Animal Rights Zone

Fighting for animal liberation and an end to speciesism

Bruce Friedrich - live online chat 6/7 February 2010

Transcript of Bruce Friedrich’s ARZone Guest Chat

6 February 2010 at:

3pm US Pacific Time

6pm US Eastern Time

11pm UK Time

And

7 February 2010 at:

9am Australian Eastern Standard Time

 

 

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Today's ARZ chat guest is Bruce Friedrich, vice-president of PeTA. Bruce comes from a background of human rights and social justice work, and has long been interested in reversing our impact on the planet. He is a graduate in English/Economics from Iowa's Grinnell College.Bruce began work with PETA in 1996 and has been integral to the organization's most important and best known work. He has organized thousands of demonstrations around the world aimed at reducing or eliminating animal suffering and death. He directed and produced “Meet Your Meat”, a well known video narrated by Alec Baldwin about raising and killing animals for food.

 

Bruce has debated meat, fur, and animal-experimentation industry on countless television and radio programs, including NBC's Today show as well as various programs on CNN, the Fox News Channel, MSNBC, and Court TV. His boundless passion and drive earned him a top spot as a contestant on the Showtime reality series American Candidate.

 

Much of his time has been spent pushing for welfare reform at fast food restaurants such as McDonald's and KFC. This has drawn fire from within the AR community from those who feel welfare work is not only unproductive but in opposition to a rights-based agenda. Indeed, PETA itself is not without its share of criticism for a variety of reasons from AR activists.

 

Bruce is on the governing board of the Catholic Vegetarian Society and the advisory board of the Christian Vegetarian Society. He is a founding member of the Society of Religious and Ethical Vegetarians.

 

Bruce, 40, lives in Baltimore, Md., with his wife, Dr. Alka Chandna.

 

Let's welcome Bruce to ARZone.

 

Hey Bruce; it’s a pleasure to welcome you here!


Bruce Friedrich:

I am delighted to be here, thanks.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Welcome Bruce.

 

Jamie Rivet:

Hi Bruce!

 

Ceci M.:

Hello Bruce.

 

Thomas Janak:

Hi Bruce.

 

Dave Warwak:

Rock it man!

 

Amanda Hunt:

hey Bruce

 

Verna Regina Cristofani:

Hi Bruce

 

Roger Yates:

Hello

 

Animalfriend331:

Hi Bruce

 

William Paul:

Hi Bruce.


Veronika Kelemenova:

Hello Bruce


Caroline Raward:

Hi Bruce


Douglass@armyofcompassion.com : 

Brucybaby


Carolyn Bailey: 

Before we begin, Bruce has prepared an opening statement he has written just for today. Please read, and reserve your comments until the conclusion of the formal chat session.

 

Bruce Friedrich:

Before we get started, I want to make sure everyone knows about our new video, “Glass Walls,” narrated by Sir Paul McCartney. I’m not familiar with any video that makes a more convincing case for veganism. It takes on the health, environmental, and global hunger arguments, in addition to (of course) the cruelty argument: http://www.meat.org/ 

 

Also, we won’t get all questions answered, and I won’t be able to answer questions as fully as I would like since the forum is online. For elaboration on my thoughts, you might find these links interesting: “Effective Advocacy” (http://www.goveg.com/effectiveAdvocacy.asp); my HuffingtonPost page (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bruce-friedrich); my online vegan essay (esp. the FAQ) on veganism (http://www.goveg.com/Veganism.asp).

 

The book that Matt Ball and I wrote also addresses activism arguments in some depth, www.animaladvocacybook.com, but I don’t know how easy it is to get U.S. books in Australia. If you know an animal publisher that might want to print it there, let me know. Here are a few of Matt’s musings, which I think are very powerful: http://www.veganoutreach.org/articles/youngmatt.html and http://www.veganoutreach.org/advocacy/Jan2010interview.html

 

I’m delighted to be here.

 

Hi everyone! This is an intriguing format for a discussion! Sorry about that intro. It was clearly too long for this format. I'll try to keep my answers fairly tight.

 

Carolyn Bailey: 

Thanks Bruce, At this time I would like to call upon Dave Warwak to ask Bruce his first question, thanks Dave!


Dave Warwak:

Thank you Bruce for all you do.

 

Bruce Friedrich:

Thank you for all you do, brother.


Dave Warwak:

With melting ice caps, rising sea levels, and all the other devastating consequences resulting from factory farming as detailed in the 2006 United Nation’s Long Shadow report, what will it take for corpse-munchers to ever face the music and change when even in this late hour this information is put on the back burner as evidenced by our leaders at the Copenhagen show of disconnect?

 

Bruce Friedrich:

Thanks for the question, Dave.

 

I think we need more (and more and more and more) awareness. As more and more people learn that meat production causes climate change, air and water pollution, and other environmental problems, they will be more likely to choose vegan foods. Even Al Gore is finally acknowledging the issue!

