Animal Rights Zone

Fighting for animal liberation and an end to speciesism

Transcript of Vincent Guihan and Joanne Charlebois' Live ARZone Guest Chat


Transcript of Vincent Guihan and Jo Charlebois' ARZone Live Guest Chat

3 July 2010 

6pm US Eastern Time 

11pm UK Time 

and Sunday 4 July 

8am Australian Eastern Standard Time 

 


Carolyn Bailey:

Today in ARZone we welcome Vincent Guihan and Joanne Charlebois. Joanne and Vincent are vegans who live and work in Ottawa, Canada. They live with and care for nine cats. In their spare time, they create abolitionist advocacy materials, blog, podcast and generally focus on vegan outreach and education through Animal Emancipation, a small animal advocacy group they started in 2009.

ARZone has great pleasure in introducing Vincent Guihan and Joanne Charlebois, please say hello to Vincent and Jo.

Cherokee Rayne:

Hello


Tammy McLeod:

Hey Vincent and Jo


Jason Ward:

Hi Jo and hello Vincent


Carolyn Bailey:

Welcome Vincent and Jo!


Jason K:

Hi!!!


Tim Gier:

Hello!


Timothy E Putnam:

Hi, Jo and Vincent!


Nathan Schneider:

Hello Hello Hello


Vincent Guihan:

Thanks for coming out


Michaela Osterlund:

Hello Jo and Vincent


Lorna Hughes:

Hi


Vera Regina Cristofani:

Hi Jo and Vincent


Jo Charlebois:

Hello!

 

William Paul:

Greetings Vincent and Jo


Jose Valle:

Hello

 

Fifi Leigh:

Hi

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Before we begin, Vincent and Joanne have elected to be spontaneous with their responses and aim to keep the chat free flowing and friendly. In order to allow them time to respond effectively however, we ask that people refrain from interrupting during questions.

I’d now like to call on Tammy McLeod to ask Vincent and Joanne their first question, Tammy?


Tammy McLeod:

Hey all, and thanks so much for your time, Jo and Vincent, it’s great to have you here.

Why did you form your own grassroots advocacy organization instead of working with another established group? How does your approach and thinking about education differ from those of other animal advocacy groups


Vincent Guihan:

Thanks for the question, Tammy.

Animal Emancipation (AE) tends to focus quite a bit on educating other vegans and advocates. We do make vegan outreach materials available. Mostly posters, stickers, and that kind of stuff.


Jo Charlebois:

We don’t play well with others!

We also run a forum for people who are vegan or fast on their way through the transition so that they can learn more about veganism and abolition in more nuanced ways (and so that they can hang out, etc.).


Vincent Guihan:

Lulz, yes, that, too.

I said recently to colleagues that I see our work as creating an education that informs, trains and radicalizes. I think that's a very different kind of education than we've had in the movement in the past.

Trisha Roberts:

Hello

Jo Charlebois:

Hi Trisha

 

Trisha Roberts:

Hi Jo

Jo Charlebois:

LOL

 

Vincent Guihan:

In fact, if education were just reading pamphlets, I'd have multiple PhDs by now. The Esteemed Dr. Roger Yates, PhD., would have to look up to me for a change. Blessed may he be, and his head of hair, wherever they are. We're still working on all of the materials we would need for this kind of education. But it's not clear to me that there is any other animal advocacy group that's really focused on this kind of work, and that's why we started our own.

Most groups are focused on the two most important things to any NGO dependent on Capital: donations and volunteers (the free labor of the movement). What's important to those groups is that the stream increase
and not decrease.

 

Tammy McLeod:

Ahhh, I see. That's excellent Vincent


Vincent Guihan:

What is important to us is that we educate and motivate people sufficiently that they are ready to do the difficult work of building the most radical social justice movement in human history.

Now I'm done. I don't know if Cde Charlebois has anything to add. Maybe another shout out to Trisha?

 

Trisha Roberts:

Hi Vincent!

 

Jo Charlebois:

I think you covered it pretty well!


Tammy McLeod:

Great! Thanks for that Vincent!


Vincent Guihan:

You're welcome. Thanks for the question.


Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks for that, Vincent. Jason Ward would like to ask you a question now, Jay?


Jason Ward:

Thanks Carolyn.

You’ve recently had your cookbook published, titled “New American Vegan”; what sort of food do you favour in this book, and was there a purpose to writing this book?


Vincent Guihan:

Thanks for the question, Jason.

