Some words on an activist called Roger Yates

Many people like my ideas on veganism and animals, some people don’t. Of the people who don’t, some give fair criticism. That is of course all right. Other people’s criticism is less fair: it can be a mixture of ad hominem arguments, strawman arguments, misrepresentations, half-truths, and even downright lies. These people often also badmouth me and just generally try to depict me as anti-vegan, a traitor, or whatever. It is sad, but yes, this kind of thing also happens within the vegan movement.

I try to ignore people who unfairly criticize me as much as possible, and in all the years some of them have gone after me, I think I have not mentioned any of them by name so far on this blog. Here I’m making an exception and talk about one of them: an Irish activist named Roger Yates.

Why do I name him and write about this person? Because he keeps badmouthing me and misrepresenting my views as much as he can. And now and then other people just run with his stuff, uncritically accepting it (maybe because it fits in their views). Whoever wants to know more about Yates’ beef with me can get some information in this post, and judge for him- or herself if they should take this person seriously.

Roger Yates is a longtime animal rights activist. I have no doubt that he cares deeply about animals and has their interests at heart. Unfortunately, that doesn’t prevent him from bashing other activists, like me. Here’s a brief list of examples of some of his nasty behavior toward me.

  • Ever since he got familiar with my work, Yates has tried to point out I am into activism for the money, calling me a careerist. He is, in other words, thinking he can mindread my motivations and intentions. I have pointed out to him that in about 15 years of full time or more than full time activism, I have received a fulltime salary for exactly 3 months. The rest of my work was either as a volunteer, or at very low pay. Today I speak around the world and only get my expenses paid. Apart from a small sum (250 € after tax) for part of my work, everything I do is unpaid.
  • Yates has made several video compilations about me, where he frames what I say in a way that is meant to engender negative feelings about me from whoever watches them. When for instance I state that I would eat a steak for 100.000 euro and give the money to an animal rights organization, he cuts the video off right before I’m saying that i would give the money to an animal rights organization, while playing a tune about money in the background. This one example is very indicative of how disingenuous he can behave.
  • RY has made unauthorized recordings of things i said, including personal sensitive things, where I didn’t know i was being recorded, and has put them on the internet.
  • My position is that now and then making exceptions (e.g. when a non vegan friend has made a pasta dish for you but forgot about the tiny bit of eggs in the dough) is a viable option in the sense that such (pragmatic) exceptions would help others not have an overly difficult idea of veganism, and thus help more animals. Yates makes of that that i actually “encourage people to eat animals”. I believe it’s easy to see that this is a gross and dishonest representation of my ideas.
  • Here’s another example. When i say that to some non-vegans some of our behavior might look a bit crazy at times, Yates makes of that that I “tell new impressionable vegans that consistent vegans are mentally ill”.
  • Yates has suggested that during my time at EVA (Ethical Vegetarian Alternative), which has received subsidies from the goverment for almost fifteen years now (and which is actually quite an achievement), I sold out for that reason.

Yates has been attacked and misrepresented by Gary Francione, and I’ve seen Yates ask other people not to believe whatever Francione is writing about him. Strangely, Yates himself doesn’t seem to realize he is doing exactly the same thing to people like me.

I have suggested at least ones that Yates and I sit down to have a conversation. He refused.

I do not want to judge the character of Roger Yates across the board. All I’m saying is that to me, this guy has been behaving quite dishonestly and nastily for about four years now.

If you want to judge me or my views, be a slow opinionist. Read what I write, listen to what I have to say, and don’t go by critics like Yates, who are out to poison the well just because they have a different opinion.

One thought on “Some words on an activist called Roger Yates

  1. People are not activists or vegans. Those are things that people do and most of us will typically use the words saying that they do mean the action, but in fact, 99.999% of those people have never asked the question of whether or not some people misunderstand and actually believe people are the totality of their actions. “Life is Most Important in Life”, is The Most Important Truth in Life. We are each, “Most Important”. That is the very truth, and the most important truth at that, for life itself, of the matter. It is not a good idea to lie about who we are through the use of semantics, especially when we are talking about life, the first self-evident truth. Getting people to see the truth so that they may choose clearly and of of their own free will is not best accomplished by infusing the lies of false identification of what life is into the talking points.

    “The fastest and surest way to turn anyone away from real veganism is to call anyone a vegan and impart the lie of inequality”.

    That’s a quote of mine. Here is another:

    “The count of the lessons in life more painful than getting tortured to death is more than a human can count in a lifetime, let alone remember the lessons to be learned. The only solution is to do things for the right reasons, which is what is honestly in the best interest of life in general.”

    While others may disagree, we can never all come together so long as people behave with such arrogance as to think they are above the truth itself can define others to be who they want them to be, while simultaneously pushing the vegan cause.

    It will be a tough road for anyone not choosing the truth. Veganism, while required to uphold the truth, is not the root of the truth. Choosing veganism, while ignoring the truth is not a truthful foundation.

    Take care and thanks for the head’s up.

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