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The Big Debate on "Single Issue Campaigns – Taking the Animal Rights Movement Forwards – or Backwards?"

The Big Debate on "Single Issue Campaigns – Taking the Animal Rights Movement Forwards – or Backwards?"

| by Editor

There’s been huge interest in vegan activism and outreach right now, and since we announced the inaugural People’s Vegan Activists Summit at VegfestUK London back in February, we hosted a series of small-scale vegan activists workshops at VegfestUK Bristol in May. Vegans and those who understand and agree with the vegan philosophy are getting together on various Facebook groups and pages, Twitter, blogs and other online platforms to discuss effective forms of influencing others’ lifestyle choices for the animals, the planet and our future.


One important issue that keeps cropping up in these discussions is whether Single Issue Campaigns (SIC’s) are taking the animal rights movement forwards or backwards. Over the years, there’ve been many high-profile SIC’s with support from a number of celebrities as well as people who’re not yet vegan but sympathetic towards animals. These SIC’s range from fox hunting, kangaroo and dog meat trades, to horse racing, foie gras and fur, to name just a few. They’ve regularly made it into mainstream media stirring up plenty of emotions, interest and sympathy in the subject of animal protection.


Some SIC’s however do not carry a ‘go vegan’ message so questions have been raised about whether they simply imply that it’s fine to shift one form of animal exploitation to other forms? Are they simply attempts by national animal groups to generate donations from their supporters, or are they a good thing, highlighting extreme cases of cruelty to animals, changing the nation’s conscience and in some cases help fund vegan outreach? And do SIC’s that focus on animal abuse happening in certain countries carry racist overtones, or are we able to use these SIC’s to highlight animal abuse in our own countries? And how do SIC’s sit within the realms of intersectionality? Can they be consistent with a true social justice movement, or can they cross the borders into the realms of sexism, ageism, ableism and homophobia?


We welcome various viewpoints on this subject and therefore we’re playing host to The Big Debate on the effectiveness of SIC’s at our London event in October as part of the huge People’s Vegan Activists Summit. The debate welcomes questions from the audience as well as opinions from our panel of four below:


In support of SIC’s

Tony Wardle (Viva!)

Tony Wardle is a journalist and writer and was an award-winning TV producer before helping to found the animal campaign group Viva!, which has led the way with some high-profile and influential SIC’s. He authored their environmental report, Diet of Disaster, and has written numerous books, including his 2014 novel, POD, which has a collapsing global environment as a central theme. 







Victoria Eisermann (the K-9 Angels & the Vegan Angels)

Victoria is CEO and joint founder of the K-9 Angels dog rescue charity, the Vegan Angels as well as being one of Vegfest’s celebrity blogger and mum to 5 dogs. As well as rescuing stray dogs and promoting vegan lifestyles, Victoria also campaigns against issues such as horse racing, fur, badger culls amongst others, including focuses on events such as Ascot and the Yulin dog meat festival.






Against SIC’s

Professor Gary L. Francione (The Abolitionist Approach)

Professor Gary Francione is distinguished professor of law at Rutgers University in the USA, and is the first to teach animal rights at an American law school. He is the pioneer of the Abolitionist Approach to animal rights and has written a total of 9 books on the subject as well as giving presentations all over the globe. He argues eloquently and consistently why SIC’s are detrimental to the animal rights movement.

A short introduction booklet on the Abolitionists Approach can be viewed here


Marcus Dredge (The Species Barrier)

Marcus Dredge is an intelligent, calm, well spoken presenter for the Species Barrier Radio Show, with an Abolitionist Approach to vegan issues. Marcus analyses some of the problems he sees with SIC’s and presents articulately, clearly and confidently on the subject.






This debate will take place at 4pm on Sunday October 11th in the 450-seated Main Auditorium on Level 3 of Olympia Central, and will be moderated by Karin Ridgers from VeggieVision as well as Tim Barford, manager of VegfestUK


Join our Facebook event page right here for the Big Debate for further discussions, thoughts and updates.



In addition to this debate, the Vegan Activists Summit also consists of a number of talks, discussions and workshops shedding light on effective vegan campaigning, on top of documentaries on the ethics of the vegan lifestyle. Other confirmed high-profile speakers in the activism field include: scholars Dr. Melanie Joy and Kim Stallwood, activist Ronnie Lee, blogger and speaker Tobias Leenaert, presenter and author Victoria Moran with more TBC near the end of July. There’re also plans being put in place for the debate as well as a number of other talks at the Summit to be screened live too (details TBC).



These activities on vegan activism are part of a huge VegfestUK London which takes place over the weekend of October 10th 11th at Olympia Central (Levels 1 & 3). The whole show provides our visitors with sumptuous vegan food and gifts from 200 stalls and 14 caterers, inspirations from Cookery Demos and Living Raw Food Demos, a People’s Vegan Health Summit on Saturday featuring a number of qualified health professionals, a LifeWell SuperHub dedicated to natural healing, Comedy Hours & Acoustic Music, a Kids Area, a Teen VGN Zone for teenage veggies and vegans to connect, a Mature Zone with enhanced seating for extra comfort, a VegfestUK Awards Ceremony celebrating the best of the vegan lfestyle in 2015!

Advance tickets to the event, priced at £10 for adults and £6 for concessions, go on sale from Monday July 27th 2015 at the event website 



The Activists Summit at London opens the door to further discussions and engagement on effective vegan outreach which will continue at Activists Summits at the inaugural Vegfest Scotland (Dec 5th 6th @ SECC Hall 3) as well as VegfestUK Brighton and Bristol 2016. Visit for full details on Vegfest Scotland. Websites for Brighton and Bristol 2016 will go live respectively from July 17th 2015 and September 2015.


Get Involved! If you have a great Vegan news feed, blog, podcast or video channel that you’d like us to include in The Vegfest Express, or if you have any ideas of new Vegan topics that you’d like us to focus on in the site, then please just contact us at with details!

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