Written by: Roland Vincent, Lawyer, Social Justice Activist, and Presidential Campaign Strategist
Reproduced With Permission
Artwork © Heather Clemenceau
There are some in the Animal Rights movement who are as intellectually open minded as are cult members. They seem to believe that people will just go from eating meat and wearing leather to being vegans in one fell swoop. All that is required is posting horrific images and railing against speciesism.
If only that would work.
In the real world, it doesn’t. Introducing people to compassion and veganism is easy. Getting people to change their lifestyles is not.
The so called “abolitionist approach” may make adherents feel righteous and morally superior to others, but it does not help the animals.
Consider: People are having babies faster than we are winning people to vegan lifestyles. And the abolitionists aren’t even helping us do that. They oppose transitional diets, vegetarianism, Meatless Mondays, vegan entre additions to school lunches and restaurant menus. If one is not 100% vegan the abolitionists consider them to be the enemy. Not a smart way to make friends or influence people.
So called “abolitionists” also oppose single issue campaigns as somehow promoting speciesism. They believe that efforts to save whales, elephants, rhinos, and seals, for example, denigrates the lives of cattle, pigs, lambs, and chickens dying in slaughterhouses.
They similarly oppose fighting the dogmeat trade in Asia, bullfighting in Spain and Mexico, pigeon shoots in Pennsylvania, and canned hunting in Africa. They even think criticizing Michael Vick is wrong.
The absurdity of their positions is lost on them. Only by reaching out and kindling people’s empathy can our movement grow. As people who love dogs and elephants, dolphins and whales, come to realize that all animals have the right to live and be free of exploitation, the Animal Rights movement will attract new activists and grow.
Erecting barriers to that growth is counterproductive and ridiculous.
And hurts the animals.