Why 'Vegan Oppression' Cannot Exist

I'm a strong believer that it's a mistake to appropriate the experience or struggle of any oppressed group or individual to further our own cause, especially if our advocacy is not designed specifically to address their exploitation. As such, I believe it is inappropriate when we use how other groups are the targets of oppression to describe being vegan or to use their struggles against oppression as a metaphor for the vegan movement. I say this for the simple reason that vegans as a group are not ourselves the targets of oppression.

Complaints that vegans are an oppressed group come fairly often. Usually the complaints come from privileged individuals, such as well-to-do Whites, particularly men, who might make the claim that veganism is their struggle. (For instance, one affluent White male has claimed something as absurd as his inability to buy a veg version of the burritos at an upscale fast-food restaurant that exploits other animals is a form of "oppression.")

The fact is, veganism just isn't like most movements for social change, which are rooted in the oppressed group's collective struggle against the system that oppresses them. While the vegan movement can only remain relevant as long as it broadly opposes all oppression, it is the oppression of nonhuman animals that veganism specifically seeks to center and eliminate. That is, veganism is a movement where we occupy the privileged position of human under the very system of human supremacy that we seek to abolish.

As humans, our position in relation to other animals is closer to that of men over women, Whites over people of color, cissexuals over transsexuals, citizens over non-citizens, abled over disabled, straight over LGBQQ, and so on. In each case, the former is in the social and political position to benefit from how the latter is the target of oppression. In fact, no action is required on the part of the former to benefit from the exploitation of the latter. These benefits come from the inequities that are built into a structure of society.

Who's being oppressed?

Say a racist comment is directed toward a vegan for eating a plant-based meal based on a non-White culinary practice. The target of this racist attack is the non-White group on whose culture the meal is based. The comment also contains a speciesist attack that targets the nonhuman animals who are being promoted as a superior "food."

If the vegan eating the meal is White, then they are not actually the target of the oppressive comment either way. The comment may be meant to discourage the White vegan from supporting non-White culture and encourage the exploitation of nonhuman animals, but if successful, it is not the oppression of White vegans that is perpetuated, but the oppression of people of color and nonhuman animals.

And if the White vegan is also a straight, cissexual male, and the commenter adds in that eating the plant-based meal of non-White origin is "gay" and says something to the effect of, "Are you turning into a woman?" then the target expands to include more groups without ever actually threatening to oppress the vegan himself.

In this respect, veganism is an ally movement. It has more in common with male anti-sexist allies, White anti-racist allies and so on, than it does with the struggle of women against sexism or Blacks against racism, for instance. Vegans, like feminist men and anti-racist Whites, will inevitably have to give up some privileges afforded to us with respect to our privileged social status as humans when we make a commitment to being anti-speciesist allies. This does not mean that we are the targets of oppression anymore than men are the targets of sexism or Whites are the targets of racism.

When a White person, for example, is criticized by another White person for doing something as simple as acknowledging that racism exists, the ally is not experiencing racial oppression. They are witnessing the other person's backlash and denial. Being an ally may cost them some friendships or even a job, but it does not fundamentally alter the fact that the person moves through the world with all of the privileges of a White person, which includes the countless unseen benefits that accrue to White people at the expense of people of color. Moreover, the ability to avoid racist people is a privilege in and of itself.

Similarly, the inability of vegans to find animal-free products with the same ease with which one can find animal products does not make vegans "oppressed." It takes conscious effort to be an ally. One must necessarily go out of one's way in order to avoid participating in oppressions; that is how oppression works. Being thought of as odd or making people uncomfortable in social situations because they do not know what to feed you also does not constitute oppression. Those things are the result of standing up against the oppression of other animals, which will necessarily make people uncomfortable because something that is normally silenced and unquestioned is being called into question.

This is not to say that people who are vegan can't also be a member of a group targeted by oppression. If we are the target of sexism, racism, cissexism, xenophobic-nationalism, ableism, heterosexism, and/or some other form of oppression, then we are going to still be the target of these forms of oppression even as a vegan. But, again, this is not specifically because we're vegan.

The barriers and opposition that we experience as vegans are meant to hold the structure of human supremacy in place, not oppress us as a group of humans. So while anti-veganism is a real and persistent occurrence, it's important to remember that nonhuman animals are the true targets of this backlash, not us humans. So there is no appropriate metaphor in this regard for placing vegans in the position of an oppressed class of people.

