My name is Jose Valle, and I belong to ALA - Alternativa para la Liberación
Animal (Spain), I have taken some time to answer some of the issues you
mentioned in your E-mail, and to comment some things about your website. I
would also like to thank you for sending us your opinion about our work.
First of all I would like to underline that our organization totally rejects
speciesism and its consequences (animal exploitation), this idea is stated
very clearly in our leaflets and website. We defend and promote a vegan
lifestyle, as we consider this the only practical way to seriously respect
As a way of questioning speciesism and promoting an ethical lifestyle we
take action in defence of animal rights, we consider that becoming a vegan
just isn’t enough, it is necessary to get people thinking about the
injustice that occurs, and denounce the suffering and killing of animals for
food, entertainment, in laboratories etc.
I would also like to say, that under no circumstance do we “hide” veganism,
as I mentioned earlier, we consider that a real respect for animals,
necessarily implies a rejection to all forms of exploitation.
But there are a few compelling reasons to why we prefer to use the word
vegetarianism, instead of veganism.
A-The animal rights movement in Spain is relatively new, and as a
consequence of this there are fewer vegans than in other countries, most
people have never heard the word veganism before, or know what being a vegan
implies, so we consider that in order to make things understood, it is
better to use a word people can easily relate to;
vegetarianism, but always explaining that a vegetarian for ethical reasons,
mustn’t support any form of animal exploitation.
B-We must also add, that we are already introducing new terms such as
“speciesism”, so if we introduce another new term (apart from speciesism),
our message will probably be taken as to “weird” or complicated for people
to relate too, or take with the seriousness it deserves, the more familiar
our message is the easierly people will accept it.
Again I would like to state that, we always explain that "vegetarian" means
the consumption of no animal products, in all our leaflets and other
informative material we talk about vegetarianism, as a diet that excludes
the consumption of eggs, meat, fish, dairy etc.
Here is my response to some other things you have commented:
1-The nutrition text reads: "Una dieta vegana (100% vegetariana), puede ser
perfectamente equilibrada y completa" (besides veganism is *not* restricted
to a vegan diet, diet is only one aspect of veganism).
-Of course veganism isn't only about a diet that excludes animal products!
When we refer to that aspect of a vegan lifestyle we always talk about to a
"vegan DIET", but there are cases when it is necessary to talk only about a
“vegan diet” (in order to explain it is healthy etc), and that is when we
refer to veganism exclusively as a diet.
If you continue reading the text, it appears clear that it is actually a
vegan lifestyle what we principally defend.
- This is an excerpt from our website:
"• No consumas productos de origen animal, hazte vegetariana/o:
todos los productos de origen animal suponen la privación de libertad, el
sufrimiento y/o la muerte de otros individuos. Una dieta vegetariana es
perfectamente sana y provee a nuestro organismo de todos los nutrientes
"don’t consume products from animal exploitation, go vegetarian:
all animal products imply freedom deprivation, suffering and/or death to
other individuals. A vegetarian diet is perfectly healthy and provides our
organism with all the nutrients needed."
Then again it appears to be quite clear, that in this case we are also
rejecting the consumption of dairy, eggs, honey etc.
As I mentioned above, I would also like to share some opinions in relation
to your website,
A- Focusing on intensive farming- Practically all the photographs used in
your website, show and denounce intensive farming methods, personally I
believe that focusing on intensive farming has several negative consequences
for the following reasons:
-Focusing or giving more relevance to intensive farming than to extensive
methods, gives the impression to the general public that the former is worse
than the latter, people tend to consider that there are forms of animal
exploitation that are more justifiable or acceptable than others, something
we can easily promote if we centre our critic to animal exploitation in a
critic to intensive methods of exploitation.
Perhaps the conditions animals are transported in, or the size of the cages
where some non-human animals are kept, may seem abhorrent compared with
other forms of animal use, but, ¿is it the way animals are treated what we
want eradicated, or do we want the end of animal use for human benefit?, if
through our texts or images we focus on the sizes of their cages, or the way
animals are transported, we are definitely giving the impression that it’s
such methods what must be abolished.
No matter how “ideal” the conditions seem, animals are always considered
resources when exploited, and always victims ofsuffering and/or death, if
we were to denounce human slavery we would probably never accept the idea
that there are forms of slavery that are more justifiable than others,
¿Shouldn’t we fight for the same when defending non-human animals?, ¿Shouldn
’t we denounce ALL forms of animal exploitation no matter what size cages
their kept in(if they are kept in cages at all!)?
-If people understand that it’s the conditions animals are exploited in what
is morally unjustifiable (the size of their cages in the hen laying
industry, the methods used in vivisection etc), and not all use of animals
in general, they will probably support measures which set out to minimize
the suffering in farms, laboratories etc.
Welfarism, or the idea that we can use animals as long as we exploit them
“humanely”, does not question speciesism; the underlining prejudice that
supports animal exploitation, it is a barrier to animal liberation, as no
welfarist measure recognizes the interest of animals to live, doing it
freely without human intervention. I must also add that emphasising animal
use conditions, doesn’t promote veganism at all, and does promote Free-Range
meat, dairy and eggs.
B- Using distressful images: Using images, or describing the tremendous
suffering that occurs in some intensive farms, is in the majority of the
cases, destined to put people off wanting to read or listen to our message
(and, as I stated in point A, it also has the negative consequence of giving
the impression that these forms of exploitation are less justifiable than
It has happened so many times, that people simply won’t take a leaflet
because the photographs are too bloody or distressful. People who would
probably otherwise empathise with our message, are put off it, because they
don’t want to confront the images shown in some AR websites and leaflets,
this could be easily solved by using images of animals exploited in
free-range farms (with the side benefit of not promoting welfarist
C-Making people feel guilty: The question we must ask ourselves in relation
with this point is, if people are really guilty about the way they view or
treat non human animals. I, for instance, wasn’t born a vegan, I became a
vegan and decided to defend AR because I received information that made me
change the way I considered non-human animals. The same can be applied to
the rest of society, people have been educated speciestly, they ate meat
and other animal exploitation derived products before they could even think
about the consequences of their actions, so, are they really murderers?, is
their intention to hurt others, or aren’t they simply individuals who haven’
t reflected on the way they consider animals.
We are not “superior”, to the rest of society, nor should we think we are,
the only difference in the majority of the cases, is that we have had access
to information they haven’t, or that the information they have had access to
just wasn’t convincing enough.
There is also a second reason to why we shouldn’t use phrases that insult,
or make people feel guilty, that is that people react to attacks in a
If I had been called a murderer a few years ago for eating animals, I
probably would have ended up with a very bad impression of the AR movement,
and who knows I may not have become a vegan as I would have viewed AR people
as violent people with no arguments. Then again it’s our solid arguments in
a respectful way, what we must use if we want to change the plight of
ALA - Alternativa para la Liberación Animal