 

Several upscale restaurants in Israel are now promoting Vegetarian Monday, an initiative to encourage meat-eaters to go vegetarian at least once a week in order to help combat climate change. Officials in the Belgium city of Ghent urged residents to eat only vegetarian foods on Thursdays, and schools in the U.K., Baltimore, and other areas serve only vegetarian foods one day a week. It’s a start! People have responded favorably to the “Meatless Monday” concept and once they realize that they don’t miss meat for one day, they’ll stop eating it for two or three, and so on.

 

Thanks to environmental concerns and changing attitudes about animal suffering and health issues—as well as information about all the delicious vegan foods now on the market More and more people are embracing veganism.

 

Dave Warwak:

Thank You Bruce

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks so much Bruce, Roger Yates would like to ask a question next, Roger ...


Bruce Friedrich:

Of course, we do all need to keep working! Now I'm really done.


Roger Yates:

Since PeTA is not a rights-based organisation, would you use your position to stop it claiming to stand for animal rights?

 

Bruce Friedrich:

No

 

Roger Yates:

You may remember that you told me in Dublin recently that, like Peter Singer, you regard the use of rights "as a convenience" - not the basis of a philosophical position.

 

Bruce Friedrich:

Oh, you probably wanted a longer answer, huh?


Roger Yates:

Given this, will you please do something about Peter Singer's book being described in PeTA online bookstore ("If you read only one animal rights book, it has to be this one") as an animal rights text?

 

Bruce Friedrich:

Thanks for the question, Roger, and thanks, for coming to that event and speaking so eloquently on behalf of animals—and for all your work.

 

I have thought repeatedly about our conversation since we had it. Only a very few people – all of them either animal rights activists or animal rights philosophers (I believe) – will even understand your question, my friend. For the remaining 99.99999 percent (higher, actually) of the world, what you’re referencing is the epitome of a distinction without a difference. In most instances (including this one), a term (or phrase) means what the vast majority of users deem it to mean.

 

That being the case, I would suggest that we are using the phrase correctly. You don't agree, of course, and I respect that; if I haven't convinced you yet (and if you haven't convinced me yet perhaps we should focus on the areas where we agree, and work together.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Rog? Anything else?


Roger Yates:

I have another Q coming up don't want to hog it!


Carolyn Bailey:

Ok, I will ask a question now on behalf of a friend.

 

The respected film producer Victor Schonfeld has recently delivered a damning indictment of the existing animal movement. He makes clear that PeTA's "antics," e.g., sexist nude campaigns, giving awards to animal abusers, etc., are damaging the cause of animal rights. Are you going to take seriously his thoughtful critique?

 

Bruce Friedrich:

Yes. How is that for succinct? Seriously, though, we take all critiques seriously.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Good to hear, and this one specifically?


Bruce Friedrich:

And we discuss them at length and repeatedly, to ensure that we're doing what we think will be the absolute best use of our limited time and resources.

 

Here is PETA President Ingrid Newkirk's reply to Victor's critique http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cif-green/2010/jan/21/peta-... As you can see, although we disagree with him, we do take his concerns seriously.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks Bruce, Ceci is also here and would like to ask your next question, Ceci ...

 

Ceci M.:

Hey again Bruce, I had to break up my q into two short parts, hope you don't mind, and it's a totally different subject.

 

Bruce Friedrich:

not at all.

 

Ceci M.:

May I ask how PETA verifies putting down thousands of healthy animals every year claiming there is no one to take them all, yet they make millions. Can't they build more shelters when clearly the money is there and get vet care for them? Why can't PETA run their strays program the way Best Friends does, not an animal gets put down unless it's severely ill and can't be treated in any way; and Charity Navigator has PETA at 3 stars and Best Friends at 4 stars?

 

Bruce Friedrich:

We are at three stars b/c our board is just three people. For how we spend our money, no one does better. PETA is the definition of frugality. And I would argue that three people is preferable to more, because it allows us to make decisions and move quickly.

 

On your question of animal euthanasia, though, we're all deeply disturbed by the overpopulation of companion animals, and no one at PETA is more disturbed by animal euthanasia than the people who have to do it. Sadly, no amount of money can make good homes magically appear for the millions of animals who must be euthanized in shelters every year. As long as animals are purposely bred and people aren't spaying and neutering their companions, open-admission animal shelters and organizations like PETA must do society’s dirty work.

 

Warehousing animals in no-kill shelters or shoving them into crates, kitchen cabinets, or wherever else there is an open space is not a humane or effective solution. Euthanasia is a merciful but tragic necessity given the present overpopulation crisis.

 

PETA is proud to be a “shelter of last resort,” where animals who have no place to go or who are unwanted or suffering are welcomed with love. We won't turn any animal away simply because euthanasia is unpopular. Here is a link about your specific question: http://blog.peta.org/archives/2009/03/why_we_euthaniz.php

 

Of course, PETA has also found homes for countless animals—even though we do not have a shelter or run an adoption facility.

 

Ceci M:

Why can't PETA do something like what Best Friends does, no cabinets or crates?

