Sunday, July 07, 2013

Finally: Abolitionist Animal Rights at AR2013

Gary L. Francione (to the right) addresses the crowd during his debate with Bruce Friedrich.(Photo sourced from FARM's Facebook page.)
(The following is a guest post by New York City vegan and environmental activist, Demosthenes Maratos, who attended the conference and presented on a panel discussing "Externalities of Animal Abuse". Demo very kindly agreed to let me share his experience at the conference with My Face Is on Fire readers and I'm very grateful that he took the time to write down all that he did. I truly wish I had been able to attend, but Demo's words leave me feeling as if I have.)

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I’m not at all a morning person, so in my truest form, I was late making it down to the 500-seat Plaza room at the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center Hotel Saturday morning.

When I arrived, the room was already filled to the point where people had assembled outside the door and in the hallway to hear Professor Gary Francione’s first-ever presentation at the National Animal Rights conference. I pushed my way through the crowd assembled in the hallway and found a spot way in the back to stand for the presentation. It took me a minute or two to comprehend just what was going on.

Some back-story: At least a month and a half earlier a friend and I were exchanging email messages about whether this day would ever actually happen. There was some concern expressed about whether Professor Francione would be given the freedom to present whatever he wanted or whether he would in any way be censored by the organizers. I remember my friend distinctly saying that Francione would likely just give his usual talk on veganism as the moral baseline and that the organizers need not be concerned.

Back to the Plaza room: I quickly realized that every single chair in the 500-seat banquet room was filled and that more had been brought in to accommodate the assembled crowd. Still not enough, attendees of the conference were standing, kneeling and sitting in the last remaining bits of floor space unoccupied by chairs or other attendees. I found out later from the organizers that they estimated the room to have had 800 or more individuals in attendance that morning. After having taken in the magnitude of the crowd, I focused on what was being presented. I remembered the conversation with my friend about “his usual talk about veganism,” but that was not the case today. To their credit, the organizers (Farm Animal Rights Movement or FARM) allowed Francione to present exactly what he wanted. And boy, did he. Within minutes of my arrival, right there on the screen in front of the packed Plaza room was a PowerPoint slide showing the now infamous 2005 Animal Rights International letter to Whole Foods’ John Mackey. The letter, written by Peter Singer and signed by practically every major animal welfare organization, praised Whole Foods for having adopted “humane” treatment standards for raising and killing sentient creatures.

Allow me to put this all into perspective. The mainstream animal advocacy movement has wholly shunned Professor Francione since his 1996 book Rain Without Thunder: The Ideology of the Animal Rights Movement critiqued the emergence of “new welfarists” as doing the animals more harm than good, and animal welfare reform as ineffective in ever leading to animal liberation. For 17 years he has been called controversial, divisive, or a traitor by many in the mainstream animal advocacy movement. And as I would find out later from a conversation with Francione, he was also on the receiving end of death threats after the book’s release.

While continuing his writing and lecturing (the author of four additional books since 1996, including the newly-released e-book, Eat Like You Care: An Examination of the Morality of Eating Animals), Francione had never been asked to speak at FARM’s National Animal Rights Conference. When I inquired as to why that was the case at last year’s conference, the answers from FARM organizers ran the gamut from “we don’t think he will come” to “we think he will go over his allotted time” to “we think he will be critical of the work of other groups”. They were right on the last one, but without ever asking, they would never have known whether he’d accept an invitation or go over his allotted time. For the record, going over one’s allotted time is something pretty much every presenter at the conference does. Myself included… oops.

But now Francione was standing at the podium, 800 people in attendance, including a veritable who’s who of animal welfare leaders (Paul Shapiro from HSUS, Nathan Runkle and Matt Rice from Mercy For Animals, Melanie Joy of Carnism Awareness, Action Network, Bruce Friedrich, Nick Cooney and Gene Bauer from Farm Sanctuary, Erica Meier of Compassion Over Killing, and others from Vegan Outreach, PeTA, The Humane League, etc) - in other words, some of the very people whose work Francione has very strongly disagreed with. Of course, he wasn’t simply standing there. He was now meticulously outlining how the mainstream animal rights movement had lost its way, how welfare reforms were a giant step backward, and how industry collaboration had drained the movement of its integrity. And he was doing so with the aid of a PowerPoint presentation, which Francione admitted to be doing for the first time ever.

His hour-long presentation discussed, among other things, how welfare reforms would happen anyway as industry strived to cut costs and increase market share, how activists should never seek to aid industry in making animal exploitation more profitable, how welfare campaigns actually make the public feel better about animal exploitation and how they actually encourage continued animal use by making people think that they can discharge their moral obligations to animals without ending animal use in their own lives, how incongruous sexist campaigns like “Veggie Love Casting Session” are to a movement seeking to liberate one group of oppressed individuals by exploiting another group, and how making moral distinctions between different forms or exploitation (i.e. single issue campaigns, the promotion of Meatless Monday) does not shift the paradigm from animals as exploitable things to beings worthy of our moral concern.

Francione’s presentation was met with spontaneous outbursts of applause throughout and ended with a rousing standing ovation from at least half of the jam-packed room. Considering the welfare-dominated environment in which he was presenting, it was spectacular to be party to it all.

An hour later, I was back in the Plaza room witnessing a similar scene. Having this time arrived early I saw the 500 seat room being packed to capacity with more than a hundred additional chairs being brought in to accommodate the crowd, and still a few hundred others having to sit, stand, or kneel on the floor. My partner and I grabbed two of the chairs being brought in and were seated in the front row, to the left of the dais awaiting the debate between Gary Francione and Farm Sanctuary’s Bruce Friedrich. After a brief welcome, introduction, and explanation of the debate format from moderator and World Peace Diet author, Will Tuttle we were under way. The format: Francione and Friedrich each had 10 minutes for an opening statement, followed by 25 minutes of audience questions and answers, and concluding with a 2-minute summation from each presenter.

Francione presented his position first, and without the aid of a PowerPoint presentation this time he carefully began by outlining, as he’d done in his morning plenary, that veganism should be the moral baseline of any movement concerned about animal rights. He continued that there is no evidence to indicate that making exploitation more 'humane' advances toward the abolition of exploitation, and offered the comparison of placing animals that will inevitably die for palate pleasure in bigger cages being akin to torturing a prisoner on a padded water board. He went on to argue that we have had animal welfare laws for nearly two hundred years, and yet we now exploit more animals in more horrible ways than at any time in the past. He added that “to the extent that animal welfare reform raises consciousness about animals, it merely reinforces the notion that animals are things that we are entitled to use if our treatment of them is 'humane' and facilitates the continued acceptance of exploitation, which is characterized as meeting that standard." Later, Francione concluded his statement by saying that there is no way one could advocate for bigger cages (or another reform) without taking the stance that those conditions are morally desired and that consuming animals produced under those conditions is ethically acceptable. “You promote "happy" exploitation whether or not you think you are,” he said.

Again, Francione’s 10-minute opening statement was met with outbursts of applause from the assembled crowd, and another stirring standing ovation from half of those in attendance.

Bruce Friedrich then took to the podium and began, as he so often does, with the same joke, “Did people hear that Bill Gates bought the Seattle Times this morning?” But before he could deliver the punch line, someone from the audience shouted it out, “Yeah, he buys it every morning.” Friedrich appeared disappointed.

Friedrich’s presentation began with statement that he was abolitionist and that he and Farm Sanctuary were working towards their ultimate goal of animal liberation. He failed in my estimation, however, to convince me of that fact. Simply saying something doesn’t make it so. But I digress. He continued that animal welfare reforms do help animals and that they shift the paradigm towards animal liberation. With the use of PowerPoint he juxtaposed a slide of pig in a gestation crate with a slide of a group of pigs in cage free confinement and claimed that this was a significant improvement for the animals suffering right now. He did the same thing with a slide of hens in battery cages and hens in cage-free confinement and added the claim that the switch from one form of confinement to the other would spare millions of animals from misery. He attempted to prove his point by presenting the Kansas State University study entitled U.S. Meat Demand: The Influence of Animal Welfare Media Coverage, which he argued, demonstrated that media attention to animal welfare issues in the past decade resulted in “significant negative effects on U.S. meat demand” and were leading to veganism. Or as Friedrich said, vegetarianism, since he continues to use those terms interchangeably.

In what appeared to be a attempt at winning audience support, Friedrich, unfairly in my opinion, used another slide depicting a pig named Julia and said that she and her babies were saved as a result of a gestation crate ban and were now living out their lives at Farm Sanctuary. How does that work exactly? This went unexplained and unquestioned and seemed to imply that pigs get to go to sanctuaries immediately after a crate ban. 
Friedrich’s presentation also received sporadic and supportive applause throughout, and at its conclusion, it garnered a standing ovation by half of the attendees in the room. It seemed more boisterous to me and included hooting and hollering. More on that later.

When it came time for audience members to ask questions and/or comments, better than twenty individuals made their way to the microphone positioned near the front of the room. Of the questions I remember, one was from a woman employed by The Humane League and who has a relevant interest in the outcome of the debate. She asked both debaters to talk about what type of vegan outreach they’ve done, but specifically asked Francione, “What do you do besides Facebook?” Clearly intended to imply that all Francione does is use Facebook, it was obviously a “planted” question. After all, Francione has written numerous books, he teaches and lectures internationally, he blogs, he podcasts, and let’s face it, he doesn’t subscribe to the model that one needs to work within a organizational structure to be effective. Yet, here he was having to defend his use of Facebook, which he did commendably enough in outlining how without much in the way or resources he was reaching thousands and getting 400 emails a day concerning the abolitionist approach. But the question was clearly designed to set up Friedrich to rattle off a list of welfare campaigns and claim that it was abolitionist vegan education.

For anyone astute enough to notice, it was a contrived question with the intention of supporting Friedrich’s position. Another audience member commented that he felt the debate seemed to center around either promoting welfare reforms and/or promoting veganism. He added that there should be another position presented, and if I understood him correctly, he was interested in seeing bans on different forms of exploitation rather than simply regulating conditions within that exploitation. Friedrich responded by thanking him for his question and different point of view and added that Francione and he admittedly did not go over every position during the debate.

Towards the end of the question and answer portion of the debate, Nick Cooney, Founder of The Humane league and now Compassionate Communities Manager at Farm Sanctuary was either given or somehow commandeered a wireless microphone to ask a question from the back of the room. It was not only rude (at least 15 audience members were waiting patiently in line for their turn to ask a question,) but it was also very much another “planted” question.

Unknowing attendees may not have realized who was asking the question or that Cooney, who remember works for the same organization as Friedrich, was asking the question of his colleague, but it seemed clear to me that it was an attempt to bring the conversation back to the Kansas State Study. I don’t remember his exact phrasing, but his “question” went something like, “Bruce, can you elaborate further on the study you referenced earlier about how welfare reforms save millions of animals?”

As an aside, and for those who may not know, Cooney has a history of this sort of disingenuous behavior. In August of 2012, Paul Shapiro, Vice President of Farm Animal Protection at the Humane Society of the United States wrote an article for the online blog, Food Day in which Shapiro encouraged readers to eat more vegetables. Among the “planted” comments by many of Shapiro’s colleagues and friends (all of which are still there to be read,) Cooney, using his own name, posted a comment that said something to the effect of, “Thank you Mr. Shapiro, I’m glad you brought this issue to my attention. I’ve been eyeing all those yummy looking meat alternatives in my grocery store and you’ve encouraged me to try them.” After being summarily criticized by others in the animal rights community as dishonest and disingenuous to have pretended to be an omnivore (Cooney is vegan) who just happened upon the article and was influenced by it, the comments were taken down.

Friedrich used this “question” to again make the case for the validity of the Kansas State Study, which Francione quickly challenged. Saying, that the study does not say that welfare campaigns have resulted in any actual decrease in consumption. Rather, he explained, “it says that demand, measured over an approximately ten-year period, did not increase as much as the authors would have thought if media attention on welfare issues had not increased.” He added that animal consumption is increasing but it did not increase as much with respect to pigs and chickens and that may or may not have had anything to do with animal welfare measures, and any decrease in demand may very well reflect a shift to fish, eggs, dairy products since the authors defined those as non-meat 
items.

Friedrich kept insisting that the study indicated both an overall reduction in animal consumption and that it was the result of welfare reform. Francione again challenged that this was theorized, and with zero evidence to back it up it was merely correlation not causation. Francione went on to encourage the audience to read the entire study for themselves and not take any one’s word for it.

More than a handful of attendees were left without time in the schedule to ask questions and they were asked to return to their seats.

Friedrich received the most raucous applause from the assembled crowd, which was again filled with a veritable who’s who of animal welfare leaders and their supporters. I wouldn't base it all on cheering, however. Francione, to my knowledge, did not even announce publicly that he would be speaking at the conference. And remember, this conference has long been dominated by welfarist organizations. All of which employ colleagues, friends, and peers of Friedrich, and all of whom knew to show up in opposition. Some of them were visibly not very happy to be hearing disagreement with their work, especially in front of a crowd that normally fawns all over them. Their cheers were the only way to voice their dissatisfaction. It was expected.

