Category Archives: Blog

Some “Animal Advocates” Never Miss An Opportunity to Exploit Animal Exploitation

Just when I think it can’t get worse, it does.

Humane Society International is an arm of The Humane Society of the United States. Andrew Rowan is the Chief International Officer and Chief Scientific Officer of The HSUS, and President and CEO of Humane Society International.

HSI has a new campaign: rescuing dogs from South Korean farms:

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(click to enlarge)

Here is a story about this campaign:

Alexandria (United States) (AFP) – A dozen dogs originally destined for dinner tables in South Korea arrived in the Washington area to be adopted as pets.

They were the first of a total of 23 dogs being imported into the United States this week as part of a campaign to combat the eating of dog meat in East Asia.

Washington-based Humane Society International (HSI) located the dogs at a farm in Ilsan, northwest of Seoul, where they were being bred specifically for human consumption.

The farmer — who acknowledged a personal fondness for dogs — agreed to give up the animals and accept an offer of compensation and grow blueberries instead, HSI director of companion animals Kelly O’Meara told AFP, as the mongrels settled into kennels Monday at the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria, Virginia after a long flight from Seoul.

HSI has been working with local groups in China, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam to raise public awareness of the dog meat trade.

“But South Korea is unusual because it actually farms dogs to supply demand,” O’Meara said, while other countries target feral dogs as food.

Every year, between 1.2 million and two million dogs are consumed in South Korea, she said, supplied by farms that number “at least in the hundreds.”

O’Meara said it was the first time that dogs from South Korea intended for human consumption had been rescued and brought into the United States, where a brisk demand for adopted dogs and cats is met by a thriving network of animal rescue groups and shelters.

All 23 South Korean dogs — the second batch is due to arrive Tuesday — will undergo veterinarian checks in Alexandria, before being distributed among five other shelters in the Mid-Atlantic states for adoption.

“By helping these 23 dogs, we’ll be helping a lot of other dogs in South Korea” by raising public awareness of the dog meat trade, said Megan Webb, executive director of the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria, which finds homes for about 1,000 dogs a year.

Okay. So let’s see if I have this right:

HSUS/HSI objects to the eating of dogs. Okay. I understand that. I don’t think anyone should eat dogs either. Surely, it makes no sense to object to eating dogs if you eat other animals.

But HSUS CEO/President Wayne Pacelle sits on the Board of Directors of the Global Animal Partnership, which develops the 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating Standards of “happy exploitation” used by Whole Foods and other vendors of “happy meat,” such as the Niman Ranch Pork Company:

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And Joe Maxwell, a Vice President of HSUS, is a pig farmer:

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And HSI has it’s own “happy exploitation” label:

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So the evil Koreans should not eat dogs but good folks elsewhere should feel just fine about consuming other animals and animal products–especially if they have the stamp of approval from HSUS/HSI.

And the reason why HSUS/HSI is flying dogs from Korea to be adopted in the United States is because in the U.S., there is “a brisk demand for adopted dogs and cats [that] is met by a thriving network of animal rescue groups and shelters.”

Really?

But HSUS itself states that 2.7 million healthy animals are killed in shelters every year.

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 1.2 million of the 2.7 million animals killed in shelters are dogs.

So HSUS/HSI is objecting to Koreans eating dogs while

HSUS explicitly promotes consuming “happy” animals;

an HSUS Vice President is a pig farmer; and

HSI has its own “happy exploitation” label.

The reason for this is that we need to fly dogs from Seoul to Washington, D.C. so that we have more dogs to adopt in the United States even though we are killing 1.2 million dogs per year.

You can’t make this stuff up.

And 23 dogs who are in languishing in U.S. shelters won’t be adopted so that HSUS can have photo ops and do fundraising.

If you think this has anything to do with anything other than exploiting animal exploitation (as well as promoting xenophobia), you’ve lost sight of what it’s all about.

It makes me sad that my friends at HSUS/HSI most certainly have.

