Veganism is a social justice movement

By on March 1, 2011

Like this? Share this!

Veganism is much more than what one chooses to eat or not eat, chooses not to wear, chooses to forego for entertainment and chooses to purchase in terms of cosmetics and household items. Veganism at its core is about justice. Veganism is a social justice movement that places an animal’s right to be left to his or her own devices as the center of justice.

As such, advocating for veganism is much bigger than convincing individuals to become vegan – not that this work isn’t deeply important. It’s about fighting against the industries that profit from the use of animals. It’s about fighting against the governments that protect the rights of those industries to use and abuse animals. Ultimately, it is about reaching a public that allows and perpetuates the abuse of animals, and educating them about speciesism.

Speciesism is the core belief in the inherent supremacy of humans. It is what justifies  the confinement, torture, and murder of billions of animals for food, clothing, entertainment and research. The idea that human beings are the center of the universe and that animals are a sub-species is unethical. History has shown us what happens when one race or country, for example, sees themselves as superior. Genocide happens.

What has been happening since human beings began to breed, raise, and kill animals has been a continual genocide. This genocide has been going on for thousands of years without a pause. In fact it is increasing with human population growth and industrialization.

So veganism is a social justice issue that requires active efforts to eliminate speciesism. Justice and equality are not going to come to animals by manipulating people through health claims, environmental reports, personal spirituality, or other promises about how going vegan will help that individual. Justice is not about self-serving acts. Justice is about the greater good, in this case, the rights of animals.

When someone makes a dietary choice for their own self interest, animals lose. How do animals lose? Diets and health choices change like the direction of the wind. I am avoiding gluten for dietary reasons. If I get tempted, or have a glass or two of wine, I may cheat on my dietary choice and eat some gluten. But no matter how much wine I drink, I will not cheat on veganism. Why? Because veganism is an ethical choice that is outside of my personal interests. I am vegan for animals.

Like this? Share this!

Comments

  1. Lindsay Wolf
    March 2, 2011

    Leave a Reply

    Beautifully stated, and I couldn’t agree more. Thank you for this!

    • Robert E. Cobb
      June 10, 2016

      Leave a Reply


      “the human brain is the most complex and orderly arrangement of matter in the universe.” – Isaac Asimov (1920-1992), professor of biochemistry at Boston University, USA. (descriptive of that of all intelligent life in the cosmic community of intelligent life).

      The cosmic community of intelligent life translates into empathy and compassion (and cosmic genealogy), settling the question of why the Universe and intelligent life exist.

      As Universe forelaws empathy and compassion constitute a cause, norm and way forward on all planets with intelligent life – transitioning humankind none too soon to concerted global cooperation in eradicating war, terrorism, and racism – and in coming to grips with climate change. Part and parcel of naturalist Nature (everything is connected to everything else), the forelaws principle and cosmic genealogy coalesce as intelligent life philosophy, cosmology and the common good.

      Every 230 million years Earth, its inhabitants and the Sun (our star) orbit the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. The Milky Way is the galactic home of humankind and untold numbers of fellow counterparts – many far more advanced than humankind in appreciation of intelligent life as a gift with indefinable promise and potential both locally . . . institutionalizing empathy, compassion and the common good . . . and cosmically . . . eternalizing empathy, compassion and the common good.

      Cosmic genealogy – empathy and compassion made eternal by intelligent life – takes place in a setting where no two star systems with intelligent life in terms of solar radiation are exactly the same, which explains the phenomenon of “races” (before amalgamation) in the makeup of intelligent life. Climate change addressed by optimizing planet atmospheric and surface reflectivity of solar radiation (referred to as planetary albedo) for benign/relative stability in weather and climate – i.e. albedoism – describes the rationale and transition to united albedo regions.

      •”We must move forward together, as one, in a renewed spirit of fraternity and solidarity, cooperating generously for the common good.” – Pope Francis, speaking to the United States Congress.

      •”The historian of science may be tempted to claim that when paradigms change, the world itself changes with them.” – from The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (Thomas S. Kuhn, 1962, 2nd ed. 1970).

      United Albedo Regions (climate change), together with human activism in cosmic genealogy, will occupy special places in the coming age of empathy and compassion on Earth.

