The Earth Party
Animal Rights and Veganism
The animal rights struggle...
...is one of the keys to every other issue and struggle, because of the way it intersects with everything else, materially, intellectually, and spiritually.
Many people seem to think that human rights issues are "more important" than animal rights. They say we shouldn't "spend our energy" focusing on animal rights until we've got human rights figured out.
Well... we're here to speak the radical truth that animal rights are not merely "as" important as human rights... but FOUNDATIONAL to them. We won't be able to make this world kind towards humans UNTIL it's kind toward animals. Animal rights come FIRST . They're not an afterthought, but a PREREQUISITE.
Because how we treat animals says everything there is to say about who we really are, at our core.
You can't judge someone (not accurately, anyhow) if you only see how they behave towards those of high social status, those who have power over them - like kings, government officials, bosses, clergymen, cops, and so forth. Because there are perfectly selfish reasons to show respect and kindness towards those people.
Nor can you tell by how they treat their peers - those on equal social footing. Everyone *needs* to cooperate with their peers - we need friends, family, co-workers, and associates, in order to get by in this world. So again, we have perfectly selfish reasons to treat these people in a respectful way, so that we can cooperate with them, and avoid conflict, and get what we need.
So how do you see who someone really is?
You can only see someone's true self - their soul - when they're interacting with someone of LESS social status, with LESS power, than themselves. Those whom they have power OVER. Those whom there is no social prescription to show kindness towards. Those toward whom they can be cruel and apathetic, without fearing any punishment, neither from law nor from social sanction.
THAT will show you who a person REALLY is.
Now, answer this question: Who has the least power in this society? Who is afforded the most pathetic and anemic protections by our "laws" - if they're even afforded any at all? Whom does this society consider the lowest and least important?
Why, animals, of course.
The way a person treats animals is the clearest window into their soul.
And the same applies to a society. The way our society treats animals provides a window into our society's soul.
If you show no mercy to those with less power than you, why would you deserve mercy from those with more power than you?
The fact is, as long as our society is cruel toward animals, it doesn't deserve to fix its other problems. If we don't respect animal rights, we don't deserve human rights.
"Hey, what about people in early developmental stages? Like fetuses? Our culture considers them to be as low as dirt!"
That's true. And that's a valid point you have. But the objectification of animals precedes that of fetuses, both in the historical record, and in the ideological indoctrination of the individual. We'll get to that in just a moment, in the next section: Why Animal Rights and Human Rights Are Intersectional Struggles.
No other issues are solvable while this one remains ignored. It is of the utmost importance.
And thankfully, the consciousness of animal rights is finally starting to take hold. The recognition of the sentience of animals, of their equality to us in spirit, and their intrinsic worth that transcends their mere "usefulness" to us, is expanding rapidly. More and more people are surrendering their efforts to backwards-rationalize speciesism and human supremacism as anything other than a despicable bigotry on par with racism, fascism, and religious fanaticism.
While everything else has come to a stalemate, this one issue - animal rights - is gaining steam.
It is the epicenter of hope on this planet.
Now maybe you're thinking, "I don't believe in this 'deservingness' argument... It sounds an awful lot like "karma" and other New-Age woo-woo stuff. I don't believe in that nonsense. Can you explain to me how the one thing leads to the other, in a concrete way?
Can you explain how a society that's cruel and apathetic towards animals becomes cruel and apathetic towards humans? Can you show me a direct, cause-and-effect relationship that could actually be tested scientifically?"
Why Animal Rights and Human Rights
Are Intersectional Struggles
"Intersectionality" is simply the idea that the conditions, treatment, and respect afforded by society to one group of vulnerable beings, affects that of ALL vulnerable beings. What happens to one ultimately affects all the others.
The struggles for animal rights and human rights are intersectional. What our society does to animals affects its attitude toward humans who happen to be vulnerable - and vice versa.
This is because the forces of compassion and cruelty are like tides - as they rise and fall, they raise (or lower) all boats together.
When you increase the amount of compassion in society, you produce a society that's more compassionate - and that's good for everyone who's in need of compassion.
And when you inject cruelty into society, it becomes crueler - to everyone.
This is due to two factors, primarily. One *emotional*, and one *intellectual*.
The first is desensitization.
Violence requires *practice.* Specifically the practice of overriding, or "turning off", one's EMPATHY function. Everyone is born equipped with the ability to "put oneself in another's shoes" - to feel what others are feeling, in real time. That's what empathy is, and it's a key function in any society.
And when a person is about to do something horrible to another person, they CAN'T HURT THEM if their empathy function is speaking loud and clear. In order to go through with a vile act, they need to TURN OFF that function. "Suppression" is the technical term.
And suppression takes practice - you don't learn it overnight.
And WHOM do people practice on?
Come on. Think...
Unless you grew up with Vikings, hitting and stabbing human victims as soon as you were old enough to speak, you got your practice on ANIMALS.
Our culture trains us to suppress our empathy for animals, starting from a very young age.
Without that training, we wouldn't be able to suppress our empathy to hurt HUMANS. Violence against animals is an PREREQUISITE for violence against humans. The latter is impossible without the former.
And the correlation is clear. Today, the countries with the worst human rights records also have the worst treatment of animals. Some people who resist this message offer the pithy excuse that "respecting animals cheapens the value of humans." But if this were true, and human supremacist attitudes helped foster respect for humans, then the countries with zero animal rights legislation would have the most liberty and respect for human life, but the reality is precisely the opposite.
And you might come up with the next objection: "Sure, I see the CORRELATION there, but not the CAUSATION. Perhaps it's because their disrespect for HUMAN life LEADS them to disrespect animal life - rather than vice versa."
But this is a weak argument, for the simple reason that animal abuse always PRECEDES human abuse, chronologically. How? Well, consider:
~ Every serial killer started out with animal victims BEFORE graduating to human ones.
~ War criminals, such as George W. Bush, were known to practice wanton cruelty on animals in their childhoods. Bush, for instance, was known to have "fun" by stuffing firecrackers into frogs' mouths, and setting them off.
