September 27, 2016

Abolitionist Vegan Essay by American Vegan Society Founder; Jay Dinshah, written decades ago

Butterflies approaching 38 yrs vegan
I am approaching my 38th Veganniversary, and remembering the man whose words inspired me to become and stay a vegan forever; H. Jay Dinshah. Jay founded the American Vegan Society. He returned from the U.K. where he was inspired from the earliest pioneers, such as Leslie Cross (a man) who took over The Vegan Society from Donald Watson and pushed for an official definition of veganism. Read his editorial in The Vegan, in spring of 1951. Jay also visited a slaughterhouse in Philadelphia, the year I was born; 1957, and credits that visit with going vegan on the spot. Jay brought the vegan concept to America and published a magazine entitled AHIMSA (Sanskrit word basically meaning nonviolence)...and it was from this magazine that I first read about the cruel separation of newborn calves from their mothers, so the humans can steal the milk that was meant for the calves. I was vegetarian until I read Jay's convincing writing and immediately became a full-on vegan; beyond diet. There were abolitionist vegans many decades back, all the way dating back to the 1950's with Leslie Cross. Here is an essay from the the first edition of 'Out of the Jungle' published in 1967 that was written by Jay Dinshah relating veganism to abolitionism. 
Abolitionist Vegan ~ by H. Jay Dinshah

Vegans aim for much more than just animal welfare with a bit more feed for the slaves, cleaner cages for the vivisected, or another box of bandages to plaster over the terminal cancer that is animal slavery and exploitation. In short, we are abolitionists -- though nonviolent ones -- for how we accomplish something is every bit as important as that it is done, and often more so. 

There are some parallels and some differences between modern vegans and the uncompromising human-slavery abolitionists of the nineteenth century. Those human-rights pioneers were not content to press for reforming the institution of slavery that they perceived as unjust, rotten, and corrupt from the roots up. They did not just petition for lighter chains during whipping, or anesthetic during maiming, campaign for a minimum age for separation of the young from their parents, press for greater quantities of feed for the human beasts of burden, or demand a more humane maximum twelve-hour workday.

Though presumably aware of varying conditions and side issues of slavery, they were not content with merely crying for more humane servitude, more compassionate slavery, or other contradictions in terms. They were not turned from the only logical goal by rationalizations that this cotton was supposedly picked by slaves whose kindly owner gave them enough to eat or that tobacco was grown by slaves whose God-fearing master had scruples about whipping on Sundays. 

Of course, there are important differences too. A few of those zealous reformers of bygone years were all too willing to resort to vicious violence -- including murder -- in aid of their just cause and to fight fire with fire. Unfortunately, fighting fire with fire usually results in homes and humans being turned into heaps of ashes or dust. This certainly was the case with American Civil War, that most uncivil of wars, which left a legacy of bitter hatred, injustice, and grudgingly ceded civil rights. 

Most modern vegans are too ethical, compassionate, pacific, and wise to hate everyone and burn everything in sight, all in the name of a good cause, vegans are concerned with far more than the moment of slaughter or the manner in which an animal dies. If we find fault with animal slavery -- with all the suffering, exploitation, and injustice -- we will attempt to educate and patiently work to eradicate this terrible institution. All the while we refrain from creating the demand for its products that keep the whole engine of destruction going. 

Sometimes the plight of animals gets frustrating, especially for new vegans who now "get it", that the rest of the world does not understand the plight of animals. I have a lifetime of patience in this arena, but the stress of the animals' suffering gets to me too. Just because I -- and Gandhi, Schweitzer, and many others -- advocate nonviolence doesn't mean that is the path everyone chooses. 

Some radical "vegans" seek to end the property status of nonhuman animals through violent methods. Although liberating animals may be analogous to saving a child from abuse, it is not yet accepted rationale in the eyes of society and its laws. It is admirable to want to save animals from places of abuse and place them in good homes and reveal atrocities committed against them. However, it often comes with the goal of inflicting economic damage through destruction of property. Despite precautions not to harm any animal whether human or nonhuman, the method known as "direct action" does not fit the true definition and intent of nonviolence. 

My lifetime goal is to close all the slaughterhouses. Could it be done more quickly by going on an arson rampage? Through direct action violence, one slaughterhouse gets closed for a few months, maybe permanently. The slaughterhouse's insurance premiums go up; the slaughterhouse might rebuild; maybe its slim profit is countered by economic sabotage. 

The use of arson and other violence is a sensational way to gain publicity, but it perpetuates a myth that vegans are radical and dangerous. These radical abolitionists are not practicing veganism, although some claim to be vegan. Sometimes they seek recognition by the media only to find their actions judged by humans, many of whom see only the violence in trespassing, theft, and destruction. The action is not commonly equated with an underlying noble cause.

It is again the law of supply and demand. We could temporarily reduce the supply by attacking the slaughterhouses. But because the demand for animal products still exists, people will build and use slaughterhouses to meet the demand as long as there is profit to be made. 

1 comment:

nola said...

Sorry Marcia💗 ..
((38 vegan years)).. not 36😏