Animal Rights Zone

Fighting for animal liberation and an end to speciesism

Transcript of ARZone Workshop ~ Appraising the Value of Direct Action and Single Issue Campaigns

Transcript of ARZone Workshop

Appraising the Value of Direct Action and Single Issue Campaigns

 4 June 2011

6pm US Eastern

11pm UK time and

5 June 2011

8am Australian Eastern Standard Time


 

Carolyn Bailey:

ARZone is pleased to present the next 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 this week’s Workshop is “Appraising the Value of Direct Action and Single Issue Campaigns”.

 

Thank you for joining us today to share your thoughts. We encourage free and open dialogue from all members, so please feel free to add comments at any time today.

 

First up today, we’d like to focus on topics from some of our previous guest chats, beginning with one from Professor Gary Francione, in which he discussed his views about what is wrong and what can be right with single-issue campaigns, stating “I have long been against single-issue campaigns because they encourage the false belief that some forms of exploitation are worse than others.  I am not saying that you should not engage in peaceful demonstrations at a circus or whatever; I am just saying that you ought to be distributing literature and educating people about why ALL animal use is unjustifiable.”

http://animalrightszone.blogspot.com/2011/05/q-can-single-issue-campaigns-sics-or.html


What do you think?

 

Tim Gier:

I don't fully agree with Francione's statement "I have long been against single-issue campaigns because they encourage the false belief that some forms of exploitation are worse than others." For who do they encourage this false belief and how does he know this?

 

Brooke Cameron:

Does Prof. Francione include single issue events with an abolitionist focus?

 

Roger Yates:

What Francione seems to be saying is that the claims-making needs to be about animal use but there is no problem focusing on one form of it sometimes.


Ben Hornby:

So, Prof. Francione supports SOME SICs?

 

Barbara DeGrande:

As long as the overall message that all use in unjust, though there are some people who only protest certain behaviors.

 

Tim Gier:

Francione seems not to trust average people in their ability to remain unconfused.

 

Will:

Yeah but who goes on a circus demo and says that circuses are the only problem?

i agree that we should tell people we are against all animal use.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

I think a lot of people do that, Will.

 

Will:

Really?

 

Alastair Daly:

Some people who protest circuses aren't even vegan.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

I think so, I've been told that focussing on any use other than circus use at a protest is not allowed

I agree, Alastair, and they often don't seem to have an issue with that

 

Tim Gier:

I suppose that when the general public see some people protesting the use of other animals in circuses that they think "There go those animal rights extremists, wanting to take our pets and hamburgers away"

 

Sky:

Some people who protest against vivisection are not vegans either - but are these the people we are talking about?

 

Barbara DeGrande:

We need to help educate people about the links between one form of exploitation and other forms. We have all been taught to compartmentalize.

 

Tim Gier:

I agree with you Barbara, and protesting circues can and should be part of that education.

 

Ben Hornby:

Are these the SICs Prof. Francione was referring to?

 

Roger Yates:

This issue seems to be about contextualisation - are we saying that making general points about opposition to all animal use can "excuse" a focus on a SIC?

 

Tim Gier:

I would say that focus on a SIC can be part of our general opposition to all use of other animals.

 

Sadia:

agree

 

Ben Hornby:

I recall hearing a podcast interview Prof. Francione did with a representative from PAN, I think that was the name of the group, who focus on horse drawn carriages in the US - would that not also be a SIC?

 

Tim Gier:

You're right Ben.

 

Sky:

Francione can be all over the place, can't he?

 

Ben Hornby:

So, he supports SICS sometimes then? I'm confused.

 

Tim Gier:

Francione has always maintained that single-issue campaigns done properly are not a problem. He just doesn't think anyone can do them properly or that they are worth the trouble.

 

Brooke Cameron:

They're not worth the trouble? I disagree. I think if a SIC is done properly, it can be very beneficial.

 

Will:

Let's not make this about Francone anyway - who cares what he says?

 

Barbara DeGrande:

What do you think?

 

Alastair Daly:

He makes a good point, they reinforce people's beliefs that certain forms of exploitation are okay.

 

Jordan Wyatt:

Can I "steer" this towards the latest "huge expose" of the Australian Live Export industry? How do we feel about such "single issue campaigns" as going after "live export" in Australia?

 

Carolyn Bailey:

i think that issue is a very complicated one, Jordan

 

Roger Yates:

Complicated indeed!

 

Carolyn Bailey:

It's been very popular to advocate for the end of live export - of cows - to Indonesia, this week here.

 

Jordan Wyatt:

Brooke, can you give an example of a successful campaign against one issue?

 

Tim Gier:

One would have to define success first

 

Brooke Cameron:

If I were protesting at a circus and I was able to educate one person about veganism and have them leave with information enabling them to consider being vegan, I would call that a success.

 

Jordan Wyatt:

I'd put success as a Vegan world, where all Chicken Friends get five pats a day. Carolyn, do you think anything will really come of it?

 

Carolyn Bailey:

I don't think anything will come out of this week's protests, no.

 

Will:

What do the Australians want to do then?

 

Jordan Wyatt:

I see that NZ breed "special" animals, mainly for "dairy", to export live overseas animals bred "for tropical conditions", we do it to a small extent although its often portrayed as "we dont do Live Export" here, that "those Australians do..." and that we're somehow "moral" for not being like Australia that we're good for killing other animals as we do  Brooke, I think a Vegan campaign *at* a circus would be a good idea too

 

Brooke Cameron:

I think incorporating vegan education with a circus campaign is acceptable

 

Jordan Wyatt:

would that not simply be a Vegan campaign that mentioned Live Export in Australia Tim?

 

Alastair Daly:

I think a vegan campaign is the most important.

If protesting at a circus can get people to go vegan, then do it.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

I agree, Alastair

 

Tim Gier:

I see nothing wrong with campaigning to end the live export of nonhumans out of Australia, but it has to be presented as part of a larger campaign to end all use of nonhumans.

 

Sky:

But what does that mean, Tim?


Barbara DeGrande:

Is it possible to use the outrage during these times to point out that all use is horrific?

 

Jordan Wyatt:

I think so Barbara :-)

 

Carolyn Bailey:

The problem with a lot of the campaigning this week is that it's not been thought through adequately

 

Jordan Wyatt:

I think of it as a grenade, to be jumped on, to take that blast and direct it at Veganism or, unfortunately, "at a Vegan"! :-)

 

Tim Gier:

It means that there is a large segment of the population of Australia incensed about this issue, and rather than telling people that what is happening in Indonesia is no different than what happens everywhere we ought to be tapping into that outrage and using it to connect the dots.

 

Roger Yates:

Going back to Francione (sorry Will), there is a strong supply and demand element to this Australian/Indonesian issue it seems.

 

Will:

Forgiven Roger


Carolyn Bailey:

There is, Roger, very much so

 

Barbara DeGrande:

I don't much like the image of Jordan jumping on grenades.... ...but appreciate the redirection.

 

Alastair Daly:

As Francione has said many times, the people who run the meat industry and other exploitive industries are capitalists. As long as there is demand, they will supply it. Only by campaigning for veganism can they be stopped.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

That;s right, and as long as Indonesia demand live cows, live cows will be exported to them

 

Jordan Wyatt:

Alastair, wouldnt the situation be also true if they were "communists"?

 

Tim Gier:

Capitalists don't just sit back and fill orders. They create markets and they create demand within those markets.

 

Sky:

But Tim, what does "connect the dots" mean?


Barbara DeGrande:

The propaganda from the animal agricultural sector for example, is difficult to overcome. They have a wrap on government subsidies and are allowed to promote untruths. Those untruths become accepted by the macroculture as reality.

 

Alastair Daly:

That's why vegan education is more effective then SICs.

