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Fighting for animal liberation and an end to speciesism

if ther is anyone else on this site who has been dismayed an disgusted by tim giers repeated attacks on veganism ,an its central importanse as the moral baseline of the animal rights movement , im sure they wil be as relieved as i am to find he is no longer a member of this site. giers defense of forms of exploitation such as the use of honey an eggs, an his claim that cutting flesh from the dead bodies of sentient beings is consistant with vegan principals ,was particularly demoralizing on a site which claims its goal is an end to speciesism .as roger yates has often pointed out ,it has been a long hard road to hav veganism  widely recognised as a moral imperativ ,an to see repeated attemts to undermine this by an admin of this site made me,for one,feel completly disilusioned with arzone . 

    i wont go into my many objections to tim giers arguments in detail hear - sufise to say that his sugestion that it can be moraly aceptable to take things from other animals for our own purposes,an totake there freedom so long as we judge it wont cause undue harm, is against the whole spirit of veganism . in a world wher nonhumans are murdered in ther billions evry day by speciesist humanity  ,it is disturbing to witnes somone who claims to be an animal rights advocate xpressing these blatantly speciesist views . advocates should not hav to remind one another,surely ,that interfering in the lives of nonhumans for our own profit or convenianse is a violation of ther rights . veganism is a rebellion against a society that uses nonhumans as  objects  with only monetary value ,not as persons with inviolable rights - it follows that veganism is  vital as the baseline of a movement which seeks to fundamentaly change the way we think about an interact with other animals . yet tim giers sole purpose hear seemed to be to challege the ideals of veganism an confuse the animal rights message.

   i sincerly hope giers disapearanse from the site wil bring about an end to the welfarist nonsense which seems to hav taken over arzone lately,at the expense of the rights based aproachs we as a movement so desperatly lack - an the animals so desperatly need . 

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Hi Tina! Glad to see that you didn't follow through on your promise to leave ARZone. Everyone's opinion is welcome here.

By the way, I cannot add confusion to notions such as those expressed in your comment here that are already  confused almost beyond hope (to say nothing about how inaccurate your account of my views are).

As an example of Tina's confusion, she says: "his claim that cutting flesh from the dead bodies of sentient beings is consistant with vegan principals".  Now, this may not be an obvious point but, dead bodies aren't "of sentient beings".  Dead bodies are things that once co-existed with now non-existent sentient beings - when the body dies, the sentient being who existed as part of that body ceases to exist.  Given that one can't cause harm to non-sentient things, then one can't possibly cause harm to a dead body, no matter whose it once was.  Some may think me unkind for calling Tina's confusion for what it is, but if she is not confused, then what is she?  

As far as Tina misrepresenting my views, if Tina, or anyone else for that matter, can find anywhere that I've ever said that causing actual harm to actual living conscious beings is or would ever be consistent with the ethics that underlie veganism, I would like to see with what words I have supposedly said such a thing.  No one will be able to produce those words, however, because I have never said or written them.  I'm sorry that consistent thinking about what "harm" means and to whom it matters leads to conclusions that may be repugnant to some.  But, I am not interested in defending some alleged "spirit of veganism", I am interested in finding ways to convince the largest number of people in the shortest amount of time to stop needlessly harming and killing other animals.  If others have a different agenda, I humbly suggest that they busy themselves with that project and leave me to mine.

Wow, Tina! When I saw that you were online in ARZone, the first thing I said was "I hope she doesn't cause any more trouble." I'm often criticised for expecting too much from others, and this was certainly no exception. 

Why do you come into ARZone to be mean and nasty to others all the time? The only things you post in here are personal attacks on others, and lies. 

Tim Gier is admin in ARZone, your post is inaccurate. But, let's just imagine for a moment that he had left; how do you think reading this post would have made me feel? Pretty bad, huh? Did that enter the equation when you decided to come into ARZone and post more nastiness? How do you think this would have made Tim feel? Pretty bad, huh? Did that cross your mind, or did you simply not give any thought to how you would make anyone feel, so long as you were able to personally attack Tim one more time? 

You offer nothing to support your false allegations, but, you never do, do you? Please, feel free to call ARZone and Tim as many names as you wish to, I don't suspect he will lose sleep over it, and I certainly won't either. 

I was going to delete your disgracefully self indulgent post, but I think it's better to leave it here, as an example of precisely the manner in which one who identifies as a "vegan" should never, ever act toward others. 