 

Bruce Friedrich:

PETA took in more than 10,000 dogs and cats in 2008, spaying and neutering all of them at low to no cost in or mobile spay neuter clinic. We gave them shots, fixed their wounds and treated their illnesses, and returned them to the community.

 

In order to address the problem at its source, we have an active ABC campaign ("Animal Birth Control") to promote spaying and neutering, and we donate toys, food, and supplies to reputable shelters and rescue groups. (For more information about our efforts to help dogs and cats, see www.HelpingAnimals.com. (sorry for the lengthy answer) Even this is not nearly enough, sadly.

 

Ceci M.:

Thanks for your time.

 

Bruce Friedrich:

Thank you for your question.

 

Pablo Fernandes-Beri:

Hi.

 

Bruce Friedrich:

Hi!

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks Bruce, Amanda would like to ask a question now, Amanda ...

 

Pablo Fernandes-Beri:

Please allow me to go to a more general issue about general campaigns

 

Jamie Rivet:

I think I am up now Carolyn! Pablo, this is a closed discussion but we may have free time at the end.

 

Do you feel like the struggle for animal liberation is being fought successfully by PETA or even in general? Do you see many signs of hope or a future where animal exploitation is not normal?


Roger Yates:

Later Pablo please

 

Jamie Rivet:

Surely it must seem overwhelming at times, so what do you do to stay strong and keep fighting?

 

Pablo Fernandes-Beri:

I didn´t know

 

Jamie Rivet:

No worries Pablo!

 

Bruce Friedrich:

great question, J, and no worries, P. - I drink too much. No, not really. Seriously,

 

Pablo Fernandes-Beri:

Just why promoting "vegetarianism" instead of veganism

 

Stephanie Dyer:

too funny..

 

Bruce Friedrich:

I talk more about this at the end of my essay/recording, Vegetarianism in a  Nutshell:http://www.goveg.com/veganism_faqs.asp 

 

Douglass@armyofcompassion.com:

too funny? You should see him when he's drunk!


Bruce Friedrich:

One point that I make is this: The 18th century saw the beginnings of our democratic system, which was the first to hold that all men (and it was men, of course) are created equal

 

Pablo Fernandes-Beri:

If you google "vegan" in Peta´s website, you only get a couple of stories about vegan people, or vegan "diet"

 

Bruce Friedrich:

Douglass, no one wants to see THAT.

 

Douglass@armyofcompassion.com :

I do -I do!

 

Bruce Friedrich:

and which established, under the law, basic freedoms such as the rights to assemble peacefully, practice one's chosen religion, say what one likes, and print what one likes.

 

Pablo Fernandes-Beri::

rights"?????

 

Jamie Rivet:

Dear ARZone members: please give the chat over to Bruce.

 

Pablo Fernandes-Beri:

in order to have rights, one must not be considered a means to an end!


Bruce Friedrich:

The 19th century abolished slavery in the developed world. The 20th century abolished child labor, criminalized child abuse, and gave women the vote and blacks wider rights. If we all do as much as we can, the 21st century can be the one in which animal rights take hold.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Please refrain from commenting until the end of the formal chat session

 

Bruce Friedrich:

I have no doubt that in 100 years, human beings will look back on humans’ mistreatment of other animals with the same horror that we presently reserve for historical injustices such as slavery and other moral transgressions against human beings. But again, we should all work as hard as we can to make that day a reality. It is coming, though, no matter what.  

 

Dr. King was right about the arc of history: It's long, but it bends toward justice. DON

 

Jamie Rivet:

thanks so much for that Bruce

 

Bruce Friedrich:

I meant DONE (should not have had that last beer)

 

Jamie Rivet:

ha ha

 

Ceci M:

Haa, haa :-D

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks again Bruce, Roger would like to ask you another questions now, Roger ...

 

Roger Yates:

Since you have a human rights background, Bruce, and no human rights advocate suggests that suffering human beings should be "put to sleep, aren't you deeply disturbed by the number of animals PETA kills - especially given the amount of money the group has?

 

Bruce Friedrich:

This is the same as the other question, it seems to me. We have a tiny fraction of the budgets of our adversaries, and we can't create homes that don't exist. Of course we're all deeply disturbed, but your analogy isn't very good: There aren't 10 billion humans being slaughtered and eaten (that's the U.S. number) people are not wearing dead humans on their feet and hands.

 

Ceci M:

May I jump in again? Your millions could cover the same as the work Best Friends does!

 

Bruce Friedrich:

There is total disregard for animals in society, and society won't (as it does with humans) protect them. I answered this question before. Please check out the links from my previous answer.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks for your considered responses Bruce, I would like to ask another question now please.

 

Bruce, you are on the governing board of the Catholic Vegetarian Society and the advisory board of the Christian Vegetarian Society. You are also a founding member of the Society of Religious and Ethical Vegetarians. Does your religious background conflict with the sexist adverts PeTA use?