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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

©2015 Gary L. Francione

Veganism, PETA, “Personal Purity,” and Principles of Justice

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)
says
:

Being vegan is about helping animals, not maintaining personal purity. Boycotting products that may contain trace amounts of animal products can actually be harmful to animals in the long run. For example, by refusing to eat a veggie burger from a restaurant because the bun may contain traces of milk or eggs, you are discouraging that restaurant from offering vegan options because it is seems too difficult a task. So use our list as a guide, and do your best to avoid animal ingredients.

This is speciesist. A social movement that seeks justice for nonhumans says that we should never choose to participate in animal exploitation. Period. We should not decide to eat the product with milk or eggs to make the owner think it’s easier to serve vegans. That is like saying that we ought not to object to “small” instances of misogyny or racism because we don’t want misogynists or racists to think that the equality of woman and people or color is “too difficult.”

And what’s a “trace”? How much is “okay”? And what if it’s a small amount of meat? How is that different from a small amount of egg or dairy? Answer: it isn’t. So if you buy this nonsense, go ahead and eat the pork sprinkled on your dish as well–as long as there’s not a lot.

A number of “animal advocates” support this approach. For example, Bruce Friedrich, formerly of PETA and now with Farm Sanctuary, says:

We all know that the number one reason why people don’t go vegan is that they don’t think it’s convenient enough, and we all know people whose reason for not going vegan is that they “can’t” give up cheese or ice cream.

But instead of making it easier for them to help animals, we often make it more difficult. Instead of encouraging them to stop eating all other animal products besides cheese or ice cream, we preach to them about the oppression of dairy cows. Then we go on about how we don’t eat sugar or a veggie burger because of the bun, even though a tiny bit of butter flavor in a bun supports significantly less suffering than eating any non-organic fruit or vegetable, or using a plastic bottle, or about 100 other things that most of us do. Our fanatical obsession with ingredients not only obscures the animals’ suffering—which was virtually non-existent for that tiny modicum of ingredient—but nearly guarantees that those around us are not going to make any change at all. So, we’ve preserved our personal purity, but we’ve hurt animals—and that’s anti-vegan.

Peter Singer, considered by some to be the “Father of the Animal Rights Movement” says:

I think it’s more important to try and produce a change in the right direction than to be personally pure yourself. So when you’re eating with someone at a restaurant, and you ordered something vegan but when it comes there’s a bit of grated cheese or something on it, sometimes vegans will make a big fuss and send it back and that might mean the food is wasted. And if you’re in company with people who are not vegan or not even vegetarian, I think that’s probably the wrong thing to do. It’d be better off just to eat it because people are going to think, ‘Oh my god, these vegans…’

I agree that being vegan is not about “personal purity.” But I don’t see not exploiting vulnerable beings–human or nonhuman–as being about “personal purity.” I see it as a matter of caring about fundamental justice and acting on it. To call that a matter of “personal purity” is simply to say that justice should not be a matter of clear moral principle. And I could not disagree with that more.

So if the restaurant won’t give you a vegan meal, don’t eat the non-vegan meal just because you think it will help animals. It won’t. What it will do is to send a very clear message that you do not regard animal rights as a matter of moral principle.

And that is very harmful to animals.

People are more likely to embrace veganism if they agree that there’s something serious and important at stake. And as long as you choose to eat any amount of meat, dairy, and eggs, they will never see veganism as a matter of fundamental justice.

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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
Professor, Rutgers University

©2015 Gary L. Francione

A Betrayal of the Animals

I just got an email containing a press release from a PR firm on behalf of Mercy for Animals.

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In the press release, Mercy for Animals praises cage-free eggs:

With the enactment of Prop 2, California is leading the way towards a society in which farmed animals are treated with the respect they so rightly deserve,” says Nathan Runkle, president of Mercy For Animals. “As a civilized nation, it is our moral obligation to protect all animals, including animals raised and killed for food, from needless suffering. It’s time for egg producers nationwide to end the cruel and inhumane confinement of hens in wire cages so small they cannot walk, spread their wings, or engage in most natural behaviors.”

