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what is up with these other vegan websites??


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Hi guys,

 

man I have tried posting to a few other veg websites lately, and it seems that all I have encountered are peta hating animal rights activists who think that the world would be a better place if peta would vanish. Some of these people do not even wish to explain there feelings, and have given me the impression that they are not really interested in explaining anything to me because they are tired of life, or sick of talking about peta, or whatever. Of course, I am not referring to anybody that posts both here and there. Every single person that I have interacted with on vegan bodybuilding has been warm, kind, sincere and patient. I love this website. No other vegan website can compare to the positive energy that is felt here. This website is like my cyberspace home.

 

Geeze, what is up with people these days?

 

This atmosphere, this family, this team here at vegan bodybuilding is the best. I have never felt more welcome and accepted and safer than I do when I am here. You guys here all rock, and this is by far the best, and most welcoming website ever. I think that the warmth and patience on this website will go a longer way in helping animals.

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Hey Natalie,

 

Thanks for the comments about our group, I love it too. I've become "friends" with a bunch of people from this online group and veganbodybuilding.com.

 

Which other websites are you referring to? I'd like to take a look at some of them.

 

There seem to be many versions of vegans these days; lots of different types of vegans out there.

 

Have a great day, I'm short on sleep again (as I've been all week, so I better get going).

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Hi Koll and Rob,

 

Oops - I actually am only talking about one website and it is one which many of you, including you Rob, visit. Some of you have come from there. Talking about veganfitness.net. NOw I am not saying that the WHOLE site is bad, and that everybody on it is questionable. That is CERTAINLY note the case. But based on my interaction with a few people, they are anti-PETA vegans. That is their perogative, I guess, but my frustration is when people make utterly preposterous statements like

 

"Most PETA campaigns are ANTI-ANIMAL" without bothering to back this up with any substantiation or examples !!!!!!!!!!!.

 

AAnd, like I have said many times, when vegans fight amoing themselves, and attack organizations that try to help animals like PETA, it is the ANIMALS THAT PAY THE ULTIMATE PRICE. Frankly, I think it is totally counterpoductive and detrimental to attack a major force in the movement like PETA. Why would any vegan behave in a manner that threatens to weaken the movement? NO PETA = a weakened animal rights movement. NO PETA = less pressure on multinational animal exploiting industries to keep their exploitation of animals in somewhat of a check. NO PETA = me and countless others still eating animals (since it was PETA who first opened my eyes to the issue of animal rights).

 

The way I figure it, PETA has enough enemies in the the big agri-business and the vivisection industries that are trying to weaken and ultimately dismantle it. Animal rights activisists, vegetarians and vegans should certainly not be facilitating their attempts

 

Without PETA, the world would be a much crueller place for animals. Apparently, though, not every activist sees it this way

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Peta has its good points, and it also has its bad points, so personally I can't choose to have issues with people who don't agree with them. Many vegans prefer to take a different approach to reach people than the peta campaigns. Everyone does what they can in their own way. Just because they don't agree with PETA doesnt make them bad vegans or bad people in general. Everyone over on veganfitness is pretty cool, and I've read the Peta threads on there, it didnt seem like anyone was fighting among eachother, and I dont think you were being attacked, a few people just have strong opinions on the subject. Don't worry about it Nat, everyone is doing their part, and none of them are trying to bring down Peta pr anything they just have different methods. PETA is definately and excellent resource with some good campaigns , and they've helped alot of people go vegan, and they send me free stickers, but just because I'm a vegan I dont have to agree with everything they say. But I am glad you are happy on these boards because I agree with you, everyone is great over here. Please dont think I was criticizing you or anything, cause thats not my intention.

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Well some vegans like myself could be mad over PETA's compromising stance with KFC. They are pushing for KFC to institute more humane ways of treating and killing their chickens. The end result is the same even with the improved ways. I am not sure about Engrid Newkirk but I think PETA has strayed way from what she envisioned, I am not sure how. If anyone can elaborate on that it would be great. Though as chesty pointed out they are a group in the spotlight fighting for animals and that should be appreciated by all vegans. Some people I know dont like people throwing paint on fur, even though I support property rights I dont mind this form of protest against fur.

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I dont disagree with that form of protest either CollegeB. If they can purchase that garment and allow an animal to go through that pain and torture, then paint is the least of their worries.

