Animal Rights Zone

Fighting for animal liberation and an end to speciesism

Transcript of ARZone Member's Workshop 30 April 2011

Transcript of Live ARZone Member's Workshop

30 April 2011 at:

6pm US Eastern

11pm UK and

1 May 2011 at:

8am Australian Eastern Standard Time


Carolyn Bailey:

ARZone is pleased to present the third in our series of Member Workshops.

 

ARZone aims to host Member’s Workshops as an opportunity to involve all members in a conversation about issues and opinions raised in previous Guest Q&A sessions, in order to think critically about those questions and answers, to involve all members in open dialogue, to explore certain issues more fully, and to consider the ways we can all become more informed and better advocates for other animals.

 

The proposed topic for today’s session is “Rights vs. Welfare - What do we owe to all other animals?”

 

Thank you for joining us today to share your thoughts on what “animal rights” means to you, what you think we must do with respect to other animals and how important philosophy and theory are to you.

 

Please feel free to add comment at any time today. We encourage free and open dialogue from all members.

 

We’d like to begin today by focusing on topics from some of our previous guest chats, beginning with Dave Pearce’s chat in which he said, when defining the philosophy of an indirect utilitarian, “You can have all the “rights” in the world, but if you’re a human or non-human animal in agony or despair, these rights are worthless. Ultimately it’s well-being that counts. That’s why I’m a utilitarian.”

 

Would anyone like to begin discussing this topic?

 

Roger Yates:

Hi people - since I singled out this issue and commented on it, maybe I should begin?

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Please do, Roger

 

Roger Yates:

In the comments on David's transcript I wrote:

 

David made this intriguing statement at the end of his first answer:

 

“However, one shouldn’t gloss over the differences between utilitarian and rights based approaches altogether. You can have all the “rights” in the world, but if you’re a human or non-human animal in agony or despair, these rights are worthless.  Ultimately it’s well-being that counts.  That’s why I’m a utilitarian.”

 

My initial reaction to this is that it rather misses the point. Even if we judge rights as protective fences and walls, we nevertheless rely on individual’s rights to be respected. The case for animal rights suggests reasons why we should respect  animal rights, including the rights of human and nonhuman sentients. The idea, it seems to me, is to gain societal respect for rights in order that sentient beings are not deliberately placed into positions of agony and despair by moral agents.

 

David suggests that it is well-being that counts the most – however, just as it is possible to disrespect another’s rights, it is equally possible to not care less about another’s well-being, or at least (here comes animal welfare) be prepared to override aspects of someone else’s well-being in order to gain some benefit from so doing.

 

David replied...”Roger, would you argue that a rights-based approach leads to greater overall welfare for human and non-human sentients? [even though it sometimes conflicts with "direct" utilitarian policies]” and, I'm afraid I have not gotten around to reply to that as yet! 

 

Pablo Fernández-Beri:

In my opinion, if we are in an animal RIGHTS group, we owe ourselves (and, of course, nonhuman animals) knowing basic concepts of what a right is just because nonhuman slavery is legal, it doesn't mean we should regard their interests as  being merely "well-being", whereas for human animals, as they're slave owners, they deserve not to be considered means to somebody else's ends.

 

Tim Gier:

We can't very well respect the rights of others without first considering their well-being from their perspective, can we?

 

Pablo Fernández-Beri:

hi, Tim... is their perspective different because they're slaves?

 

Tim Gier:

Pablo, I agree with your point, which is, I take it, that we ought not to focus solely on well-being as if we assume that's all we can do because other animals are not free.

 

Pablo Fernández-Beri:

Got it, Tim. How can I have the right to well-being when I'm a "commodity" i.e. I belong to someone else, an owner, who will use me as they think suitable ?

 

Pearl Lotus:

Self-determination - liberty/freedom to pursue their own interests.. and life of course, .. as we would/do wish for ourselves..

 

David Pearce:

What about the right to well-being? This strikes me as basic to any civilised society - and promises to collapse the welfare versus rights dichotomy.

 

Roger Yates:

Hi David. The right to well-being is a form of right to welfare, isn't it? The problem there is that the fundamental right is being violated. A right not to be used.

 

Tim Gier:

I would argue that even if others fare badly, if they do so because of choices they freely make, then that is their right. What looks like "well-being" to me might not be the same thing to you.

 

Pablo Fernández-Beri:

In order to have "secondary" rights e.g. the right to education, home, well-being, etc. you have to be a person

 

Lisa Viger:

David, how are we to determine what provides "well-being" to another? We usually cause a great deal of grief in trying to do that, for anyone. It's also kind of an arrogant position. I think rights boil down to the right to be left alone.

 

Pablo Fernández-Beri:

I agree, Tim, "well-being" is too vague a term, it's extremely subjective in my opinion

good point, Lisa!

 

David Pearce:

Living life above "hedonic zero" might be one crude definition. Factory farmed non humans spend almost their whole lives below hedonic zero yes, well-being is more complicated but this is quite basic.

 

Pablo Fernández-Beri:

How would you define that concept, David?

 

David Pearce:

By "hedonic zero" I simply mean neutral, neither happy or sad. Of course for more complex creatures flourishing can be more complex too but this strikes me as the minimum we should be aiming for

 

Lisa Viger:

I agree, David. But other animals have the right to live their own lives. Free even of my attempts to make it better, or make their lives what I think they should be.  Of course, free also of factory or any other kind of farming or confining or exploitation.

