Animal Law Professor: Veganism Part of the Commitment to Non-Violence

Pulitzer-winning journalist Chris Hedges interviews Gary L. Francione, ‘Board of Governors Distinguished Professor of Law and Nicholas deB. Katzenbach Scholar of Law and Philosophy at Rutgers University School of Law-Newark.  Francione received his M.A. in philosophy and his J.D. from the University of Virginia.

Some points detailed in the interview:

  • “Veganism is part of a commitment to non-violence … It’s all one issue.  It’s a fundamental issue of justice.”
  • Vegans are often called ‘elitist’, when in fact, as Francione explains, “[t]here is nothing more elitist than the standard Western diet.”
  • On whether animal rights detract from human rights: “Go ahead and focus on human rights, but you still have to eat three times a day and buy clothes.  When you do, eat vegan and don’t buy leather, wool, or silk.”  [Side note on the torture and exploitation involved in producing honey for humans.]
  • Indeed, “[v]eganism leads us to many other issuesWe shouldn’t be exploiting women, we shouldn’t be exploiting children.  We should care that there’s a Palestinian genocide going on.”
  • “I say to people, do you think animals matter morally?  I very rarely encounter people who say no.  Almost everybody agrees animals matter morally.  And I say well, then fine, whatever else is the case, we can’t justify imposing suffering and death on them for reasons of pleasure [their taste], amusement [taste], or convenience [i.e. easier not to change what I’m already doing]. … We’re not on a desert island, we’re not on a lifeboat.”
  • Francione points out that since no one with any authority can argue that a healthy vegan diet is not at least as healthy, if not more healthy, than even a carefully-planned diet involving animal exploitation and abuse, then “the best justification we have” for harming and killing animals so we can eat them is pleasure, “the fact that they taste good.”

  • In Eat Like You Care, Francione and Charlton illustrate that distressing, harming, exploiting, or killing animals because we like the way they taste, i.e. for the sake of personal pleasure, makes us morally equal to Michael Vick and other people who also exploit and abuse animals with no better justification than that it brings them pleasure.  They also devote individual chapters to virtually every excuse possible for not going vegan, as well as to not-immediately-apparent issues, such as the torture, sadness and death involved in the dairy industry.

Francione points out that a vegan diet is not only easy, but is a joy rather than a sacrifice.  When eating a healthy vegan diet, one not only feels physically, but morally better.

The vegan food pyramid:

Vegan cookbooks:


Don’t worry much about protein.  It is highly overblown in our culture, and as Registered Dietitian and former director of the National Health Association, Jeff Novick, points out, “humans are virtually certain of getting enough protein from plant sources if they consume sufficient calories.”  It’s really about making sure one eats healthfully and gets the correct amount of calories personal size and fitness goals.

The real problem with protein is that most Westerners get far too much, leading to many debilitating health problems.  “Excess protein has been linked with osteoporosis, kidney disease, calcium stones in the urinary tract, and some cancers.”

Still worried?  Don’t be.  All the information needed and more is easily searchable and accessible online and in books.

And check out one of the strongest men in the world, vegan strongman Patrik Baboumian:

And some of our animal friends safe in farm sanctuaries:

“If a man aspires towards a righteous life, his first act of abstinence is from injury to animals.” – Albert Einstein

“As long as there are slaughterhouses, there will be battlefields.” – Leo Tolstoy

“What should move our very hearts and sicken us,… is the realization that animals are morally innocent, that they have done no harm. Next they have no power whatever of resisting; it is the cowardice and tyranny of which they are victims which makes their suffering so especially touching… there is something so very dreadful, something so dreadful, so satanic, in tormenting those who have never harmed us and who cannot defend themselves, who are utterly in our power …” – Linzey, Animal Gospel, 65

“Vegan fucking power!” – Patrik Baboumian

Robert Barsocchini is an internationally published author who focuses on force dynamics, national and global, and also writes professionally for the film industry.  Updates on Twitter.  Author’s review of the historical background to the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement.

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  • artguerrilla

    why bother showing the pix of cute (tasty) animals when they will go extinct under your regime… never mind you don’t have a cycle of manure/garden when all the (tasty) animals are retired…
    um, do you bother to think through the consequences of your theoretical utopia ? ? ?

