Or so says The Pythagorean Crank. And I must confess, I agree with him 100 percent.
I used to shy away from animal rights as a justification for my veganism, too. And while there are some good non-AR arguments for veganism, none of them seem as robust to me as the animal rights position. Its logic has been inescapable to me for as long as I've been thinking critically. Indeed, it was my skepticism that led me to veganism in the first place. I have a low tolerance for sales-pitches (even though I'm told I'm good at giving them), and there are few pitchmen more vigorous than the meat and dairy industries.
Whenever I'm challenged to defend AR, I simply say, "it's just plain mean to do this to animals when there's no good reason." I find that almost always makes people think and nod their agreement, and I know of at least one person who made the plunge themselves after talking with me. I never once said anything remotely hippy, and I never will.
I'd like to see more vegans do it that way.