Happy New Year.
Let us resolve that 2007 will be a year in which the animal rights movement continues to become a serious social and political movement despite our having to deal with the obstacles placed in our way by the so-called “leaders” of the movement. These “leaders” have trivialized the issue of animal exploitation and have been nothing more than an embarrassment to those of us who are trying to facilitate serious social discourse about our moral and legal obligations to nonhuman animals.
Consider a few of the literally thousands of examples:
- These “leaders” have proclaimed that it is acceptable to kill disabled children and otherwise accord less value to the disabled.
- They have said that we can have “mutually satisfying” sexual relationships with nonhuman animals.
- They have personally engaged in violence against nonhuman animals so that they can “investigate” animal exploitation.
- They have defended vivisection.
- They have advised that we not be “too fanatical about insisting on a purely vegan life” and that we can live ethically as “conscientious omnivores.”
- They have publicly praised a CEO whose corporation makes millions of dollars from selling supposedly “humanely” produced meat and animal products and they have honored him at a conference to celebrate “exemplary individuals who dared to challenge the status quo and take up the cause of the oppressed.”
- They have formed alliances to create a label to give consumers assurance that a labeled “egg, dairy, meat or poultry product has been produced with the welfare of the farm animal in mind.”
- They have killed thousands of nonhuman animals in the name of “animal rights,” and they have opposed no-kill shelters and the practice known as trap, neuter, and return.
- They have proclaimed a slaughterhouse designer and consultant to the meat industry to be a “visionary” for her efforts to keep the meat industry running “safely, efficiently and profitably.”
- They have reduced important issues of animal exploitation to sexist imagery and puerile jokes, and they have thereby alienated other progressives who should be allies.
- They have with disturbingly too few exceptions failed to condemn clearly and unequivocally the views of those who advocate violence against other humans.
Etc, etc, etc.
Who knows? Perhaps 2007 will be the year in which we are told by movement “leaders” that it is acceptable to have “mutually satisfying” sexual relationships with disabled children before killing them as long as we provide them with a “humanely” produced hamburger first. The predictable parade of sycophants will rush to defend the statement and anyone who disagrees will be labeled as “divisive,” and be accused of threatening movement “unity” or “hurting the animals.” After all, they’ve defended everything else to date.
Or 2007 might be the year when we see the further development of an emerging grassroots movement based firmly and unequivocally on veganism and committed to educating the public in positive and engaging ways about the abolition of animal exploitation in an intelligent, coherent, nonsexist, and nonviolent manner.
If we pursue this latter path, people might actually start taking the idea of animal rights seriously and stop regarding it as a movement about “humane meat,” endless self-promotion and cheap media spectacles, or as advocating the idea, also embraced by the Nazis, that some lives are not worth living.
How refreshing that would be.
Gary L. Francione
© 2007 Gary L. Francione