By Jacob Martin
Last month, I resolved that I would no longer dine at meals where the corpses and secretions of animals are being served. Now with the #LiberationPledge in full gear, I am glad to be given an opportunity to publicly express this vow and my reasons for it yet again, this time with the support of a growing movement of fellow vegans and activists doing the same.
Since a large part of the pledge is about sharing it with others, I thought I’d publicly explain my participation. My hope is that others can understand that this is not motivated by a desire to exclude myself from traditions to feel superior but is instead a chance to create new traditions that are better for everyone involved and conducive to a world where all animals are free from tyranny and violence.
1) The dignity and rights of the animals.
The animals whose corpses and secretions occupy the plates of our loved ones never asked to be force-bred into existence only to be tortured, confined, murdered, and consumed. As vegans, we acknowledge the abhorrent cruelty of this, and so we choose to leave them off our own plates. But to keep knowledge of this injustice to ourselves is to do a great disservice to the animals; we owe it to them to break comfortable norms and speak out for their rights. By actively bringing the issue into discussion, we can provoke meaningful dialogues about the value of their lives, and the more we do that, the closer we will get to animal liberation.
2) Developing more honest relationships with my friends and family.
While being honest and direct about a topic as controversial and heated as animal liberation will likely cause alienation and discomfort initially, in the long run it is best that we promote relationships and communities that are more open and mutually-agreeable to participate in for all involved, not just the non-vegan majority. As long as we tolerate acts of violence against animals that we know are unjust, we are not being fully truthful with our loved ones. We owe it to them to put the issue on the table, to help them better understand and respect our beliefs, and to compel them to consider the rights of the animals, as well.
3) Holding myself to a higher level of integrity to my own ethical principles.
For the sake of feeling more consistent with my moral beliefs, I will refuse to remain silent any longer wherever oppression and cruelty are present. Not only is it unfair to the animals and my loved ones, it is also unfair to me to hold my tongue when I know I should be speaking out. As long as there is horrific injustice being practiced against animals, and as long as that injustice is considered socially normal and ethically acceptable, it is necessary that I practice what I preach, not only in my public activism but in my private life and interpersonal relationships, as well.
I thank everyone who will be joining me on the Liberation Pledge. I would also like to say that I understand and respect that for various reasons, many individuals will not be able to take the pledge, or at least not commit to it 100%. For those of you out there, I deeply appreciate all your contributions in other campaigns and struggles and thank you for backing myself and others in the Liberation Pledge. I am quite certain that all those taking the pledge feel the same gratitude for your support.
Until every animal is free,