The food really draws on American (broadly defined American, not just the United States) food. I wanted to give people a book that wasn't too complicated, One that didn't have a lot of really hard to find or expensive ingredients, but also taught them how to cook, how to build flavor layers into their food, and that kind of stuff. So, some recipes are a few ingredients and are simple and inexpensive (e.g., the kiwi and jalapeno coulis). Some are more complicated (e.g., the butternut squash stuffed with lentils, rice and greens with white and red sauces).

The gist is that I hope the book helps people get from simple dishes to more complicated ones but also encourages them to innovate and improvise themselves.


Jason K:

What differentiates this cookbook from others on the market?

Vincent Guihan:

As vegans, we have a whole cultural history and sense of community to create, and I don't think there can be any doubt that food is a central part of any cultural history or sense of community, especially with vegans.


Jo Charlebois:

Not to mention a vegan cookbook that actually takes an abolitionist approach to veganism in the intro; so many vegan cookbooks that bring up ethics at all are, well, wishy-washy at best.


Vincent Guihan:

Well, it teaches people in general terms how ot cook, about flavor theory, and other things. It also approaches food politics from a substantively abolitionist position. That makes it unique in the market.

But in terms of other books, there's definitely a reasonable amount of overlap. That's generally the case with cookbooks, and especially vegan cookbooks. A great number focus on fusion or reinvesting North American favourites. My book does some of that, but it's also more innovative and instructive in some ways for an audience that is relatively new to cooking.

Jo tested most of the recipes, and she may have something to add.


Jo Charlebois:

They are awesome and delicious!


Vincent Guihan:

Thanks for a totally unbiased opinion, Cde.

Jo Charlebois:

Anytime!


Vincent Guihan:

So, I'm done.


Jason Ward:

Thanks


Vincent Guihan:

No Problem


Jason Ward:

OK - Dan Cudahy has a question but couldn't make it - so Carolyn will present it for him


Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks Jay.

What are some of the factors one should consider when drawing lines on what is appropriate to do or consume in any given situation as one who is committed to abolitionist veganism?"


Vincent Guihan:

Heh. A hot topic lately. Thanks for the question, Dan. Wherever you are!!

Well, if animal use is avoidable then you should avoid it. For example, I don't take aspirin when I have a headache; I just wait it out or drink some tea. I do walk on the sidewalk to get soy ice cream. I buy red peppers, even though these are tested on nonhumans and probably grown using animal agricultural products and labor. But if I could avoid the sidewalk, I would. If I had a sidewalk made without any animal use whatsoever and one made from the bodies of utilitarians, I would still walk on the former sidewalk.

Red peppers, and most fruits and vegetables are tested on nonhumans. Most agriculture today involves some animal use. What I think is important is avoiding uses we can. Walking on sidewalks, eating produce is generally necessary. I'm not proposing martyrdom or that we should never use animal products of any kind under any circumstances.

 

Jo Charlebois:

It's important to look at things from the perspective that animal use is unjustified, while acknowledging that the world is far from vegan at this time so there are plenty of instances where we can't reasonably avoid
things.

Vincent Guihan:

It just seems clear to me that when we can do a little planning, or wait a little while, or just sacrifice a little bit, here and there, then those are the right things to do.

Yes, what Jo said.

This is true of other social justice movements as well. Communists still generally have to pay their taxes, even if we work toward a different way of organizing the world. It doesn't follow from that that Communists should run profitable businesses and exploit their employees. Just that some compromises with the system are necessary to conduct work. For example, if I had the meaningful choice to eat only veganic agricultural products, avoid sidewalks made from the bodies of dead nonhumans, etc., it's not clear to me why I shouldn't do so.

 

Jo Charlebois:

Rather than many people seem to look at these questions from a perspective of "why shouldn't I do this", I think we need to look at it more from a "if I am going to (walk on sidewalk, take medications etc), why *should* I."

 

Vincent Guihan:

On the other hand, I think a 'live in the cave' style of martyrdom conflicts with the activism we owe animals, but it doesn't follow from this that we should feel free to use any animal product for any old reason.

I agree! I think I'm done.

 

Jo Charlebois:

And sometimes, the answer is indeed yes, such as taking medication for a serious condition, etc. But the whole "why should I stop doing X" kind of looks at it backwards.

 

Vincent Guihan:

I might add that in cases of taking life saving meds and that kind of stuff, obviously, people should understand they have a moral obligation to themselves as animals as well. That's a question I hear a lot.

Sorry. Now I am done.


Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks, Vincent and Jo, and I'm sure Dan would also thank you for your insight!

 

Vincent Guihan:

Yes, I'm sure

 

Jason Ward:

M. Butterflies Katz has the next question - take it away Butterflies, AKA 'Vegan Poet' please!

 

Vincent Guihan:

Thanks for the question, Butterflies. An excellent question.

