“Friends, Not Food”? Let’s Take Veganism Deeper

Many advocates point out the unfairness in loving some animals, while eating or wearing others.

Why do we eat pigs and love dogs?

In veganism, that question is a sort of red herring. The real question is why we’ve bred either from their once-free ancestors: boars and wolves. Imagine the evolution and history the animals could have had, if we had let them be.

The early vegans were appalled that humanity had cut off other animals’ evolutionary paths—and to a “stupendous” extent. They wrote this into their founding definition of vegan.

And now here we are, living in the time of the Sixth Great Extinction. Here we are, living in a time in which our bodies and the bodies of our vast entourage of purpose-bred animals (both “food” and “friends”) is crushing the natural evolution of communities on this Earth.

Domestication Is a Multi-Layered Injustice

Animals ought to be entitled to lead their lives on their terms. Our regard for them shouldn’t hinge on whether or not we think they could be loveable to us. Whether or not they tend to tolerate us. Whether or not holding and possessing them might please or benefit us.

So, then, why would we need to make them into “friends” in order to champion their interests?

The ancestors of the small being in the banner photo were wolves. We robbed that dog and billions of other dogs of their evolution. With friends like Homo sapiens

A liberation movement does the simple thing. It points to the unfairness in insisting on having other animals—whether to eat them or wear them or cuddle them. It asks us to simply acknowledge imposed vulnerability to human control when we see it.

Then it acknowledges that no matter how dear our animals are to us…

Domestication layers injustice upon injustice. It’s unfair to those who are placed into systems of vulnerability and commodification. And it’s unfair to the ancestral groups we stamp out in the process of our ruthless expansion over the planet.

Every pet shop stands on territory that once was the habitat of the wolves and the free-living cats. Earth is finite, so domestication really is a zero-sum game, and it’s anything but friendly. This should not be so hard for us to admit. Going to the root of something is the simplest thing we can do. What’s complicated? The justifications for every unjust system we sustain.

Love and liberation,


With thanks to Chris Kelly for thoughts that expanded and enriched this blog entry.


Photo credit: Rafael Guajardo, via Pexels.

4 thoughts on ““Friends, Not Food”? Let’s Take Veganism Deeper

  1. Hi Lee, I don’t disagree with your analysis, but I do think the domestication of animals was a two way street. Some animals found a benefit to living with, or near humans. Unfortunately humans turned the two way street into a one-way street w/ purpose breeding.

    • Cindy, I respectfully disagree.
      The “domestication” process was only accomplished by capturing and restraining other Animals. It did not allow these Animals to come and go as THEY wanted to.
      They were forced, through fences, cages and chains to stay captive.
      The feeding and providing of shelter by humans was not done out of mutual respect or the Animals would have been allowed complete freedom.
      Instead it was more of a quid pro quo; and the Animals were the ultimate losers as they were now no longer free-living beings, but either indentured servants or out-and-out slaves to their now human masters.

      • Yes, that has been the ultimate end, but I can easily see non-exploitive friendships, co-living arrangements developing between man and other animals. I am not arguing that that was the primary method of domestication but that such mutualism should be possible.
        Thanks for your reply 💚

  2. BTW, bingo, again Lee!!
    We( human and nonhuman Animals) are all fortunate to have you intelligently and civilly, speak the truth.
    Thank you!

What are your thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.