 

David Pearce:

A dilemma...sometimes we override the interests of a 5 year old (or indeed 12 year old) human because we feel they don't understand their own best interests (e.g in cases of anorexia.) Non-human animals mostly won't have the cognitive sophistication of a 12 year old or in many cases a 5 year old. Don't they need our help and support sometimes? Of course at other times the kindest thing we can do is leave them in peace.

 

Pablo Fernández-Beri:

Nature self-regulates... the human race is the only one that enslaves.

 

Lisa Viger:

Animals don't have the cognitive sophistication of a human 12 yo, that's true. But they do have the cognitive sohphistication appropriate for whatever animal and age they are.

 

David Pearce:

But doesn't self-regulation take the form of starvation, disease, predation etc...

 

Lisa Viger:

It just seems to me that they know much better than I what's best for them and their offspring.

 

Sadia Rajput:

Agreeing with Lisa

 

Pablo Fernández-Beri:

No one is denying individual help

 

David Pearce:

is this the experience of ARZone members who have rescued abandoned dogs etc? Vets are needed, even though sadly they don't merely serve the interests of nonhumans in our society.

 

Tim Gier:

I agree with you David, there must be some situations in which we would be right to intercede in the lives of nonhumans when ddoing so would be to their obvious benefit.

 

Pablo Fernández-Beri:

We're talking about institutional reforms, aren't we?

 

Lisa Viger:

But dogs have already been kept and confined ,... that's necessary for them to be abandonded. Coyotes are never "abandonded." And we rarely are in the position to need to rescue them.


Tim Gier:

I am less sure about our ability to alter others at the genetic level with anything close to success, however. I'm not even sure we could know what success would look like.


Barbara DeGrande:

....and success by whose definition?

 

David Pearce:

For example contraception, immunization without both, starvation and disease will be likely

 

Lisa Viger:

But we usually assume that invasive procedures like contraception and immunization need informed consent to be ethical.

 

Pablo Fernández-Beri:

Dogs can re-adapt to wildlife, they just need a proper place, free of their worst predator i.e. humans

 

Maynard S. Clark:

How do we just ASSERT 'rights' (of any kind) into being?

 

Cinnamon Landman:

I think we're imposing definitions based on speciesism: in the wild, e.g. Africa, we can't belittle their "sophistication" to be comparable to a child's. They can probably survive better than we could--even young animals. But in our "concrete jungle, they seem to need us more.  They have to rally against the impostitions we've set for them to survive.

 

Maynard S.Clark

I would like to explicitly draw parallels with human rights and ethical issues around the use of humans and the presumed obligations to help others, including the so-called 'rule of rescue' in humanitarian interventions, priorities, allocation of limited/scarce resources (including time, energy, attention) Not everyone believes that vaccinating others against their will is always ethical... and there are needs to state objections in the mot principled ways, even when it's held that nonvaccination risks the well-being of the general public. I object powerfully to the ingredients and production methods of vaccines

 

Lisa Viger:

So how do we impose on others like that, without trampling their rights as we do it? Whenever we have sterilized and vaccinated humans without consent, we think that's quite unethical.

 

Roger Yates:

David - would your starvation example include human animals? Should be spay and neuter those in "the third world"?

 

Pablo Fernández-Beri:

Good one, Roger! ;-D I often hear comments of the sort around here sadly, many people mean it!

 

Cinnamon Landman:

I just read a study today, that dogs being re-vaccinated had distressed immune systems. But most U.S. laws force us to give rabies vaccines every one, or at least 3, years. Now they get it in the back leg, so the leg can be removed in the case of a site carcinoma--unlike getting the shot in the back of the neck!

 

Lisa Viger:

I've always looked at animal rights as respecting the bodily integrity of other animals, which might rule out vaccines etc. I do minimally vaccinate my cats and dogs. They had no choice in being in my care.

 

Cinnamon Landman:

The bodily integrity of animals, including humans, is overridden by big pharma.

 

Pablo Fernández-Beri:

True, species have existed and evolved for millions of years without vaccination or other human-created methods

 

Tim Gier:

There are always going to be cases where we will have no choice but to override the rights of some. We would quarantine two humans who would be the carriers of thyphoid fever in order to protect the lives of everyone else living in New York City.

 

Lisa Viger:

That's true, Tim. But when does too much "overriding of rights" become too much?

 

Pablo Fernández-Beri:

Those are exceptions, Tim, "lifeboats" ;-D

 

Tim Gier:

When we routinely override the rights of others for arbitrary reasons, I'd say.

 

Lisa Viger:

People can use the "greater good" arguments for everything, including eating animals.

 

Maynard S. Clark:

But are "greater good" arguments for meat-eating valid?  I'd think not - in 2011 - and perhaps never

 

Lisa Viger:

Are there any ethical absolutes? Or are we just doing the best we can in whatever situation arises?

 

Pablo Fernández-Beri:

I go for "never"... taste vs integrity (life included)... that's not a "greater good" argument

 

Maynard S. Clark:

Well, survival, and survival of carnivores (not us)

 

Pablo Fernández-Beri:

agree


Tim Gier:

Lifeboat situations can help us understand how we ought to act most of the time, because there are no absolutes.

 

Lisa Viger:

Maynard, but the GG arguments for meat eating are valid to those using them. Just like the GG arguments are valid for the typhoid carriers we wish to quarantine.

