Now I’m not a vegan, and I probably never will be for various reasons, but I do have a great respect for those who are able to give up meat and dairy products for life for a cause that they believe to be worthy. Being a vegan takes strength and dedication and we shouldn’t forget that.
However a few inappropriate images keep circulating around social media, these images compare a black person being lynched during the Jim Crow era, with a pig being hung from a tree, or pictures of malnourished animals in cages, compared to the Jews in concentration camps. With the caption often something along the lines of, “only the victims have changed: speciesism is the new racism. This brutal racism is designed to add shock value – to force people into changing their diets. In reality, the only message these images send is that veganism is for white people.
Not only are these images a complete insult to the black and Jewish vegans within the movement, but these images also force many minority groups to make their own spaces within these wider movements, such as identifying as a black vegan as opposed to just a vegan.
Most people are against animal abuse of any sort, but not everyone can become a vegan because of financial, dietary and cultural reasons, and these disturbing images aren’t going to change that. For the longest time I didn’t know any of the benefits of being vegan, such as the health benefits and the environmental benefits, yet I hated the vegan movement because all I had seen, were the animal abuse comparisons to rape and lynching, which did nothing but anger me.
It doesn’t matter how strongly you feel about animal rights, it is completely wrong to use images of other group’s oppression to highlight this. Personally I believe it is offensive in itself to compare a human being to an animal but I do recognize that a huge part of being a vegan is that vegans believe that animals are equal to humans and deserve the same rights – which I don’t have a problem with, but what I do have a problem with, is these particular images as it is highly offensive to use another group’s history of racism and oppression to support your own agenda.