You should be ashamed of yourself, Tina. You have sunk to a new low tonight. 

you dont seem to offer much to support the ur "alegations" in this rant urself carolyn -so it seems im not alone .

 either u an tim gier are horibly upset by my vicious personal attack (which insidentaly contains nothing "personal" at all -its about my complete disagrement with tim giers views,not my hatred of him on a personal level .i would not bring personal disputes of any kind onto an AR forum) or ur not goin to lose any sleep over it .make up ur mind .

  i dont see how openly critizizing views which i see as damaging to the movement is "mean an nasty" . all it is is honest . neither do i see my expresing my disgust over the direction arzone has taken as an example of how a vegan should never act. i can ,however,think of plenty of ways in which a vegan should never,ever act. one of them is suporting ,in any way, the moraly abhorent notion that eggs (for example) could under any circumstanses be a legitimate food for humans to consume. tim gier sugested this in his original blog entry i seem to remember (correct me if im wrong tim ,but dont think you can avoid this one) 

   as i write this ,one of my friends ,an activist in the uk,is nursing a dying hen rescued from the egg industry.she has only tasted freedom for a few months. eight birds were rescued by my friends family ,an this one is the third to die .because her genetic makeup has been warped by humans to maximise the profit they can get from her slavery, she never had a chanse to enjoy the life that should hav been hers - a life of freedom an without pain . an this is inexcusable. this is what a vegan should never,ever giv any kind of excuse for .

yes,i get that tim giers point is ther may be ways to use other animals without causing them harm- but my point is that this is a human supremaisist view,an in itself a harmful mentality. we simply hav no right to make that decision for another living creature .the bird i mentioned above is losing her life untimatly because of this belief - that on some level,it is aceptable to take things from other species.i dont care what hypothetical circumstanses gier mite use to justify this claim -the fact that a vegan is confusing the vegan message lik this sickens me. i refuse to be ashamed of myself for saying this -what i am ashamed of is that i was ever a member of a site that can allow itself to disintegrate into yet another welfarist cop-out .

i am ,insidantaly,puzzled by ur description of my post as "self indulgent" .it may surprise u to learn that i get no personal gratification from bein "mean an nasty " to tim gier - why would i even bother to do so at such grate length ,i dont even know him . the only personal element in this for me is that ,as ive said befor ,i object to the lack of respect shown to roger ,an his truly outstanding contribution to the cause of animal liberation .an roger is my friend as wel as an amazing activist. agreeing with him an daring to say so is not self indulgent . its called havin opinions,an bein somones friend .

the main reason i bother continuing to post at all is for the animals who hav waited too long for real change - change that can only hapen if the rights based aproach to campaigning which gier seems to want to destroy gets stronger .im not goin to see yet another site taken over by welfarism an keep quiet about it.i am not thinking about causing trouble for u or tim gier or anyone else - im thinking of the billions of lives bein lost rite now while arzone becomes swamped in his irelevant thought experiments an ur defense of him. 

compared to that-no i dont realy care how this makes u feel,im afraid . as animal advocates,we hav infinitly more important things to care about.

wel,it may surprise u to learn that i actualy hav a life apart from reading ur attacks on veganism on the internet ,but such is the i had hoped due to ur brief absense that i wouldnt hav to leave after all. sadly it apears i wil hav to stick to my original plan .

not that i hav to justify my presense to u or anyone -just settin the record strait for the benefit of all.

an i dont quite understand why ur leaving arzone (for however brief an interlude) was suposed to be a state secret -it was perfectly obvius on the site .

Tim Gier said:

Hi Tina! Glad to see that you didn't follow through on your promise to leave ARZone. Everyone's opinion is welcome here.

Tina, I have no desire to engage in yet another one of your self-serving attacks on ARZone. Please, go ahead and explain how ARZone supports the consumption of eggs. If you wish for your claims to be taken seriously, please explain how ARZone is what you mistakenly class as "welfarist". Explain how I support this so called "welfarist position". If you are unable or unwilling to provide evidence or an explanation for your claims making, I would suggest that it is problematic to provide such claims as factual. Could you please explain what, in my previous comment, you regard as "alegations"? 

I have always made myself available to constructive criticism, and I will continue to do so. However, making posts insulting and attacking other ARZone members and particularly ARZone admins who work very hard for little reward, is not something that is welcome in ARZone, nor should it be accepted elsewhere. 

