Telling it Like it is

Abolitionists tend to say what we mean. We don’t pussy foot around the issues. We want to liberate animals. We believe that being vegan is the easy and obvious solution. We ask people to go vegan. Simple, straight forward, honest and effective.

The Word is ‘Vegan’

Other animal organisations follow a far more complicated strategy when choosing the terms and concepts they promote. Firstly, they don’t want to alienate people by using the ‘V’ word. Yes, unfortunately many people do have the false perception that being vegan is extreme. Rather than correcting this misconception and educating people on how easy and joyous a vegan lifestyle is, welfarists try to avoid it altogether. They then attempt to contort other words into a palatable format to communicate a concept that they do not describe. For example, terms like ‘meat-free’ and ‘vegetarian’. When questioned on this policy, they assure you that even though they are using these other terms, what they really mean is ‘vegan’.

This ambiguity not only backfires by reinforcing the prejudice against veganism, it also results in confusion. It is disingenuous and at best a compromise; but ultimately it is a betrayal of the animals. Whatever the hidden agenda, the public understands the terminology to mean that it is OK to eat chickens, fish, dairy products and eggs. Because that is what the 1,000’s of pamphlets, websites and television adverts are saying. This could end up causing suffering for more animals than before.

If pigs could talk, they wouldn't beat about the bush, they would ask people to be vegan. Photo © iStock janecat.

In addition, the word ‘meat’ is in itself a betrayal of an animal as it is defining her as food. We have created words to distance ourselves from the sentience of the animals we eat. The non-human animals we know as pigs, chickens, cows and calves are instead described as pork, chicken, beef and veal. According to Google Trends, ‘vegan’ is gaining popularity as a search term. The term ‘meat-free’ has not had sufficient searches to even yield a result. Let us hope that the large organisations’ use of this term does not increase its popularity as a search term.

Veganism is gaining popularity as a search term on Google, overtaking vegetarian searches. Meatless Mondays and meat-free don't even feature on the chart Dec '12 - Dec '15
Veganism is gaining popularity as a search term on Google, overtaking vegetarian searches. Meatless Mondays and meat-free don’t even feature on the chart Dec ’12 – Dec ’15


Let’s Avoid Oxymorons

Secondly, there is a disturbing trend of coupling two words of opposite meanings together eg ‘humane slaughter’. Otherwise known as an oxymoron. This practice of double-speak is confounding the issue even further and delaying the emancipation of animals. The public hear a clear message that it is morally acceptable to kill and eat an animal when it has been rubber stamped ‘humane‘. This does not in any way help people to understand that animals are sentient beings who have an interest in continuing to live.

If we take the concept of animal rights seriously, we need to be transparently honest, without hidden agendas. If we are striving for the end of all animal use, we need to be explicit and accurate with our word choices. Let’s say what we mean and mean what we say.

For more clarity on this subject, visit Elated’s
Glossary of Terms.


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