måndag 18 mars 2013

Promoting veganism and end of animal exploitation vs. promoting animal welfare reform

An email I received:

"If we stop promoting welfare reform and just promote veganism, then the reforms will not happen and animals will be deprived of the benefits that they can receive now as we move towards veganism. What is your reply?"

My reply:

"First of all, you are obviously completely unfamiliar with my work, which addresses these and related questions. If you are interested in these issues, perhaps you should read some of that work and you can start with the essays and materials available on my website: www.abolitionistapproach.com. There are no "donate" buttons on the site so you might be confused at first and think it's not an animal site but do read on!

Second, you are assuming that animal welfare reforms provide significant welfare benefits. They don't for the most part. And most are phased in over a period of years anyway.

Third, most of these "reforms" actually increase production efficiency--they lower the costs of producing animal products--and would be adopted eventually by industry anyway in the ordinary course.

Fourth, you assume that welfare reforms will lead us toward veganism. Wrong. Welfare reforms make people more comfortable about continuing to consume animals. Consider the "happy" exploitation movement that is fast becoming the new "animal movement."

Fourth, if we had a significant vegan movement that promoted veganism as a moral baseline and did not promote welfare reforms, single-issue campaigns, "happy" exploitation, etc., industry would, as a matter of economic necessity, respond with welfare reforms and all sorts of measures that were designed to make the public continue to consume animal products.

That is, if we had a clear, strong, unequivocal vegan movement, industry would respond by making welfare reforms that would probably be more significant than than the welfare reforms now promoted by these large animal groups.

The most important difference would be that we would have a movement that stood for a clear and coherent moral message: if animals matter morally, we cannot eat, wear, or use them. Period.

That is, we would have an animal rights movement and not the pathetic partnership between "animal people" and institutional exploiters we have now.

To the extent that there are benefits from welfare reforms, they would not be lost; they would actually be increased as a reaction to a strong vegan movement that was no longer in complicity with industry and that actively, but nonviolently, promoted a vision of animal personhood.

Gary L. Francione
Professor, Rutgers University"
Hello Mikkel,
This website is not about shouting. It is about educating.
If we study we find out that there are some counter-productive efforts that create confusion, such as meatless monday -- which causes many people to consume more diary products (instead of meat), which also causes animals suffering and death, and this is not any way to a vegan world

I recommend you to read or listen to some debates on the issue (animal rights vs animal welfare). There are many people just like you who thought that all approaches help the animals, but later found out that their thinking was erroneous:

Please also study the 'Terms of use' of this Facebook-page.

Have a great day!
.................................................A discussion about Abolitionist approach vs "Ban Live"-export campaigns and other "happy exploitation"-campaigns:
  • Marianne Mojohand Yet another utterly absurd single issue campaign which suggests that we "humanely" torture and murder our animals here in Australia.
  • Sarah K. Woodcock Nell Alk, well, we can always learn more. To answer your question, vegans should spend their time promoting veganism -- not signing petitions or fundraising for animal welfare organizations.
  • Steven Bragianis A video from AA: "Australian standards and regulations did not protect these animals from a cruel and terrifying death": 3:53. This begs the question: What's the point of banning live export?

  • Cyn Cynology I am curious-- is AA's reason for doing these types of campaigns to prevent additional suffering and stress to the animals or to gain donation dollars and keep slaughter in their own backyard to keep it a local issue for them to fight? I have an AU friend that raves about AA claiming they have made a huge difference over there -- will have to ask her to elaborate on that.
  • Sarah Patsy I am vegan and live in Australia. Yes, I promote veganism. It will not, however, happen overnight, and especially not in a country where it is considered 'un-Australian' to be vegetarian, let alone vegan. However hard I, and people like me, promote veganism, animals will continue to be slaughtered. It can either be locally, with far less travel and stress for the animal, or we continue with live exports where the animals spend weeks travelling in high stress environments by land and sea, many dying en route. As we are all animals, which would you prefer? I do not want any animals to be slaughtered, but pretending it doesn't happen will not make it stop. It is very simple to say we should be promoting nothing but veganism, but I cannot ignore the horror inflicted upon these beautiful sentient beings. Is it better to promote veganism for the next ten years and ignore the murder that is happening daily?
  • Jan Vilse @Sarah Patsy,

