Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Name, An Article, A Beginning

Howdy, folks. So begins my foray into another form of online activism - the mighty online blog. My current intention is to do podcasts, primarily, but I'll be supplementing with written articles. Plus, I thought I should get this baby of mine started with something, even just a quick post, otherwise I'll spend the rest of my days fretting about the technical aspects of audio recording.

I don't plan to get into much detail about me in this post - instead I want to focus on what this blog is all about - but I should obviously explain what qualifies me to write about vegan advocacy. I've been vegan for just over a decade now, and I've been a vegan advocate, to varying degrees, for much of that time. I've been involved in activism for various social justice issues, from international development to environmentalism to voting reform, but animal rights have been my sole focus lately, and will probably remain that way for most of my life. The scope of speciesism is so incredibly vast; just the number lives affected by it outnumber those affected by all other forms of discrimination together.

I've worked on activism by myself and in group environments. I've engaged in protests and given presentations. I've seen good results from my advocacy and also recognized very poor tactics. I founded a vegan club at the University of Victoria which will be turning 8 years old next month. It's my hope that my range of experiences will provide useful information for anyone following my blog. And, even if just one person decides to go vegan as a result of something I say or write here, then it's all worth it.

Why "Seeking Non-Speciesism"? That's a bit of a mouthful but I think it exemplifies perfectly the purpose of this blog. If you don't know what "speciesism" is - I plan to get into the details of that term in my first podcast - it is essentially discrimination based solely on a being's species. It is very similar to sexism, racism, and all the other prejudicial "isms" because the basis of the discrimination is without merit.

I am seeking a non-speciesist world, a world where every sentient creature is afforded the same moral consideration as all other sentient creatures. What does this entail? Well, in short, it would mean no sentient creature would be treated as someone else's property. For humans, that means becoming vegan.

I am also seeking non-speciesism in myself. Ten years sounds like a long time, but ten years of veganism is nothing compared to 24 years of speciesist indoctrination. Every time I call a non-human "it" or utter an idiom like, "Kill two birds with one stone," I'm exposing my own residual speciesism. I think it's important to understand that this is quite normal. After all, as an able-bodied, educated white male in an affluent country, I also have residual sexism, racism, and just about every single "ism" that's out there. These attitudes are all connected and equally harmful. We must recognize and acknowledge them in order to do anything about them.

There's a fair amount of confusion about terms like "veganism" and "animal rights". Recently, there was an article published in the Georgia Straight that explains well what it means to respect the interests of non-human animals. Do we really care about animals? Check it out here:

Thanks a bunch for reading my first post. I hope this blog proves useful to you. I always welcome feedback; questions, comments and criticism are appreciated.