Former vegan Rhys Southan surmises that vegans have an overly narrow view of the impact that humans have on animals:
Universal veganism wouldn’t stop the road-building, logging, urban and suburban development, pollution, resource consumption, and other forms of land transformation that kills animals by the billions. So what does veganism do exactly? Theoretically, it ends the raising, capture and exploitation of living animals, and it stops a particular kind of killing that many vegans claim is the worst and least excusable: the intentional killing of animals in order to use their bodies as material goods.
Veganism, as a whole, requires us to stop using animals for entertainment, food, pharmaceutical testing, and clothing. If it were to become universal, factory farming and animal testing would end, which would be excellent news for all the animals that we capture or raise for these purposes. But it would accomplish next to nothing for free-roaming wild animals except to stop hunting, which is the least of their problems.
James McWilliams, on the other hand, isn’t bothered by incremental progress:
Ethical veganism is not an all or nothing position. It’s a journey on a long continuum. It’s critical that we never stop articulating the ultimate goal: a world as free of animal exploitation as we can achieve.