  • kimyo

    since no one with any authority can argue that a healthy vegan diet is not at least as healthy, if not more healthy

    need i point out the false argument?

    please, if you find veganism to be your way, proceed in good health. but, PLEASE do not feed children this diet until it is KNOWN to be safe.

    they deserve better. we simply DO NOT have the data to support this diet for children. perhaps we will soon. but, show me the data and i’ll shut up. i’ve looked, it’s not there. there’s only committees with authority making unsupportable claims.

    ps: vegetable oils will kill you.
    pps: your food chart includes dairy, which is not vegan? yes? (cue the vegan police)
    ppps: plenty of buddhists eat butter and eggs. there’s a reason for that.

  • Lynn Walker

    Vegetarian, absolutely. Vegan, better than meat-eating, but not the most healthful diet for humans. Cow milk is the highest food available for humans, most importantly because it is required for developing intelligence. Meat is poisonous to humans, dairy is God’s gift.

    Arguing with these facts is futile, this is confirmed as the absolute truth. Bring your cloudy mind to accept these principles and your intelligence will grow to the point you understand the truth in it.

    • Silverado

      This is America and I have a choice as to what I want to eat??
      “Vegetarian, absolutely. Vegan, better than meat-eating, but not the most healthful diet for humans.”
      There you said it yourself – “not the most healthful diet for humans”. Is that why they always look (at least to me) unhealthful??
      Anyway, I’ve come to the conclusion that you can eat anything you want & be healthy…as long as it’s in moderation. Stay away from sugar, watch your weight, drink only organic milk and dairy, same with your meat selections – organic grass fed only. Eat lots of organic fruits and veggies and other dietary fiber and in general if your food selection was made in a plant – avoid it. If it’s made with plants consume it (in general).
      Oh and if God didn’t want us to eat meat he wouldn’t made it taste so good. Sorry, but as for food choices it’s still a free country and as a senior citizen that’s in good health who practices what he preaches, I hear what you’re saying but I’ll continue on on my own food health highway. Good luck..

      • Lynn Walker

        Any argument that begins with “If God wanted us…” signals an unintelligible thread of logic will ensue. Human meat is the most tasty, does that mean God intended us to eat each other?

        “This is America and I have a choice” to remain uneducated. Being American automatically infers that you are brainwashed by so many sources beyond your awareness that your conclusions can only be regarded as the nonsense you’ve been spoon fed.

        The issue regarding meat involves more than just your health. By causing suffering and death in other sentient beings your actions lead to your own future opportunities. But as an American you are probably oblivious to the concept of cause and effect as it relates to personal actions. We are taught there is no such connection, despite the obvious fact that this is exactly how the universe works. Every action produces an equal and opposite reaction, your personal actions have a direct causal relationship to the future you encounter.

        The animals you eat today were most likely human meat-eaters in a prior birth. You’ll be eaten tomorrow. It’s wonderful to have free choice, but do you really understand the ramifications of your choices? Good luck freeing yourself from the laws of cause and effect.

        • Silverado

          Sorry but any response that says I said one thing while I wrote something else and you probably should learn how to read and comprehend the words written a little better.
          That being said, I have no problem with you doing what you do. Like I said this IS America and there’s LOTS of choices available to us all. More power to you. I respect yours and you respect mine (which is at least half right).
          What’s wrong with that singular argument besides the fact that YOU seem to have a problem with it?? Grow up and realize your’s isn’t the only (good) way. Some of us are way ahead of you, whether you realize it or not.

  • It all sounds dandy until I get hangry. Then it burger time.

  • Oneida Eye

    Dairy defenders always seem rather ignorant of the overwhelming percentage lactose intolerance in non-white populations.

    As for cows, they are considered ‘sacred’ in some traditions not for what comes out of their udders, but rather for what grows on their poop: Psilocybin.

    Go Vegan!

  • goingnowherefast

    So even if I thought veganism made sense health wise which I don’t, what should I feed my domesticated cat? She is intolerant of grains. Got her intestines all bunched up. I now feed her grain free wet food and her health has greatly improved. Should I feed her what makes her sick or let her starve?

  • kimyo

    Don’t worry much about protein

    the usda’s rda for protein is 46 grams / day for women and 56 grams / day for men. (i assume that the usda has this ‘authority’ which you value so highly)

    that translates to 1 – 1.3 POUNDS of tofu/soy.

    i know a bunch of vegetarian/vegan folk. NONE consume that much soy. it’s just not possible.

    your assurance ‘don’t worry about protein’ is ill-founded and likely to result in poor health. the physically active and those who are pregnant require even more, 71 grams / day is suggested for pregnant women. that is ONE and THREE QUARTERS of a POUND of tofu/soy per day, every day.

  • Darlene Buckingham

    Is using derogatory language necessary? I think we have to keep the language on the up and up for this message to be heard.

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