~ When it comes to slavery, the animal kind always precedes the human kind. No society in all of history has ever started enslaving humans until AFTER they've already institutionalized the enslavement of animals, and practiced it consistently for some time. And when you zoom out to the scale of the whole world's historical record, the FIRST human slavery did not begin until AFTER animal slavery had already been going on. The earliest archaeological evidence of HUMAN slavery comes from the Uruk Period in Mesopotamia, around 4000 BC. The earliest ANIMAL slavery began in the *exact same region*, just a couple thousand years earlier. Out of ALL the continents, and ALL the regions on the planet, what are the chances that these two phenomenon would "just happen" to come about in the exact same place, at almost the exact same time - just a couple thousand years apart, out of a 200,000 year history of anatomically modern humanity?
~ It's the same for human sacrifice: It never enters a society until after that society has already become comfortable with animal sacrifice. The latter is the "gateway drug" to the former.
~ It's the same for regular old violence. No tribe ever started killing people, and waging war, until after they had already normalized the hunting and killing of animals. The very WEAPONS that are used in war - indeed, the very CONCEPT of weaponry - comes from hunting. Weapons were invented for hunting animals - and THEN they were later repurposed for fighting humans.
~ The Nazi secret police (SS) trained recruits to desensitize themselves - to turn off their empathy at will - by practicing on animals - specifically, on ones very close to their hearts. They gave each cadet a dog at the beginning of training. At the end of training, just before graduation, they had to kill their own loyal companion, upon command, without hesitation. If they hesitated, they failed out, and all that work was for nothing. The intended *application* of this... "skill"... should be obvious.
~ The Nazi death camps were modeled on the slaughterhouses of the American meat and dairy industry. The Nazi leadership even traveled, in the early 1930's, to Chicago (then the center of the "modern" technological meat-packing process), to study the systems there, for ideas on how to construct their own killing-factories to liquidate humans in the most efficient way possible. Everything about the camps reflects the slaughterhouses. Quote
The chronological order makes it clear: Violence against animals is the "gateway drug" to violence against humans.
It's impossible to dispute. When you train people to desensitize themselves to violence, is it really any surprise when they become... you know... violent?
When you train them to "see no sentience" in animals, is it any surprise when they "see no sentience" in vulnerable humans?
And now we come to the second of the two main mechanisms of intersectionality: supremacism.
Whereas desensitization is an emotional process, supremacism is the intellectual process that enables it all.
If you're a racial equality activist, you're familiar with white supremacism.
If you're a feminist and/or LGBT activist, you're familiar with sexual, gender, and hetero supremacism.
If you're fighting for the rights of atheists and religious minorities in a theocratic country, you're familiar with religious supremacism.
If you're a "pro-lifer" (preborn rights activist would be the more accurately descriptive term), you're familiar with developmental supremacism - the idea that people at earlier stages of development are inferior and deserve no rights.
If you're fighting for the rights of the poor, you're familiar with class supremacism.
Well, newsflash: speciesism, i.e. human supremacism, is the original supremaicsm. It's the prototype from which all the other supremacist ideologies emerged. It predates all of them, chronologically, in both the historical record, and in the indoctrination of each individual mind.
To explain why, we first have to understand the internal structure of supremacism.
Supremacism consists of several main tenets:
1. The world is a hierarchy. It's divided into two main categories: Superiors and Inferiors.
2. X's are superior to Y's.
3. This is "ordained" by some higher power or authority - perhaps a deity, perhaps human "laws" and government - but either way, it's a source higher than the individual, and therefore cannot be disputed.
4. The X's have been given "dominion" over the Y's.
5. The Y's are property. The X's can own, buy, sell, and trade them.
6. Y's have no intrinsic value. Whatever value they might have, they have only because it was assigned to them by the X's. And it's perfectly acceptable and normal for X's to assign value to Y's only to the extent that they're useful to the X's.
7. The same goes for rights. Y's have no inherent rights. Whatever rights they might have, they have only by the good graces of the X's who have been generous enough to bestow them with such rights - but it's entirely the X's prerogative to refuse to grant rights, or to withdraw them at any time, for any reason.
8. X's have the right to do whatever they want to Y's.
9. Y's do not matter. Compared to X's, they are nothing.
Surely you can see how the purveyors of every form of bigotry have utilized this belief system. Simply start plugging in identitites for X and Y, and you have every pro-bigotry argument ever.
Plug in whites for X and blacks for Y.
Plug in men for X and women for Y.
Plug in the able for X and the disabled for Y.
Plug in the wealthy for X and the poor for Y.
Plug in tribe members for X and outsiders for Y.
Plug in parents for X and children for Y.
Plug in pregnant women for X and the preborn for Y.
They all have the exact same wording. You can plug any of those pairs into the values of X and Y, and the wording is IDENTICAL to the arguments that people REALLY ACTUALLY USED in previous time periods. (And yes, some idiots are still using).
See? All the familiar bigoted arguments we find in the history books (and on Neo-Nazi websites).
But there's one more set. The ORIGINAL set. The ORIGINAL supremacism. You know what it is:
X = "Humans", and Y = "Animals".
This set predates all the other sets. That's a historical, archaeological fact. It came first, and all the others followed.
Speciesism is the original bigotry. Only AFTER speciesism did we get classism, sexism, ageism, racism, religious bigotry, and tribal/national bigotries.
And here's the key: None of those other "isms" would have been possible without speciesism. Speciesism set up the *structure* of supremacism - the shape and outline of it. The 9 tenets in the list above. And then, once the outline was created, people merely swapped different identities in and out of X and Y.
We've got *structure* and *content*.
The list of 9 tenets is the structure -
...and the identities for X and Y are the content.
Setting up a mental *structure* is difficult. It takes time. It takes indoctrination. Inculcation. It's a long process.
But swapping *content* in and out is relatively easy. It's quick. Once you've got that structure in place, you can swap pretty much any content into and out of it with ease.
So if you believe in supremacism - ANY KIND of it - then you're strengthening and reinforcing ALL FORMS of it. Even if you don't mean to. Because you're supporting the STRUCTURE of it.
If the arguments for all bigotries are the same arguments, structurally, with only the content - the identities of X and Y varying, and you're MAKING those arguments with one set of identities, you're really making them for ALL identities. That's because you're strengthening the structure of bigotry - all the words AROUND the X and the Y. and when you strengthen that, you're maintaining the mental thought system that makes all the other possible. Once a person has the structure, they're susceptible. Even if they're only plugging in identities that you find acceptable - like "Humans" and "Animals" - they're just one step away from plugging in other identities you DON'T find acceptable - like "whites" and "blacks", or "pregnant women" and "fetuses."