 

Tim Gier:

Lisa, in the case of quarantine, it isn't a matter of preference, it is a matter of life and death. I don't know that anyone can seriously make the claim that eating other animals rises to that level

 

Cinnamon Landman:

There's a difference between "greater good" and "greater want."


Maynard S. Clark:

I have little problem with quarantines for all kinds of risk-bearers - but one needs to be wary of violating rights without valid reasons.

 

BTW, last week's presentation was wonderful, I thought.


It is 2011, but in 1400, or earlier, many thought so, based on observation alone

 

Tim Gier:

That won't stop them from making such claims, of course, but whether they are justified in doing so and whether we have to take them seriously is another matter.

 

Lisa Viger:

I agree Tim. And there are no absolutes. Which is what makes it so hard :-)

 

Pablo Fernández-Beri:

there are no absolutes, but those absolutes go beyond species e.g. cases of self defense... does it matter if the offender is a bear, human, spider, tiger or lion?

 

Tim Gier:

It wouldn't matter to me who was attacking either of my daughters, I would try to stop them whoever they were by whatever means necessary.

 

Maynard S. Clark:

Or sons, or neighbors, or co-workers, etc.

 

Pablo Fernández-Beri:

Of course, that's why there are exceptions

 

Lisa Viger:

Oh, sure. I understand that totally, Tim!

 

Pearl Lotus:

David, will starvation and disease actually be likely. Maybe we've lost sight of how nature replete with rich diversity of species thrives. Any scarcity and disease is a result of monocultures, destruction of habitat for grazing and other feed, Cite from http://classic-web.archive.org/web/20071108205328/www.wasteofthewest.com/Chapter3.html

One of the most useful and informative descriptions of the early West was that of Meriweather Lewis and William Clark on their famous expedition across the northern Midwest, Rockies, and Pacific Northwest from 1804 to 1806 (Thwaites 1959).

 

Cinnamon Landman:

The subject of self-defense almost brings us back full circle: an animal in a lab wants to protect himself, but doesn't have the means to do so.  He doesn't have that free will.

 

Pearl Lotus:

Their descriptions of the unconquered West are of a world we can scarcely imagine: landscapes filled with wildlife; great diversities of lush vegetation; highly productive, free-flowing rivers, creeks, and springs; abundant, dark, fertile soil; unaltered, unimpeded fire and other natural processes. Of the Montana plains, one excerpt from Clark reads, "we observe in every direction Buffalow, Elk Antelopes & Mule Deer inumerable and so jintle that we could approach them near with great ease." Why harsh? Maybe to us fragile humans, surely not to indiginous well adapted animals.. they were thriving, after all.

 

Lisa Viger:

Right, Pearl ... but there were surely quite harsh conditions for many animals and L & C were "taking inventory" for future use more than anything.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

All of today's topics are linked in regards to "Welfare vs. Rights", so if we could move on to the next topic, it would be great. Tim, would you like to introduce the next topic for discussion, please? Please all, continue to speak freely.

 

Tim Gier:

Carol Adams considers what ‘rights’ mean to those who happen not to be privileged white males and whether ‘rights’ are up to the task of actually protecting those who have been systematically marginalized. She says: “So, as a radical feminist I am not convinced that we can just take rights, add women (or animals) and stir. The problem is more extensive and problematic than that. ”What do you all think? Is the concept of rights inherently sexist or patriarchal?

 

Sadia Rajput:

Patriarchal in my opinion.

 

Tim Marshall:

I don't know if the rights paradigm itself is doing any damage to the advancement of feminism - it may not be one of the root causes. What is the function of rights in the animal context? I'd say as both a standard and an indicator an indicator that something should be afforded to a group based on a capacity they have (sentience in this case)  and a new standard we expect in developing societies rights almost indicate that something has been accepted as common philosophy I think.

 

Lisa Viger:

Interesting question. Welfare seems patriarchal to me ... but not rights.

 

Pablo Fernández-Beri:

Although sexism, homophobia and racism exists, all humans should have at least the basic right not to be considered merely as a means to an end, shouldn't they?

 

Cinnamon Landman:

For something to be "afforded" to a group, is there not someone, or some group, being the benevolent donor of these rights?


Tim Marshall:

They aren't a confirmation that the need or entitlement of the receiver has actually been met and that prejudice has been eradicated as perhaps Carol is suggesting society I suppose Cinnamon

 

Cinnamon Landman:

But is that society at large, Tim--or the segment of society that actually has the rights already?

 

Pearl Lotus:

A right or a freedom? At any rate an assumed right.

 

 

Roger Yates:

Hi Cinnamon - I have always been wary - and opposed - to the idea that we "give out" rights as though they are gifts.


Cinnamon Landman:

I agree, Roger.  That was kind of my point.

 

Maynard S. Clark:

Are freedom and other rights distributed throughout a 'society' in ways that limit any unlimited expression of those rights?

 

Tim Marshall:

I see that as more obeying or making our future moves and developments in accordance with the rights, all our policies, laws, documents

 

Lisa Viger:

I agree Cinnamon. Here's how I look at it, though. Rights are inherent. The dominant group can choose to *take away* rights ... but because they are inherent, they can never "grant" those rights ... only decide to stop infringing on them.

 

Roger Yates:

Yes. Through rational discourse we socially construct rights - then it is a question of whether they are respected or not.

