The Absurdity of Vegan Allies and Other Identity Politics

Forest Nymph

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So the worst idea I heard recently was the concept of "vegan allies." I'm sorry but we are not a race or gender or sexual orientation looking for nons to accept or tolerate us. Non-vegans should be encouraged to be vegans, plant based, or bare minimum vegetarians at all costs. I'm not interested in getting an animal eater to be my friend, that person can stay the hell away from me for all I care, they just need to stop eating animals.

Another variation on this is things like not wanting certain "kinds" of people to be vegan or plant based. I honestly don't care if murderers in prison go plant based and demand vegan prison food, I mean ok good that's better for animals and the planet.

Veganism isn't a special identity that excludes forms of activism that embarrass you, or something that belongs to atheists or liberals.

I don't want ANYONE to be a rapist, murderer or child molester, even if I otherwise can't stand them as a person. I don't want ANYONE to drive drunk. Similarly I don't want ANYONE to eat animals. Veganism is a moral baseline not a secret cult. HOW you choose to practice it is what's about you or your identity, not being vegan in and of itself.
 

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If I'd read this before reading @Andy_T 's response to the thread on asking trump to go vegan for a time I'd see this as an innocent encouraging remark. I did however read the other thread and with it's context feel a bit different.
I have all kinds of friends, I don't disavow anyone for their thoughts--but I'm also not one to think that having allegiance is the best answer. It's been far too easy to have the rug pulled right under us while trying to negotiate.

And I don't see strides in the vegan movement at all--the plant based diet is gaining strides as it's becoming too hard to ignore the research, and while that's somewhat of a win, don't dismiss the fact that it doesn't involve animal rights. I've joined wfpb forums and shocked to find more judgement and ridicule of vegans there than I do from omnivores in real life!

You'll also start noticing how many animal products infiltrate "plant based" foods now.
 

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If I'd read this before reading @Andy_T 's response to the thread on asking trump to go vegan for a time I'd see this as an innocent encouraging remark.

Oh, I did not see it like that.

Would I personally like Dump to go vegan? Sure!
He is a worthless pile of maggot-infested **** right now, a worthless pile of maggot-infested **** that is not consuming animal products would certainly be marginally better.

What I am offended by is the calculation by the campaign managers to make this insincere offer to him only in order to profit off his notoriety, and in the process, giving him attention and another opportunity to deflect from his crime. He is literally the last person we would want to be associated with veganism in any way.

That is what we certainly can do without.
 
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Forest Nymph

Forest Nymph

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Oh, I did not see it like that.

Would I personally like Dump to go vegan? Sure!
He is a worthless pile of maggot-infested **** right now, a worthless pile of maggot-infested **** that is not consuming animal products would certainly be marginally better.

What I am offended by is the calculation by the campaign managers to make this insincere offer to him only in order to profit off his notoriety, and in the process, giving him attention and another opportunity to deflect from his crime. He is literally the last person we would want to be associated with veganism in any way.

That is what we certainly can do without.

But that isn't what's happening, its a very paranoid framing of events. No one is trying to "profit" from this, they're trying to reach Trump voters, an overlooked group in the majority of activism.

The children's activism group that is partnered with Million Dollar Vegan was founded by two young teen girls, Genesis Butler, a 12 year old Black young woman from the Los Angeles area, and her 13 year old female business partner, who I currently know less about. Younger children like 9 year old Vegan Evan belong to the same group. How could you possibly think this is about profit???

The wealthy donors behind the kids are people who have no need to profit, like celebrity climate activist Leonardo DiCaprio. Im honestly finding these reactions very weird and deeply uninformed.
 
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Forest Nymph

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If I'd read this before reading @Andy_T 's response to the thread on asking trump to go vegan for a time I'd see this as an innocent encouraging remark. I did however read the other thread and with it's context feel a bit different.
I have all kinds of friends, I don't disavow anyone for their thoughts--but I'm also not one to think that having allegiance is the best answer. It's been far too easy to have the rug pulled right under us while trying to negotiate.

