Hey, Natalie, I think you made a pretty good justification for pursuing animal welfare strategies. I can really see this all - and this is separate now from the outreach strategies to promote veganism that we were just discussing - from both perspectives, as far as welfare reform goes. As an aside, welfare advocacy can also be seen as utilitarian because it seeks to reduce suffering. Anyhoo, here's a (rather lengthy) excerpt from an interview with Gary Francione, a professor of law at Rutgers University, conducted in 2002 by Friends of Animals. It's pretty interesting, and I figure you'll like since you're a law student. As another aside, I don't support fast-food restaurants for reasons that extend beyond animal rights, but I especially would discourage anyone from supporting Yum! at this point in time.
FoA: What is your view of the current animal rights movement in the United States?
Gary Francione: There is no animal rights movement in the United States. There is only an animal welfare movement that seeks to promote the "humane" exploitation of animals. DISAGREE: WHILE THERE ARE WELFARIST ORGANIZATIONS THAT SEEK WELFARISM AS THE END GOAL, THE WELFARISM WITHIN THE AR MOVEMENT DOES NOT SEEK WELFARISM AS THE END GOAL AT ALL, BUT RATHER, SEES IT AS NECESSITATED BY PRACTICAL REALITIES (AS I EXPLAIN ABOVE AND WILL NOT REPEAT HERE. WE CANNOT IGNORE THE ANIMALS SUFFERING NOW FOR THE SAKE OF MAINTAINING A PURSIT PHILOSOPHY.
To bring about animal rights, it is essential to understand the basic legal and philosophical arguments for abolition. Logically, it is not possible to reform the system that exploits animals; we must abolish the exploitation. I ABSOLUTELY AGREE. THE WELFARISM THAT I CAMPAIGN FOR LIKE AS IN THE YUM CASE IS NOT ADVOCATING HUMANE EXPLOITATION OF ANIMALS AS THE END GOAL. THIS ISNT EVEN LOGISTICALLY POSSIBLE AS FRANCIONE ARGUES. INSTEAD, WE ARE SIMPLY TRYING TO SPARE THE ANIMALS THAT WILL NOT BE EMANCIPATED FROM EXPERIENCING THE HORRORS OF BEING DROWNED ALIVE.
The abolitionist position is that the institution of animal property is morally unjustifiable, just as was the institution of human property that we called slavery. ABSOLUTELY.
Some who promote welfare reform maintain that it is acceptable for humans to use animals if they do so "humanely." NOTE THAT FRANCIONE HERE QUALIFIES THE STATEMENT WITH THE WORD "SOME". IT IS ABSOLUTELY TRUE THAT THERE ARE WELFARIST PEOPLE WITH WELFARIST AGENDAS AS THE END GOAL. BUT THERE ARE OTHERS THAT DO PROMOTE/ADVOCATE ANIMAL RIGHTS, BUT ADOPT A WELFARIST POSTURE WHEN DOING SO MAKE SENSE WITHIN THE PRACTICAL REALITIES WE CONFRONT. I FALL INTO THE LATTER CATEGORY AND I BELIEVE THAT PETA DOES AS WELL. THAT IS WHY EVEN AFTER YUM ADOPTS CAK OVER SCALDING ALIVE (IF OUR BOYCOTT IS EVER EFFECTIVE), WE WILL STILL CAMPAIGN FOR VEGANISM, WHICH IS BY DEFINITION ANTI-YUM AND ANTI-ANY ANIMAL SERVING ESTABLISHMENT. HENCE, THE RIGHTS STILL OVERRIDES THE WELFARE AND IS THE PRIMARY AND ONLY ACCEPTABLE "END RESULT".
