Slavery free Mondays

I feel compelled to write once again on how campaigns like “Meatfree Mondays” are compared to “slavery-free Mondays” or “child abuse-free Wednesdays,” putting part-time vegans/vegetarians in the same camp as part-time slave holders or part-time child abusers.

This comparison may sound justified for just a fraction of a second, if you don’t think about it too much. At first sight, it seems quite in line with our antispeciesist stance, and it is something that might cause committed activists, especially young ones, to easily shout “Yeah! Right on!” The argument is that anything less than a demand to go vegan is speciesist, because we wouldn’t ask for anything less than total abolition of a crime with similar issues that involve humans.

But I think the comparison doesn’t hold water at all. More importantly, it’s ineffective.

First of all, as I wrote in “on comparing animal rights with other social justice issues“, public support for these different issues varies immensely – child abuse or slavery are things which the vast majority of people disapproves of (let’s conservatively say over 95 % of the western world, and somewhat less globally), while eating animals is actually celebrated by about the same proportion of the population. Issues with such dramatically different public support require different strategies, no matter what you think your truth might be.

Secondly, even those who make the “slavery free Mondays” argument do not act the same way when confronted with instances of animal abuse and instances of human abuse. Nobody does that. If we really believed that today, in this society, we should see eating meat in exactly the same light as beating a child or having slaves, the implications would be enormous. It would mean not going to any supermarket – because you wouldn’t support any store where slaves are sold or any establishment that owned slaves. It would mean actively boycotting your local, regional or national government – because you would oppose a pro-slavery government. It would mean trying to stop people from buying or eating animal products, always and everywhere, because that’s what you would do you if you saw someone buying a slave or beating a child today.*

truth vs result

Think also about the effect you are having on the average person when you tell them that eating meat only three days a week is like hitting your child only three days a week. If you think that’s credible or effective, I’d suggest you talk to some of the people you say this to, either in real life or on Facebook, and get their opinions on the matter. If you don’t care that people can’t take your truth and are turned off, then maybe it’s a good time to check what is most important to you: saying your truth, or actually changing things for animals? The two don’t necessarily coincide.

Finally, remember that the general downward trend in meat reduction in western countries and the increase in vegan options is mainly driven by… those “part time slavery supporters” and “part time child abusers” (read more on that here).

* For the sake of the argument, I’m making an abstraction of the fact that supermarkets and restaurants may carry or use products that are the modern day equivalent of slave trade products. Some chocolate is a case in point.

53 thoughts on “Slavery free Mondays

  1. “Issues with such dramatically different public support require different strategies, no matter what you think your truth might be.”

    Silly Tobias, living in the real world. Come over to the Vegan Club! All that matters here is being “right”?!

  2. Tobias, thank you for this article. I found your website through a FB post by Mikael Nielson and have been hooked ever since. This is exactly the kind of straight-forward advice I need as a beginning activist. I started out my activist journey by “telling my truth,” as you put it, and it wasn’t a very forgiving one to most people. It was an unavoidable phase to go through, but now I cringe at the things I once wrote after learning how ineffective, and even destructive, it was for animals. After discovering Mercy For Animals, my activism as become much more healthy and effective, though I have a long way to go to get to your point of perspective.

    It’s activists like you who do good for the movement–and particularly for activists– by emphasizing the importance of making veganism more inclusive and accessible. Focusing on first steps and encouraging others is so effective. Thanks again for your excellent insights into activism.

      1. Yes, please, please keep on writing, Tobias! 🙂

        The voice of reason you express is desperately needs to be heard and understood if we ever hope to create the positive changes we hope to see in the world and for the animals…and even more importantly, to not destroy the positive changes that are already happening.

        I was very moved at what a huge idea you were able to sum up here in just these few words…”what is most important to you: saying your truth, or actually changing things for animals? The two don’t necessarily coincide.”

        One thought that came to my mind after reading that was of undercover investigators…if they had taken the route of always saying their truth, then there would never be the undercover footage and exposes that have helped to create positive changes for all animals, from factory farms to fur farms to puppy mills.

