Yearly Archives: 2011

Celebrate Peace This Holiday Season

I often hear from people that they feel overwhelmed by the poverty and violence of modern life.

We are certainly living in difficult and challenging times. But that does not mean that we cannot make a difference. We can.

Here are three suggestions to help you to celebrate peace this holiday season:

First, don’t consume. Take the money that you plan to spend on acquiring more junk that you don’t need and give that money to someone or to a family who needs help in these very difficult times. Or use that money to provide vegan food or non-wool blankets to those at a local Occupy site.

Second, if you are not vegan, go vegan and stop eating, wearing, or consuming animal products. There is no justification for it. And spend a portion of each day engaged in creative, non-violent vegan education. Educational efforts can take many different forms.

Third, adopt a homeless animal. There are so many who need you. If you do not have the room or resources for a dog or cat, adopt a hamster, rabbit, or fish. There is a nonhuman refugee out there who will fit with your life. And if you adopt one (or more), you will not only save the life of another, but you will enrich your own life immeasurably.

Gary L. Francione
Professor, Rutgers University

©2011 Gary L. Francione

Debate on Animal Rights with Libertarian Philosopher Tibor Machan

On Thursday, January 12, 2012, the Rutgers Federalist Society is sponsoring a debate between me and libertarian philosopher Tibor Machan. Machan holds the R. C. Hoiles Chair of Business Ethics and Free Enterprise at the Argyros School of Business & Economics at Chapman University in Orange, California. He is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, and an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute.

Machan is a prominent opponent of animal rights.

The debate will take place at Rutgers University School of Law in Newark, New Jersey.

I hope to be able to post a video of the debate here.

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

The World is Vegan! If you want it.

Gary L. Francione
Professor, Rutgers University

©2011 Gary L. Francione

Killing Animals and Making Animals Suffer

The basis of the animal welfare movement, stretching from its inception in the 19th century until the present day, is that animal use is itself acceptable because animals do not have an interest in continuing to live. According to welfarists, nonhuman animals are not self-aware and cognitively sophisticated in the way that humans are. This means that the lives of nonhumans are less valuable than the lives of humans. According to Peter Singer:

While self-awareness, the capacity to think ahead and have hopes and aspirations for the future, the capacity for meaningful relations with others and so on are not relevant to the question of inflicting pain . . . these capacities are relevant to the question of taking life. It is not arbitrary to hold that the life of a self-aware being, capable of abstract thought, of planning for the future, of complex acts of communication, and so on, is more valuable than the life of a being without these capacities.

Welfarists distinguish between killing, which is itself not morally objectionable, and the imposition of “unnecessary” suffering, which is morally objectionable. If we give animals a reasonably pleasant life and a relatively painless death, then our exploitation of animals may be morally acceptable. Again, according to Singer:

If it is the infliction of suffering that we are concerned about, rather than killing, then I can also imagine a world in which people mostly eat plant foods, but occasionally treat themselves to the luxury of free range eggs, or possibly even meat from animals who live good lives under conditions natural for their species, and are then humanely killed on the farm.

It is this sort of thinking that has given impetus to the “happy” meat/animal products movement that is promoted by Singer and virtually all of the large animal organizations in the U.S. and Europe. Using animals is not the problem; the problem is animal suffering. If we decrease suffering through welfare reforms, then we make animal exploitation less morally objectionable. The public can continue to consume animals and feel good about being “compassionate.”

We should not be surprised that more and more people feel comfortable about consuming animal products. After all, they are being assured by the “experts” that suffering is being decreased and they can buy “happy” meat, “free-range” eggs, etc.. These products even come with labels approved of by animal organizations. The animal welfare movement is actually encouraging the “compassionate” consumption of animal products.

Animal welfare reforms do very little to increase the protection given to animal interests because of the economics involved: animals are property. They are things that have no intrinsic or moral value. This means that welfare standards, whether for animals used as foods, in experiments, or for any other purpose, will be low and linked to the level of welfare needed to exploit the animal in an economically efficient way for the particular purpose. Put simply, we generally protect animal interests only to the extent we get an economic benefit from doing so. The concept of “unnecessary” suffering is understood as that level of suffering that will frustrate the particular use. And that can be a great deal of suffering.

But the animal welfare position that that it is the suffering of animals and not their killing per se that raises a moral question begs a very important question: it assumes that because animal minds are different from human minds, animals, unlike humans, do not have the sort of self-awareness that translates into having an interest in continuing to live. The welfare position necessarily assumes that animal life has a lesser moral value than does human life. And welfarists explicitly agree with this, as is clear in my book, The Animal Rights Debate: Abolition or Regulation?

