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Does Violence Have a Place in Animal Liberation? | Gary Yourofsky

Is violence ever truly necessary?  Does it have a place within the vegan animal rights movement?  vegan activist Gary Yourofsky thinks so and thus is a very controversial figure within the vegan community, particularly for a specific quote from on of his essays on violence.  In this interview, Gary shares the full explanation of his stance on violence and when he feels it is necessary.

We are reaching the end of my interview series with vegan activist Gary Yourofsky and starting to hit the really hard topics.  Today we’re going to hear Gary's full take on violence and whether it has a role to play within the vegan animal rights movement.  If you're someone who was offended or appalled by the passage in question, I'd be interested to know if, after hearing Gary's full explanation, you feel any differently about the matter.  (And I thought the veganism and religion video was going to be a controversial!)

To hear Gary's full answer, check out the video above, but here are some select nuggets:

“Think about this, this has been going on for at least 2600 years, Pythagorus wrote about veganism, condemn[ed] speciesism 2600 years ago.  And people are still killing animals.  I’m telling you it’s getting to a boiling point…

“You have to look at this from the victim’s point of view.  I don’t think that the cows, the pigs and the chickens are opposed to violence on their behalf.  You might be opposed to violence on their behalf, because you’re not looking at it as a victim, you’re looking at it as a victimizer.

“There wouldn’t be a need to kill all these evil people that were oppressing humans if people just treated each other equally and with respect.  So, basically I said this before and I don’t want to take credit because I think some philosopher said this, but, ‘you don’t oppose violence, you just oppose who i propose to be violent for' again we can kill on behalf of Blacks, and kill on behalf of Jews and kill on behalf of children, but nobody want’s to kill on behalf of chickens and cows and pigs.

” Don’t ask me to have empathy to victimizers.  My heart hurts enough for the victims.  I’m not gonna weep over a victimizer being tortured and killed.  Screw ‘em, no longer care about victimizers any victimizers, I care about victims and victims only and that’s where everybody should be on this planet.  Forget about victimizers.”

And if you're not at all a fan of Gary's stance, he reminds us that:

“You don’t have to agree with any group or activist 100% of the time.”

I hope this provided a more comprehensive picture of Gary’s stance on violence than any excerpt you may have heard.  As a note, Bite Size Vegan itself is a peaceful educational mission, but I don't pull my punches and I don't BS, and I will kick @ss educationally in the name of the animals! I want to make clear that Gary, much like me, believes that education is where we are going to make the greatest change in our movement.  And education is where we should focus our energies the most.

This video post is not to incite needless violent actions.  But I do think it's important to realize that vegans, on the whole, are not the violent ones.  Even those breaking into labs and farms to free animals.  We are not the ones killing 150 billion sentient beings every year.  We are not the ones stealing babies from their mothers moments after birth or killing day-old babies because we have no use for them.  We aren't the ones anally electrocuting conscious beings to take their fur and skin.  We aren't the ones torturing them in the name of medical progress despite ample proof of the inaccuracies of such methods. That is violence.  And it is not excusable, especially for something as trivial as a meal, a fashion statement, or faulty science.

Now, I’d love to hear from you on this controversial topic.  Do you think there is a place for violence in animal rights and liberation?  If you are opposed to violence in any situation, what did you think of Gary’s examples of the use of violence for the liberation of people?  Did you position change at all after hearing Gary?  Let me know in the comments.  I truly value your input!

See ya next nugget!







★Watch More!

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  1. Debbie Prince on January 27, 2015 at 2:10 pm

    Hi Emily,

    Thank you for another great nugget! I do avoid white sugar as much as possible. I do not buy white sugar for my use at home, and in my sugar bowl at home you’ll find either organic coconut sugar or raw sugar. I also use pure maple syrup for sweetening my hot cereal. When I’m at a coffee shop or restaurant that offers Sugar in the Raw, I’ll always choose that one (I ask for it if I don’t see it, just to make them aware of my preference, if for no other reason). I agree that focusing on such things early in the game can make veganism seem too daunting for many, so I don’t do that when I’m trying to convince others to go vegan. But I also believe in being well-informed, and won’t pull any punches with my fellow vegans. I fully expect them to do the same for me. :)


  2. Sonny&April on January 28, 2015 at 5:50 pm

    I print some of these videos and mail them to a person that can not get video. Is the entire video available in print?

    Thank you so much!

  3. Maryann on August 12, 2015 at 8:49 am

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  4. comparatif epilateurs electriques on January 14, 2017 at 11:15 pm

    Have you ever thought about adding a little bit more than just your articles?
    I mean, what you say is important and everything. Nevertheless think of
    if you added some great pictures or video clips to give your
    posts more, “pop”! Your content is excellent but with pics and clips, this blog could undeniably
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    • Emily Barwick on January 19, 2017 at 3:01 pm

      Thank you for the constructive criticism and I am also very flattered by your compliment. My blogging style has evolved over the years and I will always have room for improvement. I have made use of pictures in some of my more recent blogs and I will consider including video clips for the future. I sometimes struggle with knowing what adds value to the blog and what distracts from the message.

      I do always have the YouTube video embedded in the blog as well as several links to related content throughout the text. Do you think that I should also include various clips of the title video throughout the text or were you referring to to something entirely different? Love to hear back from you and thanks again for the input!

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