Everything, really. I am not sure that Vegan Outreach does much right with their Why Vegan piece. I think they focus on suffering instead of use. I think abolitionists should focus on use as the moral problem. I think they try to emotionally shock people with pictures of dead animals. I prefer to present nonhuman animals as living rights holders to whom we owe moral consideration. Vegan Outreach is also highly equivocal about nonhuman animal use and veganism as a moral baseline. I'm definitely against equivocation on these issues. In short, if they wanted to correct their stuff, they'd make it more like AE's stuff.

I can hear Jo typing.

 

Jo Charlebois:

Yes, I'm not entirely sure of the question - I would first change that it's put out by VO, unless they radically changed their ideology.

 

Vincent Guihan:

Heh, yes, that's also a good point. Their propaganda is weak in my view because the propose a very lukewarm ideology.

 

Jo Charlebois:

But as for what we would change in that type of pamphlet, if I were to write a similar type of pamphlet, Vincent's pretty much summed that up.

 

Vincent Guihan:

I think it's worth noting that most AR propaganda is not produced by people with a lot of propaganda education. That often shows. And certainly, it's not like we have long-term studies to measure whether this work is effective or puts people off. I think as an advocacy community, we need to think more about what changes and actions we propose that people take and how to package that in education materials that make sense.

I think I'm done. I hope I answered your question, Butterflies.

 

Jo Charlebois:

And I would just like to say that I really don't like the photo of tons of processed vegan junk food with all brand names in the pamphlet. Not that I dislike vegan junk food lol. Just a silly aside point.

 

Vincent Guihan:

How many vegan donuts did you eat today? Oops. Now I'm in trouble.

 

Jo Charlebois:

None yet! (Don't ask how many I ate yesterday. Oh, okay, it was three.

Vincent Guihan:

I mean, how many plant-based donuts did you eat?

Jo Charlebois:

Still the same number. Lol


Vegan Poet Butterflies:

Thanks


Jo Charlebois:

Hey, I can't be expected to place an order from vegan essentials without adding in a few donuts can I?


Jason Ward

Carolyn Bailey has the next question - so please Carolyn - when you are ready…


Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks, again, Jay.

Jason Ward:

My pleasure.


Carolyn Bailey:

Could you please explain the definition of “new welfarism” and why you feel this approach is harmful to animals that are currently being enslaved? Would it not be more humane to improve conditions for these animals as much as possible during their lives, which surely will bring awareness to the general public and lead to abolition in the future?

 

Vincent Guihan:

Thanks for the question, Carolyn.

New welfarism is the poopheaded view (technical term) that working on anything but abolition will lead to abolition. It describes groups like PeTA who put forward slogans like: Animals are not ours to use! But then buy stock in agribusiness, commission studies like CAK that promote cheaper ways to kill animals, and in PeTA's case, killing adoptable cats and dogs.

Francione argues in Rain Without Thunder, and I agree, that this isn't to say there is absolutely no difference at all between new welfare and traditional welfare groups. It just means the practical differences are minor enough that it is practical to think of new welfare groups as more like regular welfare groups than they are abolitionist in nature.

In terms of why new welfarism doesn't work, AE has a lot of views on what the education problem is, but I don't believe raising awareness that people use nonhuman animals is a all that meaningful of an activity. I blog a lot about this, but Raising awareness that animals suffer when we use them strikes me as a bit odd. But the awareness that needs to be raised, in my view, is around the idea of nonhuman animals as right-holders and veganism as the baseline to taking their rights and their morally relevant interests seriously.

 

Stephanie Dyer:

Could not disagree with you more Vincent....exposing animal abuse is the key.

 

Vincent Guihan:

So, what I think we really need to do is to educate and radicalize people insofar as they are able to understand, not just that many nonhumans feel pain or that many have rich emotional lives. People do know that animals are harmed to make meat, leather, etc, but they generally just "don't want to think about it". What we need to do is to educate them on WHY they should think about it, why they should take animals seriously, oppose their

 

Jo Charlebois:

Focusing on the "worst abuses" leads people to think that these are special cases, that they animals *they* eat aren't treated like that, that they can buy "humanely" raised meat and their moral obligation is done.

 

Vincent Guihan:

Well, you're entitled to your view, Stephanie, but a focus on abuse only encourages people to solve the problem of 'abuse' as they understand it. In order to promote veganism, it requires that people come to understand that all use is morally wrong. A focus on abuse just encourages people to do the least possible to solve that problem, not to go vegan because all use is wrong.