 

As for the KFC stance, even though I am a vegan and wish others were as well, I am totally not against eating animals (just me). I dont think the concept of it (for survival reasons) is wrong, but the way it is conducted (with carelessness and cruelty) and the fact that they are not needed to survive. This is the reason I think everyone should be vegan, but they let their selfishness get in their way. Back in old times, I would think it would be okay if it was done humanely and with gratitude. Now, there is just no need to eat animals. We take for granted what we have. If I had the chance Id rather eat man flesh than animal flesh, for the mere fact that the animals havent done anything to deserve death. Thats just my opinion.

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Hi Ash. I would never take anything you say personally. I know you too well now for that.

 

College B and Kollision. I too TOTALLY agree with throwing paint, etc. I would go a step further than you, College B, and argue that I do NOT believe in respect for property rights where that property is animal killing machinery.

 

As far as PETA's stragety concerning KFC which most vegans seem to be criticizing PETA for, here is what I have said on the other forum:

 

To say that PETA is stopping people from going vegan is simply inaccurate. It is because of PETA that I am an aspiring vegan. I am sure I am not an isolated case. And I might also add that it is because of PETA that I am an activist, and that I have managed to distribute thousands (literally) of leafletss, including PETA's "What's wrong with Meat" flyers and "What's wrong with Dairy" flyers, which state, under the heading "What you can do" our important message - GO VEGAN - FOR LIFE! For a free vegetarian starter kit, call ...bla bla bla." That is all these flyers say. They don't say "buy free range eggs" or "buy organic meats", and then tack on at the end as a token gesture (to use your words), go vegetarian. The message is clear - GO VEGAN - FOR LIFE, says PETA. Again, thankfuly PETA sends me this flyers for free and I always leave a trail of these wherever I go, whether on the subway, in a lecure hall at school, library, wherever.

 

YOU say that PETA should simply assert "WE want no cages at all" and its failure to do so calls into question PETA's integrity. The fact of the matter is, what happens until we do eventually eliminate ALL cages? PETA, in addressing this sticky problem, says: "WE want no cages at all, but until that happens, we demand smaller cages NOW!!" I am sympathetic to this. Let me give an example as to why.

 

I have always felt that when faced with a difficult problem, an earnest way of comg as close to the "truth" or the "right solution" as possible is to try to put yourself in the other being's shoes. So, I am going to put myself in the shoes of a KFC chicken. I live in a KFC factory, and I am scheduled to die a grizzly and horrifying death, say next Friday. What do I, the KFC chicken that is going to die a brutal death in less than a week, want PETA to do? How can PETA help me?

 

The way I see, the options are as follows:

 

1) For at least 30% of the world (to use your figure) to go vegan before next Friday (my scheduled execution date). This just is not going to happen, in a week, as I am sure you will agree. I (both the person and the chicken), as well as PETA, wish more than anything that it would, but isn't. You know it, I know it and PETA knows it. And we are all very frustrated by it.

 

2) For somebody to raid the KFC factory and smuggle me and my fellow chickens out of there and into a safe haven. Again, unlikely to happen.

 

Okay, so the above two options are not going to help me, the KFC chicken living in the hear and now and scheduled to die next week. So what would I want PETA to do to help me? Well, since it doesn't look like I am going to emancipated before my scheduled execution, the next best thing for me, the chicken in the here and now scheduled to die next Friday, would be to spend the remainder of my days in less miserable conditions and to experience a less horrific death.

 

Honestly, isn't that what you would want if you were this KFC chicken?

 

That is what PETA does. It maintains an active and ongoing vegan outreach program to emancipate future KFC (and other chickens), but, due to the current state of affairs, is also compelled to negotiate with KFC to at least improve the conditions for me, the chicken that is scheduled to die next Friday and is virtually impossible to get emancipated before then.

 

Is it wrong of PETA to want to make the life of me (the chicken) less miserable? I do not think so. Put yourself in the animals shoes. Do you at least understand where I am coming from here? SO, in response to your's and Dave's "Peta is anti-animal" criticism, my rebuttal is: I think the chicken in my hypothetical above would disagree with both of you, and so do I.

 

YOu also say that campaigning along welfarist lines have gotten us nowhere. Again, that is unduly harsh. Revlon and Avon , for example, stopped testing on animals due to pressure from animal rights people, many of which took a welfarist approach in their advocacy. If they had taken an extreme position with Revlon, like "make sure your products are all vegan too," then I suspect that the animal activists would not have gotten very far with these companies and that many of them would still be testing on animals.

