Stop Using Carnist Euphemisms

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A major issue in the vegan community is the use of carnist euphemisms left over from our dark days before we were vegan. We see this happening everywhere we look and I thought pointing out which ones to stop using and what to say instead could be helpful for everyone. When we continue to make animals and their body parts into objects we transmute them magically into something detached from who they were and that does a great disservice to them and the cause we are attempting to project into the world.

“Leather” – It’s preserved flesh and should be called as such. Most preserved flesh comes from India where the cows go through an insane march of death getting chili peppers rubbed in their eyes and their tails broken all in an effort to make them stand back up and continue their march to a dull blade in their throats.

“It” – This is a big one I see constantly. Nothing makes a sentient being more of an object than foregoing all pronouns and make them equivalent to a TV remote. If you don’t know their gender say they, them, or some other other gender neutral pronoun. Making them an object but trying to push their rights as someone makes no sense and completely defeats what we are doing.

“Owner or Pet” – They are Companion animals, fur babies, guardian, caretaker, sons, or daughters. Positioning yourself as a slave master is not vegan.

“Meat”(not when referring to plant meats) – It’s a dead body, corpse, flesh, parts and pieces not a dinner. Using what “meat” really is drives home the reality that it came from someones body.

“Milk, Cheese, Dairy”(Not plant versions) – Secretions, Mammary fluids, Congealed Mammary fluids, etc. I even like to throw in things about pus, blood and feces that are in secretions to really drive it all home.

“Livestock” – Referring to them as one unidentified lump of “meat” removing their individuality and destroying their unique lives and personalities.

“Pork and Beef” – Again this removes the reality of the flesh being from an individual and even transforms what species the flesh came from into a new mentally safe object to eat.

“Eggs” – While this is technically not a euphemism it is used as one. Saying ovulations hits home the reality much better. Don’t say “chicken periods” as that’s idiotic and not correct since chickens don’t shed a uterus like mammals do and you will only bring ridicule for being non factual from a carnist that knows this.

“Wool, Angora, Down” – Sheep fur, Rabbit Hair, and Bird feathers that are all very painfully ripped out or cut and I always describe these things to their fullest when someone uses these.

“Honey” – Bee vomit plain and simple

While I may use euphemisms when gingerly coddling a carnist who seems interested I try to remember to always put them in quotes to still make them take notice. I’m always surprised to see members of the vegan community using many of these especially “it” which is a huge issue. Words carry great power and that one in particular can undermine everything you are trying to say and change by making non humans into objects.

I hope this was helpful and feel free to comment any bellow I may have missed an I will add them.

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Brandon Kirkwood

Animal Rights Activist (ARA), Vegan, Creator and editor of Vegan News, Father to an awesome cat named Boba, Youtuber

2 thoughts on “Stop Using Carnist Euphemisms

  • October 7, 2017 at 10:43 pm

    the issue of language and veganism is so fascinating. So what we’re advocating for is political resistance against accepting conventional

  • July 31, 2018 at 3:49 pm

    Many of us have been doing this for a long time. It’s why we refer to “vegans” as “morons”.


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