Commentary #15: The Tide Is Turning

Dear Colleagues:

Victor Schonfeld, director of the influential 1982 film, The Animals Film, followed up his two-part BBC World Service program, One Planet: Animals and Us, with an editorial, The Five Fatal Flaws of Animal Activism, in the Guardian, one of the leading U.K. newspapers.

Schonfeld once again made clear that the mainstream movement had lost its way. He criticized welfare campaigns, the promotion of “happy” meat and animal products, giving awards to slaughterhouse designers, and PETA’s relentless sexism. He once again endorsed the idea that veganism should be the moral baseline.

Schonfeld was quite remarkably criticized by Vegan Outreach, which is now transparently part of the animal welfare/”happy” meat initiative. But even more remarkable was that three days after Scholfeld’s editorial appeared, PETA’s Ingrid Newkirk replied in the Guardian, defending PETA’s status as an animal welfare organization and calling its sexist campaigns “harmless antics.”

I did a blog entry on Newkirk’s editorial.

In this Commentary, I discuss whether the tide is turning in favor of creative, nonviolent abolitionist-vegan advocacy. My guests are Roger Yates, who is an adjunct lecturer in sociology at University College, Dublin and Vincent J. Guihan, a doctoral student at Canada’s Carleton University and a person who has a finely-tuned sense of the politics of the animal movement.

THE WORLD IS VEGAN! If you want it.

Gary L. Francione
©2010 Gary L. Francione

Play

Commentary #14: Analysis of Second Segment of “Animals and Us”

Dear Colleagues:

The second segment of the BBC’s One Planet: Animals and Us, hosted by Victor Schonfeld (who did the influential The Animals Film in 1982), focused on vivisection. Schonfeld ended the program by agreeing that the animal rights movement needs crystal clear guidelines and he explored veganism as a possible way to deal with the problem of animal exploitation.

The BBC World Service is the most widely-listened to radio program in the world. It is exciting that veganism was discussed on the program.

In this Commentary, sociology instructor Roger Yates and NZ Podcast Producer Elizabeth Collins will join me for a commentary on the second segment of “Animals and Us.”

We will also discuss Norm Phelps’ most recent endorsement of new welfarism.

THE WORLD IS VEGAN! If you want it.

Gary L. Francione
©2010 Gary L. Francione

Play

Commentary #13: Analysis of First Segment of “Animals and Us”

Dear Colleagues:

On December 31, 2009, the BBC World Service broadcast the first segment of the two-part program One Planet: Animals and Us. This program was hosted by Victor Schonfeld, who did the highly influential The Animals Film in 1982. The Animals Film was among the first—if not the first—film to reveal how humans actually treated nonhumans. Animals and Us involves Schonfeld’s return to the topic 27 years later to ask whether anything has changed since 1982. The first segment dealt primarily with the use of animals for food and focused on factory farming.

In this Commentary, sociology instructor Roger Yates and New Zealand podcasting phenomenon Elizabeth Collins, and I discuss and critique this first segment.

If you are not vegan, go vegan. It’s easy; it’s better for your health and for the planet; and, most importantly, it’s the morally right thing to do.

And remember: THE WORLD IS VEGAN! If you want it.

Gary L. Francione
©2010 Gary L. Francione

Play

Commentary #12: The Virtual Billboard Campaign: THE WORLD IS VEGAN! If you want it.

Dear Colleagues:

In this commentary, I discuss the virtual billboard campaign, which focuses on empowering advocates with a positive message that change is possible and that we have the responsibility to effect that change. It is time to reject the vegan bashing that has become the central focus of the welfarist movement.

And I introduce Christine, the newest member of our nonhuman family!

I hope that you enjoy the podcast and that you will join our nonviolent efforts to spread the message of veganism around the world.

Gary L. Francione
©2009 Gary L. Francione

Play

Commentary #11: Discussion with Professor Gary Steiner

Dear Colleagues:

In this, Commentary #11, I have a discussion with Gary Steiner, Professor of Philosophy and Chair of the Philosophy Department at Bucknell University. Gary recently had an editorial in the New York Times about veganism and we talk about the reactions that he got to his editorial, including the criticisms from welfarists, many of whom praise slaughterhouse designer Temple Grandin and other supporters of speciesist exploitation.

We also discuss how welfarists refuse to engage abolitionists in debate because they have nothing to say in response to the argument that welfare reform merely increases the production efficiency of animal exploitation.

Gary L. Francione
©2009 Gary L. Francione

Play

Commentary #10: World Vegan Day—Nov. 1, 2009

Dear Colleagues:

Happy World Vegan Day to all of you.

In this Commentary, I reflect on the state of the vegan movement. The bad news: the large welfare corporations have done a great deal to marginalize veganism. The good news: in the past year, we have seen the growth of the abolitionist movement, which views veganism as the moral baseline, rejects welfare reform and single-issue campaigns, and considers veganism as essential to any coherent theory of nonviolence.

If you are not already vegan then start today. It’s easy. It’s better for your health and for the planet. But most importantly, ethical veganism represents your commitment to justice, the abolition of animal exploitation, and nonviolence.

Gary L. Francione
© 2009 Gary L. Francione

Play

Commentary #9: Using Sexism to Promote Animal Rights

Dear Colleagues:

Would Martin Luther King have had an “I’d Rather Go Naked than Sit in the Back of the Bus” campaign?

Of course not.

He would have recognized that such a campaign would trivialize the important message of civil rights.

Why don’t animal advocates recognize that sexist campaigns similarly trivialize the issue of animal rights and give people yet another reason to dismiss the animal rights issue?

That is the topic of our ninth Commentary.

Gary L. Francione
©2009 Gary L. Francione

Play

Commentary #8: A Discussion of Abolitionist Principles

Dear Colleagues:

There are some advocates who claim to be abolitionists but who support welfare reform or who support violence.

In this Commentary, I explain why welfare reform and violence cannot fit into the abolitionist approach.

Gary L. Francione
©2009 Gary L. Francione

Play

Commentary #7: An Up-Close and Personal Encounter with Moral Schizophrenia

Dear Colleagues:

I refer to the delusional and confused way that we think about animals as a social/moral matter as constituting “moral schizophrenia.”

I had a recent encounter with moral schizophrenia in dealing with a deer who had been hit by a car and the hunters who stopped to help the deer.

In this Commentary, I describe and discuss what happened.

Gary L. Francione
© 2009 Gary L. Francione

Play

Commentary #6: Aspects of the Vegetarian/Vegan Debate

Dear Colleagues:

Our first Commentary about vegetarianism as a “gateway” to veganism has provoked continuing controversy and in this Commentary, I address three issues:

1. Does my position that we cannot draw a moral distinction between flesh and other animal products mean that we ought to be confrontational or judgmental when we talk to people who are not vegans?

The short answer: no, of course not.

2. What do we do when someone says that they care about the issue of animal exploitation but they just are not going to give up animal products.

The short answer: that is generally a reaction that is really inviting more discussion.

3. Why do new welfarists so vehemently reject veganism as a moral baseline?

The short answer: a key principle of animal welfare theory is that it is acceptable to use and to kill animals as long as we do not make them suffer. Veganism is simply one way—among many others, including “happy” meat/animal products—to reduce suffering. Veganism has no greater significance than as a way of reducing suffering.

I hope that this Commentary clarifies some of the excellent questions that I have received.

Gary L. Francione
©2009 Gary L. Francione

Play