Spanish and Portuguese Versions of Blog Essays Available

Dear Colleagues:

As a result of the efforts of Dra. Ana María Aboglio and Regina Rheda, the blog essays are now available in Spanish and Portuguese.

Please also remember that our video presentations, Theory of Animal Rights, Animals as Property, Animal Rights vs. Animal Welfare, and Animal Law,, as well as our vegan-abolitionist pamphlet are all available in Spanish and Portuguese (as well as other languages).

Thanks to Ana María and Regina.

Gary L. Francione
© 2008 Gary L. Francione

Another Vegan Pamphlet

Dear Colleagues:

Eric Prescott and his colleagues at the Boston Vegan Association have produced an excellent pamphlet on the importance of veganism. When I talk about creative, nonviolent vegan education, this is the sort of thing that I mean.

Gary L. Francione
© 2008 Gary L. Francione

It Makes the Mind Boggle

The New York Times Magazine (October 26, 2008) has a lengthy article on California’s Proposition 2. I will blog more about this article, which is disturbing on multiple levels.

But I could not let a moment more pass without commenting on a statement attributed to HSUS president Wayne Pacelle: “For people who want a vegan revolution–that’s too passive for me.”

Creative, nonviolent vegan education is anything but “passive.” It is the most effective way of decreasing demand for animal products. It is the most effective way of effecting a cultural shift from the notion that animals are things that we can exploit as long as we do so “humanely” to beings who are members of the moral community with a right not to be brought into existence and killed just because we enjoy the taste of their flesh and the products that we derive from their suffering.

It is nothing short of remarkable that Pacelle would support as not “passive” a ballot proposition that won’t come into effect until 2015, is riddled with exceptions, and will only make consumers feel better about continuing to support animal exploitation.

It is nothing short of remarkable that a man who controls an organization that has reported revenues of $124,000,000 and assets of $223,000,000 would complain about grassroots vegan education as “passive.” Imagine what could be done for nonhuman animals if a significant portion of those resources were devoted to a creative, progressive vegan campaign. The fact that Wayne envisions Proposition 2 as the strategy to undertake bespeaks a complete failure of imagination at the least.

The New York Times article says that Pacelle became a vegan when he was 19. I would imagine that what caused Wayne to become a vegan was a shift in the way that he looked at nonhuman animals. Perhaps others should be given the chance to change their perceptions rather than being told falsely that they can do something meaningful by supporting efforts like Proposition 2.

Gary L. Francione
© 2008 Gary L. Francione

Another Terrible California Proposition

Dear Colleagues:

It seems as though Proposition 2 is not the only reactionary measure that will be put before California voters next month.

Proposition 8, which will eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry, will also be on the ballot.

In May 2008, the California Supreme Court ruled that limiting marriage to a relationship between a man and a woman violated the equal protection clause of the California Constitution and that persons of the same sex have the right to marry under the California Constitution. Proposition 8 asks the voters of California to deny equal protection to gays and lesbians in California despite this Court ruling.

Proposition 8 is nothing more than blatant heterosexism.

We live in a society permeated by racism, sexism, heterosexism, and speciesism. These attitudes all share in common exclusion of some group from membership in the moral community based on irrelevant characteristics (race, sex, sexual orientation, species). If we are ever to make progress as a civilization, we have to reject all of these forms of discrimination. All discrimination is a form of violence.

I certainly hope that California voters will resist this regrettable attempt to deny dignity and respect to gays and lesbians.

Gary L. Francione
© 2008 Gary L. Francione

“These animals are our dear friends”

Dear Colleagues:

Earlier today, Anna and I went to Whole Foods. We detest shopping there but we have no choice; our local health food stores have largely disappeared in the wake of chains like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. On Sundays, there is an outdoor market in the Whole Foods parking lot. Local vendors sell fruits, vegetables, baked goods—and animal flesh and products. One vendor had decorated her “organic meat” stall with pictures of her “free-range” chickens, pigs, and cows. We stopped to look at the pictures. I pointed out to her that there were no pictures of the slaughtering process.

“Oh, well we slaughter our chickens on the premises and our cows and pigs go to a slaughter facility that is only six miles away. They don’t stay overnight and we try to make it as stress free as possible.”

Another shopper had appeared and said, “I feel so much better about buying my meat from farms like this.”

The vendor remarked, “Oh, yes, these animals are our dear friends.”

I responded, politely but seriously: “That’s an odd thing to say; I hope that you don’t treat your other ‘dear friends’ this way.”

The vendor laughed. She thought I was joking.

“These animals are our dear friends.” Think about that. Think about what terrible confusion such a statement reveals.

This is where the happy meat/animal products movement is leading us.

This is where the PETA–KFC controlled-atmosphere killing campaign is taking us.

This is where efforts like Proposition 2 are taking us.

We are moving backward.

Go vegan. It’s the baseline of the abolitionist movement and is nonviolence in action.

Gary L. Francione
© 2008 Gary L. Francione

What to Do on Proposition 2?

Dear Colleagues:

I am getting a large number of inquiries about whether animal advocates in California should vote for Proposition 2 given that it is already on the ballot.

On balance, it is my view that animal advocates should vote against Proposition 2 (or at least abstain from voting on it at all). I base my view on three reasons:

First, Proposition 2 will do nothing to reduce animal suffering in the short term. Proposition 2 will not even come into effect, if at all, until 2015. Proposition 2 has numerous exceptions and qualifications and even if it does come into effect at some point in the distant future, and even if it is enforced, it will result in no meaningful reduction in animal suffering.