You can't build 99 floors of a 100-storey pyramid, and then claim you didn't really build it, simply because you quit right before installing the capstone.
Now we can hear the folks in the back... shouting: "It's offensive to compare humans to animals!"
If you're getting offended that we've put speciesism in the same category as racism and sexism, sorry not sorry: You don't get to call us soft on bigotry while you're USING the arguments of bigots, while we're asking you to STOP talking like a bigot.
If you're talking like a bigot, and getting offended at someone for telling you to stop, then the one who's really offending you is... you. This is what projection is. When you realize you're doing something heinous, but lack the courage to be fully conscious of it, you need somewhere else to direct that energy and anger, some other object to blame as its source. And the person who's triggering this crisis in you in the first place makes a very convenient such target.
Getting more offended? Thinking this is "arrogant"?
What is arrogance if not the belief in supremacism - that Group X (which invariable includes YOU) is "superior" to Group Y (which invariable DOESN'T include you)? Your whole position is that you're better than others, the definition of arrogance, and you thinking this article is arrogant for telling you you're not? Stop projecting.
Finally, we come to the last objection we're going to address here - the idea that recognizing the sacredness of non-human life somehow "cheapens" or "detracts" from the sacredness of human life. Well, it's precisely the opposite.
If our society actually respected animals, and honored the sacredness of their lives, then comparing a human to an animal wouldn't lessen the former's value - because the latter is sacred too! Dehumanization can't have any power if the beings we're being "reduced" to aren't even "less" in the first place.
Just imagine one person - Person A - saying to another person - Person B - that "such and such group of people are ANIMALS."
It could be a race, a nationality, a religious group, a group of people with disabilities - whatever it is, imagine someone calling them "animals."
Now... imagine that their audience - the person they're talking to - is a vegan.
Even *IF* the vegan believes the statement - (and it's a stretch to imagine that any vegan would do so - but just for the sake of discussion, imagine it) - the vegan is not going to hurt or abuse the targeted group, *BECAUSE THEY DON'T EVEN BELIEVE IN HURTING ANIMALS!*
In other words, if your audience are NON-vegans, you're only ONE step away from talking them into committing an atrocity against humans. All you have to do is convince them that Group Y are "animals", and your audience will be ready to attack, persecute, lynch, and start building concentration camps.
But with VEGANS, you're TWO steps away. There's an extra step, buffering the vegan against committing violence. Not only do you have to convince him or her that the target group of people are "animals" - but you ALSO have to convince them to stop being vegan!!!
(Because vegans don't hurt animals, see?)
But if the audience thinks it's fine to hurt animals... then you've got violence against humans in the making. As was just explained in numerous ways above.
It's pretty clear that violence against animals is a gateway to violence against humans.
It's pretty clear that speciesism intersects with every other kind of bigotry.
It's obvious that cruelty breeds more cruelty, and you can't insulate any group from it once it's infected a society.
And it's obvious that the struggle for animal rights is intersectional with all struggles for human rights. As long as we have a society willing to commit heinous acts of evil against the vulnerable of one species, the vulnerable of all species will continue to be at risk.
There will never be peace in this world until it is a vegan world. Peace, while cages and slaughterhouses exist, is the ultimate pie-in-the-sky fantasy. You will never persuade anyone to drop their particular supremacism while you're simultaneously building and defending the intellectual structure of supremacism itself. You will never convince anyone of the sacredness of Life while you're running around denying and violating that sacredness in a thousand brazen ways, every single day, from morning til night.
And you will never succeed in protecting the rights of minorities, women, the preborn, the disabled, and the poor, until you recognize that the rights of all vulnerable beings are intersectional.
Compassion is a tide that lifts all boats. If you're wondering why the world doesn't seem to have much compassion, look inside yourself first. Ask yourself, "How am I contributing to the current situation? How might I be impeding the entrance of the very compassion I claim to wish for?"
We'll conclude with this: A list of the ways in which your EXPERIENCE as a preborn-rights-activist is similar to - indeed almost IDENTICAL to - the experience of an animal rights activist.
The following is the daily reality of both pro-lifers AND vegans. How many of these do you recognize?
1. Feeling that you're living in the midst of a depraved society that condones, and even encourages, horrific violence on a truly mindboggling scale
2. Constantly wondering how so many people can be so indifferent to the suffering of others, wondering what kind of poison is in their hearts that makes them so desensitized, and even wondering if you're living in some kind of "twilight zone"
3. Racking your brain to figure out ways to convince people that living beings whom they don't think have feelings or rights, have feelings and rights
4. Being laughed at and belittled because of your compassion
5. Wanting so badly to stop the horror, but only having so many hours in a day, and knowing that every minute could be spent advocating, and knowing that if you choose to relax and watch a little TV instead of advocating, that could mean the difference between someone else's life and (cruel, horrific) death
6. Getting labeled as an "extremist" and "violent" by people who are literally committing (or supporting) violence themselves, when the entire premise of your advocacy is to STOP the violence that THEY'RE supporting
7. Watching people recoil and become offended when you show them images and videos of the violence that THEY'RE supporting, and wondering why they can't seem to notice the irony and hypocrisy of saying it's offensive to SHOW IT, but not offensive to DO IT
8. Being surrounded at almost all times by friends and family who refuse to hear you, and needing to constantly weigh the pros and cons of holding your tongue vs. speaking up on behalf of the voiceless, knowing that every time you do, you're walking a tightrope that could result in the end of the conversation, or even the relationship itself
9. Wondering how much longer such a callous and depraved society will continue to be worthy of existence, and having to constantly resist the temptation to wish for its collapse
With so much in common, how can it not be obvious? You're the same. WE'RE the same. Pro-lifers and vegans... we're the same. We have the same *structure* of thinking and feeling. Only the content differs.
So let's make the content uniform. Let's recognize the importance of defending ALL vulnerable living beings. Let's honor the sacredness of ALL Life. Let's cast off our hypocrisy, and become congruent. Let's join forces to introduce compassion into this world, with maximum efficacy.
Thanks for reading.
[[[ The rest of the page is still under construction.
Feel free to browse, but don't expect it to be in order... ]]]
Societies don't stay the same. They evolve.
Things that are acceptable today are not always acceptable tomorrow.
Living Beings who are seen as "things" and "property" in one period of time are recognized as Living Beings a few decades later.
