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 Post subject: Effective vegan messaging
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 1:51 pm 
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I've struggled with this for a long time. How do you folks feel about the comparisons animal rights activists make between speciesism and racism, and human slavery and animal domestication? On the one hand, Peter Singer in "Animal Liberation" comparing the suffering created by factory farming to that created by human slavery really made me sit up and take animal issues seriously. But on the other hand I can definitely understand how the comparison would be offensive to people of color.

How do you folks navigate this?


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 Post subject: Re: Effective vegan messaging
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 2:21 pm 
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This is something I've been thinking about a lot too and something I want to be really sensitive about. I have talked to people about "othering" and how it is often used to justify cruelty but that's about it. As a white person I don't feel comfortable making the comparison. I recently heard an interview on the radio about how some POC were offended that the civil rights movement of the 60s is being compared to the gay rights movement of today, which I found really surprising and had never considered being an issue, so clearly I have a lot to learn. I know I am upset when people compare animal breeding to human rape...it's a different issue but it's the closest thing I can relate to. I guess my gut feeling is that it is more harmful to make these analogies than helpful, and that we don't always have to equate types of subjugation to make sense of another (does that make sense?). But there are people far more educated than I on this board whose opinions I am very interested in reading!

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 Post subject: Re: Effective vegan messaging
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 2:55 pm 
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I guess my other question then is if you believe something, like say that factory farming produces comparable amounts of suffering as human slavery, is it somehow condescending to not voice that opinion or only voice it with particular groups? I wish I knew the answers to these questions. I'm also eagerly awaiting the opinions of people on this board of people who are far more educated than me.


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 Post subject: Re: Effective vegan messaging
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 4:30 pm 
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I think the comparison to the holocaust is moving on many levels when done by Isaac Singer (it goes both ways since it also drives home how people were treated and his experiences), but appalling, crass, revolting, and inappropriate when random activist makes such a comparison.

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 Post subject: Re: Effective vegan messaging
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 5:00 pm 
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but if someone who was there had previously made the comparison, why is it then revolting when an outsider echoes the sentiment? shouldn't it then have been validated and free for all to echo?

all beings who are imprisoned/abused/or relegated to 2nd class ARE/HAVE BEEN imprisoned/abused/relegated to 2nd class. why should one religion/race/species/sexual orientation trump another? join together and fight the good fight, someone else's terrible experiences don't dilute your terrible experiences. acknowledge that you've both been treated badly and unite. infighting does no good. it's not a competition.

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 Post subject: Re: Effective vegan messaging
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 7:12 pm 
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I find any comparison to the Holocaust to be crass unless we are discussing the Armenian Genocide. That was similar to the Holocaust. Neither factory farming nor abortion are "like the Holocaust." Co-opting someone else's tragedy for your own political purposes does not make people listen to you. If it worked, we would all respond to the big posters that compare bodies at Auschwitz to aborted fetuses.

I generally try to avoid activism that I find distasteful when someone else does it. I also think that along with just about every forking thing PETA does, it is pointless and only appeals to a sliver of AR/vegan activists. Given how few vegans there are, this does not seem to be effective.

What would be helpful would be working through what makes people stay vegan. Getting people to give up animal products for a short period of time does not appear to be a huge challenge. Getting people to do it for the long term is.

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 Post subject: Re: Effective vegan messaging
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 7:53 pm 
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I think if you have to compare something to Auschwitz, then your point sucks to begin with. The reason "pro-lifers" do this is because they do not have a legitimate issue. Describing the abuse of animals should be enough without taking a shiitake on the Jewish community.

