Fighting for animal liberation and an end to speciesism
too much of a hurry. Another problem is that we don’t talk nicely
Social change is a gradual process; people need time to come around to new ideas. So, we should try to get people to stop the obvious mistreatment – that everyone can agree on as being mistreatment - of
animals first. In the same way, people need time to get used to the
idea of gay people. So let’s not worry about such disruptive things as
marriage, or ending discrimination in the work place or in the
military. The LGBT community should be satisfied with incremental
change. What’s the hurry?
Besides, all the heated rhetoric isn’t helping. If we want the good people who might agree with us to listen, we have to be careful with the words we choose. We wouldn’t want to upset anyone, because if we do
that, then they won’t ever come over to our side. Maybe it is true that
the repeated, lifelong, forced artificial insemination of dairy cows is
analogous to rape, but do we have to use such ugly words? Maybe forcing
gay men and lesbians to hide their relationships, and to denying the
validity of their feelings of love is just like Jim Crow and miscegenation, but really, aren’t comparisons to racial discrimination just inflammatory?
Wait a second, is this me talking? Can any of this be right?
No. It cannot be, because for any of this to be right, what would it also have to mean?
In the case of social change as a gradual process, it would have to mean that people who see and recognize the abuses of the rights of others would need to stand by while those abuses continue. How does
that make sense? If all of the ways that we currently use animals are
wrong, and they are, then all of those uses need to stop now. If gays
and lesbians have equal rights, and they do, then we need to recognize
all of those rights now. What is there to wait for?
As far as the rhetoric goes, I have written elsewhere that I do not believe in using incendiary language for its own sake. But sometimes extremism in the pursuit of liberty really is no vice. If
people are upset that we equate the horrific treatment of dairy cows
with rape, or the discrimination against LGBT folks with Jim Crow, then
maybe we should end those practices, and not worry so much about whose
feathers are ruffled by mere words.
So here’s the thing. Most of the people that I have heard that make this kind of talk almost always preface these kinds of remarks with sentiments such as: “I agree with that we ought to stop abusing
animals, BUT…” or “It’s wrong that gays aren’t treated equally, BUT…”
You know, if you don’t think that animals deserve to live their own lives, in the best ways that they are able, then just say so. If you think that LGBT people ought to be continually denied equal treatment
under the law, then, by all means, make your case. But please stop
pretending that you really do care about animals BUT… the time just
isn’t right yet. Please stop pretending that “those gays are ok” BUT…
they need to stop being so damned vocal and “in your face” about it.
The truth is, I think that people who say that they want to stop the obvious mistreatment of animals are really saying that they just want to feel better about all the ways that we actually continue to use
them. I think that people who want gays & lesbians to talk nicely
really want them to just shut the f*ck up and go back into the closet.
Social change will be gradual only if we continue to settle for things the way they are now, and only if we believe that people are unable to change. I am unwilling to accept either of those things.
I believe that every thinking person, when presented with a credible & reasonable argument has the capacity to make immediate and lasting change in their own lives, and in the lives of others. All it
takes is a millisecond for the brain’s synapses to fire and information
is transmitted, and new decisions can be reached. It takes no time at
If you are sympathetic to the ideas of animal rights, and to the principles of equality for all people, regardless of who and how they love, what is stopping you from acting on those ideas and principles
right now? If you don’t believe in those things, then tell me why, and
then make your case.
Go vegan. And support gender, sexual, and sexual identity equality. Everyone deserves to have their rights respected.
So let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late. – Dylan “All Along The Watchtower“
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