Please subscribe to this podcast 🙂 In this episode, I discuss a couple of quotes which talk about why promoting veganism is not “elitist” and I speak about the position “every little bit helps” and where this comes from and where it is leading us.
Blog posts of interest:
“Ethical veganism,” which I use interchangeably with “abolitionist veganism,” goes beyond a vegan diet and rejects direct animal consumption or use of any kind. An ethical vegan has a vegan diet and rejects consuming animal products but also does not wear or use any animal products. An ethical vegan rejects the commodification of nonhumans as property. An ethical vegan is committed to the abolition of animal exploitation. Moreover, ethical vegans recognize that an animal-based agriculture harms other humans as well as non-humans and sees the connection between human rights and animal rights. Ethical veganism is the moral baseline of the animal rights movement. Ethical veganism represents a commitment to non-violence in one’s daily living.
Quote from blog post by James Crump “Doesn’t Every Little Help?”:
One counterargument to the claim that vegan advocacy is maximally conducive to veganism goes something like this: granted, welfarism cannot lead to abolition; but how do you know that vegan advocacy can? But this is like asking: why should we promote a clear, coherent, and unequivocal (vegan) message as opposed to an unclear, incoherent, and equivocal (welfarist) message? Furthermore, imagine all of the animal movement’s institutional resources had been spent not on welfarist reform and “happy” meat campaigns, but instead on clear and unequivocal vegan education. Does anyone seriously think that had the animal movement done this there would be fewer vegans today?
Someone who is undeterred by my rhetorical questions, who thinks, that is, that it may be preferable to present an unclear and incoherent welfarist message as opposed to a clear and coherent vegan message, will probably fall back on some version of the “if you ask for 100%, then you get nothing” defence. But as Gary Francione points out, what reason do we have to believe that if we promote veganism we will get nothing? For if people are concerned about the animal issue, then, even if they don’t go vegan, they will do something; and if they are so unconcerned about this issue that they would do nothing when presented with a vegan message, then what reason is there to believe that they would do something (89%?) if presented with a “happy” meat message? Moreover, as Francione points out, if we present people with a vegan message, then, even if they don’t feel ready to go vegan straightaway, we will at least give them something to which they can aspire. But if we tell them that they can be “conscientious omnivores”, that they can discharge their moral obligations to animals by eating “happy” meat and “cage-free” eggs, then that is all they will do.
Thus, in opposition to the vacuous mantra: “If you ask for 100%, then you get nothing”, I would say: “If you do nothing, then you get nothing”. In other words, if we do not campaign for abolition – if we do not clearly, lucidly, and uncompromisingly advocate it to the public – we will never get abolition.
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