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Abolitionist Veganism

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Unleashed Unleashed VIC Posts: 17
1 10 Jul 2009
There is a running discussion on what people consider to be the most effective forms of activism for animals. Do we strive to improve the lives of animals here and now whilst working towards a cruelty-free future (incrementalism), or do we focus purely on an end-goal with a view that reducing suffering in existing systems is merely entrenching exploitation (abolitionism)? Have your say.

While we may not always see eye to eye on the best way to make a difference, remember we're all here because we oppose cruelty and want to make a difference. So please be nice!
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Francis Francis VIC Posts: 286
2 14 Jul 2009
Matt.Y said:
If your school canteen uses egg in any meals you could petition for the school to begin using free range eggs. It's only a little difference - but it all helps. It should be easy enough to do if you show other students and teachers the way caged eggs are produced. Good luck!  peace
Unfortunately asking for cage-free eggs is not asking for the best for the animals.

Despite the cartoons of the free-roaming chickens out in the green grass and sunshine, this is not the case.

The parent birds of free-range egg-layers are often kept and raised in broiler sheds with thousands of other chickens.
The 'useless' male chicks are still slaughtered.
And in the end, when the hen stops laying the maximum amount of eggs she is sent to slaughter just like a KFC chicken or a caged hen.

The only "humane" solution for the animals is to let these birds roam free, for us not to use them as profit machines.
The point is indeed that animals are not ours to exploit.

If we care about animals, we must not ask for cage-free eggs..but for no eggs at all.
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_Matt _Matt VIC Posts: 1567
3 14 Jul 2009
Francis said:
Matt.Y said:
If your school canteen uses egg in any meals you could petition for the school to begin using free range eggs. It's only a little difference - but it all helps. It should be easy enough to do if you show other students and teachers the way caged eggs are produced. Good luck!  peace
Unfortunately asking for cage-free eggs is not asking for the best for the animals.

Despite the cartoons of the free-roaming chickens out in the green grass and sunshine, this is not the case.

The parent birds of free-range egg-layers are often kept and raised in broiler sheds with thousands of other chickens.
The 'useless' male chicks are still slaughtered.
And in the end, when the hen stops laying the maximum amount of eggs she is sent to slaughter just like a KFC chicken or a caged hen.

The only "humane" solution for the animals is to let these birds roam free, for us not to use them as profit machines.
The point is indeed that animals are not ours to exploit.

If we care about animals, we must not ask for cage-free eggs..but for no eggs at all.
I totally understand where you are coming from - that's why I'm vegan. But.. if your school is using cage eggs.. don't you think it's better for them to begin using free range instead? The bottom line is that it is not realistic for everyone to go vegan (at least in the near future).. but it is a realistic goal for battery farms to be history.

I think for animal rights to be realistic, animal welfare will have to come first. If  we can improve the welfare of farmed animals dramatically before we all shuffle off, we leave a platform for people who will be here after us to achieve animal rights. Once people acknowledge the welfare of animals they will begin to think of animals in a different way - not as a product but as their own being with their own wants and desires. I think that's how our mindset develops - at least mine did.
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Francis Francis VIC Posts: 286
4 14 Jul 2009
I think it's counter-productive to do things that way.

Sure, it is better, but it is certainly not ok and still horrendously cruel.

Whipping your slaves 5 times a day instead of 10 is obviously better, but would you ever really advocate it as a means for change?

The more we say 'buy free range' or whatever, the harder we make it for ourselves.

All we have to do is look at the egg issue.

We have campaigned for free range eggs for so long, and now they are so popular and caged eggs are seen by most people as 'bad'...but free range is horrendous too.
How difficult it will now be to convince the rather apathetic-towards-farm-animals public to stop buying something we spent years telling them to buy.

If we advocate humane slaughter methods and 'humane meat' (contradiction in terms right there) we are only doing ourselves and the animals a diservice. Once factory farming disapears our job  becomes a whole lot harder - it's much easier to convince people to go veg when you show them pictures of chickens losing their feathers in a cage with 5 others or pigs cramped in a filthy metal crate hardly bigger than themselves than it will be to convince them to go off 'free range' meat.

With these sorts of campaigns we are exposing the public to the horrors of animal agriculture, and then we provide them with a solution. If we say boycott all egg produciton because it is all cruel, that's honesty, and it's helpful... if we say the solution is free range we are simply doubling our work.
IN 10, 15, 20 years time do you really want to be creating campains "don't buy free range"... of course not.

And to say go vegan is realistic. You're vegan, I'm vegan, many many people are and it is increasing now more than ever.

We need to popularise the word, it needs to become mainstream and the more we have animal rights groups calling for veganism the more popular it will become.
It is not a difficult task. Anyone can do it. Millions of people all over the world adhere to the principle.  When we say it's unrealistic we are just encouraging people to thinki that it is.
If you care about animals, which 98% of people claim to, then we must cut cruelty from our lives and that means avoiding all animal products.
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Jamison Jamison VIC Posts: 271
5 14 Jul 2009
Francis said:
I think it's counter-productive to do things that way.

Sure, it is better, but it is certainly not ok and still horrendously cruel.