 

Tim Gier:

Single issue campaigns are vegan education

 

Carolyn Bailey:

SICs are not always vegan education though

 

Jordan Wyatt:

Barbara, but NZ has NO subsidies, and we are absolutely... trying not to swear here....world leaders.... for *exporting* dead animals. It’s not a matter of economic system or subsidies, although they get blamed. I think they are a misdirection certainly contributing but lets put it this way, if Live Export, and Subsidies were The Devil then NZ would be a Temple Grandin paradise for animals! as we have neither are we perfect?  living here, I would say its horrible!

 

Barbara DeGrande:

Very true, Jordan, sorry for the skewed American view..

 

Roger Yates:

Interestingly, someone said to me on FB today that it is not only vegan education that creates vegans.


Roger Yates:

This is certainly true in my case.

 

Tim Gier:

If we can't complain about the horrific slaughter of these other animals in Indonesia and can't connect that horror to the need to respect other animals, then we can't educate anyone.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

I think everyone who is aware of the Indonesian case would complain about it - it's horrific

 

Tim Gier:

Typically, we want horrific things to end

 

Carolyn Bailey:

But to campaign for the end of live export to Indonesia isn't going to save any lives as a general matter

 

Alastair Daly:

Well, if you use that case to promote veganism, then surely it's not an SIC anymore?

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Indonesia will still source live cows from elsewhere, even further away. This campaign will cause more suffering, just not to Australian cows. It's more complicated than people are admitting

 

Roger Yates:

I agree with Carolyn.

 

Barbara DeGrande:

Yes.

 

Jordan Wyatt:

I'd reflect it back on my country, Australia is truly like a Big Brother to us, a very close relationship.  We see talk of these issues, what other countries are doing, "oh, its evil" and we see our "work" as better, as just while secretly engaging in small scale "live exporting" of dairy animals from NZ  and if not, lets "live export" a six pack of volunteering Vegans, to promote Veganism in Indonesia! :-)

Carolyn?

 

Carolyn Bailey:

That would save more lives than what's being proposed now, Jordan

 

Roger Yates:

This indonesian situation is a real minefield for animal welfarists because animal welfarism is a minefield in the first place.

 

Tim Gier:

Alastair, then abolitionists ought to be finding ways to incorporate a vegan/anti-speciesist message in a campaign against these sorts of highly public horrors in a way that resonates with the most people possible.

 

Roger Yates:

Regulating animal use is a messy business.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

I think this example shows just how messy it can be

 

Roger Yates:

I guess the issue for "abolitionists" is whether there is vegan education in Indonesia.

 

Sky:

Does anyone know if this issue has been covered in Indonesia as well as Australia?

 

Jordan Wyatt:

Sky, would you think, were it covered in Indonesia, it would be seen as "...another country telling us what to do"?

 

Carolyn Bailey:

That's exactly what would be thought, Jordan.

 

Sky:

Hi Jordan - love the podcast! - no, I was just wondering if the issue of animal slaughter is "an issue" in Indonesia.

 

Jordan Wyatt:

Much like whale killing nations not wanting to drop their "traditions" based on other countries "whining"?

So you're volunteering to move to Indonesia and promote Veganism Carolyn?  I'd love to join you, for a month or so, they have nice Dragonflies!

 

Carolyn Bailey:

I am?

 

Tim Gier:

Does anyone think that it would be better, all things considered, for Australia to keep exporting to Indonesia?

 

Barbara DeGrande:

I would hope not, Tim....

 

Mangus O’Shales:

Better? No

 

Carolyn Bailey:

I don't think it would be "better" to continue sending any animals to Indonesia, Tim. Dead or alive, but there needs to be a sensible solution

 

Sky:

Is it "what are these Australians on about?"

 

Jordan Wyatt:

Do any of us know any Vegan activists in Indonesia?  I'm sure there must be?

 

Carolyn Bailey:

I don't know of any, Jordan

 

Barbara DeGrande:

http://www.i-v-s.org/

Indonesian Vegan Society

 

Jordan Wyatt:

I'm sure you'll meet many once we ship you over Carolyn!

 

Carolyn Bailey:

I look forward to it, Jordan!

 

Jordan Wyatt:

"THE INDONESIAN VEGAN SOCIETY IS CURRENTLY IN ITS IDLE MODE. FEEL FREE TO SET UP A NEW ONE AND START YOUR OWN SOCIETIES/ GROUPS. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK, :-) ! "

I hope it can resume soon!

 

Barbara DeGrande:

We need an IndVSoc!

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Sounds like a job for Jordan

 

Barbara DeGrande:

:-D

 

Jordan Wyatt:

Too hot for me! :-)

But for a Texan? an Australian?

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Hah

 

Jordan Wyatt:

All in favour for shipping Barbara and Carolyn to Indonesia?

 

Carolyn Bailey:

You should go first to get them ready for us, Jordan

 

Susannah:

I post news to the Animal Equality facebook page, and I must admit, I haven't found a clear way of posting and commenting on the Indonesian slaughter whilst giving a clear vegan abolitionist message, so I have refrained from doing so. but is that the best approach?

 

What would be a good way to "use" the tragedy to promote a clear vegan message?

 

Carolyn Bailey:

At the moment, Lyn White from Animals Australia has made it clear that veganism is not the goal. Killing the cows in Australia is the end goal in this case. I don't know how to turn that into a vegan message

 

Jordan Wyatt:

Susannah, I think you should go for it, when a topic is fresh in the mainstream media, Non Vegans are talking about it, grab it with both hands, and move the discussion to Veganism, give yourself the home court advantage :-)


Susannah:

Thanks Jordan. Basically I didn't know how to turn it into a clear vegan message, so didn't post it at all.

 

Jordan Wyatt:

Drop the grenade example, jump on the chance of promoting respect for *all* animals like a Mr Rooster on Falafel! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-sjLbUUtxWg

 

Barbara DeGrande:

Here is one person's attempt:  http://www.facebook.com/notes/alice-springs-vegan-society/horror-slaughter-in-australia-too/220343867990605

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Is that the letter from Jeff Perz, Barb?

 

Barbara DeGrande:

Yes. In it, he tries to use the uproar to educate people about standard practices. Most people have no idea.

 

Jordan Wyatt:

It’s very good!

 

Barbara DeGrande:

Does that diminish from the uproar? Is that what we should do?

 

Carolyn Bailey:

I haven't read it

 

Tim Gier:

The problem I have is that seems close to saying, "What has happened in Indonesia is no different from what happens every day in slaughterhouses across Australia"

 

Carolyn Bailey:

I saw the expose on TV last Monday night, and I can say it was the most horrific thing I have ever seen. The uproar is understandable, I'm just not sure the approach being taken is the right one.


That would also be incorrect, Tim

 

Sky:

Isn't Perz Francione's chief attack boy?

 

Barbara DeGrande:

And that is what gets folks riled up at abolitionists, claiming we don't care about the level of abuse.

 

Tim Gier:

That's right. From a tactical standpoint Barbara, it is a mistake

 

Jordan Wyatt:

Tim, do you really think there is any real difference in suffering?

 

Tim Gier:

It isn't a question of what I think Jordan.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Yes, Jordan, in this case the suffering (if that's what we're talking about here) is worse in certain cases

 

Tim Gier:

I'm already vegan and opposed to speciesism

 

Jordan Wyatt:

IE, I generally think I have a pretty crummy day if I hit a finger with a hammer, I dont consider it "gee, I sure am lucky I wasn’t shot and left for dead today!"

I think its always important to hear how others see these issues

 

Carolyn Bailey:

I agree, Jordan

 

Tim Gier:

Jordan, would you say that killing a man with one shot to the head is not as horrific as dragging him to his death behind a pickup truck?

 

Jordan Wyatt:

I havn’t watched the full "Four Corners" thing yet, I have it "recorded off the television"

Tim, I wouldnt say we could judge, and certainly, in the case of say, "capital punishment", I'd be against both. I wouldnt ask countries that kill their citizens to "do it this way"

I'd remain opposed to it fully

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Do watch it, Jordan, it will surprise you.

