If I am viewed as being extreme because I believe that promoting veganism is the only thing that will stop the 500,000+ animals being killed for food every week in Australia, then so be it.
Us vegans are a funny bunch when you really think about it.
Here we are, a group of allegedly free thinking individuals who made the conscious decision to question, then rebel against societal norms, adopting a lifestyle and beliefs that according to the mainstream, are extreme.
With this in mind, you could be forgiven for thinking that as a whole we are open minded, in every sense of the word, about discussing veganism and ways to reduce the numbers of animals that are killed for food. Except you wouldn’t be any further from the truth if you tried.
As a group, we can talk about literally anything except veganism itself, and any attempt to do this is viewed as divisive and extreme. Umm, excuse me? We are vegan, we are supposed to be divisive and extreme.
Lets start with the goings on in any one of a number of different Facebook groups for example.
There are a few groups set up by devout followers of Gary Francione and his “abolitionist approach”. These groups were allegedly set up to promote vegan education, as espoused by Gary Francione himself. The only problem is that the vegan education available is that which has come from Mr Francione himself.
I’ve been kicked out of these groups for reasons such as “mocking” the great Gary Francione, and something the admin of the group was going to say, before he even said it. And another one because I dare question the sacred teachings of Mr Francione and not be entirely devoted to it.
Then there are the “vegans in…” groups that supposedly I’m not allowed to be part of, as requests to join have been denied on more than one occasion. Those who dare post links to any of the articles that I have written are soon kicked out of too.
Before you tell me that it is only Facebook, and I shouldn’t pay too much attention to it. Normally I would agree, except there are a growing number of people who are now using the number of followers they have or ‘people’ in a group they started as an indication of their level of influence. So I can’t really ignore it, though I do digress.
For those who don’t know, there is a new group that has started up called Vegan Australia, which aims to be a “national” body for veganism. There was an email sent out by one of the people responsible for setting it up, asking for nominations for positions on the soon to be formed board.
I was encouraged by a number of different people to put my name forward for a spot or two, which I did. Only to be told that I wouldn’t be a “good fit” for the new group, supposedly based on my reputation. This is despite the number of constructive and beneficial suggestions that I offered to this fledgling group.
Before you think that this is just a sour grapes rant, and I’m a having a bit of a cry saying “Woe is me…” I’m not. In hindsight, I think that not being part of Vegan Australia is actually a good thing. As now I am able to question or comment on the things that Vegan Australia does in the same way that I do to Animals Australia or the various Animal Liberation groups in this country.
That having been said, and I’m off on another tangent again, I do wish to congratulate those who have been elected to the board, and all the best for the huge task that lays ahead for them.
I have been told that I am antagonistic and divisive, and you know what, I probably am. Mind you, those labels only seem to come from those who believe that veganism is more about social acceptance than social justice.
Take a look at all the great leaders of our time. They are the ones who have challenged commonly held beliefs and asked people to hold themselves to a higher standard. To them it wasn’t about popularity contests, it was about doing what was right.
Which brings me back to something that I raised earlier, a persons alleged level of influence. Just because there are X number of people in a group or Y number of people who have ‘liked’ a fan page, it doesn’t prove that you are influential, especially if only 4 or 5 of them are active.
Whilst comments on food, places to eat, or what shampoo to buy, are legitimate things to discuss, they shouldn’t be the only things discussed with everything else being taboo. If this is the case, then once again, it’s all about social acceptance.
If I am viewed as being extreme because I believe that promoting veganism is the only thing that will stop the 500,000+ animals being killed for food every week in Australia, then so be it. I’m not doing what I am doing to be revered, for my own ego, or to make friends. I am doing this because I want to see that 500,000+ figure go down to 0.
Ultimately, when it comes down to it, I cannot imagine one animal that is in the slaughter house queue waiting to have a captive bolt fired into his or her head, thinking to themselves, “You know what? It doesnt really matter that I am having my life drastically cut short, because I have had a good life. I’ve been fed organic food, and kept as a free range commodity, and the person that will soon feast on my flesh can sleep easy at night knowing that they chose the humane option”.
I would be willing to bet they’d be asking us why we are allowing it to happen and is the fact that their life is about to be taken away from them that meaningless to us because they have been treated humanely?
The question now is, are you willing to stand up and lift veganism to a higher standard?
Or are you going to go along with the status quo, because that is what everyone else is doing?
This article was written by the founder of VeganPolice.com.au, Cameron Blewett.
Cameron is a long term vegan (30+yrs), and is passionate about veganism, and helping people to understand more about it and giving other animals equal consideration.
You can find Cameron’s other rants on his website, CameronBlewett.blog