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 Post subject: Re: Effective vegan messaging
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 9:30 pm 
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but why is it considered taking a shiitake on the jewish community and other non-jews who went through it?

is it because animals didn't have a life prior to their imprisonment, so they don't have a perspective? (except for cows, i suppose. they're only in feeding lots the last few months of their lives) is it because those who went through the holocaust are human, and so we sympathise with them more, because we're human and we automatically sympathize with humans than we do other animals? is it because being bred and harvested for the benefit of another species is somehow more acceptable than someone deciding that the genes of people like you should be extinguished? (actually, yeah, that does seem worse.)
but they were/are both imprisoned, and both were/are trucked somewhere in order to be killed. many animals aren't given a quick death and are in agony unnecessarily. (baby chicks in a trash bag, anyone?) why is it in bad taste to compare the two? it puts it in perspective.

would you consider the plight of shelter animals (particularly pit bulls) to be on par with the holocaust? they're being singled out because of their genes, and some shelters still use the gas chamber. in areas with BSL, the pit bulls have no chance of being adopted, so their imprisonment will absolutely lead to their death. why is it that humans are considered to have had it worse? (i suppose the pit bulls aren't imprisoned very long, comparatively. but farm animals are.)

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 Post subject: Re: Effective vegan messaging
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 9:41 pm 
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I think that we know what Jigglypuff meant but the case of the Jews and the Holocaust was unique. I don't want to get into a long, pedantic argument but while the Nazis intended on eliminating a lot more people, the Jews were considered to be such a threat, such a horrible disease that they must all be killed immediately. The Jehovah's Witnesses could get out by taking an oath to the state and renouncing their religion. The political prisoners were different. Even the Roma were treated a little differently because they were not the priority. For many reasons, it is a unique thing in history.

I don't think that using the Holocaust as symbol of all that the worst in the world is useful. For the record, I also think that using the African-American slavery experience and the genocide of the First Nations people is tasteless and uncalled for. I don't think you are going to get most people to change how they think about animals by going from hamburger to baby tossed into a crematorium. I think that Foer's description of what he saw when he snuck into a turkey farm with an activist is a far better thing to show someone. Let them read about the chick dying in someone's hands in the middle of the night.

It's terrible enough.

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 Post subject: Re: Effective vegan messaging
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 9:49 pm 
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If people don't feel compassion for animals, then they aren't going to be vegan (for ethical reasons anyway), so there's not really much point in comparing factory farms to slavery or the holocaust because most people (myself included) don't see it that way. Also many people don't really want to be compared to animals, so if you tell them that their grandmother dying in the holocaust is just like the suffering of cows, then not only are you a manipulative jerk, they're going to get pissed off.

eta:: err...sorry if that sounded really harsh. i was typing and then imagined how I would feel if someone tried to convince me to be vegan by using something personal against me. i think i'd feel really shitty!

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 Post subject: Re: Effective vegan messaging
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 10:03 pm 
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supercarrot wrote:
but why is it considered taking a shiitake on the jewish community and other non-jews who went through it?

is it because animals didn't have a life prior to their imprisonment, so they don't have a perspective? (except for cows, i suppose. they're only in feeding lots the last few months of their lives) is it because those who went through the holocaust are human, and so we sympathise with them more, because we're human and we automatically sympathize with humans than we do other animals? is it because being bred and harvested for the benefit of another species is somehow more acceptable than someone deciding that the genes of people like you should be extinguished? (actually, yeah, that does seem worse.)
but they were/are both imprisoned, and both were/are trucked somewhere in order to be killed. many animals aren't given a quick death and are in agony unnecessarily. (baby chicks in a trash bag, anyone?) why is it in bad taste to compare the two? it puts it in perspective.

would you consider the plight of shelter animals (particularly pit bulls) to be on par with the holocaust? they're being singled out because of their genes, and some shelters still use the gas chamber. in areas with BSL, the pit bulls have no chance of being adopted, so their imprisonment will absolutely lead to their death. why is it that humans are considered to have had it worse? (i suppose the pit bulls aren't imprisoned very long, comparatively. but farm animals are.)

Are you serious? Would you really be as bothered by someone killing a pit bull as you would be by someone killing a human?

