“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