 

Jordan Wyatt:

RE "Four Corners" program on Live Export. I've seen quite a bit of it, by skimming through and would honestly say a lot of that happens in NZ, where we have "The Good Killing", ie green grass, living outside, no live export (for flesh), no farm subsidies etc. I talk with farmers often, and the things they catch often sexual abuse of animals... of "The Truck Driver", the man who drives The Truck of baby male cattle to a slaughterhouse etc

 

Tim Gier:

I am not talking about state sanctioned violence. I am talking about one individual killing another. I would think it more horrific for a person to kill another by dragging them to death behind a pickup


Carolyn Bailey:

Jordan, these cows are dragged from the yard to the slaughterhouse by a rope around their neck, with 10 - 15 men pulling on it to get them inside

 

Jordan Wyatt:

I would think it happens pretty much equally, pretty much everywhere. a recent conversation was about The Truck Driver dragging and "throwing" animals onto The Truck

 

Carolyn Bailey:

The end goal of these slaughterhouses is to have trip boxes installed in every slaughterhouse

 

Jordan Wyatt:

I would be more concerned that thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions of baby males were being killed. speaking from my own fathers 10 years in slaughterhouses, they "play around" with their work too. its rather hard to have any respect for others as you're killing them! :-)

 

Tim Gier:

It seems to me that most people would see the horrors that have happened in Indonesia as something beyond the pale.

 

Jordan Wyatt:

Then they havnt seen the horrors of New Zealand, or Australia, or America.

 

Tim Gier:

I agree Jordan, but that doesn't mean that we deny them their horror

 

Will:

Jordan -should we respect those who have no respect for others?

 

Jordan Wyatt:

I think we should respect everyone Will, although it may feel very hard at times. I dont think by becoming "hurters" ourselves, we change anything

 

Will:

Don’t they deserve pain and suffering like they inflict?

 

Tim Gier:

What we need to do is respect what they are experiencing and speak to them so that they can hear us.

 

Jordan Wyatt:

Gary Francione has mentioned talking with people directly involved, "Vivisectors" etc and they truly dont see their work as evil, but "necessary" etc I dont believe "Farmers" see themselves as harmers

 

Tim Gier:

The last person I will accept advice on how to communicate with others from is Gary Francione.

 

Jordan Wyatt:

So a consistent message, "it’s all horrible, it’s always horrible to hurt and kill others for our pleasure/profit/tradition", I think that really has legs


Roger Yates:

True, people who work in slaughtehouses think of themselves as "people feeders."

 

Jordan Wyatt:

I hope Im not the second to last Tim! :-) Exactly. I've read the US sites, "we feed America"

 

Barbara DeGrande:

Toxins...

 

Jordan Wyatt:

Actually, I think theres a near universal "the rest of the world rely on us, and they would be running about naked, dying at age 10 without us" attitude to those In The Industry ie, a recent vague statistic in NZ, we are 80% urban as a country, yet our largest export, worldwide, is agricultural. Our "dairy" farmers dont see themselves as hurting other animals, when they treat them as things, when they kill them etc. I think we can show Non Vegans that we are all complicit, by speaking of Veganism

 

Tim Gier:

Jordan, the point I am trying to make is that most people do not see themselves as complicit in the kinds of horrors shown in the videos from Indonesia. 

Since they are outraged about it, it seems counter-productive for the first thing out of our mouths to be "You do it too"

 

Tim Gier:

Are we trying to get other people to change their own minds or are we trying to tell them how wrong they are?

 

Barbara DeGrande:

I learned something from a relative who is not vegan. They do not focus on these things as we vegans do. We need to seize every chance to tap into their sense of injustice, don't we?

 

Jordan Wyatt:

I dont think a campaign of large (Jordan) or hairy (Tim) people shouting orders through a megaphone - "YOU'RE ALL EXPLOITERS! YOU'RE ALL SCUM!  YOU ARE HUMAN FILTH!" works very well Tim :-)

I'd like to ask you all, how do you deal with friends who are Non Vegan?

 

Tim Gier:

I prefer "stubbly" but I agree with you Jordan. :-)

 

Jordan Wyatt:

I have a friend who works at a local McDonalds... I truly resent even typing the name. and her partner shoots other animals for fun and kills marinelife. How should I deal with them?  

The friend who works at McDonalds asked me, while I wore my Vegan clothing, about going after the property owners of an abandoned building for "animal cruelty" as birds flew in through gaps, and would be trapped inside, to die I was able to mention her own work, metres away, which killed billions of Chickens each year  that they were the same issue, of birds dying, in this case, being killed through our actions  (or inactions)  what do you think?  how do we deal with friends who hurt and kill other animals?  Do we stop being friends with them? Do we ask them to kill other animals "better"?

 

Will:

Go stubble

 

Tim Gier:

We don't need to lose our friends, because otherwise who would be there to try to help them see what we see?

 

Jordan Wyatt:

I agree Tim. It’s very difficult being in their car, having just patted your Chicken Friends goodbye, when you see the "KFC" wrappers

 

Tim Gier:

It is difficult, but I thnk trying to ask people to measure their own actions against what they say they believe is the only way to go. Most of us act in ways contrary to what we say we believe, and when we look at those contradications in the light of day, that is when we can change

 

Roger Yates:

I think, Jordan, you are talking about the reality of living in a society saturated with speciesism norms and values.

 

Tim Gier:

I agree Roger

 

Sergio Tarrero:

I'm trying not to lose any friends over it. I am accepting of people's choices, and try to teach by example, and some ideas. Considering here in Spain people eat meat products on pretty much every dish and every meal. I try to get friends to at least try out eating a lot less meat, and see how that feels. It's not perfect, but it's a step in the right direction.

 

Sky:

The culture of society says that animal use is OK - we are the vegan freaks here, aren't we?

 

Sergio Tarrero:

That's right Sky.

 

Jordan Wyatt:

I think we can really do well by promoting Veganism to our Non Vegan friends

 

Carolyn Bailey:

I imagine it would be very difficult for you in Spain, Sergio

 

Sergio Tarrero:

Yes, it's not easy here.


Carolyn Bailey:

It's not easy anywhere, in my opinion :-)

 

Tim Gier:

The hardest part is thinking about other animals on equal terms while watching other people think of them as nothing at all.

 

I don't like to be at the table when people are eating other animals, but I don't want to ostracize myself from my family and friends

 

Sergio Tarrero:

I find it interesting, what encountering the meme/idea of speciesism does to people. Some are attracted to it, like it's sensible, it makes sense. That's the reaction I had when I first heard it. Others react by calling you a "vegan extremist" and trying to ostracize you from common friends, etc.

 

Mangus O’Shales:

I've seen that too Sergio.

 

Sky:

I agree Sergio

 

Tim Gier:

Would anyone mind if we moved on to the next question related to SIC & Direct Action??

 

Susannah:

Tim, please do.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Great idea, Tim, let's move on.

 

Tim Gier:

Shaun Monson spoke about the shock value of direct action. He said: Ingrid Newkirk, co-founder of PETA, made an interesting statement once. She said, “We asked nicely for years, and we’re ignored. Someone makes a threat, and it works.” He continued: This quote is less a reflection of PETA, by the way, than it is a reflection on humanity. You have to take a stand in this world for anyone to notice you. You have to provoke.

What do you all think? Is it necessary that we provoke, "shake things up", in order to get noticed?

 

Carolyn Bailey:

That's a rather broad term, isn't it? "Shake things up"

 

Sergio Tarrero:

The problem with provoking people (beyond their level of comfort) is that they will typically have a bad reaction, and see you as a 'true extremist'. The only way to make progress seems to be building rapport, and moral persuasion.

