We’d like to ask for a lot of you to reconsider your definition of veganism as your own personal goal to reduce the amount of harm that you are contributing to. We do agree that doing or contributing to the least amount of harm to nonhuman animals is something that should be done, but maybe take some time to realize that it would naturally occur as a secondary result if anyone were truly against speciesism.
When we approach the solution to their problem that we are a part of in this way, it seems like we’re seeking absolution. Defining veganism as an attempt to disassociate from the oppressor group that we are a part of makes the focus of the movement about us and our own journey to personal purity. It’s easy to get sucked in to the mentality of stepping away and saying, “I’m doing my part, so non-vegans are at fault”. We absolutely benefit from their oppression, and we cannot separate ourselves from that.
Change the discussions that you have by first changing your own perspective and understanding of an animal’s right to their own body. Recognize that advocating for people to remove themselves from the problem is completely different than advocating for removing the problem. The next time someone asks you why you’re vegan, tell them you’re against oppression. Tell them you’re against marginalization. Tell them you’re against objectification. Tell them that you’re against discrimination. Tell them you’re against othering. Again, anything that is done to them comes as a result of disregarding them as inferior, so the actual goal should be to show that they do have personal interests in their own bodies that matter.
being called “racist” isn’t an insult or something mean that people are saying to you because they want to bring you down. if you’re being called racist you shouldn’t be brushing it off because you “can’t see the haters” you should be assessing your behaviour, your language, and mindset for signs of prejudice, discrimination, and sympathy/support for unfair and violent treatment towards racially persecuted people in your country
Hey, thank you! And great question.
Personally I use carnist and omnivore a little differently…I use carnist to refer to people who are aware of the damage caused by consuming animal products but choose to do so anyway…carnism is just the idea that animals are here for us to use however we want and that it’s completely fine to cause them unnecessary suffering as long as we’re getting something out of it.
I use omnivore to refer to someone who may just not be aware of what they’re supporting, or someone who is not in a situation where they can go vegan or vegetarian, like someone who is dependent on family for food but their family won’t let them be vegan, or someone with an eating disorder who may be set back in their recovery by any dietary restrictions, that sort of thing. There are lots of people who can’t be vegan but who would still like to do whatever they can for animals…people can still do other things like not wear wool and leather, not use animal tested products, not go to zoos and aquariums and whatnot but sometimes there are reasons why people still need to eat animal products and I wouldn’t call that person a carnist. They might still have their mindset in the right place but there are extenuating circumstances preventing them from being vegan. I hope that makes sense!
As for the history of the word “carnism”, I have no idea honestly! Any of my followers feel free to chime in if you know anything on that.
I believe Melanie Joy coined the term. She talks about it in her presentation, Carnism: The Psychology of Eating Meat.
I’ve been wondering recently, though, what the importance of having the word carnist is when we already have the word speciesist. Carnism is basically just focusing on speciesism as it relates to what we eat, and ignores everything else. What is the benefit in that?
She tries focusing on the beliefs behind the diets, but doesn’t address the fact that there is a speciesist belief system behind both carnism and vegetarianism. Also, someone can still be 100% a carnist, but still not eat meat for various reasons (eg, health, environment), while still believing that it would perfectly fine if their non-speciesist reasons stopped applying (eg, they end their diet, or they find affordable organic meat). On the other hand, like you mentioned, someone can completely support the philosophy of veganism, but still be forced to eat meat because of their circumstances. In other words, there’s not always a direct link between the belief and the diet.
This is also the reason I’m against trying to tell someone they can’t call themselves vegan if they believe in the philosophy of veganism but have barriers from participating in a pre-set list of actions. We all participate in speciesism to some degree because of how our society is completely built on top of it, so our goal should be to reduce our participation in it as far as is practical and possible. What is practical and possible, however, varies by individual, and is often caught up in other forms of oppression.