A major focus of my work has been to challenge that welfarist assumption and to argue that the only non-speciesist position to take is that any sentient being–any being who is perceptually aware and has subjective states of awareness–has an interest in continuing to live. Any other view accords an arbitrary preference to human cognition. It is speciesist to maintain that animal life has a a lesser value than human life. This does not necessarily mean that we must treat nonhumans the way we treat humans for all purposes. It does, however, mean that for the purpose of being treated exclusively as a resource for others, all sentient beings are equal and we cannot justify treating any sentient being as a resource.

If animals have an interest in continuing to live, as I maintain they do simply by virtue of being sentient, and if that interest matters morally, which I argue that it must do, then there is only one plausible conclusion: any use–however “humane”–is unjust.

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

And please remember: Animal welfare reforms do little, if anything, to reduce animal suffering. But, in any event, the important point is that veganism is not just a matter of reducing suffering; it’s a matter of fundamental moral justice. It is what we owe to those who, like us, value their lives and who want to continue to live.

The World is Vegan! If you want it.

Gary L. Francione
Professor, Rutgers University

©2011 Gary L. Francione

Got Faith (in Animal Welfare)?

I reject animal welfare reform and single-issue campaigns because they are not only inconsistent with the claims of justice that we should be making if we really believe that animal exploitation is wrong, but because these approaches cannot work as a practical matter. Animals are property and it costs money to protect their interests; therefore, the level of protection accorded to animal interests will always be low and animals will, under the best of circumstances, still be treated in ways that would constitute torture if applied to humans.

By endorsing welfare reforms that supposedly make exploitation more “compassionate” or single-issue campaigns that falsely suggest that there is a coherent moral distinction between meat and dairy or between fur and wool or between steak and foie gras, we betray the principle of justice that says that all sentient beings are equal for purposes of not being used exclusively as human resources. And, on a practical level, we do nothing more than make people feel better about animal exploitation.

I maintain that those who believe that animals are members of the moral community should, instead, make clear that veganism, defined as not eating, wearing, or using animals, is the non-negotiable, unequivocal moral baseline and should put their labor and resources into grassroots vegan education that may take a myriad of creative forms but should never involve violence.

Those who are critical of my view argue that my position on the need for creative, nonviolent vegan advocacy requires some sort of faith that such an approach will work.

I find that criticism to be ironic in that it would seem that if any position requires faith, defined as a belief that is maintained in the face of all extant empirical evidence, it is that welfare reform and single-issue campaigns will lead anywhere but to more animal exploitation.

Animal Welfare: Why?

Why does anyone believe that welfare reform will lead to abolition? If we look at the history of animal welfare reform, we see that most reforms are minor, most are not even enforced, and most actually increase production efficiency and provide economic benefits to producers. We have had the animal welfare paradigm for 200 years now and we are exploiting more animals now in more horrific ways than at any time in human history.

Why does anyone believe that promoting “happy” exploitation is going to lead to the abolition of exploitation? Use your common sense. “Happy” exploitation won’t lead anywhere but to a public that feels better about particular forms of animal exploitation. If that were not the case, the animal exploitation industries, in partnership with the large animal welfare corporations, would not be investing all the resources that they are investing in “happy” exploitation campaigns and labels.

Why does anyone believe that by continuing to reinforce and strengthen the paradigm that treats animals as property, we will eventually abolish animal exploitation?

Why does anyone believe that single-issue campaigns will lead to the abolition of exploitation? Just take a look at long standing single-issue campaigns, such as the anti-fur campaign. That campaign has been going for decades and the fur industry is stronger than it has ever been. Why? Because there is no principled basis that can serve to distinguish fur from wool or leather, or to distinguish wearing animals from eating them. As long as people do not understand and accept the general moral principle, they will fail to see the problem of specific uses. And it is no answer to say, as many advocates do, that fur represents a gratuitous use of animals. So does eating animals. We eat animals because they taste good. And palate pleasure is no better a justification than is fashion.

As I have written elsewhere, supporters of welfare reform never address these questions; they just declare that any criticism is “divisive” or that any alternative is “too idealistic.” In other words, they have nothing to say.

Veganism as a Moral Baseline: Why Not?

