lördag 25 maj 2013

Are vegans justified to use violence to liberate animals?

I wrote 3 paragraphs on the rescue-campaigns above (+ the quote I included). Here are some more thoughts.
I am quite new to nonviolence. Before the end of this autumn I did justify violence, e.g. I justified many wars. Sometime after becoming vegan I also changed my position about nonviolence. So I will do my best to apply this principle according to my current understanding.
Read this post first: http://bloganders.blogspot.no/2013/05/illegal-rescue-actions-of-animals.html
Also read this article: On Militant Direct Action

Our goal should be to abolish all animal exploitation. We want to do our best to abolish the violence in the world against human and nonhuman animals. I think the principle of self-defense only applies in situations where someone tragically has to use violence, either the attacker or the person defending himself/herself. It is not ‘morally justified’, but it is morally excusable [See footnote 1]. I.e. there is no way at all to solve the conflict without any violence being involved. This applies to very, very few situations and can’t be used to e.g. justify starting a war. It is not justified to use violence as a way to reach nonviolence (e.g. wars). Neither, I would say, can it be used to justify killing an innocent animal for survival. It could be used if a human or nonhuman animal is attacking you in the purpose of killing you.

The rescue-campaigns don’t accomplish the abolition of slavery and violence towards either human or nonhuman animals and they don’t help in our goal of reaching the abolition of all animal slavery. As I will show below they increase the overall violence in the world. The rescued animals get replaced by other animals, since the rescue-campaigns haven’t educated people about why animal exploitation is wrong. There will always be someone filling the huge demand for animal products.

This paragraph is painting a general picture. It doesn’t apply to every individual. Non-vegans don’t understand animal rescue-campaigns. They see it as destroying someone’s property and violence against the farmers. They see it as animal advocate are abusing the farmers that are exploiting animals. The farmers that are exploiting animals themselves get more angry and violent, and are also using this to attack and belittle vegans in their campaigns trying to perpetuate and normalize the eating of animal products. Some violence may be included in revenge-actions either by them themselves or someone else getting angry of what they regard as the mistreatment and abuse of farmers. Non-vegans, who can’t understand the rescue campaigns and see it as something bad, get another argument in their way of becoming a vegan.

If most of the world was vegan, and we had the possibility to enforce laws that would make it possible to rescue all the farmed animals and put them on animal shelters, and to prohibit, enforce and educate of why domestication is morally wrong to everyone, and to end all domestication, then I believe open rescue would be beneficial (which then would be able to accomplish the abolition of all animal slavery). Now, however, it doesn’t end the violence of animals in the world and it doesn’t lead us any closer to the end of abolishing all animal slavery.
If we instead want to do something beneficial towards ending the violence and animal slavery in the world, we can engage ourselves in vegan education and we can rescue animals legally from animal shelters. There is an incredible need for this; and it can involve all vegans, as well as many non-vegans; and at the same time, it has a huge educational value if it is combined and advocated for in combination with vegan education, and is done in a context that also non-vegans can understand.

Everyone being involved in vegan education and doing it effectively – both presenting coherent and relevant arguments and presenting them with love, compassion and without being judgmental, know that it works and that people are going vegan and that many people starting to think much more clearly, and that many seeds are planted that eventually are leading to people going vegan.
"The history of humankind is a history of violence. If violence worked we would be living in an utopia right now. We are not. The world is more violent than it has every been."
What do you all think?

----End of post.

Footnote 1:
 'Excusable' or justifiable.
I make the distinction like this example:
"I explore these ideas in this podcast: http://bit.ly/JA5VU Although I do not think that it is morally justifiable to feed cats animal products, it is also not morally justifiable to kill cats, who are here as "pets" only because *we* created and promoted and facilitated that horrible institution. I argue that it may be morally excusable if we have exhausted all options. That does *not* make it right; but it recognizes that this is a plausible solution in a no-win situation that is inherently speciesist and for which humans, and not have cats, bear the ultimate moral responsibility." [Quote: Gary Francione]

My reply to another post:

I agree with this thoughtful quote: "As you know, I am opposed to all violence on moral grounds. (See, e.g., A Comment on Violence and More on Violence and Animal Rights) I accept the concept of Ahimsa.
Violence against institutional exploiters is not only immoral but it is incoherent—it makes no sense. The institutional exploiters are not “the enemy.” We are the ones who demand animal products. If we stopped consuming animal products, institutional users would shift their capital elsewhere. We are the ones who continue to believe the myth that vivisection will make us live longer and better lives and, as a result, we continue to support it, if only by not demanding of our politicians that they ensure that the alternatives that Penman mentions are used and that others are developed."

