Friday, October 25, 2013

Follow-Up: The Greatest Good

Follow-up to An Activist's Life = A Meaningful Life:

Advocacy for the Greatest Good


I understand that focusing on preventing animals from being bred for factory farms isn’t a particularly exciting or inspiring prescription, especially compared to the pull of concrete campaigns, the plight of individual animals, or the immediacy of the latest tragedy. But if we take suffering seriously, we need to maximize our impact, rather than pursue the immediate and high profile....

If we choose to focus our scarce resources on expanding this advocacy, the growth of vegetarianism will accelerate to a tipping point, where vegetarianism and opposition to factory farms becomes the “norm” among influential groups.... At the same time, powerful economic forces will kick in, because meat is ultimately inefficient. It is more economical to eat plant foods directly, rather than feeding plants to animals and then eating some of the animals’ flesh.... The faster the growth in people choosing vegetarian, the faster vegetarian products will improve in taste, become cheaper, and be found in more places. Our challenge now is to expand the vegetarian market by explaining to more meat eaters the reasons for choosing meatless meals, while exposing them to new – though similar – products. The more rapidly we do this, the sooner cruelty-free eating will be widespread.

Despite all the current horror and suffering, if we take the long view – and are willing to commit to the work that needs to be done – we should be optimistic. If we take suffering seriously and are committed to optimal advocacy, we can each create real, fundamental change. This change will not come by revolution, but through person-by-person outreach progressing hand-in-hand with advances in technology, leading slowly but inexorably towards a new norm that, to most people, will hardly seem different. But an unfathomable amount of suffering will be prevented.