The appeal of creative, nonviolent vegan advocacy is that it challenges people to apply a moral principle that most people already accept and claim to view as important: that it is morally wrong to inflict suffering and death on animals unless it is necessary, and pleasure, amusement, and convenience cannot suffice to demonstrate necessity. When people are confronted with the argument that criticizing Michael Vick for dog fighting does not make sense if we are eating animals or animal products, or with the similarity between the animals whom they love and those they eat or wear, they may not all become vegan immediately, but we have at least gotten them to start thinking about the general issue of animal use in moral terms. And to the extent that the argument resonates–and it will resonate for many–they will begin to assess matters of animal ethics in a different way.

If, as I maintain, we cannot justify the use, however “humane,” of animals, then we ought to be clear about that. We ought to be clear that we cannot justify eating, wearing, or using animals. Period. If those who are concerned about the issue are not yet willing to give up animal use and go vegan, they can take whatever incremental steps they want. But those incremental steps should never be characterized as normatively desirable if we really believe that animal use is unjust. Just as we would never say that “humane” or “happy” sexism or racism is acceptable, we should never characterize “humane” or “happy” meat or dairy or whatever as morally acceptable.

Finally, promoting veganism as a moral baseline is no more a matter of moral “purity” than is promoting justice where humans are concerned. We are told that even if we go vegan, we cannot avoid causing harm to nonhumans. That is true. Living in the world and engaging in any sort of action necessarily has adverse consequences for others, humans and nonhumans alike. We should, of course, endeavor to cause the least amount of harm that we can to all sentient beings. But the fact that we cannot avoid all harm does not mean that we should not at least stop all intentional harm that we inflict on sentient nonhumans just as the fact that we cannot eliminate all violence in the world means that it is morally acceptable for us to murder other humans.

If we are ever to abandon the property paradigm, we need to get people to recognize that animal use, however “humane,” cannot be justified morally. I am confident that creative, nonviolent vegan advocacy is not only consistent with the claim of justice that is entailed, in my view, by the animal rights position, but that it is the best way to achieve the goal of shifting away from the property paradigm and toward the notion of animals as moral persons.

Those grassroots advocates who are engaged in creative, nonviolent vegan education all report that the results are astounding; that people react and react positively.

And I am certain that any belief that welfare reform, single-issue campaigns, “happy” exploitation, etc. will take us anywhere but to a greater level of comfort about animal exploitation requires a particularly blind form of faith.

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

If you are vegan, educate everyone with whom you come in contact in a creative, nonviolent way about veganism. If we really do regard animals as members of the moral community; if we really believe that we cannot justify unnecessary animal suffering and death, then we cannot justify billions of animal deaths based on palate pleasure.

And please remember: veganism is not just a matter of reducing suffering; it’s a matter of fundamental moral justice. It is what we owe to those who, like us, value their lives and who want to continue to live.

The World is Vegan! If you want it.

Gary L. Francione
©2011 Gary L. Francione

A Note on Humanlike Intelligence and Moral Value

We frequently see news stories reporting that scientists have determined that nonhuman animals have certain cognitive characteristics that we associate with human intelligence. The implication of this is that if nonhuman animals have humanlike intelligence, then they have greater moral value; the “smarter” they are, in human terms, the more morally valuable they are.

This approach is problematic for a number of reasons:

First, there is absolutely no logical relationship between the possession of humanlike intelligence and the morality of using animals as resources. Possession of humanlike intelligence may indicate that certain animals have interests that other animals may not have. Nonhuman great apes, who do possess humanlike intelligence in many respects, may have interests that dogs or fish do not have. But nonhuman great apes, dogs, and fish all have an interest in not being treated as resources simply by virtue of being sentient, or having subjective awareness. All sentient beings have an interest in not suffering and in continuing to live and these interests are necessarily defeated by their being treated as human resources.

We proclaim human intelligence to be morally valuable per se because we are human. If we were birds, we would proclaim the ability to fly as morally valuable per se. If we were fish, we would proclaim the ability to live underwater as morally valuable per se. But apart from our obviously self-interested proclamations, there is nothing morally valuable per se about human intelligence.

Second, to the extent that we claim that humanlike intelligence is morally relevant, then we are necessarily stuck with the idea that humans with greater intelligence are more morally valuable than humans with less intelligence. It is true; we may not treat all humans alike. We pay a brain surgeon more than a janitor because we value the former’s skill more. But even assuming that differential resource allocation is legitimate, would we say that the janitor is worth less than the surgeon for purposes of deciding who should be used as a forced organ donor or as an unwilling participant in a painful experiment? Of course not. For purposes of being used exclusively as a resource for others, both are equal.

