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On Being a Minority Within a Minority

I've been tweeting ( for a short time and I have more than anything else the overwhelming feeling that I am part of a minuscule minority within an already small segment of the population. I'm a vegan who thinks we shouldn't be using animals even if we change the conditions of their use. And I'm experiencing the rarity of my beliefs.

Of course there are oodles of vegetarians who mention veganism and how difficult and restricting it is, and overall I'm having a fairly disheartening experience. I broadened my groups to runners, writers, environmentalists and atheists thinking perhaps I should try to find more like-minded people in a more holistic kind of way. After all, who I am doesn't stop at vegan.

That's been fun as there are a lot of vegan runners and a couple of atheist vegans. But even among them what I've discovered is that for the most part they support PeTA, love Singer and think Mark Bittman's Vegan Before 6 (VB6), which I like to call Conscience Before 6, is a fantastic notion. And though using fewer animals is a fine idea, isn't it strange to only live by it for half of the day? Jekyll and Hyde anyone?

When you search for the word vegan on Twitter and have that as a constantly-scrolling column on your screen, you see what people are saying and much of it isn't good, both about veganism itself and vegans. And yet if I try to do something about that I could very well become one of the annoying, self-righteous vegans they balk at.

Twitter might be the most important website since Google, and that means I should learn how to use it. Clearly, I'm still at the beginning stages of that one. What I have found above all is that treading lightly is the best course of action. Twitter is a microcosm and I think vegans are probably represented proportionately to how they are outside the Internet. In other words, vegans who don't support PeTA and don't campaign for larger cages are alien to most of the non-vegan world and even much of the vegan world.

But I think we have to change that by showing all of the ways we are like the rest of the world rather than all of the ways we are set apart from it.

6 Comments Post a comment
  1. As your new Twitter pal, I can assure you that your minority in a minority has grown by at least one. I too am against animals as property, and this is an ethical statement that is rarely debated in any factual context. Veganism has a beneficial scientific factual basis too that is rarely discussed in the mainstream.

    So I kind of resent the folks at PETA who make the sensible argument for Veganism seem hypocritical and sensationalist. I resent the 'spiritual' tree-hugging or Jesus freak crowd who tar us with their usual old, re-used and ridiculous brushes, and I resent the political establishment for their clueless attitude to their responsibilities to scientific truth.

    Come to think of it, I'm quite an angry man ;-P

    April 23, 2009
  2. The majority of (the minority of) vegans here in my university support vivisection. Which in my opinion is completely contradictory. Perhaps more specifically these individuals are "strict vegetarians" as oppose to vegans, which they self-proclaim. By them, I have been dubbed "callous" or "self-righteous" due to my inability to understand their perpetuation of speciesism. In many ways this inconsistency has forced me to distance myself from these individuals. In my opinion this inconsistency taints the perception of "vegans" by the non-vegan community here at my college.

    Contradictory from what you've found, many of these individuals have distanced themselves from PETA, for no other reason than due to its negative publicity. Sexism, "welfarism" or moreover, "animal birth control" are not even factored.

    While I am fairly new subscriber to this blog, therefore not knowing your particular stance, I've often felt like a minority within a minority for my stance on animal birth control. When taking the issue to simplest common denominator, spaying/neutering is essentially exercising human dominance over non-human animals. Without the ability to communicate towards human-animals, I cannot confidentially access whether or not non-human animals "want" to be sexual mutilated/disfigured. I personally believe, if given the choice, non-human animals would not elect to be permanently sexual disfigured. I confidently profess that I would not want this for myself, and rarely do we impose such an action upon other humans. Understandably on a distanced "sociological" level, I can understand why many AR activist are Pro-spay/neutering. But in essence its appears that they are merely reflecting their personal desires/wishes upon non-human animal (i.e. human dominance). They don't want the animals to suffer from having disparaged lives. This makes sense. We should then feel the same about perhaps those under the poverty line, mentally handicap or in general those who are prone to suffer through the circumstances of their lives. Therefore these aforementioned individuals should also be forced to be sexually mutilated/disfigured for "their own good/sake," that is if we weren't speceisist. Though, we do not force or impose such on our fellow human-animals, yet we feel compelled to do so for non-human animals.

    Granted it is understood that the overpopulation of non-human animals in many cases is perpetuated by humans. But instead of fixing the problem (puppy mills, pet store animals, etc.) we are attempting to fix the symptom (over population of animals). Even more ridiculous, is we tend to ignore the overpopulation of human-animals, though the symptoms of overpopulation are nearly identical between both human and non-human animals.

    I have often been chastised, ridiculed and many people have been taken aghast when hearing this. For this reason I myself feel incredibly small, a minority with the minority of vegans for my "fundemenal" or "radical" views of compassion.

    If there is a flaw in my logic, or perhaps some element above the domain of my intellect (i'm still an undergrad) that you could point out or share, I would absolutely love to hear your point of view.

    P.S. This is the first blog I ever subscribed to and perhaps the best AR I ever perused.

    April 23, 2009
  3. Dan #


    Your view on S/N seems well-thought out to me and more thought out than most vegans. I'm for S/N, and would be for humans in a similar situation. I should have more time tomorrow to explain why.

    IMO, as a general rule, the more of a minority a vegan is with respect to nonhuman beings in our society, the more sane one is. We live in an insanely violent world. It is not a good thing to fit in with it.

    April 23, 2009
  4. philip #

    The same thought patterns actually exist in both religion and eating animals. The ludicrous notion of believing in a personal God who cares about you and answers your prayers without any evidence whatsoever that he even exists at all is very similar to believing that animals are here for us humans to use and abuse and…. that we HAVE to eat animals in order to survive and live a healthy, happy life come from the same mindframe of irrational nonsense. Myths are created and perpetuated to justify irrational behavior….. like eating animals because you need the animal protein or that believing Jesus is the son of God is somehow going to save your soul. Both are insane ideas that have no evidence to back them up and both are myths that in turn create a lot of suffering in the world. As a matter of fact being an atheist is much more in line with being a vegan in more ways than just the obvious ones of feeling like a minority or feeling alienated from society. Being an A/V is backed up by real evidence and scientific facts and eating animals (for whatever reason) and believing in a supernatural agent in the sky is not.
    I call it "The Meat Delusion".
    Now….both Peta and Singer were the founders of two very important aspects of the AR movement but both have also failed in forwarding the momentum they each started. Peta has trivialized animal suffering to the point of no return and Singer's support of the use of animals, which because of his seemingly father like authority… has made millions of humans feel ok about consuming animals as long as they were treated humanely. Which as we now know has made it worse for animals.

    Liberal Atheist Vegan,


    April 24, 2009
  5. Mikey – that's an interesting take on animal birth control… That humans are forcing and manipulating another species. I see birth control as a matter of "welfare and protection" for animals too… It's definately not rights based that's for sure.

    Horribly sad and frustrating – there just are too many unwanted "pets". Controlling the population of animals (even if it is by "force"), avoids further suffering later. For now, I can deal with this scenario… along with education (and laws) that help regulate breeding. But someday… this will be the litmus test of Animal Rights… when we (finally) stop playing god with their reproduction. (Oh happy day!)

    And by the way, that we "ignore the overpopulation of human-animals" – I was in quite a minority 35 years ago, when this was among my "issues" of great concern… And in regards to this… I can see now, that I'm in good company all around… It does have to be addressed – for sure. 🙂

    April 24, 2009
  6. Dan #

    Hear, hear, Phillip! Well said.

    I’ll reply to the S/N question in the next blog entry, which Mary has devoted to the topic.

    April 24, 2009

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