Whipping your slaves 5 times a day instead of 10 is obviously better, but would you ever really advocate it as a means for change?

The more we say 'buy free range' or whatever, the harder we make it for ourselves.

All we have to do is look at the egg issue.

We have campaigned for free range eggs for so long, and now they are so popular and caged eggs are seen by most people as 'bad'...but free range is horrendous too.
How difficult it will now be to convince the rather apathetic-towards-farm-animals public to stop buying something we spent years telling them to buy.

If we advocate humane slaughter methods and 'humane meat' (contradiction in terms right there) we are only doing ourselves and the animals a diservice. Once factory farming disapears our job  becomes a whole lot harder - it's much easier to convince people to go veg when you show them pictures of chickens losing their feathers in a cage with 5 others or pigs cramped in a filthy metal crate hardly bigger than themselves than it will be to convince them to go off 'free range' meat.

With these sorts of campaigns we are exposing the public to the horrors of animal agriculture, and then we provide them with a solution. If we say boycott all egg produciton because it is all cruel, that's honesty, and it's helpful... if we say the solution is free range we are simply doubling our work.
IN 10, 15, 20 years time do you really want to be creating campains "don't buy free range"... of course not.

And to say go vegan is realistic. You're vegan, I'm vegan, many many people are and it is increasing now more than ever.

We need to popularise the word, it needs to become mainstream and the more we have animal rights groups calling for veganism the more popular it will become.
It is not a difficult task. Anyone can do it. Millions of people all over the world adhere to the principle.  When we say it's unrealistic we are just encouraging people to thinki that it is.
If you care about animals, which 98% of people claim to, then we must cut cruelty from our lives and that means avoiding all animal products.
ARGH! *angry* i just explained my opinion in about 500 words or so, and then it wouldn't send. I will have to retype.

I used to have a very similar belief to this. Why are we encouraging people to be vegetarian, to eat free range meat, to eat free range crap that still ends up going to the same place. The truth is, the world is full of passionate meat eaters, who have the favourite line 'i eat it cause it tastes good.' The truth is, we will eventually have a vegan world, but it will take a lot of hard work. In the meantime, is it not better to improve the lives of those that already exist, than to wait, and let more live in horrible conditions?

Animal rights will NEVER be fully successful. No matter what laws are brought in, people will still eat meat. In the same way that there are laws against drugs, laws against slavery, laws against racism and laws against homophobics and there are still people who do drugs, keep slaves, are racist and are homophobic. Our better option is to show the world how to improve the wellbeing of animals, and THEN to take the final step into veganism.

At the moment people see animals as being mindless slabs of meat. They cannot feel pain, do not have emotion, and are useless except for food. We need to show people that this is incorrect, by taking baby steps towards a vegan world. It is easier to quit smoking by reducing the amount you smoke, then by hitting it cold turkey (or tofurkeyhappy).

Currently, people have no motivation to save the animals. They do not SEE the way they are treated. Encouraging people to go vegetarian will show them how easy it is, and from there, vegan isn't that much of a step up. People are beginning to care about animals. All these new laws to provide bigger cages in europe are just the beginning of an exponential spiral into animal rights. They are a small step towards a bigger picture.

And yes, free range is bad, but for now, we should be encouraging a better life for the animals. They may be treated bad, but at least this way people are showing an interest in animal welfare. It will take a while, and I know that animal rights won't be around when i'm in my fifties, but its something that we are a part of. We are a movement to improve the welfare of animals, radical change is dificult to have, but a slow movement towards the right path is easy.

If instead of advocating a vegan lifestyle, we encourage people to investigate how sickening the meat industry is, they will see that it is truly inappropriate to be eating meat and supporting horrific industries such as these. The egg industry and milk industry are just as bad, but when veal is illegal, what are all these farmers going to do with the baby cows? Milk in itself will go out of business, because of laws preventing the slaughter of animals for meat. Milk prices will increase greatly, people will wonder why, and they will inquire. It will take a lot of campaigning to make it happen, but its better if we protect the animals that are currently alive, instead of waiting twenty or thirty years and letting billions more animals live their lives out in tiny little cages.
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Francis Francis VIC Posts: 286
6 14 Jul 2009
Most people won't investigate the meat industry, whether we encourage them to or not.
And yes, most people see farm animals as slabs of meat.

The thing is that the few people we get on side whcih we inevtiably will will spread the message further and further as has been demonstrated with free range...
We will always have some support and that support will always grow, so it is important for that support to be for the right thing.

The people with the disposition for supporting us and the animals will try their hardest to what's best for the animals, and if we are saying that that is free range meat or eggs then we are doing the animals a disservice.

Any improvement of their conditions is good, but if we are too successfull in pushing for better conditions instead of abolition then we may very well have pushed ourselves into a  very difficult to get out of corner.

Besides, simply on principle, shouldn't ainmal rights groups espouse animal rights views, not just better conditions but no rights?

The supporting of free range products by claimed animal rights groups simply makes humans feel better about animal agriculture and therefore encourages further abuse.

