Las Vegan Life

As evidenced by recent posts here at PALL, I’m a big believer in art as activism. The animal liberation message often falls on deaf ears because it’s such a strong dose of medicine. The idea that animals are not ours to do with what we please, I’m sorry to say, is too radical a paradigm shift for most humans to consider with an open mind.

That’s where art can come in handy. Art has a slow burn effect. Once its message has been seen or heard the after effects are usually long lasting, as one digests and contemplates what he or she has taken in. Art is often subliminal too. So when its underlying message celebrates social justice movements like veganism and animal liberation, which challenge the unjust status quo — it becomes sneakily subversive.

My good friend and vegan extraordinaire Nathaniel Hill gave me some great subversive vegan swag at our recent Strong Hearts/Syracuse meet-up. The items are just a few of the many cool ones he’s produced as part of his line of repurposed gear called Las Vegan Life.

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Nathaniel is a Buffalo, NY-based vegan who has been following the righteous path for as long as I’ve known him, and then some.

In addition to being a strong friend of animals, Nathaniel is an avid bicyclist, doing some wonderful advocacy work in his local community for GObike Buffalo. I think he would agree that there’s an important intersection between bicycling and helping non-human animals…but that’s another post for another day.

I particularly like my “Go Vegan You Fuck” patch. When Nathaniel first showed it to me I had a hearty laugh. The patch now adorns my fridge until I can find an appropriate piece to put it on.

I had a few non-vegan friends see it in my kitchen and they too found it hilarious. It became an ice breaker to talk animal lib and veganism where one wasn’t readily present. Humor and art are a powerful combo, and we animal allies need more of it in our arsenal. Bravo Las Vegan Life!

Veganism as Today’s Multi-tool

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As a “vegan for the animals,” I sometimes find myself incredibly frustrated with vegans whose primary motivation is something else. How in the world can humans’ terrible mistreatment of animals be put anywhere other than atop the list of reasons one ought to live a vegan lifestyle? I often wonder if those “other” vegans are truly animal allies.

But the multipurpose case for veganism (when one justification is not cited as more important than the others) is strong, especially when put forth in a powerful image like the one above. I’ve  definitely found myself wanting to be a more well-rounded vegan. I’m always trying to become more fluent in the health and environmental benefits of veganism, and occasionally employ them as arguments to those unwilling to receive the animal message. When looked at as a multi-tool, veganism seems even more like the only sane way to live.

So are environmental or dietary vegans animal allies? I don’t know. Certainly if we’re looking at it as a sliding scale, they’re far more allied with animals than any non-vegan (I think). I guess I’d have to judge it on a case by case basis but I do know this: If those “other” vegans are as eager and open to learning about the inherent worth of animal lives as I’ve been about personal health and environment, I think they’re well on their way to becoming animal allies.