Quotes by Gary L. Francione
Adopt/Foster – Advocacy – The Animal “Movement” – Animals & Us – Animals As Property – Equality – Feminism – “Humane” Exploitation – Is Veganism a Matter of “Choice?” – Is Veganism “Elitist?” – Is Veganism “Extreme?” – Journeys / Baby Steps – Love – Meatless Monday – Natural – Nonviolence – Personal Purity – Religion – Sacrifice – Sentience – Special Occasions – Speciesism – Veganism – Vegetarianism – Welfare Reform – What Is “Animal Rights?”
“Please adopt or foster a homeless animal of any species.”
“Please adopt or foster a homeless animal. There is someone for everyone.”
“For however many animals you can adopt or foster, you change the whole world for them.”
“Do animals matter morally? If so, make sure four words are part of your vocabulary: vegan, educate, adopt, foster.”
“Do you want to save a life today? Right now? It’s easy. Adopt/foster. There are so many nonhuman persons who need you.”
“If you want to state your opposition to animal exploitation and save an animal today, then go vegan and adopt/foster a homeless animal.”
“Saving a life is as easy as adopting a homeless animal. Please, if you can save a life—a dog, cat, bird, mouse, fish, cow, chicken—anyone who needs a home, do so.”
“‘Euthanasia’ only concerns death that is in the interest of a human or a nonhuman. Death is never in the interest of a healthy animal. When a ‘shelter’ kills a healthy animal, it is not euthanasia. It is just plain killing. And it is wrong.”
“Please, if you can adopt a homeless animal—a dog, cat, bird, mouse, fish—anyone who needs a home, do so. Adoption is an important form of activism; they’re in this mess because of us. The least that we can do is to take care of some of them.”
“If you care about nonhumans; if you regard nonhumans as full members of the moral community, then you really have no coherent choice but to go vegan. And, if you are able, please adopt/foster a homeless nonhuman. There are so very many who need homes.”
“There is no such thing as ‘responsible breeding.’ We have no right to bring domesticated animals into existence so that they can be ‘pets.’ We ought to take care of the domesticated animals that are here now, but we should not bring any more into existence.”
“Remember that every animal adopted or fostered is one more life saved and that means everything to that one animal. You save them and they save you. They teach you about love. And remember, the animals we love are no different from the ones we eat. Go vegan.”
“To my friends in the rescue community who work tirelessly to save dogs and cats:
There is absolutely no difference between the animals you save and those you eat.
Let your love and concern extend to all animals: please go vegan.”
“Let’s not wish for bad things to happen to humans; let’s work to make good things happen for animals.”
“If you want to educate people about being vegan, you need to use the word, ‘vegan.’ Don’t be afraid to use it.”
“If you want to stop animal ‘abuse,’ the most powerful petition you can sign is the one that says: ‘I’m vegan.’ All use is abuse. All use is wrong.”
“Maintaining that veganism is a moral imperative is not a matter of ‘preaching veganism or vegan fundamentalism.’ It is a matter of fundamental justice.”
“Veganism must be the baseline if we are to have any hope of shifting the paradigm away from animals as things and toward animals as nonhuman persons.”
“If animals matter morally, veganism is not an option—it is a necessity. Anything that claims to be an animal rights movement must make clear that veganism is a moral imperative.”
“Each of us has the moral responsibility to educate ourselves and to then educate others about refusing to participate in the victimization of the vulnerable by going vegan. So do it. Please.”
“Please don’t engage in speciesist nonsense, such as promoting ‘small steps.’ We would never say that sort of thing in the human context and we say it in the animal context because we devalue animals based on species.”
“The best guide to what a person believes morally is what she does. Moral concern and moral impulse can be separated for purposes of explanation, but moral concern in the absence of moral impulse is really an absence of moral concern.”
“People are more likely to embrace veganism if they agree that there’s something serious and important at stake. And as long as you choose to eat any amount of meat, dairy, and eggs, they will never see veganism as a matter of fundamental justice.”
“We should not judge another person because we can’t really see into her or his heart. But we can judge conduct as right or wrong. And when conduct involves imposing suffering and death on others, we not only should judge that conduct, we must judge it. That is what it means to take morality seriously.”
“People say that being a vegan creates a social problem in that others may react negatively. But isn’t that the case if you take a principled position on any issue, whether it’s racism, sexism, heterosexism, violence as a general matter—or speciesism? The key is to educate others about why you take the position.”
“Veganism is not a matter of belief. It’s a matter of moral position based on valid arguments. It’s a moral issue. If I have a valid argument as to why what X is doing is morally wrong, X may be able to choose to do it but that does not mean that X should not be criticized. Indeed, it is morally obligatory to criticize X.”
“If you promote being a ‘conscientious omnivore’ as the ‘compassionate’ choice, guess what? People will continue to eat animal products. They will continue to participate directly in animal exploitation and see nothing wrong with it. After all, the ‘experts,’ the ‘animal rights’ people have blessed their consumption of animal products.”
“When you tell nonvegans that they are morally indistinguishable from those dog-eating Chinese or that black dog-fighting guy Michael Vick or those dolphin-killing Japanese, you get a reaction. Half of this reaction is that people get defensive about their own animal exploitation. Half of it is that their racist/xenophobic sensitivities get triggered.”
“If you want people to go vegan, you need to educate them about veganism. The idea that people will go vegan but only if you talk to them about anything but veganism is beyond nonsensical. The idea that the ‘masses’ cannot understand a clear and coherent vegan message is, in addition to being nonsensical, extremely elitist.”
“We cannot make up anyone’s mind for them on veganism or any moral issue. But that does not mean that fundamental moral principles cease to be such or that we do not have an obligation to be crystal clear about these moral issues. On the contrary. Our obligation to be clear is itself clear, and is more compelling—and not less—to the extent that discrimination is pervasive.”
“Many animal advocates believe that the ‘average person’ who cares about animals cannot understand, or will be put off by, an argument for veganism rather than for welfare. That is elitist nonsense. Everyone can understand the argument. You just have to be willing to make it and stop perpetuating the welfarist message of these animal welfare corporations whose business it is to get donations by telling people the falsehood that there is such a thing as ‘compassionate’ exploitation.”
“Can being a vegan create tensions with friends and relatives who aren’t vegan? Sure it can―just as holding and living by any moral principle can. Many people go through life never really believing much of anything and they often react negatively to those who do. But at some point, you just have to decide who you are and what is important in life. If morality matters to you, you should never be afraid of being crystal clear in the view that we cannot justify victimizing the vulnerable.”
“Most people really do care about animals. That’s why the animal welfare approach resonates. It tells them that they can care and that they can continue to exploit. We should focus on their caring and be honest with them: caring means going vegan; caring means no more exploitation.
When we tell a caring person that s/he can continue to exploit in a morally acceptable way by consuming ‘happy’ animal products (or going vegetarian), we do a disservice to that person. And we betray the animals.”
“All animal products involve suffering and death. All of them. We should be crystal clear that the only rational response to recognizing the moral status of nonhumans is to go vegan. If animals matter morally, then any exploitation―however supposedly ‘humane’―is immoral. To say that being ‘compassionate’ requires that we promote something other than veganism is to say that we are morally obligated to promote immorality. That makes no sense. If you agree that animals matter, veganism―and only veganism―is what makes sense.”
“If you promote vegetarianism as the ‘compassionate’ choice, you are giving people the green light to consume dairy and other animal products. You are telling them that they are being ‘compassionate’ as long as they only consume some animal products. That explains why we all know many vegetarians who have never gone vegan. Why should they when they are being told by the self-appointed experts that they have discharged their moral obligations to animals by being vegetarian? Why should they change if ‘animal rights’ groups have told them they are being ‘compassionate?’”
“There is no morally coherent distinction between meat and other animal foods. They all involve torture. They all involve death. They all involve injustice. They all involve bullying the vulnerable. It makes no sense to reinforce a distinction where none exists. It makes no sense to encourage people to think that dairy and eggs are morally better choices. We should always be clear that veganism is the only rational response to the recognition that animals have moral value. If someone cares about animals and wants to do less than go vegan, at least at the outset, let that be his or her choice and not as a result of our ever saying that anything less than veganism is morally acceptable. It isn’t.”
“No-one disputes that we cannot make up anyone’s mind for them. People have to make up their own minds. And that is precisely why we must be crystal clear that veganism is the moral baseline as it represents the only rational response to recognizing the inherent value of other animals.
We must be crystal clear that veganism is a fundamental matter of justice.”
“With respect to animals, we all enjoy the most absolute of privileges. We hold their fate completely in our hands.
We need a clear, unified, and consistent voice to effect the complete dismantling—the abolition—of the mechanisms of animal exploitation.
And that will only come from what we say and do—no matter who we are.”
“We are all ‘judgmental.’
Some judge animals to be things that exist exclusively as resources for humans, and they eat, wear and otherwise use animals.
Some judge the exploitation of nonhumans to represent injustice and refuse to participate directly in that exploitation to the extent that is possible.
The only question is in what way we are judgmental. That’s all.”
