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