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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Commentary #5: On Violence

Dear Colleagues:

I am opposed to violence. I regard violence as inherently immoral. I have written about and discussed that issue often, including in essays (1,2) on this site.

I recognize that many of you disagree with my opposition to violence.

But that is irrelevant. Even if you believe that violence can be justified, there are still compelling reasons to maintain that violence makes no sense whatsoever in the context of the struggle for animal rights.

I maintain that the only thing that makes any practical sense is creative, non-violent vegan education. That strategy is anything but passive; it involves our working actively and constantly to shift a fundamental paradigm—the notion that animals are things, resources, property; that they are exclusively means to human ends.

Until we build a critical mass of people who reject that paradigm, nothing will change.

In this Commentary, I discuss the matter of violence.

Gary L. Francione
©2009 Gary L. Francione

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Commentary #4: Follow-Up to “Pets” Commentary: Non-Vegan Cats

Dear Colleagues:

A number of people have written to me in response to the Commentary on “pets” to ask about the issue of non-vegan cats.

It is my understanding that many cats can live healthy lives on a vegan diet but what if there are cats who absolutely need to consume animal products?

In this Commentary, I offer some ideas that I hope will stimulate your thinking about this issue.

Gary L. Francione
© 2009 Gary L. Francione

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