Thursday, March 09, 2006

Meat Eaters and AR? Hypocriticial, or not?

This is a very common topic on AR boards. Should omnivorous animal rights activists be considered hypocritical?

Here are the two sides and their views:

Hypocrites: Going vegetarian or vegan saves over 95 lives per year on average, and all you are doing is making dietary changes. Telling people to be kind to animals is hypocritical when you are you are eating them and paying for their slaughter with your dollar.

Not Hypocrites:
They are not hypocrites because even though they eat meat, they are helping animals, even if it is on a smaller scale than not being vegetarian/vegan.

There is also the middle ground:

They are hypocrites, because they are trying to save the same things they eat, yet at the same time they are helping animals. Even though they pay for the killing of animals, they are trying to help animals in other ways.

I would like everyone who reads this to comment on how they feel about this issue. It would be nice to see what everyone thinks of this, since it is a highly debated topic. I think many people would like to see this, especially so they can understand the views of people who do not agree or have different views from them. If possible, I'd be interested (and others would be too) in hearing from an omnivorous Animal Rights activist.

Also, what about ovo-lacto and non-vegan vegetarians? Are they hypocritical too, or is there too much pressure on them? You decide!

Thanks for your time, its much appreciated by myself and many others!

********** Please NO arguing, insults, jabs, attacks, threats, etc etc. **********


Sexy Vegan Chick said...

Here are my views (I knew y'all wanted to hear them, since uh, I posted this!)

I think that meat eating ARAs are a bit hypocritical. While I am a strong believer of that every little action counts, people who tell others to be nice to animals while eating a chicken sandwhich dont exactly appear very caring. Its nice that they want to help animals, but eating them and paying for their slaughter isnt helping them one bit.


I think non-vegan vegetarians are definitely not major hypocrites. Many vegans start out as ovo-lactos (myself included) in the goal of becoming vegan. Many dumb (or blindly caring) parents also do not allow their children to become vegans, but will allow them to be vegetarians.
While I still believe that eating dairy, eggs, and honey is copletely 100% wrong and immoral, they are still are saving the lives of many animals. For some people giving up meat is hard, and they need a source of protein before they can do another flip into veganism.

Not many 11-year olds (like myself at the time) can go vegan in a non-veg family and still expect to eat healthily. First of all, you cant be as articulate or as clear as someone who is older or who has had more experience in the subject. Second, the older you are, generally the more repsonsible for knowing what you need. I was able to go ovo-lacto vegetarian for 2 years while still being moderately healthy. Many kids under 13 cannot keep themselves healthy without parental help (which is often not available). Now that I am older, I am more responsible and I am more aware of what I need.

What this boils down to is that I believe veganism is the best, but non-vegan vegetarians are still making a difference and are putting themselves a step in the direction of veganism.

Anonymous said...

Hey Allie,

I found your blog from Vegan Lunch Box. Good for you!

I'm a vegetarian and my husband and I are going vegan. I know how you feel about the hypocrisy of meat eaters for animal rights, as well as the lesser hypocrisy of ovo-lacto vegetarians.

But I think the most important attitude people can take is that every little bit of cruelty prevention helps. I would love to be able to wave some kind of magic wand and make the whole world vegan, but that's not going to happen. My own transformation from carnivore to vegetarian was a very interval and private thing, when I realized that my love for animals and for all the life around me meant I just couldn't eat meat anymore.

Although it now makes perfect sense to you and to me why eating animals and exploiting them is awful and insane, other people have to work through a lifetime of prejudices and habits and denials. And I think it is in the best interest of animals to be patient with anyone expressing a desire to help animals as they are in the process of opening their hearts towards their fellow creatures, because that is what they are doing, and once you open your heart a little, it's easier to open it more fully, and then open it all the way.

