An article published by news site Stuff has asked if animal rights organization Save Animals From Exploitation (SAFE) is discriminating with its recent vegans-only job listing.
While this is certainly not an unreasonable query - as surely it is on some level discriminatory - the case can be made that it would be neither ethical nor appropriate to hire anyone else.
At the core of vegan beliefs - and that of any organization which subscribes to them - is an opposition to speciesism, or discrimination based on species.
Surely, killing and eating some species while caring for others qualifies as species-based discrimination - which is the day-to-day reality for the overwhelming majority or modern society.
Just as a feminist organization would not be expected to hire a known misogynist, an animal equality organization should not be expected to hire a person who believes that cats are for loving and cows are for killing.
Another pertinent consideration here is that SAFE, like any vegan advocacy group, is largely victim-focused.
Animals die and are mistreated unnecessarily every day, and it is the aim of these organizations to advocate for them - the victims of animal agriculture.
For an organization such as this to be writing the pay checks for someone who willfully pays for said suffering would surely be counterproductive - if not massively unethical.
Looking to the victims, we are forced to ask who we would want advocating for us were we in their shoes.
Surely, that would not be someone who funds our suffering.
In the article, SAFE's acting CEO Debra Ashton explains that hiring those who don't 'walk the talk' may compromise the potency of the group's message.
She added: "People will ask those questions when you are in that role: 'What about your shoes? Do you eat dairy?' We need to be leaders in what we are doing."
This is perhaps the most vital consideration - how can anyone effectively advocate for or represent something they don't live themselves?
No more should someone who consumes dead animals speak out against their suffering, than should an AA group leader talk sobriety with a drink in their hand.
Lastly, it's important to note that the article points to the law as a potential reason to object to SAFE's job posting.
In some countries - such as the US and New Zealand, where the job pertains to - there are policies that say job applicants should not be discriminated against based on ethical belief.
However, nonveganism may not fall into this category.
Most people who eat animal products don't do so because they believe an animal should suffer - rather it is the product of social conditioning, enforced by a system of law which in itself is massively discriminatory.
Why do some animals, such as cats and dogs, receive legal consideration that cows, pigs, and chickens do not?
If speciesism should be recognized as an ethical belief, then should sexism?
Is it appropriate to have someone in a nonspeciesist
workplace who believes certain animals don't deserve basic rights because of
imagined differences between them?
It's important to consider here that - despite what may be the best of intentions - law and ethics may not always fall into perfect alignment.
Emily Court is a passionate ethical vegan from Eastern Canada. She is a Challenge 22 Mentor, Digital Writer, and experienced animal advocate driven by issues of animal liberation and social justice. She studied at Dalhousie University, where her thesis highlighted intercultural and gender relations. She is an established public speaker, writer, and world traveller with a drive to provide a voice to those who might not otherwise have one. You can follow her on Instagram @emily.j.court or on Twitter @_EmilyJCourt_.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are prepared in the author's capacity and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Plant Based News itself.
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