 

All I am saying is that the "correct" or "most effective" trajectory is not as obvious as many of you are suggesting. The issues are anything but black and white. I hear and understand what you are saying - young kids are getting the wrong message, the public is getting confused, etc. Some of PETA's campaigns are backfiring because meat eaters are feeling LESS guilty when supporting these animal killers. But what is PETA to do? Sacrifice the "welfare " of animals in factory farms and slaughterhouses in the here and now that are unlikely to be emancipated, for the sake of minimizing or eliminating any potential misunderstandings? That is a tough call indeed, wouldn't you say? Either way, it is going to suck for the animals, at least in the immediate future.

 

 

My feeling, then, is that PETA has good intentions and does the best it can under the shittiest of circs. Although you clearly agree with PETA's philosophy - that animals our not ours to eat, wear, etc. - you disagree with the way PETA is going about trying to make that philosophy mainstream. And that is certainly your perogative. But I believe that PETA deserves the benefit of all doubt, and that its commitment and love for animals is not a pretense for something else. To suggest otherwise because one does not agree with PETA's strategy to effect change is unduly harsh in my opinion.

 

Unfortunately, most people are not going to metamorphisize from being KFC customers to vegans in one sweeping gallop. They just aren't. In these cases, baby steps - raising consciousness one little step at a time - appears to be the most realistic and promising course of action. I think PETA is wise to have recognized this and to strategically be more welfarist and less revolutionary where it feels that that is the wisest course of action under the particular circumstances.

 

 

So, I ask any of you here that disagrees with PETA's KFC campaign this question, and would appreciate your honest answer:

 

If you were the KFC chicken doomed to be slaughtered next week, what would you want a huge organization with some leverage like PETA to do?

 

I anxiously await EVERY vegan's answer to this difficult question. if you do not know what the solution should be, but acknowledge that the issues are more difficult than vegan critics of PETA contend, then please state so. if you think I have failed to consider another option for these poor kfc chickens scheduled for an inhumane form of slaughter next week, by all means highlight my oversight. If you feel that we should just sacrifice the welfare of the currently enslaved and cramped up chickens for the greater good of all future emancipated chickens, then just openly admit it (but, remember that it is easy for you to say because it ain't your ass on the killing line next week).

 

 

This should make for a very long thread, but a very interesting one too.

Edited by compassionategirl
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Just a thought while this tread continues:

 

Choosing the laws that you will or will not follow can get you jailed. Illegal activity will make AR people look like zealots then no one will listen.

 

I personally don't think illegal activities should be advocated on the message board.

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Just a thought while this tread continues:

 

Choosing the laws that you will or will not follow can get you jailed. Illegal activity will make AR people look like zealots then no one will listen.

 

I personally don't think illegal activities should be advocated on the message board.

 

Thats why some people dont like PETA. I condone it though. Its like a Revolution or a War. THat is illegal, but its for the better.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Most ethical vegetarians I've met in person support PETA or any other organization that works for animal welfare, animal rights, etc. But a lot of people on internet message boards seem to have a "my way or the highway" attitude --- if PETA doesn't do everything exactly the way they like, then they'll bash them. I think the internet just attracts a lot of "glass is half empty" type people who look for the bad in things.

 

You make a good point about veganbodybuilding.com though - it seems like a positive forum with lots of people with good energy.

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Just a thought while this tread continues:

 

Choosing the laws that you will or will not follow can get you jailed. Illegal activity will make AR people look like zealots then no one will listen.

 

I personally don't think illegal activities should be advocated on the message board.

 

Getting arrested is often the point.

 

Civil disobedience is a highly effective tool.

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  • 1 month later...

I know a person who goes out to sri lanka to get people there to be more 'humane' in how they kill animals in slaughterhouses. At the moment, it is most common for the animals to have their heads caved in with a hammer or steel pipe, which can take several blows and is a grizzly routine. My friend goes to these people and convinces them to use captive bolt etc. Now lots of people give her abuse because they say that she is advocating the killing of animals. But she isn't, she just realises that when you look at the situation practically, the irradication of the meat-industry will not happen over-night, or any time soon, so until then, animals being killed shouldn't be ignored.

 

Also, I notice on lots of vegan boards, that they suck. I am forever in arguments with what I consider to be less morally minded vegans, I recently got banned in fact from a board, just for disagreeing politely with the administrator. He said my views were "stupid", with no further explanation, and then I was banned. Vegans really do vary a surprising amount on what they believe.

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i have only read and posted here and on veganfitness, both of which are friendly communities.

 

regarding peta, i am not generally impressed with their methods or their moral stance.

 

CG, in response to the question you asked, i would prefer it (as i only have a week to live) that those who come after me infact dont, and that such a place never existed.

