Welfare reform campaigns and single-issue campaigns (SICs) necessarily promote animal exploitation.
In order to see this clearly and easily, consider that the entire point of these campaigns is to build coalitions that involve animal exploiters. And the only way that can be done is by promoting animal exploitation.
Welfare Reform Campaigns
These campaigns work by building coalitions of people who oppose a particular practice but who do not oppose animal exploitation generally. These people see the targeted practice as morally objectionable but do not object to other practices involving animal exploitation.
For example, a campaign in support of “enriched” battery cages seeks to build a coalition that includes people who think that eating eggs is fine but who think we should consume eggs from “enriched” cages rather than eggs from conventional battery cages.
The only way that such a campaign can work is if it promotes the eating of these “happy” eggs as morally acceptable and desirable. That is, the entire point of the campaign is to promote the idea that eating eggs from “enriched” cages is morally defensible but eating eggs from conventional cages is not. And this amounts to promoting animal exploitation.
The same analysis holds for single-issue campaigns (SICs).
For example, an SIC that targets foie gras seeks to build a coalition that includes people who think that eating foie gras is “barbaric” but who have no problem eating other animal foods.
The only way that such a campaign can work is if it promotes the eating of animal foods other than foie gras as morally defensible. That is, SICs necessarily promote the idea that certain animal foods represent morally acceptable choices while others (such as foie gras) do not.
I have yet to see an SIC that is explicitly abolitionist. These campaigns cannot be abolitionist if they seek to build coalitions involving exploiters.
Animal advocates who support welfare reform campaigns or SICs necessarily promote animal exploitation whether they intend to or not.
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.
If animals matter morally, veganism is not an option–it is a necessity. Anything that claims to be an animal rights movement must make clear that veganism is a moral imperative.
The World is Vegan! If you want it.
Gary L. Francione
Board of Governors Distinguished Professor, Rutgers University
©2015 Gary L. Francione