After the debate, Francione made his way to the spacious foyer outside the Plaza room where conference sponsor tables were set up. Francione was provided with his own table to promote his new eBook. Once there, a seemingly endless stream of conference attendees had gathered in a line to seek him out to talk to him, to discuss points he made, or to meet him for themselves. In some cases it was an orderly line where people waited their turn, in others instances attendees had gathered around the table informally for a group conversation. This scene literally went on for hours, five straight hours to be exact. Person after person after person wanted to engage him in conversation. It wasn’t until the foyer began to fill up with those attending the conference banquet and awards ceremony that Francione and his assistant could think about making an exit. That however, was short-lived as they could not walk more than a few steps before being stopped again.

The distance from Francione’s table to the escalator leading to the main lobby and hotel exit was no more than a hundred and fifty feet. But it took them another hour to walk that distance as more and more people wanted to ask questions and interact with Francione. Finally at the foot of the escalator and the group gathered at just about five or six individuals, Eddie Lama of The Witness recognized Francione. The two made eye contact, but the old friends couldn’t believe whom they were seeing. They embraced and someone snapped a picture. Shortly thereafter-another old friend walked by. This time it was Shirley McGreal, founder of International Primate Protection League, who recognized both Francione and Lama and the three had their picture taken together. After all was said and done, Francione left the Hilton Mark Center nearly 12 hours after he arrived.

My take on the debate: At a conference that has traditionally been dominated by regulationst ideologies, Gary Francione had everything to gain, while Bruce Friedrich had much to lose. Regardless of how any of us might have called it (I personally happen to think Francione's arguments were and are more effective) the winner was Francione. Exposing 800 people to the abolitionist approach, many of who are brand new to the movement, there were bound to be people who were moved to consider his point of view, and for him to win over new supporters (I spoke to a number of them). That's a win in my book. In Friedrich's case, attendees learned nothing new and I spoke to no one who was moved to reconsider their position and support his. His supporters remained his supporters. Having witnessed the events of the morning, afternoon and into the early evening of Saturday June 29th, I can honestly say it was a thing of beauty to behold.

In the hours after the debate, while many of us conference goers were discussing the day’s events and our thoughts on who had won, I heard something interesting from a friend. He happened to overhear a conference sponsor tell a colleague that if Francione were invited again, he and others would pull out of next year's conference. It seems evident that some felt threatened by Francione’s presence and did not take kindly to being challenged on the merits or their work.

Of course being challenged isn't about posturing and nitpicking so much as it is a very much warranted criticism of how many organizations are going about setting things back for the very animals they claim to be "helping". Frankly, when welfare reform is criticized, the response is too often to ignore the substance of the argument and claim that the critic is being “divisive” or “too idealistic”. This is not helpful to a useful discussion and seems only designed to prevent people from considering the message. Abolitionists like Francione have for far too long been painted with that broad brush. It’s insidious and it needs to stop.

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For those of you who weren't present at AR2013 to hear the Francione/Friedrich debate, here's an unofficial video taken of it by an audience member. Enjoy!

87 comments:

Francion Ista said...

OH!!!!! I AM FUMING

"We shouldn't *oppose* getting them out of the crates" said Bruce Friedrich (saw it on the video). Slick politician. So underhanded. No one is opposing the animals 'getting out of the crates' per se.. I hate it when people twist words and misrepresent. HATE IT. I loathe it when desperate people use underhanded tactics because they are trying to save their careers.

How sick to say that to people. He knows damn well what we oppose is vegans partnering with industry to help them sell their products and LYING to their volunteers (in order for them to keep raising money for them) that the pigs ARE getting out of the crates right now (which they are not) and IGNORING COMPLETELY that Gary Francione posits that the farmers are going to get them out of the crates ANYWAY (when they are good and ready of course, welfare campaign or no welfare campaign) because it is more economically efficient for them to do so. And that abolitionist oppose using valuable time and resources to entrench animals in the property status with these campaigns, and tell people there is a "better" or a "Right way" to exploit. And so many other things.

Oh no, a politician would never be honest and present the truth in order to address it (I guess because he can't. Instead he would basically tell a room full of people that abolitionists actually prefer, want, desire, for the pigs to stay in the cages. IN other words, he basically said that our reason for not supporting welfarist campaigning (which is VERY DIFFERENT from *opposing* welfare reforms in and of themselves which *may* any minuscule benefit for animals before they are slaughtered - which the farmers are going to do anyway, but only when they are good and ready.) He is basically saying that abolitionists oppose any improvement for animals and that is our position. We deliberately want animals to suffer more. That is what he said.

Despite the fact that our position is that we oppose welfarist campaigning by animal groups, we don't oppose improving things for animals. We oppose welfarist campaigns because they don't improve things for animals, and for many many other reasons. Too many to list, and every reason he already knows, and which he cannot afford to address because it will render transparent the futility and immorality of what these groups are doing. So instead: the usual claim: We WANT Them to stay in the cages, that's our agenda as he presented it. And all the cronies cheer.

Francion Ista said...

After insinuating falsely that abolitionists prefer for pigs to stay in crates, actually want them to stay in the crates "We shouldn't *oppose* getting them out of the crates" instead of addressing the myriad of reasons (including the fact that the pigs are going to stay in the crates until the farmers are damn well economically ready to get them out of them - which they will anyway, because it is more efficient exploitation - please read Gary Francione's Books) Bruce Friedrich does it again: "if you think at the very least you should not oppose boiling animals alive" - he insinuates that abolitionists want animals to be boiled alive.

He must not have read the chapter on the horrific pain and horror that 'controlled atmosphere killing' actually is (see pages 31-31 of The Animal Rights Debate, Abolition Versus Regulation). It is speciesist to claim that such horrific slaughter is 'meaningful' - we would NEVER say that if it were human beings involved in regard to these horrific slaughter methods we were comparing and ranking. Sick.

Vanilla Rose said...

"Friedrich, unfairly in my opinion, used another slide depicting a pig named Julia and said that she and her babies were saved as a result of a gestation crate ban and were now living out their lives at Farm Sanctuary. How does that work exactly? This went unexplained and unquestioned and seemed to imply that pigs get to go to sanctuaries immediately after a crate ban."

That "in my opinion" was very polite. Heck, yeah, this was a unfair, sneaky, irrational, emotional blackmail!

It shows a lack of joined-up thinking from a prominent welfarist.

Lucas said...

I was there too!! This is a great rundown of what happened. Thank you for posting it, along with the unofficial video!

Friedrich kept insisting that he and other "new-welfarists" (Friedrich kept calling them "abolitionist") don't promote happy meat/"humane" exploitation. Of course, that's bullshit.

I really wish someone would have had the opportunity to ask him about this: http://www.animalpeoplenews.org/anp/2012/07/14/the-american-spca-grants-151000-to-help-a-poultry-producer-expand-operations/

"American SPCA farm animal welfare campaign director Suzanne McMillan on May 15, 2012 announced a $151,100 grant to the five-year-old nonprofit organization Farm Forward, to be used 'to promote humane poultry welfare at the Good Shepherd Poultry Ranch'"

"The Good Shepherd Poultry Ranch, said the ASPCA media release, 'is run by farmer Frank Reese'"

"The ASPCA release did not mention that Reese is a member of the Farm Forward board of directors. Other Farm Forward directors include Whole Foods Market board chair and co-chief executive officer John Mackey, academics Ian Duncan and Bernard Rollin, Eating Animals author Jonathan Safran Foer, Farm Sanctuary senior director for strategic initiatives Bruce Friedrich"

This is the animal "protection" movement, folks! Completely outrageous.

Abby Bean said...

Do we think that these folks, who essentially make their living off such reform, really do believe they are right, or do we think that- much like the bazillions to be made in disease research and medicine, they simply know that it would not be as monetarily profitable to have a "cure"?

I heard Bruce speak at an essentially vegan event a few years ago and I got the distinct impression that he was purposefully watering down veganism to make the non-vegans in the audience feel better about themselves. His big schtick is about veganism not being about purity, but that doesn't mean that you should, for example, knowingly eat something containing non-vegan ingredients just so that you don't come across as "knit-picky" to non-vegans.

On a side note, the HSUS insignia with the country made up of various animals is a joke; they sell non-vegan companion animal edibles.

HappyGuy said...

I agree with Gary. It's been very hard for me to watch this new market of "humane meat" open up, because it DOES give people a reason to feel good about killing and eating animals, and offers no real incentive to stop. Now you see the very fast moving Paleo diet promote "free range", "organically raised", "cage free" meats, and the public is loving it.

The "humane" meat category is one of the largest growing markets for the animal foods industry, second only to organic. If abolition isn't the goal of these animal rights organizations, then they are merely prolonging the miserable lives (ok, slightly less miserable) of the animals who will still get slaughtered.

And I would also disagree that the welfarist campaigns have resulted in lower meat consumption. I'd argue that the rash of tainted-meat outbreaks, the horse meat scandal, and the rising cost of meat were more important factors in people's decisions. Having said that chicken, turkey and fish consumption are WAY up from 20 years ago, which means that more total lives have been lost. Way to go welfarists...

gfrancione said...

Dear Everyone:

First of all, I want to thank Demosthenes Maratos, with whom I had the pleasure of having a lengthy conversation at the Conference, for taking the time to produce this description and analysis, and to My Face Is On Fire for running it.

Second, I am disappointed that at the second formal presentation I did--the discussion with Bruce Friedrich--some of the people in the audience acted in ways that were just downright rude and juvenile. Further, I understand that some of these people were so unable to cope with disagreement that they have stated that they will withdraw support from future Conferences if I am allowed to speak again. My friends, a social movement that is unable to confront these sorts of issues in open, forthright, and civilized debate and discussion is not a social movement. It is just a big business that cannot be bothered with the cost of disagreement.

Third, I have corresponded with Bruce Friedrich and I have invited him to do a recorded discussion where he and I will engage each other on a range of topics, rather than our making short speeches and then responding to audience questions. Bruce has agreed and we will do this on August 9. The recording should be available shortly thereafter.

Gary L. Francione
Professor, Rutgers University

Daniel Wilson said...

Bruce says, "If these were people in gestation crates..." and then uses this argument to justify animal welfare/happy exploitation campaigns.

Difference is, we wouldn't allow people to be crammed into gestation crates or to be slaughtered for their flesh, no matter how nicely we treated them!

What a stupid argument and yet everyone cheered...

Corey Wrenn said...

I'd rather pull out teeth than be in the heart of the animal "rights" industrial complex...but I think this would definitely have been worth the drive to DC. Sorry to have missed it.

Bruce Friedrich said...

I enjoyed reading this post.

A few comments:
• Has the mainstream a.r. movement shunned Gary? I’m not saying this isn’t true, but I’ve certainly never heard this claim before, and I certainly haven’t. I tried to work with him when I was doing advocacy for prisoners who wanted vegan meals, have replied to every email he’s ever sent, and have certainly done nothing that might be interpreted as shunning. I think he’s an eloquent voice for veganism and love his Intro to Animal Rights book. Oh, and I suggested that he be invited to have this debate at a.r. three years ago. I thought he was invited, though your conversations with the organizers last year make it sound like he wasn’t.

• That was cruel about my Bill Gates joke! That actually happens (someone answering) every time, but most people can’t hear it, and no other joke goes over as well. Feel free to send me suggestions, though. :-)

• Julia was freed based on animal welfare laws (inclusion of farm animals in the criminal code), not a crate ban. I certainly didn’t intend to imply (and can’t imagine anyone thought) that crate bans would free animals. As you can see in the video, I explicitly said the opposite. Gary also thinks the AWA and HMSA are worthless; my point was simply that welfare laws are meaningful.

• I don’t think any “planted” questions were asked—people have strong views, of course. I did suggest that someone ask Gary and me about the Animal Welfare Act and Humane Slaughter Act, which I figured would be a good thing for us to discuss since we have very different views of both laws, but that question didn’t make the cut. I’m sure we’ll cover it in the podcast.

• Did we spend this much time on the Kansas State study? I think I just said what my read of it indicated and, like Gary, encouraged people to check it out for themselves. I believe I’m the one who said the thing about not taking anyone’s word for it (I’m glad you liked that line enough to attribute it to Gary!).

• I spoke with a lot of people who told me that they were on the fence and that my arguments convinced them, and only one person who disagreed. I don’t think this means much—obviously the people who like what you said are most likely to talk w/you about it!

• I agree with you that if someone feels something is bad for animals, they should say so; I obviously disagree with Gary, but if I believed what he does, I’d certainly feel obligated to say it.

I’m glad you enjoyed the event. As Gary noted, we’re going to record a podcast to attempt to clarify our various disagreements.

Cheers,

Bruce

Bruce Friedrich said...

For the commenter who believes the groups that support welfare campaigns are doing it based on corporate self-interest: Since MFA, COK, PETA, VO, and the Humane League all put 95-100 percent of their time into vegan advocacy, what precisely is their motivation for supporting welfare campaigns, other than a belief that the welfare campaigns help animals?

The personal stuff (from the comments, not from Demo’s post) always strikes me as so unnecessary. FWIW, I taught in inner city Baltimore for two years and made more money, and had far better benefits, while having the summer off. Really, it would be hard to find a job that pays less than animal rights. All this is totally irrelevant to the discussion of course. Can’t we discuss the issues without being nasty?

It’s just an objective fact that Gary told people to oppose proposition two (to vote against it)—it’s the first hit if you Google his name and proposition two. It’s hard to see how this can be interpreted as anything other than opposition to getting hens out of barren battery cages, and pigs and calves out of crates (he doesn't think these things matter that much to the animals involved; I find that view remarkable and wrong).

