Industry shill. Meat industry plant. Works for the government.
These are claims though, are meant to be insults. Given to those who seek to upset the status quo within the vegan “movement”.
This is because, more often than not, it is far easier to throw out an insult, than to actually consider what it is that they are talking about.
Expressing a view that is contrary to the status quo doesn’t make one an “industry plant”.
In fact, it would make someone a bad industry plant.
Industry plants are usually there to, a) divert resources into ineffective or token efforts, or b) to claim that what they are doing works or is effective when it isn’t.
This article has been written to give you an idea of what some of the tactics of actual industry plants are.
Now before I get any further into this, I am not saying that James Aspey actually is an industry plant. To tell you the truth, I have no idea if he is or isn’t. I have used his name because he is the flavour of the month at the moment. Though you could easily substitute any of the insta famous “celebrities” and the result stays the same.
Reason 1: Promotes Reform
The very last thing you would expect an “animal rights” activist to do is promote any sort of reform of the animal agricultural industry.
Yet, this is the very thing that James does when ever he uses the key words of “suffering”, “cruelty”, barbaric”, etc.
How do these words support industry?
This is because they are keywords that the industry can focus on and make improvements to.
For example, the practice of surgical mulesing is talked about as being “cruel” and “barbaric”.
This gives the wool industry something to focus on, rather than try to explain why they are using sheep for their wool.
The next step is to “improve” that practice.
This is happening with sheep in Australia, as the industry is now breeding sheep to be resistant to fly strike, or using pain relief when mulesing.
Reason 2: Doesn’t Promote Self Education
The next thing that industry plants do is dissuade you for educating yourself about animal rights.
They do this by pointing you towards industry supporting films, claiming that viewing it is all that you need to motivate yourself “for the animals”.
They also point you away from educating yourself by giving you the impression that you aren’t an “activist”, unless you are “active”. And any sort of improvement of knowledge is only “theory”, and doesn’t matter in the “real world”.
Reason 3: He Wants To Be Your Proxy Activist
Now that you have been persuaded away from self education, if you are not comfortable or able to be “active”, they will be your proxy activist for only $5 per month on Patreon.
Doing this ensures that they can keep doing their “effective” activism, and that you don’t need to worry about doing anything, because they are doing it on your behalf.
If you are not able to engage in street activism, which has been shown to be one of the least effective forms of activism, there are still other things you could do.
You could think about starting a blog, record a podcast, speak with other vegan activists about what they think works and doesn’t work, even write a book.
Don’t ever allow people with a poverty of ambition convince you that their type of activism is the only type that works and that you ought to pay them for doing it.
Reason 4: Doesn’t Encourage Growth Or Diversity In The Movement
This one ties in with Reason 3 above, and Reason 5 below.
Our insta-famous “activist”, needs to be constantly seen, and to have top billing, to maintain their social media profile. This increases their “effectiveness”, and enables them to say things like, their video has been seen a gazillion times. Or one of their posts “went viral”, and was liked/shared over a billion times.
By always having “top billing”, they are limiting the diversity of the movement, or the promotion of those who have a different or even contrary opinion/position.
James, just like other insta-famous “activists” have a tendency to head off overseas and take over the local activism there, for the sole purpose of creating content for their YouTube channel, reinforcing Reason 3 above.
While the finger shouldn’t solely be pointed at the insta-famous, event organisers are just as much to blame. Due in no part to their continual promotion of clones of the original “personality”.
Reason 5: Keeps The Movement “Poor”
The more that the insta-famous “personality” can be seen, the more they are able to promote their Patreon page, and the more money they are able to get away from people by being their proxy activist.
This has the flow on effect of keeping the movement poor.
Both financially, and intellectually.
It is easy for the naive to fall into the trap of thinking that if they keep giving James Aspey, for example, $5, $10, $50 per month, that he can be active on their behalf, and they don’t really need to do anything else.
When in fact, if that $5, $10, or $50 per month went to an animal sanctuary, or on books, it would have a far greater and more reaching impact on the movement than one insta-famous activist ever could.
For example, $10 a month could help a sanctuary promote event in their local community, and enable people to see first hand, those who we have decided are mere food animals.
Or, you could buy a book, which you could read any number of times, or even pass on to others to learn from.
And remember, the best investment you could ever make is in yourself.
Reason 6: Doesn’t Get His Hands Dirty
Finally, the most obvious indicator that someone may be an industry plant, is that they are never seen actually getting their hands dirty.
What do I mean by this.
For example, are they always “at” these actions, yet only ever seen on the “safe” side of the fence?
Is the insta-famous activist always agitating others into taking action, yet never actually doing any themselves?
While it may give the industy plant some “cred” to be on the other side of the law, the possibility that the law may come down harder on them, isn’t something the industry is willing to risk.
This is why they are always seen away from the front lines.
Plus, this also helps them to be seen as THE activist by sharing the event on social media or even on mainstream media. Thereby reinforcing their position at “the top”.
What Can We Do About It?
Now that you have some idea of what actual industry plants are doing to destroy this movement from inside, it is time to take a stand against it.
Stop supporting the insta-famous to be your proxy activist.
Start investing in yourself, and educate yourself on the history of the movement, what it actually is about and how to answer all the tricky questions you are bound to get.
Don’t get stuck in an echo chamber.
While veganism is relatively young, it has a few distinct echo chambers where only one song is sung.
Paying someone to do what you have been told 100 times you can’t do is not the solution.
We can all do something and every beneficial contribution every one of us makes is as valuable as the next person’s contribution.
Never, EVER allow narcissists and money-grabbers to con you into thinking that you can’t do your own advocacy.
You can, and anything you are able to do, no matter how small it might seem to these people who are trying to belittle your effort, you matter as much as they do!
While I have said it before, I will say it again, invest in yourself.
Become the activist, vegan educator that you want to be.
And most importantly.
Never EVER give someone money to do it on your behalf.
UPDATED: 07 October 2018. Removed 3rd party ad code