Cruelty in the name of animal rights

So here’s a picture of a dog being skinned alive. And a dog laying on the pavement bleeding after being shot as a stray. And a story of a baby goat being decapitated. And a picture of a dog with huge sores covering most of its body.

What have I stumbled into? A group of animal cruelty fetishists?

No, this is a group of vegans, that is, a group of people who already oppose this cruelty, and who are already wounded by it. The photos are meant to motivate us to take action, which is to say, they are meant to spur us to sign an on-line petition, even though it is, at best, unclear that the people who commit such cruelty will respond.

This is a recurring theme among vegans. Those of us who have identified as vegan and have sought to expand our on-line networks among vegans are all too frequently subjected to this cruelty by other well-meaning but misguided vegans. Which is to say, we do this to ourselves.

First, I strongly doubt the efficacy of on-line petitions. My understanding is that recipients often view them as too easily signed and not necessarily indicative of heartfelt positions. Second, as we see with Japanese and Faroe Islands cetacean hunts, recipients often believe that signers are seeking to impose their own cultural values, which is to accuse signers of colonial attitudes.

But most counter-productively of all, I have to look away. Whether it is by blocking an individual or leaving a group, I cannot bear to see these images. And I’m certainly not clicking on the link so I can see more.

And I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who seeks to shield himself from these images. So please, stop.

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