Pitfalls in Imperfect Abolitionist Animal Advocacy


I describe myself as an imperfect vegan because I have not yet reached the level of theoretical knowledge where I feel assured  my every move is the right one. I support the abolitionist movement and believe that animals deserve personhood, that a major paradigm shift needs to happen to move people away from the exploitation of animals and earth towards justice, and because non-violence is an important component of doing so. I hope to see a day where humans can respect the natural world and see themselves as part of it, not in charge of it.

As a therapist, there was a tale about a man who was walking on the beach that was told to us as interns.  The man found millions of starfish, dying, having washed up on shore. A man stood there, throwing one after another in the water.  Another man walked up and told him, “What are you doing? You cannot save them all!”  to which our man replied, “No, but I can save this one,” as he saved another life. The story was to help us avoid being overwhelmed by the need and suffering we were soon to encounter. It was also to remind us that, although we could not “save” every single client, each one was worth the effort. We would do the best we could.

I make mistakes and hopefully learn from them. I do not invest time in urging for larger cages for chickens but rather to free chickens from being commodified. I used to support some of the animal protection groups, but now think that vegan education is the single best thing anyone can do to help the most animals in the quickest fashion. No two advocates offer the same combination of perspective, energy, experience or education; that is what makes us a community. We need all of us to pull together to get this done.

Here are some of the ideas I have been learning about activism as well as the activists that keep me sane.