 

Stephanie Dyer:

To do that though animal abuse must be exposed at a high level, from sow stalls to battery hens...the industry will always fight to the death to hide the truth, this is morally wrong.

 

Vincent Guihan:

I think that's historically inaccurate. Here's why.

Stephanie Dyer:

Anyway it has always been difficult to work out how to best approach those who eat meat etc and always will be...

Vincent Guihan:

Up until about 50 years ago, lots of people raised and killed their own livestock. They didn't really care. Farmers still raise livestock. And they still kill and eat them.

Jo Charlebois:

All use is morally wrong, not just battery cages and sow stalls, to focus on things like these is to implicitly draw a distinction between these and other forms of animal use. In a society where animal use is considered morally acceptable and the nor, this encourages people to think that if this one type of use (the most "abusive" types) is problematic, then other types are not so problematic.

 

Vincent Guihan:

The notion that just showing people animal abuse will lead to any kind of moral sense that animal use is wrong stands against several thousand years of human history when we abused them much more directly than we do
today and it didn't bother people all that much at all.

Stephanie Dyer:

I live in a rural area and farmers still do this and always will. I was using sow stalls and battery hens as an example to use all examples would take hours.

Vincent Guihan:

I am not saying that explaining that nonhumans are rights holders who suffer when they are harmed is wrong. I am saying that a singular focus on animal suffering is misguided if we want people to understand that
use, by itself, is the moral problem.


Stephanie Dyer:

I don’t believe that hiding behind vegan books is the answer, sorry but I am all for getting out there and improving animal welfare standards.


Vincent Guihan:

Yes, but abolitionist veganism isn't about just targeting the worst abuses. It's about the notion that nonhumans, whether they're used gently or not, have a right not to be used.


Stephanie Dyer:

Can I ask a question please Vincent


Jo Charlebois:

Yes, exactly, there is nothing wrong with answering people's questions about "oh, what does happen to the male chicks, I never thought about that", but working to improve welfare standards tends to make people feel better about using animals and to be *good* for industry in the end, since the only reforms passed are those that are economically advantageous to them. this allows them to exploit more efficiently and to make more money from the people who now feel better about using animals.


Carolyn Bailey:

We really need to move on; we have a load of questions to get through

Vincent Guihan:

Clearly, nothing has stopped you yet, Stephanie. Did I answer your question sufficiently or did you want to ask a follow on?


Stephanie Dyer:

Nothing stops me


Carolyn Bailey:

Please feel free to ask as many questions as you like in the open chat, Steph. You answered perfectly, thanks, Vincent.


Vincent Guihan:

I should say that we can only chat until about 8pm. So, the sooner we move through the standard questions, the more time we will have for an open chat.


Carolyn Bailey:

Jeff Perz has a question for you, Vincent, and Jay will ask that for him in his absence, Jay?


Jason Ward:

Thanks again Carolyn! YOU ROCK!

Vincent, I type this question with a cheeky, playful tone in my fingertips. How did you get to be so brilliant ... and verbose?

Jo Charlebois:

(That’s about one more hour for those to whom "8pm" doesn't say much).

 

Vincent Guihan:

Thanks, Jo.

By far, my favourite question, Jason. So, thanks to Jeff (and to you) for asking.

 

Jason Ward:

Our pleasure


Vincent Guihan:

It started 37 years ago when I was a wee little baby in the womb of my beautiful mother, may she rest in peace.

 

Jo Charlebois:

Yes he is very proud of his verbosity and practises it daily.

 

Vincent Guihan:

Thanks for that.

 

Stephanie Dyer:

Oh dear.....


Vincent Guihan:

In front of the mirror.


Stephanie Dyer:

Too much time in front of mirror.

Vincent Guihan:

Long story short, though, Jeff, I mostly read the work of my colleagues and think about their ideas. I'm lucky enough to work with a group of advocates who think seriously about these issues. That helps a great deal.

Stephanie Dyer:

Very important to have very smart people around you, must always think smart....


Vincent Guihan:

I'm done. I don't know if Jo has anything she wants to add about how verbose I am.


Stephanie Dyer:

No, but I do


Jo Charlebois:

Nah I'm not so verbose


Jason Ward:

go ahead Jo, Lol


Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks again, Vincent ... and Jeff and Jay! Next question was to have been from Roger Yates, who is conveniently missing! Jay will ask Rog's question for him. Jay?


Jason Ward:

Thanks yet again Carolyn. 

In your third podcast, you indicated that there may be times when “non-violent force” can be legitimately used to defend nonhuman animals. Can you give us a couple of examples?

