Ag gag laws, animal rights vs animal welfare, factory farms and footage
think that the "Ag Gag" laws are not a good idea for a number of
reasons related generally to the suppression and chilling of speech. But
to listen to the large animal groups, one would think that the "Ag Gag"
laws are a death knell for the animal movement. That's just wrong.
We don't need more footage from factory farms. There is already more
than enough. For the most part, the objection to these laws concerns the
fact that large animal groups need a steady stream of "exposés" so that
they can continue to promote the idea that there are "responsible"
farms and "irresponsible" farms, "abusive" treatment" and "non-abusive"
treatment. The animal groups get footage of some farm employees doing
something hideous; they have a big campaign; the factory farm does a mea
culpa or gets a wrist slapping; the animal groups declare "victory" and
proclaim that the "abusive" behavior has been stopped. The public is
reassured that the animal groups are
ensuring that animals are being treated "humanely." It's a win-win. The
animal groups get praise and, more important, donations; the public is
reassured and feel better about consuming animal products.
Only the animals, who continue to be tortured in the most "humane" situations, lose.
We need to get people thinking differently about animal ethics. We need
to focus people away from the issue of treatment--and away from the
idea that there is "abusive" treatment and "non-abusive" treatment--and
toward the idea that we cannot morally justify use. Period. We need to
get people to see that the moral idea that they and just about everyone
else already accept--that animal suffering and death must be "necessary"
and that pleasure, amusement, or convenience cannot suffice as
"necessary"--leads to the conclusion that we cannot justify using
animals and that our recognition that animals have moral status means
that we cannot eat flesh, dairy, or eggs, even if they have a "happy"
exploitation label that is praised or endorsed by one or more of the
large animal groups.