Do you want to be an effective animal rights advocate? It’s easy. Here are three simple steps:
First, go vegan.
If you regard animals as members of the moral community—if you reject the notion of animals as things—you really have no choice but to stop eating, wearing, and using animals or animal products.
You cannot reject animal slavery as long as you are a direct participant in animal slavery through your use of nonhumans as human resources.
Becoming vegan is the single most important thing you can do to help animals and to express your support for justice for nonhumans. Becoming vegan is applying the principle of abolition to your own life. Becoming vegan is saying “no” to animal exploitation.
It’s not a matter of compassion alone; it’s a matter of fundamental justice. Compassion may move us emotionally but veganism is the least that we owe to animals as a simple matter of moral obligation.
Despite that large animal welfare groups blather on endlessly about how difficult it is to be a vegan, that is simply wrong. Going vegan is easy; it is better for your health and for the planet. And, most important, it’s better for your spirit because it’s the morally right thing to do.
Second, do creative, nonviolent vegan education.
Try to talk to at least one other person each day about veganism. You’ll find that it’s easier than you think and that people are receptive.
Don’t fall into the welfarist trap of promoting vegetarianism. There is no difference between flesh and other animal products. Animals used for dairy are usually kept alive longer, treated as badly, if not worse, than “meat” animals, and they all end up in the same slaughterhouse anyway. Don’t promote “happy” cage-free eggs or “happy” meat or “happy” dairy. All of that involves animal exploitation. Don’t let anyone tell you that the public is too stupid or too uncaring to take veganism seriously. That’s elitist propaganda that allows large animal welfare groups to sell indulgences to the public by making people feel better about animal exploitation.
We can recognize that people will “get there at their own pace” but we should not ever concede that the “there” is anything less than veganism. Those who are not ready to go vegan will take whatever interim step they choose but at least the message that veganism is the moral baseline should be crystal clear.
Third, adopt a homeless animal.
There are millions of animals who need homes. We have an obligation to care for these animals. So offer a home to whomever you can: dog, cat, fish, gerbil, turtle—or a cow or goat or chicken—anyone.
Adoption is the best way to add love to your life at the same time you do the right thing by animals.
There you go. Animal rights advocacy in three easy steps. No big groups, no naked women sitting in cages, no merchandising of morality or selling of moral passes needed or wanted.
Gary L. Francione
©2010 Gary L. Francione