Veganism is a non-action. We don’t need to actively do anything time consuming to live vegan. Once you spend some time initially figuring out what to buy at the grocery store and what’s suitable for vegans, most people won’t spend additional time thinking about food than they did before. As such, we can continue to fight for human rights or other “more important” causes while eating a veggie burger or bean burrito instead of a steak. We don’t need to harm animals while we fight against human oppression.
It is also worth putting the animal suffering problem into perspective. Worldwide, 56 billion land animals are killed every year for food. Animal agriculture is the leading cause of species extinction, ocean dead zones, water pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and Amazon deforestation. Nowhere in the world are humans being exploited in the magnitude and severity as non-human animals are. If they were, there would be global unrest and the issue would be addressed immediately.
Also, in many cases, animal abuse can cause human suffering. High meat and dairy diets are responsible for some of the United States’ leading killers, like heart disease and strokes. In areas where new slaughterhouses are set up, the rates of domestic violence and crime increase. Many human rights violations occur in factory farms because of the high production rate required to meet the demand for meat. For example, some US factory farm workers wear diapers to work due to a lack of bathroom breaks.
Shouldn’t we think the animal rights issue is at least as important as some human rights issues? And even if not, shouldn’t we be vegan by default to avoid causing extra suffering while we focus on solving human rights violations?