Re: Why 'Vegan Oppression' Cannot Exist

I take your point well. But I think there is something missing, some feeling of an explanation of what you mean by the term oppression.
I think you are right that being a vegan means we are in the place of an ally, but allies are frequently systematically targeted. They certainly have more privilege than the group they are allied to, but certainly less privilege than non-allies. Part of this is giving up privilege in purposeful ways. But part of this being targeted because of our alliances. Losing your job sounds like oppression to me. Being targeted by the FBI and other law enforcement agencies as terrorists, sometimes for being nothing more than a vocal vegan, sounds like oppression to me. I think when the Nazis rounded up vegetarian leaders and put them in concentration camps, while shutting down vegetarian magazines and making the vegetarian societies illegal, that counts as oppression.

Am I being clear? I think you overstate your case, but that might be because of a certain confusion with the term oppression. But allies are certainly targets. I'm not sure it does a lot of good to ignore that violence, either.

Allies Face Opposition, Not Oppression

The mistake is in how centering ourselves as allies causes us to lose focus on whose oppression is truly being perpetuated. I mention the possibility of losing a job because that is something I have personally experienced. When management put me in a situation where I was required to go along with their attacks on a Black feminist vegan and their refusal to adopt an anti-racist policy I had to make a choice to go along or resign, so I resigned from an otherwise good and rewarding job. I'm White, so the racism that motivated me to leave my job doesn't oppress me. Yes, that was a big loss for me, and I have been unemployed for the last three years as a result, which I admit really sucks. But I wasn't the target of oppression. It wasn't about institutionalizing my oppression as a White employee. It was about maintaining the White dominance of the organization. If I didn't leave the job I would have been benefiting from White supremacy. That is, keeping the job is what would have been oppressive, but not to me.

As for the FBI and law enforcement, what needs to be acknowledged is the law enforcement and the legal system are oppressive in general. People of color, non-citizens, trans people, and poor people generally are disproportionately found in the prison system. Racism, xenophobic-nationalism, cissexism, and classism force these people into the prison-industrial complex. But there isn't a similar systematic targeting of vegans. I discuss this at length in another post where I say as a whole:

"animal activists" promote more police suppression than they receive. As a general group, most "animal activists" are more "critical to the maintenance of state power" than they are "subversive." ... activists are manufacturing increased police suppression that targets oppressed groups by actively promoting stiffer sentencing for anti-cruelty laws, and specifically criminalizing "animal cruelty" identified with poor people and people of color (i.e., dog fighting and cock fighting).

Yes, some nonhuman animal advocates are receiving so-called "enhanced" sentences. But these sentences are aimed at protecting the exploiters of nonhuman animals and the perpetuation of human supremacy. Therefore it is how speciesism targets and oppresses nonhuman animals that is behind the enhancements.

However, when the person targeted is a person of color, such a Native American like Rod Coronado, then yes, that person's imprisonment fits the pattern of oppression. Not because he is vegan, but because he is an American Indian.

This is why some people of color have denounced the glorification of illegal actions as the most radical form of activism. They know that this sort of activism privileges Whiteness. Take a systematic look at the racial breakdown of arrests, then the breakdown of cases that go before a judge, then the cases that result in convictions, and then cases that result in the most sever prison sentences. The legal system has a way of filtering out the privileged and punishing the targets of oppression.

Invoking the arrest and detention of White vegans without acknowledging the true nature of the prison-industrial complex is exactly the mistake that claiming vegans are the targets of oppression gets us. Those Whites who make it to the end of the line with a disproportionately severe prison sentence suffer what Angela Davis calls "the revenge of racism." Given the overwhelming support most White nonhuman animal advocates give to "enhanced" sentences under anti-cruelty laws I suggest we take note when it comes back to bite us in our collective White ass.

Recognizing that vegans aren't an oppressed group isn't about ignoring anything. In fact, it's just the opposite; it's about taking notice of everything in its proper context and acknowledging where the real oppression lies.

I've said in another post that being an ally means being willing to take a bullet. Although it is not entirely metaphorical, it means letting down the body armor of privilege:

It means putting myself in the line of fire, instead of standing on the sideline while oppression continues. Being an ally actually means I'm no longer willing to allow others to be the target of bullets for my benefit.

When we're bulletproof it's too easy to sit back while others are being blown away; it's too easy to ignore our privilege. Being bulletproof makes us insensitive to oppression others experience. As long as we're attached to our privileges we'll be compelled to hold on to those systems that protects us from the very oppression and violence those same systems directs at others. I think being an anti-oppression ally means divesting ourselves of the privilege that requires others to take bullets for our benefit. It means dropping our bulletproof armor so that we become more sensitive to the affects of oppression on others.