 

Vincent Guihan:

Sure, I think nonviolent force is often justifiable in situations of imminent harm and there are no reasonable alternatives. An example. Let's say that Roger and I were at the pub and he started an argument about how awesome his hair was.

 

Jo Charlebois:

Lol


Carolyn Bailey:

As he does!


Vincent Guihan:

Let's say the conflict escalate and it looked like there was going to be a fight. Let's imagine that just when blows are about to be struck, I flip the table. I think thats justifiable if I'm acting in order to prevent a fight. Or, let's say I wedge myself between them in order to restrain them. I think that that's justifiable. I also believe self-defense is justifiable, and so on.

Turning to nonhumans, I think there are plenty of examples of when property damage, nonviolent restraint and other actions are at least morally justifiable. If someone were beating a dog in front of you, I think if you had no reasonable alternative but to try to restrain the person, that would probably be morally justifiable, although it would probably get you thrown in jail for assault...or for terrorism in the United States.

What I don't believe is that we can build a meaningful political praxis around what may or may not be justifiable or practical in some instances but not others. There's a big difference between taking a choice in a situation in which moral choices are meaningfully limited and building a political movement around exceptional circumstances.

I think I'm done. I don't know if you have something you want to add Jo.


Jo Charlebois:

No I agree with all that.


Vincent Guihan:

Awesome.


Jason Ward:

M. Butterflies Katz has the next question - when ever you are ready Katz

 

Vegan Poet butterflies:

Okay this is a lengthy question so wait until you see the ?

I know you have rescued many felines. As a staunch vegan of 31 years, aligned with the abolitionist approach, I have a part of my head that feels very strangely about rescuing felines so they can live wonderful lives at the expense of other sentient animals that have been farmed and exploited horrifically by humans. This interprets to not living with felines for myself, but rescuing dogs and feeding them vegan.

If a cat comes into my life, I feed it supplemented vegan food, and it does some hunting or I find it another home, usually. I don't choose to live with felines. Why do you?  What is the difference between going to buy a burger at burger king and buying meat to feed your cats? Are you not contributing to the demand for animal products?

Jo Charlebois:

Thanks for this question, Butterflies. I talk about this a little in my blog here http://thestartingpointisveganism.blogspot.com/2010/01/companion-an... There are several questions here so bear with me and let me know if I forgot any part

 

Vincent Guihan:

OMG, Bruce Friedrich, is that you?


Jo Charlebois:

As for why we rescue felines as opposed to other animals, a big part of that is how the first of these cats came into my life.

Thanks for that, Vincent.

 

Stephanie Dyer:

if it is you can discuss the fact that PETA do everything they can to save cats and dogs that humans dump.......ooopssss


Jo Charlebois:

The first of these cats was rescued right outside my window when I lived in Montreal. She was semi-feral and grew up around the building. Many of her relatives and other stray cats were killed by cars. I took her in so that this wouldn't happen to her. And then some other cats in similar situations... and the "colony" grew. I also had previous experience caring for cats, but none with dogs.

The main point is that these cats are rights holders too and it's not their fault that they were brought into existence by humanity or that they are carnivores. We rescue them because we have the opportunity and the ability to do so and to care for.

I fed our cats on plant based cat food exclusively for about a year (and a mix for a year or so before that), but unfortunately they started to have serious problems. Of course I don't like feeding them dead animals but at this point after what we experienced, the choice is either do that or seriously harm the health of these cats who can't help that it was vegans who adopted them.

I don't need to eat a burger at Burger King, since I'm a human and doing just fine on plants. But right now the cats do need it for lack of safe alternatives (in my opinion, and in our area - I know there are people
who have fed cats successfully on vegn food who exist, just that wasn't our experience).

 

Vincent Guihan:

As a removed example, let's say you're in a lifeboat. One person is already dead. One person is dying of hunger. In that circumstance, it seems unreasonable to suggest that feeding the person who is dying of hunger with the body of the person who.. is not excusable. We can't hold it against nonhuman animals if they need meat to surive, although it's best to provide them with plant-based alternatives when it is possible to do so.


Woops. Lost my thought.


Jo Charlebois:

Damn, me too, I was going to add something.


Jose Valle:

Millions of animals die at farms, you could give them that dead corpses instead of buying dead animals (giving money to the industry that kills them).

Vincent Guihan:

Anyhow, the gist is: we owe individual nonhumans a certain amount of care, I think. Sometimes that means doing things we think of as immoral on their behalf.

Jose Valle:

Another option is asking the butchers for the rests they throw at bins


Vincent Guihan:

Those are good ideas. Thanks, Jose.


Vegan Poet Butterflies:

Are the nonhumans that you are feeding the cats not rights holders too? Yes, there must be better options like Jose offered.