Veganism is a philosophy. Your family can’t prevent you from believing that speciesism is wrong. They can force you to participate in it, but that doesn’t change your beliefs and I don’t think someone should be told that they aren’t vegan because of something completely out of their control. We talk about this more at the anti-speciesism blog, too.
Basically, if you are against speciesism and the exploitation of non-humans by humans, and believe that we should not participate in it to the extent that we are able, then you agree with the philosophy of veganism and can call yourself a vegan. If you do not agree with that, and you think it is fine to exploit nonhumans and put their rights below humans’, then you are a speciesist. Whether you eat meat or not, or even if you eat an entirely plant-based diet, is irrelevant. I don’t really see a place for carnism in this perspective.
^ All of that.
Also the heavy focus specifically on the consumption of flesh (since “carn” means flesh) implies that unnecessarily eating an animal is the only immoral act that someone could participate in. It’s a fancier way to call someone a meat-eater. It’s problematic for vegans to use because of that specific meaning, and really only makes sense for vegetarians to use. It also equates vegetarians (someone against killing animals) with vegans (someone against the marginalization of animals which of course includes an opposition to all exploitation and killing).
A groups of nine activists today shut down a factory, one of two UK subsidiaries of Israeli arms firm Elbit.
UAV Engines Limited, in Shenstone, Lichfield (40 minutes north of Birmingham), makes drone engines. According to the Campaign Against the Arms Trade, these have been exported to Israel.
At 5am this morning, the group shut the main gates to the factory and scaled the eight-meter wall. The group are now camped on the roof, intending to close the factory for as long as possible, and have enough supplies to last a week, they say.
Speaking from the rooftop over the phone to The Electronic Intifada today, London Palestine Action activist Ewa Jasiewicz said they had successfully shut down the factory: it is completely closed, and the car park empty.
She said they had water, sunblock and locks to ensure the police could not remove them. Their response to anyone asking when they will leave the rooftop is “when is this company leaving” Lichfield, she said.
She was in good spirits and said so far the police were merely “tormenting us with constant chatter.” The group have been locking themselves down when necessary.
Local police have shut down the street outside.
I haven’t, however I watched an interview with her a while back and have to say I wasn’t impressed at the time.
I know the gist of her arguments though, and if you’d like me to comment on/discuss any particular one/ones of them, send me another ask and I’d be happy enough to look further into them and do so.
Scratch that. SOME vegans are angering me. I’m cool with people not eating animal products (not that you need anyone’s approval). Actually good for you, that’s healthy and great that you are dedicated to what you believe. But when you blog about how much you hate omnivores, call us “carnists”, and tell us we should be ashamed and that it’s unnatural to eat animals, thts where my tolerance stops. You cross the line between “freedom of speech” and “provocation and offense”. I could build a case about how nature has given creatures the right to eat other creatures (i.e. canine teeth, predation in wild, etc), but that’s not what I’m trying to argue right now.
Get off your high horse and stop acting like you have the right to tell everyone what’s right and wrong just because you’ve restricted your diet. Believe what you want, but the minute you start ordering others to believe and live by it or criticize them for not, you’ a overstepped your rights
Vegetarians are like ‘Kinda wish there were more vegetarian options here.’ Whereas vegans are like ‘Stop tit raping those cows you fucking murderer!!!’
Because vegetarianism is simply a diet whereby, for whatever reason, someone decides not to eat the bodies of non-human animals. Veganism, however, is a larger opposition to speciesism and the exploitation of non-human animals, so of course it makes more sense that we would vocally object to the exploitative and unjust treatment of non-human animals. It’s not being an “arsehole” to object to something that is unfair and harmful.
“The dried cocoa beans are used by the whites to make this," declared a happy farmer of cocoa beans in Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast).
Here, cocoa farmers in Africa taste chocolate for the first time in their lives. They’ve been growing and selling cocoa beans for decades, and didn’t know what the beans were used for. So says this video.The words, too many to speak; just WOW
Now I will think of this video every time I buy something with chocolate in it. Appalling.
