Let us imagine something absurd.
Imagine, animal agriculture would discover that cows produce more milk if they are blind. The ability to see only distract them and lowers milk productivity.
They lobbied for a new law and finally starting next month it will be perfectly legal for the dairy industry to blind all cows. In line with the admirable animal agriculture's tradition, they will keep costs low, so no pain killers are used and just a simple cost efficient procedure; a quick stab in the eyes with a long needle will do the job.
WILL YOU, AN ANIMAL RIGHTS ACTIVIST, AN ABOLITIONIST, A PERSON THAT PROUDLY AND OPENLY CLAIMS TO BE A COMPASSIONATE PERSON, JOIN EFFORTS TO STOP THIS NEW HIDEOUS LAW?
This might seem an absurd question. But is it? Animal agriculture already has the most insane cruel practices for farm animals, like, cutting of genitals without pain killers from baby animals, cutting of the ends of sensitive beaks, putting animals like pigs, cows, and chickens, in confinements that are so small they can not move; which is pure physical and physiological torture for billions of innocent animals.
They would put a needle in a cows eye without a thought, if they could earn a nickel more. Doubts about that?
DISTURBINGLY there are quiet a few vegans and people who claim to fight for animals, who, if we judge them on their past actions, would not even not join efforts to outlaw such laws, but would ACTIVELY try to stop efforts that aim to stop these new cruel laws.
I know, that is a long sentence but please stick with me and the argument. I always think of my blog visitors of people who can handle more then just a few easy one liners, and have a pre-internet attention span.
Ban On Confinement Crates, Good Or Not.
The last decade there have been huge successes for farm animals, and thanks to these legal successes billions of farm animals have to suffer a little bit less. That might mean a little to you, but imagine what it means for an animal to have just that extra space!!!
I am referring to a series of successful bans on confinement crates in various states like Arizona, California, and Florida, thanks to various Propositions that were lobbied by various animal groups like the HSUS and Farm Sanctuary. I hope you are familiar with this issue.
How was your stance at the time? Should we support “animal welfare reforms” or not? Seemed to be the question within “the community”. (which I am not a part of.)
Support Animal Cruelty To Stop Animal Cruelty.
Abolitionist Gary Francione and his abolitionist followers and some other animal rights activists surprisingly came up with a very interesting theory.
“If we support animal welfare reforms, we might bring some minor relief to farm animals, but on the long run, reforms will make omnivore people think factory farms are humane and be less motivated to go vegan, and thus factory farms win and farm animals loose.”
Note: the above is not a quote from somebody specific. Feel free to correct me if I interpreted the logic behind opposing confinement crates bans wrong. I welcome dissent and wrong views.
For a long time I was inclined to believe that reasoning, that interesting logic, but recently I did see the fallacy of it. And now I fully and wholeheartedly support any effort to reduce the cruelty of farm animals.
I run the risk now of being labeled a “Welfarist” but according to the inventor of that sly insult to dedicated activists, most other animal rights activists are also nothing but a bunch of “New Welfarists”, so I will not be alone in New Welfarist City. For the record, I am a long time vegan and want empty cages, not bigger cages. So keep your shoes on and don’t try to tango with me on that song.
What is fundamentally wrong with the Don’t Support Welfare theory?
I don’t know if you notice but you are effectively saying to the BILLIONS of animals out there like chickens and pigs and cows, that are now, NOW, at this very moment, subjected to confinement
crates which is one of the most cruel psychological torture, you are saying:
“you are cramped in a cage and you can’t move at all 24 hours a day, but I will not fight for you. And I will actively oppose anyone who wants to give you a little bit more space and denigratingly call the “New Welfarists”. Signed, Your Friend. PS. It is in your own interest!!”
Reply from battery cage chicken.
“Are you INSANE??? You let me suffer enormous and even willfully obstruct efforts from other people that would bring improvements (insignificant to you, but big to me!!) in my miserable life, and you call yourself a compassionate person? You are WORSE then a factory farmer, because you claim to be so compassioned, yet you make the most ice cold and uncompassionate decision of NOT bringing some relief to me, and billions of other oppressed animals. YOU are helping the factory farmer!”
Your feeble reply might be:
“But try to understand, if I help you, omnivore people will think you have a nice life, and keep eating you! If I let you suffer, maybe they will go vegan and so future animal cruelty will be prevented!”
What about this?
1. Bans on confinement crates (welfare laws) bring some real relief for billions of farm animals. Reality check. Maybe insignificant relief for you, for the animal ANY relief is greatly appreciated.
2. People won’t go vegan because welfare laws will make them think meat is humane. An assumption, a theory, a logic from a 5 year old, but not an unproven fact.
3. You don’t realize you are siding with the factory farms? They must laugh off their heads about such silly abolitionist.
In short, people who don’t support real improvements in the lives of farm animals OUT OF FEAR that it might discourage people from going vegan, and even vocally oppose that, are willing to gamble with the happiness of billions of animals, and willfully support extreme cruelty. Now you can take THAT to the Abolitionist Bank!
How Does It Work?
It is rather the other way. Fighting for animal welfare laws (because that is the best that is possible achievable for now, maybe later laws can be established that outlaw factory farming) not only gives farm animals a little more space to move around, it also raises a lot of media attention and awareness amongst ordinary people. Media attention that animal agriculture HATES.
People will learn about confinement crates, BUT also about debeaking, castration of baby animals, make chicks being shredded, environmental damage, waistefull production of food, health problems, etc. New welfare laws raises awareness and people will not refrain from going vegan, as is the FEAR of the abolitionists, but ordinary omnivore people will be STIMULATED to go vegan. That is not my opinion but what I have experienced in my life of three decades of being a vegan and animal rights activist.
This is not a reasoning of fear, like the Don’t Support Animal Welfare laws, but a reasoning based on reality and how ordinary people WILL ditch the meat even if we make factory farms a little less cruel.
Last but not least.
WHY make it so complicated? Keep it simple, from the heart, because we claim to be COMPASSIONATE, we have to speak from the heart.
We simply have to do our very best to end, or if that is temporarily not possible, to at least reduce the suffering of animals. That doesn't make one a "New Welfarist". Labels, sigh.
If you are not willing to do that, you are siding with the animal exploiters. Reality check.
If you have doubts, visit a factory farm and look a pig in a gestation crate in the eye. You REALLY want to deprive her from space to move around? I bet you can’t J
REAL VEGANS AND ANIMAL RIGHTS ADVOCATES FULLY SUPPORT WELFARE LAWS!!! Look past the annoying and misleading labels like “welfare”, “abolitionist”, “animal rights”, and concentrate on fighting animal cruelty. Fight animal abuse, don’t fight each other.
SUPPORT FARM SANCTUARY IN PROMOTING NEW LEGISLATURE FOR FARM ANIMALS.
Farm Sanctuary actively and successfully campaigns to reduce some of the worst farm practices like confinement of animals by lobbying for new legislature. Farm Sanctuary is very vocal in expressing that these minor improvements doesn’t mean factory farming has become acceptable, on the contrary, factory farming should be abolished. Farm Sanctuary advocates veganism.
must read : JOIN FARM SANCTURARIES efforts reducing animal cruelty for farm animals.