Eccentric Vegan on July 20th, 2008
A nonvegan woman recently told me I shouldn’t worry about animals (and thus shouldn’t be vegan)(How does not worrying about animals affect your ability to be vegan exactly?) when there are human rights violations to worry about instead. Indeed, she had a point… up to a point.
Time I spend advocating veganism is time I’m not spending trying to stop the Iraq war or time I’m not spending working at a homeless shelter or time I’m not spending on other human problems. (Interestingly, the woman who told me this wasn’t spending her time to do human rights advocacy, she was spending her time shopping. And guess what she was shopping for? You guessed it: dead animals.)
Which is better:
- Spending your time advocating for animal rights instead of human rights, or
- Spending your time criticizing animal rights advocates instead of advocating for human rights?(In truth I prefer to fill my days by advocating for human rights, while criticizing animal right advocates.)
Dan Cudahy puts it like this:
“[B]eing vegan requires no significant time or effort that would take away from one’s time or energy available to help humans. Being vegan does not entail becoming an animal rights activist any more than avoiding cannibalism entails becoming a human rights activist or avoiding a career as a pimp entails becoming an outspoken feminist. One simply refuses to engage in exploiting nonhumans (or humans or women) and goes on with life as usual.” [emphasis added] Really? (Well considering the most popular piece of Vegan literature that you can find at any health food store or by going here http://www.veganoutreach.org/whyvegan/WhyVegan.pdf is nothing but a doctrine on animal rights advocacy. Even Dan's Blog reads like a manifesto of animal rights. Sorry, but attempting to separate the name from the cause is doing a disservice to vegans everywhere.)When you drive on the freeway and you see a deer, trying to avoid hitting that deer isn’t being an animal rights activist. Avoiding that deer is just the right thing to do. (Really? I don't know if it's the right thing to do, it's the smart thing to do for sure. Frankly I couldn't care less about the deer. If it's dumb enough to run in front of a car, it's good enough to call dinner.) It’s good for the deer, it’s good for you, and it’s good for other motorists. It’s simply acting responsibly. Veganism is the same. Vegans refrain from directly causing harm to animals. It’s good for the animals, it’s good for vegans, and it’s good for other people.(Except the farmers, meat packers, and retailers who make their livings selling meat.)
Nothing about veganism makes it harder to work for human rights. One can be a vegan and also a human rights advocate. There is room to be both.(So every time an animal rights activist stops a logging company from cutting down trees because it might upset the habitat of the spotted owl,thereby putting loggers out of work for weeks while the dispute is settled, making it really difficult to put food on their families plates. Or every time an animal rights group blows up a lab that experiments on animals, causing millions in damage and putting people of work there's no conflict there??? Yes, there is. It is directly affecting the welfare of human beings for the benefit of animals.)
Authors notes: I believe in eating vegetarian, vegan, and especially love the Raw diet. But I do not have a problem with eating meat, or animal based products. Products made from bees are some of the most amazing and healthy raw foods available.