Vincent Guihan:

It's a good question whether the dead have rights, and if they do, whether their rights should trump the morally relevant interests and rights of the living.

 

Jo Charlebois:

Yes, of course. This is a situation where there is no morally "good" choice. I either kill other animals, or I risk the lives of the cats I've taken as my responsibility.

 

Jose Valle:

I meant 'remains' not "rests'·


Jo Charlebois:

Oh yeah as Vincent suggests, they were rights holders while alive. Other options were not to rescue the cats in the street, thus being responisble for their deaths as well.

Vegan Poet:

But we create a demand for them to be killed when we buy these products for our cats.


Ashleigh M

I think it's a question of what's a "better" choice, so to speak.


Lidia B

The only problem for me is that they are dead for the purpose to keep someone alive not just dead by them selves, they would like to live as much as the cats.

Vegan Poet:

Some have offered the suggestion of feeding them road kills.


Jo Charlebois:

I'd also like to add that this is one of the many reasons that we are firmly against the continuation of domestication of animals by breeding them as companions.

 

Vincent Guihan:

We also create a demand when we take life saving medications. If there are alternatives, we should pursue them. But neglecting the needs of domesticated animals is morally problematic.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

I have another question for you, Jo: I saw the "Joint Statement by a Group of Abolitionist Vegan Feminists for International Women's Week" published in a few places, such as The Starting Point, ARZone, and FB. What response did you get to the sadly necessary critique of sexism within the animal advocacy movement. Was it covered in any feminist media? Are you planning on putting it out again? Did you send it to any "mainstream media"?


Jo Charlebois:

Thanks, Carolyn. There was plenty of response both positive and negative.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Negative?


Ashleigh M

That's a problem for me Vincent. I take depression medications that were tested on animals. What to do?


Jo Charlebois:

Some commentators tended to favour the "anything that a woman chooses to do cannot possibly be sexist since she chose it"

Ashleigh, what to do is to take those medications if you need them. Depression is very serious and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.


Vincent Guihan:

Yes, I consider depression to be life threatening.


Ashleigh M

Jo, that's a bit of a touchy issue. When it comes to nudity, even if you choose to pose nude, you're objectifying yourself. Also, thanks for your comments on my med problem


Jo Charlebois:

The negative responses to our statement tend to ignore the structural aspect of sexism, I find.

The question of whether something is sexist has to be answered in the context of the patriarchal society we're in. Unfortunately not all women are feminists and so just because a woman chose something doesn't
automatically make it non-sexist.

Actually (at the risk of being accused of being like Bruce Friedrich again) anyone who likes to can read the statement and see some of the comments here http://my-face-is-on-fire.blogspot.com/2010/03/joint-statement-by-g...

That's Mylene's excellent blog, where the majority of the comments were made (there were also a lot on FB, as I recall)

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks, Jo, it's also a blog post in ARZone

 

Jo Charlebois:

We didn't send the statement to any mainstream media

Oh of course, duh!

The first draft was originally based on a letter to the editor I had published a couple of years ago though. Only a few sentences remain from that in the final though.

 

Jason Ward:

Since Dr Yates and his hair couldn't make it- Carolyn will be asking on their behalf- Carolyn?

Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks, Rog's question is - Are you still as exercised as ever by “veg*n”? Still traumatised by it?

 

Jo Charlebois:

Shudder, lol. that "word" is just silly

 

Vincent Guihan:

Yes, I still hate the term veg*n. The horror, the horror.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Agreed!


Vincent Guihan:

I think we're done unless there's a follow-up about whether we like "abovegan".

 

I see Roger Yates!

Roger Yates:

veg*n!

Carolyn Bailey:

There are too many silly terms to cover! Lorna Hughes would like to ask a question now, go ahead, Lorna.


Vincent Guihan:

Where's the puking emoticon?

 

Lorna Hughes

Hi Vincent. I'm a person that sees things a little different from you. As i see that MDA is the way forward..As I see you’re all about vegan education why don't you think that the two sides can join together? Vegan education
and MDA, as everyone knows that vegan education can't work just on it’s own.

 

Vincent Guihan:

Thanks for the question, Lorna.


Jo Charlebois:

I'm not sure why you'd say "everyone knows" that. Abolitionist vegan education is only beginning to be attempted.


Vincent Guihan:

Well, it's my view that in addition to vegan education, we also need to do community organizing.


Jo Charlebois:

Absolutely.