And, unless we want to be speciesist, we must conclude that all sentients–human or nonhuman–are equal for the purpose of not being treated as resources.

Third, the “smarts” game is one that nonhuman animals can never win. We have known for decades that nonhuman great apes have humanlike intelligence, which should come as no surprise given the genetic similarity between humans and nonhuman great apes. It is not likely that any other nonhuman animals will ever exhibit a greater degree of humanlike intelligence. And yet, we continue to exploit the nonhuman great apes (and many other nonhuman primates) in all sorts of ways.

The “smarts” game is just that–a game. It is yet another reason not to accord animals moral significance today in favor of more silly (and harmful) research to determine whether animals can solve human math puzzles and perform other tasks that have no moral relevance.

We already know everything we need to know to come to the conclusion that we cannot justify eating, wearing, or using animals–that, like us, animals are sentient. They are subjectively aware. They have interests in not suffering and continuing to live.

Nothing more is needed.

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If you are not vegan, please consider going vegan. It’s easy to do so; it’s better for your health and for the planet; and, most important, it’s the morally right thing to do.

If you are vegan, educate everyone with whom you come in contact in a creative, nonviolent way about veganism.

The World is Vegan! If you want it.

Gary L. Francione
©2011 Gary L. Francione

The HSUS-United Egg Producer Agreement: Two Reactions

On July 7, 2011, the Humane Society of the United States and United Egg Producers announced that they would “work together to seek a federal law that would require larger cages and other improved conditions for the nation’s 280 million laying hens.”

The proposed legislation, if passed, will be phased in over the next 18 years and will require:

cages that give hens up to 144 square inches of space each, compared with the 67 square inches that most hens have today. They would also include so-called habitat enrichments, like perches, scratching areas and nesting areas, that allow the birds to express natural behavior.

What will HSUS give as its part of the compromise agreement? HSUS has

agreed to give up on a push to ban cages entirely in exchange for the opportunity to work toward a single, nationwide standard mandating better conditions. The group also said it would shelve efforts to get initiatives onto the ballot in Washington and Oregon, and would agree not to conduct undercover investigations at large egg farms unless it was aware of especially egregious practices.

HSUS calls this “historic”. There will, of course, be a big campaign to get the legislation passed and there will, of course, be all sorts of legal challenges. The “compassion show” will go on for years. The requests for donations “to help the animals” will be endless.

And the best case scenario is that the bill is introduced and passed quickly. What would the hens gain? They would get 124-144 square inches of space in an “enriched” cage, phased in over 18 years, and the “happy” eggs that they produce will have the stamp of approval of HSUS. This situation is analogous to those opposed to water boarding announcing that they had made an agreement to phase in padded water boards over an 18-year period.

There have been two very opposite reactions on the part of animal advocates to this HSUS-UEP agreement.

First, some advocates are criticizing HSUS, claiming that this agreement is a sell-out. They are correct that this is a disaster for animals but, in all fairness, what can one expect from the Humane Society?

HSUS explicitly denies that it endorses animal rights or the abolition of animal exploitation. On the contrary, HSUS supports the Humane Farm Animal Care’s Certified Humane Raised and Handled “happy meat” label and two high-level HSUS executives sit on the board of Humane Farm Animal Care.

Humane Society International (HSI), is an affiliate of HSUS and the CEO of HSI is an HSUS executive. One HSI branch in Australia, which describes itself as “the global arm of HSUS,” sponsors a “happy meat” label for which it charges a fee.

HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle acknowledges that “the Humane Society is broad-minded when it comes to food. About 95 percent of our members are not vegetarian.” He adds:

But I believe eating is a moral act, and we can make choices to minimize the suffering of (food) animals. We can buy cage-free eggs, buy pork that doesn’t come from factory farms, and avoid eating veal and foie gras.

and

Our program is about responsible hunting and curbing the worst excesses and the most inhumane and unsporting practices.

Sportfishing is not an issue, unless someone did something horrible, like dynamiting fish. Most of the work we’ve done in the marine realm has been protecting marine mammals and seabirds.

Pacelle also states:

Our board of directors is a national volunteer board of directors. Very few of them are vegetarian. I have been since I’ve been a teenager. Whatever I do in my personal life does not necessarily reflect the policies of HSUS and we support certified humane programs, we support other farmers, we work with farmers, we think farming is a noble profession.

I don’t think anyone can reasonably claim that our work is moving in the direction of eliminating animal agriculture as some of the folks in the industry keep repeating.