 

Bruce Friedrich:

I totally understand where you’re coming from, but I suspect that you have not fully considered our side of this discussion. So thank you very much for allowing me to explain where we’re coming from.

 

First: Find me another non-profit organization, other than an overtly a women’s rights organization, that has as many women in positions of power as PETA. PETA's board is two women and a gay man. PETA's President and Executive VP (our top two positions) are women. Among the top 11 staffers (the VPs), there are 7 women, 2 gay men, and 2 straight men (our general counsel and myself, neither of whom are Sr. VPs). The women are all feminists, and they disagree with your premise. Of course, the fact that some people are offended doesn’t make something offensive. Can I ask, do you find any and all nudity in political campaigns to be sexist?

 

Carolyn Bailey:

I found the most recent full frontal campaign offensive, yes

 

Bruce Friedrich:

Why?

 

Carolyn Bailey:

It made me uncomfortable and I found it difficult to understand how it was beneficial.

 

Bruce Friedrich:

Well that's a bit different from being sexist right? I didn't watch it, but I know what it was, and I (and all of us) find it uncomfortable. It sucks that we have to do such stupid shit to get attention. But if that will get millions of people to our Web site, so that they also see the Paul McCartney video, etc. then so be it. I mean seriously, that thing got us onto massive TV stations, over and over, and generated

 

Carolyn Bailey:

I disagree Bruce, surely there are more effective ways to draw attention to the cause.

 

Roger Yates:

Doing "shit" = lack of imagination

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Its sexism, no matter how you sugarcoat it.

 

Bruce Friedrich:

The evidence is overwhelming that this is a hugely successful way of generating attention and driving massive traffic to our sites. Let me finish on the sexism thing please.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Sure

 

Bruce Friedrich:

So far, I have not heard from anyone who thinks that nudity is inherently sexist; people take issue with who we have doing our naked adverts. The thing is: For our adverts, we take anyone famous, including Dennis Rodman, Tommy Lee, David Cross, lots of other men, and (most recently) a super-famous U.S. basketball player: http://www.peta.org/images/600-GilbertArenas.jpg Currently at FurIsDead.com, there are more naked men than women, including three out of four on the rotating top feature.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Mud wrestling would also generate people to your site, as would raw sex, is there a place where you draw the line?

 

Dave Warwak:

Sex sells – especially to corpse-munchers – PeTA is smart for not preaching to the choir and remaining clothed.

 

Bruce Friedrich:

Of course, we’ve never paid a dime for any of these celebrities. And among activists, we take anyone and everyone. I have done it over and over, including the time I streaked, completely naked and by myself, at a meeting George W. Bush and the Queen, at Buckingham Palace:http://www.facebook.com/home.php?filter=app_2305272732#!/photo.php?...

 

Anyway, the men and women who appear in PETA’s ads volunteer to do so because they care about animals and want to do something to call attention to the issues. I would not presume to tell people who choose to go naked what they can and cannot do; isn’t telling women what they can’t do with their bodies rather sexist?

 

Roger Yates:

It is oppressed women - trafficked women - who pay

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks Bruce, Jamie would like to ask you a question now, Jamie?

 

Jamie Rivet:

What do you see in the future for PETA with respect to activism? Are there tactics and methods that can be used to reach more people and have a greater impact? Do you feel that any of PETA's demonstration methods are becoming less effective over time, and if so, what new ways can be employed to get the attention of the public?

 

Bruce Friedrich:

PETA’s campaigns and tactics are constantly changing as the media and the public’s focus changes. Our current campaigns garner loads of attention, so we are always thinking of what we hope are clever new ways to keep them "fresh.”

 

Controversial ads and silly stunts never cease to start people talking. However, if our current methods become less effective, we will employee different ones based on the media and public perspective. Of course, we also will continue our investigations, hard hitting videos, etc. Anyone interested might want to check out our action center, http://www.peta.org/actioncenter/index.asp.

 

Jamie Rivet:

Thanks Bruce.

 

Bruce Friedrich:

No worries; I figured it out!

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks again Bruce, I believe Elizabeth has another question for you, Elizabeth ...


Elizabeth Collins:

hello! Me?

 

Bruce Friedrich:

Hello you!

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Yes please Elizabeth

 

Elizabeth Collins:

Hello Bruce thanks for allowing us to ask you questions. Mine is a two part question so please refrain from answering until I am done with both parts.The second part depends on the answer to the first part. Thanks!

 

Bruce Friedrich:

Gotcha!

 

Elizabeth Collins:

Do you believe that animals do not have a right to continued life, and if not: why not? And if so: how do you justify working for an organization that promotes farming practices that kill billions of animals (and call them "humane" or otherwise describe them in a positive way) and working for PETA, a corporation that kills thousands of healthy, adoptable animals? For example, instead of spending money on campaigns for chicken gassing (which does not promote animals' right to continued life) and the like, they could run shelters and sanctuaries and help care for animals rather than just killing them. How do you personally reconcile working with this organization who does the above things, if you do subscribe to the philosophy that animals do have a RIGHT to continued life?