        Have those changes been enough? No, no, no…so, so far from it! But without those undercover investigators deciding that speaking their truth is less important than doing what is actually needed to help change things for the animals, we would never have their undercover footage and investigations.

        If an undercover investigator can stay silent while having to endure watching horrific cruelty to animals that no doubt makes them want to scream, the least I can do is bite my tongue when somebody is meatless only on Mondays.

        1. that’s actually a very concrete and interesting example of when it’s better to be silent, christine. i’ll remember that. it’s not quite the same as other instances, but it can serve as a symbolic example 🙂

          And i’m not necessarily saying everyone should bite their tongue. just a little more pondering can do wonders 🙂

        2. Yes, you are most definitely right about the pondering part and how it can do wonders, Tobias. I should have been a bit more clear when I wrote about biting my tongue…I meant it in the context of biting our tongues when we feel like screaming (or any negative reaction). And I left out the big step after that of taking a moment to ponder, then we can stop biting our tongue and choose to speak or act in a way that will help to promote (and not destroy) positive changes for the animals.

          Of course, we all need to scream sometimes, and it’s actually unhealthy to keep everything in all the time. But if we want to help the animals, we need to do our screaming and release our anger in ways that will help the animals. Not in ways that will hurt them.

          I was watching a show last night on TV that featured the first moon landing and how that all began with the Wright Brothers’ first flight, which was only 120 feet long and lasted only 12 seconds. It made me think that if the Wright Brothers had only wanted to land on the moon, and if they had dismissed the steps in between as not good enough, then we simply would have never landed the moon less than 100 years later.

          While I’m actually not a big fan of space exploration myself (I think we should use that energy towards getting things right here on earth, first), I think that analogy is a good one for our movement. If ever want to obtain the equivalent of reaching the moon for the animals, we need to focus on those first, short flights, and continue to improve on them.

          If the only thing we do is negate those first, short flights, and focus on how those flights aren’t good enough because they aren’t the equivalent of being on the moon, in 100 years we will still be sitting with our butts firmly planted on earth, looking up at the moon, and wondering why mankind isn’t up there yet. Yes, a few short foot steps will have been taken by a small minority of people, but the unfortunate truth is that not much at all is likely to have changed, for us or for the animals.

          Of course, all of us in this movement would love nothing more than to make one giant leap to the moon…but sadly, that’s just not how the world and the people in it work. We need to build bridges, not tear them down. We need to encourage people and help them learn to fly…not shoot them down because they are only a few feet off the ground and haven’t reached the moon yet.

  3. Tobias, as you know I am with you but I do think your reasoning has one slight weakness: (a Francionist would point out that) the comparison should not be between how people feel about meat eating now vs slavery now, but rather how they feel about meat eating now vs how people felt about slavery back then. And of course then the situation is much more balanced, although still not exactly the same. (A Francionist may therefore rightfully call your argument a straw man. Nevertheless, the further thoughts should not fail to impress him/her.) Depending on exactly what year this “when” is, you may or may not have a healthy proportion of the population being opposed to slavery, but also a significant portion defending it. Perhaps if you go back long enough you’d have a situation similar to ours now where perhaps only ten percent of the population tried to avoid products from slavery as much as possible and speak out against it loudly. The question must be: would it have been effective in such a situation for the opponents of slavery to only and unconditionally demand abolition, and not pursue any other strategies? Should they have refused to ask for “hot showers and Sundays off” for slaves because that is simply not good enough? Should they have told people who freed one of their slaves but still had twelve others that they shouldn’t even begin to feel good about themselves, or should they have clapped them on the shoulders and maybe tried to encourage them to think about slowly moving from a slavery model to an employee model, emphasizing productivity gains to be expected, etc.?

    1. hey axel, thanks for your input. someone else made the same point, but i don’t think it’s correct to say that “abolitionists” would claim we have to look to the past. i mean, within the same breath they mention child abuse and rape. these are things that obviously are about the present. anyway, if it’s true what you say, it’s easily solved: then i should leave out slavery and talk only about e.g. child abuse and rape. But again, i think it’s about what we would think about slavery today. it’s about antispeciesism, after all.
      What do you think?