 

Cinnamon Landman:

Perhaps we can compare "rights" with "laws"--necessary for smooth transit through society. But then do we enter the realm of democracy, with voting and major groups making the laws?  And are the minor groups necessarily forced to obey the majority? And are animals, or females, somehow in the minority and thus bereft of making their own choices for how they exist?

 

Tim Gier:

I think of rights as a phenomena co-emergent with society. Neither could exist without the other.


Roger Yates:

I think we are into the difference between moral and legal rights. Law can be the codification of moral rights thinking.

 

Tim Gier:

As I see it, any being who is alive, knows that they are alive, prefers to stay alive and acts in ways to stay alive is thereby asserting a claim that they have as much right as any other to be left alone so that they can stay alive.

 

Barbara DeGrande:

How do laws make for smooth transit? When in the US I could be locked up indefinitely and tortured, and could be arrested as a terrorist for being an activist, and not allowed to show the reality of factory farms? Laws are not always just.

 

Cinnamon Landman:

Oh, I agree, Barbara.Our legal system is so imperfect.  And those of us who want to protect animals, on factory farms or elsewhere, are bound by laws, constantly being made, to keep us from interfering with the interests of those making money from animals.

 

Although our numbers are growing, animal activists are still in the minority.  And even among this group, there are too many self-proclaimed animal welfarists, who have goals not directly related to helping animals. I'm thinking, in particular, of many things I've been reading about the HSUS, and what they do with all the money they receive. I read today, that only 1% goes to shelters that directly serve animals. But they take it upon themselves to seize animals, and from what I've read, they'll kill them even if rescue groups offer to take them and find homes. I can't get into Wayne Pacelle's mind, or soul, but his organization is against the ownership of pets (animals have rights not to be "owned"). This is the ultimate right, as they seem to see it. But they thus deny the right to life for the animals.

 

Tim Gier:

Cinnamon, are you sure that HSUS is opposed to the private ownership of "pets"?

 

Cinnamon Landman:

Again, this is info I just read. I'm not psychic. But supposedly, Pacelle stated as much on one of his blogs. I want to check, but just read this a couple of hours ago.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Cinnamon, I wonder if you could give an example of who you refer to as “welfarists who have goals not directly related to helping other animals”, please?

 

Cinnamon Landman:

I was actually referring to HSUS and PETA, who (again, from what I've been reading), use most of their money for advertising to get more money.  Supposedly they came to New Orleans--HSUS, that is--spent a few weeks there, and left with a lot of donations, but other groups stayed for months to keep helping the animals.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks, Cinnamon.

 

Pearl Lotus:

this just in:

Subject: [AR-News] (US/or) Humane Society wants to give chickens more room [NEWSBLAST]SALEM — The future of Oregon’s egg industry could soon be in the hands of Oregon voters


The Humane Society of the United States filed a petition with the Oregon Secretary of State April 25 for a ballot initiative it is calling the “Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act.” In it, the society is asking voters to require farmers give egg-laying hens room to fully extend their wings, a requirement of at least116 square inches of floor space per bird. If passed, the new standard would take effect Jan. 1, 2019. Full Story: http://www.eastoregonian.com/news/humane-society-wants-to-give-chic...

 

Cinnamon Landman:

Yes, Pearl, I've read in No-Kill blogs, that HSUS garners a lot of attention by getting into these legal frays, and indeed, some of what they publicize is helpful for animals. But it's still minor, as far as the time and energy and money they expend

 

Tim Gier:

As advocates, should we spend our time actively working against or criticizing these kinds of initiatives or should we ignore them and spend our time talking about veganism?

 

Carolyn Bailey:

I think these issues are incredibly important, and deserving of our time!

 

Pablo Fernández-Beri:

I go for the last option, Tim


Lisa Viger:

I tend to focus on veganism.

 

Tim Gier:

Me too, Pablo. I also don't want to be in the position of claiming that people like Wayne Pacelle and Nathan Runkle (Mercy for Animals) don't care about other animals.

 

Pablo Fernández-Beri:

If I'm against something I won't waste time trying to make it more acceptable for the general public.

 

Cinnamon Landman:

Are we talking about veganism as a discussion for this group, or as a general focus for society at large?

 

Tim Gier:

As a general focus for society at large

 

Cinnamon Landman:

I would guess that most of us here, are ethical vegans. But for society at large, many are vegan, or vegetarian, for their own health reasons. This isn't bad, I suppose, but it's easier to slip out of it philosophically, and eat meat or animal products, if you're not into it for ethical reasons.

 

Maynard S. Clark:

Working on the food issue by moving us all effectively toward veganism does more, I think, for all animals in the long-run

ALL = all humans, and if cloned meat, all persons.

 

RIGHTS OBLIGATES EVERYONE

 

Otherwise, it's not 'rights'

 

"It's not about them, it's about us "OR" it's not about us, it's about them"?

 

Lisa Viger:

That's true Cinnamon, but someone who's a health vegan already knows they can do it and just need to be made aware of the argument for ethical veganism.

 

Cinnamon Landman:

Not sure what you mean, Maynard, that Rights Obligates Everyone.

Yes, Lisa, but their choice is founded on a different premise.

 

Lisa Viger:

Of course, but I think it makes them open to the idea ... and they just need a little encouragement :-)

 

Cinnamon Landman:

These days, there are plenty of resources for knowing about the arguments for ethical  veganism. Lisa Ling, on Oprah Winfrey, showed a segment on the slaughterhouses.  She couldn't even look at some of it herself.  But she said she'll keep eating meat.