 

Jordan Wyatt:

Can we not "shake things up" with gentle examples?  Of why we should love and treasure other animals, rather than why we should NOT harm them?

 

Mangus O’Shales:

Would sit-ins and work-shut downs be direct action?

 

Brooke Cameron:

I think they would be classed as direct action, Mangus. Vegan education is also direct action, isn't it?  I'm not sure what's meant by the term "shake things up" either

 

Roger Yates:

One of the best forms of DA is 24/7 veganism.

 

Tim Gier:

Igualdad Animal makes very effective use of direct action in Europe


Sergio Tarrero:

But you could provoke anonymously through pointed but elegant commercials or print ads, I guess. Like Dawkins' bus campaigns about the nonexistance of god.

 

Maynard S. Clark:

Own complicit relationships with hinsa in so many areas including our bulk purchase of commodity foods would take legal oversight and industry compliance to resolve.  However, without explicit education, some 'direct action' isn't directly effective.

 

Tim Gier:

I agree with Brooke, sit-ins and other forms of mass protest are direct action.

 

Jordan Wyatt:

I'm working on some cheap A4 posters to put up around the city, simple, plain, promoting our local Vegan Society, directing them to a URL. I think they can be effective.

 

Tim Gier:

That's a good idea Jordan

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Nice one, Jordan!

 

Susannah:

You need to "shake things up" and "provoke" to get media coverage, then, if you are smart, you can use the media coverage to give your own message


Maynard S. Clark:

PETA's scantily clad women could (and we think often are) not clear statements about why others should become vegan for ethical reasons.

Some believe in getting media attention, but then it's in the hands of the media, and what do they say.  At that point, the message is out of our hands.

 

Susannah:

Not always, Maynard

 

Maynard S. Clark:

That's a good point about using the media coverage to move your message to the general masses, many ( but not all ) of whom have heard OF the message.


Susannah:

You can give them an exclusive, but with certain conditions attached

 

Maynard S. Clark:

They seem to be very complicit with the meat production, for the purpose of 'humane regulations'

 

Susannah:

It is possible to use the media to your advantage, but you need to be smart

 

Maynard S. Clark:

Being smart about mass media isn't the forte of local college students on campus

 

Susannah:

i'm talking about larger orgs

 

Tim Gier:

We need to understand our audience before we send any message.

 

Sadia:

Agree

 

Maynard S. Clark:

Even AR media workshops (like those I've taken) seemed to focus most on 'getting our messages out'

 

Jordan Wyatt:

I see most "direct action" as threats, or perceived threats of violence.

 

A recent newspaper (what are those Dad?) article about threats on Coca Cola employees http://www.stuff.co.nz/southland-times/news/5099661/Death-threat-on-Coke-staff after a man’s wife "overdosed" on Coke. The man is being laughed at as a nutjob.

 

Maynard S. Clark:

Yeah - understand the audience, but if WE cannot talk inteligently with one another about our general audiences (there are ~7 billion of them), how can we game the media? There's a risk of embarrassing the wrong-doers.


Leaking info is direct action

 

Tim Gier:

I think that's part of the problem Maynard, there isn't a "general public"


Sergio Tarrero:

I think getting cool activists, philosophers/ethicists, pop culture idols (performing artists, actors, actresses..) in popular interview shows, talking about this, is a great thing for raising awareness, and attracting the youth.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

I think most who refer to their actions as "direct action" take action that is at least partly militant

 

Jordan Wyatt:

I think our media often portrays Vegans, "Animal Rights" as somehow weird or violent because of direct action efforts

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Agree, Jordan

 

Jordan Wyatt:

"Coca-Cola Amatil New Zealand managing director George Adams yesterday confirmed an Invercargill man had threatened to kill Coca-Cola staff working in the city."

I think "Direct Action" is seen as the same effect, "Since the threat, staff had been asked to wear plain clothes at work, were travelling in un-branded vehicles, and were accompanied by security officers. "

 

Tim Gier:

I think we're portrayed as we are because we are challenging the status quo at so fundamental a level


Maynard S. Clark:

Well, isn't that why many of us are today shying away from 'such' actions?  We defame the principled ideas of veganism by 'taking to the streets' carelessly?

 

Carolyn Bailey:

I think "carelessly" is an important word there, Maynard

 

Maynard S. Clark:

This nomenclatture on the postings seems not be changing with the discussion, as if we're talking past one another. If direct action includes education, perhaps we should qualify when we discuss D.A.

 

Tim Gier:

I don't see how being passionate about ending the wholesale abuse of others defames any principles.

 

Roger Yates:

Maynard raises an important issue that speaks to the British experience.

 

Maynard S. Clark:
Publishing vegan nutritional information is a form of direct action.  We're doing something. It can be intelligent. It can be understood.

 

Sergio Tarrero:
I think violent action is certainly counterproductive. Gives the whole movement a horrible image. Being passionate is OK. But keeping in mind that, to most people, the idea of 'changing the status quo' sounds insane.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

I guess it depends what action one takes in their "passion", Tim

 

Roger Yates:

For the ALF, there was always an educational element - why else bother with a press office. But the ALF itself had a policy nonviolence.

 

Tim Gier:

You're right Sergio, and that is why we will always be thought of as extremists. Always, until we are in the majority that is.

 

Jordan Wyatt:

A certain podcaster mentioned there be Term Limits, like for presidents, a limit to what a term meant. ie, there is a definition for "marxist" much like "direct action"

 

Maynard S. Clark:

I work in a medical school and in an area with much animal research.  I'm surely not going to look like a violent or PETA type. It's important to replace and phase this out to whatever extent possible, but my AR colleagues may be more friendly to the kind of 'direct action' that 'opens the cages'  I see 'opening the cages the kind of 'direct action' that 'opens the cages'  I see 'opening the cages as a type of replacements research, etc.

 

Roger Yates:

The issues raised is this, do people who support MDA see themselves as part of the animal advocacy movement. Or do they - like we did in the 1980s - think MDA can "go it alone."

 

Sergio Tarrero:

I think it is great to point out that eradicating racism in America, where there were public hangings of black people (and even dismemberment, people taking 'mementos' home), seemed like an impossible dream too. (just 100 years ago)


Maynard S. Clark:

Phraseology: "humane movement" "animal advocacy"

I like the title of the book by Norm Phelps: _The Longest Struggle: Animal Advocacy from Pythagoras to PETA_


Tim Gier:

Racism has not been eradicated in America Sergio, unfortunately.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Go it alone in what way, Roger?

 

Tim Gier:

Whether some people think they are not part of the movement doesn't mean that they aren't, does it Roger?

 

Roger Yates:

Meaning that they do not need to worry about public reaction because they can "force" animal liberation through DA.

 

Maynard S. Clark:

Depends on what we mean, but correct.

 

Sergio Tarrero:

But it is far, far from what it was, even a few decades ago. And slavery, too... it hasn't been that long.

 

Tim Gier:

Yes, I agree Sergio, it is better than it was.

 

Maynard S. Clark:

Even with broadly protective laws, many in any nation would still honestly believe that they are not morally obligated to treat nonhumans as moral equals.

But there is still human slavery in parts of the world - even covert slavery in America. I think that an 'inside out transformation' is what is needed for a violent person to become nonviolent.

 

Roger Yates:

Wel, Tim, it means that they do not care if their actions "hurt" the movement.

 

Tim Gier:

How would we know whether anyone’s actions hurt the movement, when progress happens over decades and not months?


Roger Yates:

Through economic sabotage

 

Maynard S. Clark:

I don't think we have a real-time monitor watching 'the movement' with dials and meters


Carolyn Bailey:

So, by violent actions, they hope to teach others that violence is wrong?

 

Barbara DeGrande:

Ironic, isn't it Carolyn?

