Veganism: Why we should see it as a political movement rather than a dietary choice
Veganism should be about putting pressure on businesses and politicians to effect change, but also to communicate to and remind wider society of the injustices routinely perpetrated against animals
A. COCHRANE & M-D. COJOCARU: Discussions around veganism often revolve around questions of what we should eat. Should vegans eat avocados, the production of which is notorious for its harmful environmental and social impact? Should they consume almonds and other crops that involve the use of migratory beekeeping which often leads to disease in bees? Should they buy plant-based burgers from fast-food chains that make their profits from selling animal flesh?
But seeing veganism as a political movement enables us to move on from any goals of purity and perfection, and away from futile debates about proper dietary choices. It acknowledges that negatively impacting some animals is unavoidable in the world in which we live.
On a political understanding of veganism, there is no shame in failing to be “morally pure”. Of course, this does not imply that individuals can meaningfully be described as vegan and consume whatever they please. Someone cannot plausibly be labelled a vegan if they regularly eat bacon sandwiches, for example.
Social philosophers have argued that boycotts and other consumer action can be important tools in resisting oppression. We argue that veganism should also be seen in this light: its aim is to oppose – through various means – the structures that reinforce animal oppression.
That obviously involves rejecting the products of animal agriculture which profits from animal exploitation. But it also includes protesting the government agencies which permit, enable and subsidise such practices.
On this political understanding, veganism should be about putting pressure on businesses and politicians to effect change, but also to communicate to and remind wider society of the injustices routinely perpetrated against animals…
On the political understanding of veganism, the ultimate commitment is to join with others to move to a world without the routinised exploitation of animals.
This requires individuals to consider and embrace a whole variety of actions aimed at this goal: from different forms of conventional and unconventional political activism, to mixing with and learning from animals to better understand their perspectives.
In the end, the commitment of veganism is to strive to instigate a world in which humans and animals can flourish together on fair terms. That world can never be perfect and without harm, but it is one that is worth striving for nonetheless. SOURCE…