 

Bruce Friedrich:

Where do you work, Elizabeth?

 

Elizabeth Collins:

I am a student

 

Trisha Roberts:

Sorry Mr Friedrich, but what's next ? crotch shots?? seriously -- generate attention and driving massive traffic to our sites. Sexism sells in PeTA's view 

 

Bruce Friedrich:

Trisha, tell me how the adverts are sexist.

 

Elizabeth, one could ask you how you justify giving your money to a school that... [you can fill in the rest] it feels good to feel so pure, but really, no one is pure.

 

Elizabeth Collins:

I don't see your point.

 

Bruce Friedrich:

I think that we should try to grant one another’s honest and sincere motivations, which for all of us are focused on creating a kinder world, even if we disagree on tactics. This is an essay that Peter Singer and I wrote on why we feel that campaigns on behalf of animal welfare should be a priority for animal rights activists http://www.satyamag.com/sept06/singer-friedrich.html

 

And this is one that Matt Ball, from Vegan Outreach wrote, http://www.veganoutreach.org/articles/welfareandliberation.html


Elizabeth Collins:

I do 100% vegan education when I advocate for animals and spend all my time when advocating promoting their right not to be used because I believe they have a right to continued life. Don't you think as a movement united we as individuals and groups should stand up for that right? We as individuals and groups should stand up for that right? Singer doesn't believe they have a right to continued life do you?

 

Bruce Friedrich:

My point is that the self righteousness is not warranted. None of us is perfect is my point.


Carolyn Bailey:

Stephi would like to ask a question before she has to leave, Steph…

 

Bruce Friedrich:

I do want to be clear that I was not attacking Elizabeth (at all), by the way. I was just pointing out that living is not so black and white.

 

Stephanie Dyer:

Hi Bruce, firstly I don't believe any of PETA's adverts are sexist, I say whatever it takes to help animals.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks Bruce.

 

Bruce Friedrich:

Thanks very much.

 

Stephanie Dyer:

I am very excited that PETA shall be opening shop in Australia shortly. As an Australian I am of course ashamed of how we treat production animals.

 

Roger Yates:

Whatever it takes? A PeTA brothel perhaps?

 

Veronika Kelemenova:

Well, I think Elizabeth has lots of ideals, she just has to keep them real :-)

 

Stephanie Dyer:

Improving welfare standards for production animals, in particular sheep, is something I am extremely passionate about. What does PETA hope to achieve by having a representative based in Australia?

 

Gracies mom:

Since others have interjected, I thought I would as well. We can hold animals' right to life as an ideal goal, but given the massive suffering endured by animals presently, it seems that we should focus on reducing the suffering of animals where we can.

 

Stephanie Dyer:

excuse me I am asking a question, I have an animal rescue to go to so please have some respect....

 

Bruce Friedrich:

Thanks for the question, Stephanie.

 

Stephanie Dyer:

Bruce would you like me to ask my question again?

 

Bruce Friedrich:

No, I'm good.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

I understand this is an emotional issue, and after Bruce leaves us we can continue discussion, but we really need to give Bruce the floor right now, please.

 

Thomas Janak:

OK


Bruce Friedrich:

I am afraid that I'm not familiar with the plans in Australia, but I can tell you that PETA's foreign entities operate independently of the U.S. PETA. It's like Greenpeace or other similar groups. They are independent, though obviously we work on similar issues. But anything I would say would be speculation, I'm afraid. I do assume that dealing with animal export, mulesing, and the range of animal rights issues would all be very high priorities.

 

Stephanie Dyer:

I would assume so as well, thank you Bruce...

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Roger, did you want to ask Tucker's question?

 

Bruce Friedrich:

C, I am happy to stay for another half hour. This is fun.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks Bruce, that's really good!

 

Roger Yates:

Ok. Whilst on the one hand PeTA's informs people that it's morally wrong to eat animals in its educational material , on the other hand it has awarded designers of slaughter house machinery (Temple Grandin) for making equipment slightly less cruel.

 

Would you agree that this is confusing to people who use PeTA as their main source of information? By the same token, it has encouraged welfarist moves, e.g. promoting vegetarianism as opposed to veganism, anti-fur instead of anti all animal skin, etc.

 

If something is morally wrong, surely it is morally wrong in small quantities as well. To use a human analogy, beating, torturing and murdering a human is wrong and so is killing him/her without beating and torturing her/him first. We wouldn't give awards to people who are less cruel to humans but whose end goal is murder. So my question is what is the rationale behind this approach?

 

Bruce Friedrich:

Thanks for the question Roger.

 

Ingrid addresses this in more depth in the reply to Victor on the Guardian Web site, but the main goals are two-fold:

 

1) We put the issue onto the radar of people as something that's worthy of moral concern.

And

2) the strides really are strides.