And I don't see strides in the vegan movement at all--the plant based diet is gaining strides as it's becoming too hard to ignore the research, and while that's somewhat of a win, don't dismiss the fact that it doesn't involve animal rights. I've joined wfpb forums and shocked to find more judgement and ridicule of vegans there than I do from omnivores in real life!

You'll also start noticing how many animal products infiltrate "plant based" foods now.


You don't see strides in the animal rights movement at all? Do you know about the world wide actions of DXE and Animal Rebellion?

Also, animal products do not "infiltrate" new plant based foods. Old vegetarian products like Morning Star went vegan recently, and the only plant based products with animal products are from shitty corporations like Nestle or Tyson whom no vegan in their right mind would trust anyway.

This forum is getting tiresome. I'm so pleased Im starting a local activist group.
 
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Andy_T

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they're trying to reach Trump voters, an overlooked group in the majority of activism.

I, for one, do not see much value in trying to convince Dump voters. His so-called "base" seems gone beyond redemption , to me they look like what is wrong in your country.
 
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I, for one, do not see much value in trying to convince Dump voters. His so-called "base" seems gone beyond redemption , to me they look like what is wrong in your country.

I live in Trump country. I know lots of Trump voters...they're friends, coworkers, people whose businesses I patronize. One of the things that I'd say unifies his supporters is the sense that they're being left behind by the social change driven by "coastal elites". Your attitude plays directly into that.

I actually know two Trump voters who tried plant based diets recently. They did it for health/athletic improvements but that opens the door to seeing animals as worthy of compassion and rights, and ultimately it doesn't matter why people aren't supporting animal abuse if your goal is ending animal abuse.

Framing it as a matter of health is smart, and simply writing off 40% of the people in the US would be petty, poor strategy and wouldn't help animals in any way. These people have got to get on board eventually...particularly considering they make up most the voters in the states that have the most animal agriculture...and I can't think of any reason to wait. Trying to turn every Californian vegan first would only intensify the cultural resistance to it. If you want veganism to be partisan I have to question your motives...because it definitely isn't what's best for animals.
 

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One of the things that I'd say unifies his supporters is the sense that they're being left behind by the social change driven by "coastal elites".

Agreed. Unfortunately many people are easily hood-winked into believing that there are simple solutions to very complex problems. Equally they are engulfed in a personality culture. These two factors combined lead to the attitude “I like him. I’ll vote for him.”

In the UK we have a mini-Trump.

Just like maxi-Trump he is 100% bluster and 0% principle.

Unless of course, like Machiavelli, you accept that exercising and maintaining power at all costs is the principle to beat all principles.

Roger.
 
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I have never heard the term "vegan ally," but my instant, gut-level response is to feel a bit nauseated. An ally, to me, is someone who is supportive of the rights and causes of a group of people they do not, nor cannot, identify as or become. A country is an ally to another country; a person can be an ally to people of a different race than they; etc. The only vegan "allies" are other vegans. Being vegan is a choice, not an alienated, disparaged race in need of moral support. What a condescending b.s. term. Where, may I ask, did you hear this?
 
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Forest Nymph

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I have never heard the term "vegan ally," but my instant, gut-level response is to feel a bit nauseated. An ally, to me, is someone who is supportive of the rights and causes of a group of people they do not, nor cannot, identify as or become. A country is an ally to another country; a person can be an ally to people of a different race than they; etc. The only vegan "allies" are other vegans. Being vegan is a choice, not an alienated, disparaged race in need of moral support. What a condescending b.s. term. Where, may I ask, did you hear this?

Dr. Melanie Joy, and an officer of Vegan Club at school who is apparently a fan.

Some vegans take umbrage with people like Dr. Joy, saying she's selling flexitarianism. I belong to a Facebook group which forbids people to quote her.

I don't think she's that bad, I agree with the idea of carnism but yeah, no on vegan allies. Unnatural Vegan pushes this idea too but I think mostly with the idea of protecting her own vegan small children.
 

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In that video, Joy says a vegan ally can save more animals than a vegan in some cases. The perfect example of a vegan ally to her seems to be a journalist who writes articles that influence many people to go vegan even though the journalist isn't vegan themself.

