I've been spending a lot of time and energy trying to understand why the vegan movement is languishing. Yes, we have made some real gains and they should be celebrated. Yet, we have a lot more progress to be made.
I've started reading this article about sweatshops, and it reminded me of veganism.
Here's the conclusion of the article. What the below means is we must go far beyond personal shopping choices. A handful of people choosing to shop vegan will help, but can only go so far. We are dealing with a system of oppression. Animals are oppressed systemically and institutionally. I highly recommend the Gender Knot by Allan G. Johnson to help understand how to fight against a system of oppression.
"We are not going to shop ourselves into a better world. Advocating for boring stuff like complaint mechanisms and formalized labor contracts is nowhere near as satisfying as buying a pair of Fair Trade sandals or whatever. But that’s how the hard work of development actually gets done: Not by imploring people to buy better, but by giving them no other option. After all, that naked protest of Old Navy in the '90s? Behind the 50 demonstrators, a line of 300 customers stretched
around the block." Michael Hobbes The Myth of the ethical Shopper.
That is a very lenghty article for sure.
Buying Fair Trade clothes is expensive and it does not give me an overly satisfying feeling.
If I understand the author correctly there are laws in countries where clothes are produced and they just have to be enforced or one has to look at the situation and and a solution needs to be found. Did I understand that right?
The Vegan movement is languishing because of Americans and their opinion that definitions can be changed “every 10 minutes” based on personal convenience.
Cannot explain without writing 30 pages, but have been observing the phenomenon for almost 50 years. In 1972, no vegetarian would even consider referring to themselves as vegetarian if they even occasionally had egg or dairy, they would label themselves as ova- or lacto- to clarify. Then Vegetarian times got paid to include egg in a recipe and the boycott almost ended he magazine...until all the “vegetarians” and non vegetarians realized how easy it was to be vegetarian under the new definitions.
October of that year was also when the poultry industry announced how much they were going to spend (don't remember exactly how much...but million$) to convince Americans that egg is vegetarian...and also chicken.
THAT is what brought in “Vegan”...some Brits who were disgusted with the American trend of vegetarians eating meat (actually before the 1970’s) but diet was only 5% of being vegan...it included not driving, not eating food from other localities, not wearing or sitting on leather or other “dead”...and the discussion also centered on whether you could ride a bicycle and still be vegan, as the tires, the metal, the plastics all devastated huge animal environments when mined or obtained.
But “rest easy”...Americans redefined “vegan” to be simple and easy. And it was a “cool” label for self....so it was universally used by anyone who occasionally skips a day of having meat.
Fortunately, there are loads of peeps who actually want to understand the disciplines and they to follow to the best of their knowledge. Unfortunately, they are learning from the internet...fortunately, there are sites like this forum that get it “mostly right”...