Abolition: Making Sure the Means and the End Are Consistent

If you say that you are an “abolitionist” but support welfare reform as a means to abolition, you are using “abolition” in a fundamentally different way from the way in which I use that term. I use that term to identify a position that excludes regulation/welfare reform.

Think about it this way:

X and Y both claim to be peace advocates. X wants to achieve world peace as a goal and advocates nonviolent conflict resolution as a means to that end.

Y says s/he, too, wants to achieve world peace as a goal and advocates war as a means to end of peace. (This second position pretty much describes American foreign policy, actually.)

Both X and Y claim to be peace advocates but Y advocates a means–violence–that is directly contrary to the claimed end of peace. Y argues that non-peace (war) is an acceptable means to end of peace.

Animal advocates who support welfare reform often claim that they seek abolition as a goal; they claim to want to eliminate all animal use. But they advocate “happy” use as a means to the end of no use. This is similar to using war as an means to the end of nonviolence and peace. The welfarist who claims to be an abolitionist argues that “gentle” or “compassionate” or “happy” use is a morally acceptable means to the end of no use.

See the problem?

I maintain that “abolitionist” is properly used only if the means are consistent with the end and the means I advocate are veganism on the individual level and creative, nonviolent vegan advocacy on the social level. The end is no use and the means chosen to get to the end are no use on the individual level and advocacy of no use on the social level.

Abolition, as I use that term, rules out welfare regulation. Abolition, as I use that term, rules out the position that “happy” use is an acceptable way to get to no use just as I regard war as a morally unacceptable way to achieve peace.

*****

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

My Plenary Talk (Audio) at the Animal Rights 2013 National Conference

On Saturday, June 29, I gave the plenary talk at the Animal Rights 2013 National Conference. You can listen to the audio here. The title of my talk: “The Abolitionist Approach to Animal Rights.”

I understand that a video will be available at some point, which will allow you to see the PowerPoint presentation.

I hope you enjoy, and learn from, this presentation.

*****

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

Postscript Added July 7, 2013:

At the Animal Rights 2013 National Conference, in addition to my Plenary Talk, I had a discussion with Bruce Friedrich that you can hear here. You can read a commentary on the exchange here and here.

I will be doing a longer discussion directly with Bruce in early August that will be released under my new podcast series, “VEGAN.FM,” which was kindly given to me by Adam Kochanowicz.

The Consequences of New Welfarism

I was recently in one of the two Whole Foods in my area. I passed by the meat counter and I saw the signs about how the animals whose corpses are sold by Whole Foods are so very well treated. I saw people buying “happy” meat.

And I heard a shopper say to an employee that she is so happy that can get meat that is produced “humanely.”

But what should she to think when Peter Singer, the “father of the animal rights movement,” and every corporate animal group–HSUS, PETA, Farm Sanctuary, Mercy for Animals, Compassion Over Killing, Vegan Outreach, etc.–expresses “appreciation and support” for the Whole Foods “happy exploitation” program?

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What should she to think when Whole Foods receives an award from PETA?

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What should she to think when Whole Foods CEO John Mackey shows up on the front page of “VegNews”?

CoverMackey

That woman clearly cares about animals morally and the “animal movement” has given her a way to do that that allows her to continue to consume animals and feel good about it.

How sad.

*****

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
Professor, Rutgers University

©2013 Gary L. Francione

A New Book: Eat Like You Care

Our new book is now available. You can get it here.

Book2

If people adopt a vegan diet for ethical reasons, everything changes. If they don’t adopt a vegan diet, they stay stuck with anti-fur protests and single-issue campaigns and nothing changes.

*****

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
Professor, Rutgers University

©2013 Gary L. Francione

Some Clear Thinking About Animal Welfare

Animal welfare reform focuses on the supply side of exploitation. The idea is to provide a supply of more “humanely” produced animal products. The idea also is to make that supply more expensive so that consumers buy fewer animal products.

But the theory and the reality are different. Even those who support welfare reform often still buy conventional, “lower welfare” products (in my view, all animal products are low welfare) and, even if the price of some animal products increases as a result of welfare reforms (as opposed to myriad other factors that affect price), demand does not change much because demand for many animal products is what economists call “inelastic,” or not sensitive to price increases within a particular range.

And even if the price goes up so that demand is affected, consumers will simply buy processed or cheaper animal foods. In other words, there is no reason to think that if the price of beef goes up, consumers buy tofu.

The only effective way to deal with animal exploitation is to focus on the demand side and to educate people about why they should not consume animal products. Period. There are many people out there who care about animals as a moral matter. Rather than telling those people that they can discharge their moral obligations to animals by consuming “happy” animal products, we should be educating them about why the only sensible response to recognizing that animals matter morally is to stop consuming them and to go vegan.

To put it another way: if you think that what Michael Vick did was wrong because we should not impose suffering and death on other sentient beings just because we enjoy doing so, you are committed to not consuming animals, which can only be justified by palate pleasure. Just as pleasure does not work for Vick, it does not work for the rest of us.

*****

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
Professor, Rutgers University

©2013 Gary L. Francione

“When It’s Raised Right, It Tastes Right.” And This is Not Right.

Yesterday, I visited Whole Foods and my purchases were placed in this bag:

WholeFoodsBag

Think about the message: When an animal, a commodity, an “it”–is “raised right,” “it tastes right.”

And just about every large animal organization in the United States expressed their “appreciation and support” to Whole Foods for its “happy” exploitation program:

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This is shameful. And the blame does not lie with Whole Foods. Whole Foods is just a corporation that is trying to make money for its shareholders. The problem is that animal organizations think of Whole Foods as a partner in the promotion of “happy” exploitation.

*****

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!

Gary L. Francione
Professor, Rutgers University

©2013 Gary L. Francione

Human and Nonhuman Rights as Inextricably Intertwined: In a Nutshell

As animal advocates, we oppose speciesism because, like racism, sexism, heterosexism, and other forms of discrimination, it uses a morally irrelevant criterion (species) to discount and devalue the interests of sentient beings.

But our opposition to speciesism means that we do have a position on these other forms of discrimination. That is, we cannot oppose speciesism but claim that, as animal advocates, we do not have a position on these other forms of discrimination. We cannot say: “We reject species as a morally objectionable criterion to discount or devalue the interests of nonhumans but we do not have a position on whether race, sex, or sexual orientation/preference are morally objectionable criteria when used to discount or devalue human interests.”

Our opposition to speciesism requires that we oppose all discrimination.

*****

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!

Gary L. Francione
Professor, Rutgers University

©2013 Gary L. Francione