    wouldn't the best way to save Jacob be to reduce demand for animal products so that people don't want to breed and slaughter him in the first place? Wouldn't that goal be worth using every imaginable political resource available?
  • Alan O'Reilly Sarah Patsy, 'It will not happen overnight' is one of the standard reasons given for supporting campaigns such as this. The fact is that it will not happen at all if vegans continue to do so instead of unequivocally advocating the abolition of animal exploitation. Although you may wish to see animals treated in a less 'cruel' manner, such treatment is still exploitation and by supporting these campaigns you are effectively approving exploitation, albeit in a different form. How much more difficult does it then become when you subsequently try to deliver the moral message and the exploiters say, quite justifiably, that 'The animal people say what we're doing is OK'?
  • Sarah Patsy @Jan, Yes, I agree, that is the point of promoting veganism, but as you said yourself, "reduce demand" which implies that animals will be bred for slaughter for food. There will always be people who will not be vegan. There will always be people who choose cruelty. I am vegan, live this, breathe this... but I cannot ignore or forget the animals such as Jacob and the unimaginable horror he and millions of others like him are enduring every day. I feel to say, well I am only focussed on veganism, is to ignore the terrible cruelty they face daily. Yes, for people to become vegan helps the Jacobs in this world in the future but does it help Jacob today?
  • Sarah Patsy @ Alan, Not everyone will become vegan, sad but true. There are too many people that simply see nothing wrong with eating animals that refuse to be educated, and there are too many anti-social people that enjoy cruelty. Sad but true. If we ignore this fact and therefore do not engage in 'exploitation' of least cruelty, do we leave other animals to fend for themselves?
  • Alan O'Reilly Sarah, <Not everyone will become vegan, sad but true.> That is an opinion (not a fact) with which I do not concur. I also totally reject the notion that humans have any right whatsoever to arbitrarily decide on behalf of other sentient beings which forms of abuse are acceptable and which are not.
  • Claudia Ferri Banning live export is a START
  • Gary L. Francione: The Abolitionist Approach to Animal Rights Sarah Patsy: You seem to be ignoring that these of campaigns make the public more comfortable about consuming animals who have been "happily" exploited. You seem not to be concerned that "animal advocates" are deciding which forms of exploitation are "compassionate." But I appreciate that people with your perspective are often unable to see this problem. That is how corporations like Animals Australia get lots and lots of donations.
  • Sarah Patsy @Alan Yes it is an opinion that not everyone will become vegan. I'm interested in your opinion that everyone will. Why, and how do you think that will happen?
  • Gary L. Francione: The Abolitionist Approach to Animal Rights Massimo Viggiani: That's like saying that we ought to have dog shows because they will help some people to recognize the moral significance of animals. In fact, I have met people who have told me that their becoming vegan was the result of their being involved in the world of show dogs. So let's promote dog shows. That's where your "logic" leads.
  • Sarah Patsy @Gary, I understand your point, but I don't think the public are comfortable with 'happy exploitation' at all. In my experience the public don't want to think about animals being slaughtered for their food and find it very easy to draw a distinction between the animals they share their lives with such as dogs and cats, and the pieces of packaged meat they pick up at the supermarket. I am not at all comfortable with 'happy exploitation' but is the promotion of veganism enough to prevent this torture?
  • Gary L. Francione: The Abolitionist Approach to Animal Rights Sarah Patsy: What you are saying is that it's okay for an "animal group" to promote more "compassionate" ways to exploit. If that's what you think, great. I regard it as a fundamental betrayal of animal rights. That sort of thinking is what is responsible for all the "happy" exploitation labels being promoted by all of the large groups. If you think that's a good idea, you are confused.
  • Gary L. Francione: The Abolitionist Approach to Animal Rights Massimo Viggiani: Such campaigns are fundamentally in conflict with an abolitionist approach.
  • Gary L. Francione: The Abolitionist Approach to Animal Rights Sarah Patsy: I agree that people aren't comfortable and that is precisely WHY we should be making clear that the distinctions they draw don't make any sense. I think that what groups like AA do is terrible because they are intentionally encouraging people not to examine their incoherent distinctions.
  • Sarah Patsy @Gary, No, that's not what I'm saying. I have clearly stated I do not believe in 'happy' exploitation or 'compassionate' ways to exploit animals. And I can assure you I am not confused. The exploitation of animals revolts me, but so does their being butchered in an abattoir.
  • Gary L. Francione: The Abolitionist Approach to Animal Rights Sarah Patsy: It's not a question of what you believe. It's a question of what these campaigns do and what message they send. And do you *really* believe that that sort of crap does not go on every day in Aussie abattoirs? If you do, you are very wrong. Massimo Viggiani: You are being naive. And the UK got rid of live trade in the 1890s, only to have it come back. You cannot compare single issue campaigns like this with the anti-slavery movement of he 18th-19th centuries.
  • Sarah Patsy @Gary, Yes, that is a good point. AA are probably one of the largest and most powerful groups here but sadly do not promote the vegan message for fear of alienating their largely non-vegan support base. Thank you for some interesting dialogue tonight.
  • Gary L. Francione: The Abolitionist Approach to Animal Rights Massimo Viggiani: You are just spouting the new welfarist line that I have been hearing for 30 years now and have refuted in my work. If you want to promote new welfarism, go to one of the trillion sites that celebrate that approach. Please not here. Thanks for your cooperation.
  • Sarah K. Woodcock General observation: One of the things I have learned from The Abolitionist Approach is that animal *rights* advocates are faaaaaaar away from single issue campaigns because they understand that we need a paradigm shift faaaaaaar away from how humanity currently regards animals. It is totally apparent that the "Ban Live Export" single issue campaign is a "Kill them here, not there" campaign which could not be closer to how humanity currently regards animals and which is why there is so much nonvegan support for it.
  • Sarah K. Woodcock Admin Note: When you say you "admire Francione's work" and also support speciesist, racist single issue campaigns, it is very clear you know nothing about "Francione's work."

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