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December 12, 2014: Stay strong when defending animal rights

Marc Franz, The Fate of the Animals (1913)There are many people out there who have a problem with those of us who don't eat meat for ethical reasons. Some think we're preachy. Others think we're misguided (for a variety of reasons). A quick look at any popular social media post related to not eating meat will reveal a multitude of opinions relating to just how ridiculous and plain wrong not eating meat is, according to these people. I've already discussed why we shouldn't eat meat many times, so I'm not going to go into this again. I would, however, like to remind my fellow vegetarians and vegans who avoid meat for ethical reasons, to stay strong, and to not be misguided into taking a soft stance on what you believe in.

When people who eat meat accuse you of being closed-minded, remind them that it is your mind that is open to ending the suffering of all animals, while their mind is the selective one, only caring about humans. Your adoption of a meat-free diet shows that you have a mind that is open to diminishing violence in the world. If they believe that it is alright to kill animals such as cows, pigs, sheep, chickens, fish, etc., then their minds are not open to eliminating violence, no matter what they claim. They claim that some animal rights activists (most of whom are vegan) are violent, and this is true. But much of the violence that is carried out by animal rights activists is done out of frustration of dealing with closed-minded individuals who think it's alright to continue to torture and kill animals, whether it be for food, clothing, entertainment, etc. The only reason that people get outraged at animal rights "violence" is that they still see these animals as less important, as creatures that are somehow born to suffer and/or serve us. When people call you extreme, ask them this: Which is more extreme, wanting to save the lives of animals or condemning them to death by either being an apologist for meat or being indifferent and not taking a stand against it? Is it more extreme to want to end violence than to make excuses for it? All things considered, it is much crazier to eat meat than to not eat it. When people say that it is OK to kill animals as long as we treat them humanely beforehand, remember that, while better, this is not the ultimate solution. The most basic right that we all have is the right to live. When people call your ideas a pipe dream, remind them of the countless other pipe dreams throughout history that led to a better life for both humans and other animals. Speaking up against inequality is the first step on the road to obliterating that inequality.

When they say that we don't have the moral right to preach, tell them that indeed we do. Yes, lots of us are shamed into being apologetic about what is sometimes perceived as "preachiness", but in actuality we have every right to speak out against violence and to protect animals. We are the voice of the voiceless, and, as such, we are the ones that truly "get it". If the things that are being done to animals were done to humans, there would be no discussion. Everyone would get on board and agree that change was needed. We should be proud that we have understood a very important truth, that all sentient life is important. When it comes to our interaction with other animals, we are the ethical elite, and we have the responsibility to try to elevate others to the same level of understanding.

Image: Marc Franz, The Fate of the Animals (1913)

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