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 Post subject: Re: Effective vegan messaging
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 10:08 pm 
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does it make me less human if i said yes?

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 Post subject: Re: Effective vegan messaging
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 10:10 pm 
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No. It would you a terrible person, in my opinion, but I don't see how it could make you less human.

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 Post subject: Re: Effective vegan messaging
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 10:16 pm 
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i never said i wasn't a terrible person.
everyone (who is already alive and out of the womb) deserves to live, whether they're human or not. it's not that one dog's fault that crasshole humans keep breeding other dogs for profit.

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 Post subject: Re: Effective vegan messaging
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 10:21 pm 
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Okay? I feel like you're addressing claims that nobody actually made.

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 Post subject: Re: Effective vegan messaging
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 10:26 pm 
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(people kill dogs because there are too many dogs and breeders keep breeding dogs because of the profit)
i suppose even if there wasn't an overabundance of dogs in general and BSL was still in place that the pitties would still be killed. ok. you have a point. but to bring it back to topic, it's not that pit bull's fault that it's parents were also pit bulls.

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 Post subject: Re: Effective vegan messaging
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 10:37 pm 
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Jigglypuff wrote:
No. It would you a terrible person, in my opinion, but I don't see how it could make you less human.


I definitely think that there are valid comparisons to be made between the Holocaust and the institutionalized mass slaughter of animals. And I am absolutely, without question, just as bothered by someone killing a pit bull as I am by someone killing a human. I also happen to be Jewish.

I am pretty sure that I am not a terrible person. And I know supercarrot isn't a terrible person...actually, she's one of the nicest people on the face of the earth. I don't even understand that comment. How would that make us terrible people?

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 Post subject: Re: Effective vegan messaging
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 10:44 pm 
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supercarrot wrote:
(people kill dogs because there are too many dogs and breeders keep breeding dogs because of the profit)
i suppose even if there wasn't an overabundance of dogs in general and BSL was still in place that the pitties would still be killed. ok. you have a point. but to bring it back to topic, it's not that pit bull's fault that it's parents were also pit bulls.

Now I'm really confused. I didn't say anything in support of BSL!

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 Post subject: Re: Effective vegan messaging
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 10:48 pm 
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i was comparing BSL to the holocaust!!! (in my "taking a shiitake" post, which then made you tell me i'm a terrible person)

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 Post subject: Re: Effective vegan messaging
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 11:06 pm 
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Ugh. Okay, well the point here should be that many people - including myself - are incredibly offended by comparisons of humans to animals. Knowing this, why not use more effective means of vegan outreach? Why not just let the suffering of animals stand for itself?

You should know you're doing something wrong if your movement drives away even people who generally agree with you. This Holocaust/slavery stuff makes me want to stay far, far away from most other vegans, so I can't imagine it's very useful in persuading people who don't want to be vegan to begin with. What can we do to make people see the value in being vegan and help them stay that way?

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 Post subject: Re: Effective vegan messaging
PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 12:05 am 
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Jigglypuff wrote:
No. It would you a terrible person, in my opinion, but I don't see how it could make you less human.


Whoa. Hey. Not cool. We do not need to resort to name calling/telling people they're a terrible person.

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 Post subject: Re: Effective vegan messaging
PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 12:23 am 
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What does it mean to be offended by comparisons of humans to (non-human) animals?

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 Post subject: Re: Effective vegan messaging
PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 3:54 pm 
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I didn't mean to start something by bringing up the holocaust. Just that I've found Singer's words, based on his personal experience and how they related to his becoming vegan very poignant, yet very offensive when used out of that context as a cheap ploy, the way it has been by so many (Ingrid Newkirk is particularly fond of doing this).

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 Post subject: Re: Effective vegan messaging
PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 5:42 pm 
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Who, looks like a lot of posts got deleted.


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 Post subject: Re: Effective vegan messaging
PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 5:43 pm 
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That was some of my best work!

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