 

We're unapologetic about being abolitionist (check our Web site and every issue of our member magazine but we're also unapologetic about supporting anything that will help animals. When I've been in prison for peace and justice activities, I wanted to be out, but I also wanted vegan food, a warm blanket, etc.

 

Applying the Golden Rule across the species barrier, welfare reforms matter. This is, of course, addressed more fully on the links I posted earlier, mine with Peter Singer, and the one that Matt Ball wrote. There is also a good treatment of this issue on something Matt posted just in the past few days, http://www.veganoutreach.org/advocacy/Jan2010interview.html

 

Elizabeth Collins:

Excuse me for saying but you weren't going to be slaughtered for your body parts. You were not an economic commodity.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks so very much for your patience Bruce, I would now like to open the chat up to everyone, in an orderly way. Please private message myself or Jamie or Roger if you'd like to speak to Bruce. And thanks for offering us an extra 30 mins Bruce.

 

Jamie Rivet:

I am asking this for ARZone member Sharon now Bruce; it comes in a few parts so I will add DONE at the end.

 

My question to you concerns FACEBOOK and the number of sites and videos that promote animal abuse and cruelty, e.g. the video of the man throwing a little dog over a bridge. The poor little dog dies, but this man appears to go unpunished...his profile is on facebook, we know which country he comes from, we know the name of the dog, but what can PETA do to:

 

1: Track down this criminal and have him charged;.his name is Valdas Baranauskas .

2: Get Facebook to monitor more closely the sites it allows on its pages..We do not promote Child Abuse, Pornography or Cruelty to Humans but 'animal abuse' seems to be OK?

 

Can you please help? Done 

 

Stephanie Dyer:

Why is it up to PETA to do everything????

 

Bruce Friedrich:

We have gotten people charged based on Facebook videos repeatedly. And we've gotten videos taken down repeatedly. Any time you see one, please send it to me (BruceF@peta.org) and I'll pass it along to our cruelty caseworkers.

 

Dave Warwak:

I have to run. Goodbye all. Those were some brutal questions Bruce. You did a great job explaining an absurd situation that society created, not PeTA. Keep rocking the boat my brother!

 

Bruce Friedrich:

Thanks very much, Dave. You too, brother.

 

Stephanie Dyer:

I agree with Dave well done Bruce, I am off to deal with a very nausty farmer who gets off on starving his cattle and calves....see you all.xxxx

 

Bruce Friedrich:

Thanks Stephanie, good luck, and thank you so much for doing that.

 

Roger Yates:

see you Dave - Thomas has a Question if we have time

 

Carolyn Bailey:

see ya Davo!

Joseph has a question Bruce, Joseph ...

 

Joseph Puentes:

I'm relatively new to vegetarianism so lots of issues I'm not understanding I know one thing is that if we're to make a giant impact we need to figure out some way to unite. If we ever want peace on earth for all we need to unite, any way we can find a unifying force to get us together to work out the differences combine our sources.

 

Bruce Friedrich:

First, thanks for your patience, Joseph.

 

I like that there is such a plethora of viewpoints on these issues. I like that people are passionate. And I don't mind that some people don't like PETA. Anyone who is fighting for a vegan world is my ally. I think we're all obligated to engage in the debate, to try to discern the best way forward.

 

The fact that we don't agree on everything doesn't mean that we're not listening; it just means that we are listening, but coming to a different conclusion. I don't mind a lot of different people and groups fighting for veganism. And I don't mind when we fight with one another, as long as we work together where we agree, and ask long as we don't question one another's motivation.

 

Thomas Janak:

As a man of faith, do you see animals as equals with a soul or a "lower lifeform" that should be helped anyway? may I ask?

 

Jamie Rivet:

you may!

 

Bruce Friedrich:

We're all created by God. God's covenant is with all animals, every single time. We're clearly the most powerful, though. And we're to use that power, as stewards of God's creation, to protect the earth, to honor our bodies, to fight for justice for humans and other animals. All that points in the direction of veganism and animal rights, of course.

 

Jamie Rivet:

Caitlin has a q for you now Bruce.

 

Thomas Janak:

of course, but that doesn't answer my question about what u think - do y think they have a soul? Sorry for being awkward.


Jamie Rivet:

sorry Thomas you may follow up of course.

 

Caitlin:

Thank you. I have a question regarding welfare reform, particularly gestation crates. I know that many states are phasing out or banning the use of these altogether. Is PETA carrying out any specific programs to further this cause and bring attention to the issue of gestation crates and the treatment of pigs in general?

 

Thomas Janak: just wanted a straight answer_ Does Bruce think animals have souls and are equal to "us"

 

Bruce Friedrich:

Pope John Paul II said they do, and most theolgians who transcend their biases and actually do a meaningful exegesis, and who believe in souls, also think they do.

 

Veronika Kelemenova: 

But Bruce....are you a christian? Because reading the Bilble, it's clear that Jesus wasn't a vegetarian or vegan...


Thomas Janak:

cool, thanks!

