First of all, hopefully, the practical method of the annihilation application would be as little violent as possible in the short-term. And obviously since the whole point is to stop all the violence that would ever happen unless annihilation is applied, then in the long-term it is the least violent option possible.
Secondly, 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.
Besides a brief moral lecture, which each violent oppressor can choose to wave off at any time, a non-violent approach essentially grants violent oppressors with a full autonomy on the 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 don’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 violent ways. Just informing humans that their habits are violent is not a non-violent approach if these humans choose to keep inflicting violence on the animals.
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, because it is humans’ ability to control the rest of the species that had put them in the place that it is seemingly their decision if to exploit the animals. Isn’t it a violent standpoint to let the abusers choose whether to use violence or not?
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 from inside Auschwitz along with the numbers of humans exterminated in gas chambers.
If activists honestly think that meat eaters are serial killers and vegetarians are rapists, then by this same logic they’re accountable bystanders.
All the activists are aware of the fact 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?
Arguing that the so called non-violent approach is not really violent since activists have no other options but asking the abusers to stop abusing is false, not only because there are other options (this whole website is advocating for one), but since activists are not choosing non-violent advocacy after a thorough examination of the options. Unfortunately, it is self-evident that what must be done facing the greatest horror in history is to inform the abusers about what they are responsible for.
Animal liberation 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, and that in itself is wrong, violent and speciesist. It indicates how human oriented the moral scope is, and how bounded the discussion is.
It is crucial to emphasis that the point of this argument isn’t that activists are actually violence supporters and speciesist because they don’t kill meat eaters, but that they are because they don’t think they ought to.
We are not arguing that if you practically don’t kill every human who wasn’t convinced to stop consuming animals you are a speciesist. We are arguing that if you don’t think that theoretically you must stop (by whatever means necessary) every human who wasn’t convinced to stop consuming animals you 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 (data based on Countinganimals.com), 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.
We doubt that if animals could, they would choose a “non-violent” approach.
This issue reveals how the animal liberation movement, the only group representing the animals, is soaked with anthropocentric perspectives, talking and thinking in humans’ terms. What else can explain the constant use of nonviolence as a relevant term while the most violent one-sided assault in the history of this planet is raging?
Stopping all the suffering should be our goal and thinking how we can do that is where we must start, not from non-violent advocacy which is an extreme compromise on the animals’ expense. You start at the best option and only if it turns out to be irrelevant should you turn to such an extreme compromise as a world with as many vegans as possible. Especially since even a totally vegan world (which is absolutely unrealistic) is a horrible world as we explain in the article Vegan Suffering and in the article Occupied Territory.
A non-violent and non-speciesist approach should lead you to first consider the best option for the animals which is stopping this inherently violent and speciesist world by any means necessary.
Activists who oppose violence for non-practical reasons (“ideological reasons”) are violent and speciesists by letting non-vegans inflict much more violence on many more sentients.
On the other hand, activists who oppose the use of violence for practical reasons (while confusing sporadic killings which are truly impractical with our solution) are violent and speciesist, as they accept as a given that it is humans’ decision whether, whom, how many and for how long, they can abuse. They let this world continue instead of look for ways to end it.
Tactically or ideologically, practically the non-violence approach is speciesist and violent, since as far as the non-violence advocates go, animal liberation is a timeless effort, meaning until every human is convinced, no matter how much suffering and violence is inflicted on animals until then. The struggle has no timeframe or any limit on the number of victims. Humans are given an everlasting chance to change on the animals’ expense and no matter how many of them would be sacrificed for the sake of “non-violence”.
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 pure speciesism and extremely violent.
The factor of time is even more violent and speciesist when you consider that it takes only 3 weeks for the number of animal victims to surpass the number of human victimizers, and yet it is the option of human annihilation that is perceived as violent.
So when activists say they draw the line where there is violence, they actually mean that they draw the line where there is violence towards humans.
Actually, most of the non-violence advocates do justify using violence in cases like assault, rightfully arguing for self-defense.
It begs the inevitable point- it's selfish to justify hurting someone in the name of self-defense but not in the name of defending someone else.
The self-defense exception condemns all the ones who can’t defend themselves to a continuance suffering. Their suffering is obviously not less significant than the suffering of the ones who can defend themselves, and so deserve the same protection from violence regardless of their ability to fend for themselves.
None of the billions of animals born into an intensive system of exploitation and violence can fend for themselves. According to the non-violence theory they must find a way to somehow defend themselves, or hold their breath until the tiny minority of humans who are trying to defend all of them will succeed in convincing the vast majority. Does that seem like a moral approach?
Why is it so self-evident that humans should get to decide whether to keep abusing or not?
This is not a matter of serving justice, it is about reclaiming the power that should have never been given to humans in the first place and taking responsibility over everything happening in this violent world. It is not about the intrinsically unjust power balance between humans and animals in itself. Obviously we would compromise on it if there was a way not only to make all humans vegans and make veganism non-violent, but also to make sure it would stay as such forever.
So far we have accomplished less than 1% of the first mission which is also the only one theoretically possible.
Maybe the saddest thing about the non-violence approach is that it is impossible even theoretically.
Everything in life is on someone else’s expense. No matter what and how little we consume, there is no way to avoid violence.
Even the most caring and compassionate, non-speciesist humans on this planet are bound to participate in a violent system, systematically hurting sentient beings they wholeheartedly believe they mustn’t. There is no non-violent approach in this world. Not practically and not theoretically.
The non-violent approach is basically oxymoronic. It can’t exist in such a violent world where beings constantly compete with each other over resources, not to mention that for many, other creatures are the resources. Violence is a derivative from life’s most basic element - consuming energy. It is impossible for any being to live on this planet without hurting someone else and this ambition is particularly absurd when it comes to humans whose massive and violent footprint is with no comparison to any other being, even vegans with a very high environmental awareness.
Although it is much less violent than any other option, veganism is still a violent one.
Veganism is replacing the cruelest way of accumulating energy with a much less violent and oppressive system but certainly not an equalitarian and non-violent one.
A vegan diet is not cruelty free, and it is not because of a specific way a specific product is being produced. It is all the ways that all of the products are produced which is harmful. The list of harms in the plant based diet is endless. Violence is inevitable.
For a more complete picture please read our article Vegan Suffering and the post about veganism as a none non-violent approach.
When the whole world is a giant oppression system, veganism is still a compromise on the amount of violence within the system, instead of abolishing it altogether.
Activists can argue that society is so inherently speciesist and violent that they are bound to act as if they are practically speciesist and support violence despite that they conceptually don’t. But that is exactly the point we are trying to make. Our point is not to show that even animal rights activists are speciesist and violent, but that even animal rights activists can’t not be violent and speciesist. The point we are trying to make is not about the particular activists in this particular era, but about AR activism in general, the mere conceptuality of AR activism which is bound to be violent and speciesist and therefore bound to be immoral.
And in a vaster scope, if the world can’t be moral, it clearly shouldn’t be.
The only option for a truly non-violent world is one with no sentients. That is the goal of our movement and what every activist should wish for and act on.