The pattern repeats itself, again and again, throughout the ages.
People of other races were once considered unworthy of ethical consideration. The same goes for people of other religions... other nationalities... other sexual preferences... and women... Even poor people (or anyone not royalty) were once considered "property", if you go back far enough!
But as we evolve, the umbrella of ethical consideration (and protection under law) grows, sheltering a greater range of living beings under its protection.
Here's a handy visual:
The vegan movement - the effort to achieve societal recognition of the sentience and innate rights of animals - is the abolitionist movement of our time.
And the oppression of animals is the Slavery of our time.
Yes, slavery. And if you don't want History to remember you the same way it remembers slavery-supporters - with shame and disgust for all Time - then you need to make sure you're on the correct side of this fight.
"SLAVERY!?!?!? I don't accept the comparison between animal exploitation, and human exploitation. In fact, I find it insulting! It trivializes the suffering of oppressed groups of people! You should take that back!"
That's quite an ironic thing to say, for a slavery-supporter.
"What? Me? A slavery supporter? How in the world do you figure that?"
Let's do a little thought experiment.
If you - yes you - had been born and raised in the 1700's or early 1800's... would you have been against slavery?
Picture yourself living back then. Think of all the social institutions, and all the ideological programming that went on.
Picture yourself living in this setting.
Now... living in such a setting... would you have supported slavery, or opposed it?
Would you have been an abolitionist?
"Yes! I would have totally been against slavery!"
How do you know that?
"Because slavery is totally evil, and I'm totally against it!"
Well of course you see that now! Of course you do! Because your society sees that!
Your society is already against slavery, and it doesn't take any courage or forward-thinking to reject something that your society already rejects. All you're doing there is going with the crowd.
That doesn't show any moral foresight on your part. It takes no moral courage to do what your society is already doing. You don't get any points for condemning a type of barbarism that your society already condemns.
So what evidence do you have that you would have been an abolitionist - a person against slavery? The fact that you're one NOW is not evidence. So what evidence do you have?
"Well I'm generally a good person. I'm nice. I care about others. I always try to do the right thing"
Most people in the southern states were also generally good, kind, caring people (notwithstanding their racism). Have you ever heard of "southern hospitality"?
Just being a "nice person" doesn't mean you would have applied that niceness to a group that your society taught you were undignified, inferior, and unworthy of your niceness.
And the statistics are not on your side. The vast majority of (white) people who lived during slavery-times were in support of slavery. Only 2% of (white) Americans in southern states were against slavery when Abraham Lincoln was elected. And an even smaller portion of those were actually abolitionists - people who actually bothered to get up off the couch and agitate to abolish it.
The vast majority of people didn't care about the plight of the slaves one bit.
So if you're saying you'd be among the tiny minority who DID care, what evidence do you have for that?
What is it about YOU that makes YOU the type of person who would oppose slavery?
What qualities do you have?
What makes you different? What makes you part of the tiny minority who saw the evil for what it was?
"Well it's impossible to know, I guess. Nobody knows for sure what they would have been. I guess it's just the luck of the draw."
No it's not. Because there is an actual set of personal qualities that made a person back then an abolitionist. And if a person today has those same traits, then we can accept that they have a strong claim that they would have been an abolitionist, because they live in a similar way now.
"What qualities are you talking about?"
1. The ability to go against the grain of one's society. To look at an accepted social norm and question it. And not take the fact that something is "legal" and socially "acceptable" to mean that it's MORAL. The ability to decouple morality from legality and social acceptability. To engage in independent moral reasoning, independent of the conventions of ones society.
2. The ability to look at a type of Being that you've been taught to otherize, and, instead of otherizing them, empathize with them. To look at a Being whom you've been trained, from a very young age - by your parents, friends, teachers, clergy, and all the respected social institutions of your society - to view as inferior to you, and less than you, and beneath you - and still treat them as an equal.
3. The courage to openly state your recognition of the dignity and rights of the oppressed Being, to go against social norms and conventions in order to make this stance known .
4. The willingness to give up some kind of pleasure or economic benefit, to give up some aspect of ones lifestyle, in order to show compassion to the oppressed group.
And possibly a fifth:
5. The willingness to do things that are considered illegal, in order to help the oppressed Beings.
Those 4 or 5 qualities are what made an abolitionist.
So... the 64,000 dollar question:
Do you have these qualities?
"Yes. I empathize with oppressed people!"
Like people of color! And women! And LGBT people! I'm woke!"
But your society already recognizes the rights and dignity of these. You may be doing what's right, but you're not going against your culture to do it.
You don't get any moral credit for opposing barbarities and prejudices that your culture already opposes.
Who has those qualities today?
The answer is obvious.
"Look, I get it. Vegans have a point - we should be treating animals well. It's a good thing to do. But why do they need to be so PUSHY?
Why do they care about what I do in my own personal life?
Why do they care about my personal choices? What gives them the right to push their ideas on the rest of us?"
Because it's only your "personal choice" if no one else is involved.
What you do to yourself is your business.
But what you do to others is others' business.
And if you're hurting others, who have no ability to defend themselves, then that's everyone's business.
"I guess that makes sense. That is, after all, the basis of every social movement for a better world.
But the thing is, we NEED to exploit animals for some things. We need to eat meat. If we don't, we won't get proper nutrition. What are we supposed to do? Be malnourished?
I'm actually on your side. I WISH I could be vegan... but I can't."
First of all, the very existence of vegans - including bodybuilders, UFC fighters, marathon runners, and all kinds of successful vegan athletes - pretty much proves that people - at least most people - don't need to eat animal products in order to be perfectly healthy.
But you know what? Let's assume that you're right.
We're throwing this one out for you. This is your free Bingo square.
Let's assume, for the sake of this argument, that humans need some quantity of meat and/or other animal products in your diet for optimum health. Let's just assume that.
There's still a difference between using animals for necessity vs. using them for pleasure.
Can you recognize the wrongness of using animals for, say... circuses? Or fashion? These things aren't necessities.
"Yes, and I think those things should be illegal. I'm only defending the use of animals for food, because food is a real necessity."
So we're going to honor your free Bingo square... but there is still a difference between eating them for the fun of it, vs. eating for actual nutritional necessity.
A big difference.
You can't quit meat overnight? You can't go "cold turkey"? Fine.
