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Roger Yates, On Human Relations With Other Sentient Beings
May 2017

So, vegan education has only just begun. Ronnie Lee, the co-founder of the Animal Liberation Front went vegan in 1971 and has effectively "seen it all," and he certainly knows that vegan education is, historically, brand new.

Vegan education has just begun!


charlie brown

The rise of the reducetarian movement seems to be an interesting challenge to the vegan movement, especially since it seems that in order to promote their position, reducetarians apparently feel a need to attack, or mock, vegans (as purists and extreme) and veganism (as too radical). Some of them use ableist rhetoric to emphasise the point, stating that consistent vegans are "crazies."

There are lots of animal advocates, of course, who subscribe to - or at least understand - the notion of different strokes for different folks. However, it is not acceptable if the reducetarian movement somehow requires the denigration of vegans and veganism.

So, what have we seen so far in this regard? I think we could pull out from the reducetarian crowd a number of examples of them mocking vegans and veganism. Brian Kateman, president and co-founder of the Reducetarian Foundation and editor of The Reducetarian Solution does it in a TED talk, Matthew Ball, who works for One Step for Animals and, until very recently, Farm Sanctuary does it in a video suggesting that many vegans are rude and fanatical, and "rightly" seen as akin to Hezbollah; Sebastian Joy, who runs the German Vegetarian Society, does it in talks at animal rights conferences, and "the 'vegan' strategist," Tobias Leenaert does it whenever possible.

I'll just concentrate on one: Matt Ball. His position is based on distortion. In a recent video inciting people to eat the flesh of cows rather than that of chickens, he cites Peter Singer's Animal Liberation as a main reason for the abject failure of vegan education. Why? Singer isn't a vegan, and writes in Animal Liberation: "I do not, on balance, object to free-range egg production." Singer, like Ball, is a supporter of the reducetarian movement. To cite Animal Liberation in this context is nothing more than propaganda.

Ball then cites PeTA! Seriously, a useless sexist, racist, and ableist organisation that gives awards to slaughterhouse designers ain't doing it for the vegan cause? Big surprise there.

The truth is, vegan education has only just begun. In THIS CENTURY only has the animal movement begun to see veganism as the moral baseline, to the extent that it has of course. There is push back from careerists in the movement to seeing veganism as the moral baseline. Melanie Joy is not keen, for example, but then she writes in her famous book: "it's possible to procure eggs and dairy products without violence."

Do vegans actually read these books before they pronounce that their authors stand for veganism?

So, vegan education has only just begun - check out this audio clip from Ronnie Lee (2015), the co-founder of the Animal Liberation Front who went vegan in 1971 - Ronnie Lee: Vegan-Based Campaigning is NEW! Ronnie has effectively "seen it all," and he certainly knows that vegan education is, historically, brand new.

Think about this - did you know that "Mr. Vegan Education," Gary Francione was still writing about himself as "still very much a vegetarian" in 1996, even though he says he went vegan in 1982? Moreover, in the index of his 2000 book, Introduction to Animal Rights, "vegan" is not mentioned once in the index but "vegetarianism" is at least 8 times, along with this little line from page 17: "The suggestion that taking animal interests seriously requires that we become vegetarians may seem radical."

That's only 17 years ago. Repeat after me: VEGAN EDUCATION HAS ONLY JUST BEGUN. Listen to Ronnie!!!

If you are an animal advocate doing street work for veganism, take heart. This aspect of animal campaigning has only just begun and I bet you have seen a great deal of progress in just the last 5 years, right?

Finally, I, along with the ARZone team, interviewed Matthew Ball in 2011. Then, he suggested that they regretted having "vegan" in the Vegan Outreach title. Doesn't bring in the donations, apparently. Ball was asked: "Matt, if you had to do it all over again, would you still call it Vegan Outreach?" to which he replied: "Good question. We actually had a serious question about this about six years ago. For a variety of reasons, we didnít change the name. But I know having "vegan" in our name hurts us in different ways, most clearly on fundraising."


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