 

Bruce Friedrich:

I have an essay about the issue of faith and veganism. One second. http://www.serv-online.org/Bruce-Friedrich.htm

 

Jamie Rivet:

Did you get the q from Caitlin Bruce? Should she restate it?

 

Bruce Friedrich:

Yes please. I didn't.

 

Thomas Janak:

Thx


Jamie Rivet:

go ahead Caitlin, sorry

 

Caitlin:

Thank you. I have a question regarding gestation crates.

 

Bruce Friedrich:

Very good.

 

Caitlin:

I know that many states are phasing them out or banning them altogether. Do you see any progress being made in further this progress and is PETA working on any programs to draw attention to further development?

 

Bruce Friedrich:

They'll be gone in 10 years, max. Every time they're put to a vote, even conservatives want them banned. We have been pushing the major corporations to get rid of them, and even Smithfield now grants that they have to go.

 

Caitlin:

I'm hoping this will have a cross-over effect in Canada as well.

 

Bruce Friedrich:

And, of course, promoting vegetarianism moves to getting rid of the crates. BTW, here's a demo we do on occassion. It's a naked demo, so beware: http://blog.peta.org/archives/Naked_Mothers_day_demonstration.jpg

 

Jamie Rivet:

Do you have time for another q Bruce? If so, animalfriend is up.

 

Bruce Friedrich:

Shoot

 

Jamie Rivet:

take it away animalfriend

 

Animalfriend331:

Hi Bruce

 

Bruce Friedrich:

Hey there. Love your handle. Does everyone know what handle means? Sorry, it means your username, in 1980's speak (CB radios).

 

Veronika Kelemenova:

Thank you Bruce! But sadly, most of christians have just an answer about vegetarianism...for them there is nothing wrong with killing animals for food because even Jesus did so

 

Animalfriend331:

I was just wondering what PETA can do to help promote stiffer penalties for animal abusers?

 

Bruce Friedrich:

We have a "prosecutor pack" that we send every time someone is charged with cruelty, and we meet with prosecutors constantly. The first charges for cruelty to pigs in the U.S. came because of PETA investigations. We also got the first changes for poultry, and the first convictions.

 

Jamie Rivet:

Hi Veronika, perhaps we can get to you next.

 

Thomas Janak:

gotta go, thanks Bruce and all here!! Bye

 

Ceci M:

Bye Thomas!

 

Veronika Kelemenova:

bye Thomas

 

Veronika Kelemenova: 

oh yes, i am sorry

 

Bruce Friedrich:

Bye Thomas. Thanks for your questions. 

 

Animalfriend331:

Is there anything we as the public can do to help with this cause?

 

Bruce Friedrich:

We do action alerts regularly, as does the Humane Society of the U.S. Any time you hear of an abuse case, you can call the prosecutor. If it's near you, become an expert (i.e., read about the issue) and then meet with the prosecutor they are often very good people who just don't know the issues, like most people in society.

 

Animalfriend331:

Thank you Bruce.

 

Bruce Friedrich:

Thank you for wanting to get more involved. BTW, please check out my profile picture. That's Gracie, the world's most perfect cat.

 

Animalfriend331:

Okay

 

Jamie Rivet:

Most perfect? Heard that one before!

 

Bruce Friedrich:

It's true this time.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Pepsi holds that title!

Thanks Bruce, we have time for one more question from Liz. Elizabeth...

 

Elizabeth Collins:

Hi Carolyn, Mr. Freidrich didn't answer my first question yet, nor respond to my point re: welfare that he was not chattel property being farmed for body parts while in jail.

 

Bruce Friedrich:

The soft drink?

 

It's true, Liz. I was not chattel property being farmed for body parts while in jail. Please call me Bruce. Can you remind me of what the question was? I thought I'd answered all questions, but there was some craziness there in the middle.

 

Verna Regina Cristofani:

very good Liz!

 

Elizabeth Collins:

do you personally subscribe to the belief that animals have a right to continued life (that was part of it)

 

Bruce Friedrich:

Is there more, or do you want a reply to just that?

 

Elizabeth Collins:

If not, why not?

 

Bruce Friedrich:

I think that we should all do as much as we possibly can both to protect animals from being killed and to stop people from causing them suffering. I think that we should all be working for a world in which animals are not killed unless it's in their best interest (just like humans)

 

Elizabeth Collins:

and if so why work for an organization that doesn't promote that right unequivocally and that also kills healthy animals. It's not about PETA, it's about you working there. Thanks.

 

Jamie Rivet:

ah, now we see the whole q. Bruce, would you like to add to your response?

 

Bruce Friedrich:

I believe that PETA does more to promote veganism and animal rights than any other group on the planet. I am honored to be able to fight for justice every single day.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

OK, I would like, at this point, to thank Bruce sincerely for taking the time to participate in this chat with us, we really do appreciate your time Bruce...

 

Roger Yates:

It's back to the prob that PeTA is not rights-based - that's the true answer.