  4. Tobias,
    While I do agree that the whole “meatless Monday” thing is problematic within itself if used as a primer for the plight of other animals, as it implies that ‘food animals’ are the only ones “we” should be worrying about, I believe that you are incorrect when you claim that there is a “general downward trend in meat reduction”.

    From things that I have seen, the consumption of animal flesh is actually increasing.

    I would also like to point out that the consumer, generally, does approve of products made by slave labour.

    Using Australia as an example, any time that “we” buy a product or use a service that is “off shore”, we are condoning people being paid a wage that is less than ours. How many TCF workers are subject to “sweat shop” conditions to make something that we all want?
    Recently there were two ‘exposes’ on the wages and conditions of foreign workers in Australia. One was in the fruit picking industry, the other was at a chicken slaughtering plant. Both employed foreign workers, and paid them substantially less than the minimum wage.

    I will leave the discussion on “part time vegans” for another day, as I am sure you are aware of my views on that one…

    1. hi cameron,
      there’s i think a difference between what people do in practise and what they say they approve or disapprove of in theory. When people would be asked about the things they are semi-consciously endorsing by buying them, my guess is that the large majority would say it’s not ok. That is at least a very different situation than what we have with animals, where most people, at least about killing animals, would say it’s ok. The fact that you use the word ‘expose” in your example is in that respect telling.

      As for consumption of meat: in western countries (like i said) it is either stagnating or decreasing. i was not talking about the global figure.

  5. Excellent writing. What we know today from fields like sociology and psychology and social work is that most changes in behavior and belief are incremental, not drastic and rapid shifts. As much as we should be wary of our love affair with positive anecdotal evidence, looking back honestly at our own moves from meat eater to vegan, or in my case all the way from ag kid to animal advocate, that pattern of progressive change is revealed for most of us. Hence, regardless of how slavery was ended, with the most costly and bloody war in US history, then 100 years of de-facto slavery known as Jim Crow laws before meaningful civil rights were put in place for people of color, we should follow what we know about behavior change to do our best advocacy for animals, containing the impulse to celebrate our vegan identity when we are called upon as advocates.

    1. thx joseph
      speaking of slavery, according to what i read and hear, how slavery was ended is NOT a confirmation of what our movement is doing now (focusing on morality mostly). i’m investigating. stay tuned 🙂

  6. So are you saying that a world in which non-vegans embrace veganism once a week is the same world, ethically, as one in which vegans embrace animal products six days a week?

    1. Hi dean, interesting question 🙂 Can you elaborate on it a bit, so I’m sure i’m understanding it right? Is your question about: does vegan mean anything else than not eating animal products?

      1. Not really. I’m thinking how your logic would have served to bring about the abolition of slavery, since you’ve made the comparison. I can only think that taking the ‘gradualist’ approach that you espouse, slavery in its past form would still exist today, continuing in whatever legally defined way was expedient to those who still had something to gain from it.

        In the end, abolitionism ended slavery, not moves to appease it, not because people feared upsetting those who couldn’t quite see the wrong in it or were only prepared to make half-hearted efforts to reduce its prevalence. The abolitionist, punctuationist approach won the day, ultimately, not welfarism nor discourse that made gradualism the prime driver for slavery’s demise.

        

Thus in a world – and I’m not afraid to say it – of absolute right and wrong actions, what really sounds more plausible and likely to bring forth the end to an injustice in as short a timeframe as could be wished for? A world in which slavers (meat-eaters) abstain from slaving (using animal products) one day a week, or one in which abolitionists (vegans) turn a blind eye to slavery (using animal products) six days a week? Neither – because, ethically and equitably, the net consequence of both choices is precisely the same: the continuing and unending perpetuation of exploitation and injustice. It never quite ends.

        1. Dean, it seems that “In the end, abolitionism ended slavery, not moves to appease it” is incorrect, according to everything i’m reading about it.

          This is a telling quote from Norm Phelps (Changing the Game):

          “Slavery was ended by a war… this fact is universally known, every high schol student is taught it. but it is universally ignored by animal activists committed to agitation as the only valid strategy for animal liberation.”

