The Vegan Of Aus

Live export: A summary of regulated animal exploitation.

Australia’s position on live export can be found here.

Many might take comfort in the fact that live export is regulated, but regulation of live export is no new thing. Compare this to the document above.

Like all welfare and regulation measures this document sets standards that primarily benefit the animal exploiters. Making sure animals arrive at their destination healthy is not about the protection of animal interests, it is about the idea that healthy animals are saleable animals, that keep the image of animal husbandry cleaner. It’s about making the journey profitable. It’s about making it least troublesome for those that are coordinating the journey; what more of a PITA than dealing with animals that upset the cart.

The document states:

“The export of animals obliges all participants in the trade to ensure that the animals’ health and welfare is protected to the greatest extent possible and reflects Australian community expectations.”

The first part of this statement is of course a blatant lie. The protection of the animal’s health and welfare to the greatest extent possible is to not export them at all; in fact it would be to not subject them to any animal ag practices at all, including not breeding them into existence. The second part of the statement is exactly what this document is about: appeasing community expectations.

Part of these standards includes an allowed mortality level. For sheep and goats this is 2%. For cattle this is 1% on journeys longer than 10 days, 0.5% on journeys less than 10 days. So let’s get this straight: more cattle are allowed to die on longer trips than on shorter trips. More sheep are allowed to die than cattle. So where is this welfare “to the greatest extent possible?” Clearly it’s not there at all; it’s actually welfare to a level commensurate with the requirements at hand. It’s the amount of welfare that is commercially viable. Whoever writes this balderdash would do well to experience a single trip with similar “welfare protection,” even without the murderous end that awaits the other passengers, to see what they are in fact suggesting.

The fact that a certain percentage of animals in live export are expected to die on the journey is indicative of the suffering that they go through. Death is the (sometimes elusive) end of exhaustion; for exhaustion to arrive at that end requires massive amounts of suffering. For every animal that does die there will be many others who are in the thick of exhaustion and suffering. Yet these animals are saleable hence their experience is not taken into account.

This is the bottom line of all animal exploitation: it’s not about the animal’s own experience, it’s about how their experience affects our own. If animals cannot be heard they can be frozen or boiled alive (aquatic beings). If animals cannot kick back they can be handled like basketballs (chickens). If animals cannot make a profit they can be killed and thrown on the waste heap (all animals). If it’s cheaper and easier to use a sledgehammer to kill an animal then that’s okay (“unviable” calves). When Fido becomes more of a hassle than a plaything then a lethal injection is humane. If few enough animals die on a journey to not raise eyebrows then it’s ok that the rest of them suffer.

Animal welfare measures are a farce. The only welfare measure that benefits animals is leaving them alone.

Stop buying them.

Stop consuming them.

Stop wearing them.

Stop exploiting them.

Stop thinking about them as mere resources.

Start seeing sentient beings as individuals who have their own interests. Like you.

Be decent towards nonhumans. Be vegan.

The thread of the dead

Wearing silk is a blatant show of contempt towards our fellow sentient beings. Sadly so blatant that most people don’t even think about it.

In the obtaining of silk silkworms are intentionally killed in their final rite of passage. After they have spent their entire lives working towards a single end – and a most magnificent one at that, a complete bodily (and probably greater) metamorphosis – they take to slumber in their inherited hope that they will emerge adjusted (finished?) beings.

But members of our own callous and narcissistic species think it nothing to destroy the life’s work of these beautiful animals for the whims of fashion, much less when the victims are sleeping and otherwise unable to protect themselves. These innocent beings are denied their chance to see the world again, to spread their wings, to experience life in a new way and to find partners with which to mate. Not that people care for anything except the mating bit, since that is the only bit that brings us further benefit. Yet we have that sorted by selectively breeding these beings over the last ten thousand years to produce increasing numbers of eggs so that we can kill more and more of these individuals with increasing speed and efficiency.

When we imagine the tragedy of human lives lost early we often feel doubly heavy when those that perish are on the verge of adulthood. We place investment in children for the exact reason that we hope they will emerge out of childhood into independent beings capable of living their lives to their fullest. There is something uniquely heartbreaking when we consider someone who has passed through childhood only to be denied their chance to finally blossom, to live as an adult. Yet change the subject from human to silkworm, or any other species for that matter, and human compassion is at a loss. The fact that the victims are drowned and boiled alive does not seem to spark any increased concern. Perhaps it’s because silkworms, like worms, don’t have screams and flapping limbs that appeal to our emotions; perhaps it wouldn’t make a difference either way when human desire is so set on an end that it cares nothing for the life of others.

