The Vegan Divide: Coming Back Together
for the Animals and a Vegan World
We’ve all noticed it—the growing divide in our beloved vegan community that has taken its toll since March of 2020. This has been a source of anguish for many of us, and so I wanted to share my thoughts on how we can and must build a bridge. The animals need us all; nature needs us all; and, yes, people too, as we know that everything is connected. These are extremely critical times, moreso than any of us have every witnessed in our lives, including the elders among us. Of course, I’m talking about the layers of covid and politics that have been added on to the already excruciatingly dire conditions for life on earth that called us to action long before covid.
First, let’s look at what most, if not all, of us agree is true.
- · We are activists and we want to do what we can to create a nonviolent, vegan world.
- · This requires nonviolent noncooperation and noncompliance. We do not comply with any entity that demands that we eat or harm animals. As a result of our noncompliance, among other things, we increase our chances of having strong immune systems (if we eat a healthy plant-based diet). And we understand that viruses, in general, actually inhabit us and help us stay healthy.
- · We became activists, because we questioned authorities—the people and companies with a lot of power. We could see that Big Pharma, Big Ag, the Banking system, the War machine, Big Tech and Big Government had brought the earth to the brink and caused the suffering and deaths of trillions of animals on land and in the waters. And we want to do what we can to end their domination and terror by teaching the truth and creating a different way to live in partnership and with compassion for all.
- · As authority questioners, we vegans reveal the lies, the “humane and green washing,” the uselessness of animal experimentation for human health, the pollution and destruction that feeds enormous profits, and, most of all, the immoral violence they inflict on our animal cousins, nature and people.
- · We need each others’ support in all our activities as we work to unveil the lies and violent domination of all life.
- · We work together in direct action, rescues, tablings, video screenings and a thousand other ways to help pre-vegans see how their actions are not aligned with their own desire to be kind and, then, to help them learn how to live vegan and join the movement to create a world of peace for all.
- · We speak the truth about the horrors that Homo Sapiens has inflicted on our beautiful earth home and all who live here. It is to the advantage of these powerful companies, governments and people to keep the violence hidden. We reveal their secrets.
- · We believe in putting ourselves at risk in order to comfort and liberate our animal cousins. We let them know that we are here for them, and we will not stop until they are free.
- · We believe in the absolute necessity to protect our right to assemble for protests and education and our right to free speech. In the U.S. and other countries, these and many other freedoms are guaranteed by law but are being threatened by those who need to silence us. In order to free the animals, we must be free ourselves.
- · We believe that animals have the right to bodily integrity and autonomy, to not have their bodies violated by human beings. Likewise, we have those rights, including the right to “informed consent.”
- · We are very familiar with double-speak, phrases that are used to cover up the truth, such as “humane slaughter.” We find many of our terms co-0pted in advertisements, news articles, social media, books and magazines as veganism has become more popular.
- · In addition to co-opting our language, techniques are used to divide and conquer, causing divisions among us to distract us from our mission. Co-opting members and groups within ours and other social justice movements is also practiced. Once an animal rights group has been infiltrated and assimilated into a larger group with a violent agenda, their identity is lost, along with their effectiveness and the clarity of their message.
- · The elites in power pass many laws, such as the ag-gag laws, to attempt to prevent us from shining a light on their dark deeds.
- · We practice nonviolence and respect for all life, and on a spiritual level, we understand that we are all interconnected and that our Golden Rule ideal calls on us to love one another. Nevertheless, when some entity causes violence and harm to another, we feel compelled to defend those being harmed.
- · We understand that being an activist can be frightening sometimes, but we do it anyway for the sake of those who cannot defend themselves.
You can all, I’m sure, think of many more items upon which we agree.
But we find ourselves at this critical time disagreeing with each other over the covid issue and the current politics. And that calls us all to look deeply at what is happening. As in #12, one of the goals that the elites have is to divide us and silence us. Regardless of where we stand on covid and politics, we cannot deny that our animal liberation movement is suffering life threatening blows. We cannot let this happen. We have come so far.
Evelyn Beatrice Hall in 1906 said, (although this is sometimes attributed to Voltaire) “I disapprove of what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it.”
Vegans are questioners. We don’t accept what the elite politicians and billionaires want us to believe, because we know their intentions are not for the good of humanity or of animals or of nature. That being said, with all the confusing messaging around covid, our questions range widely, and many of us have arrived at very different interpretations of what is going on.
On one end of our vegan continuum, many people are isolating at home and have been since spring. On the other end, there are those who believe the entire narrative promoted by the mainstream media is false. Many fall in between those two ends of the continuum, with varying understandings of this strange time in our history. The mainstream media seems to have devolved into news that is filled with opinions rather than investigative, unbiased reporting. Social media giants are deciding for us what information we can see by censoring videos and content we try to share. A look at the CDC website and the reports of thousands of doctors reveals many contradictions of what mainstream media is saying. For example, the CDC itself reports that deaths in 2020 are about the same as they have been the last several years. And we must remember that the news reports that people see on television are owned and run by fantastically powerful corporations and heavily influenced by their advertisers, Big Pharma being foremost among them.
