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Laura(Go vegan)
May 14th, 2009, 03:27 PM
So which one would you consider yourself to be? In my short time of being a vegan, I have decided that the abolitionist approach is much better and effective. While almost all animal activist groups (at least in the US) take a very welfarist approach, I think that animal welfare (which has been around for 200+ years) does not work and actually encourages people to feel better about eating meat and animal products. The whole "happy meat" and "free-range chicken and eggs" phenomenon only helps people to not feel guilty when sticking their forks into dead flesh.

Animal welfare refers to the viewpoint that it is morally acceptable for humans to use nonhuman animals for food, in animal research (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_testing), as clothing, and in entertainment, so long as unnecessary suffering (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suffering) is avoided. The position is contrasted with the animal rights (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_rights) position, which holds that other animals should not be used by, or regarded as the property of, humans.[2] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_welfare#cite_note-1)

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Animal Abolitionist refers to the viewpoint that it is not morally acceptable to use animals in any way, including as pets, food, in entertainment or for any kind of experimentation and medical research.



Groups like PETA are rewarding places like KFC in Canada and Whole Foods (which sells meat) for being animal friendly. I think this is wrong and only encouraging people to eat animals and animal products.


Gary Francione, a leader in the Abolitionist approach (check out his amazing website www.abolitionistapproach.com (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_welfare#cite_note-1)) talks about how we need to stop thinking of animals as our property and stop using them for our needs. He claims that many animal activist groups like PETA and the Humane Society do not push Veganism because they would lose out on their donar base (many of whom are not even vegeterians).



I would think that most vegans would agree with the abolitionist approach, but why then are there so many animal activist groups out there who are promoting the improvement of animal welfare instead of pushing the education of Veganism? And why are vegans supporting that?


Wouldn't it be better if we got out there ourselves and promoted non-violent vegan education with non-judgemental attitudes? I don't think we can ever hope to get the majority of people Vegan by trying to enact laws that help animals on farms. I think that people will go Vegan through education and becoming informed. Not everyone of course will go Vegan, but the hope is that we will eventually shift to a society that looks as down on animal explotation as they now do to slavery.


Opinions?

[URL="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_welfare#cite_note-1"]
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_welfare#cite_note-1)

cobweb
May 14th, 2009, 07:19 PM
I'm an abolitionist but i'm also a realist. If i get the chance to improve the welfare of animals i take it, even if i disagree completely with the 'use' of them for pretty much any purpose.

bringsMore
May 14th, 2009, 07:23 PM
I'm an abolitionist (regarding my idea of how things should be), but in terms of spreading veganism and drawing attentions to animal rights issues - I almost don't believe in anything.
I don't really believe in power of "vegan education". Maybe because I haven't seen much of it in action.

sandra
May 14th, 2009, 07:48 PM
I'm an abolitionist too.............I just wish the message could get out there more. I try in my own limited way, it's not enough though!

Laura(Go vegan)
May 14th, 2009, 09:03 PM
Cobweb... of what I've researched, most measures for improvement of animal welfare do very little to actually help the animals and just make more people comfortable with the idea of eating "happy meat".

Say for example, eliminating the use of battery cages. Yes, animals are taken out of the cages but little is improved. They are still in a very large cage per say, and treated the same, yet it makes people feel better buying "free-range eggs". How is this helping us?

Sandra- I think that any opportunity we take to educate people about veganism it is helping. Even if it's just planting a seed. Even if they don't become a vegan and just cut back. It's still helping. And if they do become a vegan, they will be talking to their friends and family and so on and so forth.

I realize that it will talk a very long time to switch the way society thinks and I'm a realist about it but we as vegans should all do our part to educate, educate, educate. It does work... I know that I've encouraged a lot of people to at the very least cut back on their consumption of meat and animal products as well as turned some people vegetarian and vegan. I've planted a seed and that's my most important goal. If we just sit back and say nothing than nothing will get accomplished.

veganchef
May 14th, 2009, 09:15 PM
I'm an abolitionist, but on a personal (and selfish) level I would be absolutely devastated if there were no more companion cats in the world because they're the only sort of people I can see myself being able to live with. Of course, in terms of my vegan philosophy it would be ideal not to have companion animals because they (well, cats) need to eat other animals, so I would support that outcome. However, I'm glad that it is unlikely to happen in my lifetime for the aforementioned selfish reasons.

cobweb
May 14th, 2009, 09:41 PM
Laura, i totally get what you're saying, i meant really on a more individual level if i can help an animal i will stick my nose in and help if i can't remove the animal(s) from their situation.

sandra
May 14th, 2009, 09:43 PM
I know what you mean Veganchef..........the cats I have are all rescue cats and were not got as 'pets'.........I would miss not having the opportunity to live with such lovely animals. I do hate the fact that they eat other animals but that's what they would do if they lived wild so what can I do?
I wish the world wasn't the way it is.