As if to add a sad irony to the situation, after killing these innocent beings people go about unraveling their life’s crowning achievement. The home that that each silkworm built in order to protect themselves and look after their own ends becomes their tomb, only to be ripped apart impetuously with the dead occupant still inside. Our desensitised minds then parade the work of these beings as items of festal luxury rather than of the wholesale death they truly are. For a single item of clothing this story of killing and plundering may replay thousands of times.

Nonvegans choose smooth ties and shawls at the ultimate cost to an untold number of beings. Vegans find similar ties and shawls that don’t intentionally harm anyone. What a strange world we live in when people recoil to the idea of veganism yet don’t find it an issue at all to wear and celebrate violence.

Talk about best buddies

Vegetarians and meat eaters unite!

Here’s an idea: How about you both imprison and inseminate a cow, then go halfsies in the outcome – one gets the milk, the other gets the baby.

Vegos: you keep the mother working her entire life taking the milk she produces for her child.

Meat eaters: you keep the child confined in a tight place so he doesn’t toughen up, then get the knife in.

Oh wait… You already have that deal going? Then what better trophies to share than wearing the skins of your victims. (I hear the babies’ skins are very delicate and therefore highly desirable).

P.S. Don’t forget to remind yourselves how much you love animals!

Sex and the Pity

The ability to discriminate sexual partners (including having none) is a fundamental part of sexual autonomy. Think about how picking sexual partners is amongst our most personal decisions and the often elaborate ceremonies we go through in order to pursue our sexual goals. It’s a process filled with excitement, anticipation and presenting ourselves as best we can. Often it’s a highlight of life. Even if our desires aren’t met we have enjoyed the freedom to pursue those desires and that provides its own value. For many the thrill of the chase is larger than the acts of physical sexual interaction. A life without such freedom of expression would be markedly different; I’d say markedly unnatural and inferior.

Given what we can see, and understanding the commonalities amongst all animals, it makes sense to assume that other animal species share commensurate desire and experience in choosing their own sexual partners. Just look at the performances and mating ceremonies some animals put on in order to impress their prospective sexual partners, and the often sensational natural features of sexual allure they are endowed with. In many ways they make us humans look remarkably boring. (Not sure what I’m talking about? Watch any David Attenborough episode and it’ll make sense.)

It’s almost an absurdity to need to say it but: Sex is a big thing – for all animals, not just humans. Yet in our treatment of nonhumans we’d almost believe that they have no sexual desires at all, only some mechanistic tendency to procreate. This is just another manifestation of human superiority and it’s extremely ugly. Human treatment of domesticated animals subjects them to both sexual deprivation and molestation. Considering that these nonhumans have their entire lives stolen from them it’s hardly notable that one other aspect of their lives – their sex lives – are subjected to human control, yet I hope that in raising it that some people might relate to their own sexual lives and realise what a tragedy it would be to rob anyone of the same.

Sexual violation is not just vile because it’s a physical and emotional assault on others, it’s also the stealing of some of life’s richest experiences and replacing them with fear and humiliation. It’s utter personal degradation. Consider how even more complex this degradation is when the sexual aggressor is of a different species – an aggressive and dominating species that almost invariably fails to understand or accept your communication, your pleas for mercy.

The “standard practices” that people inflict on nonhumans in order to breed them or to induce lactation is a sickening horror. Hands up anuses, tubes in vaginas, penises in funnels, bodies hung up or pinned down in order to be inseminated – these are amongst the routine procedures people inflict on nonhumans. Usually these animals are barely pubescent when they are first made to endure such contempt; humans are efficient and therefore insensitively tough overlords. On the other hand we’re also happy to rip off the sexual organs of those animals we have no sexual intentions for. If such practices were a fiction and had movies made about them they would surely have the toughest R / XXX ratings, if not being fully illegal. Yet this is not a fiction at all and this behaviour continues unchecked, sanctioned by greater society and enabled by laws that completely disrespect nonhuman interests.

Some people may argue that putting two animals together in the same enclosure and letting them “do their thing” is fine. You know what? People in prison often “do their things” too, and those things are usually not what those same people would otherwise do if given a free choice. There is zero nonhuman choice and only human determinism in the sex lives of domesticated animals.

