“Go vegan!” and “It’s not food, it’s violence!” are two rallying cries that animal welfare activists have been chanting for years. But for activist and vegan Matt Ball, the purist ideologies espoused in those mantras might actually work against the goal of reducing and ultimately ending animal slaughter.
Despite the animal advocacy from vegan and animal welfare groups, consumption of meat has grown in the United States from 183 pounds of red meat and poultry per capita in 1975 — the year Peter Singer’s seminal Animal Liberation was published — to an estimated 217.8 pounds this year.
Making matters worse, more than 80 percent of people who adopt a vegetarian (let alone vegan) diet ultimately go back to eating meat. According to Ball, vegetarians go back to their meat-eating ways in part because “they can't stand the pressure to maintain a pure diet.”
Although he is sympathetic to vegan and traditional animal welfare activism, Ball believes the time has come for activists to reconsider their tactics. That’s why in early 2014, he co-founded a new organization called One Step for Animals. Their goal is not to get individuals to take on any given lifestyle or diet, but rather to convince as many people as possible to simply stop eating chicken.
Watch the video above, the latest in our Vox Voices series, to see Ball’s take on the failures of the animal welfare community and why eliminating chicken from your diet could have a profound impact on reducing animal suffering.