During the first couple of years of being vegan, I was a very confused person.
I believed in promoting veganism and was passionate about animal rights. I was a member of Peta2 (PETA for youth), and I supported them, as well as a few other big "Animal Rights" organisations. However, many of their actions puzzled me.
When SAFE in New Zealand got undercover footage of factory farms on tv, I didn't think it was a good thing. Because there was no mention of veganism. Only promotion of free-range animal products.
When PETA campaigned for KFC to use "Controlled Atmosphere Killing" on their chickens instead of slitting their throats, I didn't think that was right. The chickens still lose their lives, either way.
Once on the Peta2 forums, a farmer was complaining that we were trying to put him out of business. I was the first person to comment, and I said that I simply don't support violence, and that the lives of those animals are as valuable to them as ours are to us. Everyone else on the forum, however, reassured him that they loved little family farms where the animals were treated well, and it was only the big mean factory farms that they were trying to get rid of. I actually felt embarrassed, and wondered if I'd said the wrong thing.
Was I being a bad advocate for animal rights because I didn't support campaigns by PETA or SAFE? Should I be advocating for welfare reforms like them? I didn't believe it would help animals, because they would still be murdered in the end, but it seemed like that was what all the vegans and animal rights people were campaigning for. I was very confused indeed.
Then one day, I stumbled across Professor Gary Francione on Twitter. After reading some of his "Tweets" I thought, Finally, here's someone who actually makes sense! Someone campaigning for the end of animal use - not better treatment! I then learnt about the Abolitionist Approach to Animal Rights. I met other vegan abolitionists on Twitter. And suddenly I didn't feel alone, or that what I believed in was wrong.
Now I wonder; how many others out there are feeling the same way I did? How many confused vegans are there who support PETA and the like because they are supposedly "Animal Rights", but don't agree with the things they campaign for? How many vegetarians are there who haven't learnt about veganism because nobody's talked to them about it? How many omnivores are there who pay extra money to buy free-range because they believe they're helping animals?
This is why I urge people to promote veganism, and encourage others to promote it too. You don't need to be a part of a big animal welfare organisation to help other animals. Talk to others about veganism, and promote veganism only. People can make up their own minds about whether to go free-range, vegetarian, or vegan after you talk to them, but I never compromise my message and say that anything less than veganism is okay - that would just be speciesist.
Since going vegan at the age of 13, I have always believed in promoting veganism. I always looked at it from the animal's perspective. If that were me in the slaughterhouse, if I were a slave to another species, I wouldn't care if I got a bigger cage or if I were gassed to death instead of having my throat slit. The thing I would want the most, and would hope for for my children's future, would be to no longer be considered as someone else's property. An individual in control of her own life.