I believe it's important that as allies we put ourselves in the line of fire, but we should never for a moment forget that while we have the option of voluntarily entering the line of fire we are not its true target. And if we ever changed our minds we could leave and rejoin the sidelines, which is not an option open to the actual targets of oppression.

Re: Why 'Vegan Oppression' Cannot Exist

Hey, I wrote the rest of this post, but I decided I wanted to put this question at the top: Do you think a communist can be oppressed (for being a communist, obviously, not for any other part of the vicissitudes of identity)? Because for me the answer to that is, "yes, obviously" but I am not sure you would say yes to that.

First, let me say that I respect giving up your job rather than engaging in exploitation and furthering oppression. That is an impressive call, and one I am thankful I have not had to make. But, I'm not really sure that's what I meant. I meant getting fired for your actions, often actions from outside of the workplace. To give an example, my grandfather was a white minister who participated in the civil rights movement. For his work, including going to marches, he was kicked out of his church. I'm going to come back to this point later.

Second, I am not sure your response really helped out of a terminological jumble. So, when you say oppression, you mean the target of oppression? So when you say that vegans cannot be oppressed, you don't mean that oppressive acts cannot happen to them, but that they cannot be the targets of oppression?

Third, I'm not sure where to begin my response on questions of prisons and law enforcement. So, first, I'm been a member of prison abolition and prison reform groups. Even if you just look at last month's posts on my blog, you can find me talking about prison abolition in context of animal abolition. http://criticalanimal.blogspot.com/2010/01/some-thoughts-on-abolitionism... This is why you won't see any championing of locking up Michael Vick, etc. (Indeed, this has made me think of a pretty good blog post to try and get to, hopefully tomorrow) over at my blog. Anyway, I couldn't agree more that I wish more people who proclaimed they wanted empty cages for other animals also wanted empty cages when it comes to humans, as well. However, I think just because the prisons and police are oppressive in general certainly doesn't mean they are not oppressive specifically, as well. You make this point well when you point out how disproportionate certain groups of people are in prison as opposed to other groups. So, let me state that I wasn't just talking about white vegans who are being targeted by the cops, but any and all vegans. Including, again, ones that are not even involved in property damage. Obviously there are multiple forms of oppressions that seem to target people of color who are also AR activists. But it is the AR activism is part of this multiple forms of oppression. Let me give another example. As we all know the first people to be thrown into concentration camps in Hitler's Germany were communists, political dissidents, and labor organizers. However, the first of these groups were Jewish communists, political dissidents, and labor organizers. It was the way these people were doubly targeted that made them the very first targets of the camps.

Fourth, I'd like to follow up a bit from the second point. It seems to me that your argument is that in order to be oppressed, you have to be the target of oppression. Or even a step further, you have to be the primary target of oppression. In this way there is a certain definitional tautology, allies can never be (primary targets of) oppression. Vegans are allies, ergo they cannot be oppressed. So, if I say that people are being fired for their veganism, or being harassed by cops, or given enhanced sentences, or were thrown in the camps in Nazi Germany, etc; you'd just say that the target aren't these people but rather the animals. Which, you know, is kinda true. But I don't buy your tautology. I don't think the only people oppressed are the primary targets of oppression. This is a think a necessary thing to recognize. Allies are targeted on purpose. As a way of destroying coalitions, but also as a way of purging "traitors." This isn't an accident, it isn't aiming for the oppressed and taking out an ally by mistake. It is a purposeful strategy of normalizing society. If we ignore this we ignore an important strategic element of the way power operates, and we ignore an important way coalitions are destroyed. That seems like a bad strategic mistake. I know you talk about acknowledging where the real oppression lies, but I dunno. I'm not the oppression police, and I'm not comfortable with telling someone they aren't experiencing real oppression.

