And vegans need to stop expecting celebrities to be paragons of selflessness, truly committed to the ideals that veganism embodies and willing to go against the grain to fight for animals.  Vegans need to stop expecting celebrities to go above and beyond any average person in their commitment to veganism.  Vegans should start viewing celebrities as normal people: if a celebrity becomes vegan, great, but if the celebrity slides, don't be surprised.  They are human after all and most likely, like most all people, are loyal to their tastebuds and their desire to fit into society, not to selflessly fighting for animals.

I couldn't agree more, Pranav! 

Pranav Merchant said:

I think vegans need to stop getting off every time they hear about a vegan celebrity.  Sure, there may be some celebrities who genuinely "care" (however you want to interpret that) about animals.  But celebrities reflect the general, mainstream culture, and mainstream culture has give almost no thought to animal rights and could care less about animals, as evidenced by the fact that 30 billion animals annually murdered in the US alone for food.  The average person has not thought about "treatment" vs "use," and neither has any celebrity.  Celebrities, ultimately, enjoy adulation from mainstream society, so don't expect celebrities to wander far off from mainstream society's opinions, either because they genuinely believe them too or because they don't want to lose the love they receive from people.


I think many (most?) vegans feel validated about themselves and about veganism when they hear about celebrities who are/become vegan, and when any of those same celebrities slide from veganism their feel threatened.

And vegans need to stop expecting celebrities to be paragons of selflessness, truly committed to the ideals that veganism embodies and willing to go against the grain to fight for animals.  Vegans need to stop expecting celebrities to go above and beyond any average person in their commitment to veganism.  Vegans should start viewing celebrities as normal people: if a celebrity becomes vegan, great, but if the celebrity slides, don't be surprised.  They are human after all and most likely, like most all people, are loyal to their tastebuds and their desire to fit into society, not to selflessly fighting for animals.

I'm not saying that celebrities are evil people (hell, in another life, when the world is a much better place than it is today, with less bad things going on, I may very well like a profession that allows me to be a celebrity).  I'm just saying they are more like the the average person than you think, and we shouldn't expect most of them to be far off from mainstream society, and mainstream society is woefully underinformed about animal issues.  So maybe vegan education IS the key.

In regard to celebrities caring about the causes they promote, this video was sent to me yesterday. I find it difficult to imagine Ellen didn't care extremely about the cause here, she seems very emotional to me. If this woman is "damaging" to "the movement", as has been claimed elsewhere this past week, I must be missing something. 



Pranav Merchant said:

Thanks Tim, but I don't think I'm the one who made the LGBTQ comment you're referring to.

It's funny we're talking about celebrities, though, because I'm watching CNN Heroes as I type, and celebrities are introducing the Heroes from across the world.  All of the celebrities are introduced by host Anderson Cooper saying what causes/organizations they support.  When I find myself listening, I wonder whether these celebrities really care.  Now, it would be presumptuous of me to say that don't care at all, but I think there is something to that.  Celebrities do care about causes, but don't expect them to give up their fame, fortune, and, yes, celebrity to dedicate their lives to whatever causes they support.  And I can't help but wonder how much of the underlying motivation for them (as it could be for any human) in supporting the causes they do is 1) for PR 2) so that they can see themselves as not totally self-absorbed and therefore worthless and/or 3) so that they can feel that their lives truly are connected to something more than just making movies or singing songs or playing sports.

Let me just re-iterate, to my above post, that assuming celebrities care--and I assume that at least to a certain extent degree they do--about whatever causes, they usually WILL NOT be moral leaders (maybe with the rare exception of someone like Pat Tillman).  They won't be the ones to bring about change but will echo society's changing mores.  Vegans need to get that and stop thinking celebrities will help make veganism mainstream.  The celebrities who are vegan are vegan because veganism has become more accepted in society.   Maybe animal rights organizations like PETA need to understand this and stop spending their resources trying to get celebrity endorsements. 

And I'll end by saying this about causes in general.  I've sometimes wondered: can we say that people who donate lots of money to whatever cause, or act as a spokesperson for it, actually care about that cause.  To a certain extent, yes.  But only so much.  Because time is more valuable more than money, maybe the best way to tell whether someone--celebrity or not--cares about a cause is to see whether that individual has given her/his time to the cause.  Not just moments here or there, or photo-ops, or ambassadorships.  I mean have they dedicated their lives to the cause, or at least such a significant proportion of their time that much of their attention is focused on the cause (sorry if I'm ambiguoups, but you get the idea, I hope)?  If so, we can say they care.

With that said, how many celebrities have dedicated their lives and not just their money to veganism and animal rights?  None.
 
Tim Gier said:

There's no "Like" button for comments in ARZone so consider this a "Like" for your comment. I am reminded by what you've said of the way I've seen people in the LGBTQ community talk about gay people in history, such as Leonardo da Vinci - it's always the geniuses and visionaries that are celebrated as gay, and almost never the idiots or despots. (I'm not denying that good people in history have been gay or that gay people today need to be able to reclaim their history as part of the process of validating the experience of their lives. I'm just saying that if there have been good people who were gay, then there have been bad people who were gay and one can't rightly claim the one without the other.)

Pranav Merchant said:

I think many (most?) vegans feel validated about themselves and about veganism when they hear about celebrities who are/become vegan, and when any of those same celebrities slide from veganism their feel threatened.

