Gary-L.-Francione

Being vegan is easy. Are there social pressures that encourage you to continue to eat, wear, and use animal products? Of course there are. But in a patriarchal, racist, homophobic, and ableist society, there are social pressures to participate and engage in sexism, racism, homophobia and ableism. At some point, you have to decide who you are and what matters morally to you. And once you decide that you regard victimizing vulnerable nonhumans is not morally acceptable, it is easy to go and stay vegan.
—  Gary L. Francione

It was never about losing. It’s about gaining this perspective that changes your outlook of the world. Your lifestyle is brand new and exciting. And as a result of this change of lifestyle, it brings peace to you and others. #veganbasement

What I have called the “similar-minds theory" became popular among animal advocates as the result of The Great Ape Project: Equality Beyond Humanity in 1993. Although I certainly support prohibiting any exploitation of the great apes, dolphins, and any other nonhuman, the similar-minds theory reinforces the very paradigm that has resulted in excluding nonhumans from the moral community. We have historically justified our exploitation of nonhumans on the ground that there is a qualitative distinction between humans and other animals. The latter may be sentient, but they are not intelligent, or rational, or emotional, or self-conscious. The similar-minds approach claims that, as an empirical matter, we may have been wrong in the past and at least some nonhumans may have some of these cognitive characteristics. But this approach does not question the underlying - and fundamental - moral question: Why is anything more than sentience necessary? The similar-minds approach threatens to perpetuate a speciesist hierarchy in which we treat some animals as "special” and continue to exploit the rest. There are at least two reasons to reject the similar-minds theory.

First, the similar-minds theory is a prescription to engage in more research, which will ironically involve a good deal of vivisection, so that can determine how much like humans nonhumans really are. And at the end of the day, no matter how similar human minds are to those of nonhumans, there will always be differences that will allow us to justify exploitation if personhood is based on possession of these cognitive characteristics. After all, we have known about the cognitive and genetic similarities between human and nonhuman great apes for a long while, yet we continue to use the latter in biological experiments and to imprison them in zoos.


Second, the similar-minds theory is arbitrary. We identify some characteristic, such as humanlike self-awareness or rationality, and we maintain that any nonhuman without the characteristic is not a member of the moral community. There is, however, no reason to conclude that being able to do calculus is better than being able to fly with only your wings, or to breathe underwater with only your gills. These characteristics may be relevant for some purposes, but they are not relevant to whether we make a being suffer or kill that being.

—  Gary L. Francione, Animals as Persons: Essays on the Abolition of Animal Exploitation
“Being vegan is easy. Are there social pressures that encourage you to continue to eat, wear, and use animal products? Of course there are. But in a patriarchal, racist, homophobic, and ableist society, there are social pressures to participate and engage in sexism, racism, homophobia, and ableism. At some point, you have to decide who you are and what matters morally to you. And once you decide that you regard victimizing vulnerable nonhumans is not morally acceptable, it is easy to go and stay vegan”
― Gary L. Francione
We can no more justify using nonhumans as human resources than we can justify human slavery. Animal use and slavery have at least one important point in common: both institutions treat sentient beings exclusively as resources of others. That cannot be justified with respect to humans; it cannot be justified with respect to nonhumans—however “humanely” we treat them.
—  Gary L. Francione
Being vegan is easy. Are there social pressures that encourage you to continue to eat, wear, and use animal products? Of course there are. But in a patriarchal, racist, homophobic, and ableist society, there are social pressures to participate and engage in sexism, racism, homophobia, and ableism. At some point, you have to decide who you are and what matters morally to you. And once you decide that you regard victimizing vulnerable nonhumans is not morally acceptable, it is easy to go and stay vegan
—  Gary L. Francione
Veganism is not just a diet. It is not just a “lifestyle.” It is a nonviolent act of defiance. It is a refusal to participate in the oppression of the innocent and the vulnerable. It is a rejection of the insidious idea that harming other sentient beings should be considered a “normal” part of life. It represents a paradigm shift toward a new default position that violence for pleasure, amusement, or convenience can *never* be justified. Join the revolution of the heart. Go vegan.
—  Gary L. Francione
Being vegan is easy. Are there social pressures that encourage you to continue to eat, wear, and use animal products? Of course there are. But in a patriarchal, racist, homophobic, and ableist society, there are social pressures to participate and engage in sexism, racism, homophobia, and ableism. At some point, you have to decide who you are and what matters morally to you. And once you decide that you regard victimizing vulnerable nonhumans is not morally acceptable, it is easy to go and stay vegan
—  Gary L. Francione