The Importance of Adoption; There are So Many Christines

Dear Colleagues:

Several weeks ago, we adopted Christine. She is a 9-year-old golden retriever who was surrendered at a local kill shelter by her human family, which “no longer had time for her.” She was adopted and then returned one day later by someone who said that she did not get along with the other dog in the household.

We adopted Christine because it is harder to place older dogs, particularly when they have been returned. She is an absolute joy and from the moment she entered our house, she has gotten along very well with our other dogs. She loves playing in the snow and she is slowly but surely getting over the confusion that necessarily occurs when you’re someplace for nine years and then you’re not there anymore. And she absolutely loves her vegan food! (But in fairness, she is a golden and would eat cardboard so we regard our more selective canines as better indicators of how much dogs like a good vegan meal.)

There are always nonhuman animals who need homes but given the current economic crisis, many people are losing their homes and many shelters are reaching or have reached capacity. There are so many sad stories out there.

Please, if you can adopt a homeless animal—a dog, cat, bird, mouse, fish—anyone who needs a home, do so. Adoption is an important form of activism; they’re in this mess because of us. The least that we can do is to take care of some of them.

And if you do adopt, remember that it may take some time and effort to get a new family member accustomed to and comfortable with her new family. Don’t give up if a new dog or cat has some difficulty adjusting. That’s normal. We have had a good many “problem” dogs over the years and we’ve always been able to solve the problem with love, patience, and understanding.

And one thing I can say with certainly: all of that love has been returned by our canine family many times over.

So please adopt if you can.

THE WORLD IS VEGAN! If you want it.

Gary L. Francione
©2010 Gary L. Francione

Newsweek: “Happy” Meat

Dear Colleagues:

Newsweek magazine has an article, No More Sacred Cows, the tagline of which is:

“Some longtime vegetarians are returning to meat, but only with sustainably raised, grass-fed livestock like these cows at Ghent, N.Y.’s Hawthorne Valley Farm.”

This is where the “happy” meat movement is leading. The animals are still being treated horribly and they all end their lives amidst the noise, stench, and terror of the slaughterhouse.

The primary difference is that humans feel more comfortable about consuming them.

THE WORLD IS VEGAN! If you want it.

Gary L. Francione
©2010 Gary L. Francione

Short Videos on Animal Rights, Rights vs. Welfare, Animals as Property

Dear Colleagues:

I get literally hundreds of emails weekly from people asking basic questions about animal rights, the difference between rights and welfare, and the implications of the property status of nonhumans on matters involving welfare regulation.

I try to answer as many of these questions as I can. It may, perhaps, be helpful if those who have such questions take a look at the brief videos that are available on this site on our video page. There are three videos that are particularly relevant to the questions I get: Theory of Animal Rights, Animals as Property, and Animal Rights vs. Animal Welfare. These are available in English, French, German, Portuguese, and Spanish. Theory of Animal Rights is also available in Japanese.

These videos were designed to be teaching tools to explain the basic ideas in a simple but not simplistic way.

There is also an FAQ section that is taken from my book, Introduction to Animal Rights: Your Child or the Dog?, published in 2000 by Temple University Press.

Remember: if you are going to educate others, you need to educate yourself first! These videos and the FAQs are a great way to begin to become familiar with basic concepts in a way that will not overwhelm you or those whom you seek to educate!

THE WORLD IS VEGAN! If you want it.

Gary L. Francione
©2010 Gary L. Francione

BBC World Service Program “Animals and Us” Ends on a Vegan Note!

Dear Colleagues:

Although the second segment of the BBC’s One Planet: Animals and Us, hosted by Victor Schonfeld (who did the influential The Animals Film in 1982) focused on vivisection, he ended the program with the suggestion that veganism may be the way to deal with the problem of animal exploitation.

The BBC World Service is the most widely-listened to radio program in the world. It is exciting that veganism was discussed on the program.

I hope that Roger Yates and Elizabeth Collins will join me for another podcast analyzing Schonfeld’s program.

THE WORLD IS VEGAN! If you want it.

Gary L. Francione
©2010 Gary L. Francione

Commentary #13: Analysis of First Segment of “Animals and Us”

Dear Colleagues:

On December 31, 2009, the BBC World Service broadcast the first segment of the two-part program One Planet: Animals and Us. This program was hosted by Victor Schonfeld, who did the highly influential The Animals Film in 1982. The Animals Film was among the first—if not the first—film to reveal how humans actually treated nonhumans. Animals and Us involves Schonfeld’s return to the topic 27 years later to ask whether anything has changed since 1982. The first segment dealt primarily with the use of animals for food and focused on factory farming.

In this Commentary, sociology instructor Roger Yates and New Zealand podcasting phenomenon Elizabeth Collins, and I discuss and critique this first segment.

If you are not vegan, go vegan. It’s easy; it’s better for your health and for the planet; and, most importantly, it’s the morally right thing to do.

And remember: THE WORLD IS VEGAN! If you want it.

Gary L. Francione
©2010 Gary L. Francione

Play

Vegan Mondays?

Dear Colleagues:

Happy New Year.

I certainly disagree with the idea of a “Meatless Monday.” But I wanted to offer a brief thought about this matter.

As you all know, I advocate veganism and I think that animal activism should consist primarily of nonviolent, creative vegan education. We ought to emphasize that veganism is easy and that anyone can go vegan today, right now, if they want to do so.

Having said that, if someone says to me, “I want to go vegan but I really cannot do it immediately,” I make clear that I think that the consumption of any animal products is not morally justifiable but I often suggest that such people go vegan for breakfast for some time period, then for lunch for some time period, then for dinner. I never advise that that they eat “cage-free” eggs or eat “happy” meat.

Similarly, I have suggested that people who are intransigent about going vegan immediately but who want to go vegan try going vegan for a day, and then try doing that a few days later, etc., until all 7 days are vegan.

In this sense, I would have no objection to “Vegan Mondays” (or whatever day) if it were made clear that this was: (1) in recognition of the ethical imperative that we cannot justify animal use; and (2) just one step toward complete veganism.

“Meatless Mondays” reinforces the idea that animal flesh is morally distinguishable from other animal foods. It is also promoted by many as an end in itself to reduce the environmental consequences of flesh consumption or as a health measure similar to reducing alcohol consumption. For these reasons, I do not support “Meatless Mondays.”

But I would support a “Vegan [Day]” if it were clear that this was a matter of our moral obligations to nonhuman animals and if it were explicitly portrayed as intended to be an incremental step toward complete veganism. I certainly am not opposed to making it clear that animal products are injurious to health and have deleterious environmental consequences. But I think that the central focus of such a day should be a moral reflection about animal use and a message that we ought to be moving to full-time veganism.

We should, however, never stop emphasizing that veganism is easy and is something that anyone can do right now to take a positive and significant step in the direction of nonviolence.

“Vegan [Day]” would at least have the virtue of not reinforcing the mistaken notion that there is a morally significant distinction between flesh and other animal products.

And remember: THE WORLD IS VEGAN! If you want it.

Gary L. Francione
© 2010 Gary L. Francione