“The fact that it took you or someone else 10 (or however many) years to go vegan is no more relevant to whether we should advocate veganism as a moral baseline than is the fact that it took you or someone else 10 (or however many) years to eradicate racism or sexism from her/his life. If animal use cannot be morally justified, however ‘humane’ it is (as I maintain), then we must be clear that continued animal use violates the fundamental moral rights of animals and that recognizing the moral status of animals requires that we go vegan. If someone who cares about the issue chooses to do less than go vegan, that should be her/his choice and never the result of our promoting any form of ‘happy exploitation.’
We should always be clear: recognizing that animals have moral value means you go vegan. There’s being vegan and there’s actively participating in animal exploitation. There is no third choice.”
“As long as we eat animals and animal products, which is completely unnecessary and serves only our palate pleasure, we will continue to use animals for other clearly frivolous purposes. In other words, if you think it is okay to impose suffering and death on animals just because you like the taste of animal foods, you are not likely to think circuses, zoos, hunting, and animal clothing are morally objectionable.
Getting people to see that something that they do three times a day every day of their lives is morally objectionable is the key to opening their eyes to the immorality of all animal use.
It’s really a matter of simple logic and common sense.
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.”
The Animal “Movement”
“Nonvegans who complain about other people ‘abusing’ animals: a perfect example of the pot calling the kettle black.”
“Animal rights is not a matter of consuming ‘with compassion.’ It’s a matter of not eating, wearing, or using animals. Period.”
“The ‘movement’ is a cult. It preys on emotionally sensitive individuals who are not strong critical thinkers to begin with and then tells them that thinking will ‘hurt the animals.’”
“If animals matter morally, veganism is not an option—it is a necessity. Anything that claims to be an animal rights movement must make clear that veganism is a moral imperative.”
“Whether everyone will give up eating meat (and other animal products) entirely is not relevant to whether the normative principle should be that we ought to stop consuming those products.”
“Anyone who denies that welfare reform campaigns and single-issue campaigns necessarily promote animal exploitation does not understand the nature of those campaigns. As a structural matter, they must promote animal exploitation.”
“The ‘movement’ is, in reality, a cult that discourages—forbids—critical thinking. The folks who are involved with those groups are either animal exploiters who are happy to donate to feel less guilty, or they are vegans who cannot think clearly.”
“I think that the rejection of moral realism and the rise of the idea that there is no moral truth has resulted in a population that cannot think at all about moral issues because they reject the idea of a morality that is anything more than a subjective opinion.”
“Reasoning has no place where the currency is blind faith and where any critical analysis is regarded as heresy. It’s a good thing that burning at the stake is no longer permitted or the high priests of animal welfare would be engaged in a modern Inquisition.”
“The choice is not between reducing suffering or promoting veganism. It is only by promoting veganism—by working on the demand side of the equation rather than the supply side (the focus on welfare reforms)—that we will reduce suffering—and death.”
“Rejecting ‘happy’ exploitation or baby steps’ is not ‘shaming.’ If animals matter morally, and we reject speciesism, we are obligated to reject treating animals like resources just as we are obligated to reject human slavery. That is not a matter of ‘shaming.’ It is a matter of justice.”
“Unfortunately, we live in a time when people are encouraged to be spineless and not take a moral position about anything. Indeed, many people think that morality is no different from aesthetic opinion—that there is no objective right or wrong. That’s tragic. And it’s destroying us.”
“A number of people seem to think that it’s just fine for an ‘animal person’ to convey the idea that caring about animals is consistent with exploiting them. My guess is that most people who hold this view also participate in animal exploitation. It’s really the only explanation for such a position.”
“The corporate animal movement and its followers declare that ‘activism’ is promoting welfare reform and single-issue campaigns. The only thing that is ‘activist’ about SICs and welfare reform is that they actively encourage more animal exploitation and they actively keep the social conversation away from animal use and veganism.”
“There are many people who care about nonhuman animals. We should be educating them to understand that the moral value of animals requires veganism, and not that they can be more ‘compassionate’ animal users if they consume ‘happy’ meat, dairy, and eggs. A movement that promotes ‘humane’ exploitation is a movement that has sold out the animals.”
“The campaign targeting the consumption of dogs is based on ignorance not only as to how animals are raised and slaughtered elsewhere but on the ignorance of racism, ethnocentrism, and xenophobia. And the fact that nonvegans are involved in this campaign and are some of its leading spokespersons (such as Ricky Gervais) involves breathtaking hypocrisy.”
“I am so tired of the pathetic moral cowardice that leads ‘animal advocates’ to be reluctant to use ‘vegan’ and has them yammering on about ‘plant based compassionate diets’ and similar nonsense. It’s not a matter of ‘compassion.’ It’s a matter of justice. It’s a matter of basic rights. It’s a matter of moral imperatives. And if animals matter morally, veganism is a moral imperative.”
“Imagine what would be happening if all of the millions of animal dollars spent by groups on promoting welfare reform and ‘happy exploitation’ went into a clear, unequivocal vegan message that recognizing the moral value of animals means that we cannot eat, wear, or use them—however ‘humane’ we may be. Just imagine how the social discussion about animal ethics would shift.”
“Single-issue campaigns necessarily tell people that some animal products or uses are worse than others and they ought to consume or use animals in the ‘better’ way. For example, a campaign against foie gras conveys the idea that foie gras is worse than other animal foods and that people ought to eat those other animal foods instead of foie gras. That’s the wrong message to send.”
“Would Martin Luther King have had an ‘I’d Rather Go Naked than Sit in the Back of the Bus’ campaign? Of course not. He would have recognized that such a campaign would trivialize the important message of civil rights. Why don’t animal advocates recognize that sexist campaigns similarly trivialize the issue of animal rights and give people yet another reason to dismiss the animal rights issue?”
“Educating people is activism. It is a far more important form of activism than signing meaningless petitions or writing a check to a large animal welfare corporation that promotes ‘happy’ exploitation or tells people that eating foie gras is worse than eating steak or ice cream. Indeed, I would not call welfare reform campaigns or single-issue campaigns ‘activism.’ They do nothing but promote speciesism.”
“New welfarism: the idea that promoting ‘humane’ exploitation will lead to no exploitation. This is the position of every large ‘animal advocacy’ group. That is just transparent nonsense peddled by groups who have an economic interest in getting donations from people who want to feel better about exploiting animals and the uncritical followers of those groups who chant the mantras ‘baby steps’ and ‘the world won’t go vegan overnight.’”
“In the ongoing debate between those who promote the Abolitionist Approach and those who promote the welfarist approach, some of the welfarists claim that they support veganism so there is, in reality, little difference between the two approaches on the matter of eating and using animal products. To the extent that welfarists support veganism, it is important to understand that the abolitionist position on veganism is very different from the welfarist position on veganism.”
“The people who are claiming that the consumption of dogs in China involves more cruelty than the consumption of animals elsewhere in the world know nothing about how animals are raised and slaughtered elsewhere. They have never seen the mutilations of animals that go on at farms every day. They have never been inside a chicken slaughterhouse and seen live chickens submerged in scalding water. They have never seen cows, pigs, and other animals dismembered while still alive.”
“The ‘father of the animal rights movement’ is not even a vegan and regards being a consistent vegan as ‘fanatical,’ so why does anyone else need to be a vegan? We can enjoy the ‘luxury’ of eating meat and animal products from animals who have been tortured less than others and, if we are vegans most of the time, we should feel okay to treat ourselves even to conventionally tortured animals when we splurge at a ‘fancy restaurant.’ We can allow ourselves to indulge in the ‘luxury’ that is made possible only by death.”
“There are many ‘animal advocates’ who claim that we should not promote veganism as a moral baseline because that will upset people or ‘put people off.’ Ignore those ‘animal advocates.’ They promote animal exploitation because anything less than veganism represents direct participation in animal exploitation. That is not consistent with animal rights. Always be creative and nonviolent in your vegan advocacy. But make no mistake about it: there is veganism and there is animal exploitation. There is no third choice.”
“Claiming that animal use won’t end soon, new welfarists propose insignificant changes that do little, if anything, to improve animal welfare, generally make animal exploitation more profitable, and make the public feel better about animal use, thus perpetuating animal exploitation. It really makes no sense. The solution to the problem of animal exploitation is not to endorse welfare reforms or single-issue campaigns. The solution is to go vegan and educate everyone you can about veganism. And adopt/foster all the homeless animals you can responsibly take in.”
“’Animal rights’ has unfortunately become meaningless. The largest veal producer in the U.S. says he’s in favor of ‘animal rights.’ Media use ‘animal rights’ to describe anything vaguely related to the treatment of animals. And ‘animal liberation’ is closely associated with Singer’s utilitarian view, which is totally welfarist. Bottom line: what does morality require in terms of our moral obligations to animals? At the very least, it requires that we be vegan. All of this alternative terminology is about accommodating welfarism one way or the other.”
“The new welfarist movement, which promotes the idea that we can make this system of violence and death better or more ‘humane,’ is promoting a message that I believe to be false. I accept that the new welfarists are acting in good faith when they promote ‘cage-free’ eggs, gassing chickens, or measures such as California’s Proposition 2. I just think that they are seriously wrong and I see no evidence that suggests that all of these campaigns are doing anything more than making humans feel more comfortable about consuming nonhumans.”