So joining forces with the egg industry to produce and promote “happy” eggs fits comfortably with what HSUS has been doing for decades. The HSUS-UEP agreement merely confirms-again-that HSUS is all about making deals with industry and making their non-vegetarian members feel that they are engaging in morally acceptable behavior when they buy the “happy” meat and dairy and eggs approved by HSUS.

What HSUS is doing is applying the meaningless concept of “humane” exploitation as it has been applied for the past 200 years. The only difference between HSUS 50 years ago and HSUS now is that HSUS today is promoting its philosophy of “feel good” exploitation to farm animals whereas 50 years ago, they were focused primarily on the animals that we fetishize as a cultural matter: dogs and cats.

The second reaction on the part of animal advocates who claim to be more progressive than HSUS to agree with HSUS that this agreement is some sort of “historic” event; a “landmark” for animals; a “step” toward animal rights.

That is just plain silly. “Enriched” cages involve torturing hens. Period. The torture may be slightly “better,” just as padded water boards may be slightly “better.” But let’s be clear: the hens will continue to be tortured. And they will continue to end up in a slaughterhouse. The only difference is that these tortured eggs will be declared to be “humane” by HSUS. This agreement will be counterproductive in that it will encourage the belief that we can exploit animals in a “kind” or “compassionate” way.

Many animal advocates claim that people are going to continue to eat eggs so we have to do something for animals suffering now. But this agreement, like most of the “happy” exploitation arrangements promoted by HSUS and other organizations, including those who claim to be “animal rights” groups, does not take effect for many years-in this case, 18 years. To the extent that this agreement provides any benefit for animals, it will not occur for many, many years. And even if “enriched cages” provide some welfare benefit, this sort of “reform” makes the public more comfortable about consuming eggs and that guarantees continued consumption.

The problem is that although we should expect nothing more from the “Humane” Society, other organizations that claim to promote animal rights, and ostensibly to endorse the abolition of animal exploitation, also support these sorts of agreements. Virtually all of the large animal groups in the United States and Europe have come out in support of one or more “happy” labels and virtually all are busy making deals with institutional animal users. And supposedly more progressive organizations have already come out in favor of the HSUS-UEP. Indeed, Farm Sanctuary is trying to claim credit, along with HSUS, for the agreement.

The only way that the paradigm of animal exploitation will ever shift is if we educate people to stop demanding animal products based on the recognition that animals are members of the moral community. That goal is not as idealistic as it might appear: most people agree that it is wrong to inflict “unnecessary” suffering or death on animals. They understand that this moral principle excludes suffering or death for reasons of pleasure or convenience or habit. That is why there was such a strongly negative reaction to Michael Vick’s use of dogs for fighting. Vick’s pleasure in watching dogs fight did not justify his infliction of suffering and death on the dogs. The same reasoning applies to our eating animals. There is no difference between sitting around the pit watching dogs fight and sitting around a summer barbecue roasting the corpses of tortured animals or enjoying the dairy or eggs from tortured animals.

We need to educate people that our continued exploitation of animals for food, clothing, entertainment, etc., is unjust; that it is not merely a matter of how we treat animals, but that we use them at all. The reaction to Vick teaches us clearly that people, or at least many people, can understand this idea and accept it. We need to get them to apply it to animals beyond dogs or cats. That can be done through creative, nonviolent education.

The only way that things will ever change is if we build a movement of people who see veganism as a clear moral baseline and where that movement can serve as a catalyst to shift the paradigm away from thinking of nonhumans as commodities for us to use exclusively as means to our ends.

And that will never happen as long as we think that “happy” exploitation is any sort of answer. The belief that “happy” exploitation will result in significant welfare benefits for animals and that this will lead to abolition in the future is simply wrong on both counts.

In conclusion: those who criticize HSUS for making such an agreement should recognize that this sort of thing is exactly what HSUS has been doing forever. It is the “Humane” Society. And “humane” is a meaningless concept in a context in which animals are chattel property. HSUS exists to make people who exploit animals feel better about exploitation. And those who claim that this is a “landmark” agreement for animals and will lead to significant welfare benefits in the near term and reduced use or abolition in the future, should recognize that promoting the notion of “compassionate” exploitation will never-can never-lead to the rejection of animal use. It will only reinforce and perpetuate that use.

Please understand that I in no way question the sincerity of those who support these partnerships with industry or the welfare reforms that are involved. I do, however, believe sincerely that they are wrong.

