This post is also available in: Ελληνικα (Greek)
Firstly, I would like to make clear that this article is about Anonymous for the Voiceless (AV) as an organization and not about the activists that take part in their events. I personally know several of these people and I can generally say that most of them are great people with a passion for veganism, fighters of justice and life.
With this article I would like to show to all these people why it is irrational to support this dangerous and oppressive organization. Moreover, I would like to make clear to people who think of participating in vegan activism that AV is a really bad choice.
AV have been accused of many things but the focus of this article is the statements they made recently on their official pages. I believe that these statements and the way they reacted afterwards are enough for everyone to understand that AV are a horribly problematic organization.
About a week ago, they posted an image of a service dog along with the statement that they are against the use of service animals (like dogs) because animals don’t owe us anything. It doesn’t matter if these animals do not come from breeders. That’s because, as AV say, service animals are a ‘want’ and not an actual need.
I’d like to mention here that as service dogs we classify animals that help people with bodily and mental disabilities. Some examples are people with vision impairment, autism, hearing impairment, body disabilities, PTSD, epilepsy, diabetes. There are many more occasions.
Many disagreements appeared on Facebook and Instagram, AV were accused of ableism, many personal experiences were shared from people who live with service animals, people presented their disabilities, posted photos with their animals and explained how necessary their help is. However, AV insisted on their initial claims. When asked what is their experience with disabilities, they replied that they have a team member with partial visual impairment who told them that service animals are not needed.
Two days later they returned with a new post, rejecting the ableism accusations. They said they are unapologetic vegans and continued to insult and attack people at the comment section.
That’s the story. I don’t know what’s your opinion on these so far.
My opinion is that AV are uneducated privileged ableist narrow-minded trash. The views they express show that they are completely clueless and dangerous. Some of the reasons are:
- They decide for the lives of disabled people while they are at a privileged position. None of them is disabled and they have no idea about the daily needs of a disabled person. The team member with the partial visual impairment seems like she can live without the help of a service dog but one person alone cannot be the only paradigm that dictates how million people with all sorts of disabilities should live.
- “We are against every animal use” is a huge oversimplification. Many people with mental disabilities “use” emotional support dogs. Very often all they need is just to hug their dog. Is that a serious issue for the dog? Some other people are helped to turn on the lights, to close the door, to get notified that the bell rings. Once more, is that a serious issue for a dog?
- It is a relationship of symbiosis, not exploitation. Many disabled people share a mutual relationship of love and care with their animals. The humans take care of the food and the health of their dogs and the dogs take care of their humans.
- In a healthy symbiotic relationship animals give consent for their services. Nobody can force their dog to do anything. If the dog does not want to open the door, she will not do it. She will just pretend not to hear you and leave you out.
- Many dogs love to “serve”.
- “But there is technology for these”. Not for everything. For example, huge effort is being put in the reconstruction of the optical nerves and optical centers of the brain but we are not there yet. AV do not care about this reality and they prefer to spit right in the face of blind people instead of asking for donations that could help make bring these technological advancements sooner.
The use of service dogs that I am against is the police and military dogs as at these occasions their lives are threatened.
Of course there are occasions of abuse. Of course there are people who exploit their animals. Of course we need to act fast when things like these happen in order to get these animals out. But it is impossible to demand the end of the service animals because some people somewhere abuse some animals. Abusive behaviors also take place in the relationship of humans and simple pets. Following the AV logic, should we also forbid people from having pets?
But Anonymous for the Voiceless only care about their dogma and nothing else. Their ableist statements threaten the lives of millions of people that live with serious conditions. But AV don’t care about that. It’s not them that live with these conditions.
They write their own Vegan Bible and they want you to faithfully follow it. If you don’t, you are an enemy to them. They don’t care about creating a community, they are only interested in having followers that do not question anything. Like every cult does.
They repeatedly refuse to listen, educate themselves and evolve. It’s not something that just skipped them, they do this on purpose.
The vegan movement consists of people, it is people who fight for the animals. As long as AV are indifferent and hostile to their lives, they will always be a trouble inside the vegan movement. Nobody wants to participate in a movement that wants them dead.
You are a committed supporter of everybody’s rights, a person with your own personality. Why do you still support an oppressive organization?