People’s use of animals is steeped in sexual exploitation. Nonvegans should think about the sexual brutality they unflinchingly dish out on our fellow earthly cohabitants.

Why is speciesism such a secret?

Speciesism

noun

1.a belief of humans that all other species of animals are inferior and may therefore be used for human benefit without regard to the suffering inflicted

Mention racism and I expect most decent people will immediately bring themselves to check. But mention speciesism and chances are the the only reaction you’ll receive are raised eyebrows. It seems to me that broader society has no idea about the word “speciesism” nor what it means. “Speciesism” is just not out there and therefore not understood. That is to say, broader society has hardly been reached with any discourse about speciesism. And it’s the same for “veganism;” it may be a more commonly thrown about word but, really, society has at best a misunderstanding of veganism as some diet or lifestyle choice, otherwise no understanding of it at all. I know the first time I heard of speciesism was by reading books after I was already well immersed in an interest of animal rights; I never encountered the word until I actually went looking for it.

Many people say that we should advocate for nonhumans in a way that easier engages broader society or that makes animal protection “more accessible.” To that end they promote all sorts of petty measures and advocate for anything but challenging speciesism and promoting veganism as a fundamental requirement in that challenge. That cannot help. Practically everyone knows about PeTA and their salad-clad models – but who knows about speciesism? Everyone knows about Animals Australia and live export and poor puppies left to die at the RSPCA and that hens want to be treated “like ladies” – but who knows about speciesism?

For all their talk about engaging the public these large organisations have done little to nothing in raising awareness of speciesism. Society needs to hear about speciesism else they will never be ready to properly engage the issue. Speciesism must become a word and an idea that people are familiar with so that it can become a topic for discussion, so that people can thrash it around rather than hear it once in a blue moon by the “militant vegan.” “Speciesism” should be causing talk, argument, contention. We can expect that it will be ridiculed – that’s fine! Can we for a second believe that racism did not receive similar treatment as it was being brought to general discourse?

Advocating for veganism need not be about winning people over – it should simply be about advocating for veganism. It’s about getting the word out, identifying speciesism and promoting veganism as the necessary response. Let people’s own understanding of veganism win them over – but give them that understanding. Winning people over is something we have no final control over but getting the word out is entirely up to us.

Crossing the line in vegan advocacy

An addendum to my previous post on vegan advocacy:

I reckon a lot of vegan advocacy falls on deaf ears because nonvegans cannot take us seriously. For most people the idea of living without animal products is just a fantasy. Regardless of the science many people actually genuinely hold on to the notion that humans need to consume animals products for optimal health; or that there is some natural hierarchy with people on top and nonhumans underneath waiting to be exploited; or that a deity placed nonhumans on earth to satisfy human interests. They actually cannot drop their prejudices because it’s all they have! This is not unlike prejudices which have thankfully been handed heavy blows in the recent centuries:

  • That women can be as smart as men.
  • That “dark savages” could be as human as Europeans.
  • That aristocrats could be who they are based on the assertion of acquired privilege rather than the will of god.

This is unlike many other goals, like say a push for increased socialism, which falls in the domain of what most people might at least consider a viable, if not preferable, option. So let’s be clear: advocating for veganism is almost as “out there” to many nonvegans as is suggesting that we were all dropped here by aliens.

Right now vegan advocacy can only be expected to provide marginal returns because of its popularly assumed counter-intuitive nature. For the most part vegan advocacy is not engaging with the nonvegan’s intellect or sensibilities, rather it is trying to short circuit this nonvegan fantasy. Vegan advocacy seeks to instigate a wholesale shift in the nonvegan’s worldview rather than an edging towards something already there; it is the demolishing of one of their existential cornerstones. Vegan advocacy is no trivial task!

This is why advocating for incremental change is generally not the way to go. Nonvegans need a jolt of something – reality! – to bust through the trappings of their current worldview where they see nonhumans as necessary slaves to their superior masters. In a sense they must be helped to bring themselves to lay bare and start anew in this facet of their life.

Nothing above suggests that this cannot be done without personal respect or cordiality, but it does suggest that vegan advocacy must be delivered with potency and with frankness beyond “keeping things comfortable.” We should never worry about “crossing a line;” in fact crossing that line is exactly what we should do.

