It is unfortunate that a great many vegans are promoting Gary Yourofsky as some sort of hero for the animals. This violent, angry man spouts off regularly about what he’d like to do or see done to all the “evil” animal exploiters.
These “evil” people are his non-vegan friends and family, and yours, and mine. Is it terrible that so many people are ignorant and continue to buy into speciesism and exploit animals? Yes, it is. Do these people deserve the violence that Mr. Yourofsky wishes upon them? No, they damn well don’t. Do you really want your mom or dad to suffer the things that Mr. Yourofsky wishes on non-vegans? (And he’s very creative in his wishes—-in one interview, Yourofsky talks about wanting to cut off a man’s genitals and feed them to him, then stick skewers in the man’s eyeballs and drag him off somewhere—the level of detail in this torture fantasy is disturbing.)
I’m fairly certain that Mr. Yourofsky himself was not born vegan. Now that he is, though, he feels superior to anyone who isn’t and wants them to suffer as non-human animals suffer. I understand his frustration with the ongoing non-human animal holocaust, but wishing violence on other people is not the answer. Violence is the problem; it’s not the solution to the problem. Education is the solution—creative, NON-VIOLENT vegan education. Contrary to what Mr. Yourofsky seems to believe, most people actually do care about non-human animals. They are just ignorant to the reality of what they are participating in and need to know the truth. They don’t need to be “anally raped”, as Mr. Yourofsky claims. They just need to understand that if they believe non-human animals matter morally (which most people already believe) then it can never be okay to use them for any reason.
It’s awfully difficult to convey that simple message when you’re shrouding it in pure, unadulterated rage. Rational, reasonable people are not going to respond well to the things Mr. Yourofsky says because he comes across as an utter lunatic. He is the stereotypical militant, aggressive and angry “animal rights person” that non-vegans despise.
When I became vegan, I didn’t do so because some angry white man was in my face screaming at me that I deserved to be raped, tortured and killed for being a non-vegan. What actually happened was that I was fortunate enough to stumble upon the Vegan Freaks forums (which were moderated by Bob and Jenna Torres) when they still existed. The straightforward and reasonable arguments for veganism and animal rights that were presented there grabbed me by the intellect and would not let go. I didn’t participate much at first—-I just kind of read everything and took it all in, and it all made perfect sense. In other words, non-violent vegan education made me choose to be vegan. And I didn’t bother with vegetarianism first—-I went straight to veganism, immediately. No “baby step” BS for this abolitionist! Such was the power of the Vegan Freak forums.
You can see it happening everywhere—-vegans talking to others about veganism, being clear about what veganism is, and showing others how they already have a vegan mindset is effective advocacy. Is it instant? Not always. But in a world where 99% of the population is not vegan, I’m not sure how any form of advocacy could produce instant results. What I am sure of is that people can change once they understand that they aren’t actually living according to their own beliefs. But they won’t change if some angry lunatic is shouting at them and telling them they deserve torture and death. In fact, they’d do everything they could to not change, to not be anything remotely like Mr. Yourofsky. I can’t blame them.
Veganism is about non-violence. Despite what Mr. Yourofsky seems to believe, violence cannot be eradicated by heaping on more violence. How can we ask others to stop violence toward non-human animals when we are threatening others with violence or wishing it upon them? The answer is simple: we can’t.
Vegans, we need to STOP promoting Gary Youforsky as some kind of vegan hero. We need to silence this man and remove him from the animal rights movement before he does any more damage. His attention-seeking, violence-promoting, angry-white-man tactics are so incredibly damaging to the animal rights movement. Every good point he makes about veganism (and he does make a few) is completely negated by the vitriol and violence he continuously spouts, and his violent sexism makes animal advocacy an unsafe space for women activists.
Please, for the sake of the non-human animals we are trying to help, let’s make Gary Yourofsky go away.