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Part 2: The Second Indoctrination – Speciesist Vegans

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Find Part 1 of this essay here.

Part 2 – The Second Indoctrination

For some reason, vegans stop thinking again at this point, they refuse to see or even consider the paradigm of speciesist corporate self-interest. We see vegans cling on to these organisations with blind faith, repeating the mantras, which they don’t realise are there to garner donations from anyone and everyone. “It’s not a black and white issue”, “we must do something”, “choose compassion”, “the world won’t go vegan overnight”, “animals are suffering now”. These mantras and plenty of others reinforce a defeatist position of compromise from a vegan perspective, but they also allow nonvegans the opportunity to avoid addressing or even knowing about what is really a simple and clear moral position-using animals as a resource is morally wrong.

These usually well-meaning vegans follow along and believe virtually without question that people can’t be educated about veganism. It’s quite strange really; a person who was educated about veganism and became vegan, then takes the position that others cannot be educated. Thinking about it, this is really quite an obnoxious position to take, that individually we are more special or that we are just more “compassionate” than others, that others lack “compassion”. This is not about us, or our “compassion”, this is not an issue of “compassion” at all, this is about justice for animals. It’s about doing the right thing, not simply accepting right ways to do the wrong thing.

If we reject the exploitation of other sentient beings then the last thing we should ever do is suggest on any level that any form of participation in exploitation is okay for anyone. It’s not; it’s always wrong; it is black and white. Vegans know this, we draw the line at not using nonhuman sentient beings as our property and for virtually everyone it’s very easy to do.

The very least we can and must do for animals is stop using them, by taking action and going vegan. This should be the clear message front and centre by anyone who claims to represent the interests of animals. I certainly wouldn’t want anyone representing my interests if they promoted and accepted eating me on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday but not Monday and by default suggesting that eating products of exploitation which result in the suffering and death of my other friends instead on Monday is okay. I wouldn’t want anyone promoting my going to slaughter by road transport as a better alternative to me being exported by sea to be killed in another country. Obviously I wouldn’t want to be killed at all, or to be bred into enslavement for use as a resource in the first place. I wouldn’t want anyone representing my interests who told people that they should try and simply reduce their exploitation of me. I wouldn’t want to be exploited as it would be wrong; I’d want people to ask it to stop!

And that’s exactly what vegans need to be doing; it’s pretty logical: *vegans educating others about veganism*. It doesn’t cost any money. It’s a consistent, uncompromising message of justice, in that it truly represents the genuine interests of nonhumans not to be used at all. We’re missing, and in most cases deliberately forgo, the opportunity to educate people and fully inform them about the significant difference they can make by going vegan.

Now for many this requires a bit of critical thinking, a bit of education, some insight into how to engage people in conversations about veganism as a moral imperative. So what is stopping vegans from doing this? Is it the time or effort here that causes vegans to outright reject even contemplating this basic and logical approach? Is it their own bad experiences with people because they focused on treatment and single issue campaigns and graphic images, as led by the large animal donation organisations? Is it because the animal donation groups don’t want people doing it in place of their “successful” fundraising single issue campaigns?

We should remember that these organisations have tactics that focus and rely on soliciting more donations. They don’t take a position of justice; they conflate veganism (when they don’t outright reject it) with vegetarianism and other morally compromised positions. Vegetarianism is certainly not a morally coherent position: it still involves death, suffering and the use of nonhumans as a resource, it is just a diet. It’s only a “gateway” to continued participation in the exploitation of the vulnerable. We are not vegetarians, we are vegans and there’s reason for that.

These large animal charities through their conflation of positions of exploitation, with claims of representing animals, have created a massive confusion movement. A movement that now partners with animal exploiters and does one thing well-it takes money from vegans and nonvegans alike. It creates coalitions of vegans and nonvegans who claim to care about animals, but mainly targets nominal use single issues that nonvegans can get onboard with supporting. These many and varied speciesist, single issue focused, fundraising campaigns, will just go on and on forever, $$$.

This speciesist “animal movement” puts time and resources into anything but changing the paradigm for animals. What the animals need is a clear consistent, upfront and uncompromising message of justice. The animals need a *vegan movement* and as vegans, promoting anything less than that message is incoherent. Anything less than a message which clearly states- that if you truly care about or respect animals then veganism is a moral imperative-is a message which compromises the very position that we as vegans claim to believe in and live by.

Reject the second indoctrination; reject anyone, any group or any position, which involves sending any message of continued exploitation of nonhumans. Reject speciesism. The only message we need, the only message that covers all of the issues, the unjust use of nonhumans, is a message that states clearly that veganism is the only way there can be justice for animals.

This is a social justice issue and we need to change the paradigm; to do this we have to change the conversation. As vegans we must lead the way and be consistent and uncompromising in our message for justice. Educate yourself and then educate others. This is a black and white issue; the only grey area is the donation zone. Veganism is the moral baseline.

Based on The Abolitionist Approach by Gary L. Francione

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