Author Archives: Gary L. Francione

This Morning’s “I agree with you but” Email

I get hundreds of emails and private messages every day. A common theme is “I agree with you but” and a common version of that theme is to criticize me for not patting people on the head because they are not vegans but are on “journeys” toward being vegan.

Here’s one that greeted me this morning:

“I really like your abolitionist position but I think you are too judgmental. I am a vegetarian and I know that going vegan is the right thing to do. I am on the journey towards being vegan. I think it’s wrong that you don’t give positive reinforcement to people like me and I think it ultimately hurts the cause.”

My reply:

Going vegan is not about anyone’s “journey.” It is remarkable how, in 2014, the observation of the most fundamental moral principles gets presented as a matter of narcissistic autobiography.

Not exploiting other sentient beings–not treating them exclusively as resources–is not a matter that involves some trivial option similar to where you will take your next vacation or what movie you will choose to view tonight.

It is a matter of fundamental moral obligation.

And this talk about “journeys” is even more annoying because it’s almost always articulated by people who claim–like you–that they already recognize it’s wrong to exploit animals. They just need the time for the “journey” needed to conform their conduct to what they claim to acknowledge as their moral beliefs.

Sorry, that’s not a matter of any “journey.” That’s nothing more than a matter of being too selfish to conform one’s conduct to what one claims to believe.

If we have a moral obligation to do X, continuing to do not-X is morally wrong. End of story.

Telling yourself it’s a matter of a “journey” is just a way of excusing yourself for doing something you know is wrong.

If you think I am being “judgmental,” you are right. I judge the exploitation of the vulnerable–be they human or non–to represent a profound sort of immorality. You claim to have made that judgment as well!

You already know that going vegan is the morally right thing to do. So just do it.

Here’s a related blog post.

*****

If you are not vegan, please go vegan. It’s easy. It’s better for you and for the planet. But, most important, it’s the morally right thing to do. It’s what we owe other sentient beings.

Do it today. Right now.

The World is Vegan! If you want it.

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

©2014 Gary L. Francione

I Brought The Vegan Society “Into Disrepute.” I Insisted That The Vegan Society Be Vegan.

I have been critical recently of the “rebrand” of The Vegan Society, which, as I have explained has a major flaw: it doesn’t promote veganism.

I have in the past been critical of The Vegan Society for taking paid advertisements in in its magazine, The Vegan, which promote non-vegan restaurants and inns. For example, I was critical of an ad in which a non-vegan restaurant was described in The Vegan as “A Haven for Peace & Inspiration.” It’s not any sort of “haven” for the animals who were exploited to produce those foods.

The Vegan Society announced that, on July 19, 2014, there would be a members-only Q&A session in London to address concerns about the new “rebrand.”

I asked to attend by Skype and offered to pay for a membership:

July 9, 2014

Jasmijn de Boo
The Vegan Society
Donald Watson House
21 Hylton Street
Birmingham
B18 6HJ
United Kingdom
By email (scanned PDF):
Jasmijn De Boo <[email protected]>
[email protected]

Dear Ms. de Boo:

I am requesting to be able to attend the July 19 meeting by Skype. I would like to hear firsthand what you all have to say about what I regard as a most serious departure from the progressive vision of Donald Watson.

I am doing research into Watson and it is clear to me that Watson was a moral realist who would never agree with the relativism that is the very foundation of your new approach.

In any event, I would very much like to attend but given that I am in the United States, I am requesting the accommodation of being able to attend by Skype.

If you want me to pay a membership fee as a condition of my virtual attendance, I will remit that to you immediately.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

/s Gary L. Francione
Professor, Rutgers University

I received the following reply:

ScreenHunter_238 Jul. 11 08.06

(click image to enlarge)

I have brought The Vegan Society “into disrepute.” I have insisted that The Vegan Society promote veganism as a moral baseline.

How very sad.

**********

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.

It’s easy to go vegan and if you agree that animals have moral value, it’s the only rational thing to do!

The World is Vegan! If you want it.

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

©2014 Gary L. Francione

ADDENDUM, Added August 6, 2014: Information on the July 19 Meeting

The following was posted concerning the July 19 meeting of The Vegan Society (that I was prohibited from attending):

ScreenHunter_336 Aug. 06 13.08

(Click to enlarge.)

ADDENDUM, Added August 8, 2014 More Information on the July 19 Meeting

ScreenHunter_357 Aug. 08 10.08

(Click to enlarge.)

New to Abolition? Start Here.

Are you new to abolition? There’s a lot to learn, and, if you have been a member of one of the large animal welfare charities, a lot to unlearn!

