I have been removed as a speaker from the World Vegan Summit.
As most of you know, Gary L. Francione and I had a personal falling out in January 2014. In an attempt to keep the nonhuman animals and advocates out of the situation, I remained publicly silent on the matter for over 6 months. But Francione’s escalating attacks on TAVS and me eventually necessitated my perspective so I published a public statement in July 2014. That can be found here:
In that public statement, I stated that the unfounded attacks on TAVS may continue into the future. And unfortunately they have. Francione has continued to attack TAVS and me (many times per week on his Facebook page—both passive aggressively and aggressively). My response has, generally, been to ignore his attacks and post the public statement on the TAVS FB page, every once in a while, to inform those who have not heard that TAVS and Francione are officially unaffiliated (something Francione requested and TAVS complied with). Unfortunately, my standing up for TAVS and myself against his attacks by posting the public statement has been interpreted as “criticizing” Francione. In one of my comments on my FB page, I stated that “we are trying to create an unequivocal *and* non-hostile environment for people to become vegans and abolitionist vegans. His FB page is a toxic mess, and that has harmed and continues to harm the abolitionist vegan movement. We are trying to do things differently, as a community, here.” I stand by my comment, now more than ever.
Yesterday, I received two private messages from Bob Linden, the organizer of the World Vegan Summit. I received two separate messages informing me that I have been removed as a speaker from the World Vegan Summit. I will honor the fact that those were private messages and not publish them here. But I can tell you that, in my understanding, I was removed as a speaker from the World Vegan Summit for “criticizing” Francione which, as I stated above, was me standing up for TAVS and myself against his attacks. Linden did not give me the opportunity to express my perspective on this situation before removing me.
As the founder of the oldest international abolitionist vegan organization in the world, I was going to speak on the following two topics:
- TAVS Advocacy (creative nonviolent vegan advocacy)
- The importance of inclusion/anti-discrimination in the abolitionist vegan movement
My purpose, with this statement, is to state the facts because I feel advocates have a right to know what happened and why I will not be speaking at the World Vegan Summit as I previously announced. My purpose here is not to attack anyone. But I think this situation should serve as a dire warning for the abolitionist vegan movement. I do not find this situation acceptable, professional, or most importantly, best for the advocates or nonhuman animals. I understand that many advocates are, understandably, very upset by this situation and will be demanding a refund if they have already registered or not be attending if they have not already registered.
It saddens me that, yet again, TAVS Advocates have been hurt by these attacks. It is important we move forward with love and integrity. Please know that TAVS is continuing on with its abolitionist vegan mission, focused on creating a positive inclusive community that helps nonvegans become vegans and vegans become abolitionist vegans.
Sarah K. Woodcock, Founder and Executive Director
The Abolitionist Vegan Society
September 3, 2014
To register with TAVS, click here.
To learn about TAVS Advocacy, click here.