Graphic Imagery in Vegan Advocacy

You might have noticed from our social media posts that we don’t use gruesome images. We hope that is something that you enjoy about Happy Vegan Living.

You don’t have to look very hard online to find gory images or video footage of unfathomable things happening to animals.  These images may, in some cases push people over the line to become vegan at a time when they are receptive. But we have observed that even when faced with violent and graphic images or footage, most people are able to quickly rationalise their continued consumption and use of animals. Some of the reasons for this are as follows.

It is natural to want to believe that you are not supporting horrendous activities. Sometimes footage comes from unknown sources. This leads to an assumption that it’s come from a far-off place. People are quick to rationalise that there are laws or regulations that protect animals “at home”.  It is easier to believe terrible things only happen overseas and that things must be different and “better” locally.

It’s natural to try to find and believe information that supports your current view.  Often graphic and violent footage comes to light through undercover investigations. Regulatory bodies are quick to respond after an exposé and assure us that a facility has been shut down, staff have been reprimanded or removed, or there was some other anomaly that has since been rectified. This can make it easy to think that issues are not widespread, or that the upsetting incident was an aberration, a once-off, and everywhere else is okay.

In any case, a big problem with graphic and violent imagery is that it leads vegans and non-vegans alike down a path of focussing on a certain activity or species. This shifts the focus of advocacy to treatment and welfare rather than use.

There is no “good” way to exploit sentient beings who can never understand why they are being exploited or give informed consent. A focus on better treatment and welfare can leave people under an impression that it is acceptable to exploit animals if it is done in a “better way”.

We don’t want to get bogged down in conversations about “animal cruelty”, bigger cages or banning certain farming practices for example. In other words, we don’t want to get bogged down discussing matters of animal welfare. This is because animals have the right to not be used as human property, period. Whether that is for food, clothing, entertainment or any other use. This is an important distinction between animal rights and animal welfare. When we focus on animal welfare, we are unwittingly condoning animal use.

These are a few important reasons why we don’t use graphic imagery on our pages. It’s been a long while between blog posts, so we’ll be working on getting more writing done as well as having some guest bloggers contribute to the page. Thanks for reading and supporting the page, it means a lot!

If you have any feedback or if you’d like to become a Happy Vegan Living contributor – contact us via our social pages or on our Contact Us page.

4 Replies to “Graphic Imagery in Vegan Advocacy”

  1. Bravo! Concise and well said! You hit the nail on the head with this one. We all need to exclusively be educating non-Vegans on why Veganism is their moral obligation.

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