“The happy exploitation movement has people believing that we can exploit ‘compassionately.’ The organized animal movement rejects veganism as a moral baseline. In my view, until we get to food and clothing—until the vegan ethic gets more entrenched in society—it will be impossible to deal with other issues. Once the vegan ethic gets entrenched, we will explore all animal uses. I appreciate that there are many other issues. But I completely disagree that there are any issues that are more important than food and clothing as a matter of both culture and the number of animals exploited.”
“In human history, no conduct has generated more vacuous excuses than animal use. Attempts to justify animal use have generated some of the most profoundly silly statements ever made. The desire to consume animal products has clouded some of the most brilliant minds who ever lived, reducing them to making statements that a small child could easily see are just nonsense. If animals matter morally, we cannot morally justify eating, wearing, or consuming them. Period. End of story. You can try as hard as you want to come up with excuses, justifications, and rationales. You will, however, only generate nonsense.”
“We live at a time in which
- morality is seen as subjective and as secondary to the whims of the individual; and
- narcissism has been elevated to an art form.
This encourages people to focus only or primarily on themselves.”
“What is the difference between fur and leather? The answer: there is no difference except the long hairs have been scraped off with leather. The animal is dead in both cases.
Wool is also the product of suffering and death. When was the last time you saw protests against people wearing leather jackets or wool suits? The answer: never.
Is a woman who wears fur more morally objectionable than any non-vegan? The answer: no.”
“I don’t think you can underestimate the cult mentality of the large groups: critical thinking is not permitted. Period. These groups teach their members a number of speciesist mantras: ‘baby-steps,’ ‘the world won’t go vegan overnight,’ ‘at least we’re doing something,’ ‘no animal left behind,’ etc. That’s what you are seeing.
Someone who worked for a large group once wrote to me and said that she regarded my work as ‘deprogramming’ material for those who had been indoctrinated in the welfarist paradigm.
They are businesses. I am not saying that they have, or at least start out with, bad intentions. But the reality of fundraising pushes them ALL in the same direction.”
“Abolitionists have no organizations or employees. They are just individuals who maintain that, if animals matter morally, we cannot eat, wear, or use them; who reject welfarist and single-issue campaigns; and who reject all discrimination and violence.
Abolitionists cannot force anyone to accept their views; those who embrace abolition do so because they agree that the arguments presented are valid.
So why do welfarists consider abolitionists such a threat? Why do they attack them—never with counter-arguments but always in ad hominem ways?
Perhaps welfarists know that their position is a failure on both moral and practical grounds.”
“Welfarists often say that ‘we all want the same thing.’ That is, we all want to end animal exploitation. They claim that the only difference is that we have different ‘strategies.’ That is as absurd as saying that we all want peace and the only difference between those who reject war and those who promote war as a means to the end of achieving peace is ‘strategy.’
A movement’s means must be consistent with its ends.
Welfarists who promote ‘happy’ exploitation, ‘reducetarianism,’ or the idea that it’s better to eat steak than foie gras are promoting means that are inconsistent with the end they claim to embrace. They are like war mongers who say that we need war to have peace; we need to kill to have no killing.
It’s not just a matter of strategy. It’s a matter of fundamentally different moral positions.”
Animals & Us
“Someone. Not something.”
“They trust us. We betray them.”
“I am not a meal. I am someone.”
“They are vulnerable. And we exploit them.”
“Anyone who believes that there is not terrible, terrible suffering in all vivisection is wrong.”
“When you eat next, ask yourself if there is anything that you enjoy so much that it is worth the suffering and death of another.”
“Animal products are produced because of our demand. Our demand. If no-one demands animal products, no-one will produce them.”
“As long as the products of suffering, death, and injustice are going into our mouths, words of nonviolence coming out are nothing but hollow hypocrisy.”
“If you eat animals or animal products, your claim that you reject the notion that animals are things makes no sense whatsoever. If animals are morally valuable, we cannot consume them.”
“Whenever we kill another sentient being for a reason other than self-defence, we act immorally. So we should stop thinking about how to treat animals used for food morally. We can’t. We don’t need to eat animals to be healthy. So every death we impose represents a violation of the basic right of animals not to be treated as things.”
“It’s really not rocket science. If animals are not mere things; if they have moral value, we cannot justify eating, wearing, or using them particularly when we have no better reason than palate pleasure or fashion. If you are eating, wearing, or using animals, then your actions say that you regard them as mere things, despite what your words say.”
Animals As Property
“All sentient beings should have at least one right: the right not to be treated as property.”
“If we took animals seriously, we would stop treating them as our resources, as our property. But that would mean an end to bringing nonhumans into existence so that we can use them for food, clothing, vivisection, or any other purpose, including for companionship.”
“We have recognized that, as a baseline matter, we must reject slavery because slavery involves treating humans as things that have no intrinsic or inherent value. Treating animals as property is equivalent to saying that animals are just things without any moral value. So if animals matter morally, we must reject their status as commodities. We must embrace veganism as a baseline matter. There’s really no other morally coherent choice.”
“To say that animals are not property because you love your nonhuman companions is like saying that your car is not your property because you choose to wash and wax it every week and keep it in splendid condition.
You car is your property. You can choose to put a great deal of money and energy into maintaining it. Or you can do nothing more than what is required to have the car pass a safety inspection.
The same applies to your nonhuman companions. You can choose to treat them as members of your family. Or you can dump them at a shelter or have a vet kill them.
They are your property.”
“We’re never really going to be able to tackle speciesism in an effective way as long as we continue to ignore obvious and serious human discrimination. It’s all connected.”
“Racism=sexism=heterosexism=classism=ageism=speciesism. All are wrong. All are violent. We should reject them all and embrace equality. And, as far as the animal issue is concerned, equality means veganism.”
“Veganism is at the center of a new peace movement that rejects the exploitation of the vulnerable and sees the connection between all forms of characterizing sentient beings (human or nonhuman) as ‘the other.'”
“Humans treat animals as things that exist as means to human ends. That’s morally wrong. Sexism promotes the idea that women are things that exist as means to the ends of men. That’s morally wrong. We need to stop treating all persons—whether human or nonhuman—as things.”
“Racism, sexism, heterosexism, and other forms of discrimination, including speciesism, are all forms of violence. They are all wrong. The abolitionist approach to animal rights maintains that we cannot see animal exploitation in isolation from these other forms of violence and that we must reject them all. So go vegan, embrace nonviolence, and reject all discrimination.”
“We can no more justify using nonhumans as human resources than we can justify human slavery. Animal use and slavery have at least one important point in common: both institutions treat sentient beings exclusively as resources of others. That cannot be justified with respect to humans; it cannot be justified with respect to nonhumans—however ‘humanely’ we treat them.”
“Even if you think that any and all human rights issues are more important than the issue of animal exploitation, you have to eat while you are fighting for those great causes. How does eating, for example, tofu instead of steak impede your ability to fight for human rights causes? It doesn’t. If anything, a healthy vegan diet will give you more energy to pursue those causes.”
“If you are a feminist, and are not a vegan, you are ignoring the exploitation of female nonhumans and the commodification of their reproductive processes, as well as the destruction of their relationship with their babies.”
“If you are a feminist and you are not a vegan, you are drawing an arbitrary line that excludes the billions of female animals whose reproductive systems are exploited and whose babies are taken and killed. Please, if you are a feminist, go vegan.”
“If you consume dairy and consider yourself a feminist, you need to explain to me how feminism can be consistent with forced and repeated impregnation, separating mothers and babies almost immediately after birth, killing the male babies, and subjecting the female babies to the horrors their mothers suffered.”
“Sexism commodifies women. Speciesism commodifies nonhuman animals, and, in particular, female animals. Their bodies, reproductive processes and their relationship with their babies are all commodified. Feminists should embrace veganism. Animal rights advocates should embrace feminism. All oppression is related”
“If you are a feminist, there is no more reason to draw a line at species than there is at race. No feminist thinks that some women matter more than others. That is the whole point of feminism. If you are a feminist but not a vegan, you need to think about why you draw that line. I have yet to see a defense of that line that is anything other than attempts to justify palate pleasure.”
“If you consider yourself a feminist and you are not a vegan, you need to think more clearly. Men bully women and that is wrong. But we all bully nonhumans and that is wrong for the very same reason. And animals used for dairy have their reproductive processes commodified and their relationships with their offspring destroyed. So if you object to patriarchal oppression, then you are committed to objecting to speciesism. If you consider yourself a feminist, then please take it seriously: go vegan.”
“All animal products involve suffering and death. All of them.”
“Cage-free, grass-fed, free-range, humane. Why keep looking for the right way to do the wrong thing? Go vegan.”
“It doesn’t matter if they had the best lives in the world. Killing an animal so you can eat the animal or wear the animal is wrong.”
“‘Compassionate’ consumption is like ‘compassionate’ slavery—it ignores that the issue is not ‘humane’ injustice; the issue is justice.”
“If you consume any animal products, however ‘compassionately,’ you accept that animals are human resources. No getting around that.”
“The problem is not factory farming (which cannot be ended anyway). The problem is animal use. ‘Happy’ exploitation is still exploitation.”
“There is no ‘compassionate’ animal use. There is no ‘right’ way to exploit the vulnerable. So stop trying to think of how you can do morally that which you cannot do morally. Just go vegan.”
“The problem is not the ‘abuse’ of animals on ‘factory farms.’ The problem is the use of animals that—even under the supposedly most ‘humane’ circumstances—involves fear, distress, suffering, and death.”
