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The Elephant in the Room: Thoughts on avoidable harm and being ‘veganish’

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Pretending to be vegan is a betrayal of the most heart wrenching and tragic kind. It’s not betraying me and it’s not betraying other vegans. What it is, is an utter betrayal of the only ones who really matter in all of this blood-soaked debacle.

THE ELEPHANT: I can’t count how often I’ve seen declarations from people who claim to be vegan despite indulging in some form of avoidable use of members of other animal species. However before I go any further I must stress the word ‘AVOIDABLE’… The word ‘avoidable‘ is the critical one. Defined more precisely, it’s even covered in the actual definition of veganism.

‘Veganism is a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude – as far as is possible and practicable – all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment.’

When we are not vegan, we use members of other species for our own interests at the expense of their right to own their bodies and live their lives. Vegan is who we are, not a lengthy checklist of do’s and don’ts. However if we knowingly carry out non vegan actions and activities which we are able to avoid, even just occasionally, then we have simply NOT grasped what veganism actually is…

Now at this point, while some will no doubt be still maintaining that they are utterly free of any taint of corruption, many will be readying the ‘purist’ card to try to shut down what is increasingly viewed as heresy – the promotion of the animal rights ethic that drives veganism…

I’ve seen and heard that one times without number and it’s always from people who are seeking to excuse some level of violence and needless harm, either in their own actions or those of someone else. It puzzles me that accusations of ‘purity’ are even a thing – I’ve already stated openly that we are all tainted to some degree. If veganism was a difficult, complicated concept that took years to learn about and master, I could maybe see the point. But it’s nothing like that at all.

If we do our absolute best not to harm members of other species, we call ourselves vegan. If we do avoidably harm members of other species or promote harm to them, we are not vegan no matter what we call ourselves. That’s it. End of. How hard is that to grasp? It’s black and white, with no middle ground to get lost in, no complexities to study and learn, no grey area.

Yet for some unfathomable reason, many people seem desperate to call themselves ‘vegan’ despite the fact that they clearly aren’t. Why is that? Why is it that some like to adopt the word but fail to grasp the breathtakingly simple principle behind it? How could it be any clearer? But the question is – are they doing anyone any harm? If we are not vegan but we represent ourselves as vegan to others who don’t know any better, this is where problems start…

So there’s the first problem; Someone who harms other animals or promotes harm to other animals, is saying ‘I’m vegan and this is what veganism is all about.’ And people look at them, listen to them, observe their actions and think, ‘Oh right. I wondered what veganism was about. Well I’m not doing much that’s different from them, and they say they’re vegan or anti-cruelty. So probably I’m sort of veganish too’…

Pretending to be vegan (or thinking you are when you’re not) is a betrayal of the most heart wrenching and tragic kind. Let’s be clear, it’s not betraying me and it’s not betraying other vegans as if there’s some exclusive club as per the ‘purist’ accusations. What it is, is an utter betrayal of the only ones who really matter in all of this blood-soaked debacle.

Our victims; the uncounted millions whose lives are being wiped out every second, the persecuted, the unwanted and lost, the broken and alone; each individual misery, each individual terror and each individual agony, all caused by our violent, vicious and predatory species…

And the second problem? I have to believe there are genuine people out there, sincere people who don’t realise the harm that they’re doing each time they spend cash to keep the machines of death turning for the defenceless ones of this world. They’re people like I used to be, maybe people like you were before you found out about veganism.

They’re the people that I reach out to every day, hoping that they can see in my words that I’ve nothing personal to gain, no money to make, no glory to seek. Like so many advocates, all we have is a deep commitment to truth and honesty, sharing facts on behalf of the innocent and persecuted creatures whose planet we share.

Our audience deserves the truth no less than our victims. Yet when someone who harms other animals or promotes harm to other animals, says ‘I’m vegan and this is what veganism is all about,’ their listeners are being DENIED the information that they need to live true to the values that they hold…

As long as we avoid every aspect of nonhuman exploitation that we possibly can, then we are fulfilling the letter and the spirit of veganism. If we continue to indulge ourselves in avoidable harm, then it doesn’t matter what we call ourselves, not only are we NOT vegan, but the harm we are causing is immeasurable. Veganism is the absolute least we can do for our uncounted innocent victims; anything less is a betrayal. SOURCE…

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