 

Tim Gier:

Cinnamon, that’s the sort of cognitive dissonance which I just can't understand.

 

Cinnamon Landman:

I'd say the same, but that's exactly what cognitive dissonance is, Tim.

 

Barbara DeGrande:

But she was part of the sanitization process herself and may have it internalized.

 

Tim Gier:

I must say, of course, that I suffered from the same disorder myself for years. It is troubling to me that I knew and still turned away.

 

Cinnamon Landman:

I wrote a paper that used just that concept as the intro, Tim.

 

Tim Gier:

I'd love to read it!

 

Cinnamon Landman:

I guess we just have to be "ready" for it. Thank you Tim. It's very long. I had to take a bio course to get my Liberal Arts degree, so I took an independent study, and called it "Man's Treatment of Animals as a Manifestation of Moral Pollution." Luckily, the prof. accepted it as an ecology subject. Of course, I couldn't take any regular bio classes, and had taken 18 hours of earth science! I spent a year on a paper that should have taken weeks. Had 100 footnotes, and did a lot of reading and a lot of crying.

 

Tim Gier:

Wow, that's amazing. It's a shame that you had to go through so much, but it is to your credit that you did.

 

Cinnamon Landman:

I didn't have to; just OCD, I guess. Once I started, there was so much material, so much disturbing stuff, and it all seemed so important. Well, it was important. Prof. gave me 100+, by the way.

 

Tim Gier:

In order to keep things on track time-wise, I'm going to bring up the next topic. Dan Cudahy makes the essential argument (from the Abolitionist Approach) against reforms of the current systems of exploitation (i.e. “protection”) saying: “Our ‘protection’ has *only* two purposes:

 

1) to use the animal in the most cost effective way and;

 

2) to make consumers feel better about exploitation and killing.” Is this view the correct one? So, is it true that "welfare reforms" must make it possible for the producers to use animals more efficiently and make people feel better about exploitation?

 

Lisa Viger:

I'd have to agree with Dan. Maybe that's not the purpose or intention at the outset, but it seems to be very often the end result.


Barbara DeGrande:

Look at the increase in consumption of animal products due to "humane" products....

 

Cinnamon Landman:

Actually, go back to that reference about HSUS wanting the hens to have more space.  Sure, that's what it is. Consumers can keep eating eggs, making hens live their lives in cages, and "believe" that things will be better for the hens. Call it cognitive dissonance, or call it bull----.

 

Barbara DeGrande:

Most people have no idea that "free range" hens still live in closed sheds that are filled wiht toxic levels of ammonia....it is deceptive.

 

Cinnamon Landman:

I was just about to say that, Barbara.


Barbara DeGrande:

:-)

 

Are there occasions, though, when such campaigns have had meaningful positive changes?

 

Lisa Viger:

The good news is that people generally have an honest desire to be humane, that's why "humane" animal products do well. And we can use that desire to turn them vegan.

 

Cinnamon Landman:  

It depends, perhaps, on meaningful for whom? The hens are still prisoners of war, so to speak.  And while some slaughterhouses brag about their sensitivity to the animals, the animals are still killed for their meat. And the majority of slaughter- houses are not humane.

 

Maynard S. Clark:

Years ago, in Boston, an animal advocacy group in which I was actively involved, put a Humane Farm Animals Referendum on the Mass. ballot. In researching it, Steve Ronan (Cambridge, MA) visited Wilson's Farms in Lexington to see their 'free range chickens' he couldn't get in, and he was stonewalled. The owners who can take you to the free range chickens (all eggs were marked 'free range') are out until this afternoon. Steve waited.  Finally, they arrived. They took him upstairs to the second floor of a 2-story building to see chickens cooped up in cages. What makes them 'free-range', he asked?  We let them out occasionally, he was told. Inside the building - the 2nd floor of the building the 1st floor was the store - organic produce, eggs, etc. The Referendum lost 73-27% because the Farm Bureau sent money into Mass. to fight the bill  in the 1980s, I think  but ideas take a very long time to develop in the public's minds.

 

Cinnamon Landman:

But the point, for us, would be that we want to decrease, or eliminate, the use of nonhuman animals.

 

Tim Gier:

I do not believe that there is any empirical evidence that "welfare reforms" have resulted in any increase of the use or consumption of nonhuman animals. Francione himself admits as much.

 

I also don't believe that there's any evidence that overall use or consumption of other animals increases as a result of the availability of so-called "humane" alternatives.

 

Yes, that's the point Cinnamon, but we ought to talk about what we can actually know, not what we feel or think based on intuition.

 

Pablo Fernández-Beri:

How can you measure whether someone purchases an animal or non-animal product based on how they think animals are treated? It's institutions we're talking about here, regulating exploitation when we understand exploitation negative in any case?

 

Tim Gier:

I don't know that we can measure it Pablo, so we ought not to make claims as if we have.

 

Cinnamon Landman:

If we talk only about what we can actually know, how can we talk about animal welfare and suffering at all?


Barbara  DeGrande:

They have done research on these topics. There has been a lot of people mentioning, on media and forums, that they eat meat again due to humane products.

 

Christina Louise:

Some people need to see the ugliness. There's an amazing film that exposes the stark and disturbing differences between welfare and rights. Has everyone heard of "Bold Native"? Mind-blowing. It's on DVD now: http://boldnative.com/store/

 

Pablo Fernández-Beri:

Also, the Abolitionist Approach videos.

