A Betrayal of the Animals

I just got an email containing a press release from a PR firm on behalf of Mercy for Animals.

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In the press release, Mercy for Animals praises cage-free eggs:

With the enactment of Prop 2, California is leading the way towards a society in which farmed animals are treated with the respect they so rightly deserve,” says Nathan Runkle, president of Mercy For Animals. “As a civilized nation, it is our moral obligation to protect all animals, including animals raised and killed for food, from needless suffering. It’s time for egg producers nationwide to end the cruel and inhumane confinement of hens in wire cages so small they cannot walk, spread their wings, or engage in most natural behaviors.”

It is not clear whether Proposition 2 requires “cage-free” conditions. Some claim that it is satisfied by “enriched cages,” such as the one pictured below.

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(photo: Compassion in World Farming)

In any event, the MFA statement is morally repugnant:

First: Confining these poor birds in cage-free barns does not amount to “respect.” And it is outrageous to use that word in this context.

Second: “Cage-free” does not “protect” the birds.

Third: MFA suggests that cage-free addresses “needless” suffering. Since we do not need to consume eggs for optimal health, all suffering in this context is needless.

Fourth: MFA tells us that cage-free is what a “civilized nation” does.

Fifth: And for a so-called “animal advocate” to suggest that cage-free barns are not “cruel and inhumane” is nothing short of a betrayal of nonhuman animals.

Sixth: The word “vegan” appears nowhere in the press release.

This is nothing more than “happy-exploitation” propaganda and for groups like MFA to claim that statements like this are not intended to make people feel better about consuming “happy” animal products is either a matter of dishonesty or delusion.

Here what cage-free looks like. This is what Mercy for Animals calls “respect”:

Cagefree

(Photo: New York Times)

This comes as no surprise. Ever since 2005, Mercy for Animals, along with Peter Singer and the other large animal welfare groups, have explicitly and publicly embraced “happy exploitation”:

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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

©2014 Gary L. Francione

Happy 2015!

Here are the New Year posters that we put on our Facebook page (click to enlarge):

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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 your body.

The World is Vegan! If you want it.

Gary L. Francione
Board of Governors Distinguished Professor, Rutgers University

©2014 Gary L. Francione

The Focus on “Factory Farming”

Most of the large groups focus on “factory farming.” This is absurd for at least three reasons.

First, these groups claim to be eliminating the “worst abuses” of the system. That is false. The entire system is one big “worst abuse” and the animal groups are merely focusing on (i.e., doing fundraising campaigns on) a few practices that are, for the most part, economically vulnerable anyway. These groups pretend that “factory farming” will be history if the gestation crate is eliminated or if conventional battery cages give way to “cage-free” barns, But that is just wrong. The pigs and chickens will still be tortured and killed.

Second, these groups promote the idea that there is a difference between “factory farm” exploitation and “family farm” exploitation. There is still an enormous amount of suffering and distress on any farm. This fantasy of the idyllic “family farm” is just that–a fantasy. And the animals all end up in the same slaughterhouse much of the time. They are, in any event, all slaughtered.

These groups all promote or support some sort of “happy exploitation” scheme. But these schemes still involve animals being tortured and killed. Their primary impact is to reassure consumers that they can be “conscientious omnivores” and keep contributing to animal groups as they feel good about continuing to eat and wear animals.

Third, if animals matter morally, we should not be eating, wearing, or using them whether they are from “factory farms” or from “family farms” or have a “happy exploitation” label slapped on their corpses. We cannot justify inflicting any level of pain and suffering on another sentient being when the only justification is palate pleasure or fashion. We don’t even need a theory of animal rights for that; it follows simply from the position that animals are not things and that they have moral value.

The problem is not “factory farming.” The problem is all animal farming; the problem is all animal use.

These “factory farming” campaigns have nothing to do with animals. They are fundraising vehicles for the large groups. If you care about animals and think that they have any moral value, you go vegan. It’s that simple.

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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 your body.

The World is Vegan! If you want it.

Gary L. Francione
Board of Governors Distinguished Professor, Rutgers University

©2014 Gary L. Francione

A Thought for Christmas Eve

If you are a Christian, think about how bizarre it is to celebrate the birth of the one you call “Prince of Peace” with violence. If you celebrate Christmas, make it a vegan day. If you really believe in peace and love, make it a vegan life. Nothing else makes any sense.

Happy Christmas.

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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
Board of Governors Distinguished Professor, Rutgers University

©2014 Gary L. Francione

“Philosophy Bites” Audio Interview on Abolition Published

The 2012 audio interview I did on Philosophy Bites at the University of London has been published by Oxford University Press in Philosophy Bites Again.

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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
Board of Governors Distinguished Professor, Rutgers University

©2014 Gary L. Francione

Veganism: It’s Not Just a Animal Rights Issue

According to Cornell University Professors David Pimentel and Marcia Pimentel, it takes 13 kilograms (a kilogram is 2.2 pounds) of grain and 30 kilograms of forage to produce one kilogram of beef; 21 kilograms of grain and 30 kilograms of forage to produce a kilogram of lamb; 5.9 kilograms of grain to produce a kilogram of pork; 3.8 kilograms of grain to produce a kilogram of turkey; 2.3 kilograms of grain to produce a kilogram of chicken, and 11 kilograms of grain to produce one kilogram of eggs.

Livestock in the United States consume 7 times as much grain as is consumed by the entire U.S. human population and the grains fed to livestock could feed 840 million humans who had a plant-based diet.

We could feed the world by shifting to a vegan diet.

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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
Board of Governors Distinguished Professor, Rutgers University

©2014 Gary L. Francione

Go Vegan. See the Connections.

For decades, I have been writing that the anti-fur campaign (among others) is sexist. For example, various groups have been using this sort of imagery for years now:

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(click to enlarge)

But fur is no different from wool, leather, or silk. In my book, Rain Without Thunder: The Ideology of the Animal Movement, published by Temple University in Press in 1996, I stated:

[T]he fur campaign has from the outset been tainted by sexism. The trapping or ranching of animals for fur is certainly barbaric and immoral, but fur is no more or less morally obnoxious than leather or wool. The primary difference is that furs are worn by women, and wool and leather, although also worn by women, are worn by virtually all men. Fur became an early target of the animal rights movement, and from the outset the imagery was, not unexpectedly, sexist. An early poster shows a pair of women’s legs (no torso, no head, just legs) clothed in black stockings and spiked high heels. The woman is dragging a fur coat, which is trailing blood. The caption reads: “It takes up to 40 dumb animals to make a fur coat. But only one to wear it.”

All animal clothing is morally objectionable. All animal exploitation is morally objectionable. Reject animal exploitation. Reject sexism. Go vegan. See the connections.

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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 the Aboliutionist Approach, as a foundational principle, rejects all discrimination, including sexism and any other form of discrimination (racism, heterosexism, classism, etc.).

The World is Vegan! If you want it.

Gary L. Francione
Board of Governors Distinguished Professor, Rutgers University

©2014 Gary L. Francione