“To say that a being who is sentient has no interest in continuing to live is like saying that a being with eyes has no interest in continuing to see. Death—however ‘humane’—is a harm for humans and nonhumans alike.”
“We need to recognize that as long as we are using animals and killing them for food or for other purposes, we cannot accord them ‘compassionate’ and ‘respectful’ treatment. You don’t ‘respect’ that which you treat as a thing.”
“This ‘happy’ exploitation nonsense represents a very big step backward. People are never going to go vegan if they believe that they can exploit morally. And that is exactly the message that the ‘happy’ exploitation movement is trying to convey.”
“When we object to ‘animal abuse’ we imply that there is some animal use that is not abusive. All use is exploitation. All exploitation is wrong. All exploitation is abusive. Please go vegan. If animals matter morally, we cannot justify eating, wearing or using animals.”
“Right now, the discussion about animals is focused on treatment and how to ‘improve’ animal exploitation. As of this time, there really isn’t any serious discussion about whether we should use animals at all. So let’s work toward changing the conversation from treatment to use; from welfare to abolition; from ‘happy exploitation’ to no exploitation.”
“If you regard animals as members of the moral community, you stop consuming them. Period. It’s not a matter of ‘happy’ exploitation; it’s not a matter of exploiting them for some animal products but not for others. It’s a matter of no consumption; no use. All animal products, whatever they are and however ‘humane’ are the products of torture and exploitation.”
“We certainly ought to make clear to the public the nature of the treatment of the animals we consume. But we also should make it clear that this system cannot be fixed in any way that would address the fundamental moral concerns. We should not promote the idea that some of this is ‘abuse’ and some is not. It’s all abuse. It’s all morally unjustifiable. We should never use the word ‘humane’ to describe any component of this machine of violence, torture and death.”
“No slaughter is ‘humane.’ The most ‘humane’ slaughter involves terrible fear, suffering and distress. This is not to mention all of the suffering and distress that the animal endured at whatever farm the animal was born and raised, and in the transport to the slaughterhouse. And no slaughter is just. It all involves taking the life of an innocent being for the sake of palate pleasure. ‘Humane’ treatment is, as a practical matter, impossible. All use is morally wrong. The problem is use not treatment.”
“You don’t need to watch gory movies in order to see whether animals are ‘abused’ in the process of producing flesh, dairy, or eggs. If animals matter morally, bringing them into existence and killing them for palate pleasure (or fashion) is wrong however ‘humanely’ we may treat them. As a matter of fact, we don’t treat them ‘humanely.’ In fact, the ‘happiest’ animal products you can buy all involve torture. But it would not matter if it were better. We cannot justify using nonhumans as human resources however ‘humanely’ we may treat them.”
“We don’t need ‘investigators’ to tell us anything about farms and slaughterhouses.
The animals end up dead.
If we are concerned about justice, that is all we need to know.”
“A serious social movement does not demand the regulation of injustice; it demands the end of injustice.
If the animal movement maintains that animal exploitation is unjust and immoral, that movement demands the abolition of exploitation and does not promote ‘humane’ exploitation.”
Is Veganism a Matter of “Choice?”
“Animal rights are no more a matter of opinion than is any other moral matter.”
“Going vegan is not about you or your lifestyle choices. It’s about the animals. It’s about what we owe to them.”
“60 billion land animals every year. One trillion fish every year. Veganism is not an option. It is a moral imperative. Anything short of crystal clarity is complicity.”
“Is veganism a matter of ‘choice?’ That depends on whether you think we have the moral right to choose to exploit the vulnerable for frivolous purposes such as palate pleasure.”
“The only ‘addiction’ involved in consuming animal products is the addiction to pure selfishness that allows us to ignore the suffering and death of a sentient being for reasons of palate pleasure.”
“Veganism is not just an ethical choice we can make if we believe animals matter morally. It is the only ethical choice we can make. You are either vegan or you are participating directly in animal exploitation. There is no third choice.”
“Veganism is not something that comes and goes. It’s not something you ‘almost’ are or ‘sometimes’ are. You either are or you aren’t. Anything in between is just a fad of some sort. And fads are meaningless behaviors that can’t change the world.”
“I think that the ‘addiction’ approach is nonsense. We all have preferences. Some are stronger than others. But we have an obligation not to engage in those that cause harm to others. End of story. You may like the taste of meat or cheese. Big deal. If animals matter morally, you don’t consume those things. To claim that consumers of meat or dairy are like ‘addicts’ is nonsense if that means anything more than that people who consume animal products are addicted to their own failure to see moral reality.”
“Consuming animal products is a ‘choice’ only insofar as society allows you to choose to do things that are obviously and indisputably morally wrong. Are you free to choose to hold racist views? Yes, you are. Is it morally wrong to judge others solely by their skin colour? Yes, of course it is. So saying that something is a ‘choice’ says nothing about its morality. We cannot morally justify consuming animal products. Period. Consuming those products may be a matter of ‘choice’ but only in a most superficial sense. It is not a matter of choice for anyone who takes morality seriously.”
“If animals matter morally, then going vegan is not an option but a necessity. It is a moral imperative. If you are not vegan, you are participating directly in animal exploitation.
Going vegan is not difficult. You don’t need long periods of transition. No ‘baby steps.’ No ‘journeys.’ We have a resource that can help you go vegan today. Right now.
The only thing required is your will.”
Is Veganism “Elitist?”
“Veganism is not elitist; what is elitist is the notion that it is morally acceptable to exploit the vulnerable.”
“There is nothing more elitist than thinking our palate pleasure can ever justify a second of suffering or a single death. Please go vegan.”
“A purported objection to veganism I’ve heard about 12 million times: ‘But veganism is elitist.’ What complete nonsense. Elitism involves promoting a perceived superiority of some sort. It involves the idea of according less moral value to the ‘inferior.’ As 2 seconds of thinking make clear, veganism is not elitist in any way. On the contrary. Veganism is about rejecting the idea that it’s morally acceptable to exploit sentient nonhumans because they are ‘inferior.’ Nonvegans believe in the ‘inferiority’ of animals. It is they who embrace elitism.”
Is Veganism “Extreme?”
“Is veganism extreme? No, what is extreme is teaching our children to love animals and then teaching them that we can harm those we love. That is extreme.”
“If we can live and prosper without killing, why would we not do so? I do not see veganism as ‘extreme’ in any way. I see killing for no reason as extreme in every way.”
“There is nothing extreme about veganism. What is extreme is that we say we love animals or that we agree that they matter morally, but then impose suffering and death on them for trivial reasons, including palate pleasure and fashion sense. There is nothing extreme about not participating in violence when there is no compulsion or necessity whatsoever.”
Journeys / Baby Steps
“Veganism is not about your ‘journey.’ It is about what you have a moral obligation to do right now.”
“For those who say that we have no right to be critical of nonveganism because everyone is on a ‘journey’: that’s a transparently speciesist position.”
“I am so tired of hearing ‘animal people’ declare how difficult it is to go vegan. Going vegan is as easy as wanting to go vegan. Nothing more than your decision to want to stop participating directly in the exploitation of the vulnerable is required.”
“Once you realize something is morally wrong, you don’t need to take ‘baby steps’ toward doing what you have already recognized is right. You just do it. If you realize that consuming animals is wrong and you continue to do so, then you really don’t believe it’s wrong to exploit animals or you just don’t care. There is no third choice.”
“If you agree that exploiting animals is immoral and violates the fundamental rights of animals, then you don’t take steps. You act on your moral belief. Think about it this way: Joe is a child molester. It dawns on Joe that what he is doing is morally wrong. He cuts down from 5 child victims to 4 per week. He expects a pat on the back. See the problem?”
“If we take the position that an assessment that veganism is morally preferable to vegetarianism is not possible because we are all ‘on our own journey,’ then moral assessment becomes completely impossible or is speciesist. It is impossible because if we are all ‘on our own journey,’ then there is nothing to say to the racist, sexist, anti-semite, homophobe, etc. If we say that those forms of discrimination are morally bad, but, with respect to animals, we are all ‘on our own journey’ and we cannot make moral assessments about, for instance, dairy consumption, then we are simply being speciesist and not applying the same moral analysis to nonhumans that we apply to the human context.”
“If animals matter morally, veganism is a moral imperative, and not an option.
It’s about their rights and not your ‘journey.’”
It’s not about you and your journey.
It’s about them and their rights.”
“Once you realize something is morally wrong, you don’t need to take ‘baby steps’ toward doing what you have already recognized to be right. You just do it.
If you realize that consuming animals is wrong and you continue to do so, then you don’t really believe it’s wrong to exploit animals or you just don’t care.
There is no third choice.”
“Some people say that if it is ‘difficult’ for a particular person to be vegan, then it is no longer a moral obligation for that person to be a vegan. Some people take this further and say that if it is not a moral obligation for that person, then it can’t be a moral obligation generally.
Any version of this position is nonsense. We can see that by considering the following example:
An evil tyrant takes power and builds death camps where innocent people are killed. X is told to help in the killing or X will be killed. Does this mean that it is no longer morally wrong for X to kill innocent humans because it is ‘difficult’ for X to not kill them? Of course not. Does it mean that we are not obligated to take a position that the killing of innocents is wrong because X has difficulty in fulfilling X’s moral obligation? No, of course not.