Dealing with the nightmare

theveganofaus:

Don’t fight the power – BE the power!

Originally posted on There's an Elephant in the Room blog:

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I was first introduced to images of animal suffering through mail drops by animal welfare organisations. They use such images as a tool to trigger a vague and unresolved sense of guilt in order to gather donations and the word vegan is never mentioned as a necessity. Why would it be? For any business that makes their income from the exploitation of nonhuman individuals, of course they don’t mention veganism. Why? Because veganism marks the end of their business venture.

The unspoken dialogue that the images suggest, and this is true not only of animal welfare groups, but of other charities too, goes along the lines of, ‘ Look at this. Isn’t it shocking? Give us money and then leave it with us to make it stop.’ Really, if we examine that concept a bit more closely, it begs far too many questions. But it’s very effective. I know it is because before I was…

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Patience in vegan advocacy

About a month ago after having a great chat with a nonvegan he informed me that my case for veganism was (at least somewhat) compelling and that he “might give veganism a go some time soon.” I replied that if he’s interested in stroking his own ego then that might be a suitable response but if he now understood the imperative for veganism then the right thing to do was to start living vegan immediately. Right now! A number of (mostly vegan) friends listening in on the conversation tried to soften my call; they said that such an urge was harsh and that the type of progress my interlocutor was affirming to take part in was a step in the right direction.

I disagree.

The only step in the right direction is an actual step, in the right direction. Not a glance, or a thought, but a step. The only way to put down a sword is to actually put it down, not just to think about putting it down after wielding it on some discretionary number of victims if and when you feel like it. The only way to stop being a bigot is to actually stop being a bigot, not just talking about stopping being a bigot. Just imagine a kid brought before a teacher at school for bullying and telling him “I might stop being a bully at the end of term.” That’s ludicrous. As is someone suggesting they’ll go vegan when they feel like it. You don’t go vegan because you feel like it, you go vegan because if you have a shred of decency towards nonhumans it’s the right thing to do.

The fact that the imperative for veganism is so often diluted to something that can be done according to the oppressor’s whims rather than the victim’s needs is a prime display of how deeply entrenched speciesism is, even amongst vegans. Speciesism has corrupted our minds and hearts over thousands of years so it’s not surprising that its relics die hard. But if justice is to be justice then die they should. Just like nonvegans have no legitimate, moral excuse for being nonvegan, so vegans have no legitimate, moral excuse for advocating anything less than veganism.

I don’t expect people to start living vegan the moment they hear my advocacy; they have their own interests and hang-ups and resilience against accepting obvious truths. But to tell anyone that less than veganism is acceptable is an utter betrayal of those victims whom I try to represent.

In the same conversation it was brought up that I did not go vegan overnight. That’s right, I didn’t. But so what? First, no-one ever presented veganism to me as a moral imperative, rather I was presented veganism as an option. Is it at all unexpected then that I would take the easiest option rather than one that seemed the hardest? Not that there’s anything actually hard about veganism, but when it’s presented as the pinnacle of a range of approaches then it is hardly surprising that it is automatically construed as the most severe form of change suitable only for the most dedicated adherents. Veganism is not hard – it’s simple! As simple as stopping any other bigotry.

Second, even if I was presented such a case and I didn’t go vegan immediately that doesn’t at all detract from the case for veganism itself. If I assume that others will fail similarly then I am being prejudicial against them. This is actually just self-flattery: if I can’t do it then I can’t expect them to do it either. That’s rubbish! They are their own masters and can do what they want. If they want to go vegan right now they will, if they don’t  they surely don’t need vegans to pat them on the back about it.

Today 200 million sentient individuals will be intentionally tortured and killed. “Some time soon” is not soon enough for them. To not call for an immediate end to this is grossly immoral and a sell-out on those whom we purport to stand for.

Vegan advocacy requires patience. It does not require silence, corruption, or otherwise corroborating continued oppression against our fellow animals. There is a difference.

An appeal to nonvegans who understand privilege

Most people just don’t understand why vegans are vegan. They see themselves as normal and moderate while vegans are a bunch of hipsters drunk on privilege and devoted to some radical lifestyle choice or political position.

Guess what?

Most white racists don’t see themselves as racists. They might see other non-racist white people showing unprejudiced consideration to all people regardless of their race or colour but they see this as an act of benevolence rather than basic decency.