It has never been more important than now for us to get out there and let people know the only end to cruelty is to avoid all animal products.
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Apple Scruff Apple Scruff VIC Posts: 180
7 15 Jul 2009
The best way to reduce the suffering of hens is not to promote free range eggs, but to educate the public about how all commercial egg laying hens are treated.

This is why purchasing "free range" eggs still supports cruelty:

1. Half the chicks hatched are male and are killed at one day old by the egg industry because they’ll never lay eggs. They are macerated in industrial blenders, suffocated in plastic bags or drowned in buckets.

2.All laying hens used in commercial egg production are slaughtered prematurely when their economic productivity decreases.

3. The parents of all egg laying hens (both battery and free range) are locked in breeding sheds. The hens in these sheds are mated continually making their backsides completely raw and swollen. The floor is often covered with a thick layer of excrement causing the air to be toxic with ammonia.
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Kylez Kylez Bahamas Posts: 19
8 15 Jul 2009
Sigh. I too used to think like this, Jamison. I had to see past my own rage to accept what I have come to realise is the truth about people, and do what I believe is best for ANIMALS, not just what will make me feel better. After many years of speaking up for animals you tend to learn a lot about people, ignorance, apathy, fear...

I really don't think that a narrow-minded vision of 'animal rights' is ever going to work for everybody (as much as I wish it would sad). Let's face it -- everyone is different. Some people (like me) could flick a switch and become an instant life-long vegan -- but as hard as we push that doesn't work for everybody.

Some people approach veganism on a long, long path. This often starts by realising that animals' interests deserve consideration, and it might start by paying a little extra not to purchase battery pig meat. Not so hard. It then might move towards cutting down meat consumption. Not so hard. It then might move towards vegetarianism. Not so hard. And when they come around to the idea that changing diet is rewarding rather than challenging, they might make the leap to cut out eggs and switch to non-dairy milk.

Should we write-off people like this, or encourage them? There is always a danger of alienating people who actually care about animals -- but who have trouble joining the dots -- to the point that they refuse to consider any steps towards being cruelty-free, because it all looks too hard to do all at once.

No amount of wishful thinking is going to change the fact that not everybody is ready to go vegan. sad

It's like... would you rather: turn three people vegetarian, or one person vegan? Would you rather: someone continues eating factory farmed meat rather than free range, if they aren't ready to go veg? Would you rather: someone continues eating meat 7 days a week rather than cutting down to 4, if they aren't ready to be a vegan? (I mean, isn't saving 40 animals' lives a year, instead of 100, still better than none at all?)

Whether we like it or not, our population is growing and meat eating is on the rise the world-over. Factory farming is one of the most disturbing inventions of 20th century agribusiness, and if we can stop it in its tracks now, whilst sill advocating a cruelty-free life ... shouldn't we?

Francis, you say that we should focus our attention on what's best for the animals -- not what's easiest for us to achieve and will make us feel good. I couldn't agree with you more, which is why I don't think the abolishionist approach will work (alone). I think we need to cover our bases and fight to help those animals suffering right now -- and for years to come -- whilst always advocating the benefits of veganism. But I know from experience that inclusion and encouragement works better than alienation.

It's hard to accept that in doing so, we acknowledge that people are still going to eat meat for a time -- and let's face it, they will anyway -- but the amount of animal suffering they will be responsible for will be greatly diminished. And isn't that our aim? To reduce suffering?

You claim this might make our job 'harder' in the long run. That might be true, but I think it's selfish to suggest we aren't up for the challenge, if it's going to mean that a hell of a lot of animals will be spared the most horrendous abuse in the meantime.

Think about it this way: if you could snap your fingers right now and factory farms would disappear -- would you? Or would that be counter-productive because it would become harder for us to convince people to stop eating animals because they don't have it 'so bad'.....?

Maybe we should fight to abolish the code of practice if that's our approach. The worse the animals have it, the easier our job gets, right??? sad
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Kylez Kylez Bahamas Posts: 19
9 15 Jul 2009
Eek. sorry for the super long post. Is there a word limit? My bad netiquette  ashamed
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Kylez Kylez Bahamas Posts: 19
10 15 Jul 2009
Yep. Chicks have it bad sad

Why can't we do both? Shut down battery farms AND encourage people to go egg-free? I think they're both really important, and don't understand why they have to be mutually exclusive. I think the Cage Free Campus is a GREAT idea, as the ripple effect from convincing huge institutions to turn their backs on factory farms is huge.

From where we're standing right now -- when most Australian egg-laying hens still live their short miserable lives in battery cages, I think we're going to have a lot more success reducing animal suffering if we can convince the ENTIRE population to refuse to support this extreme animal abuse, than we are by keeping hens in battery cages while incrementally convincing people to give up their pavolvas entirely.

I hate the idea that given a choice, we might think that it's better to keep birds in factory farms because it makes our job of convincing people not to eat eggs easier. C'mon.

I agree that going egg-free is the best solution. But advocating to go egg-free doesn't mean you can't also convince those OTHER people who refuse to give up eggs in their lifetime not to support the worst forms of industrialised animal abuse. For the hens' sakes, I think we can't turn our backs on those people who might switch to free-range just because they don't want to give up eggs.
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