Someone’s inability to purchase animal products does not make them vegan.
Things to do to effectively challenge speciesism:
Don’t advocate vegetarianism as a stepping stone to vegansim. As well as this encouraging the notion that veganism is a diet by connecting it with vegetarianism, it also ignores the primary importance of an antispeciesist philosophy in being vegan. If people struggle with the dietary element, it’s best to encourage gradual replacements of animal products. Not just saying to cut out one, since that also indicates a hierarchy of which products are most harmful.
Although it can be important to fight for specific issues, don’t do it at the expense of other species. It seems common for people to fight for one species’ rights by claiming they have more capacity for emotions, more intelligence etc. Obviously this indicates that these things are relevant to determining whether or not a non-human animals deserves freedom, and so that harms other species who are also treat similarly.
Make sure you make it clear that all exploitation is wrong, when tackling single issues. It can be easy to focus on all the reasons a specific form of exploitation should not be happening, but it’s important to address it in a manner that makes it clear that this issue is not an exception among exploitative contexts. All are wrong.
Don’t talk about health, unless to reassure someone plant based diets can be as healthy as others. Veganism isn’t about becoming healthy on a plant based diet, so that shouldn’t be a part of your advocating for non-human animals.
Don’t make veganism about the environment. Veganism is an anti-speciesist stance, you can be speciesist and an environmentalist. There are definitely ways in which veganism and environmental issues interact, but they are separate.
Don’t make the most important aspect of veganism be the acts one performs. Focusing on which specific products or industries one abstains from or boycotts undermines the significance of the anti-speciesist philosophy. If someone is fundamentally anti-speciesist then it goes without saying that they would do what they can to avoid inherently speciesist products and industries. If such a person can’t do so to your standards it would hardly be fair to deem them not a part of the movement. On the other hand, someone can abstain from or boycott these things without necessarily being anti-speciesist.
When someone says they can’t go vegan, make it clear that veganism is a philosophy that you either support or don’t. Encourage them to adopt that philosophy and avoid exploiting non-human animals where they can. There’s no way a person “can’t” be against speciesism.
Avoid calling things cruelty free. While we’re able to avoid inherent cruelty, in such a society as we are in nothing is cruelty free unless home grown or wild. This gives the impression that the lifestyle aspect of veganism is all you need to not cause any harm to anyone, which is not the case.
Be respectful when discussing commonalities between forms of oppression. Make sure you don’t ignore the problems that are facing marginalised humans. We are making a stand against oppression, which means opposing all oppression, human and nonhuman alike.
Don’t talk about specific practices that are used against non-human animals unless necessary. Using specific practices as the central point of your argument indicates that it is the those practices that are the problem. Not the exploitation itself, nor the speciesism. It’s easy, then, for someone to come back with a hypothetically better scenario where that practice doesn’t occur. It needs to be clear that it’s wrong either way.
Please remember that being vegan is a privilege, and that judging anyone for not adopting such a lifestyle makes you a gaping asshole.
This is my first time hearing of this PETA stunt, and it is disgusting. These people can’t even pay their water bills, and this is who they decide to target to coerce into performing specific actions they’ve decided on without even taking into account the options that are available in their situation.
What they are doing isn’t even encouraging these people to be vegan, it is only manipulating them into doing what PETA tells them to do, and even that for only 30 days. Ten families eating a plant-based diet for a month isn’t going to help or save any animals. The animals who have suffered for what those families would have eaten have already been born, have already been exploited, and in some cases are already dead. This is not going to have an effect on those industries, and its not going to convince anyone that exploiting animals is wrong, especially since “going vegan”, according to PETA, is entirely about diet. The first person to take them up on the offer, has already stated that they appreciate the motivation to eat healthier and reduce their blood pressure. Great win for the animals there.
