Category Archives: Blog

Do you Eat Like You Care?

Some people claim that it is “extreme” to be vegan. In our new book, Eat Like You Care, we explain why not being vegan is “extreme.”

Direct link to the paperback format: https://www.createspace.com/4423398

Direct link to the ebook format on Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Eat-Like-You-Care-Examination-ebook/dp/B00DLTN43C

*****

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

©2013 Gary L. Francione

The “Happy Exploitation” Partnership

Here is the Bell and Evans website. Bell and Evens is a chicken producer. Bell and Evans advertises that HSUS, PETA, and the Global Animal partnership support it.

Please don’t tell me that the major animal groups aren’t partners with the institutional exploiters of animals.

Please.

BellandEvans

Click the picture so that you can read the statements praising “happy exploitation.”

*****

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

©2013 Gary L. Francione

“Eat Like You Care” Now in Paperback!

You wanted it. We did it. Eat Like You Care is finally in paperback!

Direct link to buy paperback book at our Amazon Create Space Store

Book website

Facebook page

Background with empty wooden tripod

*****

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

©2013 Gary L. Francione

On Violence as “Entertainment”

Grand Theft Auto 5, which involves cyber participation in all sorts of violence against humans, including homicide, torture, and rape (but maybe it’s “just” cannibalism), as well as nonhumans, has apparently become the fastest selling entertainment product in history.

When I made a Facebook comment criticizing the game, I had a horde of gamers become apoplectic at the mere suggestion that these sorts of “games” were encouraging us to become numb to violence. They insisted that we can separate the “game” from reality.

The violent imagery that we think of as “entertainment” may not be causing people in any direct sense to act in ways that they wouldn’t act otherwise, but it is, without doubt, causing a general coarsening of society; it is distorting our moral perception. It is making violent imagery something that no longer repulses us. And that is unquestionably significant.

Do you want to know why many “good” people did not object to race-based slavery in the U.S.? One reason is that they were surrounded by many others who supported slavery and regarded the ownership of Africans to be “normal.” They were numb to the violence of slavery because it surrounded them. It did not repulse them because it was part of the moral reality that they saw. When we are surrounded by, and wallow in, a culture of violence, we similarly become numb to violence. To deny that is beyond absurd. And that is why we stand around and record a violent episode we see on the street on our smartphones rather than intervene to help.

Years ago, the late feminist Andrea Dworkin argued that pornography depicting violence against women resulted in sexual assaults against women. Whether she was right about any causal link is beside the point; even if eroticizing violence against women cannot be linked directly with the sexual assault of a particular woman, that sort of “entertainment” necessarily makes us as a society more numb to violence against women. And that is, perhaps, what accounts for the epidemic of violence against women that currently exists.

So can we in one sense separate the “entertainment” from reality? Sure. But can we deny that by treating violent imagery involving humans and nonhumans as “entertainment” that we are numbing ourselves morally? No, we can’t. And it strains credulity to say otherwise.

I agree with those who say that our entertainment has always been violent. But is just silly to say that there is not a qualitative difference between Bela Lugosi’s “Dracula,” and films like “Saw” and “Hostel” and these video games that involve extreme, and, in the case of the games, “participatory” violence, against humans and animals.

One of the things that animated opposition to the war in Vietnam was the imagery of children being burned by napalm. After Vietnam, reporters were “embedded” so that they could no longer show that sort of imagery. But it would not matter anyway. We are so used to seeing things that make napalming look like a picnic that the image of an actual suffering child may trouble us but no longer has the emotional force it once had and it can no longer compel us to raise our voices in sustained protest.

Please understand: I am not arguing in favor of government censorship of films, video games, or anything else. Governments have a bad track record here. And I am not disputing that we can, on one level, separate the “entertainment” from reality in that not everyone who finds violence to be entertaining engages in violence.

I am, however, in favor of our asking ourselves why we find images of extreme violence against humans and nonhumans to not be repulsive and, indeed, to be entertaining.

