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World Vegan Summit: “Save Pigs and Chickens, But Murder Cats and Dogs in Shelters Until They Go Extinct”

Troubling, disgraceful, intolerable:

By Nathan Winograd

How to Get Uninvited to the World Vegan Summit: Oppose the Extinction of Dogs & Cats

Several days ago, I posted that the animal rights movement may be turning a corner, as I was asked to speak at two animal rights conferences. As many of you may be aware, the animal rights movement has historically either maligned or ignored the No Kill movement, and with it, turned a blind eye to the systematic slaughter of millions of homeless dogs and cats every year. I especially hoped that one of those conferences—the World Vegan Summit —would provide a forum for those voices that have been historically silenced within the animal rights movement—voices such as my own—for being critical of those in positions of power and the policies they pursue that cause animals to suffer and be killed. In fact, some of the other speakers who will be at that conference have also criticized the movement for being top-heavy, prone to censorship, intolerant of dissent, threatened by change, and dismissive of the grassroots. Tragically, my enthusiasm was short-lived. That is because almost as quickly as I was asked to speak, I was promptly uninvited. Why? Because they took offense at a statement I made on my Facebook page.

In posting that I was invited to the conference, I said I was going to challenge the animal rights position promoted by some that living with dogs and cats is a violation of their rights and we should forcibly make them go extinct “for their own good.” With the belief that the “solution” to all dog and cat suffering lies solely in the eventual annihilation of their species, the animal rights movement not only preaches a view that the lives of dogs and cats are dispensable, their loss and deliberate elimination of no moral consequence, their disappearance from our planet no tragedy to mourn, it embraces an agenda which no other rights-based movement in history has ever subscribed to: the deliberate extinction of those it has pledged to protect. We do not further the cause of animal rights by promoting a double standard between humans and non-humans. After all, the idea that we should do to animals that which we would never propose to do to humans—in this case, seek the willful extinction of a particular group of humans—is the double standard that is to blame for so much suffering and killing of non-humans. Instead, we teach respect, we teach kindness, we teach compassion, and then we work to ensure the collective obedience to those values through legal rights, a prescription for change which every other social justice movement that has come before ours has used and used successfully.

I called such a view “arrogant” and “muddled” in its thinking. It apparently hit a nerve so raw with the sponsors of the World Vegan Summit that I was promptly uninvited. They are free to criticize the movement and do it without apology and in the strongest possible terms, but apparently no one else is. “Thanks for your understanding,” read the last line of the email uninviting me. To which 20 years of this very same treatment at the hands of the very people they themselves criticize for such conduct left me with only one possible response: “Oh believe me, I do understand.”

Interspecies relationships in the world are not rare and they are relationships that humans generally celebrate as evidence of the interconnectedness and beauty of life on Earth. But to those who are supposed to be the standard bearers of our relationships with animals— “leaders” of the animal rights movement—such relationships are “unnatural” and therefore “bad” when one of the parties is a human being. The proposed solution? Eliminate cats and dogs from the Earth by pursuing their willful extinction.

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