The latest organized rejection of veganism as a moral baseline is found in the position of certain people who call themselves “intersectionalists.” In an earlier essay, I discussed how these “intersectionalists” were promoting a brand of moral relativism (at least as far as animals were concerned), and that they were combining this relativism with an appeal to identity politics. The result was what I maintained was a most speciesist vision of animal ethics.
I pointed out how there was an “intersectional justice” conference coming up in March 2016 that was being sponsored by none other than the the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), which very clearly rejects veganism as a moral baseline and actively promotes “happy exploitation.”
The “sponsor” section of conference announcement no longer lists HSUS. But it does list Vegan Outreach, which explicitly rejects veganism as a moral baseline, and VegFund, which promotes individuals or groups that espouse “happy exploitation” and reducetarianism, as well as other problematic groups.
Most disturbing, however, is that the conference is promoting as a sponsor an entity called The Star Store:
Click to enlarge.
When you click on “The Star Store,” you are taken to a website that gives you, among other thing, the Weekly Ad of the The Star Store. This week, the ad is as follows:
If you enlarge the ad, you will see that The Star Store sells, among other things:
pork loin chops
organic whole chicken
They have a clothing store as well. I called. It is not a vegan clothing store.
So “intersectional justice” is consistent with promoting a business that sells the corpses of animals and products made from animals?
Let’s think about this in the context of a group that opposed the abuse of children. Imagine that this group had a conference that was sponsored by someone who made child pornography and the conference promoted this pornographer on the page advertising the conference.
See the problem?
This model of “intersectional justice” is not intersectional at all. A true intersectional approach would treat nonhumans as full members of the moral community. Promoting humanocentric privilege is neither intersectional nor just.
If you are not vegan, please go vegan. 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.
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.
Embracing veganism as a moral imperative and advocating for veganism as a moral imperative are, along with caring for nonhuman refugees, the most important acts of activism you can undertake.
Learn more about veganism at www.HowDoIGoVegan.com.
Gary L. Francione
Board of Governors Distinguished Professor, Rutgers University
©2016 Gary L. Francione