If you are interested in learning about the abolitionist approach, I recommend you start with these three essays:

1. Animal Welfare Regulation, “Happy Exploitation,” and Speciesism

2. The Four Problems of Animal Welfare: In a Nutshell

Here’s a PDF of this second essay.

3. Veganism: Just Another Way of Reducing Suffering or a Fundamental Principle of Justice & Nonviolence?

**********

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.

It’s easy to go vegan and if you agree that animals have moral value, it’s the only rational thing to do!

The World is Vegan! If you want it.

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

©2014 Gary L. Francione

The Modern “Animal Movement” in a Nutshell (5)

Namaste5

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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.

It’s easy to go vegan and if you agree that animals have moral value, it’s the only rational thing to do!

The World is Vegan! If you want it.

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

©2014 Gary L. Francione

Abolition: Simple Concepts and a Pop Quiz

Once again, I start my day, sit at my desk, and, before I even get to take the first sip of my tulsi tea, I read, in response to my claim that we need to encourage people to understand that veganism is the only rational response to the moral status of animals:

I would love it if everyone went vegan straight away, but the world doesn’t work like that.

I get this sort of message at least five times a day.

Okay. Listen up.

No one is saying that there is any chance that the world will go vegan overnight.

Let’s focus on the words: “NO ONE” (emphasis added).

Let’s be clear: The world will not go vegan overnight.

Okay, are we good so far?

Good.

Let’s move on.

In light of the fact that the world won’t go vegan overnight, the only issue is whether:

1. We make crystal clear that veganism is the moral baseline and is a moral imperative. That is, we make a moral judgment that exploiting animals is wrong as a matter of morality–not “lifestyle,” preference, opinion–but as a matter or morality. We make clear that if someone chooses to do less than go vegan, that is there is their choice and not what is a morally justifiable or morally acceptable or respectful response as far as what we owe morally to animals;

or

2. We tell them that lesser steps (giving up meat once a week, eating “happy” meat, being “vegan before 6″, etc.) are defensible moral positions.

It is the abolitionist position that #2 is speciesist. In order to understand this (although we would clearly see this in any human context if we thought about it for 5 seconds), read this essay.

It is the abolitionist position that #2 is ineffective as a practical matter. In order to understand that, read this essay.

It’s really simple. You just need to read a little and think a little and not swallow the propaganda of the large animal charities that promote some version of #2 (and they pretty much all promote some version of #2) and need you to donate to their welfare reform campaigns.

Okay. Now let’s take a simple two-choice quiz based on the above (I can’t help it; I am a professor and I test people as a big part of my job).

When someone says, “hey, I’ve given up meat on Monday,” you should say:

A. “See how easy it is? But morality is not something to do one day a week. We need to take fundamental morality seriously every single day. And morality is not about arbitrary lines; it’s about principle. There is no morally coherent distinction between flesh and other animal products. So if you agree–as you clearly do–that animals matter morally, then you’re morally obligated to go vegan. How can I assist you in achieving that goal?”

B. “Wow. The Meatless Monday campaign is totally awesome. Although I am a vegan, it took me ten years to get there so it’s perfectly morally okay for everyone to do it in their own time. It’s about baby steps. We can’t make moral judgments. That would be judgmental! And every little bit matters so what you’re doing is great even if you never go vegan.”

If you chose B, you flunked.

*****

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.

And never, ever buy into the nonsensical notion that we need to promote “happy exploitation” in order to get people to go vegan. In addition to the whole “happy exploitation” effort being profoundly speciesist, the “happy exploitation” effort has one goal: to make the public more comfortable about animal exploitation.

The World is Vegan! If you want it.

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

©2014 Gary L. Francione

The Abolitionist Approach on Media Roots

Media Roots, an alternative media site created by Abby Martin of Breaking the Set, had an essay about the abolitionist approach, entitled The Case for Vegetarianism You’ve Never Heard Before
.
The article, which includes the video of my December 2012 interview with Ms. Martin, was written in June. I became aware of it only yesterday when I saw that it was posted on Ms. Martin’s page.

I posted a comment (not yet showing on the site) that my position is vegan and not vegetarian.

In case you are not aware, Abby Martin is an extraordinarily bright and very progressive broadcast journalist. If you do not watch Breaking the Set, you are missing the best news/current affairs program on TV.

**********

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.

It’s easy to go vegan and if you agree that animals have moral value, it’s the only rational thing to do!

The World is Vegan! If you want it.

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

©2014 Gary L. Francione

The Modern “Animal Novement” in a Nutshell (4)

namaste4

**********

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.

It’s easy to go vegan and if you agree that animals have moral value, it’s the only rational thing to do!

The World is Vegan! If you want it.

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

©2014 Gary L. Francione