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Kinda silly, I think

 

Roger Yates:

Well, Carolyn, now we are in the tricky area of defining "violent" - as I said, the ALF have a non-violence policy.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

That is a tricky area, I agree. I think we cover that topic in a later question today too

 

Maynard S. Clark:

I think we have the critical tools of the social sciences to show where policies harm real persons. Not everyone accepts those critical tools. I'd like a discussion on how MUCH could be done with mainstream tools of one establishment or another.  Consider the institutions where I work, that moves our movement ahead quite considerably, I think (but many say nothing good can come out of here because of the animal research going on in the background)

 

Sergio Tarrero:

Tim, actions which make animal rights activists be looked at (and punished) as "terrorists" are certainly not a good thing for the movement.


Jordan Wyatt:

I agree Sergio


Tim Gier:

I don't accept the framing of the actions of those working on behalf of other animals on the terms of those who are seeking to continue exploiting and killing other animals.

 

Maynard S. Clark:

We can show common sense and use 'library research', but focusing epidemiologically is done with resources

 

Tim Gier:

Maynard, you assume that people can be swayed through appeals to reason?


Maynard S. Clark:

Look at what T Colin Campbell said in May 1990 at Tufts School of Nutrition (Boston): epidemiology is done by govts and universities because it costs so much, takes so long and so many, and doesn't promise one specific end. It's the study of many variables across many persons, and the interrelations of many different things at the same time.

Commercial providers don't want to sponsor it because research results may not give them what they want to pay for; activists don't have means to pay for epidemiology. Such institutions have many other departments and units doing lots of different things.

 

Will:

Wot r u talking about Maynard?


Sergio Tarrero:

I think many people could be inspired to eat less meat. But I have trouble believing that large sectors of the population could be persuaded to stop eating meat, not to mention to stop using eggs and milk. (maybe a lot less meat/fish)

 

Maynard S. Clark:

When the public will BELIEVE - honestly believe - that we DON'T NEED to eat ANY animal products (AND ON WHAT BASIS WOULD THAT BE?), they COULD freely choose to do so on a less humanitarian and heroic basis.  T'oday, we almost ask for moral heroism - "even if it doesn't work optimally for us"  Can we expect the general public to show widespread moral heroism in order to change their diets?  That is an assumption about what humans willingly might do  When would it become MAINSTREAM?

 

Sergio Tarrero:

Most people are simply too socially conscious (feel bad standing out so much), too selfish, too 'comfortable'. The limitations they see in their enjoyment of life are... too much to deal with. They can't take it very seriously.. certainly at first.

 

Maynard S. Clark:

I'd like to frame 'going vegan' as a prudent choice, not a heroic choice.  Maybe once, when we had less knowledge and well-documented evidence, it was a heroic risk, but today, it can be a wise move. Coming alongside others (buddy system) and providing logistical resources is part of encouraging others in 'a better way'  I love that we have folks like Gary Yourofsky out there talking with students and others; however, we all need to engage others at so many different levels.

 

Sergio Tarrero:

So, I see the biggest near-term hope for some improvement in the global amount of death and suffering in the in vitro meat area. Unfortunately, it's going to take some time (a number of years) to get that working at industrial levels. (and even longer to get beyond pet food, hot dogs, spam, smoked ham substitute, maybe burgers..)

 

Maynard S. Clark:
I think I reluctantly agree to the in vitro meat developments. Think in vitro meat could product pet food in a short term? Think of this 'animal ethics' research question: Is it equitable or just to test in vitro meat on unconsenting nonhumans (who cannot give their consent because they cannot comprehend the issues involved, nor speak)?

 

Sergio Tarrero:

Yes, I think that will be the first products, if they can be produced more cheaply than the other way, it should work. Maybe 5-10 years, I guess.


Maynard S. Clark:

Of course, humans would be 'testing out' the in vitro meat on themselves, if it's less expensive (let's hope it would be). But my understanding is that in vitro meat is inherently problematic nutritionally - something no human ought to be eating, just as no one ought to be eating real meat. But we can expect that humans will eat in vitro meat.  Do they care enough about animals, the environment, or economics to make a shift to it?  Surely it would not be for nutritional reasons (not at first, anyway_).

 

Sergio Tarrero:

Yes... but many people may not like v-products for themselves (because they won't be happy with hot dogs, keep wanting steaks...), but they'll be happy to do it for their pets... if it's cheaper and more humane, I dunno why they would do otherwise.


Barbara DeGrande:

Let’s move on to the next topic, in which Roger Yates considers his history in the movement, including as the Regional Press Officer of the ALFSG and his work on single-issue campaigns, stating:

 

 “I’m fine with MDA if it is non-violent and contains a substantial educational element. I feel that direct rescues of nonhuman animals can have a strong educational impact depending on the circumstances.”


Barbara DeGrande:

Roger, would you care to expand on this?

 

Roger Yates:

Yes, I think there are a wide variety of things that go under the name of MDA . It seems to me that open rescues, for example, have a substantial educational element, however,actions like arson are much more problematic and have always been controversial in the "direct action community."

 

Maynard S. Clark:

http://animalrightszone.blogspot.com/2011/05/mda-and-non-violence.html

 

Is not widespread veganism our goal?


Roger Yates:

I think the reality of the percentage of what we are in society mean we have to educate - does that mean we cannot think of ourselves as "at war" with society. Surely we DO have to have a conversation with them - the VAST majority.

 

Of course, Maynard - who says otherwise?

 

Carolyn Bailey:

I absolutely agree with that, Roger, how else can there be education?

 

Barbara Degrande:

And we must be careful not to give fuel to those in the majority by being problematic in our activism?

 

Roger Yates:

Barbara - I think that depends on the issue I mentioned before - do MDA people (as such) think they are part of the general movement or not. In the 1980s in Britain we rejected the "movement" - thinking them wimps and so on - "we" could do it oursleves - we were unstoppable - and then we were all arrested!!!

 

Carolyn Bailey:

There are a number of people who don't believe there is "a movement" at all, too, aren't there?


Barbara DeGrande:

True, Carolyn.

 

Roger Yates:

Yes, Carolyn, that's true - but that's more a welfare -v- rights issue.

 

Maynard S.Clark:

Dr. Carl Phillips (a vegan in political science) says that there is no movement becaue we don't have the marks of a movement.

 

Tim Gier:

Roger, in other movements for social justice, take ending apartheid in South Africa for example, did change come about because some people educated others?

 

Roger Yates:

People like Steve Best say MDA people are animal rights advocates but they themselves often reject the notion of animal rights.

 

Hi Tim - the question is important - and people point out that all movements have used violence at some stage. However, many people say that there has never been a non-meat eating human society - so, maybe, animal rights involves breaking the mold?

 

Maynard S. Clark:

Donna Maurer questions whether modern vegetarianism is a 'movement or moment'. Animal advocacy is a much smaller part of that phenomenon. The majority of vegetarians SAY that it's for personal betterment (health) not altruism.  Seeing themselves as 'rational' actors in history


Sergio Tarrero:

The movement is admittedly tiny, still. Despite the rather visible efforts by some Spanish animal rights groups in recent years... most people who think animal rights in Spain think of "antitaurinos", people against bullfighting and even those are handwaived away as extremists or wide-eyed dreamers who will never get it their way. People here see the abolition of bullfighting as insane, impossible imagine how they see the idea of not eating cows, pigs and chickens.

 

Maynard S. Clark:

Pushing the unconvinced into an (ill-defined) 'movement' is a strategy for historical failure, as we can see

 

Tim Gier:

I wonder if this idea of education is being overplayed.

 

Brooke Cameron:

Do you think it is, Tim?

 

Tim Gier:

It seems to me that most people just do what they have always done, what they have been raised to think is normal, what society condones.

 

Brooke Cameron:

Wouldn't that mean that education is vital?

 

Sergio Tarrero:

Yes. Education is certainly vital. Totally agree.