It is only in the context of nonhuman animals that we maintain that difficulty means that we don’t have an obligation to respect fundamental rights.”
“Love has no sex, no gender, no colour, no species.”
“There is no difference between the animals you love and those you eat. Go vegan.”
“If you say that you love or respect animals but you eat them, you are completely confused about the meaning of love and respect.”
“We love some animals and grieve when they die. We eat others and are directly responsible for their suffering and death. How very strange.”
“When I hear people talk about how they ‘love’ animals but eat, wear, and use them, I am reminded of men who claim that they ‘love’ women whom they physically abuse.”
“If you claim to love animals but you are eating them or products made from them, or otherwise consuming them, you see loving as consistent with harming that which you claim to love.”
“What I believe is fundamentally special about humans is our ability to love, our ability to reach out and to help the vulnerable other whether the vulnerable other is human or nonhuman.”
“You don’t have to love animals to recognize that it is immoral and unjust to exploit them. But if you do love animals, and you continue to participate in their exploitation, you need to rethink your idea of what love means.”
“What you believe morally is not a matter of what you say but what you do. If you say that you love animals or that you agree that animals have moral value, but you eat, wear, or otherwise use animals, what you say is just nonsense.”
“If someone were behaving in a racist way and were called on it, only to have the person engaging in the racist behavior object to being called on it and claim that, to her, it’s all about ‘compassion and love,’ we would think that person had lost her or his mind for invoking ‘compassion and love’ in the defense of racism. But, on a daily basis, we see these HSUS types who tell us that ‘compassion and love’ mean that we should not be clear that animal exploitation cannot be justified. What complete nonsense.”
“Tell the calf who has been taken from his mother and who will go to slaughter in 6 months that you’re just drinking milk and not eating meat on Meatless Monday.”
“Tell the chicken who is being tortured in the “enriched” cage promoted by the animal welfare groups that it’s all okay because you’re not eating meat on Meatless Monday.”
“Tell the mother whose baby will be taken in a matter of hours and who will be forcibly impregnated again and again that you’re just eating dairy and not eating meat on Meatless Monday.”
“Tell the millions of male chicks who are killed every year by being thrown alive into grinding machines, suffocated in garbage bags, or gassed that you are only eating eggs on Meatless Monday.”
“Meatless Monday encourages the belief that there is a morally coherent distinction between flesh and other animal products. There isn’t.
If you consume dairy and eggs on Mondays, you’re participating directly in the suffering, death and exploitation of animals.
Animal rights means being vegan 365 days a year. Nothing less.”
“Meatless Monday? No way.
That’s like having a day when we don’t beat children in the morning and only beat them in the afternoon.
There is no morally coherent distinction between meat and dairy/eggs. And morality is not something you do one day a week.
Make it Vegan Monday. Make it a vegan life.”
“There is no morally coherent distinction between meat and other animal foods. They all involve torture. They all involve death. They all involve injustice. They all involve bullying the vulnerable.
It makes no sense to reinforce a distinction where none exists. It makes no sense to encourage people to think that dairy and eggs are morally better choices.
We should always be clear that veganism is the only rational response to the recognition that animals have moral value. If someone cares about animals and want to do less than go vegan, at least at the outset, let that be her/his choice and not as a result of our ever saying that anything less than veganism is morally acceptable. It isn’t.
Vegan Monday. Vegan Every Day.”
“The idea that we have the right to inflict suffering and death on other sentient beings for the trivial reasons of palate pleasure and fashion is, without doubt, one of the most arrogant and morally repugnant notions in the history of human thought.”
“Ethical veganism results in a profound revolution within the individual, a complete rejection of the paradigm of oppression and violence that she has been taught from childhood to accept as the natural order. It changes her life and the lives of those whom she shares this vision of nonviolence. Ethical veganism is anything but passive, on the contrary it is the active refusal to cooperate in injustice.”
“Putting aside the ambiguity of ‘natural,’ to say that ‘X is natural’ means that ‘X is morally acceptable’ does not follow.
The only way that you can get to a conclusion about morality in this context is to assume that ‘natural’ means morally acceptable and then you’re engaged in circular reasoning.”
“We can live without participating in the exploitation of the vulnerable.
We can live without destroying the environment.
We can live in a way that guarantees a more healthy life.
But many choose to do otherwise.
And they claim that it is ‘natural’ to participate in violence, destroy the earth, and kill ourselves.
What incredible confusion.”
“Peace begins with what you eat, wear, and use.”
“Violence is the problem. It is not any part of the solution.”
“Live like you give a damn about justice and nonviolence. Go vegan.”
“If you are into nonviolence but you are not vegan, then you are not into nonviolence.”
“Being vegan is not sufficient for leading a nonviolent life—but it is most certainly necessary.”
“We will never have peace on Earth as long as we have suffering and death on our tables and on our backs.”
“Being vegan is a way of protesting as an individual against the mindless, senseless violence of human beings.”
“Veganism is about nonviolence: nonviolence to other sentient beings; nonviolence to yourself; nonviolence to the earth.”
“Stop putting violence in and on your body. Embrace nonviolence not just as a theoretical matter but as a practical one: go vegan.”
“Peace begins with what you put in your mouth three times a day. Don’t consume the suffering and death of innocents. Go vegan.”
“If words of peace and nonviolence come out of your mouth, but the products of suffering and death go into it, you need to think about that.”
“Peace and justice begin with what you put in your mouth and wear on your body. If you embrace nonviolence, being vegan is a must.”
“If you embrace nonviolence but are not a vegan, then words of nonviolence come out of your mouth as the products of torture and death go into it.”
“If words of nonviolence come out of your mouth, don’t put into your mouth the products of suffering, death and injustice. Just do the right thing: go vegan.”
“It is only our arrogance and our unfortunate disposition to be violent that explains why we think that our most trivial interests can justify imposing suffering on, or killing, an animal.”
“Violence is not the answer. Violence is the problem. Stop putting violence into your mouth every day. Going vegan is not a sufficient condition for leading a nonviolent life; it is, however, a necessary condition.”
“The world is filled with a great deal of violence. Why do you want to contribute to it when you can so easily choose not to participate in the victimization of the vulnerable? Please go vegan. Stop eating, wearing, and using those who value their lives just as you value yours.”
“Violence treats others as means to ends rather than as ends in themselves. When we engage in violence against others—whether they are human or nonhuman—we ignore their inherent value. We treat them only as things that have no value except that which we decide to give them.”
“I often say that ending animal exploitation requires ‘a revolution of the heart.’ What I mean by that is that we must reject all ideologies of domination and power, whether religious or secular, that allow us to transform other sentient beings—human or nonhuman—into the ‘other,’ thereby allowing us to ignore their moral value and to treat them as things. We must embrace nonviolence as a basic normative principle—a principle that we see as reflecting a moral truth—and as the foundational moral principle from which all our moral positions flow.”
“All sentient beings—human or nonhuman—value their lives, and do not want to suffer pain or feel fear or distress. We should treat other sentient beings—human or nonhuman—the way we wish to be treated. If we recognized this simple truth—a truth that every child knows and that most adults expend so much energy trying to complicate—the solution to all of the seemingly difficult moral problems and puzzles that confront us, whether they involve humans or nonhumans, would become crystal clear. And we would have peace of a sort that we have never known before.”
“If you value and promote nonviolence but you are not vegan, your mouth speaks words of nonviolence but you place unspeakable violence into your mouth.
Think about that.”
“If you embrace nonviolence as a moral principle but you are not vegan, you need to rethink your understanding of nonviolence.
Participating in the suffering and death of vulnerable sentients for reasons of palate pleasure or fashion can never be considered nonviolent.”
“Take nonviolence seriously.
As a start: go vegan.
You simply cannot sensibly have words of nonviolence come out of your mouth as the products of death, suffering, distress, and injustice go in.”
“Veganism is about nonviolence.
It is about refusing to participate in inflicting completely unjustifiable harm on the vulnerable.
It is about refusing to participate in the commodification of others.
It is about rejecting the notion that animals are property, that they are resources for use.”
“I am so very tired of people who talk about their spiritual commitment to nonviolence but who stick violence into their mouths or wear violence on their bodies.
If you believe in nonviolence, you go vegan. If you don’t want sentient beings to suffer, you go vegan. If you embrace love and peace, you go vegan.
Anything else is just posturing.”
“Being a consistent vegan is not a matter of ‘personal purity.’ It is a matter of caring about justice. It is a matter of rejecting violence and exploitation.”
“Peter Singer says that if you’re a vegan sitting with nonvegan friends in a restaurant and your food comes with cheese on it, you should just shut up and eat it so your friends don’t think that being a vegan is difficult. I say that if you eat it, you have just taught your friends that veganism is not something to be taken seriously as a moral matter.”
“The idea that we cannot avoid all harm so it is acceptable to impose intentional harm on nonhuman animals by eating, wearing, or using them is like saying that we cannot avoid human deaths that are incidental to human conduct (e.g., deaths that come from negligence in road use) so murder is okay. That simply does not make any sense.”
“Singer’s view reduces the issue of animal rights to a debate about what constitutes ‘too much’ suffering, which misses the point that we cannot justify the use—however ‘humane’—of nonhumans. There is nothing wrong with being a ‘purist’ about matters of fundamental rights. Would anyone maintain that it is ‘purist’ to reject ‘humane’ rape or ‘humane’ child abuse? Of course not.”
