Some say that there is no real difference between:
A. someone who advocates that we ought to abolish animal use and that the means to achieve that end is promoting veganism as a moral baseline and rejecting “happy” exploitation and
B. someone who says they hope one day to to see the end of all (or most) animal use and that the means to that end is “happy” exploitation and animal welfare regulation.
But that is like saying that there is no difference between:
A. someone who wants world peace and advocates nonviolence in our dealings with each other as a means to that end and
B. someone who says that they want peace as their goal but who advocates the use of war to get to the state of peace.
To say that the differences are only matters of strategy assumes that the means do not have to be consistent with the ends and may even be inconsistent. So it’s fine to advocate “happy” animal use to get to (supposedly) no use; it’s fine to advocate war to get to peace.
I suggest that, putting aside the matter of whether “happy” use will get to no use or whether war will really lead to peace, to dismiss these differences as mere matters of strategy ignores the fundamental differences involved.
World leaders who wage war always claim to want to achieve lasting peace. I am quite certain that many of these leaders, if not most, really do want peace in the end. But to say that we cannot distinguish Stalin from Gandhi is, I think, wrong.
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.
Gary L. Francione
Professor, Rutgers University
©2012 Gary L. Francione