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You'll often hear about how (in the US anyway) we've had 200 years of animal welfare and still, nothing has changed except that the rate of use and the killing of other animals has increased. Fair enough. I wonder about what that means though as far as what we should do next, or differently.

For example, the US government spends about $15 Billion dollars each year fighting the "war on drugs" and, unless I'm missing something, they are losing that war; at least there are no indications that they are winning it. Drug use fluctuates from year-to-year and, depending on the drug and the age group considered, some recent trends are up, and some are down. It would be very hard, given the relative stability of the overall rate of use, and the apparent lack of a correlation between government action and the rate of use, to claim that the war on drugs has made any positive difference. One response to this failure has been to claim that what is needed is more spending, more enforcement and even harsher penalties for offenders. Considering that the US government has been escalating the war on drugs for decades to no avail, it would seem that such an approach would be futile at best. Another response has been to suggest that the very idea of a war on drugs is fundamentally misguided. That is, there is no amount of money or level of enforcement that will prevent people from doing what they want to do to their own bodies. 

Now, the question is this. If it is true that society, by and large, recognizes the dangers of many illicit and illegal drugs, especially when those drugs are abused or over-consumed, and if it is true that a protracted, well-funded, government sanctioned, legally enforced campaign against drug use has been largely ineffective at curbing the use of drugs (even though such campaigns are directed to children beginning at a very young age and are largely supported by parents and community leaders) then is it the fault of that campaign itself that after all this time it has failed? In other words, is it the case that the campaign has failed because the campaign is flawed, or has the campaign failed because the problem is largely unsolvable?

In the case of animal welfare reforms, the animal protection movement and the animal rights movement more broadly, is it the case that, whatever campaigns have been mounted, and however much money has been spent (I suppose that it isn't more than the money spent on the "war on drugs"), these campaigns have failed because the campaigns themselves are flawed, or is it that the problem of animal use, abuse, misuse and killing is intractable and unsolvable?

Crossposted at timgier.com

timgier.com

http://timgier.com/2012/01/03/200-years-of-welfare-and-nothing-has-changed/





Tags: 200-years, Tim-Gier, animal-welfare-reforms, campaigns, welfare

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I don't agree with this, Tim, but I think it's important to read things I disagree with and think about why I disagree and why I hold the positions I do. 

I learn far more from doing that, than I do from listening to and reading only those I agree with, or who agree with me. 

Thanks! 

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