“Welfarists often claim that consistent veganism, such as asking about ingredients in a restaurant, is bad because it involves ‘personal purity’ that makes others think that veganism is too hard and puts them off. I could not disagree more. Being a consistent vegan is not a matter of ‘personal purity.’ It is a matter of moral integrity and to not be a consistent vegan tells others that you don’t take it seriously as a fundamental moral principle.”
“Many ‘animal advocates’ say that since we can’t be ‘perfect’—we cannot avoid all harm to animals—animal rights is a meaningless concept and we should not promote veganism as a moral imperative.
But that is no different from saying that since we cannot avoid all harm to humans—humans are killed or injured in the manufacturing of products we consume; humans are killed on roads and highways that we build—we cannot be ‘perfect’ so human rights is a meaningless concept and we should not promote the abolition of slavery wherever it is found.”
“Some people claim that because we cannot eliminate all harm to animals (e.g., trucks carrying vegetables will unintentionally kill animals), veganism makes no sense.
That is absurd.
Think about it in the human context. Would we say to someone campaigning against child molestation that their campaign makes no sense because children will still be harmed unintentionally in car accidents?
No, of course not. That would be silly. It is equally silly in the animal context.
The fact that we cannot eliminate all harm does not mean that we should not try to stop harm that we cause directly and intentionally. That not only reduces suffering and death but it makes us more sensitive to matters of justice and morality and more creative about figuring out how to reduce the indirect and unintentional harm we cause.”
“If you believe there is a God who tells you that it’s okay to beat up on animals, you have a profoundly impoverished concept of God.”
“To those who yammer on that we have a God-given right to oppress nonhumans, I have bad news: If God exists, God does not put any stamp of approval on victimizing the vulnerable—whether nonhuman or human.”
“I have always been surprised that many people think that God wants them to eat animals. If you believe in God, why would you think that God would be some sort of cosmic bully who wants you to exploit the vulnerable? Maybe you’re just creating God in your image and you’re the bully? Think about it. Then go vegan.”
“I can understand that a religious person can believe that animals matter less morally than humans do and that, in a situation in which it is really necessary to choose between a human and an animal, the human should prevail. What I cannot understand is how anyone can think that the Bible can be read to sanction the gratuitous killing of animals for palate pleasure.”
“How can animal rights be consistent with religion if all (or most) religions have texts that promote animal exploitation? All religious texts are written by humans. To the extent that those texts claim that exploiting animals is approved by God, that’s just an idea articulated by humans who are trying to justify whatever it is they think should be justified. Animal exploitation must be wrong if God is a God of love.”
“In order to embrace the abolitionist approach to animal rights, it is not necessary to be spiritual or religious, or to be an atheist. You can be a spiritual or religious person, or you can be an atheist, or anything in between. It does not matter.
What does matter is:
(1) that you have moral concern about animals and that you want to do right by animals. That moral concern/moral impulse can come from any source, spiritual or non-spiritual; and
(2) that you regard as valid the logical arguments that our moral concern should not be limited to some nonhumans but should extend to all sentient beings and that we should abolish, and not regulate, animal exploitation.”
“Veganism is not a sacrifice. It is a joy.”
“Being vegan is no more difficult than adhering to any other moral principle you take seriously.”
“Does veganism require a sacrifice? Yes, it requires that you give up that which you never had a right to in the first place.”
“Going vegan is not a burden; it is a liberation from being part of the violence and death that humans unjustly impose on the vulnerable.”
“Veganism is not a limitation in any way; it’s an expansion of your love, your commitment to nonviolence, and your belief in justice for all.”
“Many see veganism as involving a big sacrifice. But you can’t sacrifice something you never had a moral right to in the first place. To say that you are ‘sacrificing’ not exploiting animals is like saying that you are ‘sacrificing’ not committing murder.”
“Veganism is not about limitations and restrictions. It is about freeing yourself from the delusion that the suffering and death of others is something that could ever give you happiness or pleasure. It is about seeing that something you never had a right to do in the first place is not something you can sacrifice. It is about getting a blast of clarity and peace in a world that is upside down, terribly confused and horribly violent.”
“All sentient beings are morally equal. Don’t exploit any of them.”
“Many people question whether fish and other aquatic animals are sentient. It is clear that they are.”
“Every sentient being values her/his life even if no one else does. That is what is meant by saying that the lives of all have inherent value.”
“The idea of plant sentience ranks up there with Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. And if we eat animals, there will be more incidental deaths than if we consume the plants ourselves.”
“A sentient being is one who is subjectively aware; a being who has interests. That is, a being who prefers, desires or wants. Those interests do not have to be anything like human interests. If a being has some kind of mind that can experience frustration or satisfaction of whatever interests that being has, then the being is sentient.”
“There is no evidence—none whatsoever—that plants are sentient, or subjectively aware. Indeed, there is evidence that they are not as there is no indication that they have or could have any sort of mind. In any event, the only time anyone ever suggests otherwise is when they are trying desperately to think of reasons why they are not vegan and they have already tried the ‘Hitler was vegetarian’ argument.”
“There is a tendency to see inherent or intrinsic value as some mysterious concept. It’s not. It just reflects the reality that some things—nonsentient things like rocks, cars, and cell phones—have value only to the extent we value them. Some others—humans and sentient nonhumans—value themselves even if no one else values them. Inherent value is the name we’ve given to the moral recognition of that valuation.”
“If you are a Christian, think about how bizarre it is to celebrate the birth of the one you call ‘Prince of Peace’ with violence. If you celebrate Christmas, make it a vegan day. If you really believe in peace and love, make it a vegan life. Nothing else makes sense.”
“Happy Earth Day. If you are an environmentalist and not a vegan, you are ignoring the undeniable fact that animal agriculture is an ecological disaster. Make this Earth Day the first day of the rest of your vegan life.”
“It’s Easter. Celebrate life. Go vegan.”
“Easter is a day to celebrate life and the triumph of life over death. If there are dead animals or animal products on your Easter table, you have missed the point of what the day is about.”
“If you celebrate Easter, think about what you are celebrating: the idea that love conquers everything, even death. So don’t celebrate the triumph of love over death by participating in death.
That makes no sense whatsoever.
Celebrate love every day: go vegan.”
“Celebrate peace. Live peace. Love peace. Make peace a part of you. Go vegan.”
“There will never be peace on earth as long as we fill our stomachs and cover our bodies with the products of suffering, death, and injustice.”
“This holiday season, instead of contributing to groups that promote the wrong message (as all large groups do), consider putting those resources in adopting or fostering a nonhuman refugee of any species. The best thing you can do for anyone is to give them a home.”
“This holiday season, if you want to help animals, and you are already vegan, think about trying to locate people in your community who have been hit hard by the economic chaos and who are unable to care for their nonhuman companions. There are many people, for example, who cannot afford veterinary care for their nonhuman family. Help them. It’s a much better use of your money than contributing to bloated welfarist corporations that promote ‘happy’ exploitation. That is not helping animals. That is supporting animal exploitation. In fact, take that money and put it toward adopting or fostering an animal. What a wonderful gift to give.”
International Women’s Day
“Today is International Women’s Day. Sexism and misogyny are, like all forms of discrimination and hatred, manifestations of violence and injustice. Every day should be a day of equality for all—
humans and nonhumans.”
“It’s Mother’s Day. Celebrate Mother’s Day by celebrating all mothers. Stop consuming dairy and eggs, which involve commodifying and exploiting the reproductive processes of nonhuman females. Go vegan. Stay vegan.”
“Start the New Year the right way: take nonviolence seriously. Go vegan.”
“[Insert year] Resolution: Stop making silly excuses for why you are not vegan. Just do it.”
“Take nonviolence seriously. Go vegan for [insert year]. In fact, why wait? Let today be the first day of your vegan life.”
“Let today be your last day as a participant in animal exploitation. Take nonviolence seriously. Go vegan for [insert year].”
“The animals we love are no different from the ones we eat. Start a happy new year the right way: take nonviolence seriously. Go vegan.”
“It’s [insert year]! Celebrate today as the first day of your vegan life. If you were not a vegan yesterday, go vegan. Stay vegan. Live vegan.”
“Make a resolution that matters. Resolve to stop saying that you love animals while you eat animal products. Go vegan and make what goes into your mouth consistent with what comes out of it.”
“The abolitionist vegan movement is growing. And it will continue to grow faster as there are more and more of us who are able and willing to do creative, nonviolent advocacy. There is no limit to the creativity that we can bring to this work. Happy New Year [insert year]!”
“An Abolitionist New Year’s Resolution: Educate one person to go vegan in the next year. Every vegan can do that. Vegan education must spread if we are ever to shift the paradigm from property to personhood. We have the ability—and the responsibility—to make a difference.”
“Be vegan in [insert year]! You don’t ‘give up’ or ‘sacrifice’ anything by going vegan. You just stop participating in victimizing the vulnerable—which you never had the right to do in the first place. But you do gain something very important: the peace and integrity that comes from no longer participating in and actively supporting that terrible violence and injustice. Veganism is not a sacrifice; it is a joy.”
“Don’t give thanks by celebrating death. Have a vegan Thanksgiving.”