      Robert E. Cobb

      Forelaws on Board

  2. Dave Bemel
    April 26, 2011

    Leave a Reply

    Well written. I would like to add, however, that when working to bring people into the vegan movement–or just working to help animals in general–health, the environment, world hunger, etc. are valuable tools and should not be ignored or discounted in our literature, on our websites, or when we talk to people. Howard Lyman once said that people may go vegan for health reasons but they stay vegan for the animals. It is also important to note that destroying the planet or wasting grains that could feed the hungry are part of social justice movements as well. While veganism is about recognizing animals’ right to live free on their own terms without exploitation by humans, we should avail ourselves of all the tools we have to bring people closer to veganism as quickly as possible. Note: This does not mean welfare campaigns, but it does mean promoting all the benefits of living vegan, as long as they are not promoted to the exclusion of animal rights.

  3. Dave Bemel
    April 26, 2011

    Leave a Reply

    Well written. I would like to add, however, that when working to bring people into the vegan movement–or just working to help animals in general–health, the environment, world hunger, etc. are valuable tools and should not be ignored or discounted in our literature, on our websites, or when we talk to people. Howard Lyman once said that people may go vegan for health reasons but they stay vegan for the animals. It is also important to note that destroying the planet or wasting grains that could feed the hungry are part of social justice movements as well. While veganism is about recognizing animals’ right to live free on their own terms without exploitation by humans, we should avail ourselves of all the tools we have to bring people closer to veganism as quickly as possible. Note: This does not mean welfare campaigns, but it does mean promoting all the benefits of living vegan, as long as they are not promoted to the exclusion of animal rights.

  4. Kimberly S.
    February 24, 2013

    Leave a Reply

    I agree except for one point. I think veganism is a spiritual issue, or can be at least. Seeing the unity in all of life as a spiritual concept of oneness is what led me to veganism ultimately. That leads one to understand speciesism for what it is, exploitation of others for selfish reasons. The concept by helping others you help yourself, which includes animals, is an important core spiritual belief. Also it is important to keep in mind to act for the good of all, and veganism is a way to do that, the good of the animals, the planet and people.

  5. Kimberly S.
    February 24, 2013

    Leave a Reply

    I agree except for one point. I think veganism is a spiritual issue, or can be at least. Seeing the unity in all of life as a spiritual concept of oneness is what led me to veganism ultimately. That leads one to understand speciesism for what it is, exploitation of others for selfish reasons. The concept by helping others you help yourself, which includes animals, is an important core spiritual belief. Also it is important to keep in mind to act for the good of all, and veganism is a way to do that, the good of the animals, the planet and people.

  6. Nik
    December 17, 2015

    Leave a Reply

    I have been vegan for decades–and a large part of that decision is the mistreatment of animals. However, I find the argument for veganism that equates the value of a cow to the value of a black male or a white woman problematic. It implies that a black men and white women are no more important than cows. Racism is still an actual problem that results in much violence, death, and other abuse at huge societal cost. Sexism not only means that women make only 75 cents on the dollar for the same work, but also that they are vulnerable to rape and domestic violence. The “thinking” vegan doesn’t seem to be thinking very carefully about the real implications of posting a photo equating these three issues. Most vegans would agree that abuse of animals awful, but I hope they wouldn’t agree that it’s on the same level as the violence that has been and still is done to black people and women. If vegans really believe this, that hurts society and the bigger picture of the fight for social justice–not to mention, cutting two large demographics out of the veganism movement. This argument itself is racist and sexist and makes veganism mainly for white males–and other people privileged enough to turn a blind eye toward bigger issues–with bigger repercussions–of social justice.

  1. Social Justice or Social Acceptance - [...] 1: The Thinking Vegan » Veganism is a social justice movement Retrieved 09 Oct [...]
  2. Social Justice or Social Acceptance - [...] 1: The Thinking Vegan » Veganism is a social justice movement Retrieved 09 Oct [...]
  3. “İnsanın doğal olarak üstün olduğu inancı, türcülüktür” | Dağ Medya - […] Kaynak: http://thethinkingvegan.com/articles/veganism-is-a-social-justice-movement/ […]
  4. Charities that Promote Vegetarian Lifestyle for Kids - Vegalicious - […] diet, but there’s much more to it than just avoiding meat and animal byproducts. It’s a social justice movement …
  5. Racism = Speciesism = Sexism – vegan anarchist primitivist - […] http://thethinkingvegan.com/articles/veganism-is-a-social-justice-movement/ […]
  6. social justice – unfuck your world - […] Learn more about vegan social justice here. […]

Leave a Reply

*



You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>