Fighting for animal liberation and an end to speciesism
I just want to compare my observations in Ireland (and partly Germany and Poland) with activists in other countries. From some time I can see that the number of vegans is growing. It's not a radical and fast growth but it's quite constant. Usually people who become vegan are left-wing or vegetarian. This part is not surprising.
However I noticed that (unfortunately) most of the people become vegan for healthy or environmental reasons. They don't make their choices because of Animal Rights as it's not their priority. It's all about nutrition, global warming and socializing. This way we get people who in theory are vegans but in practice they won't refuse food with dairy for example while meeting friends or they simply don't mind to eat dairy/eggs from time to time. They also see veganism mostly as a healthy diet. In consequences their choices refer only to food habits but they don't care about animal-tested products or leather, blood sports, etc. As long as it doesn't affect their health and environment. Obviously veganism is also about health and environment but from my point of view it is wrong if we 'skip' Animal Rights. I call it unethical veganism.
I'm not sure is it only my experience or it is a global trend. I have met lots of these vegans while organizing events and actions up here. Some of so-called ethical businesses seem to support these views too. Do you see this phenomenom in your countries as well? What would be the best way to approach them?
I think it's GREAT that vegans get individual BENEFIT from their being vegan, as we can all, to some extent, enjoy a 'distributed benefit' of others' being vegan (as do some nonhumans - perhaps all nonhumans become of the ecological downsides averted).
I do WISH that others would not misrepresent the rightfulness of veganism 'in itself' - like Kant's 'ding-an-sich' (think in itself), I think there is a 'veganism-in-itself' (without all the customizing, the individual trappings). We or others can dispute this, but there's something about NOT insisting that your customized FORM of being vegan become mandatory for everyone else.
Most of us accept that position when we ACCEPT some Adventist's veganism as not being OUR veganism, but some AR advocates cannot accept that not all dietary vegans are outspoken ADVOCATES for every POSSIBLE AR intervention.
Hi Maynard, if I may take the discussion off-topic for a moment, I'm curious about the evolution of your calling, or next phase if there was one. I ask as a 40 year old, long time vegetarian gone vegan earlier this year (2011).
I have to echo what you are saying Tim. This is my position as well. Sure, how perfect it would be if everyone goes about being vegan for the same , humane,moral, ethical, virtuous reasons. However, that would be perfection in an imperfect world and therefore, in my opinion, impossible to achieve. Having said that....I am always happy to hear or see when another person stops eating living beings for what ever reason they choose. I don't believe cruelty to animals will be stopped simply by some people not eating them. I believe that more dents will be made by more people being more out-spoken and writing to make their voices be heard. Writing to television sponsors, writing to congresspeople(Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich is vegan I don't know how he is using his post to spread the word), news stations, spreading the thoughts, feelings, and more importantly educating the masses about what is really going on when people choose to eat any living being. Also, educating people to the fact that it is not just eating meat, but not buying products that use animals for testing, learning all the "hidden, and disguised names" for animal products in foods, lotions and just about any product sold on the market. Many people, for example, are not aware that Armor Thyroid (a thyroid medication) is made with pork products. That the flu vaccine is made with eggs, and there are countless examples of these things going on to clueless people all around the world. We are surrounded by things that are used and/or consumed on a daily basis by those that have no clue they are. It is about starting the education early, with our children. Teaching children that it is indeed unethical and inhumane to eat any living things. That the choices we make with what we consume and/or use besides causing us many devastating health issues, like cancers, Alzheimer's (which is on the rise), and many, many others,... causes animals to suffer in ways no living being should. Most children I know of don't even realize that the hamburger, steak, shrimp, fish, chicken, etc.. they are eating are actual animals that live, breathe and feel as we do. They see commercials for Meat items and the messages are "yum it tastes good"..."does a body good". "need animal protein to grow healthy and strong". "all part of the food chain", I could go on and on and on...
How about having commercials for non meat items and making them look as appealing so that children ask for those products instead? How about changing how schools feed children? From an early age if children are taught about ethical treatment of animals and what to eat to get all that is needed to be healthy and strong and live full happy lives.
I believe the fact is that the people that control, distribute meat and control the advertising and mass marketing are more powerful than most governments. What happens when I turn on the food channel or any cooking show? 95% of all the foods that they cook involve some kind of meat products. They are sponsored by the meat industry.How about just about any program on television? How many meat and meat derived products are advertised?
Where are the people that control the vegan market? Why aren't there those people sponsoring cooking shows, television shows, sports events, naming stadiums, and creating commercials and public service announcements?
In summary, I can't agree that "unethical veganisim is a growing and global trend. When someone chooses to not eat meat for what ever their rationale happens to be that is a good thing and hopefully at some point the desire for more education into their choices will follow. We all get to this path in our own way and our own time. Some people have been vegan since very young and others at various ages.. some go in and out for a while and then back. It is all okay. I am always so happy when I meet a vegan, I don't question their motives. What I do believe is that unethical treatment is here to stay and is not a trend but a fact of life that will never change as long as people don't go at it from the right angle. That angle is simply education with facts.
I apologize for the lengthy post...believe me, I could have kept going. ;-D