Can you at least recognize the goal? Even if it's not a goal you feel you can achieve 100% overnight (or perhaps ever), can you still recognize it as something to aspire to? Something to continually work towards, something to get as close to as you can, even if you can't fully reach it?
Can you at least acknowledge that?
"Umm well... I'm not really sure what you mean exactly..."
In other words, while it may be true that some portion of the animal flesh you eat is indeed for your nutrition, there's still a portion on top of that that you're consuming only because you "like" it, for sensory pleasure - for entertainment. And possibly other things as well, like social status, convenience, or whatever it may be.
There is a portion you're eating for nutrition, and a portion on top of that which you're eating for fun.
Which means you have room to reduce your consumption of it, without impacting your nutrition.
And if you eat anything close to the average modern American diet, you have a LOT of room to reduce it. You're probably eating way way way more of it than you could ever attempt to rationalize "needing." The amount that the average person in modern society consumes is just gargantuan. It's pure gluttony, and it comes with a cost to those who are caught in the industry that produces it.
Let's say you need some for your nutrition. Are you willing to reduce your consumption down to that level? Are you willing to forego the entertainment value of the unnecessary excess amount, and only consume what your body actually needs?
"No, because I ONLY eat the amount I NEED. I'm doing this ALREADY."
Are you saying that if you reduced it - even by just 1% - you would become malnourished?
And how do you know that?
"Because I only eat as much as I want to."
Want? We're talking about need.
"Well yes, the fact that I want it, that I hunger for it, means that I need it, so whatever amount I FEEL like eating, (which doesn't cross over into OVER-eating), that's the amount that I need, and I know I needed it, because I wanted it."
So all wants are needs, automatically?
If a guy wants a fancy car, or a excessive mansion with 3 tennis courts in it, or he wants to snort coke off a stripper's tits, are these needs - because they're wants?
"Well no, those are just egotistical desires. But when it comes to nutrition, it's different. With nutrition, whatever we wanna eat, that's what we need. The desire is our body's way of telling us what we need to eat."
So why is there so much disease in people with a meaty diet?
Think of all the obese people, the ones who eat as much meat and cheese and junk as they want, the ones with the multiple jiggly neck rolls, the people who eat so much beef they start looking like cows (maybe from all the bovine growth hormone injected into the cows, which still remains in the meat and dairy). Are you saying that they're only eating as much of it as they need?
If their bodies are telling them to eat this way, and they're only eating as much as they need, then why is it making them sick?
Why does it give them hypertension, and atherosclerosis, and colon polyps, and all kinds of cancer, and impotence, and diabetes, and Alzheimer's, and this vast array of diseases - if it's only what their "body needs"?
"Well obviously they're eating way more than they need."
But they want to.
So, obviously, want can't be identical with need. Just because you want something, doesn't mean you need it. They're two different things.
"OK. Good point."
So are you willing to reduce the amount you consume, down to the level of your need? And not the wants?
"Well sure, in theory, but how would I even know what that amount is?"
There are ways.
Are you interested in looking for the ways?
So you're not looking for ways you can reduce suffering to animals?
You said you love animals. You called yourself an animal lover. If you can reduce the amount of suffering you're causing them, without any negative affect to your health, wouldn't you be interested in doing that? If actually care about animals, like you say you do?
"Fine... You're right. I should try. How do I tell the difference between a WANT for meat, and a NEED for it?"
First of all, how much are you eating? How often?
"Probably more like every meal."
So that's obviously excessive, by common sense alone. Nobody's ancestors (except perhaps for Inuits/Eskimos who had no choice because there are almost no vegetables growing in the Arctic) ate meat that often. Your ancestors almost certainly didn't. Common sense is enough to tell you not to do that.
"OK, maybe once a day then?"
Again, 99% of human cultures throughout history didn't do that. Our ancestors ate meat as a once-in-a-while delicacy, to supplement their mostly plant-based diets.
"What about once a week? Is that what you're getting at?"
There is no "exact amount" that we're hinting at, but sure, that would indeed be more reasonable, and more in line with historical patterns.
"But what if that's not often enough for me? What if I get a craving?"
Learn to tell the types of hunger, and then you'll be in a more informed position to make that call.
"Types of hunger?"
There are different types of hunger. You're probably citing "protein" as the nutrient that you require meat for, right?
"Yea, that's the main one."
So there are different types of hunger, for just calories in general and for protein specifically. And you can learn to tell the difference. It's subtle, but if you start paying attention to your body, you'll be able to start distinguishing. And you'll start to realize which hungers are simply for calories, and not specifically for protein, and when you get those types of hunger, there's no reason to opt for meat or dairy or eggs. When you get the protein hunger, try eating plant-based protein, like a nice big dish of beans, nuts, and various protein-rich plants.
Then, if the day after that, you still feel that protein hunger, then maybe eat an animal product.
Are you at least willing to do this much?
"Yes, I'm willing. But vegans, as a group, won't accept that. They insist that I be 100% vegan, overnight. And they're mean and nasty to me if I won't."
Not true. Although every movement may have extremists on the fringe, the vast majority of vegans are willing to help someone make the change to kinder eating habits, and to do so gradually if need be, and be patient while the person is working through the change.
Provided, of course, that you really are trying. Provided that your effort is truly genuine, and you're not just "saying" it to get them off your back. If you're really trying, 99% of the vegan community will accept your efforts.
In fact, as far as the Earth Party is concerned, as long as you're making an effort, (a genuine one) we're OK with you calling yourself a vegan! Even if you're not perfect at it. Even if you occasionally consume animal products, but you're doing your best not to.
Instead of calling you a "non-vegan", (and thus an "outsider"), we're happy to call you a "vegan with imperfections!"
Because when you really think about it, all vegans are imperfect vegans. There's no such thing as a "perfect vegan"! A lot of vegans might get mad at hearing that, but it's true.
Look at the concentric circles above.
Each layer represents a period of social struggle.
During all of these struggles, there were people fighting for the rights and dignity of the oppressed group, and also people resisting progress, and arguing to continue the oppression.
Western so-called "civilization" started out with kings being the only beings with rights, and every other type of being, from nobles on down, had to fight for the recognition of their rights in order to get them recognized.
Nobles, merchants, craftsmen, regular common-folk, peasants, women, children, the handicapped, other races, other religions, other sexual types - again and again and again and again and again, for one type of being after another, a fight was waged within society to get them their rights, and their rights would never have been recognized without that fight.