One of the comments suggests, as Gary did, that industry will do this anyway—-this, too, strikes me as a remarkable statement that is provably false: They haven't.

This is like saying that everyone will go vegan without any pressure, because they should. The fact that they haven't proves that it's not going to happen without effort.

Thanks for posting the recording.

Cheers,

Bruce

Elizabeth Collins said...

"Bruce Friedrich used his opening statement to claim that when it comes to animal advocacy, he and Professor Francione agree on all but one thing – whether animal advocates should oppose animal welfare (as if pursuing animal welfare is a passive position instead of an active position against animal rights). By claiming they agree on all but one thing (which reflects outright denial, a lack of understanding of The Abolitionist Approach, or both), he was attempting to dismiss the fundamental differences between The Abolitionist Approach and the welfare approach. The more he could dismiss the fundamental differences, the more he could try to make Professor Francione appear divisive and actually opposed to alleviating animal suffering. But clearly there are disagreements about fundamental principles here; why else would we need a debate at “the world’s largest and longest-running animal rights gathering”? Denial of the differences in the fundamental principles is just that - denial."

http://abolitionistvegansociety.org/other/tavs-e-newsletters/tavs-e-newsletter-july-2013/tavs-e-newsletter-july-2013-ar2013-national-conference/?utm_source=TAVS+E-newsletter+-+July+2013&utm_campaign=3f01ff0a48-TAVS+E-newsletter+-+July+2013&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_1f37e8b425-3f01ff0a48-19389517#.UdpNQBZD38t

Elizabeth Collins said...

Hi again - This is "Francion Ista" (inside joke)- I used my Youtube id for the last comments and didn't realise.

Anyway:
Talking to people about veganism raises awareness about animals, and you know what? They will have their consciousness raised. You don't have to compromise your morality to talk to people about animals and raise their consciousness and move them towards veganism. They will take as long as they take on an individual level—you don't need to make it easier for them to take even longer to get there by lying to them about how *these* 'humanely raised' animals have it so incredibly 'better' (you know, the ones who are there being tortured and slaughtered—yeah, those animals) and patting them on the back for their 'more conscientious' choice.

Moral consistency is a good thing. It is not something you should be avoiding doing.

Elizabeth Collins said...

Even if animal welfare advocacy did overall lead to lower animal product consumption, which is the claim — I disagree with that claim as I have had a look at the so called "studies" that claim to show that, have seen articles doing the math that refute that and have read Gary Francione's expert analysis of these studies — but let's say for the sake of argument that it does, what I don't understand and will never understand is:

Welfarists say that it does because of the awareness raised due to drawing people's attention to animal suffering, which leads some of them to consider alternatives to animal products (and I would argue the vast majority of them to look for the animal welfare 'approved' 'humane labels etc but whatever) - Well; if that is the case, then doesn't it stand to reason that VEGAN advocacy, which absolutely draws people's attention to the suffering *and death* of animals, will have the same effect only on a much greater scale and with a much better result? It seems logical.

The problem, though, is that welfarists actually believe that these reforms A. help animals "now" and B. make *significant* changes in their lives. Wrong on both counts (i.e as far as I am aware, the pigs are still in the crates, the alleged 'ban' is allegedly supposed to begin - or the 'phasing out' as it were - in 2015) AND they ignore the whole 'happy exploitation' mindset that encourages people to continue to consume animal products while being morally absolved by the 'animal people'!!!!!

Animal welfare is a lose-lose for the animals, for the animal movement and is detrimental to vegan advocacy currently, because there are sadly still more voices out there telling the public that you can consume 'humanely' and get the blessing of the mainstream animal movement, then there are letting people know that there is no moral justification for consuming any animal products.

Elizabeth Collins said...

Also Let me address this argument:

Bruce Friedrich said that all the 'happy meat' consumers, according to the 'psychology' which is "very clear" are more likely to go vegan than someone who ignores the whole 'happy meat' situation and still buys 'factory farmed' (far as I'm concerned it's *all* factory farmed but anyway) - You know what? You know WHY those people are more likely? Because they have moral concern for animals. They care about animals—they are just being waylaid by the welfarist happy meat campaigns, but as we keep saying - in order to get them to buy the happy meat they still have to be educated and some kind of (misguided and sadly misled) moral concern must be present.

Are we seriously expected to believe that someone with moral concern for animals, who was convinced to make some sort of change by some campaign, would have absolutely become totally indifferent and lost all their moral concern if they were presented with vegan education from the get go? That they wouldn't begin thinking and making changes towards veganism (and if they decide to delude themselves with 'humane' labels on the way then so be it, but *I* want no part of deluding them about that), and that they would *never* go vegan?

is that what is being suggested? It seems so. Well, forgive me for saying so but how absurd! What kind of psychology is that? I would argue that they may even go vegan faster because they won't be caught in the whole happy exploitation trap, but at the very least they wouldn't take *longer* to go vegan. It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever to suggest that and is total nonsense but this total nonsense is being used to justify vegans *perpetuating the notion that animals are things for us to use as resources (as long as we do it 'humanely")* and therefore *entrenching them in the property paradigm*. I didn't come up with that, Gary Francione did, but when I heard that it made absolute sense to me. And I think doing that is unforgivable, quite frankly.

To say that people who clearly have moral concern enough to make some change, are nevertheless people who would otherwise completely and utterly lose their entire moral concern for animals if presented with creative, non violent, mentoring, positive, ongoing, unequivocal beautiful VEGAN education from the beginning (PLEASE NOTE: Nowhere did I say they would 'go vegan overnight') is just to me astonishing.

Elizabeth Collins said...

Sorry to spam the blog - but if the comments about personal comments was directed at me (Francion Ista) then let me say that while I agree that my comments were heated (I belevee understandably so): I tell it like I see it. And I saw it as underhanded and deliberately misleading, but very cleverly so, the way politicians do it. I saw a politician at work. That is how I saw it. And given the context (the terrible nonhuman animal holocaust) it was not appreciated.

And this *is* Bruce Friedrich's career (animal welfare activism) - whether one gets paid six figures or five or what, I have no idea, that is irrelevant to the fact that it is a paid career.

gfrancione said...

Dear All:

I am dealing with several deadlines right now and cannot devote as much time to this as I would like but I do want to make several comments, which I will do in two parts because there is apparently a character limit.

Part 1

1. With respect to Proposition 2, I argued that, at some point, animal advocates who really want to shift the paradigm needed to draw a line in the sand and stop supporting these welfarist reforms or the welfarist paradigm will just go on forever. If the rule is, as Bruce suggests, that we should not oppose welfare reforms even if we don't support them (as the large groups do and actively so), but that we should support them when we are asked to do so (e.g., voting for Proposition 2), the paradigm of reform continues. It never changes. And it must change if the quest for justice for nonhumans is going to be something more meaningful than campaigns that promote cage-free/enriched cage eggs as morally desirable--which is exactly what Proposition 2 was.

How many millions of animal dollars and how many tens or hundreds of thousands of hours of volunteer and paid labor were expended on Proposition 2? What a waste. If those resources were put into creative, nonviolent, unequivocal vegan advocacy, the results would be far better than the disaster of Proposition 2.

By the way, HSUS and the United Egg Producers are presently trying to get a national bill that would establish (phased-in over years) enriched cages as a nationwide standard--which the egg industry supports--and that would effectively render Proposition 2 void in a number of respects.

According to this article:

http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2012/06/animal-rights-groups-organize-against-egg-bill/#.Udq1eayAraE

Farm Sanctuary supports this HSUS/UEP initiative. In any event, a number of the large groups are supporting it. I talked with one such group and they said they aren't supporting it; they just aren't opposing it. There we go again with that distinction that Bruce uses constantly. Sorry, that doesn't work. If you are an animal group and you aren't opposing the HSUS/UEP deal, you are supporting it. You are promoting the deal as normatively a good thing. Period.

I should add that over 100 California egg producers supported Proposition 2. So it was animal advocates partnering with one part of the industry vs. another part of the industry. That is, in my view, an undesirable thing. Animal advocates should never partner with industry.

2. As for economic efficiency, here is some material on controlled atmosphere killing. Please read it.

http://www.abolitionistapproach.com/peta-and-kfc-no-differences-of-opinion-about-how-animals-should-be-treated/#.Udqki6yAraE

I believe Bruce was working for PETA at the time, so I am sure he is aware of this material. I should add that industry usually resists any change sought to be imposed even if the change sought is in a direction toward which industry would move in the ordinary course eventually. Industry and corporate welfarists need each other. They have a symbiotic relationship. But industry almost always resists as an initial move. That allows industry to keep the bar very low.

Part 2 will follow.

gfrancione said...

Part 2

3. Bruce claims that "MFA, COK, PETA, VO, and the Humane League all put 95-100 percent of their time into vegan advocacy, what precisely is their motivation for supporting welfare campaigns, other than a belief that the welfare campaigns help animals?"

First, it is just wrong to say that these large groups promote veganism to that extent. For the most part, they not only do not use the word "vegan" very much if at all, but they promote not eating animal foods as one of a number of ways to reduce suffering (including welfare reforms, "Meatless Monday," etc.) and they are very careful not to present veganism as a clear, unequivocal moral baseline. There is *no* greater example of this than the views expressed by Bruce about why veganism is not a matter of "personal purity."

Look at the websites of these groups and ask yourself whether Bruce's claim about the promotion of veganism is accurate. Ask yourself how much of those sites is devoted to welfare reform campaigns.

Why do these groups pursue welfare reform? Because single-issue welfare campaigns are what these groups package and sell. I am not denying that these folks have convinced themselves that single-issue reform campaigns are a good thing, but the reality is that is what they "sell." That is how they do their fundraising.

4. If Bruce is right about psychology and morality, then why are we not promoting "humane rape"? After all, rape is a *huge* problem. Many rapes involve violence and torture beyond the horrible violence of the rape itself. Wouldn't the rape victim being beaten or tortured in addition to being raped want not to be beaten or tortured as well? Well, then, why not a big campaign to encourage rapists to be more "humane"? Why not a campaign to eliminate the "worst abuses" (Bruce’s phrase) here even if we cannot abolish it all?

Part 3 (apparently necessary because of length) will follow.

gfrancione said...

Part 3

5. As for careers in animal advocacy: there are some people who make a very high salary. But let us be clear that even those who do not cannot accurately point to their salary as their full remuneration. I am *not* talking about Bruce in particular because I really do not know him or his situation in any detail but it is not uncommon for careerists to be reimbursed for a significant chunk of their living expenses. I had one careerist tell me that he eats in restaurants all the time and cannot remember the last meal that was un-reimbursed by his organization. One careerist told me his housing expenses were subsidized by his group. And whether Bruce wants to admit or not, the reality is that being a "leader" of the "movement" has all sorts of benefits. They travel from place to place (on animal dollars), get lots and lots and lots of adulation, etc. And being a careerist ensures a maximum, sustained measure of those sorts of "benefits."

6. I am amazed that Bruce will not acknowledge the childish misbehavior that occurred at the Conference at our session. Putting aside the hooting and heckling, does Bruce find it acceptable that someone, who happens to work for Farm Sanctuary and who knew full well about the Kansas State study--and, indeed, has written about the Study--asked a question along the lines of, "Bruce are you telling us that there was a study...?"? And in order to ask that "question," someone who had waited 30 minutes to ask a question was deprived of the microphone. It was shameful and I am sad that Bruce won't join me in saying it was wrong.

In conclusion, I want to say that our message ought always to be clear: if animals matter morally, we cannot justify eating, wearing, or using them irrespective of how "humanely" we treat them. If someone cares about animals but wants to do less, let *them* choose to less but we should never be there telling them that they can exploit "with compassion." And animal advocates should never partner with the industry, praise industry, support "happy exploitation" programs in *any* way, give awards to exploiters or do anything that detracts from the clear message that we cannot morally justify animal exploitation.

Thank you for considering my views.

Gary L. Francione
Professor, Rutgers University

kelley said...

I have only a little to add here but I will say, I trust Gary implicitly. He is a clear, strong voice among so much noise (I am not referring to Bruce here, just the welfare movement in general). His arguments and answers to welfarists' concerns are clear, strong and compelling. And, he is not part of a fundraising and publicity machine that takes place on the backs of animals, so we know he is not in it for the money or for the perks. I cannot say that about just about anyone else that I know of in the welfarist camp. Those people may certainly be out there but I do not know of any.

Please note that I am NOT saying all fundraising and publicity is bad. I AM saying that those are not Gary's motivations. Thank you.

Vera said...

Gary Francione said: "First, it is just wrong to say that these large groups promote veganism to that extent. For the most part, they not only do not use the word "vegan" very much if at all, but they promote not eating animal foods as one of a number of ways to reduce suffering (including welfare reforms, "Meatless Monday," etc.) and they are very careful not to present veganism as a clear, unequivocal moral baseline."

I can personally testify to that after being receiving in my email inbox several newsletters sent by PeTA over the years and hardly any talking about veganism. They are all basically single-issue campaigns such as "Animals in Labs Need Your Support", "Cruelty Exposed: Fight Abuse on Factory Farms", "Elephants Deserve a Day Off Too" , and things like that. If I hadn't been lucky to read Francione's literature, I would have never been exposed to veganism and become vegan through these PeTA's messages. Veganism is the only chance we have to change the paradigm and the message about it should always be clear.

gfrancione said...

