Veganism is not Enough

We currently are in the midst of the largest species extinction that has ever existed on this planet, and it is being caused directly by human activities. As we plunder and destroy what is left of wildlife habitat and natural ecosystems that have taken millions of years to develop, our society is also systematically imprisoning, torturing and killing literally billions of sentient creatures - human and non-human - to create unnecessary and wasteful food products for mass consumption.

Even vegans are still a part of this bloodbath. We tacitly accept it every day that we participate in the social structure, economy, and political system of which we are all a part. By simply abstaining from directly supporting abusive industries with our relatively insignificant personal finances, we are not detracting from this holocaust in any meaningful way. Even if consumer boycotts could make so much as a dent in the powerful corporations that exploit animals and people and destroy the planet, the government would simply step in and use our tax dollars to bail the businesses out, as they frequently do whenever the economy goes sour.

We can hope that by educating and setting an example for others, we will eventually reach enough people to cause a significant impact. However, it is quite contrary to human nature to expect most people to change their whole lifestyles in the face of every social cue and mass media message reassuring them that things are fine the way they are. Boycotts may have worked for the civil rights movement to integrate lunch counters and buses, but that was in the context of a local economy that was dependent on the large percentage of blacks that paid for their services. We are living in a global economy now, and no industry is dependent on the less than one-half of one percent of the U.S. population that is vegan.

Ultimately what will end animal exploitation - as well as every other type of exploitation and oppression - will be direct action. It is crucial that we as a movement foster and contribute to an atmosphere that is supportive and nurturing of underground direct action of all types. We will never prevail simply by addressing the demand for animal products. In reality, there is no such demand, as it is artificially created by the suppliers through propaganda, advertising, manipulation of nutrition information in the schools, and making their products available everywhere. Only by focusing on and targeting these suppliers can we hope to eliminate the injustices that they perpetrate. Efforts should not be directed at simply getting people to change their lifestyles, but rather at informing and empowering individuals to counter the suppliers of the products of suffering.

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