And during all these fights, there were people arguing against recognizing them - arguing to keep the subjugated group subjugated.
And what time was the pro-subjugation side EVER correct? What time did they ever win? What type of oppression is it whose apologists (defenders) are not today remembered with nothing but shame and disgust?
None. History heaps scorn upon them all.
Imagine a white person denying that black people matter, and another white person trying to persuade him to change his mind.
Who was right?
Imagine a man denying that women have rights, and another man trying to persuade him to change his mind.
Who was right?
Imagine a nobleman denying that commoners' lives matter, and another nobleman trying to persuade him to change his mind.
(Hey, this was actually the debate the human race was having, for quite a long time).
Who was right?
Imagine a religious person denying that people of other religions have a right to exist, and one of his fellow faithful trying to persuade him to change his mind.
Who was right?
Imagine a citizen of a nation denying that people in other nations' lives have value, and a fellow patriot trying to persuade him to change his mind.
Who was right?
Imagine an able-bodied person denying that disabled people matter, and another able-bodied person trying to persuade him to change his mind.
Who was right?
Imagine a straight person denying that queer people deserve to exist, and another straight person trying to persuade him to change his mind.
Who was right?
Any time there's a conversation in which one person is trying to convince another person that someone else's life and feelings matter and have value, and the other person is denying this, the truth is always on the side of the former.
Can you think of a time in history where the more compassionate person turned out to be wrong?
It's never been so. Every such debate, when it finally ends, ends with:
1. "Yes, they DO matter."
2. "Yes, their lives DO have value."
3. "Yes, they DO deserve rights."
4. "Yes, it IS morally wrong to oppress them."
5. "Yes, it SHOULD be illegal to hurt them."
6. "Yes, the people who argued the opposite WERE wrong."
Every single time.
And not only does history always side with those who want society to evolve in the direction of compassion, but it's also quite cruel to those who resist the evolution. Think of how history treats those involved in the slave trade. Or those who resisted women's rights and suffrage. Or who opposed the civil rights movement. History is not kind to these people. Their names live on only in shame. Whenever their names are uttered, the emotion felt is shame - and that's what their name and memory are connected to, for all posterity.
And they didn't see it coming either. They didn't think future generations would be ashamed of them at all.
Don't believe that?
Think of those old photographs of slave-sale posters from the 1800's and before. People put their names on those posters. The sellers. The slave traders. The kidnappers. They put their names on a document of slavery, knowing full well that it would transcend the corridors of Time, and reach the eyes and ears of their very own descendants - the very people tasked with preserving their memories.
And they were comfortable putting their names on such documents, signing their names alongside slavery, sealing their memories in eternal conjunction with barbarism.
See the name at the bottom? John Carter Esq.?
That's how confident these people were that slavery would never be outlawed, that society would never view it - and them - as evil.
They all thought their society had already completed the Circle of Rights - that it was "finished."
Oh sure, they valued the Circle "as it was." They agreed with all the layers that had already been achieved, which, they were quite thankful, included themselves! They supported all the previously achieved layers - but they didn't think any more layers were ever forthcoming.
A poor white man in the antebellum South was fully in support of the Circle's earlier expansions - the ones that started the inclusion of commoners and non-landowners (i.e. people like himself) - but never thought it would expand again to include other races. He thought the Circle was complete - that it had already reached its maximum radius, and that the process of societal evolution had already concluded.
Do you believe the Circle has reached its maximum radius?
"Yes, it has. Because all the other groups in the Circle are PEOPLE. They're HUMANS. Animals are fundamentally different. There's no basic difference between white people and people of color... or between gays and straights, or between religions, or nationalities, etc. They're all HUMAN. But animals are not. Animals are WAY different."
If they're so different, then why do you use the exact same arguments as the slave holders?
Why do you attempt to defend your practices with the same arguments the slavers utilized to defend theirs?
If you could go back in time, and talk to a slave-holder, what kind of arguments do you think he would have made?
Imagine you're him. Imagine some pesky little abolitionist (anti-slavery activist) disrupts your peaceful day to argue with you about slavery.
How do you think you'd respond?
What kind of arguments would you bring to your defense?
"They're not intelligent."
"They're intelligent, but not sapient. Not fully. Not like us."
"They don't have souls."
"Maybe they have souls, but not like OURS."
"God put them here for us to use."
"He gave us Dominion over them."
"The Bible supports it."
"Subservience is their natural station."
"They're my property. I worked hard to acquire them! I paid good money for them! You can't just go around confiscating people's property! That's tyranny!"
"When I hurt them, I do it humanely."
"It's necessary for the Economy. If we ended the practice, the Economy would collapse, and millions of people would suffer!"
"If we free them, they would run amok! It would be chaos!"
"It's an integral part of our culture and tradition. You're being insensitive to my people's traditions!"
"It's existed since the dawn of man, and you'll never put an end to it, and it's futile to try."
"It's my personal choice! If you don't like it, don't participate in it, but don't you dare tell ME what to do!"
"It's legal! If you don't like it, then pass a law or something, but until then, get outta my face!"
Every single one of those arguments is still being employed, 200 years later, right now, by people attempting to defend the exploitation of animals.
Every single one.
It's like plagiarism. The entire playbook of the slave-holder has been completely plagiarized by every apologist for animal exploitation. Word for word.
If the two issues are so different, why are the arguments exactly the same?
"Hmm... I guess I don't have an answer for that. Those arguments were stupid back then... and I guess they're still stupid now. But... I'm not a bad person! I'm not like the guy in that poster! He was a piece of sh*t, but I'm not! Maybe I participate in animal exploitation, but I would NEVER, EVER support human slavery!"
How can you be sure about that?
Of course you don't support human slavery now. Your society doesn't support it. Your society is against it. By condemning slavery, you're not going against the flow of society - you're going with it. That doesn't require any courage or forward-thinking.
But are you capable of opposing oppression when it's part of the social norm?
Are you brave enough to go against your society?
If you see nothing wrong with carnism today, then you would not have seen anything wrong with slavery then.
If you're a human supremacist now, then you would have been a white supremacist then.
A supremacist in any era is a supremacist in every era.
This can be proven.