 

Barbara  DeGrande:

Some people turn to veganism after watching Earthlings. But most people are unwilling to look at the horror of it all. They instinctively turn away. How do we reach them?

 

Tim Gier:

That's an excellent question Barbara, and an essential one.

 

I don't support regulating exploitation, or meaningless reforms of it. I just don't want to make claims about empirical matters which can't be supported by the data.


Pablo Fernández-Beri:

http://www.abolitionistapproach.com/media/slides/theory3.html

As an educator I understand there's "a way" for each one. The key question is to find that "way",that's the "creative" element, it should be added by each activist, I think that's what makes it interesting, adding instead of limiting options


Maynard S. Clark:

I think we need to do public policy with empirical evidence bases; animal interests will increasingly permeate ethics and professional policy deliberations as we more broadly begin to understand nonhumans as deciding sensing beings parallel with us.

 

Tim Gier:I

Agree Maynard, and I also agree with you Pablo.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Barbara, you mentioned there had been research based on people who return to eating animals due to "humane" products. Do you have any information on that? I agree that this happens, but I'd love to be able to support this with some data.

 

Barbara DeGrande:

Here is some research that indicates consumers are willing to pay more for humane products.  http://www.humaneresearch.org/taxonomy/term/68

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks, Barb!

 

Pablo Fernández-Beri:

There are plenty of pro-slavery blogs and personal sites mentioning it, Carolyn


Barbara DeGrande:

Whole Foods is doing quite well since they added humane certification.

 

Pablo Fernández-Beri:

Just give me a sec, I'll check my "speciesism" bookmarks ;-D

 

Roger Yates:

:-)

 

Carolyn Bailey:

I agree with it, Pablo. I absolutely believe that people are looking for excuses to go back to eating animals. I would love to be able to use facts though


Cinnamon Landman:

Personally, I would no more eat a "humanely" killed animal, than a "humanely" killed human.

 

Pablo Fernández-Beri:

http://letthemeatmeat.com/tagged/Ex-Vegans

 

http://letthemeatmeat.com/tagged/Ex-Vegan_Interviews

 

Carolyn Bailey:

I have seen loads of people stating on forums that they are going to begin eating pigs again because they are more comfortable with their treatment, as one simple example.

 

Thanks, Pablo!

 

Leah:

I see a lot of it, too. It's because vegan education is all over the place. Clear, simple antispeciesist education is needed.

 

Cinnamon Landman:

I think some of us may be innately tuned to the ethics of being vegan. No matter how humanely an animal is treated, it's still having its life taken, without its choice. It isn't "comfortable" for the pig.

Maynard S. Clark:
Or the free range chicken who runs around freely ovulating a FEW eggs, which are gathered? I think veganism goes beyond welfare but ALSO says something about 'optimal human diet' as vegan...

Pablo Fernández-Beri:
http://www.proteinpower.com/drmike/lipid-hypothesis/the-vegetarian-...
http://www.cattlenetwork.com/templates/newsarchive.html?sid=cn&...

Christina Louise:
Yes, I know people who call themselves "animal lovers" who are very comfortable with eating "humane" animal products. The new marketing campaigns are easing peoples' consciences and doing a disservice to the animals.

Carolyn Bailey:
Absolutely, Christina!

Christina Louise:
I know I've already mentioned this, but Bold Native is a great educational tool.

Carolyn Bailey:
I've not seen it, but I hope to

Pablo Fernández-Beri:
I've heard "but they don't kill dairy cows!" (they haven't seen retired ones either... but they keep their faith! ;-D)

Lisa Viger:
People just don't think it through, Pablo.

Carolyn Bailey:
That's true, Pablo. Retired dairy cows are not a common sight

Lisa Viger:
I don't think they're trying to be obtuse. My own mother insists we have to milk cows because otherwise they'll explode.

Pablo Fernández-Beri:
I know, I know, of course I'm patient educating them. I just make the funny comments among vegans! That's an usual comment as well, but also a good one that triggers the calf issue.

Lisa Viger:
Right. In many cases, people really just don't understand and have never taken the time/effort to find out where and how "animal products" come about.

Pearl Lotus:
People are deceived and lulled into complacency by pretty adverts on tv. (Action:  http://www.thepetitionsite.com/2/ban-all-advertizing-of-meat-and-d... ty)

Tim Gier:
Speaking of people not taking the time/effort to know something, here's the last question we wanted to pose as part of tonight's chat: When asked about why PeTA presents the book Animal Liberation by Peter Singer as an “animal rights” book, Bruce Friedrich says: “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.  He wonders whether the 97% of the population who see nothing wrong with our use of other animals for food, clothing, etc. even know or care about the difference between ‘rights’ and ‘welfare’.

What do you think? Are we missing something with talk of rights to those who aren't already animal advocates?

 

Lisa Viger:
I think Bruce has a point there.

Barbara DeGrande:
I was disappointed in Bruce's answer, because if you are a site that educates, you should hopefully aspire to be clear and correct.

Roger Yates:
I adhere to Watson's idea of "ripening up" people to new ideas and, therefore, we should talk to them about animal rights.

 

Carolyn Bailey:
I agree, Roger. I think if we refuse to use words which may confront on at least some level, we're preventing ourselves from moving forward in some ways.

Lisa Viger:
I certainly think an immediate quest for perfection, not only in action but in thought, is going to turn a *lot* of people away from veganism and AR.

Roger Yates:
Who asks for perfection?