Fuhzy
May 14th, 2009, 09:54 PM
Abolitionist, sadly.

puca
May 14th, 2009, 10:34 PM
I think abolitionism is a nice idea, but also very ethnocentric.

I believe in it in theory, as I oppose all heirarchy... I guess I sway towards green anarchism?

BUT in practice, not everybody has the resources to become vegan and of course there are cultural differences. Being a vegan in London is easy if you have money and doable if you're on a lower income, with less luxuries... Though 'ethical' commodities can be pricey.

Some people depend on meat for their survival, so where do they stand ethically? What about people whose lives depend on agriculture?

*Avoids an essay*

Kate1978
May 14th, 2009, 10:46 PM
Abolitionist, but currently we live in a culture where the use of animals for food, clothing, entertainment etc is considered the norm. :mad: Therefore, while disagreeing with all of the above practices, I feel that as an ethical vegan and someone who cares about animals that I can't just ignore that animals are kept for these purposes and turn my back on their welfare.

However, I do see the problem with, say for example, rescuing former racing greyhounds or "spent" battery hens in that it could be construed that you are supporting those activities, and letting people who profit from them off the moral hook, so to speak.

Sarabi
May 14th, 2009, 10:46 PM
Abolitionist, definitely. Laura, unfortunately from the point of view of those of us who espouse Gary Francione's concept of abolitionism, many welfarist organizations as well as individuals have proclaimed themselves abolitionists. For example, PETA might not use that term, but they essentially consider themselves abolitionists. According to PETA's front page:


Animals Are Not Ours to Eat (http://goveg.com/vegetarian101.asp)
Animals Are Not Ours to Wear (http://www.peta.org/actioncenter/clothing.asp)
Animals Are Not Ours to Experiment On (http://www.peta.org/actioncenter/testing.asp)
Animals Are Not Ours to Use for Entertainment (http://www.peta.org/actioncenter/entertainment.asp)
Animals Are Not Ours to Abuse in Any Way (http://www.peta.org/actioncenter/exploitation.asp)
According to organizations like PETA, abolitionism is strictly an end goal and not an immediate one.

Sarabi
May 14th, 2009, 10:50 PM
Some people depend on meat for their survival, so where do they stand ethically? What about people whose lives depend on agriculture?
What about people whose lives depend on slavery? No one's life inherently "depends" on meat or raising animals for food, anymore than anyone's life inherently depends on slavery. People are supported by those things, but what is stopping them from finding another way to support themselves, or us from trying to help them do so?

jonny_mears
May 14th, 2009, 10:57 PM
I think like a lot of AR activists, I'm closer to abolitionist but don't see it as a simplistic dichotomy. I've campaigned against foie gras, knowing that it will probably be replaced with another dead animal on a plate, but motivated partly by the extreme cruelty of foie gras and partly by the wish to raise the profile of animal rights in general, and as a starting point to talk about veganism.

I'd definitely never talk of "free-range" meat or vegetarianism as an adequate solution - I think veganism has to be the goal, but by us raising awareness, we may provoke people to make some changes in that direction, which are positive, if not enough.

puca
May 14th, 2009, 10:58 PM
What about people whose lives depend on slavery? No one's life inherently "depends" on meat or raising animals for food, anymore than anyone's life inherently depends on slavery.
Slavery is a big issue... I don't really know how to explain it other than saying "what about rape" or "what about murder"... I'm trying to see things from a human perspective of somebody with less resources than us... From a utilitarian perspective. I don't know a huge amount about a lot of slavery, but I know that at least for sex trafficking and circus trafficking in Nepal and India, it is more well off people and underground criminal networks profitting off it...

But some people's life depends on eating meat. We are lucky enough to have an education to know what veganism is, to have the freedom of speech to write on these boards, to have the access to food of our choice. Most people don't. You can't blame them if they don't have the education and money we do.

We are blessed to even be able to contemplate veganism.


People are supported by those things, but what is stopping them from finding another way to support themselves, or us from trying to help them do so?
I was gonna say something like this... I think there are so many issues that make it hard (or impossible) for people to be vegan. The WTO and other trade systems, as well as environmental problems and a multitude of other crap (enough to write books and books on) need to be tackled before we can just 'expect' people to be vegan.

The same case with child labour. We consider a 12 year old to be a child... Some families in poverty will be sending their 12 year olds out to work because there's no infrastructure there for education, or welfare.

