2018 off to a great start

With record numbers reported of people signed up to do Veganuary this year (160,000+) it seems like 2018 is going to be a great year for veganism.

And after our stall on Saturday we met lots of locals that have pledged to go vegan for January. After chatting to us though I think most of them are gonna stick with it 😉

What we would hope is that even though a lot of focus is put on dietary changes, veganism isn’t actually about food. Don’t get me wrong, plant-based eating is super important and something that vegans do every day but veganism is a philosophy. Please make time to connect with the reasons that people choose to be vegan. Remember that even though plant-based treats are amazing, it’s all about abstaining from harming others.

We wish everyone the best for their transition to veganism and offer our support to anyone that needs it.

Boycott Vegan ‘Pride’ Parade

A group called Go Vegan – London are planning a Vegan ‘Pride’ Parade in London in August. We are calling on all vegans to boycott this event and unfollow their page until the organisers apologise and change the name of the event.

Whilst on the surface this may seem like a harmless and positive event, we couldn’t disagree more. Pride came from the need to stand up to literal violent oppression. Like, literally needing to not be beaten up in the street or murdered for a thing we have no choice about. Vegans may often feel marginalised, but they have not suffered the systemic, violent oppression that has been endured by LGBTQIA+ people. In 2018, no vegans will be banned from marrying, or given the death penalty for their choice to be vegan, but many LGBTQIA+ people will be, because of their gender or sexuality.

We have the ability to choose to be vegan. Being LGBTQIA+ is not a choice, and to equate the two belittles the lengthy struggle that LGBTQIA+ individuals are still going through. Being proud to be vegan as an individual is great, but insisting on appropriating Pride just so we can collectively pat ourselves on the back is making our veganism about our own egos, and not about the individuals who should be the focus – the animals. There are plenty other things a big vegan party can be called that don’t minimise the fight for LGBTQIA+ rights.

With the commercialisation of Pride Go Vegan London could be forgiven for not realising their mistake but they have proactively ignored and deleted concerns of people within the vegan community about this situation, choosing to silence marginalised voices rather than heeding their concerns and criticism. Worryingly, this echoes with the growing numbers within the vegan community that have become openly bigoted and allowed to spread hate.

As a movement and a community, we need to be serious about how we strive towards animal liberation. If we have any hope of society taking the anti-speciesist position seriously we must be able to work alongside other social justice movements. Plain and simple.

The vegan community is growing every year, we must ensure that our community is welcoming and inclusive, that it’s no place for bigotry or hate. Go Vegan London, show our community and others that we can learn from mistakes and take responsibility for our actions. We are asking that you publicly apologise for silencing concerns of the community and change the name of your event.

Our Constitution

Our ultimate goal is total liberation for all human and non-human animals. Every human and non-human animal has the right to live free and without being an object of harm or exploitation. We recognise that there will need to be a significant shift in mainstream thinking to achieve this.

As individuals, our actions can only influence other individuals, and only change behaviour. But as communities, we can begin to change culture and shape new ideas. Social change requires a strong core community, and this is something which we must foster.

Diversity in our movement is key. We strive to be pro-intersectional and inclusive in all of our activities and actions. Human or non-human, it is not our characteristics that make us matter but rather our very existence does. To be truly free from oppression, we must stop all of its forms. This means total rejection of all oppressive behaviour including, but not limited to, speciesism, racism, ableism, sexism, classism, fascism and ageism. We recognise that one form of oppression can not be rejected through means which require the oppression of others. This includes violence and aggressive behaviour.

We acknowledge veganism as a social justice movement and as a step towards the rejection of speciesism and the elimination of animal use. But we recognise that veganism is not an ends in itself. In order to achieve total animal liberation, we must unite and organise to speak up for non-human animals through creative, non-violent activism.

Our natural allies are other social justice movements. Through experiencing and fighting oppression, these groups are in the best position to recognise and point out oppressive behaviour. We must endeavour to enable them to share our views on animal rights and veganism, thereby breaking the white, racist, sexist and fascist stereotypes that have been allowed to develop because of the actions of many mainstream animal rights groups. It is important that we listen to these groups and not expect a platform in their communities. Instead, we must invite them to educate us, enabling us to learn together. Our intention is to strengthen and support, and not appropriate, other communities. We must be mindful of this.

Our goal of total liberation requires the rejection of welfarism and the focus on the abolition of animal use and exploitation: we do not advocate more comfortable cages; we want to empty those cages. Neither do we encourage reductionism: we aim to cease harm to others as practicably as possible and not at our convenience.

The success of our movement requires momentum, growth and continuous planning. We are inspired through inspiring others, and this provides all the motivation we need to progress. But the success of our advocacy requires us to be open to criticism, be self aware and acknowledge our individual and collective privileges. We must be accountable for our actions and, where necessary, acknowledge and publicly apologise for mistakes made. Transparency and honesty are essential; spreading misinformation is reckless and damaging to our group and the wider movement.

In our actions, materials and interactions we need to remain positive and calm, even in difficult situations. We must be able to listen to others and appreciate their perspectives, recognising that people are inherently good and that they have been raised in a society which encourages oppressive behaviour and rewards conformity. We are the positive examples to help them recognise these problems and show empathy.

Vegan Actions North East will always be grassroots, non profit, volunteer run. We will never have paid positions and will not contradict our principles for the purposes of fundraising.