 

Vincent Guihan:

But I'm not sure that MDA has a really central role in animal emancipation. In fact, I think it tends to do more harm than good insofar as it tends to confuse and alienate the public. Also, when we talk about MDA, it's not always clear what we're talking about. AE is definitely opposed to adventurism like vandalism and that kind of thing.

More important, property status and commodification are based on mass social acceptance of the moral acceptability of using nonhumans as our property. So, if we wish to end property status and commodification, then the most effective approach is, I think, abolitionist vegan education. I believe there are serious problems to specific MDA campaigns and figureheads in the movement today.

To be clear, I'm not against organized, disciplined political movement, and as a one-time member of the Communist Party, many people would describe me as a militant and the part as militant. And certainly, we acted directly, in order to rescue our cats. We act directly when we do vegan outreach and education. But I'm opposed to militancy when it is confused with adventurism and buffoonery and I'm opposed to direct action when it is conflated with gossiping and posturing on the Internet.

I am often asked if and when illegal and/or confrontational rescues and abolition are compatible. This is a very difficult question to answer. There are a lot of moral and practical considerations at play. I think this question is under theorized. But my general sense is that there are plenty of domesticated animals who can be rescued through perfectly nonconfrontational means, and if we take the rights of each animal as an individual as equally important, it's not always clear to me why illegal rescues are of particular importance to the movement.

Certainly, I am for saving lives when we can do so. And I think that solidarity is an important part of animal advocacy. But I tend to focus more on encouraging other advocates to work toward abolition clearly and coherently. Promoting veganism, working toward abolition, community organizing, animal adoption, and so on, are all excellent kinds of work.


Lorna Hughes:

I also think we should stop fighting each other and fight the system


Vincent Guihan:

I am not sure if that answers your question, Lorna or if Joanne has anything she would like to add.


Lorna Hughes:

Thanks Vincent


Vincent Guihan:

Well, I can say that as a militant, criticism is vital to militancy. I think when self-styled militant try to shut down critical dialogue, i think that's unfortunate.


Jo Charlebois:

I don't have anything more to add to that


Vincent Guihan:

Okay, done!


Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks, Jay would like to ask another question then, Jay?


Jason Ward:

Thank you very much Ms Carolyn much appreciated....

Vincent, you frequently attack other animal rights leaders on a personal and substantive basis. Isn't that bad for movement unity? Are you just a big meanie who didn't get enough hugs as a child or does this serve some
sort of broader purpose?


Vincent Guihan:

Thanks for the question, Jason. The truth is I didn't get enough hugs.

 

Jo Charlebois:

I try to rectify that but then he says I'm smothering him. Lol

Vincent Guihan:

More seriously, I think that many of the problems in advocacy leadership are not just substantive political issues. I think many of them are just not great people. I know that's harsh, but I believe it's true. I think there's a tremendous amount of opportunism and careerism in the movement, and I think that's unfortunate for nonhuman animals. I do try to keep my critiques relatively substantive, but I think the moral character of movement leadership is also very important.

Part of engaging other advocates about their work is to help them to improve. Most of my criticism is (usually) levied from a position of dialogue, rather than just calling someone down. Rare occasions aside, of course. :-D

I think I'm done. Jo, do you have any thoughts on whether it's because I’m just mean or didn't get enough hugs?

Jo? She's petting the cat. I wonder how long it will take her to notice...

Jo Charlebois:

Oops got distracted by cats! I think it's both.

 

Vincent Guihan:

Thanks for that.


Jo Charlebois:

You're welcome <3

Carolyn Bailey:

I’d like to sincerely thank you for giving us two excellent hours of your time


Vincent Guihan:

Did I answer your question, Jason?


Jason Ward:

That was great, sincerely - thank you for your time here in ARZone today


Vincent Guihan:

Jo and I may be in and out, though. But we'll keep the discussion going. In fact, it may be easier for people since we won't be typing simultaneously. :-D


Stephanie Dyer:

Can I jump in and ask a question


Carolyn Bailey:

I'd like to ask one more question from Dan Cudahy first please, Steph


Stephanie Dyer:

Okies


Carolyn Bailey:

What are the problems with calling various items (like cake) "vegan" or "not vegan”?


Vincent Guihan:

This is also a hot topic lately. Actually, my views on this are shaped significantly by another abolitionist's views.

I don't want to misrepresent his position, but the general thinking as I understand it is that vegans are moral agents. When we refer to things as vegan, it confuses that.

Further, it's a good question when a thing can be said to be vegan, since different people have different ideas on what would make X item vegan. If a red pepper is grown veganically and a red pepper is grown with animal manure, does it become less vegan? This draws us into odd and difficult questions about what makes item X vegan. The gist of which is that it is simpler, and generally more accurate to use a longer phrase to describe things and activities and to reserve the notion of 'vegan' for moral agents (like you and me). Although I invite correction from the proponent of this view if he wants to comment further.

