A person wrote: "Gary Francione holds that it's immoral to support or promote welfare reforms that would meaningfully lessen the suffering of animals -- even if, as an empirical matter, they are effective and will save a million or more animals."
There is no such thing as an animal welfare reform that would "save a million or more animals". It is a mere hypothetical. Why should I engage in discussing hypotheticals. It is an inaccurate statement. It ignores the detrimental effects that promoting Animal welfare reform has. It ignores that promoting Animal welfare reform legitimizes the very institution of animal exploitation.
I have shown above how animal welfare reforms accomplishes the exact opposite - that they make people more comfortable with exploiting animals, that they lead to an increase of consumption of animal foods, and thus an increase in the numbers of animals being exploited.
A person wrote: "Why not directly answer a clarifying question about Francione's position?"
"Why not directly answer a clarifying question about Francione's position?"
I think that the statement is an oxymoron. I think that the statement is so far away from the reality about what Animal welfare reform accomplishes. I believe there is alot of evidence that Animal welfare reform accomplishes the opposite; and Whole foods and animal industry are promoting "happy meat" and "Welfare standard"-ratings because they know that it increases their sales. This is how businesses operates.
So I don't like simplified statements that ignore the reality that we live in, and ignore the consequences of promoting a certain position.
A person who isn't utilitarian would say that it is not ethical to promote the exploitation of one individual in order to save 2 individuals from being exploited. Similarly person who isn't utilitarian would say that it is not ethical to promote and legitimize the exploitation of 1000+ billions of animals by promoting Animal welfare reform (e.g. promoting that hens should be exploited in slightly bigger cages).
Such a person would also say that it is not ethical to promote and to endorse "humane rape" of one person, even if it could save 1 000 000 people from being exploited. It is not ethical to murder one person, in order to hinder 5 people from being exploited.
So ignoring that the question doesn't reflect reality, and is a false hypothesis that will never occur in real life: I belive that Gary Francione would say that it is immoral to promote Animal welfare reform in that specific situation, because that it legitimizes the exploitation of sentient beings.