It is not clear whether Proposition 2 requires “cage-free” conditions. Some claim that it is satisfied by “enriched cages,” such as the one pictured below.

enriched_cage_ciwf

(photo: Compassion in World Farming)

In any event, the MFA statement is morally repugnant:

First: Confining these poor birds in cage-free barns does not amount to “respect.” And it is outrageous to use that word in this context.

Second: “Cage-free” does not “protect” the birds.

Third: MFA suggests that cage-free addresses “needless” suffering. Since we do not need to consume eggs for optimal health, all suffering in this context is needless.

Fourth: MFA tells us that cage-free is what a “civilized nation” does.

Fifth: And for a so-called “animal advocate” to suggest that cage-free barns are not “cruel and inhumane” is nothing short of a betrayal of nonhuman animals.

Sixth: The word “vegan” appears nowhere in the press release.

This is nothing more than “happy-exploitation” propaganda and for groups like MFA to claim that statements like this are not intended to make people feel better about consuming “happy” animal products is either a matter of dishonesty or delusion.

Here what cage-free looks like. This is what Mercy for Animals calls “respect”:

Cagefree

(Photo: New York Times)

This comes as no surprise. Ever since 2005, Mercy for Animals, along with Peter Singer and the other large animal welfare groups, have explicitly and publicly embraced “happy exploitation”:

support1

*****

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. It’s the opposite: the entire “happy exploitation” industry has one goal: to make the public more comfortable about animal exploitation.

The World is Vegan! If you want it.

Gary L. Francione
Professor, Rutgers University

©2014 Gary L. Francione

Happy 2015!

Here are the New Year posters that we put on our Facebook page (click to enlarge):

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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 your body.

The World is Vegan! If you want it.

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

©2014 Gary L. Francione

The Focus on “Factory Farming”

Most of the large groups focus on “factory farming.” This is absurd for at least three reasons.

First, these groups claim to be eliminating the “worst abuses” of the system. That is false. The entire system is one big “worst abuse” and the animal groups are merely focusing on (i.e., doing fundraising campaigns on) a few practices that are, for the most part, economically vulnerable anyway. These groups pretend that “factory farming” will be history if the gestation crate is eliminated or if conventional battery cages give way to “cage-free” barns, But that is just wrong. The pigs and chickens will still be tortured and killed.

Second, these groups promote the idea that there is a difference between “factory farm” exploitation and “family farm” exploitation. There is still an enormous amount of suffering and distress on any farm. This fantasy of the idyllic “family farm” is just that–a fantasy. And the animals all end up in the same slaughterhouse much of the time. They are, in any event, all slaughtered.

These groups all promote or support some sort of “happy exploitation” scheme. But these schemes still involve animals being tortured and killed. Their primary impact is to reassure consumers that they can be “conscientious omnivores” and keep contributing to animal groups as they feel good about continuing to eat and wear animals.

Third, if animals matter morally, we should not be eating, wearing, or using them whether they are from “factory farms” or from “family farms” or have a “happy exploitation” label slapped on their corpses. We cannot justify inflicting any level of pain and suffering on another sentient being when the only justification is palate pleasure or fashion. We don’t even need a theory of animal rights for that; it follows simply from the position that animals are not things and that they have moral value.

The problem is not “factory farming.” The problem is all animal farming; the problem is all animal use.

These “factory farming” campaigns have nothing to do with animals. They are fundraising vehicles for the large groups. If you care about animals and think that they have any moral value, you go vegan. It’s that simple.

**********

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 your body.

The World is Vegan! If you want it.

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

©2014 Gary L. Francione

A Thought for Christmas Eve

If you are a Christian, think about how bizarre it is to celebrate the birth of the one you call “Prince of Peace” with violence. If you celebrate Christmas, make it a vegan day. If you really believe in peace and love, make it a vegan life. Nothing else makes any sense.

Happy Christmas.

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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

“Philosophy Bites” Audio Interview on Abolition Published

The 2012 audio interview I did on Philosophy Bites at the University of London has been published by Oxford University Press in Philosophy Bites Again.

ScreenHunter_652 Nov. 21 07.05

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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