[Going through my computer I found an old unpublished piece that was undeservedly buried, so I polished it and present it now.]
I read an issue of Maclean’s containing a hilarious article wherein Martin Mersereau, the director of emergency response for PETA, states, “Any vegan restaurant that kills rodents is absolutely hypocritical. If you’re going to exercise such conscientiousness in the cuisine that you prepare, then why not bring that same heart and soul to managing your little unwanted visitors? [glue traps and poison] should be avoided like the plague.” Even if the little unwanted visitor in question carried the plague, I expect Mersereau would demonstrate for the rodent his superhuman compassion. He imagines that his position is the most magnanimous, but he is wrong.
The vegan must go further than not killing animals. Vegan’s prime directive is animal rights. If all you do is not kill people then you’re not a murderer, but you’re not an advocate for human rights either. For starters, that would entail actively opposing and protesting against murder. Yet Mersereau watches the animal holocaust at a distance, his silence enabling the ceaseless slaughter to continue. To stay consistent, he ought to prosecute people who eat or kill animals. A passive vegan, like Mersereau, who looks the other way while all his animal friends are being killed isn’t doing anything to save the animals. He’s just clearing his conscious.
But a real vegan would go further still, as humans aren’t the only ones who violate animal rights. In the pursuit of justice, a devoted vegan of Martin Mersereau’s stature ought to condemn animals who harm animals. It doesn’t make a lick of a difference to the animal being exploited whether the exploiter is a human or a fellow animal. Dead is dead. A real vegan ought to be concerned with all the blood that’s spilled, not just the blood on his hands. Until Mersereau demonstrates consistency by policing forests worldwide and trying to arrest me for barbecuing, he is a hypocrite.