Author Archives: Gary L. Francione

Moral Schizophrenia–Again, and Again, and Again

Gavin Dingman, an 11-year old from Michigan, killed an albino deer.

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Many people are upset about this, with some even making death threats to Gavin.

It is tragic sad when any healthy animal is killed for “sport” or any other purpose.

And it is tragic that we teach our children that violence is “fun.”

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But those non-vegans who are critical of this ought to do some serious self-reflection.

You see, there is no moral difference between what Gavin Dingman did and what any non-vegan supports and participates in.

Our moral schizophrenia where animals are concerned is profound. We have seen it in the context of Michael Vick, Andre Robinson, Kisha Curtis, Mitt Romney, and others. We have seen it in the campaigns that seek to portray groups of “others” as the culprits.

It makes no sense for “animal lovers” to complain about hunting if they are not vegans. There is no morally coherent difference between killing an animal you eat and paying someone else to kill an animal you eat.

So what Gavin Dingman did was tragic. If you agree, then please stop being confused and hypocritical and go vegan. Otherwise, you’re just attacking an 11-year old kid for what you yourself support and do.

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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.

The World is Vegan! If you want it.

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

©2014 Gary L. Francione

More on Andre Robinson, Kicking Cats, and Consuming Animal Products

Here is an essay I wrote on the Andre Robinson that was published on October 10, 2014 in the New York Daily News.

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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.

The World is Vegan! If you want it.

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

©2014 Gary L. Francione

ADDENDUM:

Here is my New York times essay on the subject.

Here is a brief CNN interview I did on the Robinson matter.

ADDENDUM, October 17, 2014

Unfortunately, some animal advocates continue to use unfortunate and racially charged language to criticize Robinson. For example, on a Facebook page devoted to the King matter, someone commented on Robinson’s “pimpish ‘I’m the man’ attitude”.

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(click to enlarge)

That is shocking.

When I pointed it out, another animal advocate responded that she disagreed that the comment was racist, stating: “perhaps the person shouldn’t have used the word ‘pimpish’ but you did not see his demeanor nor his mother’s in court.”

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(click to enlarge)

“[P]erhaps” the person should not have used “pimpish”?

Sorry, there’s no “perhaps” about it. The use of “pimpish” is unquestionably racist in this context and should be condemned clearly as such.

And how is Robinson’s demeanor–or his mother’s conduct– in court relevant to the propriety of calling him “pimpish”? That is a rhetorical question. It isn’t.

We should all be upset by what Robinson did to King. But we should also remember that what he did was in no way different from the violence that we support every single day if we consume animal products. And however upset we are with anyone, we should never use racially charge language to voice our criticism.

Veganism: It Follows From What Most People Already Believe

You don’t need a theory of animal rights to get you to veganism. You don’t even need to believe in human and nonhuman equality to get to veganism.

If you believe–as most people believe–that: (1) animals matter morally; (2) because animals matter morally, we cannot justify imposing “unnecessary” suffering on them; and (3) pleasure, amusement, or convenience cannot suffice as “necessity,” then you are already committed to stop eating, wearing, or using animals in any situation in which there is not compulsion or real necessity, such as being on the desert island or the lifeboat with no access to plant foods.

Veganism is not in any way “extreme.” What is “extreme” is saying that you believe that animals matter morally but acting in your life as though they were merely things.

So what are you waiting for? Follow through in your conduct with what you say you believe. Go vegan.

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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.

The World is Vegan! If you want it.

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

©2014 Gary L. Francione

My Happy Exploitation Label is Better Than Your Happy Exploitation Label

In this article, HSUS happy exploitation czar Paul Shapiro complains that the American Humane Association American Humane Certified Label, which will be on Butterball turkeys this Thanksgiving, is inadequate:

Paul Shapiro, vice president for farm-animal protection for the watchdog group Humane Society of the United States, gave an even harsher assessment: “It’s an industry-friendly standard that doesn’t really differ from what the industry is already doing”

Apparently, the American Humane Certified label is not as good as the 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating Standards used by Whole Foods. HSUS CEO/President Wayne Pacelle sits on the Board of Directors of the Global Animal Partnership, which developed the 5-steps of happiness. And the American Humane happy label is not as good as the Certified Humane Raised and Handled Label that HSUS supports/endorses. And it’s also not as good as the Humane Choice Label of Humane Society International, an arm of HSUS.

But it gets even more confusing. The American Humane Certified Label standards which HSUS finds inadequate, was developed by a Scientific Committee that includes Temple Grandin, who was given an award by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals for being a “Visionary”:

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You know, it’s so darn difficult to keep all of these happy labels straight. I’ve written about these labels many times before (see 1; 2; 3; 4 for a few).

And no less a luminary than Peter Singer, “father of the animal rights movement,” on behalf of himself and every large “animal protection” organization, including HSUS, PETA, Compassion Over Killing, Mercy for Animals, Vegan Outreach, etc., expressed “appreciation and support” for the “pioneering” happy exploitation program of Whole Foods.

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Why, with all these happy labels endorsed by all these “animal advocates,” it’s apparently the case that the only animals who aren’t being exploited in a happy way are those who have the American Humane Certified Humane label.