Dear All:

Bruce claims that these welfarist groups focus 95%-100% on vegan advocacy.

In order to test this claim, I went to the Farm Sanctuary website. The word "vegan" does not even appear on the front page of the site. I clicked every tab across the top and none of the drop down options mentioned veganism. There was, on the front page, several mentions of factory farming.

I went to the Compassionate Communities page, which does mention veganism but says this:

"Getting people to go vegan, go vegetarian, or reduce their meat consumption is the most effective thing that caring individuals (that’s you!) can do to spare animals a lifetime of unimaginable suffering on a factory farm. In one hour of leafleting, distributing vegetarian literature, or sharing video, you can save fifty animals or more!"

I apologize but to say that this counts as 95%-100% vegan advocacy is simply not accurate.

Gary L. Francione
Professor, Rutgers University

Alex Chernavsky said...

I admire many things about Gary. One thing is the clarity of his message. His arguments are straightforward, lucid, and easily grasped by everyone – even by (or, perhaps, especially by) people with no prior background in animal advocacy. In contrast, those who advocate a welfarist approach have to dance around certain issues; they have to hem and haw; and they have to produce convoluted justifications for their position.

I am vegan today largely because of Gary’s influence.

Bruce Friedrich said...

Replying to Gary:
1) Re: “the disaster of proposition 2.” At least you admit now that you opposed it, thus refuting the commenters who claim the opposite (and not only do they claim the opposite, but they accuse me of intentionally misrepresenting you). Thanks for clearing it up for good.

2) Controlled Atmosphere Killing: Thank you for agreeing that the reforms won’t happen without effort, and for providing your theory of why that’s true.

3) I guess we’ll have to disagree about whether Vegan Outreach, MFA, the Humane League, and PETA promote veganism… Of these groups, only PETA works on welfare campaigns to any significant degree. All of them do tremendous vegan advocacy (the vast majority of all vegan advocacy in the U.S.)…

4) Humane Rape: This will be a good one for the podcast; I find it so interesting that you keep comparing this to slavery, the Holocaust, and rape. It will be interesting to explore this w/you, b/c I find the comparisons so obviously inapposite that I almost can’t believe you keep raising them. Good fodder for the podcast.

5) My salary is my full remuneration and I’m not aware of anyone else for whom that’s not true. No one at any of the groups we’re discussing gets any reimbursement at all for living expenses. MFA and the Humane League don’t even pay health care. When I travel, I mostly eat at friend’s homes. On this past trip, I ate out once—a burrito from Chipotle—and I stayed with friends. I am not aware of anyone else at any of these groups who is less frugal.

6) I didn’t hear hooting or heckling, other than the one person who called me a liar. Please listen to how Nick framed the study: He didn’t ask me to explain it. He explained it. He didn’t pretend not to understand it or want clarification from me. You are just completely mis-framing what happened; I believe that you are not doing this intentionally, of course—you’re just mis-recalling. Have a listen.

7) Re: your follow up note in which you suggest that you have investigated my claim that “MFA, COK, PETA, VO, and the Humane League all put 95-100 percent of their time into vegan advocacy” by looking at FS’s Web site. Looking at FS’s Web site to see what MFA, COK, PETA, VO, and the Humane League are doing won’t really be so helpful. To be clear, I didn’t say all the groups that promote welfare campaigns put 95-100 percent of their time into vegan advocacy; I asked why, in response to the person who claimed group self-interest, these other groups (which do put 95-100 percent of their effort into vegan advocacy and don’t work on welfare campaigns almost at all) would support them, other than b/c they think they help animals. Aside re: PETA: They put more than 95% of their "animals are not ours to eat" work into vegan advocacy--not 95% of everything they do. For the other groups, it's 95-100 percent of everything they do.

I am heading to Mass. to testify on behalf of a battery cage and gestation crate ban tomorrow, so I won’t be able to check back, probably until the weekend. I am excited to be able to discuss all this with you next month on the podcast. I have found both our first email back-and-forth and the AR discussion to be both valuable and clarifying.

Cheers,

Bruce

markgil said...

"Humane Rape: This will be a good one for the podcast; I find it so interesting that you keep comparing this to slavery, the Holocaust, and rape. It will be interesting to explore this w/you, b/c I find the comparisons so obviously inapposite that I almost can’t believe you keep raising them."

Bruce,

can you please explain why you have an issue with this? the rape, geocide and slavery of human animals exactly correlates to the exploitation of non-human animals as in both cases helpless victims have violence committed against them for the benefit or gratification of the perpetrator. the only difference is the species involved. from the victims point of view, it is all the same.

Bruce Friedrich said...

I tried to post a reply from my phone--sorry if this is a duplicate, but the biggest and most obvious (IMO) problem with the rape, slavery, and holocaust comparisons is that 99 percent of Americans would oppose making animal product consumption illegal. What's possible is completely different.

This Blog does a nice job of summing up the strict rights argument for welfare campaigns:
http://kazez.blogspot.com/2013/07/francione-vs-friedrich.html

It also notes that Gary didn't even try to respond to this issue, even though it was 80 percent of my opening.

Cheers,

Bruce

mmissinglink said...

Hi,

Thank you Gary Francione for clearly delineating the position that a growing number of animal advocates hold or are coming around to embrace because they realize that this position coupled with complimentary abolition advocacy is the only effective way to not keep animals entombed in the current dominion model paradigm as HSUS's and Farm Sanctuary's husbandry modulation campaigns have done.

One important point that has been largely overlooked in this debate is the fact that food experts like Marion Nestle in the pages of MeatingPlace several years ago (a meat industry journal) and journalists who have looked into this issue have pointed out that with all this promoting of "humane" meat and "happy" eggs that has been taking place, that there are notable numbers of vegetarians and vegans returning to eating animal products because they are led to believe that it is morally responsible to do so. Remember, Farm Sanctuary and HSUS do promote humane meat eating regularly when they are core supporters or endorsers of months long initiatives like Ohioans FOR Humane Farming which had a stated goal of promoting humane farming (the advancement of animal consumption - the exploitation and murder of animals).

I can not overstate the importance of this disastrous effect that HSUS and Farm Sanctuary are a principle part of.

Thanks for your time.

Mylène said...

Bruce messaged me today out of concern that some of the responses to this guest post have been less than civil. I still haven't read through all of them, since I've been busy with work and travel plans, but I've gotta say that when someone cites Jean Kazez as an authoritative critical voice re: abolitionist animal rights that it seems like all gloves are off.

gfrancione said...

Dear All:

I had thought that Bruce was saying that Farm Sanctuary was included in the group that “put 95-100 percent of their time into vegan advocacy.” Indeed, I thought he said that on Saturday as well. I am glad that he is correcting that point and acknowledging that Farm Sanctuary is not in the “95-100 percent range” when it comes to vegan advocacy.

But I think he is incorrect and clearly so to say that the Humane League, MFA, COK, and Vegan Outreach put 95-100 percent of their time into promoting veganism as a clear and unequivocal moral baseline. I don't think that figure rises to 10 percent. All of these groups--seemingly deliberately--introduce a great deal of confusion by using “vegetarian” and “veg” along with vegan or instead of vegan. Vegan Outreach joins Bruce in taking the “don’t be a purist” line. That is hardly promoting veganism as a moral baseline.

I went back and listened to the recording. If Bruce did not hear the heckling and hooting, I sincerely think he ought to have his hearing tested. Although there are points in the recording that I found unclear, the hooting was very clearly audible. For example, at one point, Bruce unfairly misrepresents my position as being that “all of the meat eaters would go vegan if not for the welfare reforms. ” This is followed by quite audible hooting. Immediately thereafter, someone who had been waiting for the microphone was displaced by Nick Cooney, who, by the way, works for Farm Sanctuary with Bruce. (Perhaps I should have brought some students to barge in and take the microphone from people who were waiting tom ask me set-up questions.) Cooney started off saying that he had a question for Bruce. He then appears to make a statement that the Kansas State study showed that 10 billion animals were saved from being killed because of animal welfare campaigns that caused a decline in consumption. If the Kansas State study made such a claim (I do not recall and need to re-read it), then the study would be of lesser quality than I thought it was when I first read it. Any such claim would be absurd.

Cooney then asks Friedrich his thoughts about the claim of the Humane Research Council that people who eat “happy” animal products are more likely to go vegetarian and vegan. Friedrich praises Cooney for his eloquence and then agrees with him on the point that there are data that show that eating “happy” animal products will make people more likely to go vegan. I subsequently asked Bruce for any studies that showed that showed this and he replied that he was referring only to studies *not* in the animal context that supposedly show that if someone is willing to do something small, they are more likely to be willing to do something larger. Given that such behavior is dependent on a number of factors, including the particular context, to say, as Bruce does, that these studies show that signing a petition, voting for Proposition 2, or eating Whole Foods “happy” meat will lead to veganism is completely unfounded. Indeed, if eating Whole Foods “happy” meat will cause people to stop eating meat, then the Whole Foods shareholders have a good derivative suit.

I will deal with the human rights issues in a follow-up email.
Thank you for considering my comments.

Gary L. Francione
Professor, Rutgers University

gfrancione said...

Dear All:

Here is the response I posted on Jean Kazez's site. Kazez is a utilitarian who agrees with Singer's views on animal ethics and has on a number of occasions demonstrated a certain hostility to abolitionist thinking.

**********

Friedrich's argument about Amnesty International fails for several reasons. For one thing, Amnesty International does not give awards or approving labels to exploiters who torture less. Amnesty International does not call the reformed conditions of exploitation "compassionate" or "socially responsible." Amnesty International does not publish a letter signed by leading human rights advocates expressing "appreciation and support" for the "pioneering" methods of torture instituted by dictators who make minor reforms. Peter Singer sent a public letter (that Whole Foods publicized) joined by Farm Sanctuary, PETA, Mercy for Animals, Vegan Outreach, HSUS, and just about every large animal group, expressing "appreciation and support" for the "pioneering" Whole Foods "happy exploitation" program. If you find that sort of thing in any way remotely analogous to what Amnesty International does, you and I have a fundamentally different concept of analogical reasoning.

Rape is a serious problem and a great many rapes involve physical violence that goes beyond the horrible violence of the actual rape. That's a reality and it is going to continue to happen. We won't be able to stop these terrible batteries anytime soon. So, on your line of reasoning, we ought to campaign for "humane" rape. I suggest that we do not do this sort of thing in the human context because we take human interests and human life more seriously. Where humans are involved, we do not, as a general matter, see it as legitimate to pursue lesser intrusions of fundamental interests and rights. That is, however, exactly what we do when nonhumans are involved. And that is a problem of speciesism. You buy into Singer's view that animal life is of lesser moral value. I don't.

Racism? That's a problem and a pretty serious one. And it's not going away anytime soon. So let's have a campaign to tell racist jokes or use racist epithets on Monday.

In any event, if we had a movement that was abolitionist and that promoted veganism as a moral baseline, industry would respond with the types of reforms that are presently being pursued by the welfare groups. That is, industry would eliminate inefficient practices or make changes that would not increase price beyond relevant demand elasticities. Ironically, industry might make more significant changes if faced with a strong movement promoting abolition and veganism rather than one that seeks only to make exploitation more "compassionate" and that can be accommodated fairly easily and without any significant industry changes. The difference would be that animal advocates would not be partners with institutional exploiters and would not be, in effect, purveyors and promoters of "happy exploitation."

Gary L. Francione
Professor, Rutgers University

**********

Elizabeth Collins said...

"the biggest and most obvious (IMO) problem with the rape, slavery, and holocaust comparisons is that 99 percent of Americans would oppose making animal product consumption illegal. What's possible is completely different. "

Straw man. Where has Gary Francione ever suggested that the answer is to 'make animal consumption illegal'? Ever since I began reading his work I have seen him state that pointlessness of that idea. This concept is not even remotely related to what is 'illegal'. Have no idea where this thought originates from.

Elizabeth Collins said...

When I ask welfarist vegans if they would agree in theory to a humane rape campaign (using their own arguments in support of happy meat campaigns - it is so pervasive, it is so common, it will never end, there will always be the existence if it so we must aim for 'baby steps' and make it 'better' 'more humane' rather than calling for outright abolition etc) - I am testing whether or not they personally view animals as moral persons. It is a test of speciesism. I use to think that any vegan, who claims to actually want abolition based on moral reasons, and claims to recognise that it is wrong to use other sentient beings as renewable resources, would not place nonhuman animals on a lower moral level than humans, would not make a moral distinction between nonhumans and nonhumans when it comes to basic morality and basic bodily rights and bodily integrity - the right not to be violated/abused/tortured/slaughtered. Well, shockingly as I discovered, I was wrong.

For me personally, this is issue has become a litmus test for speciesism in vegans. When I am advocating veganism to a nonvegan, especially one who has never even had a serious conversation about veganism with anyone before (although they have had plenty of presentations to them of 'cage free' eggs and 'happy meat') I already know that they do not consider nonhuman animals to be moral persons, or even if they do or think they do (they love their cat etc), they rate them way way down on the scale and attribute them hugely less importance morally than they do humans. So I know that the question - do you agree with a humane rape campaign - would likely not be appropriate to that person at that moment (although I have done it albeit with a huge disclaimer)—I need to educate them about the moral personhood of animals and veganism. That is my initial baseline with them, that is our conversation: nonhuman animals are not 'things' they are sentient beings. That is what we talk about. They are not THINGS. And we talk about veganism.