“How very sad that we express our thanks for what we have by taking away the life of another.”
“People give thanks for what they have by celebrating around a dead bird who has been made to suffer and die for no morally acceptable reason. What a very strange species we are.”
“Express your thanks for all you have by resolving not to harm others. If you are not vegan, celebrate today by going vegan and then let every day forever be an expression of your thanks through your refusal to participate in animal exploitation.”
“Thanksgiving: think of it as a day to celebrate the love in your life, not a day to deprive another of her or his life. Please go vegan and stay vegan. It’s the least you can do if you reject the idea of animals as things and agree that animals matter morally.”
“Why would anyone give thanks for what they had by taking the thing that is most precious to another? Eating animals is never morally acceptable. But celebrating thanks by eating animals is not really celebrating gratitude at all; it is celebrating violence, death, and injustice.”
“As you give thanks for all the good in your life, please do not celebrate by participating in the suffering and death of another. Please do not take what is not yours to take. Please do not participate in the injustice of animal exploitation.
Give thanks by appreciating the peace in your heart that you celebrate today and extending that peace to all other humans and to nonhumans.”
World Vegan Day
“Today is World Vegan Day. Every day should be World Vegan Day. Nonviolence is not about one day a year.”
“Every day should be World Vegan Day. You are vegan or you are participating directly in the exploitation of animals. There is no third choice.”
“Every day should be World Vegan Day. Veganism is about nonviolence. First and foremost, it’s about nonviolence to other sentient beings. But it’s also about nonviolence to the earth and nonviolence to yourself.”
“Speciesism is according differential weight to similar interests based on species.”
“Speciesism is like racism/sexism/homophobia: it involves using a morally irrelevant criterion to block membership in the moral community.”
“To say that the animals who matter more morally are those who are ‘like us’ is nothing more than the reinforcement of speciesism and not a refutation of it. As far as morality is concerned, a chicken weighs as much an elephant. It is time to rethink animal ethics in a more fundamental way.”
“We would not talk about ‘respectful’ or ‘dignified’ or ‘compassionate’ treatment of women who are trafficked or children used in the sex industry. Why do we think that these words are appropriate when applied to animals whom we use and kill as replaceable resources? The short answer: speciesism.”
“To the extent that we link the moral status of animals with cognitive characteristics beyond sentience, we continue the humanocentric arrogance that is speciesism. To say that the animals who matter are the ones ‘like us’ is similar to saying humans who are light skinned matter more than humans who are dark skinned.”
“People who talk about people who take veganism seriously as the ‘vegan police’ are speciesists. We would never talk that way about those who consistently promote race or gender equality, or who have zero tolerance for homophobia. It’s really simple: you are either speciesist or you’re not. If you’re not, you go vegan and take it seriously—just as you take opposition to racism, sexism, and heterosexism seriously.”
“When it comes to the violation of basic human rights, we are absolutist. No-one talks about making slavery, child molestation, rape, etc. more ‘humane.’ When it comes to the violation of the basic rights of animals, we talk about anything but absolutism and, instead, focus on making the violation of those basic rights more ‘humane.’ We treat the fundamental interests of humans and nonhumans differently. That’s what speciesism is.”
“When we are talking with racists, we should be crystal clear that racism is wrong. When we are dealing with misogynists, we should be crystal clear that misogyny is wrong. Same with speciesism. It is one thing to tailor that clear message to the circumstances—I don’t talk to grade school children the same way I talk to adults—but it is never acceptable to not present the message clearly in order to accommodate speciesism.”
“We proclaim human intelligence to be morally valuable per se because we are human.
If we were birds, we would proclaim the ability to fly as morally valuable per se.
If we were fish, we would proclaim the ability to live underwater as morally valuable per se.
But apart from our obviously self-interested proclamations, there is nothing morally valuable per se about human intelligence.”
“Got nonviolence? Go vegan.”
“I refuse to exploit you. I am vegan.”
“Vegan: It’s a nonviolent state of mind.”
“Make peace with nonhuman animals. Go vegan.”
“Veganism: it’s about one very simple idea: justice.”
“It is about animals. It is about what you owe to them.”
“Vegan means putting nonviolence where your mouth is.”
“It costs us so little to go vegan; it costs animals so much if we don’t.”
“If you think animals matter morally, you have no option but to go vegan.”
“Stop trying to make excuses. There are no good ones to make. Go vegan.”
“Don’t make suffering, violence and death a daily part of your life. Go vegan.”
“Make what goes into your mouth consistent with what comes out of it. Go vegan.”
“There is so much suffering, death and loss in life. Don’t contribute to it. Go vegan.”
“Reject injustice. Reject bullying the vulnerable. Go vegan today. Stay vegan forever.”
“The word is ‘vegan.’ Not veg, veggie, veg*n or anything else. Vegan. Always be clear.”
“Veganism is not a matter of compassion or mercy; it is a matter of fundamental justice.”
“Veganism is great for the health of your body but it is essential for the health of your spirit.”
“Vegan food: easy, cheap, fast, healthy, delicious. Don’t let anyone tell you anything to the contrary.”
“‘Vegan’ means that you reject the elitist notion that nonhumans are of lesser moral value than humans.”
“If we can live a healthy life without harming or killing any sentient being, isn’t it crystal clear we ought to do that?”
“Being vegan is your statement that you reject the commodification of other sentient beings; you reject animal slavery.”
“If you are going to bed tonight as a nonvegan, resolve that tomorrow will be the first day of the rest of your vegan life.”
“Going vegan is not about you and your preferences and your lifestyle. It is about animals. It is about what you owe to them.”
“Once you decide that you regard victimizing vulnerable nonhumans as not morally acceptable, it is easy to go and stay vegan.”
“Veganism is about not eating, wearing or using animals. It involves applying the principle of fundamental justice to nonhumans.”
“If you are an environmentalist and not a vegan, you are ignoring the undeniable fact that animal agriculture is an ecological disaster.”
“If you think it’s difficult to be vegan, imagine how difficult it is for the billions of animals we torture and kill that you’re not vegan.”
“Veganism is not just a way of reducing suffering; it is a commitment to justice and an explicit refusal to participate in animal slavery.”
“I’ve been taught to exploit animals. I’ve been taught that animals don’t matter. And I’m rejecting that! And one rejects that by going vegan.”
“Every time we consume animal products, we express our contempt for the vulnerable; we express our love of power and domination.”
“There is no difference between dog fur & other fur, or between fur & leather or wool, or between wearing animals or eating them. Go vegan.”
“Being vegan provides us with the peace of knowing that we are no longer participants in the hideous violence that is animal exploitation.”
“As long as you are continuing to consume animals and animal products, you are complicit in the exploitation of the vulnerable. Go vegan.”
“Unless you embrace the idea that animals are merely things that are outside the moral community, you are committed to veganism.”
“If you care about animals, there is one and only one choice: go vegan. Can you choose not to be vegan? Sure. You can choose not to care.”
“Animal ethics, like computer code, is binary: either you are vegan or you are participating directly in and supporting the exploitation of animals.”
“Veganism: It’s not a matter of compassion, or mercy, or charity. It’s a matter of fundamental justice; it’s what we owe morally to sentient nonhumans.”
“There is veganism and there is animal exploitation. There is no third choice. If you are not vegan you are participating directly in animal exploitation.”
“The only way we can make good on recognizing animals as having moral value is to stop treating them as resources—and that means going vegan.”
“To those who consume decomposing flesh, chicken ova, and the mucus of cows and goats, and who ask, ‘but is being vegan healthy?’: think about your question.”
“Being vegan is about recognizing that animals are nonhuman persons whose lives have moral value and that we cannot justify using them, however ‘humanely’ we may do it.”
“To those who consume decomposing flesh, chicken ova, and the mucus of cows and goats, and who say, ‘but being vegan involves eating a lot of strange stuff’: think about that.”
“Going vegan is easy (despite what some large animal organizations claim); it is better for your health; it is better for the planet; and, most important, it is the morally right thing to do.”
“Being vegan is not just a matter of being ‘kind’ to animals. First and foremost, it is a matter of being just and observing our moral obligation to not treat other sentient beings as things.”
“If you are not vegan, then you are participating directly in the exploitation of the vulnerable. You may condemn ‘animal abuse’ by others but you are no different from them. Think about it.”
“Veganism deprives us of absolutely nothing. On the contrary, it provides a priceless gift: the peace of knowing that we are no longer participants in the hideous violence that is animal exploitation.”
“They are nonhuman persons. They are not food. If animals matter morally at all, there is one and only one rational response: go vegan. Everything else is just participation in animal exploitation.”
“When you care more about your palate pleasure or fashion than you do about the injustice and unfairness you support and in which you participate in directly as a nonvegan, you’ve lost sight of basic morality.”
“Going vegan is a simple act of will that anyone can make if she really values animals morally. And once we make that decision for reasons of justice and nonviolence, we can share that vision with others.”
“People often ask if I mind what I have given up to be vegan. I have not given up anything that I had the right to before and I have gained the peace of no longer participating in the violence of animal exploitation.”
“Being vegan requires that you make the choice to stop exploiting vulnerable beings because you like the taste or you like how you look when you’re wearing their skin. If you aren’t vegan, you’re choosing exploitation.”
