Author Archives: Gary L. Francione

Once Again, The U.K. “Vegan” Society Trashes Veganism

You will recall last year that The Vegan Society’s “Ambassador,” marathon runner Fiona Oakes, appeared on BBC and ran away from veganism just as quickly as she could, stating that veganism isn’t “for everyone, I’m saying that it’s not probably for very many people.”

At their June 27 meeting, The Vegan Society elected yet another “Ambassador”–a comedian named Sara Pascoe. who, in this essay states that veganism “is not a lifestyle I would recommend for everyone.”

She states further in that same essay that she is “not against eating animals or farming in theory”, but that “now there are so many people to be kept alive, and the food industry pressed to make more money that the conditions that animals are kept in are incredibly cruel.”

She expresses doubt about animal consciousness: “I don’t know how conscious animals are, I think it’s probably on a sliding scale…”

I suppose that the appointment of a comedian who holds such views as an “Ambassador” makes sense for an organization that has become nothing but a joke.

Vegan Society founder, Donald Watson, must be spinning in his grave.

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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.

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.

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

©2015 Gary L. Francione

Abolitionist Vegan Starter Kit Launched!

We have just launched our abolitionist vegan starter kit: www.HowDoIGoVegan.com.

Thanks to our great volunteer team, headed by Sandra Cummings, for a splendid job. This will be an important tool in our efforts to engage in creative, nonviolent vegan advocacy.

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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.

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.

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

©2015 Gary L. Francione

Veganism without Animal Rights

An essay that I co-wrote with Anna Charlton, Veganism without Animal Rights,, which was published in The Philosophical Salon of the The European Magazine, can be read here.

We hope you enjoy it and that you will find it useful in your efforts to educate others about veganism.

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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.

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.

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

©2015 Gary L. Francione

Welfare Reform Campaigns, Single-Issue Campaigns, and Animal Exploitation: Perfect Together

Welfare reform campaigns and single-issue campaigns (SICs) necessarily promote animal exploitation.

In order to see this clearly and easily, consider that the entire point of these campaigns is to build coalitions that involve animal exploiters. And the only way that can be done is by promoting animal exploitation.

Welfare Reform Campaigns

These campaigns work by building coalitions of people who oppose a particular practice but who do not oppose animal exploitation generally. These people see the targeted practice as morally objectionable but do not object to other practices involving animal exploitation.

For example, a campaign in support of “enriched” battery cages seeks to build a coalition that includes people who think that eating eggs is fine but who think we should consume eggs from “enriched” cages rather than eggs from conventional battery cages.

The only way that such a campaign can work is if it promotes the eating of these “happy” eggs as morally acceptable and desirable. That is, the entire point of the campaign is to promote the idea that eating eggs from “enriched” cages is morally defensible but eating eggs from conventional cages is not. And this amounts to promoting animal exploitation.

SICs

The same analysis holds for single-issue campaigns (SICs).

For example, an SIC that targets foie gras seeks to build a coalition that includes people who think that eating foie gras is “barbaric” but who have no problem eating other animal foods.

The only way that such a campaign can work is if it promotes the eating of animal foods other than foie gras as morally defensible. That is, SICs necessarily promote the idea that certain animal foods represent morally acceptable choices while others (such as foie gras) do not.

I have yet to see an SIC that is explicitly abolitionist. These campaigns cannot be abolitionist if they seek to build coalitions involving exploiters.

Animal advocates who support welfare reform campaigns or SICs necessarily promote animal exploitation whether they intend to or not.

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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.

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.

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

©2015 Gary L. Francione

A “Movement” of Relentless Narcissism

The “animal movement” attracts many people who are emotionally sensitive. Indeed, it is this very emotional sensitivity that provides the moral impulse for many people to care about the animal issue in the first place.

Unfortunately, there is a machine represented by the large groups that preys on those emotions. So those concerned about animal suffering are drowned in a sea of hideous images, animal torture porn, and “undercover investigations” and told that we must do “something.” And that “something” is to promote welfare reform and “humane” or “compassionate” exploitation. Veganism is never presented as a moral imperative. The fundamental right of animals not to be used as resources–however supposedly “humanely”–is never even discussed.