So American Humane had better get on the (butter)ball as the animals whose corpses bear their happy label are not as happy as the animals whose corpses bear the labels of these other “animal advocates” even though American Humane has Temple Grandin, a PETA “Visionary,” developing their happy standards.

You can’t make this stuff up.

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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.

The World is Vegan! If you want it.

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

©2014 Gary L. Francione

CNN Interview on The Andre Robinson/King Case

On October 4, 2014, I did a brief interview on the Michael Smerconish Show on CNN concerning the Andre Robinson case.

You can watch the interview here.

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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.

The World is Vegan! If you want it.

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

©2014 Gary L. Francione

Andre Robinson, King the Cat, and Our Confused Thinking About Animal Ethics

Andre Robinson kicked a stray cat, at the Brevoort Houses in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. Someone captured it on video. Robinson was arrested. The cat, now named King, was rescued and adopted. The Brooklyn District Attorney has announced that he plans to prosecute Robinson for animal cruelty. And now, many people are calling for his imprisonment and the online invectives being directed at Robinson are intense to say the very least.

The reaction to what Robinson did is understandable and laudable. It is nothing short of terrible that anyone would harm a defenseless animal. After all, we all believe that it is morally wrong to inflict unnecessary suffering on animals. Although we may disagree about when it is necessary to impose suffering and death on animals, we all agree that whatever pleasure Robinson got from kicking the cat cannot constitute necessity.

Or do we?

We kill and eat more than 58 billion animals a year worldwide, not counting fish. We don’t need to eat animals. No one maintains that it is necessary for optimal human health. The conservative Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics acknowledges that “appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.” The American Heart Association and Mayo Clinic agree.

Animal agriculture is an ecological disaster. It takes many more pounds of plant protein and many times more water to produce animal foods than to produce plant foods. Animal agriculture is a major cause of global warming and is responsible for water pollution, deforestation, and soil erosion.

And the animals we consume as food—including those used to make the supposedly more “humane” products sold at upscale supermarkets—are subjected to terrible suffering and horrible deaths. Indeed, the animals we use for food suffer just as much — if not more — than King, whom Robinson so callously kicked.

The only justification that we have for that suffering is palate pleasure. We enjoy the taste of animal foods; we find them convenient. There is no necessity for this suffering and death.

So how are we any different from Andre Robinson?

We aren’t.

There is no morally coherent difference between little cat King and the chicken or pig or cow or fish that most of us will eat today.

The FBI has announced that it will track “animal abuse” as a separate crime, the New York City Police Department has taken over responsibility for “animal abuse” complaints, and the Brooklyn DA is using the case to make a statement to “folks who think that they can just abuse any type of animal.”

This is all laudable but it is nonsensical. We are a society that abuses billions of animals for no good reason whatsoever. We excuse ourselves by pretending that people like Robinson are “abusers” and the rest of us are really “humane” and care about animals.

We do this repeatedly. Remember football player Michael Vick? People hate him to this day for engaging in dog fighting. Vick liked to sit around the pit watching dogs fight. The rest of us like to sit around the summer barbecue pit roasting the corpses of animals who have been treated every bit as badly as Vick’s dogs. Remember Kisha Curtis, who gained international condemnation for throwing her emaciated dog, Patrick, down a trash chute in Newark, New Jersey? Patrick is still used as a symbol by those who claim that we must pursue “animal abuse” more aggressively.

All of these cases have resulted in an overwhelming online response and a good deal of it involves the expression of overtly racist comments, just as stories about the eating of dogs and cats in China or Korea, or the killing of dolphins in Japan, result in comments that “those people” are barbaric—made by people who have no problem exploiting pigs, cows, chicken, and fish.

And every day, Animal Care and Control in New York City kills healthy cats—often 30 or 40 a day.

The Robinson case presents an opportunity for us to examine our fundamental views about animal ethics. Otherwise, this is just about fetishizing dogs and cats, or demonizing those whom we arbitrarily designate as “barbaric.”

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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.

The World is Vegan! If you want it.

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

©2014 Gary L. Francione

ADDENDUM:

Here is the interview I did on the Michael Smerconish Show on CNN. It was aired on October 4, 2014.

Here is my New York times essay on the subject.

Here is my New York Daily News on the subject.

ADDENDUM, October 17, 2014

Unfortunately, some animal advocates continue to use unfortunate and racially charged language to criticize Robinson. For example, on a Facebook page devoted to the King matter, someone commented on Robinson’s “pimpish ‘I’m the man’ attitude”.

ScreenHunter_506 Oct. 14 21.14

(click to enlarge)

That is shocking.

When I pointed it out, another animal advocate responded that she disagreed that the comment was racist, stating: “perhaps the person shouldn’t have used the word ‘pimpish’ but you did not see his demeanor nor his mother’s in court.”

ScreenHunter_519 Oct. 17 14.12

(click to enlarge)

“[P]erhaps” the person should not have used “pimpish”?

Sorry, there’s no “perhaps” about it. The use of “pimpish” is unquestionably racist in this context and should be condemned clearly as such.

And how is Robinson’s demeanor–or his mother’s conduct– in court relevant to the propriety of calling him “pimpish”? That is a rhetorical question. It isn’t.

We should all be upset by what Robinson did to King. But we should also remember that what he did was in no way different from the violence that we support every single day if we consume animal products. And however upset we are with anyone, we should never use racially charge language to voice our criticism.