 

Tim Gier:

Racism ended, as much as it did, becuase most people were informed by the powers that be that racism was no longer tolerated.


Brooke Cameron:

Racism is still tolerated though

 

Tim Gier:

To go back to South Africa, had the government of that country insisted forever that Whites would rule over Blacks, the ending of apartheid would have been a long and bloody affair.


Maynard S. Clark:

Parallel codetermination (even if not endorsed by everyone) is far less violent than bloody opposition to other races' co-existence.

 

Tim Gier:

Perhaps what we need is more what Sergio alluded to earlier, and that’s more "opinion leaders" becoming vegan.

 

Sergio Tarrero:

Many of my school classmates from 25 years ago are avid hunters today, and many enjoy bullfighting. Some hunt elephants in South Africa, to "control the exploding populations" there. However, I am seeing kids raised with vegan mindsets will simply *care* about nonhuman animals, all the time... and refuse to eat them.

 

Maynard S. Clark:

We could 'adopt' leaders and help them reach deeper understanding of the issues involved  Many of MY 'nonconforming' college classmates from a faith-based college are today vegetarians (or even vegans); some of us know them.  We chose vegetarianism independently of one another. For US, it may have been 'in the air'

 

Susannah:

To answer Tim, I think education is paramount now as we're at the stage of educating the pioneers/trailblazers. The masses will come later when the pioneers have made vegan options more available, and ultimately they should be cheaper, so people will become vegan by default in most areas.


Maynard S. Clark:

Hurrah, Susannah!

 

Tim Gier:

Then, Susannah, you are agreeing with me, in part, and saying that most people are followers, and that what we need is more leaders?

 

Maynard S. Clark:

We need leaders who will lead aright, not wrongfully.  We do NOT need individualism, but if that's who we are, let us be individualists - but not for its own sake, or out of vanity.

 

Sergio Tarrero:

There should be a quality, tasty vegan fast food chain, too... as an alternative to people who end up in places like McCheesy. That alone (if it could be found 'everywhere'.. or at least in many cities, and even smaller towns) would be educational.

 

Sinem Ketenci:

i believe that education is not the solution / answer for AR because it is proven that education did very little for feminism and racism.

 

Tim Gier:

Sinem, then what did make a difference with respect to feminism and racism

 

Brooke Cameron:

I think that feminism and racism had many more supporters for their cause, didn't they?

 

Ben Hornby:

Without education, Sinem, what would you suggest we focus on in order to bring about an end to exploitation and speciesism?


Maynard S. Clark:

Industry has a role there, but we still need the basics: fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, nuts, seeds, and nonviolent clothing. Pave the path, and more folks will take it. Education is PART (not all) of paving the path

 

Sinem Ketenci:

Direct action ... for example, I cut the fur trims on the hut of the jacket of my sister in law, i also took away fur coat of my mother and donated without her permission to an AR group and also I told my parents that I am not going to visit them if they eat animals. So far direct action works for me.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Works for you in which way, Sinem?

 

Sinem Ketenci:

i believe that AR  will affect racism and feminism in a positive way .. thus my focus is on AR

 

Tim Gier:

Thank you Sinem, but how did direct action affect feminism or racism?

 

Sinem Ketenci:

it works for me because just explaining and reasoning obviously does not make people change to veganism.


Carolyn Bailey:

I'm just not sure how cutting up a fur coat is helping to end speciesism, or create new vegans.

 

Sergio Tarrero:

So you are trying out emotional blackmail instead, Sinem?

 

Maynard S. Clark:

Abolitionists promote veganism and only creative, nonviolent vegan education as a means to achieve widespread veganism. Abolitionism is the logical extension of the civil rights and peace movements. Nonviolence is an indispensable core principle of abolitionism. Creative, nonviolent vegan education is pro-social. That's MY $00.02

 

Sinem Ketenci:

:-)

 

Tim Gier:

I'd love for someone to actually define creative non-violent vegan education for me, and what is and is not part of it. For example, the open rescues which Igualdad Animal are vegan education as far as I can see.

 

In fact, Jose Valle addressed this very topic in his ARZone chat. He said: At the moment animal rights activists do not have a very positive image in certain parts of the world, particularly the UK. and: Society sees people, especially animal activists, wearing balaclavas, dark clothing and hiding in shadows as evidence that they are doing something wrong and: so wearing the organisation's t-shirts instead of all-black or camouflage gear, sends a message that we are not trying to hide what we are doing.  finally: That we are a professional organisation and that we see rescuing animals as an act of justice, something society should support.

 

Maynard S. Clark:

I could get aboard a statement like that.

 

Tim Gier:

His point being that Igualdad Animal educates people through doing open rescues, even though prominent animal rights theorists say that open rescues are violent and problemtic. I can too Maynard, Jose and his group are doing good work.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

IA also do some amazing work in Spain in educating the public in other ways.

 

Tim Gier:

They are showing that education can be more than just handing out information.

 

Susannah:

The other point is that at the moment the Spanish media are reporting favourably on the open rescues, and with the media you can reach 1,000s of people at once


Tim Gier:

Absolutely Susannah, you're right. Jose notes that millions of people have seen news coverage of IA's work.

 

Maynard S. Clark:

Years ago, when I was in engineer, my employer cursed Greenpeace for mounting and putting a banner over the missile he had designed.

There's LOTS of direct action the general public HAILS, and I'd guess that ex-military folks could be ready to do something dramatic and heroic. Just thinking in my off hours, I guess.

 

Tim Gier:

IA always ties what they do back to an anti-speciesist, vegan message.


Susannah:

One thing I'd like to add, the recent non-open rescue, of 36 beagles, in January, was also reported on favourably in the Spanish media, which, to me, was a bit of a surprise

 

Sergio Tarrero:

However.. I understand the societal effects are still negligible. I suppose some young people may be getting the message and giving veganism a shot. But I have certainly never seen a report saying meat sales were going down which makes me think there are a lot of factors at work, country, culture, past actions etc. as to whether an action is postive or negative. i don't think you can say MDA is all bad, or open rescues all good for example, it is much more complex than that

 

Tim Gier:

I think it is good that the media are reporting on these things favorably.


Sergio Tarrero:

I agree Susannah, that it mostly goes on a case by case basis.

 

Tim Gier:

There's no evidence that anything being done to promote veganism is making a difference with respect to the sales of animal products. Or with actually creating more ethical vegans for that matter.

 

Sergio Tarrero:

Right Tim. That's what worries me.

 

Maynard S. Clark:

That's a key point, Tim.

 

Tim Gier:

me too. :-(

 

Maynard S. Clark:

Judged by 'consequences' or outcomes - consequentialism - there's something not right about the package of what 'we' are doing. Unless it's the context in which it is being done.

 

Susannah:

As far as I have read, the numbers of vegetarians and vegans are increasing slowly in western countries, but the people eating animal products are eating more than ever. Plus animal product consumption in countries like India & China is going up fast

 

Barbara DeGrande:

And more potential omnivores are being born, too.

 

Maynard S. Clark:

I think of the current US Administration and the unemployment - would it be worse if they hadn't acted, or did they just waste lots of money on a stimulus.  Would meat production be worse if we had done nothing? Birth is surely a core part of the problem, so changing the baby-producing segments to vegans FIRST might make sense, in terms of THEIR cultures, not ours  

 

Sergio Tarrero:

Which I reason out as a sort of failure, so far. Most people have seen some of these demonstrations, for instance of activists holding dead nonhumans at Puerta del Sol, on the TV news. No changes. But maybe this slow awareness-building is important.

 

Barbara DeGrande:

This is the most frustrating aspect of activism - what works? We don't really know, do we?

 

Tim Gier:

No, we don't really know what works

 

Maynard S. Clark:

WE may not know, but is there no social science data on historical changes and their precursors?  There ARE departments of "peace studies" IN UNIVERSITIES. Sociology and political science departments teach courses in social movements.