Everyone is told that it’s all about their “journey.” Indeed, one welfarist group talks about the “post-traumatic stress” and “trauma” suffered by animal advocates who have been exposed to the violence inherent in animal exploitation.

So we focus away from the animals and on to ourselves. That has created a “movement” of relentless narcissism that rejects any sort of clear moral principle as “telling people what to do.” So if Ricky Gervais promotes himself as an animal advocate who criticizes nonvegans but consumes animal products himself, that’s just fine. After all, it’s not about justice for animals; it’s about Ricky’s “journey.”

And all of the welfarist groups are clear: there is to be no critical, principled analysis of the ideology that facilitates and normalizes animal exploitation in the first place: the animal welfare ideology. It is this ideology, which says that any supposed reduction of suffering is good and should be promoted as morally desirable that allows everyone to continue to exploit animals while they are on the “journey” and recovering from all of the “trauma” they have suffered.

The welfarists tell us that the ideology of animal exploitation is “invisible.” Nonsense. The welfarist ideology is anything but “invisible.” It is explicit and it is promoted by all of the welfarist groups. The welfarist ideology, which is itself speciesist, normalizes our speciesism. And the welfarists claim that pursuing welfare reform is just a matter of strategy, not ideology. That is absurd. If animal exploitation is not morally justifiable, promoting supposedly “humane” exploitation is not a matter of “strategy.”

I am always asked about how it is that I don’t “burn out” given that I have been doing this now for more than 30 years.

The world is a horrible place for all but a small fraction of nonhuman animals. And the world is a horrible place for the vast majority of humans, who live in poverty or who are mistreated as a result of racism, sexism, homophobia, etc., or who are imprisoned or harmed for their political views, etc. I could understand if all of these real victims “gave up.” Frankly, I think it must be horrible to be a person of color in a racist society or to be a woman in a patriarchal society, which is just about everywhere, or to be animal anywhere. Interestingly, many of the real victims don’t give up. They keep struggling. And think of the animals, who are treated horribly but who still often interact with humans with trust and hope.

In any event, I am not one of these victims. I am honored to be able to what little I can do to contribute to a shifting of the paradigm away from the default position of violence and exploitation of the vulnerable. I am not an animal in a laboratory or in a feedlot or in a slaughterhouse or one of the farms that are praised by welfarists as being “compassionate” or trapped in a snare. I am not a woman who is being subjected to physical or emotional abuse.

Bottom line: Why would I “burn out”? That are a zillion more beings–human and non–who have a much better reason to do that than I do!

So I just avoid ever thinking of myself as the victim here. I am not one. I have met many “animal people” over the years who think a lot about their sensitivity and their suffering. I understand where they are coming from. I just do not participate in that way of thinking.

If we are ever going to make any progress, we must reject the welfarist ideology and focus on what a social justice movement for animals should focus on: the animals.

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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.

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.

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

©2015 Gary L. Francione

The Anti-Hunting “Ban” in the UK: A Great Business Opportunity for Animal Welfare Groups

In 2009, I wrote about how the supposed ban on fox hunting was very seriously flawed in a number of ways. After raising a great deal of money, welfarists succeeded in getting a “ban” that prohibited using hounds to hunt foxes but, among other things, allowed hunters to use hounds to follow a scent and to flush out a fox (or other wild animal) and and then shoot the animal or use a falcon to kill the animal. Those who supported fox hunting flouted the law and encouraged exploitation of all loopholes with the result that more foxes were being killed than before the “ban.”

The welfarists declared victory and asked for more donations.

I expressed the view–that I still hold–that to call this “ban” a victory is beyond absurd. And this campaign, which raised millions from the public over the years, was a complete betrayal of the animals, as well as the donors.

But the welfarists have not finished exploiting this useless campaign–not by any means.

The Conservatives regained majority power at the May 7 election and Prime Minister David Cameron has announced that he will seek a repeal of the hunting “ban” that is not a “ban.”

And already, the animal groups are getting geared up to wage a campaign against repealing the “ban” that was not a “ban” to begin with.

