Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters
How Animal Welfare Willfully Obscures Science
March 17, 2014 The Academic Abolitionist Vegan
In her piece for The
Huffington Post, "How
Animal Welfare Advances Veganism and Animal Rights,"
Karen Dawn (United Poultry Concerns) makes the strange argument that avoiding
vegan advocacy will somehow promote veganism. Aside from the fact that this
strategy has been in place for decades with the full support of multiple heavily
funded organizations and has failed to work, I am especially concerned with the
bad science that influential advocates are pulling on to substantiate their
Indeed, Tyson, Perdue, and
other industries that profit from the exploitation of animals have been jumping
on board. Whole Foods, the epitomization of "soft campaigning," has been
raking in millions of dollars thanks in no small part to animal welfare's
sold out philosophy.
Misconstruing the science of social change with the science of exploiting people for money in the name of social change is really quite problematic. Animal welfare does little if anything to advance veganism. All it does is advance industry interests and make abolitionist advocacy that much more difficult for the rest of us. It is our job as a social movement to advocate for the society we want to see. If we want a vegan world, we have to advocate for veganism and nothing short of that. Some people will go vegan, others will not. Some will reduce their intake, some will start to think more critically. It is up to us to set the standards and start dismantling structures that impede behavior change. Meeting people where they are means taking seriously the barriers that prevent people from going vegan. This does not entail pretending veganism isn't important. Neither does it entail obscuring veganism with the hopes that some people will magically surmise how important veganism is.
Comment: Does working for or supporting welfare measures harm the longer-term goal of bringing about liberation? Should incremental reforms be supported by abolitionists?
There will always be debate as to the approaches to attain the goal of liberation. Gary Francione reminds us that there is no compromise - veganism is the moral baseline of the animal right position. Meanwhile other organizations, like HSUS, work with companies to improve or “advance” farm animal welfare in their supply chains. In addition, the consumer has a choice whether to by ‘humanely’ or ‘ethically’ raised products for mealtime. Although much of the public isn’t prepared to embrace a plant-based diet, they are aware of the suffering of animals raised for food and seem to care about how animals are treated.
You decide; can both approaches work simultaneously and will reforms lead toward the goal of abolition, or do you consider abolition attainable?