“Veganism is not a diet. Veganism, which results in an decreased demand for animal products, is much more than a matter of diet, lifestyle, or consumer choice; it is a personal commitment to nonviolence and the abolition of exploitation.”
“We are vegans not simply because being vegan will reduce suffering. We are vegan because every sentient being values her or his life even if no one else does. We are vegan because justice minimally requires that we not take life for trivial purposes.”
“Veganism is an act of nonviolent defiance. It is our statement that we reject the notion that animals are things and that we regard sentient nonhumans as moral persons with the fundamental moral right not to be treated as the property or resources of humans.”
“Do you value animals morally? If you do, you have no choice but to go vegan. You cannot coherently think that animals matter morally but that it’s acceptable to kill them (however ‘humanely’ you raise and kill them) for your palate pleasure. It’s really very simple.”
“Go vegan. You have nothing to lose except your daily participation in bullying the vulnerable. You have everything to gain, including your moral integrity. The bottom line is clear: if you believe animals matter morally, you’re committed to veganism. There’s no getting around it.”
“Animals are the most vulnerable members of society. They really are. They have no ability to protect or defend themselves. And we exploit them relentlessly. And what I am saying is—a first step towards healing yourself morally is asking yourself, ‘Can I justify this?’ And if the answer is no, then you stop doing it. You go vegan.”
“The Abolitionist Approach sees veganism as the application of the principle of abolition to the life of the individual. It is our personal expression that we embrace the moral personhood of all sentient beings and we reject the status of nonhumans as chattel property. Veganism is an essential part of our commitment to nonviolence.”
“It’s really not rocket science. If animals are not mere things, if they have moral value, we cannot justify eating, wearing or using them particularly when we have no better reason than palate pleasure or fashion. If you are eating, wearing or using animals, then your actions say that you regard them as mere things, despite what your words say.”
“Being vegan is easy. Are there social pressures that encourage you to eat, wear, and use animal products? Of course there are. But in a patriarchal, racist, homophobic, and ableist society, there are social pressures to participate and engage in sexism, racism, homophobia, and ableism. At some point, you have to decide who you are and what matters morally to you. And once you decide that you regard victimizing vulnerable nonhumans is not morally acceptable, it is easy to go and stay vegan.”
“Nonhumans don’t care about the race, sex, gender, ability, class etc. of those who exploit them.
Going vegan is an obligation we all share.”
“There is no moral difference—none whatsoever—between killing someone yourself and paying someone else to do the killing.
If you object to what hunters do but you are not a vegan, you are just being hypocritical and inconsistent.”
“Choice A: You go vegan.
Choice B: You continue to participate directly in the exploitation of nonhuman animals.
Choice C: There is no Choice C.”
“Veganism is about nonviolence.
It is about refusing to participate in inflicting completely unjustifiable harm on the vulnerable.
It is about refusing to participate in the commodification of others.
It is about rejecting the notion that animals are property, that they are resources for use.”
“Because animals matter morally, any use of animals exclusively as resources cannot be morally justified. The moral status of animals as nonhuman persons requires that we go vegan.
One is either vegan or one is engaging directly in the exploitation of nonhumans. There is no third choice.
Anyone who disagrees with that—irrespective of their race, sex, gender, ability, class, or any other attribute—is morally in error.”
“Veganism is not just a diet. It is not just a ‘lifestyle.’ It is a nonviolent act of defiance. It is a refusal to participate in the oppression of the innocent and the vulnerable. It is a rejection of the insidious idea that harming other sentient beings should be considered a ‘normal’ part of life. It represents a paradigm shift toward a new default position that violence for pleasure, amusement or convenience can NEVER be justified.
Join the revolution of the heart. GO VEGAN.”
“Veganism is restricting?
What is restricting is being constrained by ideas and beliefs that make you think that harming others is a good thing.
That’s true bondage. Getting away from that is freedom.”
“If you are a feminist and are not a vegan, you are ignoring the exploitation of female nonhumans and the commodification of their reproductive processes, as well as the destruction of their
relationship with their babies;
If you are an environmentalist and not a vegan, you are ignoring the undeniable fact that animal agriculture is an ecological disaster;
If you embrace nonviolence but are not a vegan, then words of nonviolence come out of your mouth as the products of torture and death go into it;
If you claim to love animals but you are eating them or products made from them, or otherwise consuming them, you see loving as consistent with harming that which you claim to love.
Stop trying to make excuses. There are no good ones to make. Go vegan.”
“Warning: Animal Products Are Hazardous to the Health of Your Spirit.
When you consume animal products, you ingest violence. You ingest the unimaginable fear and terror of the slaughterhouse. You ingest the profound, crushing sadness of a mother whose baby was taken away to be sold for veal. You ingest the distress of being crammed into a battery cage or a ‘cage-free’ prison until you are stuffed into a crate and killed in a most violent way.
You ingest all of the suffering—and the death—of beings who, like you, wanted to live, and who were denied that so that you could satisfy your palate pleasure.
There is mounting evidence that animal foods are detrimental to physical health. But I have no doubt at all that they are absolutely fatal to the health of the spirit.
If you promote peace, justice and nonviolence, eliminate the inconsistency between what comes out of your mouth and what goes into it.
Stop supporting the institutionalized exploitation of the vulnerable.
“The vegetarian who continues to consume dairy is still complicit in animal suffering and death. What is the moral justification for promoting continued complicity in suffering and death?”
“There is no difference between meat and dairy; animals used for dairy are kept alive longer, treated as badly, & end up in the same abattoir. If animals matter morally, then all animal products are ruled out.”
“Dairy products involve the commodification of the reproductive processes of animals, their relationship with their babies and the babies themselves (males sold for meat). In short, the dairy industry treats female animals—by virtue of being females—as things.”
“Giving up flesh is not enough. There is no moral distinction that can be drawn between meat on the one hand and dairy, eggs, or other animal foods on the other. Animals used for dairy and eggs are treated horribly and end up in the same slaughterhouse as meat animals.”
“There is no meaningful distinction between eating flesh or eating dairy or other animal products. Animals exploited in the dairy industry live longer than those used for meat, but they are treated worse during their lives, and they end up in the same slaughterhouse after which we consume their flesh anyway. There is probably more suffering in a glass of milk or an ice cream cone than there is in a steak.”
“There are few scenes more heartwrenching than the separation of a mother cow from her calf when the latter is taken from her, which occurs shortly after birth on most farms and after a couple of days on the ‘happy’ farms. The profound distress that mother and baby express is clear and unquestionable. If your enjoyment of milk, cheese, or ice cream matters more to you than the distress of these creatures, you need to do some serious self-examination.”
“There is no distinction between meat and other animal foods.
All involve suffering. All involve death. All involve exploitation. All involve injustice.
If you believe that animals matter morally, you don’t consume any animal foods.”
“Animal welfare reforms are not ‘baby steps.’ They are big steps in a backward direction.”
“Animal welfare is about making us feel better about exploiting animals. If you care, go vegan.”
“The empirical evidence is absolutely clear that welfarism fails. We have had that approach for 200 years now and things are worse than ever.”
“Animal welfare reform campaigns necessarily transmit the message that the more ‘humane’ form of exploitation is morally a good thing and that explicitly encourages continued consumption.”
“If animal exploitation is morally wrong, we cannot promote more animal exploitation supposedly as a way to eliminate animal exploitation. And that is exactly what welfarists advocate: we will achieve abolition if and only if we promote ‘humane’ exploitation.”
“When we promote welfare reform, we necessarily promote the idea that it is morally desirable to consume the more ‘humane’ product or engage in the more ‘humane’ use. Welfare reform campaigns necessarily promote exploitation. Welfare reform campaigns necessarily perpetuate speciesism.”
“Many animal advocates support welfare regulation because they claim it ‘reduces suffering.’ There are practical and moral issues with this position.
As a practical matter, most animal welfare reforms do very little, if anything, take years to come into effect, and aren’t enforced or implemented anyway.
As a moral matter, welfare campaigns necessarily promote ‘humane’ exploitation. It makes the public feel more comfortable about continuing to exploit animals and thereby perpetuates animal exploitation. And if animal slavery is wrong, the only morally acceptable thing to do is to work for its end by becoming vegan, teaching others about veganism, and helping to turn the public discussion toward consideration of the use of animals, and not just their treatment. When we promote ‘humane’ exploitation, we ignore the matter of justice.”
What Is “Animal Rights?”
“Animal rights without veganism is like human rights with slavery. It makes no sense. None whatsoever.”
“Nonhuman animals have the fundamental moral right not to be treated as property or resources of humans.”
“Our obligations to nonhuman animals are not a matter of charity or mercy; they are a matter of fundamental justice.”
“The rights view reflects a shift from a vague obligation to act ‘humanely’ to a theory of justice that rejects the status of animals as property and the corresponding hegemony of humans over nonhumans. The rights theorist rejects the use of animals in experiments or for human consumption, not simply because these activities cause animals to suffer but because such use violates fundamental obligations of justice that we owe to nonhumans.”
“Veganism is about nonviolence. It is about not engaging in harm to other sentient beings; to oneself; and to the environment upon which all beings depend for life. In my view, the animal rights movement is, at its core, a movement about ending violence to all sentient beings. It is a movement that seeks fundamental justice for all. It is an emerging peace movement that does not stop at the arbitrary line that separates humans from nonhumans.”