We have never trusted these giants before. We have questioned them on all fronts in order to bring to light the destruction they have wrought upon the world. We must continue to question them now. Several very troubling situations have developed for our vegan movement as a result of this covidian dilemma. And not just for us but for all social justice groups. One critical element is that nearly all our VegFests have been cancelled, not just for the first month as we were told, but for the entire year. The number of VegFests was climbing every year and being attended by millions. All other gatherings, such as the annual Animal Rights conference, and numerous other major events that we have all depended on for decades, were cancelled.
In addition to eliminating our in-person gatherings where we are able to reach many pre-vegans with the truth, those in power have also been able to divide us as a movement. We can’t let that happen. The animals are depending on us to free them. We have lost many of our own freedoms which has seriously impacted our ability to free them, as well as to stop the descent into mass extinction and the continued brutality toward the world at large.
We have some of the most courageous people on earth in our midst—people who get undercover footage of animal cruelty, those who rescue animals in dangerous conditions, those who have been killed protesting for the innocents, and all of you. You have spoken truth to power in the face of rejection by your friends and family. You have committed to living vegan in a world that has not yet seen the truth that you see.
This is both a physical and a spiritual battle to bring the world out of darkness into the light, to leave behind Homo Sapiens and become Homo Ahimsa (Ahimsa, meaning non-harm in Sanskrit) in order to create a world of peace for all beings. We need each other now more than ever. I implore all of us, regardless of where we stand on the covid issue, please listen to each other. The unfriending and violent speech toward one another has to stop. We do not have the privilege or the time to be ridiculing each other when so much is at stake. We have to show the people in power that they cannot divide us or shake us from our mission.
There is much more going on now than a pandemic. For thousands of years, animals have been in lockdown and have had no autonomy or freedom to give informed consent (think mandatory vaccines against people). Please, let us listen to each other. We can agree to disagree and still maintain our unity. We need to respect those who want to protect their loved ones from illness. We need to respect their compassion for other human beings. We also need to respect those who are diligently studying the possibility that this is much bigger than it appears. If we are correct, and there are millions of us, we will all have to stand together to make sure we do not lose our freedoms. We cannot allow the power elite to divide us, not now, not ever. We can respect each others’ differences and still work together. This is no time for discord, insulting each other, or refusing to have each others’ backs. The world as we have known it is changing rapidly. None of us are perfect, but we know that we must create a vegan, nonviolent world, and we have to do it soon. This is our chance to subvert the dominant paradigm, end the manipulation and violence of the power elite and bring peace and love to the world finally.
The liberation of our animal cousins depends on us to take back our freedom of speech, our freedom of assembly, our rights to informed consent and our ability to refuse the nonvegan vaccination. The animals are waiting and watching. We can’t let them down.
If you feel strongly that you must isolate, wear masks and take the vaccine, that is absolutely your right. And I know most of you are bravely doing all you can to create new ways online to speak for the animals. But please consider that those of us who are looking at what we believe is the larger agenda have exactly the same goal as you do—to create a vegan world of peace for all beings. If we are wrong, and everything goes back quickly to the way it was before last March, that would be fantastic. We can get back to our in-person animal liberation work right away, support each other as we have in the past and get on with freeing the animals. But, if we are correct that our freedoms are being taken away, we will need to support each other on that front as well.
I finished my new book, Homo Ahimsa: Who we Really are and how we’re going to save the world, before covid. In that book, I felt such an urgency to get our message out. In spite of all the progress we had made in educating people about the plight of animals and making “vegan” a household word, the destruction of nature and animals was escalating to an extreme degree. I wanted to show how, by living by the vegan values of ahimsa, human beings could completely change the trajectory from destruction to restoration and healing. I believe we can reveal ourselves as Homo Ahimsa—a being who can create an entirely new way of living on the planet in compassionate harmony with all liberated life.
So I finished the book, and then, almost overnight, our challenges to revealing our true Homo Ahimsa nature, multiplied in so many strange and unexpected ways. As if slaughterhouses, pollution, rainforest burning, etc. were not enough—suddenly we also had to cope with and grasp the lockdowns and all that meant for our activism and the liberation of the animals and of our own inner Homo Ahimsa. The narrative we are hearing daily is very fear-producing, but fear interferes with sound judgement. Regardless of where we stand on the spectrum of understanding what is happening now, we have to hold on to our precious vision, refuse to be fearful and do everything we can to support freedom and nonviolence for all beings, including us.
We must come back together in whatever way we can. In spite of our differences, we are each speaking what is true for us now at this confusing time. If we are to succeed in creating a vegan world and living as Homo Ahimsa we have to hang on tight to our common vision and mutual respect. May the light of ahimsa love guide us all.
Judy McCoy Carman, M.A.