If a person lives in a society that trains them to view animals as objects that are here for human use only, but they develop a sense of empathy and compassion for animals nevertheless, and realize the consciousness and sentience in animals, and try to fight to gain recognition of that in society, then they have what it takes to have approached the issue of slavery in the same manner, had they lived in the 1700's/1800s. And if such a person says "I would have been an abolitionist", then their claim has strong support.
But if a person gleefully consumes all kinds of animal products without any remorse, because his society tells him it's OK because animals are "less than" him and "beneath" him, and "not really sentient" or whatever the excuse happens to be, then when he claims he would have been an abolitionist, that claim has no support.
In all likelihood he would have been among the 98% of people that didn't give a crap about the slaves. Because there's an oppressed group right now, and he doesn't give a crap about them. In fact he's actively, gleefully participating in their oppression. So he would have done the same thing back then.
"But I'm woke! I'm progressive! I stand up for minorities, and people of color, and women, and immigrants, and the LGBT community, and the poor!"
And if you had lived in the 1800's, you would have been tolerant of Catholics, and you wouldn't hate the Irish, and you'd be totally cool with Italians. And because you wouldn't hate them, you'd think of yourself as woke. While still supporting slavery.
Because that's where the "progressive" part of your society was, at the time.
So today, you see yourself a very woke, because you oppose slavery in a society that already opposes it, and you oppose misogyny and sexism in a society that at least nominally opposes those things, and you oppose discrimination in a society that's already outlawed it, and you oppose homophobia in a society that's largely accepted other sexual orientations, and so you believe you're very woke, for following along with the moral code that your society has dictated to you.
All we can infer about you is that you're able to conform your morality to the moral code around you. So, if you had lived in the early 1800's, it would have been the same. You would have thought slavery was OK, but you would have considered yourself very woke, because you're cool with Catholics and the Irish and Italians.
You don't get any points for opposing a form of barbarism that your society already opposes. You only get points for opposing slavery if you live in a society that approves of slavery. Because that takes courage. It doesn't take any courage to oppose slavery in a society that already outlawed it. Such a person has displayed no moral courage. So when they say they would have been an abolitionist, where's the courage? When they say they would have had courage back in the 1800s, where's their courage now? If they don't have it today, why would they have had it then?
So just because someone thinks they're woke for respecting the dignity of Beings that their society already expects them to respect the dignity of, doesn't mean they're woke.
To know where you would have stood on slavery in the 1800's, don't look at where you stand on slavery now. Instead, look at where you stand on the next, upcoming layer of the Circle of Rights. Not the layers that have already been achieved, but the layers that haven't yet been achieved.
It's not about which layers you believe in. It's about which direction you want to go in.
Expansion, or contraction, or stasis.
If you're happy keeping things where they are, now, then you would have been happy keeping things where they were, in the 1800's, had you lived back then.
If you're an apologist for cruelty and exploitation of animals, then you're an apologist for cruelty and exploitation - no matter who is at the receiving end of it. The only difference between you and a slavery apologist is the social context into which you were born. There's nothing different about you.
It doesn't *measure* who you are. It's not a real test.
So let's ask one more time:
Do you believe the Circle has reached its maximum radius?
Do you want the Circle to expand, contract, or stay the same?
Do you want the next layer to be included, or are you happy keeping things where they are?
Assuming, of course, that we can fortify the layers already socially accepted, and make sure that they stay strong, and make sure everyone's rights are respected - assuming this of the already nominally-achieved layers - are you content?
As long as the groups already accepted within the Circle can fully realize and actualize their deserved respect, are you content to stop expanding the Circle?
As long as we can secure the rights of all women, POC, LGBT, and all other types of oppressed humans - and TRULY secure them - are you content to keep the Circle where it is, and not expand it to include other types of Living Beings besides humans?
If so, then History will remember you the same way it remembers slaveholders. It doesn't matter to History what layers your society accepted - you don't get points for accepting the layers your society already accepts.
The true test is where you stand on the question of Expanding the Circle.
Think back to the question.
Do you believe the Circle has reached its maximum radius?
If you do, then you think like a slave-owner, and History will note it.
And if you don't... then you're on the Good Team. And History will note that as well.
Where do you stand on animal rights?
Do you think you have the right to hurt them if it suits you - just for entertainment or taste-bud pleasure?
Do you take pride in your opposition to animal cruelty that others engage in - while participating in forms of your own with nary a thought?
Do you self-righteously condemn other cultures for their barbarities - the bullfighters, the whalers, dolphin-hunters, dogfighting bookies, pet-neglecters, trophy-hunters, etc. - while stuffing your fingers in your ears when someone else tries to condemn you for yours?
Do you support laws that criminalize the abuses that "other people" commit, while resisting efforts to properly outlaw the ones you commit?
Do you think that animals can be property?
Do you think that they can be - and should be - bought and sold?
Do you think you have the right to hurt them for fun?
That includes the fun of taste.
Look, if you have an addiction, it's understandable to have difficulty quitting. That's how addictions are.
Meat and dairy are addictions. Dairy has literal drugs in it: casomorphins, related to morphine.
If you WANT to quit that stuff, but don't know if you CAN, then you're not the bad guy.
It's one thing to recognize the GOAL of being vegan, as something to aspire to, while struggling to uphold it in your personal choices. Hey, life can be that way sometimes. We have a moral Value - something we strongly believe in - but we don't always follow it - not 100% of the time. Sometimes we backslide. That's OK. If you really want to be vegan, but don't have the strength of will... or the know-how... or the social support... or the resources, physical and/or emotional... but you still WANT to... then you're on the Good Team.
If you don't feel you can do it... ...but WISH you could...
...then you're not on History's bad side.
Maybe not the good side either... but something more like neutral.
Neutral like a poor white farmer in the South, who said he "opposed" slavery, but was too exhausted from the struggles of living and providing for a family to do much in the way of activism. History is not quite so cruel to people like that. They don't get any praise... but at least they don't get the harshest condemnation either.
But it's very different for someone who ARGUED FOR slavery...
Someone who, when faced with logical proof of the immorality of slavery, responded with, "Well, actually..."
...someone who wrote newspaper columns DEFENDING slavery.
Well, guess what? Social media is the newspaper of the modern world. How do you talk about animal rights here on social media?
How do you talk about animal abuses?
Do you defend them?
Do you laugh?
Do you make jokes about eating them?