Other examples of vegan allies she references are:

-a parent who ensures their vegan child has vegan food to eat, and advocates for them at school, etc. (My mother is one of these because she really takes care of me as far as making me vegan dishes constantly, and especially at family events where there are vegan versions of all the side dishes labeled vegan and a fake meat product made just for me.)

-a philanthropist who donates a lot of money to animal rights activism or vegan advocacy efforts.

-an institution, such as a school cafeteria with a lot of vegan options

-Facebook friends who sign some pro animal petition.

It doesn't seem like a bad concept to me, the way she describes it.
 
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In that video, Joy says a vegan ally can save more animals than a vegan in some cases.

I didn't know the concept of vegan allies. But as I understood it from the video, it seems well thought out. I know a person who gives loads of money to L214 (vegan organisation) while eating meat at every meal... He feels guilty about his diet. And my presence makes him feel even guiltier, even thought I say nothing about veganism. It's quite strange, I'm not sure I am more efficient at spreading the vegan message than he is. I participated in street activism, actions against circuses and I had discussion online with non-vegans. It wasn't in vain but I don't think I was that efficient... But then, if veganism must be weighted in the balanced (animals you killed/animals you spared), then I’m not sure who’s “winning”.

However, from an ethical perspective, then I would say neither flexitarians nor vegan allies make any sens whatsoever. I would even argue that flexitarians undermine animal ethics.

Also, if by vegan alliance, you imply that vegans should engage in all sort of social causes. I would strongly disagree. The convergence of struggles relays animals at the back.

And I’m really tired of people who parasite veganism or environmentalism. In France, the yellow vests invited themselves at the climate march. But most of them don’t care about the climate. And they make a lot of fuss to ensure people speak only about them. Their movement started because of an increase in the price of fuel… They wanted to buy cheap pollutant. Why should environmentalist support them?

Also I think veganism needs to appeal to more conservative “white males” (please notice that I used quotation marks here). Apparently some vegan activists were silenced because they are “white males”, some were shamed for being sceptical about feminist concepts. Earthling Ed is criticized because he is a “white male”.
 
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I have never heard the term "vegan ally," but my instant, gut-level response is to feel a bit nauseated. An ally, to me, is someone who is supportive of the rights and causes of a group of people they do not, nor cannot, identify as or become. A country is an ally to another country; a person can be an ally to people of a different race than they; etc. The only vegan "allies" are other vegans.

I agree that "real vegan allies" are fellow vegans, still I see it makes sense to have a name for people who are not hostile to the concept. Maybe those "vegan allies" are pre-vegans where we have a good chance of convincing them...
 

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The only vegan "allies" are other vegans.
Donald Watson (who coined the term "Vegan") was invited to participate in the Vegan Society newsletter, years after he distanced himself from this organisation he had founded. But in his articles he acknowledged that the vegetarian Society had helped veganism a lot. It was very displeasing to many vegans in the Vegan Society so they stopped to invite him in their newsletter.

Maybe those "vegan allies" are pre-vegans where we have a good chance of convincing them...
Yea, we all know that many vegans were vegetarians before. Most people I managed to convince while advocating veganism in the street were already aware that animal agriculture is atrocious. However many vegetarians, especially baby boomers, are not ready to start meditating on their diatary choices again: someone who has been vegetarian for fifty or sixty years doesn’t necessarily connect with the reflection they had when they decided to stop eating meat… So that's a complicated issue.
 

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You don't see strides in the animal rights movement at all? Do you know about the world wide actions of DXE and Animal Rebellion?

Also, animal products do not "infiltrate" new plant based foods. Old vegetarian products like Morning Star went vegan recently, and the only plant based products with animal products are from shitty corporations like Nestle or Tyson whom no vegan in their right mind would trust anyway.

