Killing is a personal choice. Protesting is bad for building a social movement. And violence against animals is okay. 

Welcome to the Wacky World of Vegan Consumerism.

 

A speciesist confronts Melissa at the Olde Depot. While he may hate animals, he's supporting a restaurant with many vegan options. Thus, according to proponents of vegan consumerism, he's on our side.

A speciesist confronts Melissa at the Olde Depot. While he may hate animals, he's supporting a restaurant with many vegan options. Thus, according to proponents of vegan consumerism, he's on our side.

A few days ago, DxE protested at the Olde Depot, a restaurant that decided to start serving the bodies of animals. According to the owner, the decision was made to "serve the needs of the broader community", in which the individuals killed for food are almost certainly not a part. Vegans had already expressed disappointment on the restaurant's page, and the Yelp reviews for the restaurant plummeted. So while we were sure that we would be met with violent opposition from speciesists at the restaurant, one would think that the vegan consumerist community would support our action.

 

Rule #1 of vegan consumerism: eating animals is a personal choice, and it should be respected. One of the restaurant's patrons confronted us and said, "you make us vegans look bad".  

Rule #1 of vegan consumerism: eating animals is a personal choice, and it should be respected. One of the restaurant's patrons confronted us and said, "you make us vegans look bad".

 

If one assumed that we would receive support, one certainly would be unacquainted with the fickle nature of vegan consumerism. Vegans came on the organizing page  and urged us not to protest. Famous leaders of the vegan consumerism movement (unnamed here) made sure to throw in their two cents: one said that protesting was ineffective, and the other said that the animal rights movement should start doing demonstrations only when 50% of the population has stopped eating animals. 

 

The tension is already there, just below the surface. Our responsibility is to bring the hatred that fuels animal exploitation to public light, where it can be seen by all.

The tension is already there, just below the surface. Our responsibility is to bring the hatred that fuels animal exploitation to public light, where it can be seen by all.

Vegan consumerism misses a key aspect of societal change, that it comes about through tension. Vegan consumerism asserts that we can end violence towards animals by slipping the issue quietly under the door. Vegan consumerism states that if we remain weak enough, if we smile in the face of exploitation enough, if we betray our fellow earthlings who are held in chains enough, the opposition will magically dissolve. But time has shown that this only prolongs the battle we'll have to fight to win animal liberation.

We must foster tension. While remaining respectful and nonviolent, we must stand uncompromisingly against animal exploitation, and dedicate our time to bringing to the surface the violence that is already there. Because once people see the hate thrown against animals by speciesists, the suffering bound in a meal, and the alternative - animal liberation - society will change for the better.

 

DxE organizer Brian Burns on the protest at the Olde Depot.

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