*****

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

©2013 Gary L. Francione

We’re Going in a New Direction. Are You Coming?

Someone wrote to me and said that a welfarist who promotes “cage-free” eggs and other forms of “happy exploitation” suggested that the abolitionist approach was limited and did not provide an effective program for change while welfare reform had a wider and more effective effect.

I would call that nonsense but it would be an offense to nonsensical things.

Think about it.

First of all, imagine the effect we would be having if all of the large groups promoted veganism as a moral baseline instead of promoting “cage-free,” “crate-free” “meatless this,” and “veg/veggie/veg*n that.”

Imagine what would be happening if all of the millions of animal dollars spent by these groups on promoting welfare reform and “happy exploitation” went into a clear, unequivocal vegan message that recognizing the moral value of animals *means* that we cannot eat, wear, or use them–however “humane” we may be. Just imagine how the social discussion about animal ethics would shift.

Second, in 2013, *everyone* has the ability to reach many. I am one person. I have no organization. I have no employees. We can all educate many!

Third, never underestimate the effect of engaging in creative, nonviolent vegan advocacy with small numbers of other people. Your effect will be exponential even on that level.

Fourth, the primary effect of the welfare reform/”happy exploitation” movement is to make the public feel *more* comfortable about animal exploitation. Indeed, it is silly to suggest otherwise. Would so many exploitative corporations be investing in “happy exploitation” if it was going to cause them to go out of business? Of course not! Does Whole Foods think that its “Animal Welfare Rating” program, promoted by the welfarist crowd as “pioneering,” is going to lead to veganism and to their meat/dairy/egg sales drying up? Come on. Get real already.

Fifth, look at the effect that the abolitionist movement has had in a few short years. Without any big organization and fundraising efforts, there is a grassroots movement emerging. We have changed the conversation within the movement. We can extend this to the society as a whole. Unfortunately, it’s the welfarists, who control the large organizations and who have formed actual partnerships with institutional exploiters, who are the biggest impediment.

You can choose to promote animal rights or you can choose to promote “happy exploitation.” There is no third choice. Don’t choose the latter just because welfarists tell you that nothing else will be effective in helping animals. That’s just wrong–on several levels.

*****

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

©2013 Gary L. Francione

Let’s Change the Conversation

Let’s Change the Conversation

Right now, the discussion about animals is focused on treatment and how to “improve” animal exploitation. As of this time, there really isn’t any serious discussion about whether we should use animals at all.

But, according to these researchers, if we had 10% of the population firmly convinced that no animal use can be justified, that would result in a spread of that idea and we would be having a different social discussion. And the paradigm would begin to shift.

So let’s work toward changing the conversation from treatment to use; from welfare to abolition; from “happy exploitation” to no exploitation.

*****

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

©2013 Gary L. Francione

“Compassionate” Violence is Not the Solution

BBC News reports: Almost a quarter of men surveyed in a UN report looking at violence against women in parts of Asia have admitted to committing at least one rape.

That is disgusting but not surprising. Rape and sexual assault are daily realities for many women and girls throughout the world.

Whenever I compare promoting “humane” animal exploitation to promoting “humane” rape, welfarists claim that there is a difference because everyone agrees that rape is wrong and few object to animal exploitation so promoting “humane” exploitation in the latter context is a good or “compassionate” interim step.

Putting aside the illogical reasoning of the welfarists–the fact that something is not accepted widely as immoral does not mean we should not be clear in rejecting it–the welfarists are simply wrong to say that just about everyone opposes rape. Rape and sexual assault constitute an epidemic of violence against women and girls.

And it’s not just in Asia (so please spare us all the ethnocentric/racist comments). It’s all over the world. One out of six American women has been the victim of rape or attempted rape, and rape and other forms of sexual assault are often not reported.

We should say “no” to violence, whether against vulnerable humans or vulnerable nonhumans. The solution is not “kinder” violence against either.

Violence should never be characterized as “compassionate.” Violence is violence.

*****

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

©2013 Gary L. Francione