However, when I am talking with a vegan, especially one who claims to recognise that all animals are moral persons, and to reject speciesism, and to want abolition, I assume (often wrongly as I have discovered) that they agree with me with me that there is no fundamental moral difference between horrific human rights violations and the equally horrific nonhuman rights violation - all other present realities aside for the moment, they are equally immoral—we recognise that and that is why we are vegans. (Well actually as I have learned, abolitionist vegans recognise that and that is why we are abolitionist vegans).

As someone who recognises the immorality of these violations and campaigns for their abolition (the way we campaign for the abolition of child pornography or rape), I find the welfare campaigning ('humane' torture and slaughter) to be abhorrent. The same way I would find a campaign for 'humane child rape' to be abhorrent. So this theoretical comparison, to me anyway, has become a test of one's understanding and agreement about the moral personhood of animals. To me it is so clear and obvious a concept and yet the answer we get is "Don't be ridiculous". I understand that response from someone who has not even begun to recognise the moral personhood of animals, but from those claim they do it is very telling.

Jeff Melton said...

Bruce Friedrich claims that Farm Sanctuary's Web site, which contains essentially no advocacy of veganism, is unrepresentative of the advocacy efforts of other welfarist organizations such as Mercy For Animals, PETA, Compassion Over Killing, "Vegan" Outreach, and the Humane League, which he claims "all put 95-100 percent of their time into vegan advocacy." This is just patently absurd, as a visit to the sites of these other groups indicates. In VO's literature, we find such statements as "Years of eating less meat and eggs will
prevent more suffering than a brief stint on
a vegan diet, so it’s more important to take
an approach you can sustain. If you make
exceptions, such as eating meat on certain
occasions, you’ll still make a big difference
by eating vegetarian the rest of the time." Although there is a "Why Vegan" FAQ, most of the site is similar in approach to the above quote; i.e., it does not promote veganism.

Gary F. pointed out the same thing about Mercy For Animals' site. It simply does not promote veganism for the most part.

On the front page of COK's site, we find: "Working to end animal abuse since 1995, Compassion Over Killing exposes cruelty to farmed animals and promotes vegetarian eating as a way to build a kinder world." We find links under the campaigns part of the site with such titles as "Pro-Veg Commercials," "Meatless Mondays," and "We Love Subway." No vegan advocacy there!

PETA, of course, is famous for its numerous single-issue campaigns, frequently involving the gratuitous and puerile inclusion of naked women in a misguided attempt to "sell" concern for animals by objectifying women. Unsurprisingly, the word "vegan" does not appear anywhere on the front page, though there are numerous mentions of being vegetarian.

As for people being rude on this thread as Freidrich has claimed...well, there is nothing ruder than lying to people, such as in claiming that welfarist groups promote veganism to any significant extent when, as demonstrated above and in my 16 years of experience with them as a vegan activist, they most certainly do not. That makes people angry, and if you make people angry, you can't expect them to be polite. Still, I don't see where people have done much more than express their anger at Friedrich's misleading statements.

Neva said...

Bruce, I hope this doesn't sound like an attack, but...

I think I personally would put more credence in your claim that you are an "abolitionist" if you ever admitted that some aspects of the animal welfare charitable complex trouble you. You are excellent at pointing out what you don't like about the abolitionist side of the debate, but I have never heard from you even a sliver of doubt toward the other side.

I would think that in the vast world of efforts, sometimes failed efforts, to help animals the following would be non-controversial statements:

*Giving awards to people who have designed lethal mouse traps or new types of slaughterhouses could send the message that you personally are ok with, or even use lethal mousetraps and/or "humanely slaughtered" animal products. Even if such a statement was followed by "but..."

*Some of the top salaries at some animal welfare organizations, while not necessarily unheard of for other large charities, seem high considering the scarcity of funds in the animal rights/animal welfare theater. Again, even if that were followed by "but..."

*Having a pig farmer on the board of HSUS could send the message that breeding, raising, and slaughtering pigs for food is in fact part of the HSUS mission.

Or you could simply pick a welfare campaign that didn't go so well and say "We had the best intentions but in retrospect the amount of money and energy invested seems out of proportion to the very small concession we got in the end."

I realize what you can say is hampered by the fact that you are the public face of a well-known animal charity, but without some acknowledgement that you hear or understand the concerns of Abolitionists, it's hard to believe you understand what the word means well enough to apply it to yourself.

A couple other general points: When I went vegan in the early 90's I got PeTA mailings. Every last one insisted that going vegan was the single most important thing I could do and was the only way to live an ethically consistent life. For the past decade or so the mailings I got from PeTA only asked for money and really didn't mention veganism. Some seemed to imply that the only thing I needed to do to help animals was send as much money as possible. No doubt these mailings boosted donations and made donors feel good, but they don't do any "vegan outreach."

I kind of disagree on the idea that everyone believes rape should be illegal. I think the majority of people would say "rape should be illegal" and would also say "cruelty to animals should be illegal." However if you asked them nuanced questions about what constitutes rape and what doesn't, who should be accountable, and whether victims ever "ask for it," I believe you'd find we are very much living in "rape culture" still.

kelley said...

Bruce I have only read part of your reply to Gary (so far) but I have to ask: Why do you find Gary's comparisons of animal oppression and abuse to human oppression and abuse inappropriate? ALL oppressions/abuses are based upon the exact same process of "othering" the victimized group. As someone who is steeped in these issues, you of all people should know that. Your response to this part of Gary's argument in particular indicates one of several things is going on: a) that you do not feel animal oppression is as important or morally urgent as human oppression, or b) you are concerned about public opinion from possible supporters/donors who might bristle at such a comparison and therefore publicly you are compelled to toe that line, or c) you do not fully understand the comparison in the first place. So, which is it?

Either way, I am puzzled why this comparison doesn't sit well with you, as it is very much appropriate, and very much needed in AR discourse. If you claim to be concerned for animal rights even for one second, then you do not put animal suffering in a different category than human suffering. Violence is violence. Abuse is abuse. There is no group of humans or non-human victims against which any abuse is more morally acceptable than any other.

Bruce Friedrich said...

Kelley, I actually replied immediately after someone else asked exactly the same question.

Jean and Spencer elaborate here, much more eloquently than I did in the debate:
http://kazez.blogspot.com/2013/07/francione-vs-friedrich.html

Spencer says he tried to post here a few times on this issue but is having trouble, so for now, anyone who's interested in his take will have to go there.

Neva, def. not an attack from you at all, ever I don't think. Thanks for that. I'm not sure how far we can get to the discussion you suggest if we can't even agree that proposition 2 was a huge victory, but yes, I do find certain things to be problematic, and I'm pretty sure I said in the debate that: 1) I recoil at the idea of calling any dead animal product humane (i.e., "certified humane"); and 2) I agree that for the vast majority of activists, their best time us is vegan advocacy (though I appear to differ with some here on precisely what that looks like).

I am not defending all aspects of the welfare campaigns; I'm just suggesting that abolitionists shouldn't oppose them, because they help animals and we wouldn't oppose them if these were human beings in this same reality (see my post above, plus Jean and Spencer's posts on Jean's Blog for a more thorough explanation, which is not based in different levels of immorality).

Cheers,

Bruce

p.s. I'm signing off from this thread now, but people should feel free to email me if they wish. Bruce@FarmSanctuary.org. I look forward to having the broader discussion w/Gary for his podcast. Thanks to everyone here for anything you're doing to make the world a more compassionate place.

The Woodcocks said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sarah K. Woodcock said...

It is 2013. Animal use is out of control. Out. Of. Control.

It is really obvious, to anyone who has seriously analyzed how to get from point A (nonvegan world) to point B (vegan world), that vegans pursuing animal welfare reform is a devastating joke. The welfarists (nonabolitionists) seriously want vegans to pick, for example, one species (pigs), one type of treatment of that species (gestation crates), and one company (Walmart) and agree to arm wrestle that company to get their suppliers to change from gestation crates to "turn-around" stalls, free-range systems, or indoor group housing? And when Walmart agrees to phase out gestation crates over the next 25,000 years (which make no mistake will only be done if it is in Walmart's shareholders' best interest), the welfarists (nonabolitionists) seriously want vegans to "give props" and "kudos" to Walmart thereby telling nonvegans that Walmart is an ethical place to buy pig "products?" What a devastating joke, not only for the pigs who will still be tortured and killed but for the chickens who represent approximately 95% of animals slaughtered for food and the other animals (turkeys, cows, ducks, sheep/lambs, etc.) who are not represented by this campaign.

No one can "help animals now." Not abolitionists. Not nonabolitionists. And the demand for animal products casts a long shadow into the future. So we are not talking about "helping animals now." We are talking about preventing animals from being brought into this sick world to be tortured and killed. If the animals are not born, they do not suffer at all. We are not talking about reducing suffering from 100% to 99% (generous example); we are talking about reducing suffering from 100% to 0%. And the only thing that does that is veganism.

Abolitionists are divisive? Get real -- nonabolitionists have divided themselves from promoting veganism as the moral baseline, and abolitionists have stayed the course.

It is really obvious that the only chance we have at ending animal use is by making vegans.

It is really obvious that we make vegans by promoting veganism.

The abolitionist vegan movement is growing, we are rolling up our sleeves, we are using our resources to promote veganism, and we are determined to stop this bloody massacre with or without the nonabolitionists.

Sarah K. Woodcock
The Abolitionist Vegan Society
www.abolitionistvegansociety.org

gfrancione said...

Dear All:

My friend, Bruce Friedrich, says to Neva: "I'm not sure how far we can get to the discussion you suggest if we can't even agree that proposition 2 was a huge victory..."

I apologize sincerely but to call Proposition 2 a "huge victory" shows how terribly impoverished the mainstream animal movement has become.

I am also curious as to why, if Bruce sees Proposition 2 as such a victory, his employer, Farm Sanctuary, is supporting the legislation being proposed by HSUS and the United Egg Producers that would, in effect, eviscerate whatever benefit Proposition 2 provided.

It's all very bewildering.

Gary L. Francione
Professor, Rutgers University

mmissinglink said...

Hi,

I 100% agree with Jeff Melton in condemning Bruce Friedrich's unsubstantiated and unfounded claims that animal org's websites are not a reflection of their advocacy efforts. I have, for years now, been looking closely at several national animal org websites and their campaigns and advocacy efforts and it is clear beyond a shadow of a doubt that orgs like Mercy, MFA, COK, and Farm Sanctuary have aligned their websites' message with their advocacy efforts in scarcely promoting veganism as the moral baseline.

If animal orgs, which are alleged to represent the best interest of the animals are strongly supporting efforts to promote the exploitation and killing of animals through "humane" farming, this logically will legitimize the dangerous dominion model notion that most people already have. That's harming animals, unequivocally. We see this in the notable numbers of vegans and vegetarians that have been reported going back to eating animal products.

Further, the absurd claim by some welfarists that the vast majority of the public is not ready to hear a message of the good of embracing veganism and therefore vegan living should not be advocated or advanced as an idea for people to seriously consider is as ridiculous as claiming that the public is not ready to hear a message of the good of world population limitation and therefore it should not be advanced as an idea for people to seriously consider.

Thank you for your time,
Louis Gedo

kate said...

Bruce says he's left the conversation. Oh well.

Bruce,

"I am not defending all aspects of the welfare campaigns; I'm just suggesting that abolitionists shouldn't oppose them, because they help animals and we wouldn't oppose them if these were human beings in this same reality"

Are you kidding?? Let's take an imaginary trip back to 1860. If you were to advocate for bigger shacks and softer shackles I would absolutely and actively oppose that campaign, because it would be simply impossible to simultaneously acknowledge the principle of abolition that humans are sentient beings deserving to live life free of exploitation while saying, yes, padded shackles are a good thing.

The analogies used in the link you posted are superficially quite compelling, but the situations can not be compared. Prof. Francione's latest book is based entirely on the premise that 99.9% of people already do think animals matter morally, and presents veganism as simply a means to live and act in accordance with the beliefs they already hold.

Analogies involving the death penalty don't work. Does 99.9% of the population already believe that it is morally objectionable? No. It's a more complicated topic. Last I heard we don't have farm animals raping and murdering humans, causing some humans to genuinely wonder if those animals deserve to die. There is ambiguity in the minds of the general population. There is, by and large however, no ambiguity in the minds of the population when it comes to the idea of whether animals matter morally or not.

Same with women driving in Saudi Arabia. Is there some fundamental consensus there that women matter morally? I would say no. It's acceptable to drown your daughter in the family swimming pool if you find out she's been hanging out with a boy. Do we have the same attitude towards animals in the U.S.? i.e. would the general population think it okay if I were to drown my dog in the bathtub because he did something I didn't approve of? Or even a farm animal? No, in fact the American public will latch on to and root for a single animal that escapes from a slaughterhouse. **Because there is a moral consensus.** That people are unaware of, because you(!) are not informing them of the reality: that based on what they already believe, they should go vegan.

It was only maybe a couple months ago that I started to question my loyalty to Farm Sanctuary. Here was my litmus test. I went to the site, went through all the tabs, then did a search for the word "vegan". The **only** results I got were for upcoming events in which it was mentioned in passing that there would be vegan food.

Shame. Regardless of whether you think welfare reform or an abolitionist perspective is more effective, shame on you for intentionally depriving people -that come to your site out of their concern for animals- of learning anything about veganism.