          War, plus economic factors seemed to have been not just important, but necessary to end slavery.

          It seems the “abolitionists” are basing their ideas on information that is incorrect and incomplete.

        2. If I could comment regarding the comments that “abolitionism ended slavery, not moves to appease it”, and “Slavery was ended by a war”….

          From my understanding of U.S. history, “moves to appease” slavery were what first led to support for abolitionism, which then led to the Emancipation Proclamation, which then led to war, which then eventually led to the end of slavery.

          When Abraham Lincoln was elected to congress in 1854, even he “was opposed to black equality and had no intention of disturbing slavery in slave states”. “His political positions and actions regarding slavery changed as the national political situation changed.”* It wasn’t until 1863 that he issued the Emancipation Proclamation.

          So, yes, war is what eventually freed all the slaves, but there would have been no war without many steps before it, and these steps would have never come about without the first “moves to appease” slavery.

          So, if we are to use the end of human slavery in the U.S. as the model for ending animal slavery, it needs to be taken into consideration that “moves to appease” are the first requirement. These served as the foundation necessary for belief in and support of a new morality against slavery, which then justified the Emancipation Proclamation and the war that eventually ended slavery.

          (*Both quotes from http://www.lib.niu.edu/1997/ihy970236.html)

        3. I actually had in mind the British abolitionist movement and its struggle to end the slave trade, that led eventually to the Acts of 1807 and 1833. The British Abolitionist movement never conceded a single millimetre of the moral high-ground to their opponents – which presumably goes a long way to explain why it took damn sight less time for it to achieve its objectives, than gradualists or welfarists within the animal rights movement have so far taken to bring about an end to animal slavery.

          1. dean, again according to what i read, the british slavery situation seems to be an even worse instance to build an abolitionist case on: (from Phelps)
            – slavery never took hold in Great bratin proper beasue britain had a labor surplus created by the enclosure movement and not only had no need, but actually had no use for slaves. Given the depressed standard of living in working class britain and the abysmally low wages that were paid, slave labor would actually have been more expensive than free labor.
            So in britain, it was easy for an agitator (ie abolitionist) movement to have success: it was aimed at people who had little if any investment (economic, psychological, or cultural) in slavery.

          2. of course, what i just wrote is just from one book, by an author who wants to make a point. can’t guarantee that it is correct, but i think the idea that animal rights “abolitionists” today interpret the slave history incorrectly, is certainly worth examining.

            Moreover, there is of course a huge differerence between human and animal slavery, in the sense that the human slaves, or unenslaved black people, were part of the fight

        4. Hi Dean,
          Sorry, I guess you are in the U.K., and I’m in the U.S., so I wrongly made the assumption you were referring to the history of slavery in the U.S. My bad.
          .
          I must admit I’ve never studied the history of slavery in the U.K. Your comment has sparked my interest in how the British Abolitionist movement was able to end slavery, but they “never conceded a single millimetre of the moral high-ground to their opponents”.

          I’m assuming that they somehow would have had to change viewpoints, as there would be no need for the Acts of 1807 and 1833 if slavery wasn’t already sanctioned in the first place. So, I’m assuming some change to those sanctioned viewpoints must have occurred somehow.

          Maybe I’m making bad assumptions again, but I’d like to find out more about the British Abolitionist movement and how they were able to achieve what they did. Can you recommend any links or books? “The British Abolitionist Movement for Dummies”?
          🙂

        5. Christine, I’m sure you’ll find plenty of information on the Internet.

          Clearly, in spite of the best efforts of the British abolitionists to end slavery, no single ‘Big Bang’ occurred that ended the practice overnight. My point is, it took the movement a few decades to end the practice outright, and that it would not have progressed in such a way had its supporters advocated ‘slavery-free Mondays’.

          This presentation may be worth some of your time:

          https://vimeo.com/26451789

        6. Thanks a lot, Dean. I understand better now the point you are making.
          Thank you also very much for the link. I appreciate it. I know there’s going to be tons of info on the internet, but I was hoping for some help to narrow it all down that you might have known of. 🙂 So, thanks & I’m going to definitely check out the video.