Others seek welfare reforms because they believe reforms will eventually lead to abolition. I argue against these notions for two reasons. I DONT REALLY SEE WELFARE LEADING TO ABOLITION AT ALL. I DONT THINK WE WILL EVER CONVINCE YUM TO CLOSE ITS DOORS FOREVER VOLUNTARILY, OR TO GO 100 % VEGAN VOLUNTARILY. CORPORATIONS RESPOND TO DEMAND AND TO PROFIT. SO THAT IS WHAT i MEAN BY WORKING ON VEGAN OUTREACH TO SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCE DEMAND FOR MEAT, TO A POINT WHERE EITHER THESE CORPS ARE NO LONGER PROFITABLE, OR IT IS NO LONGER PROFITABLE FOR THEM TO SERVE NON-VEGAN FOOD. THE ONLY REASON FOR AT TIMES WELFARIST POSTURE IS TO SAVE THE CHICKENS IN THE HERE AND NOW FROM EXCRUCIATING, UNIMAGINABLE, INDESCRIBABLE PAIN AND SUFFERING. THAT IS I BELEIVE THE ONLY THING THAT WELFARISM WILL ACCOMPLISH. NOTHING MORE.
First, as a theoretical matter, reform misses the primary moral point. It is, of course, always better to cause less suffering than more, ABSOLUTELY
but the real question is whether humans are justified in imposing any suffering at all on animals incidental to our use of animals as property. NO, HUMANS ARE NOT SO JUSTIFIED. THAT IS WHY AR MUST BE THE ONLY ACCEPTABLE END RESULT. BUT UNTIL THEN, I CANNOT IN GOOD CONSCIENCE SACRIFICE THE HERE AND NOW CHICKENS AND ALLOW THEM TO EXPERIENCE A SCALDING ALIVE PROCESS. SO WE CAMPAIGN FOR VEGANISM, AND IN THE MEANTIME, WE DO WHAT WE CAN TO HELP THE CHICKENS THAT WILL NEVER SEE THE GLORIOUS DAY OF EMANCIPATION. THE ONLY WAY THAT ONE COULD DISAGREE WITH ME IS IF YOU FEEL THAT THE CHICKENS OUGHT TO BE SACFRICIED FOR THE GOOD OF THE FUTURE CHICKENS. FRANCIONE DOESNT COME OUT AND SAY THIS, BUT THAT IS HOW HE MUST FEEL. AND THAT IS WHERE HE AND I DISAGREE
. The 19th century reformers argued that it was better for a slave's owner to beat his slave four times a week rather than five. The abolitionists argued that all human beings had at least the right not to be the property of another; that to be property meant that a human had no value except that accorded the slave by the owner. The abolitionist position was that it was wrong to beat the slaves at all because the institution of slavery itself was morally unjustifiable and it did not matter how "humane" we made slavery. Putting a string quartet on the way to the gas chambers -- as the Nazis did during the Holocaust -- may make things more "humane" in some sense, but that misses the point, doesn't it? THE ONLY OPTIONS FOR THE CHICKENS IN YUM FACTORIES SCHEDULED FOR EXECUTION NEXT WEKE OR NEXT MONTH ARE SUFFERING LESS OR SUFFERING MORE. EMANCIPATION IS NOT LIKELY IN THIR LIFETIMES. SO WE MUST ENSURE THAT THEY SUFFER LESS. THIS DOESNT MISS THE POINT AT ALL. IN FACT, IT IS EXACTLY THE POINT BECAUSE EMANCIPATION IS NOT AN OPTION FOR THESE ANIMALS.
If animals are morally significant at all, then we must abolish the institution of animal property. ABSOLUTELY
. We must stop creating and owning domestic animals or using wild animals as means to our ends. My view is that we should abolish animal slavery and not seek to reform an inherently immoral institution. WE NEED TO SEEK VEGANISM AS THE ONLY ACCEPTABLE OUTCOME, YES, BUT WE CANNOT QUITE LITERALLY THROW THE ANIMALS THAT WILL NOT BE SAVED INTO BOILING WATER FOR THE SAKE OF PHILOSOPHICAL OR THEORETICAL PURITY.