I have since stopped contributing any funds to Farm Sanctuary. I contribute now to groups that promote veganism. Pretty simple huh?

(I now support Peaceful Prairie and Free from Harm - I believe they are good but any input from abolitionists is welcome.)

Mylène said...

Just a quick note, since it was also brought up to me by email: Spencer Lo has long since been banned from posting on My Face Is on Fire and has been asked to refrain from continuing to attempt to contact me.

kelley said...

Sarah Woodcock, that was brilliantly stated. Thank you.

gfrancione said...

Dear All:

A question I got:

"What is the response of the welfare groups to your claim that they promote "happy" meat?"

My response:

They all deny it. But that is, of course, wrong. They all support it in various ways, from being involved in using, sponsoring, or supporting actual "happy" labels, such as "Humane Choice," "Certified Humane Raised and Handled," or the "5-Step Animal Welfare Rating Standards" program, to their petition campaigns in which they ask people to write to Walmart and state that they will boycott Walmart until Walmart buys from pork suppliers who don't use gestation crates, thus making a very clear normative statement about "crate-free" pork.

But given what they apparently believe, it would make sense that the corporate welfarists support "happy" exploitation. At the Animal Rights 2013 National Conference, during my debate with Farm Sanctuary's Bruce Friedrich, Friedrich claimed that people who eat "happy" animal products are more likely to go vegan. Indeed, he made an additional, broader claim that welfare reform as a general matter will increase the likelihood that people will go vegan. So, in Friedrich's view, eating cage-free eggs, supporting Proposition 2, signing a petition, etc., will increase the likelihood that people who engage in these non-vegan, regulationist activities will go vegan.

So it comes as no surprise that Friedrich does things like claim that Proposition 2 (which, by the way, Farm Sanctuary is presently seeking to undermine by supporting the HSUS/United Egg Producers "enriched cage" legislation) was a "huge victory" or that Farm Sanctuary, Mercy for Animals, Vegan Outreach and just about every large group join a public letter expressing "appreciation and support" to Whole Foods for its "pioneering" "happy exploitation" program.

What does, however, puzzle me is how Bruce can claim that what he and these other groups is doing is "abolitionist" or that he and these others accept veganism as an unequivocal moral baseline. Any such claims are simply wrong and I cannot understand why he is making them. I intend to ask that very question when we do our podcast in August.

Gary L. Francione
Professor, Rutgers University

gfrancione said...

Dear All:

I have asked Bruce to come back to this thread. I have no idea whether he will. But I want to be clear that although I disagree with Bruce strongly on matters of animal ethics--we really are at completely opposite points on a number of issues--I do not question his sincerity or good faith.

Although no one here has remotely close to the sorts of personal attacks that I get pretty routinely from those who support welfare reform, that, of course, should not be the standard.

I am not saying that people who do not agree with Bruce (or other regulationists)should not challenge them squarely. I do and have been doing so for several decades now. But we should not challenge their sincerity or good faith. They just have a completely different way of seeing these issues.

I think that many of those who do not agree with regulation are frustrated with regulationists because, for many years, the regulationists have just ignored any dissenting views and have pretended that those views don't exist. That is changing now because regulationists understand that there are an increasing number of people who are critical of the regulationist perspective. This is one reason why just about every regulationist you meet these days self-identifies as an "abolitionist." To his credit, Bruce Friedrich is one of the few regulationists who has consistently been willing to engage those who are critical of the regulationist/welfare perspective--even before it became clear that it was necessary to do so. I have no doubt that Bruce deeply believes what he says even if I don't agree with him.

Finally, I am *not* criticizing any particular comment made here. As I say, I get a lot worse all the time and have done for years. But, I repeat that this should not be the standard. I just wanted to sensitize you to the idea that we should approach this discussion--or any discussion between abolitionists and regulationists--as one focused on the issues and not on the person.

Thank you for your consideration of these views.

Gary L. Francione
Professor, Rutgers University

Demosthenes said...

Representatives of these groups can claim all they want (and so often do) that they engage in vegan advocacy but their websites tell a different story. Simply claiming to be a vegan, abolitionist organization does not make it so. I'm glad that Gary had a look at the Farm Sanctuary and Compassionate Communities sites to test the claim. A quick look at how often they bother to use the word "vegan," demonstrates the opposite of what they claim.

I had a look at every single page of The Humane League's site and can report the following:

The word vegan appears a total of 5 times and it's more often than not used interchangeably like this: "...move towards vegetarian and vegan eating".

In contrast, the words veg and vegetarian are used a total of 132 times. Sorry, but promoting veg eating, vegetarianism and reductionism is NOT vegan advocacy and it's far from promoting animal rights or abolitionism. Of course one need not look past The Humane League's push for "cage-free" eggs to understand just where they're coming from.

Test the claim for yourselves. I think you'll find that these groups are simply NOT promoting the lifestyle choice that they themselves have made made as consumers, and they're certainly not spending 95-100% of their time and resources on it. Instead, it appears, they have retreated from veganism entirely, and undermined the ideal. Very likely so that they can prey on complacent donors and keep the donations coming in.

Corey Wrenn said...

As a feminist scholar and a victim of rape myself, I'd like to point out that rape is institutionalized, not opposed in the least. We live in a rape culture where rape is condoned and trivialized, where victims are blamed, and where rape is at epidemic levels. To deny this is indicative of male privilege. I agree, we don't condone a "happy rape" campaign in the face of unimaginable violence against women, so don't tell me that a "happy meat" campaign is the solution for Nonhuman Animals. My two cents.

Stephen said...

Gary, in the debate you said: "These reforms will happen even if these large groups are not promoting them because they are cost effective..."
Laying hens are the animals most numerously affected by these reforms, correct? Would you kindly specify your evidence that providing more space to laying hens is cost effective?

gfrancione said...

Stephen:

I discuss the economics of the "happy" egg situation at pp. 40-41 and 46-48 of my book, The Animal Rights Debate: Abolition or Regulation? (Columbia Univ. Press, 2010). Go read that material and please feel free to ask any questions that you might have. You might note that HSUS stated that "[i]t is little surprise that cage-free production is the fastest growing and most profitable segment of the industry."

Gary L. Francione
Professor, Rutgers University

Chris Davis said...

"No one can "help animals now." Not abolitionists. Not nonabolitionists. And the demand for animal products casts a long shadow into the future. So we are not talking about "helping animals now." We are talking about preventing animals from being brought into this sick world to be tortured and killed. If the animals are not born, they do not suffer at all. We are not talking about reducing suffering from 100% to 99% (generous example); we are talking about reducing suffering from 100% to 0%. And the only thing that does that is veganism."

Sarah, could you explain how a pig going from a gestation crate to no gestation crate isn't an improvement and helpful to that pig? I'm not talking about how the welfare organizations promote it, I'm talking about *the animal* and the conditions they are in. If the demand for animal products casts a long shadow in the future than you, too, agree that they will be in there tomorrow. Why would you oppose something that is still a *slight* improvement to their condition? And if you don't believe it is an improvement to the conditions they would've been subjected to, could you please explain? I'm not talking about them being killed, as we know that will happen, I'm talking about their living conditions. Once again, please leave the welfare organizations out of the answer, as I'm relating to the animals suffering.

gfrancione said...

Chris Davis:

I am sure that Sarah Woodcock will provide an excellent answer to your question but, in the meantime, I would like to ask you a question about your question.

Assume we are in the southern U.S. in 1830 and one of the regulationist groups is promoting a reform whereby the flogging of a slave would be limited to 40 lashes rather than 42. The promoting organization will give an award to those slave owners who voluntarily adopt this standard, or will allow slaveowners who adopt this standard to place a "Certified Humane Cotton" label on their cotton. The resulting punishment regime (going from 42 to 40 lashes) will be designated as "compassionate" or "socially responsible."

Would it be possible to provide a an answer to the question about the normative desirability of reducing the lash level from 42 to 40 without considering the organization proposing this standard and the nature of this supposed "improvement of condition"?

Thank you.

Gary L. Francione
Professor, Rutgers University

Elizabeth Collins said...

Sorry just have to. And don't forget, the alleged legislation won't even begin to be "phased in" (whatever that means) until 5-10 years from now. ? It is still something in the future, and nothing for the animals currently imprisoned changes now! Do you know that? I would *much* rather work towards a future of veganism than a future of an alleged *slight* improvement of the living conditions of beings who as you admitted still have the horror of the slaughterhouse as the inevitable end (not to mention all the other torture and indignities they will suffer apart from the alleged *slight* improvement in their welfare). You can't talk about these things as Gary said without acknowledging the hours and days and years of time and resources spent advocating for them that could be spent on educating people about VEGANISM. The only thing that will help animals is veganism, and it instantly reduces a demand for those products, as soon as someone goes vegan their demand is *eliminated*. I cannot understand why people can't see this. Please read Gary Francione's books! Please listen to the debate with Erik Marcos, I highly highly recommend it.

kate said...

I would offer a reply to Chris Davis even though I'm not Sarah or Prof. Francione:

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think either Sarah or Prof. Francione would ever disagree that objectively, a pig in a group pen is better off than a pig in a crate; indeed Prof. Francione makes the analogy involving flogging a slave 42 vs 40 times, or beating and raping someone vs just raping. In one of these situations the victim is clearly better off.

But that issue is not where this discussion is centered.

What this discussion is about is which campaign are we using? What are the end results of each campaign and which is more desirable? Which campaign should be spending our time and resources on?

1) Bruce's approach: focus on treatment, and the end result -if Bruce is successful- is that people will buy eggs from tortured hens. Tortured less? Maybe. Maybe not. Any ideas about people in the future not buying eggs is pure whimsy and speculation and may not be introduced into the argument for this approach. In fact, with "animal groups" emphatically encouraging the purchase of certain animal products, you can see that they are actually actively working against this hypothetical transition at the same time they claim to be encouraging it. I can't even begin to estimate how many times I saw comments such as "poor babies! this is why I buy free range eggs!" on Farm Sanctuary facebook posts. There was *never* a moderator there to inform these people.

2) Prof. Francione's approach: focus on use, and the end result -if Prof. Francione is successful- is that people stop buying eggs from tortured hens. People instead adopt or support the adoption of these tortured hens. Full stop.

So the question is what are you actively supporting? Are you actively supporting 40 lashes? Are you actively supporting rape without beatings?

I really encourage the 19th century slavery thought experiment. Can you honestly picture yourself going back in time and letting someone convince you that you were harming the slaves by not supporting fewer lashes? That by campaigning as an abolitionist and [inherently] opposing the welfarists (yes, they did exist), that you were again, harming the slaves? Would you let them convince you of that for a even a second? Or would you double down and make your voice for abolition twice as loud? If you had seen a booming industry of backyard/local/humanely treated slave-picked cotton that the public was enthusiastically gobbling up, would you consider it a sign that their next step would be to stop buying slave-picked cotton? Or would you see it as a very serious impediment to the abolitionist message that slavery is wrong?


kate said...

I would offer a reply to Chris Davis even though I'm not Sarah or Prof. Francione:

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think either Sarah or Prof. Francione would ever disagree that objectively, a pig in a group pen is better off than a pig in a crate; indeed Prof. Francione makes the analogy involving flogging a slave 42 vs 40 times, or beating and raping someone vs just raping. In one of these situations the victim is clearly better off.

But that issue is not where this discussion is centered.

What this discussion is about is which campaign are we using? What are the end results of each campaign and which is more desirable? Which campaign should be spending our time and resources on?

1) Bruce's approach: focus on treatment, and the end result -if Bruce is successful- is that people will buy eggs from tortured hens. Tortured less? Maybe. Maybe not. Any ideas about people in the future not buying eggs is pure whimsy and speculation and may not be introduced into the argument for this approach. In fact, with "animal groups" emphatically encouraging the purchase of certain animal products, you can see that they are actually actively working against this hypothetical transition at the same time they claim to be encouraging it. I can't even begin to estimate how many times I saw comments such as "poor babies! this is why I buy free range eggs!" on Farm Sanctuary facebook posts. There was *never* a moderator there to inform these people.

2) Prof. Francione's approach: focus on use, and the end result -if Prof. Francione is successful- is that people stop buying eggs from tortured hens. People instead adopt or support the adoption of these tortured hens. Full stop.

So the question is what are you actively supporting? Are you actively supporting 40 lashes? Are you actively supporting rape without beatings?

I really encourage the 19th century slavery thought experiment. Can you honestly picture yourself going back in time and letting someone convince you that you were harming the slaves by not supporting fewer lashes? That by campaigning as an abolitionist and [inherently] opposing the welfarists (yes, they did exist), that you were again, harming the slaves? Would you let them convince you of that for a even a second? Or would you double down and make your voice for abolition twice as loud? If you had seen a booming industry of backyard/local/humanely treated slave-picked cotton that the public was enthusiastically gobbling up, would you consider it a sign that their next step would be to stop buying slave-picked cotton? Or would you see it as a very serious impediment to the abolitionist message that slavery is wrong?


gfrancione said...

Dear All:

Let's be clear about a simple idea: less harm is always better than more harm. That's a no-brainer! But it certainly is not the end of the moral story. Far from it.

Is it "better" to whip a slave 40 times rather than 42 times? Yes. But is it morally right to whip the slave 40 times? Of course not. And should we ever promote whipping the slave 40 times rather than 42 times as "compassionate," "socially responsible," or otherwise as normatively desirable? Not in my view. No way.