        7. Hi Tobias,
          The “huge differerence between human and animal slavery, in the sense that the human slaves, or unenslaved black people, were part of the fight” is good to point out. That is huge factor that sometimes gets lost in the discussion somehow. In analyzing the parallels (myself included), we shouldn’t lose track that there are very big differences, as well.

          Another big difference is that while slaves were looked down upon as inferior, they were still human beings, and they had that factor in common with humans who supported slavery. This no doubt gave the struggle to end human slavery a leg up compared to the struggle to end animal slavery.

          Today, we are not only up against slavery, we are up against the slavery of animals, which are completely different beings, especially in the minds of the majority of the population.

          Today we are still fighting for it to be acknowledged and popularly accepted that animals are sentient beings. While I know slaves were looked down upon as inferior, I wonder if it was ever doubted that slaves were at least sentient? Animals do not even have that going for them at this stage in our struggle.

          1. yes, for this and other reasons, the comparison is not so obvious as many activists make it seem, i think.
            sentience i think was never doubted, though obviously there were theories that blacks were less smart than whites etc

    2. Christine, I have just re-read this thread and I now wonder if some of your confusion around my earlier comments might have been around the phrase “…abolitionism ended slavery, not moves to appease it”? Could it be that you may have interpreted “appease” as “oppose”?

      What I have been trying to say is that the abolitionist movement in Britain would never have *appeased* (been conciliatory towards) the slave trade. Not for one second. It could only have *opposed* it.

      I cannot imagine, can you, a situation where a true abolitionist would concede to the slave owner the right to deny someone else their human rights every day of the week, as long as they didn’t do so on a Monday?

      In the same way, in terms of animal liberation and ‘Meatless Mondays’, what difference does it make to an animal to be spared on Monday, only to find him/herself slaughtered on Tuesday?

      1. dean, don’t know if you saw my other comment (the structure of this thread is a bit confusing) about the anti slavery situation in the UK.
        abolition seems to work when there are no high interests or stakes (like in the UK, or in the northern states of the US. where there is a big stake in the abuse, politics seems to have been at least as important)

        1. Yes, the thread is becoming rather confusing, Tobias, and I did see your comment re Phelps.

          The evidence that the stakes were not high in Britain, thus making it somewhat easier for the Abolitionist movement to prevail compared to movements to eradicate slavery elsewhere, in the US for example, is not altogether borne out by the facts. Just last week, BBC2 broadcast the second programme in a two-part documentary series, entitled ‘Britain’s Forgotten Slave Owners’, which explored the extent to which the slave trade helped shape modern Britain.

          Here’s a synopsis of that episode, taken from the programme’s BBC iPlayer page http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b063jzdw/britains-forgotten-slave-owners-2-the-price-of-freedom

          Unfortunately, you won’t be able to view the programme if you’re not resident in the UK, so here’s a cut-and-paste description, that provides a pretty good précis and saves me the effort of recounting it from memory:

          “Historian David Olusoga continues his examination of Britain’s forgotten slave owners. In this episode, David explores how in 1834 the government arrived at the extraordinary decision to compensate the slave owners with the equivalent of £17 billion in today’s money. Tracing the bitter propaganda war waged between the pro-slavery lobby and the abolitionists, he reveals that paying off the slave owners for the loss of their human property was, ultimately, the only way to bring the system to an end.

          “Meticulously kept records held at the National Archives detail the names of the 46,000 slave owners from across the British empire who had a slice of this vast hand-out. Combined with new research, shared exclusively with the BBC by University College London, it reveals more about Britain’s slave owners than we’ve ever known before.

          “Of the 46,000 names in the 1834 compensation records, 3,000 lived in Britain, yet they owned half of the slaves across the empire and pocketed half of the compensation money. These include members of the clergy and of the House of Lords. The records also show that at the point of abolition, more than 40 per cent of all the slave owners were women.

          “David goes on to investigate what happened to the wealth generated by the slave system and compensation pay-out. He reveals aspects of Britain’s spectacular industrialisation in the 19th century, the consolidation of the City of London as a world centre of finance, and a number of the country’s most well-known institutions that all have links to slave-derived wealth.