Most sexists don’t see themselves as sexists. They think feminists are making some big deal out of a supposed patriarchy that is just not there or that they read way too much into trivialities.

Most heterosexists don’t see themselves as heterosexists. They are convinced that being straight is the only proper norm and that being anything apart from that is some type of (often perverse) personal choice that does not deserve greater societal recognition as a perfectly valid position.

Most classists don’t see themselves as classists. They are often convinced that those “lower” than them are deficient in work ethics and that anyone can become a multimillionaire by trying hard enough. Or that fluency in Upper Received Pronunciation and wearing chinos is a fair mark of a person with substance

The common blinding factor in all these examples is unchecked privilege.

Privilege can be at once pervasive yet elusive. Often the same person can detect and miss various privileges. If we don’t see our own privilege it doesn’t mean it’s not there; it simply means that we don’t see it. Nonetheless others that are not so privileged feel it when we enact on it, and that often makes us oppressors whether we know it or not.

Veganism is simply a justice-seeking response to the understanding of our privilege in being born human in a society dominated by humans. It’s understanding that we are a dominating, oppressive and abusive class. It’s actually not that hard to see or understand if you really want to. But you have to want to – because that same privilege gives you the option to ignore it..

So you see, you were sorta right: vegans are a bunch of privileged people. Exactly like you too. But we acknowledge its injustice and, on behalf of its victims, are working on bringing it down.

“Veganism: Why not?” A different anarchist perspective

Peter Gelderloos’ “Veganism: Why Not – An anarchist perspective” can be found here:

http://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/peter-gelderloos-veganism-why-not

Here I’ll provide a short long repudiation by responding to one or two pertinent quotes from each of his sub-sections. Also, let’s remember this is his own, and not a general, anarchist perspective.

To those readers unfamiliar with the principles of anarchy: I keep this blog about veganism, not anarchy, so I wont much get into anarchy here except to say it is my deep belief that veganism and anarchy share the same spirit, namely freedom; freedom from the oppression of others. Living vegan is essentially an anarchistic expression towards nonhumans. On this blog you will find very little direct mention of anarchy for various reasons but the most important is that veganism is necessary for any movement towards peace. To maintain the freedom of anarchy requires peaceful individuals; it is impossible to force peace on others – it must be spontaneous from each individual – else this is not peace nor is it anarchy. Therefore fostering peace must be the first order of progress, and until we are able to be peaceable towards those who are most vulnerable to us we can never expect peace from those to whom we are vulnerable. There is a rule in anarchy – the golden rule – and veganism is absolutely necessary to that end. In promoting veganism I am automatically promoting the most fundamental aspects of anarchy – peace and freedom – but I’ll leave our own liberation from the tyranny of others (and our own selves) till after we have stopped being tyrants over billions of other sentient beings every year. That is to say, let’s address the beams in my own eyes before we focus on the motes in others’.

To anarchists: My “colour” is probably already apparent, but even if it does not match yours the arguments about the right of nonhumans to be free of your oppressive hands remain. In fact they are self-standing, with or without anarchy. You probably question why so many other anarchists or their traditions are not vegan? Then down with tradition. Just because those who first developed thoughts and wrote about anarchistic ideas centuries ago did not make claims against human supremacy does not make the matter unimportant. Thinking about anarchy, like thinking about anything, should be progressive and appeal to the best, often latest, sources. To refuse such progress would be like appealing today to Hippocrates for the best medical advice. That’s no longer critical thought; that’s religion. Further, nonvegan anarchists are generally as non-understanding of veganism as the general populace is about anarchy. More than just a diet or saving animals, veganism is a revolution of mind where the vegan no longer views individuals of other species as his resources but as fellow persons deserving of proper moral consideration. The fact that nonvegans can’t see this does not legitimise their nonvegan ways any more than a racist’s ways are legitimised by the fact that they see others of different races as inferior. The common blinding factor in both of these discriminations is unchecked privilege.

Finally, anarchy, like veganism, has a broad base with many opinions. (More on this soon.) I distance myself from those schools of thought that promote violence and many many anarchist schools of thought do exactly this. This is not dissimilar to some violent versions of veganism which I similarly do not consider legitimate, wish no part in and do not generally talk about here.

 

Introduction (untitled)

“It would be a mistake to critique veganism as an ideology, or as a body of thought and tradition of practice, because there do not even exist any vague guiding principles that all or nearly all vegans share.”

