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Being Vegan in a Speciesist World

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Taking into account this cultural context, becoming vegan does require us to step outside of the current paradigm. Becoming vegan means renouncing one’s personal stake in the most widespread and socially accepted injustice of our time, and to do this, we have to be willing to see nonhuman slavery for what it is. That kind of honesty requires some candid reflection, and as a result, it’s possible that some new vegans will experience a sense of alienation from others, including one’s own family and friends, and possibly even society as a whole.

I believe it is this experience that often leads vegans to question their resolve, and in some cases, even go back on their commitment to nonviolence, in favor of greater assimilation within society. Because of the intense social pressure against vegan living, I think it’s extremely important that people who are moved by the values of veganism be clear from the outset as to which is more important to them: living according to their own highest ideals, or being easily accepted by a larger social group that does not share those ideals? To a growing number of people, there is no question which matters more, but to many, it can make the difference between maintaining one’s commitment and ‘falling off the wagon’.

But this does not need to be the case. Rather than seeking acceptance by abandoning the practical application of one’s moral principles, there are ways to find the sense of community we all need, by reaching out to other people who share our ideals.

As our collective awareness and understanding about the intrinsic rights of animals grows, the vegan community is expanding all over the world. In many urban locations, there are groups who meet for potlucks and social events, especially on occasions such as Thanksgiving, when many are seeking an alternative to traditional gatherings which focus on the consumption of animal parts. Even for those who don’t live near a city, the growing popularity of online venues is making it increasingly easy to reach others who have rejected their social conditioning in favor of a gentler, more peaceful way of life.

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Angel Flinn

Angel Flinn is Director of Outreach for Gentle World – a non-profit educational organization whose core purpose is to help build a more peaceful society, by educating the public about the reasons for being vegan, the benefits of vegan living, and how to go about making the transition.

114 comments

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11:28AM PDT on Oct 24, 2013

Wonderful article -- thank you. Thanks also for the quotes.

5:35PM PST on Dec 29, 2011

working towards being vegan...

5:43PM PST on Dec 1, 2011

I went Vegan 7 years ago and I never looked back, it was the best thing I ever did!

8:20AM PST on Nov 20, 2011

to roger b. if you fel you must eat meat please eat organic. research why.

8:19AM PST on Nov 20, 2011

go organic vegan. best decision you can make for yourself and mother nature

10:38AM PST on Nov 12, 2011

What bothers me is that animals eat animals too.
If this planet is a creation and not a spontaneous occurence then what kind of creator would be so damn cruel.
Still, as humans we do have the choice which animals do not. We can, not only survive but do better by putting compassion first rather than our taste buds.

12:27PM PST on Nov 10, 2011

I have enough on my regret list. Adding the pittifully short and tortured lives of slaughtered meat for my salivatory pleasure isn't going to be one of them.

12:04PM PST on Nov 7, 2011

flax seed :) Make sure it's ground though, if not, your body won't absorb it.

7:10AM PST on Nov 7, 2011

James, if you can find a ***cheaper*** way for me to obtain those oils and it happens to be vegan, I would appreciate it.

7:06AM PST on Nov 7, 2011

Dear James, from my limited understanding, it is the DHA, EPA, and other Omega 3 oils in fish oils that keep me from being so depressed that I am in danger of killing myself.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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