          “Ultimately, David discovers that the country’s debt to slavery is far greater than previously thought, shaping everything from the nation’s property landscape to its ideas about race. A legacy that can still be felt today.”

          I think it would be clear enough to anyone who watched the programme that slavery ran deep enough throughout the socio-economic life of Britain to make it’s abolition a far greater triumph for the Abolitionist movement than Phelps and others would claim. Remember, we’re not just talking about the end of slavery happening within mainland Britain, but it occurring throughout the British Empire. That was some achievement!

          The animal liberation movement faces a similarly Sisyphean task to the one faced 200 years ago by the British anti-slavery movement. I think we would do well, as James La Veck also states in the four videos posted above, to take notice of such valuable lessons from history.

      2. Hi again Dean,
        This is a lot of information to digest and consider and I haven’t had a chance to watch the videos yet, so I’m going to hold off on my replies for the moment if that’s ok. This is a thoughtful conversation with ideas that I’d like to explore more, but for the moment my brain needs to hit the pause & consider button.

  7. Hi again Tobias,

    Here is something I just saw on Compassion Over Killing’s (COK) website that illustrates some of the changes that have occurred as a direct result of undercover investigations:
    http://cok.net/blog/2015/07/undercover-videos-change-the-world/

    “Our investigations are challenging the status quo of agribusiness and creating change by prompting:

    -federal authorities to temporarily shut down a dairy cow slaughterhouse
    -a chicken and duck hatchery to cease operations
    -chicken factory farm to shutter its doors
    -criminal cruelty charges being filed
    -local authorities to impound animals and send them to sanctuaries
    -exposés on and lawsuits filed to challenge so-called humane animal care claims on retail marketing

    None of this would be possible without courageous investigators who are willing to risk it all by going undercover behind closed doors with hidden cameras.”

    In relation to your post here, I’d like to add to the above sentence…None of this would be possible without courageous investigators who are willing to risk it all AND who have made the decision that speaking their truth is less important than doing what is actually needed to help change things for the animals.

    Sorry for repeating myself again, but I just saw this on COK’s website and wanted to share it because it shows in a very real way the direct correlation between those two factors, and the positive results that can happen as a result of making the decision to not always speak our truth, and to speak it in a more receptive way when we do.

    Again, I’m not trying to say we should never speak the truth, far from it…this is just a tangible example of how the decisions we make regarding how we speak our truth can benefit the animals. And in a very huge way, the investigators are only simply postponing speaking the truth, which comes out after the investigation is over.

    If a picture speaks a thousand words, then just one shot of undercover footage speaks a thousand words for us and the animals…when that footage is then featured in the media and on the news, it goes on to reach millions. This would never be possible if those undercover investigators had decided that they must always and at all times speak their truth.

    (BTW, at the bottom of the page at the link above, you can send a personal message of thanks to undercover investigators if you wish. 🙂 )

    1. thx for this,christine. know what’s more? some undercover investigators apparently need to eat meat sometimes so as not to blow their cover (at least that’s what i heard)

      1. Yes, I’ve heard that, too, Tobias. I’ve seen footage of one undercover investigation at a fur farm where the investigator had to actually participate in the anal electrocution of foxes in order to get footage of it. 🙁 I’m sure we can only just begin to imagine the horrors they not only must witness, but also participate in to not blow their cover.

        I know it sounds cliche to use this phrase, but I really cannot find the words to express how thankful I am for undercover investigators; their courage and fortitude is beyond words. They are true heroes in my book. Beyond heroes.

        In many ways, they are the reason I’m drawn to your blog and your message. I think of the scenario of undercover investigations and the huge impacts they have on people, and how so many have changed their behavior in response. Maybe they aren’t full-fledged vegan or even vegetarian yet, but with positive encouragement, they are on the path to get there. Then they run into an “angry vegan” who makes them feel bad and not “good enough”, and they are turned off and give up that path in response.

