Animal rights, abolition and veganism
Animals can feel pain, as well as experience and respond to the world. Just like a cat, dog, or human being, other animals are individuals with not only a unique perspective, but a common and equal interest in not experiencing exploitation or suffering, as well as in continuing their lives. Human beings don’t need to use animals for health or environmental reasons, and using them unnecessarily is morally wrong. It doesn’t matter how well they are treated when we use them. What matters is that they all have a right not to be used as property. The solution isn’t more regulation of how we treat the animals we use. The solution is the abolition of the property status of nonhuman animals, and therefore the abolition of animal use altogether. That begins with veganism. Vegans don’t use animals for food, clothing, cosmetics, entertainment or other reasons, and they avoid contributing to the suffering or exploitation of animals out of moral concern for them. Abolitionist vegans[i] are vegans who promote, as well as organize and conduct their work based on the following views:
1. that all sentient beings, (human or nonhuman animals), have at least one basic right: the right not to be used as property;
2. that adopting veganism is a moral baseline required to respect the basic right of animals not to be used as property;
3. that animal advocates should support, promote and work on only those campaigns that argue clearly and unequivocally for the abolition, not the regulation, of nonhuman animal use;
4. that sexism, racism and other forms of irrational discrimination, including speciesism, are all wrong for similar reasons;
5. that nonviolence is the guiding principle of the animal rights movement.
Veganism is easy to adopt and you can start today. This guide is designed to help you get started!
Okay, I’m convinced! How do I get started?
First, read the guide carefully. It will provide you with a clearer idea of what veganism and animal rights entail so that you are clear in terms of what vegans do and do not consider to be acceptable (keeping in mind that this is a starter guide, and so, not exhaustive). Do any additional research required to help you meet any special needs. Some research isn’t a bad idea even if you don’t have special needs.
Second, make a list of all your nonvegan personal effects. Decide which you can afford to replace immediately, and which you will only be able to afford to replace over time. If you can, write a timetable for the latter items so that you stick to plan. Read the following sections and find the vegan alternatives you’ll need for food, clothing, cleaning, personal hygiene and other products. Create a list of breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes, and a grocery list so that you’ll have the items you need. Get rid of nonvegan foods. You won’t be needing those.
Third, and finally, go vegan. Resolve never to contribute to the suffering and exploitation of nonhuman animals again, insofar as it’s possible and practical, and to take their rights not to be used as property seriously and to act accordingly. Read the rest of the guide so that you are prepared and do any additional research you may need. If you live with one, cuddle your cat, dog, rat, parakeet, or other nonhuman animal, tell them that you believe that they are persons and that you are going to change both your life and the world based on that belief. You can do it!
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