Which is much like anarchism. Let’s see:

Vegans – for ethics, health, environment, being hipster, or just winning over the vegan girl at uni.

Anarchists – yellow, red, green, white, purple, or any to justify going to Rage Against The Machine concerts with the rebellious kids at school.

What’s the point here? I’m confident that Gelderloos would dismiss ancaps as undeserving of the label “anarchist;” I would similarly find those that are non-ethical vegans undeserving of the label “vegan.” That there exist under our own labels those with different opinions or imposters is true for any label.

For the record every vegan anarchist that I know is abolitionist and rights based, exactly because of the shared essence between veganism and anarchism that I mentioned above. From here on whenever I refer to vegans or veganism I will automatically assume that they are abolitionist and rights based. I cannot make any claim for the others since I am not one of them.

 

The new thing

“As stated in the introduction, veganism in its totality is not an ideology or a tradition of struggle; it only exists as these things for a minority of those who identify as vegans. In its totality, veganism is only the identity of those who choose it.”

Then he has no idea what veganism is. That is to say, for whatever reason he does not see the struggle, probably much like the greater world out there does not see his, but that does not mean it’s not there.

“Every vegan who has ever spouted a statistic about the amount of water used to produce a pound of beef or the amount of methane emitted by the world’s sheep is actively supporting capitalism by participating in a great smoke screen which hides the true nature of how the present economic system actually functions.”

Wow! Is it not primarily the animal exploiting food industries that are bolstered by tax dollars? That have the largest lobby groups? That force their ways into schools? That supply the fast food giants? That push for ag-gag laws? But more than anything that churn over more plant material just as fodder for those sentient beings created to be killed than – what, a hundred* times more? – than all vegans do collectively around the world? The present economic system was built on nonveganism and nonveganism remains one of its great bulwarks.

 

Animal rights

“… but I imagine their malice stems from an ignorance of the meaning of rights, of the policing of living relations in a legal framework, of the democratic project.”

What a poverty of understanding to see rights as exclusively legal or regulatory instruments. Or if that’s his false accusation against vegans then what a poverty of understanding he shows in not being able to comprehend rights extended to all sentient beings. The only democracy here is that nonvegans are part of the mob: the mob that rules and that doesn’t care about nonhumans.

 

Thou shalt not kill

“Domination is only successful when the subject is kept alive so its activity can be disciplined and exploited: there’s got to be something to dominate.”

How very utilitarian. And what insult to those who have died at the hands of their oppressors. Not to mention that nonhumans bred for food are disciplined and exploited for their entire existence before they are dispatched to their murderous end.

“There’s nothing un-anarchist about killing a king, because kings are not a type of people whom anarchists wish to dominate at the end of the day.”

Of course killing a king is not automatically un-anarchist! Not because we don’t wish to dominate them at the end of the day (What?) but because it may be an act of self-defense against an imposing ruler. It is completely un-anarchist to kill any vulnerable person who is minding their own business and not affecting you just because you want to take something they possess, be it their body or otherwise.

“I find it hard to understand someone who does not comprehend that pain is natural, necessary, and good. When we inflict pain on others, our faculties of sympathy provoke a conflict within us, and such conflict is also good, because it makes us think and question what we’re doing, whether it’s necessary, and whether there’s also an element of the beautiful in it.”

How many times must you kill or otherwise harm someone in order to feel conflict and know it’s wrong? Three times per day plus snacks? Indeed it is vegans who question what they are doing and then they stop doing it. I’d love to see how beautiful he thinks pain is if he was the subject.

 

From boycott to insurrection

“In the first place, true veganism is impossible for anyone who lives within capitalist society.”

Of course it is impossible, just like anarchy is. But the arguments for both are not diminished by the difficult context they find themselves in, nor do their supporters abandon their principles when they fail to achieve their goals in such a context. Both aim to reform or overthrow their current contexts – that’s the point.

“Only rich people would be able to afford this food, but regardless of the final price, all profit made from the buying and selling of this food represents a return on investment, a cash flow that a diverse web of banks, insurance companies, and investors turn right around and put into other industries”

The idea that vegan food is expensive is absurd. Boutique foods – vegan or otherwise – can be expensive but they are expensive because they are  boutique, not because they’re vegan. There is no food cheaper than vegan staples; the poorest people on earth survive on them predominantly. With regards to fueling other industries: What, exactly like the animal industries do right now? How do his steaks and ice-creams not do that any differently? Has he seen what McDonalds and co sell? And considering the cadavers and secretions nonvegans eat were fed more than twice their weight in plants  in the first place this is hardly a problem with vegan food. His issue should be with capitalism itself – not veganism, which, like breathing, is possible under any form of political structure.

