The ideology of veganism remain analogous to politics and religion because the extremely delicate, sensitive issues continually challenge people’s morals and values.
In addition, factions exist within the Animal Rights Movement, politics and religion. There is nothing wrong with factions; however, it remains imperative for us to meet people where they are in their own journeys. After all, factions exist within both major political parties in the US today, and we acknowledge a third, independent party, Libertarianism. Many factions exist within religion, and people adopt a plant diet for the following four reasons: health, our environment and planet, animals, or some combination thereof.
I have learned that if we (members of the Animal Rights Movement) ever wish to accomplish anything, we need to meet people where they are in their own journeys. If we practice what we preach, ie, peace, love, empathy and compassion, we must make progress. For example, I followed a strict bodybuilding diet for three decades (and an Italian-American diet for two decades before that) before I adopted a complete plant diet 12 years ago. Now, in hindsight, I remember the signs along the way that foreshadowed my decision to convert to a plant diet.
We must not allow the aforementioned four vegan factions to divide us and hinder progress. We need cohesion and cooperation. We must strive towards unity.
How can we embrace our commonalities? Celebrate your friends’ love of animals, concern for the environment, and choices to prepare and eat plant-based meals.
To my knowledge, the greatest achievement with regard to discussions about animal rights to date remains Earthling Ed’s epiphany and practice of using the Socratic method to converse with people rather than a judgmental, critical approach. He asks questions and allows people to think and reach their own conclusions.
I believe this concept is slowly catching on and the most critical, judgmental folks are the newest members of the movement who speak directly from their hearts out of pure passion, but have not yet developed a mature approach to advocate or discuss their beliefs in a logical, inquisitive way.
Try to understand their genuine intentions. They’ve had a revelation and they remain excited to tell everyone they know. They wish to shout it from the rooftops and scream it from the mountaintops. They desire to advise the world to save the world. The Animal Rights Movement is a global movement, and the numbers are growing; we just need unity.
Let’s congratulate the folks who participate in Sid Lerner’s and Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future’s Meatless Monday global movement that encourages people to reduce meat in their diet for their health and the preservation of the planet.
Likewise, let’s celebrate Distinguished Professor Gary Francione’s abolitionist theory which advocates the status of legal personhood (which even corporations possess) for animals because they deserve the right to life and the right to liberty, ie, the freedom to spread their wings, walk around on the earth, etc. We have no right to take their secretions or byproducts despite the fact that, in doing so, we do not harm them. In addition, we have no right to “own” pets, although a “pet owner” is, arguably, a legal guardian or custodian.
Finally, political parties are generally domestic or national groups as opposed to the Animal Rights Movement which is global. Think about how much more diverse the Animal Rights Movement remains compared to a political party. Think about the varied factions within one political party. Now, compare one country or nation to the whole world. People of many different cultures bring their unique, sacred morals, values, ideologies, beliefs, experiences, education, etc. to the same issue. For example, consider this true story. Many years ago, in a college International Law course, my class engaged in an open discussion about the law of larceny. A female student from the other side of the world from me, commented, “In my country, if a person steals, we just chop off his hand.” I responded, “Two wrongs don’t make a right,” to which she replied, “He’ll never do it again.” Her comment ended the discussion. What could I say? Although I did not agree with the ideology, I could not argue with the logic or efficacy.
In closing, International Law proves difficult to enforce due to the players’ vast differences. It works only when voluntary cooperation exists. By the same token, the Animal Rights Movement depends on our tolerance of each other and our cooperation. If countries can do it, human beings can do it too.