So let’s see what we have here: the welfarist groups solicit donations to get a “ban” that isn’t a “ban” at all. When they get the “ban” that is not a ban, they declare victory and ask for more support. And now, these same groups will solicit donations once again to fight the repeal of a “ban” that is not a ban at all (and, in reality, pivots on a fight between Tories and Labour about a perceived matter of class). Yes, indeed, it’s just a matter of time before we start seeing the appeals with cute pictures of fox cubs and horrific pictures of foxes being ripped apart by hounds, telling people how they can help to stop it all and save the animals if only they donate.

The rallying cry of the welfarist movement:

ScreenHunter_925 May. 16 14.42

And abolitionists who point out the absurdity of the campaign, and the obvious fact that the primary beneficiaries of the campaign are the groups promoting it, will be denounced as “divisive” and told that they are not “activists” because they are not marching to the tune of the corporate welfarist groups who have declared that “activism” is making a donation to a large group and serving as free labor for welfarist and single-issue campaigns that raise lots of money for those corporate groups.

But the reality remains: single-issue campaigns (and welfare reform campaigns generally) are nothing but business opportunities for the large groups. They have nothing to do with helping animals. Indeed, these sorts of campaigns do nothing but promote exploitation by, in this case, characterizing fox hunting with hounds as worse than fox hunting by other means, any other hunting, or the use of animals for entertainment, or any other purpose.

It’s a business plan that works. Think of how many careerists do not have to work a regular job and have the luxury of being full-time “activists,” treated as celebrities by people who serve as free labor for them.

But let’s be clear: it’s got nothing to do with helping animals.

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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.

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.

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

©2015 Gary L. Francione

ADDED May 18, 2015:

I see that Ricky Gervais has now picked up the banner for those fighting the repeal of the “ban” that is not a ban. This assures that the large groups won’t be far behind. And it illustrates a central problem with single-issue campaigns. Foxes have no greater value than the animals whom Gervais, a nonvegan, exploits.

ADDED May 20, 2015

And they’re off! In the lead right behind Gervais is Animal Aid, a welfarist group in the U.K., which is sending this message:

ScreenHunter_932 May. 20 12.31

(click to enlarge)

They’re just so very, very predictable.

Animal Exploitation: Brought to You by “Animal Advocates”

I regularly get newsletters from the Global Animal Partnership (GAP), about which I have written before.

The most recent GAP newsletter features an interview with Wayne Langston, VP of Production for Panorama, Grass-fed Meats- a company based in California that sells Organic, 100% Grass-Fed beef, which has a Step 4 happy exploitation designation.

ScreenHunter_897 May. 09 07.14

(click to enlarge)

The picture should be captioned: “Here we are with a victim of speciesism whom we will soon slaughter but it’s all okay because HSUS President Wayne Pacelle and Compassion in world Farming Director Leah Garces sit on the Board of the GAP. And PETA, HSUS, Farm Sanctuary, Mercy for Animals, and Compassion Over Killing all publicly expressed “appreciation and support” for the “pioneering” program of happy exploitation that resulted in the 5-Step program. So eat up. The ‘animal people’ have put a big stamp of approval on it!”

GAP is

a non-profit alliance of producers, retailers, animal advocates and scientists dedicated to improving farm animal welfare through the 5-Step® Animal Welfare Rating Program. We facilitate continuous improvement in animal agriculture across the USA, Canada, and Australia through our 5-Step animal welfare standards and third-party certification. We are committed to informing and empowering consumers and recognizing and rewarding farmers and ranchers for raising their animals in a welfare-friendly way.

ALL of the major “animal advocacy” organizations gave their public blessing to the Whole Foods Animal Compassionate standards that became the GAP 5-Step happy exploitation program.

support1

(click to enlarge)

Although these organizations, will, when talking with vegans, claim to not support happy exploitation, any such claim is clearly, unequivocally, and unquestionably false.

The calf in that picture will be dead soon. And his death will bear the stamp of approval from the “animal movement.”

I am regularly attacked by “animal advocates” who say that I should not criticize other “animal advocates” because we’re all on the “same side” and we need “unity.” To my welfarist friends: I am not on the side of this obscenity. I oppose animal exploitation. You promote it. Please stop.

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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.

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.

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

©2015 Gary L. Francione