Excerpt: Until Every Animal is Free

By Saryta Rodriguez

 

Howdy!

It is my pleasure to present to you the following excerpt from my book, Until Every Animal Is Free, which is now available for presale order here.  I would like to thank all of my fellow DxE-ers for making this possible, as well as my friends and family and the amazing Vegan Publishers.

Last but certainly not least, I'd like to thank animal liberationists everywhere for all of the hard work they do to create a more compassionate world.

 

From Until Every Animal Is Free, Chapter Two: Speciesism: The Final Frontier.

 

“They are a damned set of jackasses...”

“It can be of no benefit commensurate with the additional expense involved.”

“It is unwise to risk the good we already have for the evil which may occur.”

“Every lover of his country should desire to vindicate its institutions, of which this is one.”

“You are requested to attend and unite in putting down and silencing by peaceable means this tool of evil and fanaticism.”

What do these quotes mean to you? Can you guess what they are about?  To me, the first sounds like a popular sentiment amongst meat-eaters against animal liberationists.  The second two refer to common concerns about the Animal Liberation Movement: that it will be costly, and risk the economic and social stability America holds so dear. It will disrupt the existing state of affairs, and who knows what might result? Why risk it, when everything is fine as-is?

The fourth quote implies that to challenge any American institution is to reveal oneself as patently un-American (one resultant implication being that liberationists, by challenging American meat and dairy industries, lack patriotism), while the final quote beseeches the public to use nonviolent means to disrupt a meeting that could serve as a “tool of evil and fanaticism.”  The person making the statement is presumably on the side of the Goodies, beseeching the public to help check the Badies using “peaceable means”—i.e. nonviolent direct action.

Here’s what these quotes are really about:

“They are a damned set of jackasses...”

—Rioter during the Farren Riots, a series of anti-abolition riots in New York, 1834. He was referring to Yankees and abolitionists.

“It can be of no benefit commensurate with the additional expense involved.”

“It is unwise to risk the good we already have for the evil which may occur.”

—Pamphlet encouraging women not to fight for suffrage, published in the 1910s.

“Every lover of his country should desire to vindicate its institutions, of which this is one.”

—Charles J. Ingersoll, 1856, referring to abolition as a challenge to the American institution of slavery.

“You are requested to attend and unite in putting down and silencing by peaceable means this tool of evil and fanaticism.”

—An anonymous ad posted in a newspaper in 1837, asking the public to disrupt a meeting of abolitionists.

The rhetoric hasn’t changed much.  The last quote is, to me, the most shining example, as a pro-slavery zealot manages to sell his position as one of peace and harmony while demonizing abolitionists as evil fanatics.  Similarly, meat-eaters often refer to vegans and animal liberationists as “fanatical,” “extreme” or “radical.”

Fear of disrupting the status quo—exposing oneself to negative repercussions not currently experienced— prevents would-be activists from taking direct action. It resigns them instead to making personal lifestyle choices that make them feel better about themselves, like going vegan, or engaging in welfarism (improving the living conditions of nonhuman slaves)—without making any effort to end the Animal Holocaust once and for all. This issue is best highlighted by the anti-suffrage packet; you may have noticed that neither of the sentiments I’ve extracted from it demonize women’s suffrage itself. Instead, these sentiments caution women not to rock the boat, playing to their sense of prudence rather than that of morality or justice.

Ingersoll questions the integrity of anyone who challenges existing American institutions, whereas I and many other activists believe it is far more ethical to seek to improve upon an institution—or abolish it if it cannot be improved upon, as in the cases of both human and nonhuman slavery—than it is to let a detrimental institution remain unchanged and watch idly as our country suffers the consequences.  To challenge a failing American institution is an act of the utmost integrity.

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