And vegans need to stop expecting celebrities to be paragons of selflessness, truly committed to the ideals that veganism embodies and willing to go against the grain to fight for animals.  Vegans need to stop expecting celebrities to go above and beyond any average person in their commitment to veganism.  Vegans should start viewing celebrities as normal people: if a celebrity becomes vegan, great, but if the celebrity slides, don't be surprised.  They are human after all and most likely, like most all people, are loyal to their tastebuds and their desire to fit into society, not to selflessly fighting for animals.

Well, she is getting eggs, that is not part of Veganism as far as I am concerned. It is not the same as not knowing if something has animal ingredients, which is a mistake we caall make. All Vegans know that eggs come from chickens, for God's sake. So yes, she doesn't say she eats them but if i buy something made from child labor, even though i don't force the kids myself into slavery, does that make me less guilty of helping child labor when I know the facts? On top of it, as a public figure, she influences millions of people. That is a huge responsibility. What she says on TV can help the cause of Veganism or deter it. 

Veronique, if Ellen gets eggs for her non-vegan mother, and I think we can assume there is a likelihood of that occurring, as I see it, she has three choices. She can continue getting her eggs from the chickens who live with her neighbour, she can begin buying her eggs from the market, or she could kick her mother out of her house. 

I think it would be fair to guess that Ellen would possibly prefer for her mother to live vegan, but, as at this stage that is not the case, it seems those are the only three options available to Ellen. 

I wonder which of those three options would satisfy other vegans who choose to judge Ellen on the choices she makes

We're not really making assumptions about her income and access to information in criticising her, but many are making assumptions to defend her. I wonder what assumptions her carnist fans are making, she didn't say she wants to take in rescued hens, she said she also wants a coop one day to get eggs like she does. In Barbara's scenario, she also could force her mother to be vegan (potentially hear her whine a lot but one wonders if her mood will really decline if we go by the arachidonic acid theories - see nutritionfacts.org ) and possibly better her health and lifespan. I forced my mother to go vegan when she stayed with me a few weeks, it helped temporarily to inform her but she's no longer vegan. If it were for Ellen's employees say, she could say she has a vegan kichen if she's calling herself a vegan (my definition is to try one's best not to harm, is she doing that?)

I'm poor, in/from 3rd world and when I didn't have internet or access to a vegan community, I used to imagine it might be fine to eat eggs of rescued chickens. I now know that because the hens have been de-beaked they can't break their infertile eggs themselves, they otherwise would and would help themselves to it - like they happily do when the eggs are broken for them. Laying depletes them of calcium and shortens their lifespan, the kindest method of feeding them calcium is to feed their own eggs to them (I imagine the harvesting of extra feed otherwise kills other beings etc.). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbMKNOcy5cM Peaceful prairie video of that in action.

Ellen is not 100% vegan, I think she said she eats eggs... sorry to hear that.

Hi Michael, 

No-one is 100% vegan, and Ellen didn't say she eats eggs. What she actually said can be seen in the original post in this thread that Tim posted. 

I'm not sure what "assumptions" those defending Ellen are making, so I can't comment on that. But I think to suggest that Ellen (or anyone) should force an 80-ish year old woman to change their life in order to fit in with other family members is quite unfair. As Uptight Primate noted, "forcing" someone to make the changes we hope they'll make is almost always counter-productive, at best. 

Hens do enjoy, and need, the nutrients from their eggs, and I think it's very important they be able to access their eggs, I agree with that. 



Thäran sXeVegan said:

We're not really making assumptions about her income and access to information in criticising her, but many are making assumptions to defend her. I wonder what assumptions her carnist fans are making, she didn't say she wants to take in rescued hens, she said she also wants a coop one day to get eggs like she does. In Barbara's scenario, she also could force her mother to be vegan (potentially hear her whine a lot but one wonders if her mood will really decline if we go by the arachidonic acid theories - see nutritionfacts.org ) and possibly better her health and lifespan. I forced my mother to go vegan when she stayed with me a few weeks, it helped temporarily to inform her but she's no longer vegan. If it were for Ellen's employees say, she could say she has a vegan kichen if she's calling herself a vegan (my definition is to try one's best not to harm, is she doing that?)

I'm poor, in/from 3rd world and when I didn't have internet or access to a vegan community, I used to imagine it might be fine to eat eggs of rescued chickens. I now know that because the hens have been de-beaked they can't break their infertile eggs themselves, they otherwise would and would help themselves to it - like they happily do when the eggs are broken for them. Laying depletes them of calcium and shortens their lifespan, the kindest method of feeding them calcium is to feed their own eggs to them (I imagine the harvesting of extra feed otherwise kills other beings etc.). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbMKNOcy5cM Peaceful prairie video of that in action.

Carolyn, I missed the article or reference where Ellen might have said it's for her old mother, I heard on facebook that the eggs were for Portia, again with no article or video. I've only watched the one above and been on her site to look for anything else. I similarly made the assumption it's for her employees.

All animals being equal and bearing in mind that the hens have been de-beaked and thus forced to lay their eggs and remain unable to help themselves to it, and have a shortened lifespan. 'Force' is not the right technical word but persuasion with arguments doesn't always work with people and even ex-vegans, and trying to have a 'my kitchen is vegan' rule would be seen as forcing, certainly my mum would interpret it this way although she's an ethical vegetarian (if there is such a thing). I personally wish laws would change and that flesh and milk too would not be seen as commodities. Many would see that as vegans forcing their ways but hopefully AR vegans do not.

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