 

peta has a welfarist agenda. it subdues the guilt of those who eat meat if the chicken has 'an extra few inches'. it does not make the life of the chicken significantly better, and they are still there for humans to kill and torture.

 

peta also have a really annoying policy of celebrity idoltry. frequently its 'oooh look who's veggie? now you wont feel like a freak for not eating meat!'. do they think that people are that dumb? celebrity culture is something that needs to be left out of the AR movement. you should not go veggie because joe fancypants is veggie, you should go veggie because you believe it is the right thing to do. otherwise you are are a fraud and will be seen as such.

 

i realise that here in the uk that we dont have the same exposure with peta, but i hope that it gives me a more objective stance.

 

i do not deny that peta has caused many people to go vegan, but with the same token i believe they have dont much harm to the AR movement with their constant compromises, fuck-ups and wavering moral line.

 

jonathan

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I have met and talked with a few PETA employees, and they are actually quite reasonable people. Their outreach philosophy, from what I understand, is that the media have gotten bored with animal rights/welfare coverage, so to continue getting their attention, PETA feels it must resort to circus-like stunts. PETA believes this will draw people in initially so that a more rational argument can be made later. That's why they have the Lettuce Ladies parade around Capitol Hill with veggie weiners for U.S. Congressmen. That's also why PETA relies so heavily on celebrity endorsement and gossip. Wiggle your finger at the public, draw them in and then make your point.

 

I, however, really can't see how that will make a lasting impression, and I believe it trivializes the animal rights movement. An otherwise legimitate, reasoned argument is turned into a spectacle, giving people who are already hostile to our views much more fuel to use against us - not to mention how it might alienate more middle-of-the-road folks who might be sympathetic to our cause, if only presented in a measured, reasonable fashion. I also question how long a person will stay vegetarian if their reason for becoming one is founded in ephemeral celebrity culture.

 

I respect PETA for their overarching ethics, but I respectfully disagree with their strategies. That's why I prefer Vegan Outreach as a more viable alternative.

 

Dissent within the movement only helps strengthen it.

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CG, in response to the question you asked, i would prefer it (as i only have a week to live) that those who come after me infact dont, and that such a place never existed.

 

peta has a welfarist agenda. it subdues the guilt of those who eat meat if the chicken has 'an extra few inches'. it does not make the life of the chicken significantly better, and they are still there for humans to kill and torture.

 

jonathan

 

I agree with everythong else you said except for what I have quoted above.

 

YOU havent really answered my question. I know that we would hope as chickens that those who come after us "dont", as you put it, and that such a plce will cease to exist asap. That is why vegan outreach exists. To take care of the demand side by increasing the number of vegans.

 

But as a chicken that would will simply not get the chance to see emancipation, what would you prefer. Would you prefer to be scalded alive, or would you prefer to be gassed where you are painlessly put to sleep and murdered painlessly. I know that either way you DIE which sucks, but if the only two choices for the chickens in the here and now are scalding alive or painless gassing (called controlled-atmosphere killing), wouldnt you think they would want the method that causes them lesser pain and suffering?

 

of course they would. it would be absurd to suggest otherwise. So that is why campaigning against Yum for the implementation of these changes like controlled-atmosphere killing instead of scalding alive is NECESSARY.

 

As Richard said, we have to be realistic and practical and realize that not enough people are going to go vegan overnight. And because of that unfortunate reality, we need to do what we can to ensure that the animals that will inevitably be Yum victims suffer less than they otherwise would. So both vegan outreach and "welfarist" campaigns are necessary to address both the immediate and long term futures.

 

I dont see how anybody could disagree with any of the above.

 

However, I do acknowledge that the pitfall of forcing these companies to improve their animal welfare policies might just be that it causes some meat eaters to simply feel better about eating at these places. But I am not prepared to throw these birds that will sadly not be rescued into boiling water (quite literally) just because some people might feel better about eating at these places. That is a chance that we are just going to have to take, for the sake of saving these birds from what it feels like to be drowned in scalding water. If we can just really fathom what that may feel like for a minute, I think we would be more symathetic to the campaign against Yum. Imagine how it feels to be drowned in scalding water. The other day a splash of boiling water splashed on my hand and I thought I was going to die from the pain. I cannot imagine being a terrified helpless chicken, not knowing what is goin on, and being DUNKED To drown in boiling water.

 

I guess I am rejecting the utilitarian view of "sacrifice these immediate chickens" now for the greater chicken good in the future. It is easy for us to say that when it isnt our own asses drowning in the scalding water.

