Fighting for animal liberation and an end to speciesism
Recently, I became deeply concerned about an event that came to my attention, the “World Animal Day” held at Edgar’s Mission in Australia.
Concerned enough to engage in a 100-comment thread discussion with Australians on it and post a blog here? Yes. Continue reading to see why.
Some sanctuaries treat all under their care with full respect and engender this respect at all times, thereby being great places vegans should support. However, the sad reality is that the rescues they are performing only treat the symptom, animals needing rescue, of the disease, speciesism. The message they send about respect and veganism (ending speciesism) is the key to their long-term advocacy. Unfortunately, Edgar’s is not a sanctuary that engenders respect for animals and treats all under their care with full respect at all times; quite the contrary. If we, as vegans, support places with non-vegan ethics, especially ones that are holding events under the guise of animal advocacy, we are doing a huge disservice to the animals being exploited and the movement as a whole.
The World Animal Day at Edgar’s had:
(1) A guest of honor that specializes in breaking horses of their wild spirit to not have humans on their back and the subsequent training of these spirit-broken horses to be used for human purposes. The guest is especially proud of his special talent: breaking and training horses taken from the wild ("brumbies" in Australian) (link to images of him breaking spirits and his special pride in breaking brumbies),
(2) An "ethical" egg relay game (apparently now using fake eggs), and cow feces throwing competitions, and
(3) A dog agility course.
Perhaps those that are familiar with Edgar’s were not that surprised with these events, due to the fact that they are coordinated by the owner, who is a long time horse-rider, equestrian event competitor, and horse-trainer that trains riders for, and judges at, equestrian competitions (a link, another link, last link).
These special events at Edgar’s, and the regular events there, like training horses for competitions and to serve other human ends, promote disrespect for animals and promote using animals to serve human purposes (speciesism). We vote and shape society with every dollar we spend and business or non-profit we support. It is the very core of veganism to not support anything that promotes speciesism. [Some might call this vegan philosophy ‘abolitionism.’ I don’t like to use this term much, and when I do, I only use it in its pure form and not as defined by any one commentator on the philosophy (see this post for further explanation of my feelings on this)]. When you support speciesism, you prolong it and perpetuate it. Would a human slavery abolitionist support a place that had someone come and talk about breaking slaves of their tremendous spirit to not be slaves, much less one that also specialized in breaking the wildest slaves and had a website full of pictures documenting these horrific breakings, including standing triumphantly on the back of the “finally broken” slave? Would they support a place that had a slave agility course competition or had a slave chain toss competition? Of course not, nor would they justify supporting such a place because it does, after all, have a few rescued slaves living under their care in relatively good conditions for slaves. If people withdraw support from Edgar’s, they will have to change to a vegan ethic or be supplanted (or outdone) by the truly respectful vegan sanctuaries; true progress for veganism and ending speciesism.
I am sure many that work to support Edgar's have the best of intentions, but facts are facts and many people like myself feel that the guest highlighted there, the events held there, and the owner's regular treatment of horses, foster a disrespect for animals and confuse the animal advocacy message by saying these things are acceptable within animal advocacy.
What is respect and veganism if it is not withdrawing your support in every way possible from those that are exploiting and engendering disrespect for animals? I don’t think we should be supporting anyone that does any of these things to animals, regardless of the good that they do. Animal Rights and Veganism are not about balancing the bad and good, they are about full respect for ALL animals at ALL times, and engendering such to other people at ALL times.
[I sincerely hope that Edgar’s Mission reconsiders the speciesism they are supporting and engendering with their guests, events, and trainings. In hope
that they will reconsider, I have contacted them with these concerns.]
[my blog is found on the internet at http://aveganvision.blogspot.com/]
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