The New York City Bar Association Sets a Low Bar for Balance

Dear Colleagues

I just got an announcement that on November 11, 2010, the New York City Bar Association, Committee on Legal Issues Pertaining to Animals, is having a program that is described in this way:

Happy Cows Come from California’ – Puffery or Consumer Fraud?
Thursday, November 11, 2010 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM

Labeling of animal products, including animal food products and consumer goods, which contain such labels and marketing messages as “humane,” “cage-free,” “free range,” “non-puppy mill,” and “100% faux fur,” which may mislead consumers as to the animal welfare standards of the product bearing such a label.

As those of you who are familiar with my work know, I am very critical of the “happy” exploitation phenomenon.

I have criticized The Humane Society of the United States for being a partner in exploitation by promoting “happy” exploitation.

I have criticized Mercy for Animals for proclaiming that the retail giant Costco has taken a “step forward” by agreeing to market “humane” veal.

I have criticized Farm Sanctuary for focusing on the treatment of factory-farmed animals, as if more “humane” treatment would make animal exploitation more acceptable.

I have pointed out that HSUS, its ideological subsidiary Compassion over Killing, Farm Sanctuary, Mercy for Animals, and other animal welfare groups explicitly endorsed the Whole Foods Animal Compassionate “happy” meat label.

So when I got the announcement from the New York City Bar Association was having a discussion on whether “happy” exploitation was really misleading consumers, I was interested to see who was speaking:

And the line up is:

CHERYL LEAHY, General Counsel, Compassion Over Killing;
ALISON LONGLEY Campaigns Manager, Farm Sanctuary;
JONATHAN R. LOVVORN, Vice President & Chief Counsel, Animal Protection Litigation & Research, Humane Society of the United States;
MATT RICE, NYC Campaign Coordinator, Mercy for Animals

I am a member of the Bar of the State of New York and I have great regard for the New York City Bar Association. And I also accept that reasonable minds can differ about the issue of “happy” exploitation. But I am sad to see that the Committee on Legal Issues Pertaining to Animals is holding such a ludicrously unbalanced session and is apparently acting as a cheerleading squad for particular organizations that support “happy” exploitation.

“Puffery”? Yes, I think so.

If you are not vegan, go vegan. It is very easy, better for your health and for the planet. And, most important, it’s the morally right and just thing to do.

If you are vegan, then educate others in a creative, nonviolent way.

The World is Vegan! If you want it.

Gary L. Francione
©2010 Gary L. Francione