Bernie Sanders and animal rights

There are a lot of vegan lifestyle activists on the internet. Whether taking photos of fruit smoothies or posing on yoga mats, they have become a large part of the vegan movement.

There’s nothing wrong with fruit smoothies. And yoga is fantastic. But in the same way which prayer couldn’t prevent the tragic shootings in Orlando, smoothies and yoga will not change the world by themselves.

Bernie Sanders calls for a revolution

Bernie Sanders gave a fantastic speech on Thursday night, in which he outlined his reasons for continuing his campaign up until the US democratic convention. Senator Sanders is behind in delegates (votes that are crucial for achieving his party’s nomination), but recognizes that his campaign is not just about the nomination: it’s about changing US politics forever.

The reason why so many people around the world have “felt the Bern” is that the political urgency is contagious.

Online activism isn’t everything

Young people today have forgotten that activism consists of something besides buying product (RED) sneakers and posting quotes on instagram.

Consumer activism isn’t bad. Neither is instagram. But they aren’t everything. And if the world is going to change, it’s going to take more.

We need to make our voices heard

In his speech, Sanders mentioned a lot of rights movements: the civil rights movement, the women’s rights movement, the gay rights movement and the environmental rights movement. But he failed to mention animal rights (or the rights of children and the disabled).

monkey animal rightsWhy? Because some of these movements get a lot more press than others. And that needs to change. Getting people to take vegan politics seriously will require more than tweeting artfully designed flat-lay photos of your breakfast. We need to change the perception that veganism is about diet.

Veganism is about giving voice to the voiceless and ending the suffering and violence perpetrated against those who cannot defend themselves.

Do what you can

One of the things that really struck me about Senator Sanders’ speech was his call to young people to become more involved in the political process.

Let’s face it: if everyone who was a Sanders supporter had actually gone out and voted for him, I think the results of the democratic primary race would be quite different. And if all the people who cared about progressive causes actually became involved in politics at even the local level, our world would be a different place.

The world is changing

I refuse to believe that the Donald Trumps of this world can hold back progress. The world is changing, and we can be a part of it.

When I’m tempted to give up hope in change, I try to remember When I was young, I was very involved in politics, but my interest has waned over the years, to be honest. But I think that’s because I’ve forgotten how significant our voice can actually be. Especially in local politics.

Whether it’s a school board meeting or planning and development, just showing up makes a real difference. I think it’s easy to become complacent about politics when we are lucky enough to live in countries like the United States and Canada.

When I look at the harassment that people experienced at the Kiwi Cafe in Georgia, I know I am fortunate. But I also have to remember that if you don’t stand up for what’s right, there is always a Donald Trump around the corner who is more than willing to make decisions for you.

Please don’t let that happen. Make your voice heard in any way you can. Call your MP or your congressmen. Show up at city council meetings. But if you can’t do those things, do what you can.

Give what you can, just don’t give up.

Because those who have no voice need you to be theirs.

2 Responses to “Bernie Sanders and animal rights

  • I totally agree with you. Veganism for many of us is a rights movement. I was trying to explain that to a few people last week but they couldn’t understand I how I could compare animal right to human rights.

    Many times there is not enough activism – I feel I need to do more too. In the US it gets so frustrating when you feel like your votes don’t count but that’s no reason to stop. I wish more people would get behind the Bern.

    • Rather than comparing animal rights directly to human rights, I’ve been trying to show how it’s about extending rights to voiceless beings.
      I definitely want to get more involved in activism at the local level, especially since I feel I can have more of an impact there. Like you say, it’s frustrating when you feel your vote doesn’t count 🙁 my favorite thing about vegan is that at least I can know I contribute less to the suffering of others 🙂

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