This is why as much as I agree with what PETA does, I don't always agree with HOW they do it. Because getting in someone's face and telling them they are a murderer is only going to make people defensive -- and these are people who are already shut down in such a way that they pet their dog but eat bacon. You know? I wish PETA would have a campaign whose theme was "It's Nice To Be Nice" which is more about encouraging how good it feels to just know you are doing the right thing, rather than stuff that is designed to make people feel ashamed and shut down -- because it is being shut down that makes meat eating possible a lot of the time.

I'm reading this fascinating book by Matthew Scully, _Dominion_. In every other respect I disagree with this guy: he's a former speechwriter for Pres. Bush, for starters. But he argues so movingly and persuasively that the only decent and loving thing human beings can and MUST do is leave animals alone and treat them with kindness. He argues for a bill he would call "The Humane Farming Act" that would ban factory farming and guarantee that farm animals have a decent space to live in, with mobility and access to the outdoors. You and I don't want ANY animals to be eaten: but getting your average American to at least want to halt the obscenity of factory farming is a start towards a more widespread recognition that animals deserve to be treated as creatures and not as merchandise.

So I think any good-will towards animals needs to be encouraged, even though it's a lot more emotional work on our end.

My husband was veg when we met and I still ate meat. He never lectured me or acted like it was a problem -- and I changed on my own, probably because he helped open my heart so very much. If he hadn't been patient with me I might not have arrived at this place.

Oh, and by the way, I sing French songs in a band -- you might like us. Our website is

All the best,


Tony - FoodsForLife said...

I think Animal rights people who eat and wear animals need some Vegan DHA EPA then they would have the brains to think it through and see they'd help more animals just by not eating them.

dogg said...

my mom used to be a vegan.....
i think she still is!

Kat said...

even though im not a vegan or a vegetarian, vegans ROKKK!!!!!!!!!!

silly rabbit said...

Kat, just out of curiosity, why aren't you a vegetarian or a vegan then?

Sexy Vegan Chick said...

Her parents would never allow it. I've met them once, but I know what would happen.

Anonymous said...

This all just makes me so made. Not you. But you know who.

Anonymous said...

I don't think it's useful to label people as hypocrites. It doesn't make sense to me why someone would work so hard to save a few kitties and then eat other animals. On the other hand, I didn't figure out how great veganism is until I was 23! All we can do is educate and lead by example until more and more people see the light! Like the one person said, every bit helps.

Luke said...

Hey Allie,

First of all, I don't think carnivores even enter the discussion - the willful and total participation in the exploitation of animals and somehow proclamation of animal rights is ludicrous.

Secondly, although I think most people would probably disagree with this stance I think vegetarians who have no intention of becoming vegan or at least making a concerted effort to do so (the time of transition is not an issue as long as products are slowly being eliminated from their diet) are very hypocritical.

One might consider that the direct and immediate saving of lives that occurs is beneficial (which, to some degree it obviously is) but not the detrimental effects that the non-seriousness, promotion of welfarism and the notion that it is acceptable to simply stop at vegetarianism projects to others.

The dairy industry, almost no matter how you look at it has inherently more suffering than that of standard meat production: the constant rape and insemination of cows, the converting of calves into veal, the up to 100 pounds of milk produced daily and ultimately, the slaughter of an usable cow involves more suffering than just the horrific slaughter of meat cattle.

Moreover, the promotion of welfarism (the idea of just reforming the systems of exploitation instead of struggling for their abolition) that occurs when people see and interpret vegetarians could be deemed more detrimental than if the said vegetarian was an omnivore. It does essentially nothing to reduce the demand for animal products and achieve abolition.

Welfarism is discussed more articulately than I can here: Veganism: The Fundamental Principle of the Abolitionist Movement and here: the VeganFreaks: the odd logic of welfarism

Sorry about the rant and especially when I got off topic but vegetarians who have no intention of becoming vegan are more hypocritical and are having a more detrimental effect than they would like to believe.


Luke said...

Edit: I meant "the slaughter of an unusable cow" instead of "the slaughter of an usable cow"

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