Fifth, I know there are several objections that can be made to this. And I guess I should try to answer a few of them. (A) It's not as bad as other forms of oppression. True, for the most part. Not sure how useful this argument is, unless we want to start saying there isn't enough justice to go around. (B) We don't need to go around as allies and talking about "Poor is me" blah blah blah. Yeah, I think that is bad form. Let's reject that! But just because we don't want to put the oppression as allies front and center, it doesn't mean there is none there or that it needs to be denied. (C) Alliance oppression is different from other types of oppression. Yes, of course. All types of oppression, while often interlocking, are different from each other. (D) Allies can just stop being allies and walk away from all of this. I dunno, that seems pretty obviously a type of oppression. Because while there are privileges I get for my various identity positions, there are also all sorts joys and pleasures we get from our coalitional work, and our work for justice. There is a plenitude out there and a celebration that we get to be a part of. There are certain types of people who can figure out how to be in normalizing society without raising red flags, even though they belong to an oppressed group. We know that forcing people is a type of oppression. If we walk away from our veganism we don't just hurt other animals, we hurt ourselves. Now I understand other animals are in a way worse position than me being not a vegan, but that doesn't change the oppression there.

Lastly, I understand there are some problems you are trying to address with your post. Among other things, the issue of what Elisabeth Spelman and Maria Lugones have called boomerang perception. That the seer, while offering what seems to be a benevolent action is really engaging in an arrogant action. They are, in short, positing themselves as the original and true, and therefore turning the other into the fake and copy. I know there is a fear that if we let otherwise privileged vegans talk about their oppression, they will arrogantly claim to understand the oppression of others. And worse yet, justify a single-issue, single-focus around the animal rights movement. We got to fight that, without a doubt. We got enough of that in this AR movement as it is. But, I don't think that means there isn't an organized oppression that allies suffer, and that vegans as allies also suffer this. I think denying this has its own pitfalls. Strategically and collectively.
Now, in general I don't think most vegans are particularly oppressed in our society. But it can and does happen, and I think we need to admit that, as well.

State Opposition ≠ Vegan Oppression

I respect that you took the time to write this long reply, and I can see that you have a need to see vegans as oppressed. My site is not really about debating; I put the ideas out there, and I can explain and clarify them. If you disagree, fine, but debating them is not something I'm going to invest a lot of time in because that's just not the purpose of the site.

Your second to last line says, "Now, in general I don't think most vegans are particularly oppressed in our society. " Oppression happens to social groups. We don't say that in general people of color, LGBTTQQ people, disabled people, noncitizens, poor people, women, etc. aren't oppressed. So your comment here is working in a different framework of "oppression" that is more individualistic and works on some sort of case-by-case basis. But oppression isn't simply any negative thing that happens to someone.

To clarify, a definitions that I use on The Vegan Ideal to define oppression comes from Rita Hardiman and Bailey W. Jackson in "Conceptual Foundations for Social Justice Courses":

Oppression exists when one social group, whether knowingly or unconsciously, exploits another social group for its own benefit. Social oppression is distinct from situation of simple brute force in that it is an interlocking system that involves ideological control as well as domination and control of the social institutions and resources of the society, resulting in a condition of privilege for the agent group relative to the disenfranchisement and exploitation of the target group.

Let's leave aside for a moment how you ignore that most communists and labor organizers come from the poor and working class and are in fact oppressed people struggling for social justice. Your examples, which I find problematic and inappropriate, seem to be concerned with "political repression" as opposed to social oppression. These are not the same things and shouldn't be conflated. I do not agree that "green is the new red." Nor do I see vegans being systematically rounded up, purged, detained, executed, sent to camps, etc.

Long before the Bush administration declared "war on terror," a vegan organization I organized was being monitored and was under the surveillance of the FBI. I know this because I confronted the chief of police after some people told me he was questioning them about their involvement in the group. His response was that he was required to notify the FBI of any nonhuman animal advocacy organizations. A couple years later a local journalist let me know that the local animal exploiters had bragged to him that they work closely with the FBI to keep tabs on the local nonhuman animal advocacy groups, of which mine was the only one. The actions my group organized and promoted included such disruptive actions as vegan-based speakers, screenings, tableings, leafleting, and most dangerous of all – free vegetarian cooking classes attended mostly by middle-aged housewives from the community. So I'm aware of the state sponsored political hostility to vegan organizing, but this does not mean vegans are being oppressed. And the level of political animosity is nothing like the examples of repression you're invoking.

Re: State Opposition ≠ Vegan Oppression

We disagree, cool. I'll keep reading the blog and tell you to keep up the good work. I won't respond, because it is clear that you don't really want a response (which is fine).

Except you say "I respect that you took the time to write this long reply, and I can see that you have a need to see vegans as oppressed." I don't have any particular need to see vegans as oppressed. This isn't some psychoanalytic issue with me. It is simply an issue of strategy/coalition building for me. Keep up the good work, and keep fighting the good fight.

