Thoughts on Veganism

Published on by Negate This #veganism


I consider an important aspect of myself to be the fact that I’m vegan. I became vegan only recently, essentially about 7 or so months ago, and in that time I’ve managed to change so many of the views I have about the world and question the present relationship between humans and animals. It is a relationship of oppressive domination that needs to be abolished along all other forms of oppression, and considered in an intersectional manner with those forms.

We shouldn’t go half-way with these ideas. The thing I see quite often in discussions of animal agriculture is that we need to stop animal cruelty and treat animals humanely before they’re slaughtered. What a load of of nonsense. Once the goal of an animal’s life from birth is to be slaughtered, there’s no real concept of humane anymore. From the minute an animal begins existing, we’ve dedicated their lives to our consumption, commodified their entire existence. We’ve reduced an animal with thoughts, feelings, and life to a commodity in the purest form, fit only for the small amount of sensory pleasure it gives us. Nothing about this relationship is humane, and nothing about it can ever be humane as long as we eat animals purely for pleasure.

That’s the key: we eat animals purely for pleasure, because it is possible to live without ever eating any animal or animal product. There’s no need to engage in the trauma and horrors of animal agriculture. There’s no need for people to look and at animal and think of it as purely an object for us to use. They have as much of a right to live as anyone else. Just because we are humans and supposedly on another level of consciousness, it doesn’t give us the license to become the oppressors in our relationship with them. As Freirie says, “As the oppressors dehumanize others and violate their rights, they themselves also become dehumanized” (Freirie, pg. 30). While Frerie did not consider animals as conscious beings in the same way as humans or consider dehumanization in the context of human-to-human oppression, I think his idea is still valid when considering the human-to-animal oppression. Consider the fact that “violence against animals has been linked to psychological health problems in humans” (Victor and Barnard). Is this not a form of dehumanization? Are those people in those slaughterhouses not suffering from dehumanization as they risk their mental health while taking the life of animalkind? This shouldn’t be contained to animal agriculture, but every relationship we have with an animal. We shouldn’t be the hands of an animal’s oppression in any form, lest we dehumanize ourselves in the process.

I concede that there exists people who do not have the means to go vegan, and that’s okay. The focus isn’t on selectively choosing those people and calling them out, but instead building up the means for them to have an adequate choice and availability of food. Thus, the principal contradiction in this context for these people, and people worldwide really, is first and foremost their lack of adequate nutrition and scarcity of food, and that contradiction must be addressed first before they can consider reevaluating their relationship to animals. That’s why I consider Marxism and veganism to go hand-in-hand. A vegan world can only exist once global scarcity has been addressed and everyone has the right to food, housing, education, dignity, etc. It is necessary to engage in solidarity with oppressed people and animals, because fighting for one’s rights requires fighting for both of their rights, in an intersectional fashion.

I urge the reader to reconsider the relationship they and people in general have with animals, and consider them as more than just a resource. Think of them as fellow beings worthy of respect, commodified in the same way as we are, and go vegan if you are able to.

If anyone has any good-faith criticisms, feel free to email me and I’ll be sure to read them. I am still in the process of learning about the world at large, so I know some of the things I say may be inadequately thought through, and I urge people to point it out so that I may learn and reassess my thoughts.(Please remember that I concede some people can’t become vegan before you email me a response.)

Sources:

Freire, P., & Ramos, M. B. (2017). Pedagogy of the oppressed. London, England: Penguin Books.

Victor, Karen, and Antoni Barnard. “Slaughtering for a living: A hermeneutic phenomenological perspective on the well-being of slaughterhouse employees.” International journal of qualitative studies on health and well-being 11.1 (2016): 30266. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.3402/qhw.v11.30266