As I said, I believe in it in theory, just as I believe in anarchism in theory, but in practice, we need infrastructures put in to place to allow it to happen.

Sarabi
May 14th, 2009, 11:11 PM
puca, of course we need infrastructures to make it happen, but it seemed like you were making an argument against it. We need to build infrastructure for people in the developing world to have access to clean water supply, but I don't know what that has to do with whether or not we should support building a clean water supply. I see it as a caveat rather than a doubt.

puca
May 14th, 2009, 11:21 PM
puca, of course we need infrastructures to make it happen, but it seemed like you were making an argument against it. We need to build infrastructure for people in the developing world to have access to clean water supply, but I don't know what that has to do with whether or not we should support building a clean water supply. I see it as a caveat rather than a doubt.
Edit as internet is screwy:

I get your point completely...

I guess what I mean is that yes, I believe in abolitionism... But I think I don't really see it as a seperate issue to anything else, does that make sense?

It's like when people ask me why I do environmental stuff because I have a human rights degree... Well human and non human animal rights, environmentalism, poverty, social justice are all so interlinked. Hence I guess I see it overly simplistic sometimes to say abolitionist, feminist, anti-globalisation ect when explaining how I feel about stuff.

Kosherbean
May 15th, 2009, 02:57 AM
Definitely an abolitionist, but I hate that word. It has negative and tangental connotations.

As far as the current argument is concerned:

This world continues to stand on the shoulders of those who built the foundations. If the foundations had flaws, then it's a no brainer people - the rest of the game is going to have flaws. Peoples born into this world have to play the already established game of dog eat dog (in both senses of the word). That doesn't mean it's right. It is wrong. YES, it is possible for the majority to be dead wrong.

It's up to people like us to change the game. Dig deep into the roots of the problem an keep pushing. Push forward and MAKE the change. Their are no good excuses to an abusive life style.

Who cares what the labels we wear SAY we are. Who cares about definition! Follow your conscience, help make positive changes and press on.

xrodolfox
May 15th, 2009, 03:51 AM
one more abolitionist here...
that doesn't see it so simplistically. But if I have to pick a side, I'm with abolition.

pat sommer
May 15th, 2009, 04:29 AM
Yes, abolitionist but I must say that I part company with that general strategy: ignore suffering of existing animals until ultimate liberation. Ain't holding my breath.

Very much agree with Jonny Mears #14

Tigerlily
May 15th, 2009, 04:33 AM
As an abolitionist vegan, should I "support" causes that may be welfare-ist, like any PETA campaigns? As an abolitionist vegan, should I use material that come from animal groups that are very welfare heavy because they do offer some good materials? Or try to find abolitionist animal rights materials and/or write my own. An example would be, giving people PETA'S Vegetarian Starter packs when they ask questions about veg*nism.

pat sommer
May 15th, 2009, 04:39 AM
Was that rhetorical, Tigerliy?

It just perked my ears up to the endless squabbling between the two camps.

Reminds me of the old joke, "what's a liberal firing squad?" "form a circle"

Not that we are doing that here and I appreciate all viewpoints

Eat Y'self Fitter
May 15th, 2009, 05:14 AM
I believe in abolitionism however any improvement or triumph in which animal suffering is made less or consumer opinions about meat are changed I'll will welcome gladly. I dont believe humans have the right to interfere with animals unless it is to help them or provide a better environment for them.

The idea of pet ownership was always weird to me even before I was vegan. I'm curious what people think about pet ownership?

Mahk
May 15th, 2009, 05:20 AM
Since I don't accept the stated definition of "welfarist" in the first post, the question itself is unanswerable.

As an analogy, I stand for the abolition of murder, but that doesn't mean until society gets there I'm not allowed to support incremental steps towards that goal such as banning dangerous weapons for the general public. The two concepts are not mutually exclusive like the original question asserts.

Sarabi
May 15th, 2009, 05:53 AM
Gary Francione distinguishes between protectionism and prohibitionism... It's not really welfarism vs abolitionism, but rather regulationist vs prohibitionist. Regulationist laws do not resemble animal rights at all, whereas prohibitionist laws may be what Francione terms "proto-rights." I agree with Kosherbean that the word "abolitionist" has negative connotations, while welfare has positive connotations... and that's unfortunate. We should perhaps change the language here... because lots of people here seem to think, like PETA and Vegan Outreach, that abolitionism means only long-term and no short-term goals, which is silly.

By the way, I was reading on another forum a thread about regulationism and how all kinds of welfare - I mean, regulationist - laws had resulted in increased consumption of animal products throughout Europe. But then again, abolishing fur farming in Austria only caused them to import fur... maybe what they should've done was ban the trading of fur rather than the obtaining of it.