 

The Healthiest Diet

Vegans should make no claim that veganism is the healthiest diet; we always claim that veganism is a healthy diet capable of providing all the nutrients we need to thrive. We can listen to Gelderloos or we can take the consensus of credible nutrition science on their advice here so I won’t bother commenting except to take him up on his first point:

“Humans evolved on an omnivorous diet.”

So what?

 

Religious tendencies

“Veganism creates a righteous in-group on the basis of an illusion of purity. Many of us have had the frustrating experience of arguing with vegans who go in circles, claiming that they do not support the meat industry even after they are forced to acknowledge that all industries are interconnected.”

This illusion of purity is external, not internal. That vegans would prefer to commune with other vegans is natural; why on earth would we want to happily partake with nonvegans in their ceremonies of oppression against nonhumans?  That’s not about purity, that’s simply being attracted to those with similar passions.  Vegans make no claim about righteousness or purity – we only make claims about the immorality of animal use, which nonvegans usually agree with until they are exposed as complicit. For all I know Gelderloos is more righteous, if there is such a thing, than me, but that does not mean that his enslaving and killing nonhumans is anything less than grossly immoral. If nonvegans can’t handle that it’s their problem; why do they insist on making it ours by making up fables about our supposed purity?

Further, vegans do not boycott animal use in order to remove support from the meat industry; we boycott animal use because we find animal use objectionable, whether they come from an “industry” or from our own backyard. It seems to me that it is in fact Gelderloos who is dogmatic and circular about his favourite subject matter – namely “industries.” While vegan anarchists may be no less concerned about industries than Gelderloos we do not automatically conflate (or reduce) all the things we find objectionable in the world with industry, nor do we see “industry” as the great malefactor. Industry is simply industry, and could exist in various forms in all political contexts including any form of anarchy – even primitivism. “Let me show you my selection of sharp rocks.” See?

 

Go Omnivore

“[T]hus what a person eats should not model an ideal but highlight a conflict.”

For whatever value that statement holds, (and I truly don’t now what it is,) veganism certainly does anyway. When anyone consumes animal products they are willingly paying for the subjugation and domination of others. Vegans highlight this conflict by refraining from animal consumption and advocating against it. Nonvegans don’t give a shit (in this regard anyway) and eat what they will.

Every one of Gelderloos’ suggestions, from stealing to farming, can be realised within a plant-based* context. That is to say, all his ideals can be met and then on top of that we could further chose to not oppress other animals. (* I refrain from using vegan here since I do not wish to associate veganism with stealing – not because of its “unlawfulness” but because it may be seen as a violation of others’ rights to possession.)

“And then there’s another take entirely, in which neither our diet nor anything else about our lives is purported to be consistent with our ideals.”

And suddenly the black hole of Gelderloos’ argument becomes apparent with his own abandonment of the nonsenses he’s taken time to write about. If there is no consistency between life and ideals then why does he care to write about it in the first place?

“Go omnivore” he says. Really? Veganism is not about what we eat, it’s about how we think. Therefore his response to “Go vegan” should not be “Go omnivore” but rather “Go and assert your privilege over others – including eating and wearing them.”

 

Stay vegan

“Against consumer society, against civilization, until no one has to live in a cage! “

All the while paying capitalists to force 60 billion individuals per year into cages? Righty-oh!

It amazes me how nonvegans so often see veganism as a threat, and as an idea that they must prove wrong. Really, why do nonvegans care so much? Is there anything about veganism that undermines anarchy? For what reason does Gelderloos make a case against veganism? What is his gain? If he sees veganism as such a dangerous idea that it needs to be written off publicly then maybe he should make the case for that. I wont hold my breath.

 

(* Re. 100 times more. This is a back-of-the-envelope approximation. I assume vegans form 1% of the global human population and that the animals nonvegans consume require twice their own calorific value in animal feed. Calorific conversion for animal products from feed generally ranges from 2 to 15 times so I’ve picked the lowest end and assumed that half of nonvegan calories are met by animal products. None of this allows for any waste. 100 times is probably a gross underestimation).

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