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A Stand Against Slavery

deer and man















Too often, I still hear about animal rights activists who are not vegan. Simply put, this is speciesist. The way I see it, ‘Animal Rights’ and ‘Veganism’ are synonymous. You can’t logically be for animal rights and still pay someone to rape, enslave, torture and brutally kill nonhuman animals. On a daily basis, non-vegans (and that includes vegetarians) pay someone to do the above mentioned acts for them with their food and product purchases.

For those who want to be an animal rights activist – simply become vegan. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, you are actively protesting the shocking behavior of human beings towards their animal kin. Why have we not grasped The Golden Rule: ‘Do unto others as you would have them do to you?’ Why this ‘easy-to-comprehend notion’ is so hard for others to see in regards to all animals, is an enigma.

Some animal rights people identify with being vegan but they “cheat”, as they say. They need to keep in mind that cows are perpetually kept pregnant, inseminated by a human, and endure torturous conditions. These gentle friends have their newborn (whom they instinctively love and want to care for) stolen, sometimes, within 24 hours of birth. “Cheating animal rights activists” should consider this before they partake of a little cheese or pizza. They are only cheating themselves from having the understanding that the practice of veganism provides. Veganism is a tool of growth that enhances our self-esteem. It gifts us with healthy mind and body, healthy heart, healthy relationships with nonhuman animals, and a healthier relationship with the environment.

Animal rights activists should be vegan as an example to their followers. People who look up to them are guided by their footsteps. Living vegan is a moral starting point for those who are an inspiration to others. It’s not difficult to be a vegan if one grasps how profoundly meaningful it is. On the contrary, when one recognizes all the suffering and damage that stems from consuming animal products, it becomes hard to imagine why people decide not to be vegan! Some activists work to save the whales, while they contribute to the persecution of cows. People want to punish others for ‘cruelty to animals’ or "animal abuse" while they're cruel and abusive to animals every day by consuming slaughterhouse products. This behavior is speciesist.

The concept of animal rights activists giving their lives to the animal rights movement, while not living as vegans, is inconsistent with logic and calls out for ‘change’. Being members of an evolving human race, it becomes our duty to change for the better - in order to advance human consciousness. Veganism is humanity's next evolutionary step.

It makes much more sense to spend our time, money and resources to promote non-violent vegan education, which encompasses all animal rights issues, instead of working on regulating or bettering the conditions within a system that should simply be abolished; a system that stems from a misinformed, flawed culture. We need to unite and work for empty cages, not better cages. I don’t want to be a part of extending ‘a pat on the back’ to mega corporations responsible for misery and death imposed on nonhuman animals day after day, year after year, because they enlarged the prison stalls where they hold innocent animals captive or because they agreed to use cage-free eggs. Professor Gary Francione refers to it as the “disturbing partnership between animal advocates and institutionalized exploiters”. It makes more sense to educate and change the mindsets of people; the purchasers, who are creating the demand for these products, by paying businesses to callously exploit non-human animals (and humans too).

We have to stand up and speak the whole truth: Veganism and animal rights are synonymous. And I’m not speaking about a wavering, when it’s convenient, not-to-make-a-fuss-in public-type of veganism that some are espousing. It seems that some of the big vegan and animal advocacy organizations are lowering the standard of the Vegan Ideal; to the point that they are replacing the word “vegan” with “vegetarian” in their literature and on their websites. I don’t want to promote vegetarianism (which has come to mean dairy and egg consumption; hardly a vegetable which the word vegetarian implies).

Vegans do oppose factory farms, of course, however if there were no factory farms, most vegans would still be vegan. It’s not about whether the process is “humane” or not. Veganism is a protest against a speciesist society that believes nonhuman animals were put here for our use, to be our property, to be subjugated by us; regardless of whether they are “humanely” raised or not. There is absolutely no such thing as humane enslavement, exploitation or murder.

There is nothing “humane” involved in the animal husbandry system, even if a product is labeled “humane”. The “humane meat labels” are merely marketing schemes to make people feel good about themselves while they are still directly supporting cruelty. So called “humanely raised” animals have a number of torturous practices inflicted on them. Even when "free-range" farmed animals are allowed to live outdoors, they are still subjected to excruciating mutilations without painkiller, such as castration, branding, dehorning, tail-docking, and de-beaking. They are still slaughtered in the same violent way as factory-farmed animals. Sentient beings are filled with fear as they are prodded down a narrow chute. They can hear and smell what is happening to others before them, they desperately try to turn around, but can’t, until it becomes their turn to be hung upside down on conveyor belts, and have their throats slit. Some are dismembered while still fully conscious. The whole abysmal system must be abolished and that is the only solution worth working towards.

All forms of slavery MUST be abolished! This includes; child slavery and indentured servitude in the coffee and cocoa industries of the Ivory Coast of Africa, women and children in Sudan, child carpet slaves of India, forced marriages, debt bondage in Southeast Asia, human trafficking to serve sexual slavery, forced labor, or child soldiery, and the mass enslavement of nonhuman animals of this world. All species of animals; both human and nonhuman deserve liberty; the right to live their portion of life free of enslavement and human use.

Estimates from various anti-slavery organizations or experts range from a staggering 2.7 million to 27 million (human) slaves in the world today– more than any time in history! (These numbers are comprised of debt bondage/bonded labor slaves, forced labor slaves, trafficked slaves; slaves who were coerced or deceived then transported into a forced labor or debt bondage situation.)

The numbers of nonhuman slaves seems beyond calculation. According to the U.S.D.A. records of 2007 - 10,357 million land-based animals were raised and killed for food (in the U.S.). (This does not include fish or other aquatic animals.) Another 250 million animals were killed for “sport,” in vivisection laboratories, in pounds, or as “pests.” These statistics cover just one year in just one country. Thus far, the history of humanity is appallingly oppressive. It is difficult to stop the slavery in Sudan if you are living in the U.S., however, in most places in the world, one can choose to live vegan - a universal protest against slavery. Vegans do not pay someone else to enslave, rape, exploit and kill other conscious beings.

I watched undercover footage of the dairy provider for Land O’ Lakes; (a huge U.S. butter brand). The condition of these dairy cows was hideous. It was pitiful to see humans so coldhearted and not in touch with their natural feelings of empathy and compassion; so much so that they could be complicit in this crime against nonhumanity. We cannot rise to who we are really meant to be, if we are inflicting (or paying someone else to inflict) misery and suffering on others. We free the animals and our own higher nature by living vegan.

This article originally appeared on the Veganism: A Truth Whose Time has Come website

M Butterflies Katz

M Butterflies Katz is based in the USA and New Zealand and has been a vegan for over 3 decades. She runs the blog Veganism: A Truth Whose Time has Come, previously wrote for the now-retired Australian Vegan Voice magazine and is the Co-author of Incredibly Delicious; Recipes for a New Paradigm by Gentle World

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