 

Lisa Viger:
Roger, I think we do ask for perfection. I know I've felt that from many vegan and AR circles (not here, that's why I like it here).

Cinnamon Landman:
Back in the day, did they talk about slaves' rights initially; or were the original advocates talking about their welfare?  And I don't claim to know.

Barbara DeGrande:
Aren't we trying to change people's perceptions? What Roger said about helping people think about them makes sense to me. As to your question, Cinnamon, there were divisions in that movement as well from what I have read.

Barbara DeGrande:
I agree with you Lisa.

Roger Yates:
I think the focus is on consistency rather than perfection. But I appreciate that there are some who really do believe they are officers in the Vegan Police.

Barbara DeGrande:
I really like that, Roger, about consistency.

Leah:
I agree. I don't think demanding perfection is helpful, but that doesn't mean we have to compromise the message. We shouldn't choose people's imperfections for them.

Carolyn Bailey:
I agree, Leah

Leah:
:-)

Cinnamon Landman:
I was at the health store with a meat-eating friend yesterday, and when she saw some of the things I was buying, she couldn't believe there were so many vegan foods to choose from. When I was younger, I was very confrontational. But I find that I've helped people to give up meat, with more gentle presentations.

Tim Gier:
Perhaps here is one way to talk about other animals without talking about rights which I thought about as a result of a converstation I had about moral anti-realism (of all things): Most animals, nonhuman as well as human, are the sorts of beings who ought not to be purposefully harmed. The breeding, raising, confining, using and killing of nonhuman beings by human beings causes them harm. Therefore, human beings ought to stop breeding, raising, confining, using and killing nonhuman beings.

Cinnamon Landman:
I think Aristotle would like your reasoning, Tim.

Roger Yates:
But Tim - don't people respond to that by saying regulation must have failed because the promise of animal welfarism is non-cruel use.

Cinnamon Landman:
But it's still "use."

Tim Gier:
Maybe they would Roger, but I would contend that killing someone harms them and that any use does as well. I disagree with Richard Ryder that some other animals "want" to work for us.

Roger Yates:
Well, we are full circle - Singer (and Garner) would not agree that death is a harm, would they?

Cinnamon Landman:
What is Ryder's context, Tim?  Some dogs are considered "working" dogs; they love to be active.  Most of us humans are happier when we're working. But not when we're forced to work, i.e. as slaves.

Tim Gier:
Here's a quotation from Ryder's ARZone interview: "A working sheepdog, for example, can seem to me to be very much more fulfilled than a lapdog. Animals need to have a sense of purpose!"

Cinnamon Landman:
I can't imagine disagreeing with that.

Tim Gier:
Yes, Roger, Singer and Garner don't agree that death, per se, is a harm to other animals.

Leah:
I'm sure that's true, Tim... it's just not a reason to breed dogs for our use.

Tim Gier:
But then Roger, you and I disagree with both of them don't we? :-)  I don't know why we should assume that those animals who exhibit the behaviors we've spent thousands of years we've conditioned them to exhibit actually enjoy those behaviors.  

Barbara DeGrande:
The problem is that the animals "purpose" somehow gets intermingled with ours, so maybe we are not in a position to make such a claim.

Tim Gier:
Bingo

Leah:
Tim, usually active dogs are happy. Bored dogs are depressed.

Roger Yates:
There is no such being as a sheepdog.

Carolyn Bailey:
I live with a border collie, and when my son and I play cricket in the backyard, we use Caddy as our fielder, to collect the ball and bring it back to us. Is that wrong?

Roger Yates:
Did Caddy volunteer? Slave driver!

Pearl Lotus:
It's a poor substitution for their own purpose (lives) as they would be in nature. Any and every dog is still at heart a wolf.  .

Tim Gier:
Shades of grey, everywhere I look, I see shades of grey.

Carolyn Bailey:
If Caddy wasn't part of the game she would cry at the door, but we're still using her and she is working for us

Lisa Viger:
Yep, absolutely, shades of grey.

Cinnamon Landman:
How are wolves in nature?  Do they just eat and sleep?

Pearl Lotus:
Very social

Leah:
BTW, I'm not suggesting we use dogs, only that we let them lead active lives with plenty of exercise and interaction. In case that wasn't clear. My point was only that active dogs are usually happier.

Carolyn Bailey:
I agree Leah, absolutely. Bored dogs are always going to be depressed.

Lisa Viger:
Right. And I agree, Leah, dogs need and want to be active.

Cinnamon Landman:
So Caddy is working, and happy, and social!

Carolyn Bailey:
Caddy is very happy, and most happiest when she's working and playing.

Sadia Rajput:
:-)

Leah
:-)

Cinnamon Landman:
Lucky dog. Some poor creatures live their lives on a chain--but that's another story.

Leah:
Or lying depressed in their bed all day...

Carolyn Bailey:
Yeah, that is very sad.

Roger Yates:
Carolyn. Working and playing?

Carolyn Bailey:
Yes, working at chasing the ball can be classed as either working or playing, couldn't it?

Roger Yates:
I don't think so unless she's a professional sports player.

Leah:
I think dogs do like to feel useful. It just should be their choice.

Carolyn Bailey:
She's working for me and Hayden because she's retrieving the ball for us and saving us from doing it, but she is loving it and playing.

Roger Yates:
Is that "working"?

Carolyn Bailey:
It could be classed as working yes, because she is doing a job for us.