In other words, less harmful treatment is always better than more harmful treatment but that does not answer the question as to whether the institutional context in which the harm occurs is morally justified. If the answer is that it is not, then I do not think we should *ever* do anything to support, praise, or promote that unjust institution.

In a nutshell, that defines a key difference between my position and that promoted by the welfarists/regulationists.

I want to end this post with a thought that I presented in my 1996 book, "Rain Without Thunder: The Ideology of the Animal Rights Movement." Imagine you are a prison guard in a facility in which people are being imprisoned and executed for purely political reasons (they have committed no crime). One of the prisoners who is being taken to the firing squad asks for a drink of water on the way to her/his death. Should you give the victim the water? Of course.

But one day, you wake up and realize that the entire institution for which you work is unjust. You realize that it's totally wrong to imprison and kill people for political reasons. You quit your job. You want no part of it. You want to bring about the abolition of the institution.

What should you do?

Should you start a campaign to get a drink of water for people being taken to the firing squad?

No, of course not.

Should you take the position that such a campaign will result in "compassionate" or "socially responsible" treatment of political prisoners?

No, of course not.

So tell me, why do we think that such campaigns are a good idea where animals are concerned?

The answer is found in what I said at the plenary session at the Animal Rights 2013 National Conference (and throughout my written work): the welfarist/regulationist position, going back to the 19thy century and continuing right up until the present day in the work of Peter Singer, rests on the idea that animal life has lesser moral value than human life because humans are more cognitively sophisticated.

The abolitionist approach that I have developed takes a different position: for the purpose of the moral legitimacy of treating sentient beings exclusively as resources--as things and not as moral persons--all sentient beings are equal. We cannot justify treating any sentient being exclusively as a resource. We cannot say that some animals who are more "like us" count more morally. For the purpose of treatment as a human resource, a chicken weighs as much as an elephant.

Gary L. Francione
Professor, Rutgers University

Mylène said...

Everyone: I have deleted Chris Davies' most recent comment because it included a completely off-topic rant about the moderation of Prof. Francione's Facebook page.

Everybody please try to stay focused on the relevant topics at hand.

Dominik said...

its ridiculous to witness that apparently there have been some pre-placed "questions" in favor of bruce friedrich, suggesting that a majority of the audience is backing the welfarists position and giving bruce more time to promote his position.

this is just dishonest behaviour, but it perfectly fits to the animal exploitation industry which uses the same dishonest tactics to deceive and mock people. like francion ista initially wrote: slick politician. as we know, politicians are dishonest when it comes to the core of a matter, selling out principles "for the good of the majority". welfarism is selling out animal rights.

Adam Kochanowicz said...

Bruce:

"Since MFA, COK, PETA, VO, and the Humane League all put 95-100 percent of their time into vegan advocacy"

What divine magic did you conjure up to come up with this percentage?

Jeff Melton said...

For those who have time and are interested, the comments critical of Gary's position over at
http://kazez.blogspot.com/2013/07/francione-vs-friedrich.html
and at
http://kazez.blogspot.com/2013/07/duelling-analogies.html
are continuing. As always, they are mischaracterizing the abolitionist position as being opposed to ameliorating conditions for animals rather than being opposed to wasting time and energy campaigning for welfare reforms and in the process failing to take a principled position against animal exploitation. There's at least one person who has posted over there who is new to the debate and might be reachable. I have a lot of work to do at the moment, or I'd respond myself.

gfrancione said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
gfrancione said...

Dear All:

I am presently writing a longer essay about why welfare reform is not a good idea. This essay, tentatively entitled, "The Welfare/Regulationist Approach is Deeply Speciesist," addresses in greater detail some of the particular points that have been discussed at and since the Animal Rights 2013 National Conference.

I am presently working on a number of things, some of which are time sensitive, and although I hope to finish the essay in a couple of days, it may not be done until next week. But I would like to raise one idea now.

In the past two days, I have received a rather remarkable amount of communication telling me that we cannot analogize "humane" exploitation to "humane" rape because most people think rape is bad (and "humane" rape campaigns will weaken the strong norms against rape)and most people think animal exploitation is fine (and "humane" exploitation campaigns help shift consensus in favor of norms of nonhuman personhood).

I think that this analysis is incredibly simplistic and wrong on multiple levels.

But what astonishes me is that many people buy into the nonsense that there is some strong social norm against rape; that most people think rape is wrong. Please tell that to the huge number of women who are raped every day. Rape is pervasive and anyone who doubts this probably doubts whether he earth circles the sun. Yes, rape is illegal. So is speeding. So what?

I don't care whether rape is illegal. Rape is an epidemic. Does it occur as often as animal exploitation does? No. Nothing does given the sheer numbers. But rape, like animal exploitation, is a form of violence that occurs every second of every day lots and lots of times. It's been going on forever and it will continue to go on forever despite all the laws in the world if it is a patriarchal legal system that enforces those laws.

Therefore, rape is similar to animal exploitation in that it is a serious problem that will continue and that involves an enormous amount of suffering that *could* in theory be lessened by "humane rape" campaigns.

More soon.....

Gary L. Francione
Professor, Rutgers University

Sarah K. Woodcock said...

Hi, Chris Davis -

"A pig going from a gestation crate to no gestation crate" may be "an improvement and helpful to that pig". Everyone agrees the treatment of animals is wrong. But not everyone agrees on where to go from there.

To say that the only two choices vegans have is to care about animals suffering now by supporting welfare reform or not to care about animals suffering now by opposing welfare reform is a false choice. It is important to note that the latter does not reflect a lack of caring about animals suffering now. To the contrary, it reflects a caring about animals suffering now and animals suffering in the future because it is an acknowledgement of the reality that no one can help animals suffering now, but everyone can help animals in the future by preventing much more suffering (than we can ever alleviate with animal welfare reform). Our third choice, promoting veganism as the moral baseline (which implies opposing the pursuance of animal welfare reform), reflects an understanding of the strategic nature of promoting veganism which ends all animal use (not just gestation crate use).

Even if pursuing welfare reform helped animals in a meaningful way, when we are pursuing it, we are not promoting veganism so we must understand that pursuing welfare reform is not only harmful in and of itself (where it makes animal industry more profitable and nonvegans more comfortable with animal use); it is harmful when you factor in the unrealized creation of new vegans (who would be new animal advocates).

We are trying to treat the disease (animal use) instead of the symptoms (animal treatment) because we understand that until we treat the disease, if history and theory serve as guides, the symptoms will get more severe.

In general, I have noticed that when abolitionists disapprove of the pursuance of welfare reform, nonabolitionists somehow interpret the abolitionists' disapproval as approval of the horrible treatment (of course we do not approve) instead of recognizing the fundamental principles that lead abolitionists to disapprove of using resources in that way. Because abolitionists see use (not treatment) as the problem, it follows both logically and morally that pursuing welfare reform is problematic. When you add to that the fact that practically, the fastest way to end use and horrible treatment is the same action (promoting veganism as the moral baseline), it comes together as a roadmap for those against animal use.

I can not emphasize enough how after it clicks that animal use is an issue of fundamental justice, there is an unquenchable sense of urgency to end animal use (which subsequently ends animal suffering). I highly recommend this essay on that:

http://www.abolitionistapproach.com/veganism-just-another-way-of-reducing-suffering-or-a-fundamental-principle-of-justice-nonviolence

Sarah K. Woodcock
The Abolitionist Vegan Society
www.abolitionistvegansociety.org

gfrancione said...

Dear Dominik:

I apologize if I gave the impression that I think that Bruce planted any questions in any deliberate way. I have no reason to believe that. There were clearly people from welfarist/regulationist groups in the audience and those people had an incentive to try to voice their support of Bruce.

I have no reason to believe that Bruce had anything to do with Nick Cooney depriving someone who had been waiting to ask a question her/his opportunity so that Cooney could make a speech about how billions of animals have supposedly been saved because of welfare campaigns, and then ask Bruce a question about the relationship between welfare reform and veganism.

I was surprised that neither Bruce nor Cooney made clear to the audience that Cooney, like Bruce, works for Farm Sanctuary. I think that should have been disclosed to the audience. But that's not a big deal.

Finally, there was clearly rude and unprofessional behavior with respect to certain people who were hooting and heckling. But then, my suspicion is that those are some of the same people who have said that they will withdraw support from the Conference if I am invited back. I understand, but am disappointed, that they are so threatened by my ideas.

Gary L. Francione
Professor, Rutgers University

gfrancione said...

Jeff:

Jean Kazez appears to be trying to join Robert Garner as a theoretician of the welfarist/regulationst movement. It is clear that Singer has failed to respond to the challenges to that paradigm and there is a real gap here. Garner,and now Kazez, are stepping up.

Although Kazez is an able scholar, she is not, as far as I can tell, making any new arguments and you are quite correct to say that she mischaracterizing the abolitionist position. Specifically, she, like all welfarists, portrays the abolitionist position as some version of "not wanting to help animals now." What she ignores is that the abolitionist position maintains that we should not pursue a program of welfare reforms that: (1) do not provide significant increases in protection in any event; (2) further enmesh animals in the property paradigm; (3) are designed to make people more comfortable in continuing to consume animals; and (4) rest on the notion that animal life has a lesser moral value than human life.

Although Singer and Garner acknowledge that they regard animal life as having lesser moral value, at least as a general matter, it is not clear (at least to me) exactly where Kazez stands here. Her discussion of human examples of reform suggests some confusion here in a number of respects. In any event, what started out as a blog essay is getting longer and may turn into a very long blog essay or perhaps a blog essay and an article. But I hope to get something out in the next few days.

I do, however, think that the issues are getting joined.

Gray L. Francione
Professor, Rutgers University

Stephen said...

Thanks, Gary, for the reference you provide me to your detailed examination of the economics of farmed animal welfare reforms.

I see you recognize that increasing space for laying hens on balance adds rather than subtracts costs for the farmer, results in higher costs to consumers. In examining the consequences, you allude to a lack of demand elasticity. Do you think that may change particularly in respect to institutional purchase of liquid eggs, as vegan substitutes like those of Hampton Creek become cost competitive?

Also, I wonder whether you may be able to provide your best rough estimate of how many fewer laying hens there will be in California if demand remains constant after implementation of Proposition 2? I'm wondering how best to quantify that consequence of reduced mortality and higher productivity.

Elizabeth Collins said...

"Also, I wonder whether you may be able to provide your best rough estimate of how many fewer laying hens there will be in California if demand remains constant after implementation of Proposition 2? I'm wondering how best to quantify that consequence of reduced mortality and higher productivity."

Stephen, can't you do that for yourself instead of trying to get Professor Francione to do your work for you? If you want to investigate and quantify stuff like that because you don't want to spend agree with unequivocal nonviolent vegan education, then I reckon you should do it yourself and not try to ask Professor Francione to spend time on it. If you do believe in unequivocal nonviolent vegan education, then here's a hint: what you request above is utterly irrelevant to that, since abolition recognises that all immorality is immoral, and promoting immorality is immoral whether you are promoting 'slightly less' of it or not. Promote veganism, anything less is the torture and slaughter of animals. If you want to quantify torture and slaughter then go for it. I mean, if Professor Francione is keen then by all means, but I think he has done enough of that kind of thing and I resent seeing people asking him to repeat over and over and over again, and take heaps of his time, or to spend time quantifying torture. Do it yourself. If you want to know how often he has been forced to do it (by welfarists) then read all his books. That's my suggestion. Anyway I am sure this comment is not welcome but I thought I would share just the same.

Elizabeth Collins said...

"Also, I wonder whether you may be able to provide your best rough estimate of how many fewer laying hens there will be in California if demand remains constant after implementation of Proposition 2? I'm wondering how best to quantify that consequence of reduced mortality and higher productivity."

Stephen, can't you do that for yourself instead of trying to get Professor Francione to do your work for you? If you want to investigate and quantify stuff like that because you don't want to spend agree with unequivocal nonviolent vegan education, then I reckon you should do it yourself and not try to ask Professor Francione to spend time on it. If you do believe in unequivocal nonviolent vegan education, then here's a hint: what you request above is utterly irrelevant to that, since abolition recognises that all immorality is immoral, and promoting immorality is immoral whether you are promoting 'slightly less' of it or not. Promote veganism, anything less is the torture and slaughter of animals. If you want to quantify torture and slaughter then go for it. I mean, if Professor Francione is keen then by all means, but I think he has done enough of that kind of thing and I resent seeing people asking him to repeat over and over and over again, and take heaps of his time, or to spend time quantifying torture. Do it yourself. If you want to know how often he has been forced to do it (by welfarists) then read all his books. That's my suggestion. Anyway I am sure this comment is not welcome but I thought I would share just the same.

gfrancione said...

Stephen:

Given that a good chunk of the egg industry supported Prop 2 when many egg producers thought it would require cage-free conditions which, as you may know, is a big issue) I think we have to acknowledge that the economics of the egg industry are complicated, as I tried to explain in the book.

As far as whether elasticities will change with respect to certain consumers (e.g., institutional users of liquid or powdered eggs)as competitive vegan substitutes become available, I would imagine that some, but not all, of those users would choose a cheaper vegan substitute. I have been told by certain regulationists that they are supporting the HSUS/United Egg Producer "enriched cage" bill because it will decrease the institutional demand for non-whole eggs. We would, however, have to look at egg production as a whole to know demand impact.