Barbara DeGrande:

We do have some research on how humans change, too. But it is not all that definitive.

 

Sergio Tarrero:

I think education is lacking... certainly where I am. Nobody, just about, knows what a 'vegan' is. They know what a 'vegetarian' is... and we all know, here in Spain, that 'those' are rare. I guess most must fold to pressures: social, and convenience. There needs to be successful fictional feature films which are very emotional and very educational about this whole thing. Main characters which transition from 'normal' to vegan, antispeciesist activists, etc.

 

Tim Gier:

We happen to have a resident sociologist in ARZone, and as Roger noted earlier tonight, this social movement is unlike every other.

 

In other social movements, people stood up for their own rights, and for the rights of others who could also speak on their own behalf the changes sought benefited those who were seeking them. This is not the case in the movement for animals rights. Robert Garner makes the point that we, as humans, are not asking for our rights to be recognized, in fact, we are asking for changes that may negatively impact us. It is unprecendented

 

Sergio Tarrero:

One of the hardest things against our case, in arguments about this with people... is the fact that we are naturally omnivorous... and that we need (minimal, but still..) supplementation if we remove all animal products. This weirds people out.

 

Maynard S. Clark:

Liberals of wealth and position who ask for structural changes to benefit the poor realize that their net incomes may be negatively impacted, yet they openly advocate for those changes as works of justice. We do the same. In this case, the question of whether or not we are 'rational actors' in history comes to the fore. What future do we hold out for the entire species - if we as a species make these changes?  The whole species needs to openly consider them. Many types of rodents and wild animals running everywhere, unconstrained - is an image that comes to mind often in the public. Surely 'animal equality' cannot imply that, or they won't endorse it. A world without 'pest control'


Tim Gier:

The world we seek would be radically different than the one we live in today. Radically different in almost every respect. The use of other animals does not just impact what we eat or wear. It underlies our entire way of looking at the world and what it means to be "human"

 

Maynard S. Clark:

But we need to frame (verbally, pictographically) SOME sort of vision for how it WOULD be in a world according to OUR designs.

Tim Gier:

We define ourselves by defining the "other" What Sergio said is true, changing this, because it seems to be so unnatural to some, is absolutely weird.

 

Carolyn Bailey:
I'd like to suggest moving on to the next question for discussion now.

 

Tim Gier:

Yes, let's do that!! This has been great so far!


Carolyn Bailey:

Brandon Becker addressed the problem of harm possibly coming to some nonhuman animals in the course of property destruction through arson, when he was asked: “In the liberation of other animals, when do you feel arson to be an appropriate course of action? If at all, how do you feel about the individuals who will be killed because of this? The insects, bird life etc”  Brandon replied, saying “I think arson can be morally justified as long as precaution is taken to minimize unintentionally harming anyone. We have to remember that just by living in industrial civilization we unintentionally harm other animals through such actions as driving cars which kill one million nonhuman individuals daily,”  http://animalrightszone.blogspot.com/2011/05/q-in-liberation-of-other-animals-when.html  Would anyone like to comment on this Q&A from Brandon's ARZone chat?

 

Maynard S. Clark:

There are EFFORTS to make private automobiles less deadly and to accommodate wildlife, including urban wildlife.  I think they need to be 'in the picture' somehow in urban planning.

 

Tim Gier:

I know that many people would disagree with Brandon, and say that any action which brings harms to even insects should be avoided at all costs, but I agree with him on this.

 

Barbara DeGrande:

Is there any indication that such action works? There is the impact regarding perception of ARs as well as the impact on living beings and the environment.

 

Tim Gier:

I wouldn't commit arson, and I would dissuade anyone from doing it as well, but I do think there are circumstances where this type of action can be justified.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Which circumstances would they be?

 

Tim Gier:

I don't worry too much about the perceptions of others, they already think we're all crazy anyway.

 

Maynard S. Clark:

Going after bin Laden? Arson, destruction of humans and property

 

Carolyn Bailey:

It is changing the perceptions of others that allow those others to consider veganism

 

Tim Gier:
I can't say ahead of time which circumstances would justify arson, as I said, I wouldn't commit arson and I would ask that no-one else commit arson either.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

If we disregard the perception of others, we make it much harder to transform their minds.

 

Brooke Cameron:

But you support those who DO commit arson?

 

Sky:

Who can support arson?

 

Tim Gier:

I wouldn't disregard other's perceptions, I just don't worry about them too much. No, I don't support people who commit arson, I have never said that I do. Killing another human being is sometimes morally justified. I don't support people killing each other.

 

Barbara DeGrande:

That is an important clarification! 

 

Carolyn Bailey:

So, you believe arson may be justified sometimes, but you're not sure when and you would dissuade anyone from performing arson, but wouldn't condemn them for doing so?

 

Tim Gier:

Yes, arson can sometimes be justified. No, I will not attempt to spell out in advance under what circumstances it would be. I will not do that because I would not want to persuade anyone that arson is a preferred course of action.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Are there instances in the past where you feel arson was justified?

 

Tim Gier:

If arson is committed and it is morally justified, then I would not condemn anyone who committed such as act.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

You have no examples of when or where arson, and the killing of other animals in the process, could be morally justified though?

 

Tim Gier:

I am talking in the abstract, and I do not have a comprehensive knowledge of the history of arson. I am not prepared to speculate on the matter, no.

 

Maynard S. Clark:

How about the CONCEPT that SOME 'property' does NOT have 'a right' to exist (because of the barbaric and indefensible ways it is used) or intended. The concept that LIFE has prime importance

 

Tim Gier:

I agree with that Maynard, and that no-one has the right to make toys using lead based paint.


Carolyn Bailey:

How about the concept that ALL property contains small animals who are killed and burnt alive during an arson attack?

 

I'm not concerned with the property damage, despite believing burning a building achieves very little, I am however concerned with killing other animals to make a point

 

Maynard S. Clark:

Therefore, harming life is a wrong, even if outweighed by some other considerations, some limited amount of the time. Building property takes large amounts of human effort, and losing that is a loss to the humans who lose its usefulness. T'hat's a wrong, I think.

 

Tim Gier:

Brandon's point is that we all kill other animals every day. We excuse some unintentional harm but are unwilling to excuse other unintentional harm. There ought to be a good reason for that.

 

Maynard S. Clark:

Further, most folks do wrongs to others; harming them and destroying their stability may stop the wrong, but we typically don't sanction doing that to them.  We leave it to laws.   Animals lack those legal supports.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

The intent is completely different between the two actions

 

Tim Gier:

I never said that arson wasn't wrong. I said that sometimes it could be morally justifiable.

 

Maynard S. Clark:

So we conceptually distinguish 'morally defensible' from morally right. In other words, 'permitted' versus desirable. collateral damage?

 

Tim Gier:

We're not talking about intentionally killing others.


Carolyn Bailey:

Yes, we are if we're talking of arson.

 

Tim Gier:

I am not, you may be, but I am not.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

The arsonist intentionally sets a building on fire, knowing there are small animals inside. How is that not intentionally killing others?

 

Maynard S. Clark:

MDA might, under some legislation pending in the USA, involve just going into such a facility and taking photos to document the wrongs they are doing, if such interests prevail in preventing the public from learning of actual operational processes.

 

Tim Gier:

I'd say accepted rather than permitted, Maynard.

 

Maynard S. Clark:

Reluctantly

 

Tim Gier:

The same way it isn't intentionally killing others when the organic farmer kills field mice during harvest.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

No, there is a substantial difference, both in the intent and the necessity of the action.

 

Tim Gier:

I don't see any substantial difference,

 

Carolyn Bailey:

That's your right to see things as you do

 

Maynard S. Clark:

If we say that (somehow) "WE" have a 'duty' to all) animals, how do we justify claiming that we HAVE that duty, and TO how many, and who ARE they?  OTOH, do we have duties to rectify human wrongdoing to persons?  That's different, I think.