 

Bruce Friedrich:

And I totally support our work to lessen suffering. The people who do euthanasia, who do society's dirty work, are heroes, as I discussed earlier.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

I'd like also to thank Bruce for his patience and willingness to reply to as many questions as possible

 

Bruce Friedrich:

Okay if I pound out a few closing thoughts?

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Go for it Bruce

 

Jamie Rivet:

YES

 

Bruce Friedrich:

This essay goes further into the question of rights and welfare, http://www.satyamag.com/sept06/singer-friedrich.html Please do check it out.

 

Veronika Kelemenova:

Sure!

 

Elizabeth Collins:

Sorry but I had also said why does PETA spend money on housing them rather than killing them - instead of chicken gassing campaigns which does nothing to promote veganism

 

Bruce Friedrich:

Also, Roger, thanks for playing. I know we don't agree on some key issues,

 

Elizabeth Collins:

that was part of it too sorry - it was all connected

 

Bruce Friedrich:

but I hope that where we agree, we can work together. That said, as long as you're focusing on animal rights, I'm for you.

 

Elizabeth Collins:

i meant why NOT spend money on housing them

 

Bruce Friedrich:

Please also, for a fuller discussion of my thoughts on advocacy, check out my essay on the topic, http://www.goveg.com/effectiveAdvocacy.asp

 

Thanks very much everyone. If you have lingering questions, feel free to shoot me an email at BruceF@peta.org. Thanks Carolyn and Jamie for hosting.

 

Caroline Raward:

Thank you bruce!!

 

Jamie Rivet:

Thank you so much for your time today Bruce and my apologies for some of the behaviour of ARZ folks. I hope you will come back for another chat because I would really like that.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks Bruce, although we differ greatly on many issues, you've been a good sport, thanks again for your time and patience!

 

Bruce Friedrich:

And thanks everyone else for turning up. I think these discussions are great. DONE

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Talk soon Bruce, thanks again!

 

Jamie Rivet:

HA yes you are done!

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Bye

 

Caitlin:

Thanks for your time Bruce. I enjoyed it~

 

Veronika Kelemenova:

Bye

 

Jamie Rivet:

thanks Bruce you rocked it big time

 

Bruce Friedrich:

Thanks. Me too.

 

Elizabeth Collins:

Thank you for coming Bruce. Goodbye. Please promote veganism :-)

 

Animalfriend331:

Thanks for your time Bruce.

 

William Paul:

Yes, promote Veganism.


Caroline Raward:

Thank you so much bruce! : )

 

Veronika Kelemenova:

thank you bruce and keep up your good work!

 

Sam Tucker:

promote veganism!

 

Vera Regina Cristofani:

veganism is the right thing to promote Bruce

 

Angela Dillon:

Thanks.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks Laura!

 

Jamie Rivet:

ya bruce, do something useful like make a freakin video about factory farming or something!

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Please feel free to stay around everyone and discuss things.

 

Jamie Rivet:

that was sarcasm, yes

 

Bruce Friedrich:

Thanks everyone. Check out GoVeg.com, the most popular vegan site in the world, and www.Meat.org for our new Paul McCartney vegan video and www.MeetYourMeat.org , a vegan video that was seen more than a million times last year. Okay, now I'm really DONE.

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Comment by Brandon Becker on February 8, 2010 at 23:38
Thanks for sharing that fitting quote from Gary Francione, Trisha. The animal rights movement needs to unequivocally oppose speciesism, rather than continue to reinforce it. Activists are being co-opted and managed by industry through the large establishment organizations. We must be abolitionists, not reformists, if we ever hope to win justice for nonhuman animals.

"The relationship between abolitionists and enslavers must be adversarial, as it was with regard to African-American enslavement." - Joan Dunayer (Speciesism, pg. 69)
Comment by Richard McMahan on February 8, 2010 at 23:27
I am nearing my 60'th year.I have witnessed the fight over all the afor mentioned "isims". I have feared being called a "isimist" in the past, and I fear it even now. My compliments.
Comment by Richard McMahan on February 8, 2010 at 12:54
I agree Ward, I'm not sure of the number of "hits" PETA gets, vs converts. But turning heads in your direction is a must. Abolutionist turn few.
Comment by Richard McMahan on February 8, 2010 at 10:36
I am pleased to hear of the work that will be done for our shared cause. But, tell me... who will know?
Comment by Tucker on February 8, 2010 at 1:23
I agree with Thomas and Trisha. I don't feel my question was fully addressed and I have plenty to say as a comeback but I suppose the format of the chat makes it difficult to fully explore any issue.
Comment by Richard McMahan on February 7, 2010 at 23:48
I did demo's for years. Of course, getting the press to pay attention was always difficult. One had to use a little showmanship to hold there gaze. For this reason, I'm sympathetic to PETA's controversial efforts.
Comment by Thomas Janak on February 7, 2010 at 23:46
He never fully answered my question whether or not he personally think that animals have a soul. I take my answer from him not answering
Comment by Tucker on February 7, 2010 at 21:04
Thanks for asking my question.

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