Pearl Lotus:
Wolves are social animals [who] live in packs. Wolves have a strict hierarchy and  ... They are very active and play is an integral part of a wolf's life. They often travel long distances and may travel 10 or more miles in a day.

Roger Yates:
Maybe she's retrieving the ball for the sake of the game, as I do when playing football.
She is not doing it for YOU.

Carolyn Bailey:
She's chasing the ball because she loves chasing balls. She would do so all day long if she could. But she is still doing a job for us.

Roger Yates:
No, she's playing ball.

Carolyn Bailey:
No, you're right, she is doing it because she wants to be doing it, but she's still helping me out and saving me from doing it.

Roger Yates:
She does it because you'd be SO slow retrieving yourself?!!

Carolyn Bailey:
My point is that she is happier when she's active. She's a border collie, it's how border collies have been bred. She would also be happy though, if she were working in a different way.

Roger Yates:
Yes, but active and working are very different ideas.

Cinnamon Landman:
If Caddy were reading this, she'd probably be "thinking"--boy, these humans.  They sure can make a big deal out of nothing.

Carolyn Bailey:
Caddy would be happier working than sitting at the front door watching other dogs walk past. Hah, I bet she would too, Cinnamon.

Cinnamon Landman:
:-D
I love writing, and believe I was born to write, because I'm told I write well. So if I write and get paid for it, am I working?  Or am I active?

Carolyn Bailey:
Kinda like a professional sportsperson?

Cinnamon Landman:
Guess so.

Maynard S. Clark:
I would like my love for others to become a mode of engaging productivity, but that thought challenges many, and loving animals is complicated by the animals' inability to do anything financially productive (which leads to the exploitation we protest) If we had no exploitation of animals, I suspect that exploitation would emerge again in the future, even after a lapse.I doubt that all exploitation is legacy or 'systemic' exploitation (injustice). There's 'original' wrongdoing against others (in each generation). Call me a pessimist. Think of cloned animals, etc.  But new possibilities constantly emerge for liberating animals, as David Pearce shared last week.

Tim Gier:
Exploitation of others will always be with us, I fear, Maynard, as evidenced by our inability so far to eliminate human slavery from the globe. My hope for the future is that, just as more people alive todaycompared to say, 200 years ago, realize that human slavery is wrong, we will one day see something close to a vegan world.

Cinnamon Landman:
I'll second that hope, Tim.

Barbara DeGrande:
And many young people as well as us more mature adults do see the need for a change in thinking.

Cinnamon Landman:
I'd guess that a high proportion of vegans these days, as well as animal activists, are actually among the younger generation.

OliVia:
I agree. I'm younger and I'm a vegan activist :-) So there is hope.

Maynard S. Clark:
I would expect perhaps CLOSE-R to a vegan-like world from the perspective (only) of human behavior UNLESS we reform carnivorous animals.

Cinnamon Landman:
I'd guess that most of us are basing the premise of veganism on humans only.  Not sure how we'd "reform" carnivorous animals.  Though I have a friend who once said, Cinnamon, if you were God, this would be a different world. Yes, wolves and cats would all be vegans.

Barbara DeGrande:
and dolphins?

Cinnamon Landman:
Of course, as long as we're wishing!

Tim Gier:
Ethics are concerned with those things we have the power to do, not with those things we have no power to do. I know of no way we could change carnivorous animals, so there is no ethical problem that we don't.

 

Cinnamon Landman:
Right. That was tongue-in-cheek.  But not biting my tongue, since I'm vegan.

Pearl Lotus:
7 year old :-) on this evening's Britain's Got Talent .. with python :/ .. reciting her poem about us stopping harming wild animals http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUeLjNvjz9E | we're not carnivores at least.

Maynard S. Clark:
OH, MY  - OLIVIA AND LUCY THE SNAKE (vut what/who does LUCY eat??)

Pearl Lotus:
What/who she'd eat if she were free, but killed by humans for the "exotic pet" industry, which shouldn't exist.

 

Carolyn Bailey:
I'd like to thank all ARZone members for their thoughtful and insightful contributions today. I think this was a great chat, and we really appreciate the participation from everyone.

Cinnamon Landman:
Thank you for creating this for us, Carolyn. It's great to be interacting with like-minded animal lovers.

Pearl Lotus:
Many thanks.  :-)

OliVia:
Thank you Carolyn!

Tim Gier:
This has been a great chat tonight!

Carolyn Bailey:
You're very welcome! Thanks, everyone!

Lisa Viger:
Thanks so much for the chat, everyone :-) It's always interesting!

Maynard S. Clark:
Thank you, Carolyn, and thank you everyone who participated at any level or in any way.

Leah:
Thanks!

Sadia Rajput:
Many a Thanks! :-)

Brooke Cameron:
Thanks ARZone!

 

Ben Hornby:

Thanks to Kate, Jason and the rest of the ARZone team!

Kate Go Vegan:
Thanks Ben and thank you everyone. :-)



ARZone exists to promote rational discussion about our relations with other animals and about issues within the animal advocacy movement. Please continue the debate after a chat by starting a forum discussion or by making a point under a transcript.

 

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Comment by Lisa V on October 13, 2011 at 14:51
Well, hmm. Looking back at this is interesting. I wish I'd listened rather than jabbering on. I hadn't read  much of David Pearce's work when we had this chat. My comments would be much different now that I'm more familiar with what he does ... (my opinion today would be his is brilliant work and an empathetic position). Live and learn ...

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