ARZone will remain a place for rational discourse and civil debate, and a place where questions are welcome and very much appreciated. We will continue to question that which many of us find uncomfortable, and we'll continue to work as hard as we can in order to find ways to end speciesism, and all exploitation of others. If, by asking difficult questions you feel uncomfortable, Tina, I apologise for that. Perhaps you could provide some answers, if you're certain the questions are invalid and harmful, rather than making your only contribution in ARZone posts and inaccurate allegations about ARZone admins? 

My views have nothing to do with human supremacy at all. All that I base my reasoning on is a clear understanding of the implications of a rights-based theory of animal ethics. Please let me explain.

A rights-based view stems, roughly, from the consideration of two things: equality/liberty and justice. Now, one is free to do as one pleases (this is the liberty component), on the rights-based view, just in case one’s actions are not unjust towards another (justice) who is relevantly similarly situated (equality). So, one would be free to take eggs from any chicken, or honey from any hive, just in case in so doing one wouldn’t violate any actual rights that the chickens or the bees may have. (There is no view according to which eggs or honey have rights). No serious theorist of animal rights thinks that chickens or bees have any property rights over eggs or honey, so unless taking eggs or honey infringes upon or violates some other rights of that chickens or bees actually do have, then there is no rights violations involved. Notice that I am not misunderstanding what the rights of other animals consist in, not am I ignoring the relevant rights of others. It is a consequence of the rights-based view, as it has been developed by its most notable defenders, that it would not necessarily be a rights violation of chickens or bees for a human to eat eggs or honey.

For example, Francione suggests that other animals need to have one right recognized: the right not to be used as a resource (2000). A proper reading of his work makes clear that, in the same sense that one should never use another human merely as a means to an end, we ought not to use other animals merely as a resource. That is to say, that just as you may use me as a means to some other end provided that you don’t use me simply or solely instrumentally, then it’s conceivable that humans could use other animals for the resources they provide as long as that use wasn’t simply or solely instrumental.

On Regan’s view, the basic right claimed for other animals is the right to respect. Regan does not argue that every use of other animals would necessarily violate this right to respect. Indeed, he speaks of abolishing commercial animal agriculture (2003) or eliminating the use of other animals for their flesh or fur (2004). He does not, to my knowledge, ever say that eating either eggs or honey necessarily involves rights violations. Neither he nor Francione ever even say that insects are sentient. This is not to say, and I do not mean to imply, that either of these men endorse eating eggs or honey. That is not the point.

The point is that on the view of either of these two recognized theorists of animals' rights, to eat eggs or honey would not necessarily involve rights violations. So, on either of these two prominent views of animal rights, whether it would be repugnant on some other grounds for one to eat “roadkill” or the honey from an abandoned beehive or the truly surplus eggs from some chickens, it wouldn’t necessarily constitute a rights-violation to do so. If someone has formulated some other theory of rights that specifically argues that any of those things would be rights-violations, I would be very interested to read it, but you will have to forgive me if I am not persuaded by assertions that are not supported by argument. One may insist for all time that to eat honey from an abandoned beehive would be a rights-violation, but in the absence of a compelling argument, such insistence alone will not make the case. I will note however, that there are other ways to argue for what has been claimed on behalf of bees, hens and dead bodies.

These alternate approaches have nothing to do with the claims of established rights-based theories of animal ethics, but rather something more in keeping with either an ethics of care or virtue ethics. An ethics of care would claim (roughly) that we ought to treat other animals in certain ways out of care for them in consideration of such things as a sense of community rather than an exclusive focus on the individual, the importance of emotions as opposed to reason, and a holistic view of oppression as a social phenomenon. Virtue ethics would say (roughly) that we ought to treat other animals well because for one to live a virtuous life would require that one treat others well, because to treat others well is part of what one would be required to do to develop a virtuous character. Either of these ethical frameworks seems to be more in keeping with the so-called “spirit of veganism” that I keep hearing about, but the “spirit of veganism” will find little support from the rights-based view.

One final thing. As I have clearly and consistently said: there are currently no ways in which humans can take eggs from hens, in the quantities we take them, using the current systems of industrialized production, such that the claimed rights of hens would not be violated. But that does not mean that it is impossible for there to be ways, in limited circumstances, for humans to eat eggs without violating the rights of chickens. Therefore, a consistent rights-based view would accept both that there may be possible instances in which humans may eat eggs -and- that it is almost impossible that such instances, in the vast majority of cases, currently or will ever obtain.

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