This forum is getting tiresome. I'm so pleased Im starting a local activist group.
You know Nestle owns Sweet Earth? and Tyson is getting into fake meat?
I've just been feeling so jaded, as I'd joined some plant based fb groups trying to stay more wfpb. More hate and judgement towards vegans than I've ever gotten from omnivores in real life! They don't care about carmine, silk, leather, or zoos, or even testing, and most don't even see the term 'plant based' as anything more than flexitarian--but they insist on calling it a vegan diet......
Now you can buy a technically vegan burger from a fast food place, but have to jump through hoops and have faith to get it vegan. No thank you
 
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You know Nestle owns Sweet Earth? and Tyson is getting into fake meat?
I've just been feeling so jaded, as I'd joined some plant based fb groups trying to stay more wfpb. More hate and judgement towards vegans than I've ever gotten from omnivores in real life! They don't care about carmine, silk, leather, or zoos, or even testing, and most don't even see the term 'plant based' as anything more than flexitarian--but they insist on calling it a vegan diet......
Now you can buy a technically vegan burger from a fast food place, but have to jump through hoops and have faith to get it vegan. No thank you

Unfortunately, the phrase "plant based" suffers from the assumption inherent in it's semantics. In the science literature, it is used to describe a diet based on, or consisting of - plants, not as a diet based on a percentage of plants that's up to the individual to decide. In other words, a vegan diet. Unfortunately, too many use the latter definition which is basically everyone except those on pure carnivore diets. The whole world is "plant based" because they eat a few more potatoes and bread and vegetables and fruit and don't eat animals/animal products *as much*. What a crock!

I might add it's been used here by a certain member to insinuate the same of my own diet, even though I haven't eaten animal products knowingly and willingly in over 2 years and do not promote them at all when the accusing person has done so. Human hypocrisy lives everywhere.
 

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Unfortunately, the phrase "plant based" suffers from the assumption inherent in it's semantics. In the science literature, it is used to describe a diet based on, or consisting of - plants, not as a diet based on a percentage of plants that's up to the individual to decide.
In French we use "végétalien" to describe a 100% plant-based diet (which in some old cooking books include honey). It's not ambivalent as in English. But then we have another problem: some people insist that "végétalien" is the French translation of "Vegan" (because they hate the idea that we use English words in French). So that’s their argument to erase the definition of vegansism (if we accept their assomption, then "Vegan" means just 100% plant-based, and so it weaken it).

BTW in some scientific paper “plant-based” could define a diet consisting mostly of plants, in the studies about the blue zones for example.
 
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What I get annoyed with is that typically those who follow a plant based diet for health reasons shun processed foods, sugar, oils, but insist on calling it a vegan diet. Point out that vegan is not about diet and only eliminates all animal products, but does not distinguish what kinds, they suddenly don't care about labels and start ranting about how judgmental and unhealthy vegans are! Like why keep misusing the word then?
 
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I eat a vegan diet. I eat a vegan diet for health reasons. I tell people I eat a vegan diet instead of saying I am plant based. I say it this way for three reasons. If I tell someone who understands what a vegan diet is, no more need be said. If a person does not understand that it means NO ANIMAL PRODUCTS, the explination is short and to the point. In my mind I AM eating a vegan diet. Third, it just seems to be a more natural way of expressing it--perhaps because it's the way I think of it. I do not intend to offend anyone, nor to misrepresent myself. I am not unsympathetic to the vegan philosophy , however it would be extremely dishonest for me to say that it's a motivating force in my life, just as it would be equally dishonest for me to say I'm a vegan, to imply that the philosphy is my driving force. I mean no offense, but if offense is taken, it's not really my problem.
 

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What I get annoyed with is that typically those who follow a plant based diet for health reasons shun processed foods, sugar, oils, but insist on calling it a vegan diet. Point out that vegan is not about diet and only eliminates all animal products, but does not distinguish what kinds, they suddenly don't care about labels and start ranting about how judgmental and unhealthy vegans are! Like why keep misusing the word then?

Anyone using the word "vegan" is using a word that Donald Watson coined, and despite the numerous popular activists on youtube claiming otherwise, Donald Watson did define it as a diet. It actually doesn't matter what the UK Vegan society says, even though Watson founded it, he did not bequeath to them authority to change the definition (which has been done numerous times), nor did he found the Society expecting his leadership would be short lived and then distance himself from it purposely because of the new directions it was taking.

None of this should lead one to assume that cruel use and exploitation of animals outside of diet are laudable, but that for most people, until
they change their diet first, they will remain blind to the issue, as every single omnivore is blind (by unknowing or willfull ignorance) to the issue of the suffering that happens when the shove meat, dairy and eggs into their mouths.