 

Tim Gier:

I hope that if there was a substantial difference that I would be able to see it. I am prepared to accept that I am wrong about this, although I haven't yet seen an argument that convinces me that I am.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

The argument that by participating in an arson attack, one will inevitably kill other animals is a compelling one in my opinion

 

Tim Gier:

I think we have a duty to avoid harming others as much as possible.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Yes, I agree

 

Sadia:

Agree

 

Tim Gier:

I am not so sure that we have a duty to rectify wrongdoings against others, unless of course we are ourselves the guilty party.


Carolyn Bailey:

If a farmer harms and kills field mice in the production of his crop, that doesn't thereby give the arsonist a right to also harm and kill other animals with his actions.

 

Tim Gier:

Neither has the right to harm another, I agree.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Great, then we shouldn't harm others where we can avoid doing so. Whatever supposed "benefit" committing arson may have for some individuals, it cannot compensate the murder victims therefore it cannot successfully be morally justified.

 

Tim Gier:

I disagree. Arson, like the killing of another human being, can sometimes be morally justified.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

I disagree, where we can avoid harming others, we ought not to harm others.

 

Tim Gier:

Then I guess we should convert all of our agriculture to hydroponics.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

This might be a good time to move on to the last question for today. Finally, and again from Prof. Gary Francione, his definition of violence was this: I could spend hours answering that,  but let it suffice to say that I regard any activity that harms other sentient beings or that creates a risk of harm to other sentient beings as violence, and may be found here:

http://animalrightszone.blogspot.com/2011/05/q-what-is-violence-gar...

 

Maynard S. Clark:

Cheers, Gary (I'd say)

 

Brooke Cameron:

That doesn't define violence at all

 

Tim Gier:

Gary's definition is effectively meaningless.

 

Sadia:

Yes, flawed indeed


Maynard S. Clark:

"any activity that harms other sentient beings or that creates a risk of harm to other sentient beings as violence,..."

 

Ben Hornby:

By that definition I am being violent by using my computer

 

Tim Gier:

He would have done better to spend hours on it.


Maynard S. Clark:

Likely, he would admit that. After his studies with the Jains. Violence is multidimensional

and not just a black or white discussion, as we often find it.

 

Ben Hornby:

He studies with Jains?

 

Maynard S. Clark:

He DID -

 

Ben Hornby:
Seriously? Don't jains disapprove of all forms of violence, including verbal attacks on others?


Maynard S. Clark:

The American Vegan Society (the Dinshahs) oong worked out of such an understanding; he did some study with the Jains after he was no longer invited back to AVS or NAVS events. thought, word, deed there is meditation on these topics. But deconstruct him: how is it meaningless? He wants to REDUCE violence overall, as much as possible.  So do I.

 

Tim Gier:

He doesn't define harm, he doesn't mention intent and he mistakes potential for actual.

 

Maynard S. Clark:

Is there not a continuity between potential and actual? Carol Adams also suggests a core continuity in oppressions

 

Tim Gier:

I create the risk of harming a sentient being when I buy my daughter a plane ticket, but that is not a violent act.

 

Maynard S. Clark:

It's an ethical topic for us. Your intention is not to harm her or others.

 

Tim Gier:

Right, and Francione doesn't consider intent in that defintion

 

Maynard S. Clark:

If I buy a neighbor a bus ticket from Boston to New York City on the Fung Wah bus lines and expect them to have yet another fiery bus accident, that could be a violent intention.

 

Tim Gier:

I won't assume meaning from words he did not write.

 

Maynard S. Clark:

What does a proper definition require?

 

Tim Gier:

More than he wrote. We do not have to write a better defintion to know that his is not a good one.

 

Maynard S. Clark:

A more LEGAL definition, perhaps?

 

Ben Hornby:

Perhaps he was rushed in his ARZone chat and didn't have enough time to give a longer definition?

 

Tim Gier:

No, not more legal, just better. He had all the time in the world Ben, these chats are open ended.

 

Maynard S. Clark:

And doesn't he get the questions in advance, anyway?

 

Carolyn Bailey:

His chat went for 6 and a half hours, he wasn't rushed.

 

Tim Gier:

Thank you Carolyn, from the looks of the transcript it looked like it lasted forever. Besides, "nonviolence" is the man's stock in trade. He ought to be able to produce a workable definition of violence without too much forethought.

 

Maynard S. Clark:

Snicker - he did rush himself out of the Old South Church auditorium when he was in Boston a few weeks ago.

 

Tim Gier:

Wikipedia: violent behavior is defined as intentional physically aggressive behavior against another person. I'd include psychological behavior as well. And "meant to cause direct harm" and change person to "another conscious being"   

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks, Tim. I’d like to thank everyone for participating in this chat today. ARZone appreciates your support and contribution!

 

 

 

 

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 chats by starting a forum discussion or making a point under a transcript.

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Comment by Carolyn Bailey on June 20, 2011 at 12:06

I'm not sure how it would have been handled back then, but you're quite possibly right, red dog.

I just find it frustrating that, at a time when people are asking for information on how they can help, they're being given the welfare and single issue perspective. It saddens me to see such an opportunity for vegan education being wasted. But, as Roger always says - welfarists do welfare, and that really shouldn't be confused with what we'd like them to do. 

 

Comment by red dog on June 18, 2011 at 22:04
Thanks Carolyn ... I'm not even sure this person expects a reply, but I may write one anyway (and I may quote you if I do). I can understand your frustration. On the other hand, you have mainstream people taking the issue seriously instead of laughing over it--which is probably the way it would have been handled 10 or 20 years ago, don't you think?
Comment by Carolyn Bailey on June 18, 2011 at 14:26
This is the best time in history for Australians to learn about how and why animal use is wrong, and they're crying out for more information and for ways to help. But instead we're told to write a few letters, enjoy our hamburgers, and everything will be fine?

I find that inexcusable.
Comment by Carolyn Bailey on June 18, 2011 at 14:23

Hi red dog,

AA refer to themselves as an "Animal Protection Organisation." They also say they are the 2nd largest of "their kind" in Australia, with the RSPCA being the largest. 

I'd approach the topic with someone who had seen the expose on 4 Corners, and wanted to help, as so many in Australia do right now, by asking them questions. I'd ask why the footage from Indonesia was so upsetting to them, explain that Australian abattoirs are in some cases as bad, if not worse, and try to explain that, although the footage from Indonesia really was horrific, the same thing can happen here. I think it's important to note that moving the problem to another country doesn't help any individuals, and won't save any lives. 

It's such a complicated issue. The expose was incredibly upsetting - I didn't sleep that night and cried for days afterwards. It's so easy to understand why people just want to say "stop it!"

Indonesian cows, which make up a large percentage (about 80%, I think) of their countries market are also, and will continue to be, exploited and slaughtered in this same manner. Why are we not speaking about them? Indonesia are not likely to accept frozen bodies in place of live cows because only about 10% of their citizens have access to refrigeration. Live cows will be accessed elsewhere if we stop. But Australians aren't bothered about those cows, only "our cows." If we did slaughter cows here and send their frozen bodies over, the influx of cows into Australian abattoirs will dramatically increase the horrendous treatment they'll receive as the abattoir workers will be under enormous pressure. 

There's just so many reasons this should be discussed rationally and questions should be asked. I don't have the answers, but I certtainly think more questions should be being asked - and answered.

 

 

Comment by red dog on June 17, 2011 at 19:19
I'm very sorry to have missed this workshop but I didn't want to say anything until I'd watched the episode of Four Corners dealing with the live export issue, as an Australian suggested to me recently. Now that I have, I'm not sure what to say. Carolyn, does Animals Australia claim to be an animal rights group or is it strictly "old" welfarist? How would you approach this conversation with a mainstream person?

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