That being said, as awful as what PETA’s doing is, this response to it is equally despicable. First of all, just to set things straight, veganism is not a lifestyle. Second, the act of eating a plant-based diet or using products not derived from animal exploitation is not a privilege. Having a choice in what you consume is, but for some people, in some situations, it’s animal products that are the option that they don’t have the privilege to choose, whether they want to or not. Despite what PETA and you may think, which products one uses in either direction does not determine one’s moral beliefs regarding nonhuman animals.
Finally, the idea that you would participate in the exploitation and killing of animals who are in no way culpable for PETA’s actions in order to spite them, makes you a complete and utter piece of shit. If you think that animals’ lives and bodies are pawns to be used in order to get PETA to do what you want, you are doing exactly what they are. Unsurprisingly, your shit won’t have any more of a positive result than theirs will. So, how about this:
Just stop exploiting animals and supporting speciesism because it’s theright thing to do. Asshole.
All of this.
Why on earth would someone participate in exploiting non-human animals in response? Do your morals just go out of the window because an organisation that claims to have those same morals is being shitty?
Veganism is a moral philosophy and social justice movement that rejects speciesism and the human oppression of nonhuman animals. Unfortunately, due to the way it’s presented by advocates and their opponents alike, the general perception of veganism is vastly different from what that statement entails. Discussions about veganism largely focus around food and health, the environment, or which products vegans consume. When the animals themselves do make it into the conversation, focus tends to be on how they’re treated while they’re being exploited, rather than the fact that we as humans have already decided that exploiting them is acceptable. These conversations distract from getting our message across by encouraging the misleading view of veganism as a personal lifestyle choice or a welfarist boycott.
In order for the vegan movement to progress alongside other anti-oppression movements, it is critical to recognize that the goal of the movement must be to advocate for an end to speciesism. The intention of this blog is to help create a stronger animal rights movement. By clearing up the confusion within the AR community as to what veganism stands for, and refining our tactics so that they are in line with and supportive of other social justice movements, we can build a new narrative for how we can talk about veganism in a way that clearly supports our goal and starts treating nonhuman oppression seriously.
Thanks for this message, and the good wishes :) I’m really happy you appreciate my thoughts on issues, I’m glad I can help.
They say “save the cows, save the pigs” but do you hear about cows and pigs being extinct? Because I don’t! Were saving cows and pigs by eating them so they don’t become over populated. Your welcome world.
Saving the pigs and cows might be inaccurate, it’s more like “stop exploiting, harming and killing all non-human animals”, which is a pretty basic premise. Certainly killing/exploiting them for food is even further from saving them than anything, you aren’t stopping them breeding in mass numbers and going against their own interests, humans are breeding them in mass numbers against their interests. Not that harming them would be justified even if they were around in massive numbers. Plus, of course, humans further commodify, objectify, exploit, harm and kill them once they’ve been bred.
You’re also acting as though the only harm a non-human animal may face is the prospect of becoming extinct. You need to consider the experiences and lives of the individuals as valuable in and of themselves.
If you’re a vegan, so be it. But don’t try to shame other people for their dietary choices.
Doesn’t that sound an awful lot like how religious groups function? And whatever other cults exist.
"Dietary choices" - this phrase on it’s own indicates you fundamentally misunderstand what veganism is.
It’s not just waking up one day and personally not wanting to eat or use animal products. Veganism is about opposing the oppression and harm done to non-human animals. Any dietary component is simply a result of realising that non-human animals are victimised, and that it’s morally wrong to cause/support/benefit from unnecessary harm/exploitation/suffering of them.
In essence a vegan is not concerned with what you eat, but who you hurt, and justify being exploited. The problem vegans have with the oppression and harm of non-human animals is very much more equivalent to you criticising someone for being cruel to a puppy, or hurting a human, than it is to a religious group. Veganism is about standing up for non-human animals who are regularly devalued, objectified, commodified and exploited. Not controlling what people eat.