The second reason for my rejection of welfarism is that, as a practical matter, it does not work. We have had animal welfare laws in most western countries for well over a hundred years now, and they have done little to reduce animal suffering and they certainly have not resulted in the gradual abolition of any practices.Peter Singer was recently quoted as saying that the agreement by McDonald's to give battery hens a few more inches of cage space was the most significant development for farm animals since he wrote Animal Liberation. Twenty-five years of welfarist reform and the best we can show is a larger battery cage. Maybe Peter finds that thrilling; I do not. It is a clear indication of what I have been saying for a decade now: welfarist reform is useless. I AGREE THAT BIGGER BATTERY CAGES ARENT ENOUGH. MY CONCERN IS REALLY MORE ABOUT IMPLEMENTING 'REFORMS' THAT WILL MAKE A REAL DIFFERENCE IN REDUCING TORTURE AND PAIN, LIKE CONVINCING YUM TO IMPLEMENT CONTROLLED ATMOSPHERE KILLING INSTEAD OF SCALDING ALIVE. YOU CANNOT SAY THAT THIS IS HARDLY A DIFFERENCE. IF FRANCIONE WAS THE ONE THAT HAD ONLY A CHOICE BETWEEN SCALDING ALIVE AND BEING MURDERED PAINLESSLY, HE WOULD CHOOSE THE LATTER, UNLESS HE IS SOME KIND OF MASOCHIST.
As to why welfarism fails, this was the subject of my 1996 book, Rain Without Thunder: The Ideology of the Animal Rights Movement. In a nutshell, the reason has to do with the property status of animals. If animals are property, then they have no value beyond that which is accorded to them by their owners. Reform does not work because it seeks to force owners to value their property differently and to incur costs in order to respect animals interests. Our legal and political systems are based on strong concepts of property rights. Thus, there is reluctance to impose the costs of reforms on owners when such costs will significantly decrease the value of animal property as far as the owner is concerned. ANIMALS ARE NOT HUMAN PROPERTY, THEY BELONG NOT TO US, BUT TO THEMSELVES AND THEIR CREATOR. I AGREE THAT WE NEED TO WORK TO END THEIR TREATMENT AS PROPERTY. AND THAT IS WHAT WE DO, BUT WITHOUT IGNORING THE ONES THAT ARE GOING TO BE BOILED ALIVE.
This theory is logical indeed. But what about putting your ideas into practice at the grass roots level? SURE
. ANYTHING AN EVERYTHING THAT WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE IS A GFREAT IDEA.
Gary Francione: Before undertaking any practical effort, there must be a theory that informs the action. A social movement must have a theory if it is to have any action at all. Unfortunately for the present time, the welfarist position of Peter Singer is informing the movement. This position claims that advocates should support any measure that "reduces suffering." This theory has had disastrous practical results. Nearly any proposed change, such as giving an extra inch of space to a battery hen, or eating only non-crate veal, can be portrayed as reducing suffering. Singer's theory allows large, multi-million-dollar animal welfare organizations to come up with moderate campaigns and then to demand that we all jump on the bandwagon because this will "reduce suffering." Under Singer’s theory, it would make sense for animal exploiters to make things as horrible as they can for animals in order to be able to "reduce suffering" and thereby make small concessions to activists. That is precisely what the exploiters are doing, with McDonalds’ so-called "improvements" being a perfect example of the problem. And the "movement" is buying into this because Singer has declared that these insignificant changes will "reduce suffering."
I suggest that we need a new theory to replace the one that we have. I am not unrealistic. I recognize that even if we adopt an abolitionist theory, abolition will not occur immediately. exactly
Change will necessarily be incremental. But it is my view that the explicit goal must be abolition and that abolition must shape incremental change. YES THE EXPLICIT GOAL SHOULD BE ABLITION. BUT I AM NOT PREPARED TO ALLOW THESE ANIMALS THAT WERE UNFORTUNATE ENOUGH TO BE BORN TODAY BE SCALDED ALIVE FOR THE SAKE THEORETICAL CONSISTENCY. I GUESS FRANCIONE IS.