Re: State Opposition ≠ Vegan Oppression

Hello.

I read over the long discussion about the idea of vegan oppression. Let me first say how much I deeply respect you and everything you do for animals. I found it quite interesting and informative but I still find myself with a couple of questions. What confuses me the most is why is oppression based on people's most deeply held belief so much less offensive then oppression based on some other category? All I would add to the discussion is the question of religion. You claim that those who say that vegan are not really oppressed because they always chose not to be vegan. It seems to me that you could equally say that people being oppressed because of their religion are not "really" being oppressed because they could always change their religious faith. That argument does not make a great deal of sense to me. Oppression of deeply held ethical view is still oppression--part of the oppression is that you cannot chose to hold your most deeply held views. And veganism is my most deeply held view.

What also confuses me is how your own discussion is so filled with heartbreaking proof and examples of how much you have personally been oppressed because you are vegan. I mean losing her job? being watched by the FBI? If that is not oppression what is?

I mean I realize that you say that social oppression is different than state oppression--but that confuses me as well. I mean it seems to me that losing your job is social oppression not state oppression and most of the way that I feel oppressed as a vegan feel is because of social oppression. i.e. being made fun of, mocked, not feed etc. So if you only define oppression as social oppression it would seem to be more the case that vegan are oppressed in our society. Not to mention I am unclear on why social oppression is any worse, or a truer form of oppression, then state oppression if the two can even be so neatly divided. Personally I would rather be ostrized then put into jail for excessive prison sentence (where I would not be able eat since they do not sever vegan food in prison). Have you had a chance to read the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act?

Thank you again for all you do for animals, women, and so many others.

Re: Why 'Vegan Oppression' Cannot Exist

I think your point is well articulated and well taken.

Interestingly, I had never paid much attention to the characterization of vegans (by vegans, I presume) as oppressed, because like you, I believe that it's not about us, it's about the animals. Rather, the oppression related to veganism refers to the global oppression of non-human animals, who are used and abused simply for taste, convenience, and tradition.

The problem of the oppression of non-human animals, however, differs in two important ways from previous rights issues that have preceded it. 1) As humans, we do have an inherent (evolutionarily-prepared) interest in maintaining our lives over those of non-human animals; and 2) The oppressed individuals in this case are unable to defend or stand up for themselves.

With respect to the first issue, I am NOT implying that because we are humans, we are more deserving of life, power, or ownership than are non-human animals. I simply mean that comparing the exploitation of animals to the exploitation of African-Americans, for example, often serves only to offend those who may otherwise be in agreement with the movement, by comparing their "human" suffering to that of animals. Of course, we want to yell out: But species-ism is no different than racism! But the truth is - it IS different. Most vegans would choose to rescue their child over their dog if they absolutely had to. (Oh - how people love to "test" us with their hypothetical scenarios...). The response to this truth, of course, is that I can choose to rescue my child in an either-or situation, and still believe that it is wrong to eat, wear, test on, and exploit for entertainment, animals who have as much right as we do not to suffer.

Second, and more importantly, vegans are speaking up for a group who have no ability to speak for themselves. As such, we may feel as though we are taking their oppression onto our shoulders, even though, technically, this is not the case. But, when vegans complain that we can't find enough food at the grocery stores, or are embarrassed to ask for vegan meals in various situations, we downplay our accountability, and as such, our belief that using animals is wrong. We need to stop apologizing, stop complaining, stop calling out "we are oppressed!, because that only serves to solidify the views of some omnivores that being vegan is difficult, weird, inconvenient, and alienating. Instead - bring delicious vegan food to share with everyone at the party! Point to the joys we experience by knowing we are eating, and living according to our consciences. Love being vegan. It's a great choice, and can have great effects, if only we would promote it as such.

Solidarity, not "speaking for"

"As humans, we do have an inherent (evolutionarily-prepared) interest in maintaining our lives over those of non-human animals"

I think this statement is rooted in speciesism. That is, it is an ideologically motivated statement used to uphold human dominance over other animals. People say the same thing to justify all kinds of oppression--we don't have to care about "those people" because they are of a different race, culture, nationality, gender, sexuality, and so on. Rather than thinking that this line of reasoning is suddenly accurate as applied to other animals, I think we need to question the accuracy of this statement.

"The oppressed individuals in this case are unable to defend or stand up for themselves."

