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VIDEO: Chris Hedges Explores Veganism as a Moral Choice With Activist Gary Francione

In an interview with Gary Francione on TeleSUR, “Days of Revolt” host Chris Hedges and the longtime animal rights activist discuss the impact of the animal agriculture industry on the ecosystem, the issues critics use to challenge veganism and whether being a vegan can be described as a moral choice.

Hedges begins by asking Francione, the co-author of “Eat Like You Care: An Examination of the Morality of Eating Animals,” what he thinks of the CEO of Whole Foods. Hedges describes John Mackey—a professed vegan—as someone who is anti-union, who inflates prices at his chain of high-end health food stores and is a right-wing fixture.

“As a matter of fact, I think John Mackey, in conjunction with groups like PETA and Farm Sanctuary that promote this whole happy exploitation business, are really reactionary and terribly problematic,” Francione says.

“Explain happy exploitation and what you mean by that,” Hedges says.

“Well, happy exploitation is this idea that we can exploit compassionately,” Francione continues. “John Mackey and Whole Foods have this animal welfare ratings system where you have five steps, and you can choose your level of torture that you want to inflict on animals, and you can buy animals that are supposedly tortured less. But that whole idea, which reinforces the idea in people’s minds that we can exploit compassionately, that there is a right way to do the wrong thing, I think is really problematic. I mean, I think we ought to be focusing on use.”

To learn more about some of the issues critics use to challenge veganism, such as veganism as elitism, the lack of access to a vegan diet and whether animal suffering distracts from human suffering, watch the interview.