 

WE are pressuring Yum to adopt more humane and less painful killing methods, while we continue to work on vegan outreach so that the successors of these chickens will hopefully never see what the inside of a farm or slaugherhouse look like. Please dont interfere with our Yum campaigning by supporting this flagrantly unethical, animal hating company.

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I have met and talked with a few PETA employees, and they are actually quite reasonable people. Their outreach philosophy, from what I understand, is that the media have gotten bored with animal rights/welfare coverage, so to continue getting their attention, PETA feels it must resort to circus-like stunts. PETA believes this will draw people in initially so that a more rational argument can be made later. That's why they have the Lettuce Ladies parade around Capitol Hill with veggie weiners for U.S. Congressmen. That's also why PETA relies so heavily on celebrity endorsement and gossip. Wiggle your finger at the public, draw them in and then make your point.

 

I, however, really can't see how that will make a lasting impression, and I believe it trivializes the animal rights movement. An otherwise legimitate, reasoned argument is turned into a spectacle, giving people who are already hostile to our views much more fuel to use against us - not to mention how it might alienate more middle-of-the-road folks who might be sympathetic to our cause, if only presented in a measured, reasonable fashion. I also question how long a person will stay vegetarian if their reason for becoming one is founded in ephemeral celebrity culture.

 

I respect PETA for their overarching ethics, but I respectfully disagree with their strategies. That's why I prefer Vegan Outreach as a more viable alternative.

 

Dissent within the movement only helps strengthen it.

 

When was the last time we saw the cruelties within a slaughterhouse or a chinchilla fur farm make the evening news? Or the bull fights in Spain make the evening news? Animals are being raped for their fur, but what is deemed to be more important by the lcoal news here is the opening of a new shopping mall in north Toronto. While the facts of animal cruelty themselves are no longer deemed newsworthy anymore, people running naked make the evening news. This is a sad indication of the superficiality and lack of substance of our society, but what else is new.

 

I agree that some of these campaigns like people running naked are stupid. But what else is PETA to do if the BARE COLD HARD FACTS of animal cruelty simply dont interest the media anymore. How else are we to get people's attention. yes some people are diots and will forever miss the point behind the "running of the nudes". But hopefully, for ever moron out there, there is one reasonable sensible person who will question the reasoning, the motivation for and purpose behind the running of the nudes and other "stunts" and, in the process, learn something about animal cruelty that they would not have otherwise heard about.

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Oh, I just wanted to add one more thing - I do appreciate the undercover investigations PETA does. Excellent work, to their defense.

 

AS shocking and appalling as these investigations are, they STILL dont make it on the evening news. Have you ever seen a NEWS documentary on meet your meat?

 

So what is the point of having these exposes if you cannot get anybody to air it or to watch it? When the media doesnt deem the contents of these investigations newsworthy? You need to do something that WILL get media attention so you can at least engage people in debate and et them watching these undercover investigations. And unfortunately, the media would rather pay attention to running of the nudes, or people making out in the street corner with the slogan "vegetarians make better lovers" instead of focus on meet your meat.

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PETA is an extremely well-funded organization. One could argue they're not just using the media - they are the media. If PETA invested all the money it allocates to public stunts instead toward something similar to "Why Vegan" pamphlets, I wonder if it would have a greater impact. I think those are extremely effective: People are presented the facts in a compelling way and, at their own leisure, get to choose whether to go vegan. Without the hype, excess and silliness.

 

We have to acknowledge that a majority of people see the PETA stunts and immediately write them off. I think it's an incredible waste to invest all that time, energy and money into something so grand and ridiculous, hoping maybe one person will see it and have a change of heart. Sure, that makes for a touching parable, but we have to get serious, be more practical and turn to more sophisticated, efficacious strategies when others fail. I'm pretty sure PETA would agree with that last part and indeed that seems to be their approach to outreach - a valiant one for certain, but seemingly uneffective.

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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. 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. 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.

 

Some who promote welfare reform maintain that it is acceptable for humans to use animals if they do so "humanely." Others seek welfare reforms because they believe reforms will eventually lead to abolition. I argue against these notions for two reasons.

 

First, as a theoretical matter, reform misses the primary moral point. It is, of course, always better to cause less suffering than more, 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. 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?

 

If animals are morally significant at all, then we must abolish the institution of animal property. 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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

FoA: This theory is logical indeed. But what about putting your ideas into practice at the grass roots level?

 

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. Change will necessarily be incremental. But it is my view that the explicit goal must be abolition and that abolition must shape incremental change.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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

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