On the other hand, I can tell you what really is not realistic, and that is to expect that the industries who use animals to obtain profits will be able to police themselves. As I have often noted, "humane slaughter" laws are difficult to enforce, and the economic realities of the meat-packing business militate against conscientious self-enforcement of such standards. Moreover, such laws arguably increase overall suffering, because they make the general public feel better about eating meat or about any other regulated use of animals. This is the Catch-22 of animal welfare.YES AS I ACKNOWLEDGED, THIS IS THE PITFALL OF WELFARISM, BUT NO SOLUTION IS PERFECT, AND I THINK THAT DIFFERING STRATEGIE AND APPROACHES IN THE MOVEMENT WILL SUPPLEMENT THE WEAKNESSES OF EACH OTHER AND BALANCE EACH OTHER OUT. I DONT BELEIVE THAT WE SHOULD TAKE A PAROCHIAL ROUTE IN TRYING TO PUSH OUR AGENDA.
There will always be welfarists who promote longer chains for the slaves and call that incremental change. In Rain Without Thunder, I argued that the most important form of incremental change is educating the public about the need for abolition. We have not yet had that, for the U.S. movement has always been embarrassed about being "radical." We do not want to alienate the "mainstream." The problem is that the "mainstream" is polluted and we ought to stay far away from the "mainstream."
To those who claim that the abolitionist has no practical campaign to pursue right now, I have long argued that the contrary is true. Consider what would happen if the international animal movement had a sustained and unified campaign promoting a purely vegetarian diet. Imagine what could be done if a significant portion of our resources were channeled into making people aware of why they shouldn't eat animal products at all. At the end of five years, we would certainly not have achieved world veganism, but we'd probably have reduced the consumption of animal products considerably more than we have done with these "eat red veal" campaigns. PROBABLY, BUT THAT STILL DOESNT CONVINCE ME TO ABANDON THE CHICKENS THAT WILL BE SCALDED ALIVE BUT FOR MY WELFARIST CAMPAIGN AGAINST YUM.
And what would we have given up if we were to pursue this route? Peter Singer claims that two inches of cage space is the best thing to happen to farmed animals in 25 years; arguably, making as few as 100 new vegans in five years would "reduce suffering" much more than that. NOTE THE QUALIFYING WORD "ARGUABLY" IN HERE. FURTHERNMORE, I AM NOT REALLY OVERJOYED WITH ACHIEVEMENTS LIKE TWO MORE INCHES OF OF BATTERY SPACE EITHER. WHAT I AM MORE CONCERNED WITH, WHAT I FEEL A SENSE OF URGENCY ABOUT, IS THIS PROCESS OF BEING SCALDED ALIVE, DELIMBED ALIVE, ETC. I WOULD LIKE TO SEE WELFARIST CAMPAIGNS BE MORE AGGRESSIVE THAN JUST INSISTING ON BIGGER CAGES, LIKE INSISTING ON CONTROLLED ATMOSPHERE KILLING INSTEAD OF DEATH BY SCALDING ALIVE. IN OTHER WORDS, I WANT TO SEE CHANGES THAT MAKE A REAL DIFFERENCE IN REDUCING THE TORTURE AND PAIN THAT THESE ANIMALS ARE CURRENTLY EXPERIENCING, IF EMANCIPTAION FOR THEM IS NOT AN OPTION. AND TO BE CLEAR, FOR THE AMIMALS IN THE HERE AND NOW, EMANICATION IS NOT AN OPTION SADLY. IF IT WAS, THEN MAKE NO MISTAKE THAT THAT WOULD BE THE ONLY ACCEPTABLE THING. BUT FOR THEM, IT JUST ISNT AN OPTION. THE ONLY OPTION IS MORE SUFFERING OR LESS SUFFERING,.
When will we begin? I understand, of course, that many people in leadership positions aren't vegan. Therefore they find it difficult to embrace animal rights as a movement in which a vegetable-based diet is an axiom. Veganism, however, is the single most important issue in the movement. Veganism is the abolitionist principle implemented in one's own life. Anyone who maintains that she or he is an "animal rights" advocate but is not vegan cannot be taken seriously.http://www.antispe.de/txt/interviewgaryfrancione.html