Animal Law Professor: Veganism Part of the Commitment to Non-Violence

Pulitzer-winning journalist Chris Hedges interviews Gary L. Francione, ‘Board of Governors Distinguished Professor of Law and Nicholas deB. Katzenbach Scholar of Law and Philosophy at Rutgers University School of Law-Newark.  Francione received his M.A. in philosophy and his J.D. from the University of Virginia.

Some points detailed in the interview:

  • “Veganism is part of a commitment to non-violence … It’s all one issue.  It’s a fundamental issue of justice.”
  • Vegans are often called ‘elitist’, when in fact, as Francione explains, “[t]here is nothing more elitist than the standard Western diet.”
  • On whether animal rights detract from human rights: “Go ahead and focus on human rights, but you still have to eat three times a day and buy clothes.  When you do, eat vegan and don’t buy leather, wool, or silk.”  [Side note on the torture and exploitation involved in producing honey for humans.]
  • Indeed, “[v]eganism leads us to many other issuesWe shouldn’t be exploiting women, we shouldn’t be exploiting children.  We should care that there’s a Palestinian genocide going on.”
  • “I say to people, do you think animals matter morally?  I very rarely encounter people who say no.  Almost everybody agrees animals matter morally.  And I say well, then fine, whatever else is the case, we can’t justify imposing suffering and death on them for reasons of pleasure [their taste], amusement [taste], or convenience [i.e. easier not to change what I’m already doing]. … We’re not on a desert island, we’re not on a lifeboat.”
  • Francione points out that since no one with any authority can argue that a healthy vegan diet is not at least as healthy, if not more healthy, than even a carefully-planned diet involving animal exploitation and abuse, then “the best justification we have” for harming and killing animals so we can eat them is pleasure, “the fact that they taste good.”

  • In Eat Like You Care, Francione and Charlton illustrate that distressing, harming, exploiting, or killing animals because we like the way they taste, i.e. for the sake of personal pleasure, makes us morally equal to Michael Vick and other people who also exploit and abuse animals with no better justification than that it brings them pleasure.  They also devote individual chapters to virtually every excuse possible for not going vegan, as well as to not-immediately-apparent issues, such as the torture, sadness and death involved in the dairy industry.

Francione points out that a vegan diet is not only easy, but is a joy rather than a sacrifice.  When eating a healthy vegan diet, one not only feels physically, but morally better.

The vegan food pyramid:

Vegan cookbooks:


Don’t worry much about protein.  It is highly overblown in our culture, and as Registered Dietitian and former director of the National Health Association, Jeff Novick, points out, “humans are virtually certain of getting enough protein from plant sources if they consume sufficient calories.”  It’s really about making sure one eats healthfully and gets the correct amount of calories personal size and fitness goals.

The real problem with protein is that most Westerners get far too much, leading to many debilitating health problems.  “Excess protein has been linked with osteoporosis, kidney disease, calcium stones in the urinary tract, and some cancers.”

Still worried?  Don’t be.  All the information needed and more is easily searchable and accessible online and in books.

And check out one of the strongest men in the world, vegan strongman Patrik Baboumian:

And some of our animal friends safe in farm sanctuaries:

“If a man aspires towards a righteous life, his first act of abstinence is from injury to animals.” – Albert Einstein

“As long as there are slaughterhouses, there will be battlefields.” – Leo Tolstoy

“What should move our very hearts and sicken us,… is the realization that animals are morally innocent, that they have done no harm. Next they have no power whatever of resisting; it is the cowardice and tyranny of which they are victims which makes their suffering so especially touching… there is something so very dreadful, something so dreadful, so satanic, in tormenting those who have never harmed us and who cannot defend themselves, who are utterly in our power …” – Linzey, Animal Gospel, 65

“Vegan fucking power!” – Patrik Baboumian

Robert Barsocchini is an internationally published author who focuses on force dynamics, national and global, and also writes professionally for the film industry.  Updates on Twitter.  Author’s review of the historical background to the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement.

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