Animal-rights activists are the ones that, unfortunately, often get tagged as 'crazies'. Then, all vegans get put in the same boat. I agree with those who say that not everyone does this. However, for the times it does happen, vegans need to be able to defend themselves and explain why. Let's start with the reasons that make people wonder about those that seek to put down animal-rights activists.
1) They speak for those who can't
Animals that are intended for consumption, either for eating, wearing, sitting on or for soap, need to endure a life of filthy living spaces, tight confinement without so much as room to turn around, lack of care, and separation from their offspring. Nothing about this is natural, and I'm sure God never intended for us to treat them this way. And, as though this isn't enough, they are tortured while they are killed by being hung upside down then dipped in boiling water and skinned without ensuring they are unconscious.
2) Violence begets violence
Animal-rights activists don't place animals over people. Have you heard the saying 'you can know a lot about people by finding out how they treat their animals'? If animals are treated violently, Tolstoy says, there will be war. Abusing animals isn't right, just as abusing people isn't right, either.
Ninety-nine percent of animal rights activists are pacifists. Violence, whether it is towards animals or humans, is disturbing. It takes many forms: abuse, physical and emotional.
Make-up doesn't need to be tested on animals. If it does, ask yourself what's in it; you surely shouldn't be using it. There is no reason to take animals out of their natural homes and torture them like this. Activists don't come into your home, take you away, then torture you to know if they can use certain products on their skin. They are asking you not to do the same to animals.
4) We're not 'freaks'
Yes, animal-rights activists are a minority. But they're not freaks. They are vegan because they refuse to torture and abuse animals. So, if they are on a street corner talking about it and you refuse to listen, just move on. They won't stop doing it just because you disagree. They are confident they are doing the right thing.
5) They're not 'beliefs', they're understandings
Animal-rights activists took the time to find out about this. They are not beliefs; they are understandings of what is really going on. Most people know nothing about factory farming, and it definitely isn't something that needs to be 'believed in' as though it is a religion. Neither is veganism. These are facts.
No one becomes vegan just to be different, nor is it a label they carry around as a mask. They do it to draw attention to a problem in society.
Animal cruelty is like rape, murder, and physical abuse. Vegans are not just 'different'. It doesn't take all kinds to form a society. Some we can do without. A plant-based diet would not be a way to eliminate variety on this planet, the same way that those against violence, war and murder don't think there would be something missing on this planet without them.
6) Who's really the crazy one?
Sure, animal-rights activists have done a few wild things. But, the animal fur industry rips the skin off the animal while it's still alive. Or, cows get slit open for their guts to fall out while they are still conscious. Who is the crazier of the two?
Image credit: Tobias Akerboom (at hutmeelz)