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

If you are vegan, educate everyone with whom you come in contact in a creative, nonviolent way about veganism. If we really do regard animals as members of the moral community; if we really believe that we cannot justify unnecessary animal suffering and death, then we cannot justify billions of animal death based on palate pleasure.

And please remember: veganism is not just a matter of reducing suffering; it’s a matter of fundamental moral justice. It is what we owe to those who, like us, value their lives and who want to continue to live.

The World is Vegan! If you want it.

Gary L. Francione
©2011 Gary L. Francione

Animal Care and Control: The Sad Failure of New York City’s Municipal Shelter System

Dear Colleagues:

Animal Care and Control of New York City, which has operated New York’s municipal animal shelter system since 1995, is an institution plagued with problems. There are shocking allegations of animal abuse and neglect, including a recent report that ACC killed eight puppies who would have been taken and placed by rescue groups.

The behavioral assessment program, which includes taking away food or a toy from a hungry or stressed dog, or seeing how a stressed dog reacts when confronted by another dog, raises significant doubt about whether potential adopters are given anything like an accurate picture about how dogs will behave once they are adopted.

ACC provides a list of dogs and cats who are going to be destroyed between 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. on the eve of the day that they will be killed. ACC closes at 8:00 p.m. and re-opens in the morning at 8:00 a.m. but it is difficult, if not impossible, to get through on the phone. Killing starts at around 10 a.m. or 11:00 a.m. Rescue groups and adopters are given virtually no time to get animals out of the three shelters operated by ACC. Every night, there is a frantic attempt to save lives and although many animals are saved by rescue groups despite the restrictive and unreasonable policies of ACC, many healthy animals are killed.

A story that appeared on May 16, 2011 provides a troubling insight into the ACC. Emily Tanen was an employee with the ACC program that supposedly acts as a liason between the ACC and rescue groups:

Emily took it upon herself to photograph all of the dogs at the shelter facility – she had a special knack for capturing the inner beauty of her subjects.

Because of her touching, soulful photos, many otherwise “hard to place” or even “unadoptable” dogs were rescued.

But apparently, her beautiful photos of homeless dogs included something that the “powers that be” of the NY Animal Care and Control did not want – photos of dogs receiving human contact.

Her amazing images were often the difference between life and death – for dogs that have no ability to speak on their own behalf, the touching photos were frequently the key to a life-saving rescue….

Images that touched the heart – images that elicited enough feeling from those that viewed them that a life could literally be saved.

But now she is gone from the facility – a powerful advocate for the voiceless animals is no longer there to help.

Drab, dreary, emotionless photos are all that will remain.

I understand that running an animal shelter in a place like New York City is difficult for those with the very best of intentions. But it is becoming increasingly apparent that ACC has a number of policies and practices that appear to be counterproductive at best. And, if even a fraction of the allegations of neglect at ACC are true, then ACC is a hell hole for the animals who are unfortunate enough to find themselves there.

It is never morally justifiable to kill a healthy animal and one healthy animal killed at ACC or any animal shelter is one animal too many. ACC is not only killing hundreds of animals per month, but seems to be in a rush to do so and to do whatever it can to frustrate the efforts of rescue groups and committed people, such as Emily Tanen, to save these animals. Moreover, ACC places a terrible burden on rescue groups, forcing them to engage in a daily frantic rush to save whatever animals they can.

It is high time for there to be better control of New York’s Animal Care and Control. And it is time for New York City shift toward a progressive no-kill shelter situation. This can be achieved if New Yorkers have political will to make it happen.

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If you are not vegan, go vegan. It’s easy; it’s better for your health and for the planet. But, most important, it’s the morally right thing to do. If you are vegan, educate everyone you can about veganism.

And if you can, please adopt or foster a homeless animal. There are so many who need your help. If you do not have the room or resources for a dog or cat or rabbit, there are many smaller animals, such as mice, rats, turtles, and fish, who also need homes. If you have land, there are also many larger animals and farm animals, who need homes.

Caring for individual nonhuman animals is an important part of what animal rights is all about. And if you are involved in animal rescue, remember that there is no difference between the animal you save and the animal you eat.

If you have a companion animal, please make sure that the animal does not reproduce. We do not need any more domesticated animals coming into existence!

The World is Vegan! If you want it.

Gary L. Francione
©2011 Gary L. Francione

Added May 23:

New York Assemblyperson Micah Zellner has proposed legislation that would broaden the ability of rescue groups to get animals out of ACC. Here is a story about Mr. Zellner’s proposal.