The Threat of Nonviolence

The Threat of Nonviolence

There is an ongoing fuss in the past week over some press coverage of British farmers claiming they were threatened by vegan activists.
Obviously it’s a blown story made up by some farmers and used by some gutter press. There is no evidence of any of these accusations. No screenshots, no recordings, no letters or anything of that sort. If anything, activists were suggesting farmers to try and put themselves in the position of the animals, writing things  like “would you want to be treated that way” – hoping to make them feel more related, not frightened. Expectedly, these scumbags have turned what is meant to be some sort of a thought experiment to try and make them empathize with their victims – into made up death threats.

But even if it was true, the problem isn’t that activists sent violent threats to farmers and butchers, the problem is with the method and with the addressees. Farmers and butchers are not the reason why billions of animals are suffering from birth to murder – humanity is. Farmers and butchers are only the operating hands of a huge oppressing machine. The head is humanity. No point in threating the hands. It would be the wrong method aimed at the wrong target. It is the head which should be targeted and the means shouldn’t be death threats.

Many of the activists’ responses are defensive, arguing that they can’t be violent since they are advocators of non-violent approach. Activists should be defensive but not because of manipulative farmers and sensationalist media, but since the non-violent approach is actually violent.

All the activists are aware that much more violence is inflicted in factory farms than the violence that would be required to overthrow the human tyrants. So why asking more than 150 billion victims per year to hold on until about 7 billion humans are convinced?
And how letting more than 150 billion victims per year wait, is less violent than looking for ways to eradicate 7 billion?

There is no such thing as a nonviolent approach in this world.
So called “nonviolent actions” are indeed not violent towards animal abusers, but when failing to stop them, the “nonviolent” approach is actually violent towards the abused animals.
A non-violent approach is actually a violent one, since besides a brief moral lecture, which each violent oppressor can choose to wave off at any time, it essentially grants violent oppressors with a full autonomy on violence. They are basically free to choose who to hurt, when to hurt, how much to hurt and for how long. And that’s exactly what’s happening every time activists didn’t succeed in convincing the abusers to change their ways. Every animal rights persuasion attempt that doesn’t end with a new non-speciesist vegan, means letting another human continue with his/her systematic abuse.
Asking the victims to suffer patiently until activists find a way to the hearts of the rest of humanity, or in other words, arguing that the horror will end when humans decide it will end, is speciesism.

To avoid any possible misunderstandings of what we are saying, we don’t suggest sporadically killing non-vegans since obviously it is a terrible idea tactically, as it is absolutely unfeasible and extremely ineffective.  What we do say is that it is absolutely morally justifiable. Only speciesism, conformism, fixation and indoctrination can explain an objection to this moral stance and support of the ideological so called non-violent approach.
Our argument isn’t that activists are actually violence supporters and speciesist because they don’t kill non-vegans, but that they are because they don’t think they ought to.
We are not arguing that if activists practically don’t kill every human who wasn’t convinced to stop consuming animals they are a speciesist. We are arguing that if activists don’t think that theoretically they must stop (by whatever means necessary) every human who wasn’t convinced to stop consuming animals they are a speciesist since that human is going to keep abusing.

Given the average consumption figures, each human is worth thousands of animals. An average American meat eater is responsible for the suffering of about 55,000 animals within his lifetime, including about 10,000 crustaceans, 1,860 chickens, 950 fishes, 55 turkeys, 30 pigs and sheeps, 8 cows and between 35,000 and 50,000 of non-directly consumed fishes and crustaceans who are either by catch or animals captured and killed to feed the directly consumed animals (as fishmeal and fish oil). And of course that is without counting the chickens suffering in the egg industry and cows in the milk industry.
Morally opposing to stopping humans by all means necessary, including killing them, means they are worth more than the pain and suffering of all of these animals.

Choosing to approach humans with rational arguments, emotional inducements and persuasive information, hoping to change their minds regarding the systematical violence they inflict on nonhumans, is accepting and reinforcing the concept that it is humans’ decision whether or not to change the way they treat nonhuman animals. It is declaring that it is their minds that count.
You can give them all the facts and show them all the evidences from factory farms, use every argument you know and deconstruct every excuse they throw, but it is still the abusers’ call. Letting the violent oppressors decide is supporting a power based and violent world. Isn’t it a violent standpoint to let the abusers choose whether to abuse or not?

The non-violent strategy refers to humans’ power and control as an obvious given. It is not trying to “dethrone” humans, but trying to convince “the masters” to change their treatment of their slaves. Human superiority should not be considered the inevitable starting point, and dethroning them should not be considered violent.

The fact that the animal rights activists’ natural tendency and the first and last plan of action, is to explain to humans that their daily torturing of the weaker for their own minor benefits, habits and pleasures is wrong, is itself wrong, violent and speciesist.

Claiming that options other than asking the abusers to stop abusing aren’t seriously discussed only due to their impracticality – is too easy.
The fact that most activists haven’t chosen non-violent advocacy after a thorough examination of the options, but it was rather self-evident that what must be done facing the greatest horror in history is to inform the abusers what they are responsible for, indicates how human oriented the moral scope is, and how bounded the discussion is. It reveals that what really bounds it, is not practical limitations, but immoral values regarding violence and regarding humanity.

When activists have discovered what goes on in the world they live in, the first intuition facing the greatest horror ever in history was to hand out information leaflets  in the streets and shout that animals have rights.
Even the most caring humans, who regularly challenge conventions, aren’t immune to the indoctrination they have absorbed their entire lives.

Our aim is to make activists internalize that giving humans the power to choose at animals’ expense is actually a violent approach – that this basic frame of thought is at least human oriented, if not speciesist.

If activists truly believe that in their relation to nonhumans all humans are Nazis, why aren’t they all Partisan guerrilla fighters? The Partisans didn’t handout leaflets with footages of Auschwitz and the unbearable numbers of humans exterminated in the gas chambers.


It takes only 3 weeks for the number of animal victims to surpass the number of human victimizers and yet the option of human annihilation is viewed as immoral.

We doubt that if animals could, they would choose a non-violent approach. We doubt that the relative consensus around the non-violent approach would hold if it was activists who were industrially exploited, born in cages, tortured throughout their entire lives until being murdered.

This issue reveals how the AR movement, the only group representing the animals, is soaked in anthropocentric perspectives, talking and thinking in human terms. What else can explain the constant use of nonviolence as a relevant approach while the most violent one-sided assault in the history of this planet is raging?

Even among the most compassionate humans, who are a small minority with the best intentions and willingness to challenge society, human privileges remain invisible (and as you know, the most dangerous and frustrating thing about invisible privileges is their denial). We are not naïve, we don’t expect that by pointing out the privileges they would be acknowledged. We don’t hold our breath for the majority of the AR movement to acknowledge the inherent anthropocentrism, speciesism and violence of advocacy.
We do turn to you, and to other very few dedicated activists out there to acknowledge it and adopt the only approach that can end all violence.

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