I’m more concerned about human issues. Why do you want me to put nonhumans first?

Justice does not require an either/or approach. We must respect the interests of all animals, human and nonhuman. Keep working on human issues, but there’s no reason to harm animals while you do so. Refraining from using and consuming animals and their products will not prevent you from helping humans, and it doesn’t put one species ahead of another. It is simply a matter of avoiding causing animals unnecessary harm. Being vegan is the bare minimum we can to do to achieve this goal.

This isn’t to say that you should stop there. Though veganism will bring your behavior into alignment with your beliefs about animals, all of us should be giving greater priority to justice for nonhuman animals than we currently do. Their plight is urgent—56 billion land animals are killed every year for trivial purposes, along with trillions of aquatic animals—but few people give meaningful consideration to the most fundamental interests of nonhuman animals. A widespread social movement that holds veganism as a moral baseline is the only avenue to encourage other people to take other animals’ interests more seriously and to become vegan.

When you participate in and help grow this movement by talking with others about veganism, you play an important role in ending the unnecessary harm caused to animals when they are used as resources. This is something you can do in any walk of life, without detracting from your other work. Just speak up!