But let me address what I see as your next question: I would *not* support welfare reform *even if* it made demand go down with respect to certain users. You see, I am not a consequentialist. That is, I do not believe that what is right or wrong is determined by consequences, or by certain consequences that are selectively focused on. For example, even if sexist and misogynistic campaigns would decrease demand for animal products, I would not promote sexist, misogynistic campaigns.

I hope that's clear.

Gary L. Francione
Professor, Rutgers University

gfrancione said...

Elizabeth Collins:

Unfortunately, many animal advocates who claim to care about these issues won't bother to read anything more complicated or lengthy than a Facebook comment or a Tweet. Moreover, we live at a time where anyone who has a keyboard and an internet connection considers herself or himself as having expertise and a viewpoint worth sharing.

In any event, Stephen can "wonder" all he wants about what will happen if and when Prop 2 takes effect. He may also "wonder" about mortality rates if demand goes down because "lettuce ladies" are handing out veggie dogs.

Oh, well.

Gary L. Francione
Professor, Rutgers University

Stephen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stephen said...

Thanks, Gary, for your sensible answer to my first question.

I don't think you understood the second question however. I asked for your estimate as to how many fewer laying hens there would be if demand stayed constant. And your responses to me and Elizabeth Collins suggest that you thought I was asking how, for example, mortality rates would be affected if demand went down.

To rephrase and perhaps clarify the question... Increasing space per hen results is lower mortality of hens, greater feed consumption per hen, greater egg production per hen. I presume you are familiar with the literature on that. I would have expected that in evaluating the consequences of Prop 2 you would have wondered and analyzed how many fewer hens would therefore be raised and slaughtered in California after Prop 2 if demand were to stay constant (rather than dropping due to the higher prices).

You haven't done such analysis? The results would not be of interest to you? If Prop 2 were to reduce the number of laying hens being maltreated in any manner by 10,000, 100,000, a million or more that would not be relevant to your arguments against it? Or you just misunderstood my question? If, as Elizabeth suggests, it would be a waste of your valuable time to estimate that, please accept my apology for asking, though I would be glad for any explanation of how not just the number of lashes but also number of individuals lashed is unimportant or irrelevant in this context.

Thanks,

gfrancione said...

Stephan:

If you could prove to me that "lettuce ladies" handing out veggie dogs, or images of women masturbating with vegetables, both of which have been defended by "animal people" for resulting in people going vegan, caused 1 million people to go vegan, I would still not support sexist/misogynistic campaigns.

Now, if it were the case that sexism/misogyny actually did have such an effect, I would at least understand better *why* people support that sort of thing instead of being in a state of perpetual bewilderment as to why welfarists support what I see as reducing the number of lashes from 42 to 40 (and that is, in my view, a most generous analogy). But I would still never promote welfare reform.

As I say, it's a zero-sum game. I choose to be clear in trying to educate the very many people who really do care about animals morally that if animals have any moral value, we cannot justify eating, wearing, or using them--however "humanely" we may do so. That's a fundamental difference: welfarists want to tell people who care: "if you care, doing less than going vegan is morally acceptable." I don't. I have a great deal more respect for the intelligence and moral integrity of ordinary people. And I regard animal life and human life as having equal moral value for the purpose of using neither exclusively as resources, however "humanely."

Is this answer is not clear to you, then I apologize but I really cannot say it more clearly than that.

Gary L. Francione
Professor, Rutgers University

Adam Kochanowicz said...

Last time I heard Jean Kazez describe abolitionism, it was something to the tune of "Abolitionists want to keep animals suffering so more people will rally to the cause"

I don't recall Jean ever withdrawing that straw man argument.

Adam Kochanowicz said...

Stephen

It's not clear to me why it is suddenly upon Gary to do an analysis you apparently need to back up your own argument?

I see where you're going with your defense of P2, but you're making a lot of generous assumptions there. Such as...

1. Prop 2 states X, Y, and Z as goals of it being passed, therefore, X, Y, and Z will definitely happen upon it being passed.

2. X, Y, and Z are reforms the industry would not make itself as an economic imperative

Adam Kochanowicz said...

"If Prop 2 were to --reduce the number of laying hens being maltreated-- in any manner by 10,000, 100,000"

Last time I checked, these hens are still reduced to machines to pump out as many eggs as possible with minimal economic costs to their "care". A hen under those conditions is still mistreated in my book.

That is a condition set by economic demand by consumers. Prop 2 on steroids with missiles can't change that.

This is another empty assumption on your part. Because these reforms are phrased as reforms, they mean the mistreatment of any affected hen no longer exists.

Let us also ignore the politics of actually getting a passed proposition to have effect, be enforced, prevention of loopholes, etc.

Prop 2 is for us. It makes us feel better, it makes us believe that the animals are being taken care of. We don't need to go vegan or tell others to go vegan because some law will make everything better.

I wish I could be comforted by this delusion as well, but I've seen countless clones of Prop 2 before Prop 2 even existed. It's a repeat of failed history.

Stephen said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
gfrancione said...

Adam:

As I understand it, some people are claiming that the "enriched cage" scenario (which is all they will get under either Prop 2 or the HSUS/UEP deal), demand will be affected significantly because consumers of liquid/powdered eggs (as opposed to consumers of shell eggs) have a more sensitive elasticity and will consume many fewer eggs even if the price of egg products is moderately increased, thus resulting in fewer hens kept and killed. I do not know if that is true and, even if it is, how it fits with overall egg supply and demand.

But, in the end, it's a matter of whether you think that we should promote "happy" eggs. I don't. But then, I know that you agree.

By the way, I frequently promote the *excellent* resource that you and Sandra Cummings created, www.vegankit.com. With that one piece of superbly-done grassroots advocacy that you make available without charge, you have, without doubt, not only saved countless animal lives but you have educated countless numbers of people.

Imagine what we could do if the large groups went in that direction rather than, for example, encouraging people to write to Walmart and tell Walmart to do the "right" thing, where the "right" thing is selling crate-free pork. Imagine, an "animal group" telling people that the "right" thing is crate-free pork! Anyway, think of where we'd be if animal groups stopped being ashamed of using "vegan" and stopped using "veg," "veggie," and "vegetarian" instead, and started making clear that if animals matter morally, there is one and only one coherent response: go vegan.

Think of it!

Gary

Gary L. Francione
Professor, Rutgers University

Elizabeth Collins said...

Stephen - I am not a statistician but your argument is seriously flawed in at least one glaring point - vegans not only don't use eggs - they don't use ANY animal products. If 1 million American's went vegan, then not only would the demand for the eggs of 1 million chickens ('free range' or no) go down, but also the demand for 1 million peoples' demand for all other animal products..

Let me suggest to you this, Stephen: why don't you use your clever statistician brain to calculate how many people would be going VEGAN if instead of people spending the last however many years it has been trying to get these welfarist reforms to happen, were instead spending their time on vegan education, and think how many people will be going vegan or already gone vegan, and think about THAT effect on the demand for animal products, and that effect on the overall social paradigm of thinking about other animals moral persons rather than resources we can use as long as it is done 'humanely' (and is economically beneficial to producers).

But that is not your agenda is it Stephen? I feel sorry for you that you have a such a poverty of ambition

Elizabeth Collins said...

Stephen - I am not a statistician but your argument is seriously flawed in at least one glaring point - vegans not only don't use eggs - they don't use ANY animal products. If 1 million American's went vegan, then not only would the demand for the eggs of 1 million chickens ('free range' or no) go down, but also the demand for 1 million peoples' demand for all other animal products..

Let me suggest to you this, Stephen: why don't you use your clever statistician brain to calculate how many people would be going VEGAN if instead of people spending the last however many years it has been trying to get these welfarist reforms to happen, were instead spending their time on vegan education, and think how many people will be going vegan or already gone vegan, and think about THAT effect on the demand for animal products, and that effect on the overall social paradigm of thinking about other animals moral persons rather than resources we can use as long as it is done 'humanely' (and is economically beneficial to producers).

But that is not your agenda is it Stephen? I feel sorry for you that you have a such a poverty of ambition

Mylène said...

Hi folks. I think that I'm going to be shutting down comments on this thread if there there can't be a better show of respect.

I've deleted the last one from Stephen (you were being a jerk, pal) and am not posting an even more rude follow-up comment he's sent.

I'm glad that for the most part, the discussion has remained civil, but have no interest in people using this post and discussion just to get personal digs in at other people.

gfrancione said...

Dear Elizabeth:

It's fascinating. We have some folks claiming that Prop 2 is a miracle because it dramatically increases production efficiency. We have others claiming that it is a miracle because it decreases demand for shelled eggs as a result of increased production costs. We have still others claiming that Prop 2 is a miracle because it does not do much to decrease demand for shell eggs but does significantly decrease the demand for powdered/liquid eggs because of increased production costs.

We have some animal advocates claiming that that Prop 2 is great for the egg industry: "[i]t is little surprise that cage-free production is the fastest growing and most profitable segment of the industry." We have some animal advocates saying that Prop 2 is destroying the egg industry.

We presently have HSUS involved in a joint effort with United Egg Producers to get national "enriched cage" legislation that will eviscerate what HSUS claims as the primary benefit of Prop 2: the requirement of cage-free conditions. And the "enriched cages" proposed by the HSUS/UEP legislation is recognized by even conservative European welfare groups claim as failing to provide adequate animal welfare.

This business of animal welfare is so very confusing. But I fear that this business has nothing to do with animals.

Gary L. Francione
Professor, Rutgers University

gfrancione said...

Dear All:

My essay, now titled, "Human Rights, Animal Rights, and Why the Welfarist/Regulationist Position is Deeply Speciesist" is coming along very nicely. I should have it done this weekend for a Monday publication.

Gary L. Francione
Professor, Rutgers University

Pierce said...

For those of us who have been following the debate, where does it go from here?

The debate at the conference didn't cover any new ground and it seems as if the number of differences between the two groups is insurmountable

Despite Friedrich saying that we agree on a large percentage of issues/ideas, the debate and this continued comment section illustrate nothing could be further from the truth

Are we now just vying for new vegans? I mean, I know there are ethical and practical ramifications for the continued support of welfarist campaigns, but it's like talking to a brick wall

Jeff Melton said...

Some people posting here have said that Bruce Friedrich has been deliberately misrepresenting the position and approach of the big animal welfare groups with his claims that they spend the vast majority of their time promoting veganism and are abolitionist, as well as deliberately misrepresenting the position of Gary and other actual abolitionists. Others, including Gary, have said that Friedrich is sincere but wrong in his claims that these organizations primarily promote veganism and are abolitionists philosophically and in his misrepresentations (too numerous to list here) of the views and tactics of abolitionists.

I was among those who accused Friedrich of dishonesty--how could it have escaped his notice how often the animal organizations with which he is familiar, or has worked, have promoted vegetarianism, "Meatless Mondays," and welfare reforms as opposed to veganism? How can he honestly claim that Vegan Outreach has ever promoted veganism as a moral baseline?

However, Friedrich's motivation for making misleading and inaccurate claims isn't what is relevant; it is the fact that they are misleading and inaccurate that is the most relevant issue. So I agree with Gary that we should stick to discussing the latter. The most important thing to get across is that Friedrich is simply wrong on a wide variety of matters, some of which involve misrepresentations, for whatever reason, of what others have said and done.

mmissinglink said...

Hi,

I feel this discussion has been very informative and I encourage further discussion here.

I am delighted to read well articulated and respectful comments from all perspectives.

I particularly look forward to Gary's upcoming essay.

Gary stated, "for many years, the regulationists have just ignored any dissenting views and have pretended that those views don't exist." While this is true, I have seen a far more insidious tactic taken by many regulationists/husbandry modulationists. That is, when talking about abolitionists who criticize regulationists problematic (for the animals) campaigns, I have frequently seen regulationists denouncing abolitionists as divisive. On several levels, this tactic of doing this is wrong. It is dishonest; that is wrong. It is designed to discredit the abolitionist position with its dismissive tone; this is wrong. It stifles discussion or in the very least diverts it and is in my view a form of an ad hominem attack; this is wrong. Finally, it is divisive itself because of all of the above; this is wrong.

I really do wish that those regulationists who have in the past slandered abolitionists as being divisive, please stop this wrong headed approach....it really does the animals more harm than good.

Thank you for allowing me to express a concern that has been bothering me for years now.

Warmly,
Louie Gedo

gfrancione said...

Dear All:

Sorry my essay has not been published yet; some things came up but I am back at work!

It is becoming increasingly clear to me that the real divide is between those of us who promote veganism as the moral baseline and those who promote "happy exploitation" either as a way of getting to a vegan world or as good in itself (e.g., "what would the animal want").

The rights/welfare distinction remains the theoretical backdrop, but the practical divide at this point is between the vegan/"happy exploitation" groups.

On another note, I just got Jean Kazez's book from Amazon. She has a quote from Temple Grandin on the front *and* the back. Yes, I can see why she supports "humane" concentration camps.

Gary L. Francione
Professor, Rutgers University

gabriel lambrianidis said...

one way to drive any being crazy is mixed messages.welfarism starts to convince me against abolitionism??and then i am against their supporting of "wellfare"animal industries.but gary has a clear message that does not tax my sanity.the wellfarists might not know it but they are using innocent beings (non human and human)who cant sense their hypocrisy.