Reblogged from Chickpeas and Change – http://wp.me/p1ISis-2w5

Rethinking veganism in this way does not mean losing sight of the billions of animals exploited on farms, locked in labs, or caged in circuses and zoos, but it does mean examining how our own attitudes and behaviors affect individuals other than animals, and questioning whether we’re committed to standing up against all forms of oppression and violence. If we say veganism is “for the benefit of people, too” then it’s incumbent on us to consider our footprint beyond the lives of animals, and to understand how our work intersects with other social justice causes–whether we’re helping or hindering. Otherwise, we run the risk of losing credibility as a legitimate movement, being dismissed as a disconnected social club or, worse still, tokenizing issues such as workers’ rights and environmental sustainability for our own agenda, with manifestos that amount to little more than empty rhetoric—in a similar vein to Apple.

Recognizing the shortcomings in our movement starts with recognizing those in ourselves, and realizing that being vegan is a means, not an end. We don’t lay sole claim on trying to create a “better” world: whether it’s childbirth (Suzanne Arms), chocolate (Lauren Ornelas), or corporate finance (Brett Scott), there are lion-hearted individuals far beyond our movement working hard to shake the structures of society that prop up and perpetuate unjust divisions and exploitative relations between us. Despite differences in our thinking about animals, recognizing the good in other social movements can provide a starting point for opening up conversations about potential ways of working together in our capacities as activists, artists, educators, citizens, community workers, or political campaigners, toward a shared goal of cultivating a non-violent world, where everyone is counted and everyone is loved. In his message about standing up to injustice, Henry David Thoreau said, “For it matters not how small the beginning may seem to be: what is once well done is done forever.” The challenge, as I see it, is to face those conversations and new beginnings with grace, with guts, and with our eyes wide open.