Do you attempt to uphold the institution of animal ownership, of animal trading, of exploitation, and of violence against them?
Do you look for excuses to make?
Do you tell people that you "feel for the animals", but then go right back out and purchase their bodies for your consumption, without a pang of guilt?
Do you claim to be "cutting back" on meat and dairy, and trying to "be conscious" about it, but then argue and get defensive when someome tries to question you on just how "conscious" you're really being?
Do you claim to "know" that consuming animals for entertainment is unethical - and then turn right around and make social media posts about meat and dairy meals you just ate, and how "delicious" they were?
Do you still advertise, to the whole world, that you're doing something unethical?
Do you publicly affirm and reinforce the paradigm of human ownership of other Beings?
If you do these things, then you're not really "neutral." You're actively participating on the losing side of this debate. And History won't see that as neutral.
Either you're on the side of progress, or you're not.
Do you claim to be "progressive"?
What does "progress" actually mean?
Progress is the Expansion of the Circle. If you're FOR it, then you're progressive.
But if you think the Circle is just fine at its current reach, and doesn't need to include any more types of Living Beings than it currently does, then you're not progressive.
To have the right to call yourself progressive, you have to want the Circle of Rights to expand, to the next layer, to include more types of Beings under its protection.
If you refuse to do that, then you can't call yourself progressive. History certainly won't.
Now you might be thinking:
"I believe the Circle should expand to include animals eventually - but we're not there yet.
We still haven't secured rights for humans. Women and POC and LGBT folks are still not secure in their rights yet.
We should take care of the humans first - and THEN move on to animals afterwards."
Hey, wake up! This is nothing more than making EXCUSES to prevent the expansion of the Circle. That's all this is.
A poor white southerner could have made the same argument. He could have said:
"Hey, look at me, I'm still poor! Let's take care of white people first, and make sure that every white man has enough to feed his family, and then we can move on to helping colored people afterwards."
What he didn't understand was that his own oppression was connected to the oppression of colored people. By participating in their oppression and upholding the institutions of their oppression, he was simultaneously upholding the institutions of his OWN oppression, because all oppression is intersectional - as anyone who understands intersectionality knows.
The thought-system that identifies one race as superior to another...
...and the thought-system that identifies humans as superior to the rest of Nature...
...is the SAME THOUGHT-SYSTEM.
Both of those beliefs INTERSECT.
And you can't oppose one without opposing the other. Because if you support one, you're supporting BOTH.
The Buddhists have a word for this: karma. By endorsing the oppression of colored people, or just making excuses to avoid doing anything about it, he was generating karma for his own oppression.
Since poverty and racism are intersectional problems, the impoverished white man, who was being oppressed by the wealthy class, was perpetuating his own class oppression when he turned a blind eye to the racial oppression of enslaved Africans.
And today, if you're a member of an oppressed class of humans, then you're perpetuating your own oppression whenever you turn a blind eye to the oppression of animals.
Animals are the most powerless and abused class of beings on the planet. What was done to humans pales in comparison to what was done, and is still being done, to animals, on behalf of your entertainment preferences.
This is true whether you're white or black, male or female, queer or straight.
If you abuse those over whom you have power, why should you deserve protection from those with power over you?
If you uphold oppression anywhere, you're upholding it everywhere. Including of your own self.
So "me first" and "them first" are not valid excuses. Saying "wait for me to fully secure my own rights before I recognize those in others" is nothing but pure selfishness. It's not a prescription for a solution - it's literally the perpetuation of the problem.
Stop making excuses. Just stop. Stop opposing the expansion of the Circle of Rights.
You might still think to yourself:
"Hey, History will understand that I lived in a culture that was at a certain point in its evolution, and that I only did what I did because it was culturally accepted. History will understand that, and be merciful to me."
Is it merciful to those who accepted the bigotries of the past?
Is it merciful to slave-owners?
Is it merciful to the Confederacy or any of its soldiers or citizens?
Is it merciful to the Jim Crow southerners who didn't do what they could to resist and dismantle the institutions of racism?
If not, then how do you expect it will treat those who refused to dismantle the institutions of speciesism?
Who are you?
Are you a human denying that animals matter, denying that their lives have value, denying that they have inalienable rights, denying that it's wrong to oppress them?
Or are you another type of human, trying to persuade them to change their mind?
Questions / Objections:
"If the Earth Party endorses veganism, what specific policies will you enforce? Will you make meat-eating illegal?"
For policy specifics, refer to our page on Animal Rights Law.
"I agree with the general idea of being vegan, but I'm just not sure if it's healthy. I'm not sure if I can get all my nutrients from just plants."
This topic is also covered under Animal Rights Law.
"OK, I get it; we humans probably don't need to eat meat to be healthy. In fact, I've seen the studies, and it looks like the less meat we eat, the healthier we are. I get it.
And I also get how history might judge me harshly if I refuse to evolve. I sure don't want to be remembered as another John Carter Esq.!
But still, it's MY business. Not yours.
If I want to risk history's wrath, that's my choice to risk it.
Why are vegans so PUSHY?
Why do they have to shove their beliefs and choices onto me? Why can't they just do their own thing, and let ME enjoy the foods that I enjoy (and reap whatever consequences come from it)?
Why do they think MY food choices are any of THEIR business?
And what right to they have to FORCE me to make different choices? I'm fine with preaching, and educating, and persuading. But they choice ultimately remains mine - or it ought to. They have no right to force me to do anything. I'll change IF I want to, WHEN I want to."
The choices you make for your own self are indeed your own business.
But when your choices involve harming others, they are no longer limited to your life - there is another's life involved.
What you do to yourself...
is your business.
What you do to others...
is other's business.
What you do non-consensually...
is everyone's business.
If you're inflicting harm upon someone else, then it's the business of everyone. There is no one whose business it isn't.
When we see violence, we have the right to intervene. In fact, we have the moral obligation to do so.
If you harm someone, the issue is a matter for the public domain.
The public - We the People - have the right to know if the innocent are being harmed in our midst.
And if they are, then We the People have the right to know why.
And if the reasoning falls apart under rational scrutiny, and no justification remains for the act, then We the People have the right to intervene and put a stop to it. We have the fundamental, inalienable Right to Defense.
The Right to Defense
To protect and defend
by proportional use of force
oneself and any who are unable to defend themselves
in a situation of already-existing attack, or unmistakable threat.