In any case wishing the death of a person is not the same as self-defense, it is being violent with words and thoughts.
And animal exploitation will never end by hurting or killing those exploiting animals [which also is morally wrong], which right now is about 99% of the population. Using violence will only increase the violence. The exploitation of animals won't decrease since the demand remains. The animal exploitation will only end by vegan education.
Many good thoughts by Scott Newman:
 Interesting discussion. I disagree with Steve Best's approach, and specifically with one example he uses in his speech. He states that when activists like the ALF use violence, it sparks some public interest, that people begin to take notice, and it gets some to consider the movement simply because if a group is so passionate about it, there must be something to it that they hadn't considered before! I'm sure there are a few (very very few) cases where such violent protest has influenced people to change. However, I believe that most carnist's [note of Anders Branderud: non-vegans should be used (carnist only refers to meat-eaters)] who see vegans on the news burning farms down, or screaming at people as they enter a McDonald often think "those vegans are crazy and militant wackos!" or "vegans think they are morally superior, but look what they do, they seem so angry!". Steve Best's approach can in some cases actually be a disservice or "counter productive" to the animal rights movement [Anders Branderud: I would say: in many cases], and can easily turn many people off to ever going vegan. In my opinion, Vegans must first seek out true peace of mind, and eventually others will take notice, and be jealous of what they have, for deep down that's what we all want! We need to work as a team, we'll only free the animals by freeing the hearts of people first, and by showing them a path back to their true nature, which is compassion and love. Namaste' , don't sell your fellow humans short, the same thing that exists within you, exists within all people, help them find it today.


Veronique Perrot HC I agree with you Scott. It is already difficult enough to be taken seriously by non-vegans when they see us leafleting, so let alone ALF stuff. We are not gonna change anyone by doing these stunt, however well intentioned they are.

Quote by Jeff Perz:
Jeff Perz:
Thanks very much, Tammy, for your eloquently worded question.
When you speak of “direct action” above, you appear to be limiting it to removing animals from situations of exploitation. If this is indeed all that you mean, my view is that sometimes rescuing animals is morally acceptable or desirable, sometimes it is not clear whether a rescue is acceptable and other times rescues are clearly immoral.

I will start with the rescue situations that I am ambivalent about. On the one hand, there are individual healthy animals in need of rescuing, and it would be cold to turn one's back on them. On the other hand,
rescuing healthy animals will cause more animals to be bred into existence to replace those rescued. In other words, the act of rescuing one healthy animal is casually connected to the response of the exploiter, who will respond to the demand that the rescuer has created, phone his supplier, and ask that more animals be bred into existence, used and killed. The rescuer is the cause of this suffering and death NOW. So, I am of mixed minds when it comes to rescuing healthy animals.

Regarding rescue situations that I believe are morally acceptable or desirable, these would involve “unhealthy” animals, or animals that the exploiter does not want for whatever reason. If the animals are so
unhealthy that they would be discarded by the animal exploiter, then I support efforts to rescue them, so long as nothing is paid for them, not even $1. These situations do not create demand for breeding more animals into existence, whom would then be exploited and killed. Rescues are clearly unethical when not enough consideration is paid to the well-being of the animals. For example, cases of releasing minks from mink farms, where the minks have died of dehydration, starvation, or have been hit by cars. All of that said, it is a better use of an activist's time to do vegan education than to rescue animals. Vegan education saves* many more lives. One could spend days (or more) planning and executing an open or covert rescue. Perhaps that would save 10-50 animals. Or, instead, one could spend that same time doing vegan education. Helping just one person in her 20s to go vegan would save*(i.e. prevent _thousands_ of animals from being bred into existence, exploited and killed) NOW. As Francione notes, we’re in a zero sum game: every minute spent doing a rescue is one minute less that we could have been doing vegan
education, saving more lives.

So, in general, this is the reason why I believe direct action via rescue is not the best approach to abolish all animal use. That said, I do not actively oppose all rescues, as I explain above.

Property damage and violence
Colin Wright:
Property damage is actually a form of violence. When you destroy property and the people observing this (especially after the fact) have no understanding of why the property should have been destroyed (in the case of labs being burned for example), it creates in them the feeling that their houses or businesses may be next, which they regard as terrorism.

2 kommentarer:

  1. Excusable is something that can be excuses if justified. It means the same thing.

  2. I make the distinction between morally excusable and morally justified:
    "I explore these ideas in this podcast: http://bit.ly/JA5VU Although I do not think that it is morally justifiable to feed cats animal products, it is also not morally justifiable to kill cats, who are here as "pets" only because *we* created and promoted and facilitated that horrible institution. I argue that it may be morally excusable if we have exhausted all options. That does *not* make it right; but it recognizes that this is a plausible solution in a no-win situation that is inherently speciesist and for which humans, and not have cats, bear the ultimate moral responsibility." [Quote: Gary Francione]