Say what? This statement is pure speciesism. But I like that someone who practices veganism said it because it clearly illustrates the original point about how vegans are allies. That is, vegans are the oppressors. Not the oppressed.

Saying that animals are helpless and in need of "protection" is a popular justification people try to use to continue their exploitation of animals. E.g., farmers are doing animals a favor by "protecting them from predators" and animals in zoos (allegedly) live longer than their free-living counterparts and so on. Thinking that animals are helpless is speciesist.

Other animals very clearly do defend and stand up for themselves. Ropes, chains, cages, stalls, whips, bullhooks, tanks, prods, collars, leashes, reins, etc. are all evidence of animals' resistance. We wouldn't need tools of control if animals weren't constantly resisting.

I can hardly stand watching people walk their dogs because so often the dogs are clearly resisting being controlled (with varying degrees of success). Jason Hribal has an article discussing animals' resistance in the entertainment industry: When Animals Resist Their Exploitation: Kasatka, the Sea World Orca. Check out Deer fights back against hunter and a video of a deer fighting off a hunter.

But rather than listing examples here, I think the more important thing to think about is how could it be that we could think that animals aren't standing up for themselves? How does that mindset affect our activism? Here is one answer:

"vegans are speaking up for a group who have no ability to speak for themselves."

Emi Koyama has a great little piece on the danger of "speaking for" animals. I take Koyama's call for accountability very seriously, and I am interested in figuring out ways to do that.

As I just explained, animals are speaking up for themselves. And that resistance is, to me, the work that I am attempting to support with my veganism--as an ally.

Re: Solidarity, not "speaking for"

this. yes. all of this.

Re: Why 'Vegan Oppression' Cannot Exist

I really enjoyed this post. You articulated the problem of multiple oppressions and white privilege in veganism very well, and I just wanted to let you know that I added your website to my blogroll on Animal Visions. Thanks for contributions, once again. Keep up the awesome work!

Re: Why 'Vegan Oppression' Cannot Exist

Hi Ida,

I disagree with you. As French Veggie Pride committee, we have been working in the last 10 years to show the existence of vegephobia, to explain what it is and how it works. Of course the animals are the intended victims of the discriminations against vegans; indeed, our demonstration is a protest, by people who are vegetarians and vegans for the animals, against the slaughter of the animals, and not a celebration of the "veggie lifestyle" whatever the reasons (for this reasons, we never recognized the demonstrations which took place in North America as real Veggie Pride demonstrations).

My thesis is that when a vegan is discriminated, it is because of his/her opposition to the slaughter of the animals. Since the exploitation of the animals is one of the (ideological and material) pillars of the human society, the vegan person is seen as someone who is not entirely a member of the society. And the higher the symbolic value of meat, the higher the discrimination against those who refuse to participate in that veneration. Historians and anthropologists Detienne and Vernant, and sociologist Fischler say that in Ancient Greece the consumption of meat was highly ritual: at its core was the sacrifice of an animal, whose body was divided in parts which reproduced the social order. Each citizen received the part that corresponded to his social status. Therefore, according to Detienne, those who did not eat meat, such as Pythagora's followers, were seen as opponents to the political institutions of the Greek city-state. I am convinced that there still is an implicit meaning of this kind underlying all the discriminations against vegetarians and vegans.

Here in France, there are systematic differences of treatment of vegetarian and vegan persons: we can not have correct meals in hospitals, we have problems to find doctors just accepting our choice without judging us, and a doctor who is really informed about veganism is nowhere to be found. Consider that vegetarian and vegan diets have been classed as practices potentially sectarian (cults) by the government's "mission of vigilance against the sectarian tendencies" (MIVILUDES). And that the nutritional information spread by the French Ministry of Health declares that vegetarian and, even more, all vegan diets are dangerous, especially for pregnant women and children.

We people engaged in the French Veggie Pride are fighting for our right to be vegan without being treated as half-citizens, and we are perfectly aware that concretely, this struggle is in favour of the animals: first, because if there are no more discriminations against vegans it will be easier for other people to become vegan; second, because if we people who respect the animals and refuse to exploit them are fully recognized as citizens and members of society, this will challenge the idea that society must be based on the sacrifice of an animal. If the right not to eat meat is recognized as a civil right, this will lead to the recognition that veganism, and the animal issue in general, is a political matter.

What do you think about it? If there is anything unclear please tell me: it is not simple for me to explain my thoughts in English. I developped these ideas in some texts that I wrote in French and in Italian: if you read any of these languages, I can give you the links.

Agnese