The Lesser Spotted Abolitionist: Myth and Reality
They lurk in the shadows where non-vegans congregate, waiting for an opportunity to pounce and shout aloud their sole advocacy pitch: “GO VEGAN.” By day, they are to be found reading theory or baking cupcakes. By night, they prowl the internet looking for ways to be divisive and bellicose. They are concerned with personal purity above animal exploitation; their opponents, on the other hand, know that the best way to end animal exploitation is to participate in it and encourage others to do the same. They are paid by exploiters to help stem a threat that doesn’t exist to a thriving and growing industry of animal exploitation. After all, industry knows that reverse psychology is worth gambling money on just in case that booming industry should ever be threatened. Said industry does not partner with those who claim to be concerned with animal exploitation and yet promote more “humane” ways of exploiting, though. Oh no, that would be beyond the realms of belief, and those countless letters and position papers from the hand of the animal orgs that seem to prove it are just figments of your imagination. There could be an Abolitionist in your neighbourhood. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
They’re individuals who don’t believe in treating animals as things. They therefore are careful not to treat animals as things, or to encourage others to do the same, even by omission. They’re not afraid of the word ‘vegan,’ and can often be found chatting happily about veganism in the supermarket queue, or at a street stall, or in a waiting room. They are keen to learn about the so-called “animal movement” and the history of its ideas, because they believe that they will be able to educate more effectively if they learn from the past. Their reading makes them aware of the harm being caused by half-hearted approaches to animal issues, so they often try to persuade others to reject the large animal orgs and tactics that involve perpetuating the exploitation of nonhumans. They often congregate to discuss ways to make their advocacy more effective, reflecting on their own practice and learning from each other. Those who make money from animal exploitation (whether as exploiters or paid advocates for animals) are often threatened by them, but rather than take on the Herculean task of deconstructing their arguments they resort to ad hominem and misrepresentation instead.