        This scenario makes me especially sad because all the hard work and sacrifice those undercover investigators put in and horrors they had to endure had begun to make a positive impact…but then that can all be erased by a few careless words. Or maybe the person isn’t so affected by the words, but by imagining what will be further down that path for them. “Gee, if I become a vegan, am I going to end up like that??”

        Opportunity for a better life for the animals lost, hard work and sacrifice of the investigator lost. To me, that loss pales in comparison to fulfilling a need to always speak my truth.

        1. p.s. Here are some comments that people have left for undercover investigators showing the impact their work has had on people (from the link I gave above).

          Some say they are “vegetarian” or “going vegan”…should I speak my truth in a way that leaves them feeling they aren’t good enough? Or should I do my best to be positive and encourage them onwards?

          To me, the choice is very clear when I take into consideration all the hard work and sacrifices made by undercover investigators… those things led to the footage that was in turn the catalyst to get the people below where they are now.

          I would personally feel absolutely awful if I were to speak or behave in a way that would negate the positive impacts stated below.

          “Thank you for what you’re doing. Today I became vegan. Your efforts are working.”
          “Thank you for your difficult work. You are making the world a much better place!”
          “I became vegan because of people like you showing me the realities of factory farming. The animals I have not eaten in the past three months thank you.”
          “Without this kind of investigation I would never have known the horrors behind my favourite chicken and burgers. Now I know and am going Vegan! If more people can see the truth then things could change for the better.”
          “Your investigations are the reason I haven’t eaten meat in several years.”
          “It’s because of people like you that I became a vegetarian last year. You are literally changing the world.”

  8. Oh man, I just re-read my comment above and saw where I wrote that undercover investigators are my heroes and how thankful I am for them, right after mentioning they have participated in electrocuting foxes.
    I hope it’s obvious, but of course they aren’t my heroes for that. In no way did I mean to insinuate that.
    That was bad word placement on my part.

    1. Hey Tobias,
      I’m taking an extended break from Facebook, so it won’t let me view the link. Do you happen to have a www link for the investigator’s dilemma/story?

  9. No… please don’t make me have to go back on FB! The horror! lol 🙂
    Ok, I may have to do that just so I can read that discussion.

  10. With regard to Dean Watson’s assertion that the abolitionist movement ended slavery in Britain and its territories – this is, I am afraid, extremely simplistic to the point of being wrong. The agitation of the abolitionist movement was, of course, an essential factor but economic, political and foreign policy factors are crucial. For example, the 1832 Reform Act changed parliament in such a way as to make abolition of slavery more likely to pass. The bottom line is this – moral campaigns do not change societies, they can only exert an influence when economic and political forces are conducive. Moral campaigns have to ride history, they don’t make it.

  11. We can’t compare the abolition of slavery with the abolition of animal exploitation. These are two totally different things.

    The abolition of slavery was a “baby step” in the fight against racism. They didn’t ask for the rights for black people to vote or be elected president. If they asked for that, they would have been mocked and achieve nothing.

    So when we ask for “Meat free Monday” or other incremental steps, we’re doing exactly the same in our fight against speciesism: asking for baby steps we can get.

  12. Hi, I have a question: Sometimes people (usually online) will say something like “Why do vegans always have to tell others what to do”. What’s your response to that? Because mine is explaining to them that it’s because what they’re doing goes against my basic values and I feel like I need to speak out against that, much like they would feel if they saw someone hitting a child or saying slavery was okay. Now, I’m not comparing slavery to animal exploitation on grounds of similarity, but I think the mere mention of these things sometimes puts other people off. Is there a better way to explain this? Or should I just keep quiet on questions like that? (NB: The omnivore’s question isn’t normally in response to anything I’ve said, but rahter to an article or someone else’s comment. Although sometimes if I disagree with an article on eating meat, I’ll get a response like this, too.) Thank you 🙂

    1. hey, i’ve written a lot on these topics on my blog, and you may also find the third video on the video page useful.
      other than that, one thing i sometimes make clear is that it’s also culture, advertising, price policies, subsidies… that are in a sense telling people what to eat. So the idea that people are free to eat as they choose and that it’s just the vegans trying to force them is an illusion.
      But of course people are very sensitive and it is usually good, i think, not to be too forceful.

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