A Case Study in the Futility of Animal Welfare Reform: The Animal Aid Pig Farm Campaign

Animal Aid, a UK group that promotes welfare reform, has a new campaign. Animal Aid wants your help (and donations) to stop a large pig farm from being approved and built in Lincolnshire. Here is a screenshot of the description of this campaign:

ScreenHunter_1555 Jan. 08 10.04

Click to enlarge.

If this campaign is successful, the facility will be built somewhere else.

The pigs will be tortured and killed anyway.

If Animal Aid succeeds in stopping this facility from being built anywhere else (unlikely to the point of near impossibility), smaller facilities will be built instead to satisfy demand.

The pigs will be tortured and killed anyway.

If Animal Aid succeeds in stopping all new pig facilities from being built (a complete impossibility), existing facilities will expand to meet demand.

The pigs will be tortured and killed anyway.

Question: So what does a campaign like this achieve in terms of helping animals?

Answer: Nothing. Absolutely nothing. If the campaign succeeds, not a single animal will be saved.

Indeed, the net effective of this campaign is negative.

The campaign reinforces the idea in the minds of the public that the problem is how these animals are raised and not that we exploit these vulnerable victims at all. This campaign explicitly reinforces the idea that pork that comes from a smaller facility is pork that is more morally desirable.

This sort of campaign reassures the public that it can continue to consume animals–but not from this sort of facility.

The fact that Animal Aid offers a “Go-Vegan” pack does not make an inherently flawed welfarist campaign okay.

The only way we are going to stop animal exploitation is to educate people so that they recognize that if animals matter morally, we cannot treat them as resources and that we have an obligation to stop eating, wearing, and using them.

We need to educate people to understand that, if animals matter morally, veganism is a moral imperative.

Look at it this way: the lowest estimate of vegans in the UK is 150,000. The UK population is 64 million. If each of those vegans convinced one other person to go vegan in the next year, there would be 300,000. If the pattern is repeated each year, we would have 600,000, 1.2 million, 2.4 million, 4.8 million, 9.6 million, 19.2 million, 38.4 million, 76.8 million. A vegan UK in nine years.

So you can do your part by engaging in creative abolitionist vegan education. Or you can spend your time or give your money to people who are proposing solutions that will not only not help animals, but will send the wrong message to people.

The choice is yours.

Gary L. Francione
Board of Governors Distinguished Professor of Law
Rutgers University


If you are not vegan, please go vegan. Veganism is about nonviolence. First and foremost, it’s about nonviolence to other sentient beings. But it’s also about nonviolence to the earth and nonviolence to yourself.

If animals matter morally, veganism is not an option — it is a necessity. Anything that claims to be an animal rights movement must make clear that veganism is a moral imperative.

The World is Vegan! If you want it.

Learn more about abolitionist veganism at www.HowDoIGoVegan.com.

©2016 Gary L. Francione