Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Tackling the roots

Following on from my previous article about "victories" in single issue campaigning, I think it's useful to try to understand why these kinds of campaigns are so popular. One reason, perhaps, is that the scale of animal industry is so enormous that the task of abolishing it can be rather overwhelming. This can make vegans, who are up against a vast majority of non-vegans, feel powerless about any kind of change. Breaking the issue down into smaller, more manageable campaigns, might give some people hope; short-term, achievable goals can help you feel like you're making progress and therefore "doing your bit" to help animals.

Unfortunately, singling out a particular form of animal use perpetuates speciesism, which is the root cause of animal exploitation. It is the equivalent of dealing with weeds in a garden by clipping back a few leaves, celebrating the progress you've made in weed control and telling everyone in the world about it. During which time, the leaves are beginning to grow back, slowly but surely, perhaps in the same place, perhaps even more vigourously than before. The next thing you know, there's a whole weed back with a vengeance. Now, do you continue to do the same as before? Or do you step back, realise your mistake, and find an alternative?

If more animal advocates promoted veganism as the moral baseline, and as the minimum we can do to help animals, we would see a much greater cultural shift towards veganism, greater reduction in animal use and, eventually, the abolition of industrial animal use. Sadly, it feels like many vegans insist on continually clipping the leaves, I guess to put in their dandelion tea after a hard day protesting.

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