There is nothing extreme about ethical veganism.
What is extreme is eating decomposing flesh and animal secretions.
What is extreme is that we regard some animals as members of our family while, at the same time, we stick forks into the corpses of other animals.
What is extreme is thinking that it is morally acceptable to inflict suffering and death on other sentient creatures simply because we enjoy the taste of animal products or because we like the look of clothes made from animals.
What is extreme is that we say that we recognize that “unnecessary” suffering and death cannot be morally justified and then we proceed to engage in exploitation on a daily basis that is completely unnecessary.
What is extreme is pretending to embrace peace while we make violence, suffering, torture and death a daily part of our lives.
What is extreme is that we say that we care about animals and that we believe that they are members of the moral community, but we sponsor, support, encourage and promote “happy” meat/dairy labeling schemes. (see 1, 2, 3)
What is extreme is not eating flesh but continuing to consume dairy when there is absolutely no rational distinction between meat and dairy (or other animal products). There is as much suffering and death in dairy, eggs, etc., as there is in meat.
What is extreme is that we are consuming a diet that is causing disease and resulting in ecological disaster.
What is extreme is that we encourage our children to love animals at the same time that we teach them those that they love can also be those whom they harm. We teach our children that love is consistent with commodification. That is truly extreme—and very sad.
What is extreme is the fantasy that we will ever find our moral compass with respect to animals as long as they are on our plates and our tables, on our backs, and on our feet.
No, ethical veganism is not extreme. But there are many other things that we do not even pay attention to that are extreme.
If you are not vegan, go vegan. It’s easy; it’s better for your health and for the planet. But, most important, it’s the morally right thing to do.
Gary L. Francione
©2010 Gary L. Francione