Second, Proposition 2, if passed, will only make the public feel better about animal exploitation and will result in increased exploitation. Animals will continue to be tortured; the only difference will be that the torture will carry the stamp of approval from the Humane Society of the United States, Farm Sanctuary, and the other animal welfare corporations that are promoting Proposition 2. It is telling that approximately 100 farming organizations are supporting Proposition 2. Why do you think that is? The answer is plain. These producers believe that Proposition 2 will help their “bottom line.” And it will.

Third, it is important for animal advocates to send a clear message to the Humane Society of the United States, Farm Sanctuary, and other groups to stop promoting measures like Proposition 2. If HSUS is really concerned about animal suffering, then it should perhaps spend a chunk of its $223 million in assets and $124 million in revenues on vegan education. Veganism reduces the demand for animal products and helps to shift social attitudes away from the notion that it is morally acceptable to use animals as long as we do so “humanely.” That view results in nothing but continued and increased animal use. It is time that advocates just said “no” to it.

It is time to demand more from the organizations that purport to represent the ideals of animal advocates than cheap campaigns that produce headlines and swollen coffers, but do nothing to provide meaningful protection for animal interests and do not in any way undermine the property status of animals. Creative, nonviolent vegan education is the best way to reduce animal suffering and death in the short term and in the long term. Increased veganism is the only means to achieve the abolition of animal exploitation. Efforts like Proposition 2, which make the consumption of animals more acceptable, will only reinforce speciesism and the notion that it is morally acceptable to consume nonhumans as long as we do so “humanely.”

The decision about how to vote on Proposition 2 is not one that requires that advocates choose between more animal suffering or less. It is a choice between continuing to promote the “happy meat” movement that is taking things in the wrong direction or getting down to serious animal advocacy that will really make a difference.

Animals advocates should not vote for Proposition 2.

Gary L. Francione
© 2008 Gary L. Francione

Proposition 2

Dear Colleagues: has published a pro/con on California’s Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act, known as “Proposition 2.”

I oppose Proposition 2. The Humane Society of the United States is its primary supporter and the piece defending Proposition 2 is written by Paul Shapiro, Senior Director, HSUS Factory Farming Campaign. The essays are brief in that we were limited to 500 words each.

As those of you who listened to the interview I did on Go Vegan Radio (July 26) know, I suggested to host Bob Linden that he invite HSUS President and CEO Wayne Pacelle to debate the HSUS campaign in favor of Proposition 2 and other welfarist campaigns promoted by HSUS. Bob has informed me that he invited Wayne but that Wayne declined. I am sorry about that as I think that such exchanges are an excellent way for animal advocates to learn about these issues.

Gary L. Francione
© 2008 Gary L. Francione

A Debate on “Pet” Ownership

Dear Colleagues:

In light of the significant response to the debate on eating meat and animal products, Opposing Views decided to have another debate on animal ethics and focused on the institution of “pets.”

I am arguing against the perpetuation of “pet” ownership; the Humane Society of the United States is arguing in favor of it.

I hope that you will stop by, read the entries, and offer your comments.

I am delighted that Opposing Views is taking an interest in animal ethics.

Gary L. Francione
© 2008 Gary L. Francione

A “Monumental” Decision?

Animal welfare advocates are terribly excited over a recent decision of the New Jersey Supreme Court. According to a press release from The Humane Society of the United States and Farm Sanctuary, two of the petitioners in the case:

The New Jersey Supreme Court today struck down the New Jersey Department of Agriculture’s regulations exempting all routine husbandry practices as “humane” and ordered the agency to readdress many of the state-mandated standards for the treatment of farm animals.

In this monumental case, the Court ruled that factory farming practices cannot be considered humane simply because they are widely used, setting a legal precedent for further actions to end the most egregious abuses on factory farms throughout the U.S. The Court also rejected the practice of tail-docking cattle, and the manner in which the NJDA had provided for farm animals to be mutilated without anesthesia.

“This is a major victory for farm animals in New Jersey, and will pave the way for better protections of farm animals nationwide,” said Gene Baur, president and co-founder of Farm Sanctuary. “Setting a legal precedent in a unanimous vote that clarifies that commonly used practices cannot be considered humane simply because they are widely used will build on our momentum in challenging the cruel status quo on factory farms.”

In addition to striking down the agency’s sweeping exemption for “routine husbandry practices,” the Court further held that tail docking could not be considered humane, and the manner in which mutilations without anesthesia including castration, de-beaking and de-toeing could not be considered humane without some specific requirements to prevent pain and suffering. The Court made clear that the decision to permit these practices as long as they are done by a “knowledgeable person” and in a way to “minimize pain” could not “pass muster.”

“This decision will protect thousands of animals in New Jersey, and also calls into question some of the worst factory farm abuses practiced throughout the country,” said Jonathan Lovvorn, vice president of animal protection litigation for The Humane Society of the United States. “All animals deserve humane treatment, including animals raised for food.”

Unfortunately, this excitement is not warranted. When one reads the actual opinion, one gets a very different picture.

Read more

Italian and Polish Translations of Abolitionist Pamphlet

Dear Colleagues:

The Italian and Polish versions of the pamphlet are now available. They are provided in U.S. Letter and A4 formats.

You can download the Italian version here: Letter | A4

You can download the Polish version here: Letter | A4

Thanks to Marina Berati for the Italian translation and to Krzysztof Forkasiewicz for the Polish translation.

And still more languages coming soon!

Gary L. Francione
© 2008 Gary L. Francione