He's probably playing video games.

Jason Ward:

k - the next question will be from Roger Yates - go ahead Rog


Vincent Guihan:

Does anyone have a follow-on? Oh, okay. FINALLY.

 

Roger Yates:

OK, and a big shout out to all veg*ns

You are very critical of regulationists. Can you elaborate on your argument that industry regulation never makes industry weaker?


Vincent Guihan:

Excellent question, Roger.

 

Roger Yates:

damn right


Vincent Guihan:

Typically regulation happens when an industry is considered to be of national economic interest. When an industry is considered to be of national economic interest, regulation is typically used to achieve a number
of different policy goal. hese policy goals often vary. For example, the military industrial complex is very heavily regulated in order to provide massive subsidies to the United States military.

Usually, regulation happens when the cost of production is significant. Regulation typically 'rescues' an industry by consolidating the industry behind larger players, putting smaller, less effective rivals out of the market. This does vary, though. In the case of tobacco, for example, reg. ensures that tobacco farmers aren't put out of business, that people can still smoke, and so on. Regulation helps to keep Big Tobacco afloat while also subsidizing regional governments through taxation.

We see this a bit with industry now, especially automakers in the US, that yes, regulation adds some red tape, but ultimately, the policy goal is to protect and sustain the industry, not to eliminate it. Regulating the auto industry has had similar effects. Airlines are roughly the same. None of these industries are close to vanishing, and in fact, the government steps in to prop them up with regulation.

Historically, there's little evidence that regulation practically leads to abolition. If anything, it tends to be the opposite. I also consider regulating animal use to be morally bankrupt.

Jo, any thoughts on your end?

 

Jo Charlebois:

Just catching up had to tend to the cats.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks again Vincent, for taking the time to answer so thoroughly. Stephanie would like to ask her question now, Stephi?


Vincent Guihan:

Roger, did you have a follow-on?

Sure. Stephanie?


Roger Yates:

Thanks for the answer Vincent.

 

Vincent Guihan:

NP


Stephanie Dyer:

I attend sale yards which sell millions of animals for slaughter every year, my role is to ensure that those who attend these yards operate within the law and as you can imagine most don't do this and the regulators have little interest in ensuring that they do so that's where I come in, I turn up and ensure that animals are not crippled, do not have broken legs are not emaciated, are not being abused in anyway, i take footage if this happens. The footage is circulated to relevant groups all over Australia, including PETA.

If I was to take an "abolitionist" approach to what I do for animals I would have achieved very little as NO ONE within the meat industry would work with me, and unfortunately to improve standards for animals I must work with the industry.

My question is, if you lived in Australia and attended say sale yards which sell animals which will go for slaughter, how would you approach the issue of inhumane treatment of these animals as clearly stepping in and saying "I am an abolitionist" would never work, I would be laughed out of every sale yard I attend and that would mean no one would be there to help these animals, such as sheep, cattle and pigs which are being sold for slaughter. I have to behave in a manner which will always benefit animals, this means working with farmers etc etc to try and educate them; if this does not work I simply expose them through the media.


Vincent Guihan:

Is this something you do as a job or something you do as a kind of activism? Or a little of both?


Stephanie Dyer:

It is my life. I do not get paid for it. I balance work and animal rights...like many of us...

 

Vincent Guihan:

Sure, many of us don't get paid to do what we do. But in that case, why not spend your time working in a shelter or conducting vegan outreach? 


Stephanie Dyer:

When dealing with the farmed animal industry one cannot take an abolitionist approach, if I was not at these yards to ensure animal welfare was taken care of then people would do as they pls which means animals suffer.

 

Vincent Guihan:

I ask, not to denigrate the work you are doing or you as a person. I ask because there are lots of ways to help nonhuman animals that are more consistent with abolition.


Stephanie Dyer:

So are you saying I should walk away because the outcome for the animals is the same, which is of course slaughter?


Vincent Guihan:

Sure, I understand, but animals suffer regardless and on a massive scale. I am saying that you should try to strike at the roots of the problem, and that if you want to make a difference in the lives of individual nonhumans, adoption, rescue and shelter work is perhaps a more meaningful avenue to do it.


Stephanie Dyer:

I shall give you an example...I catch farmers etc out trying to sell sheep with broken legs, now when I turn up I ensure these animals are put down and not sold or transported.

But what i do is incredibly meaningful and to be honest without my input many sale yards would still be selling suffering animals, so how can I walk away knowing this when I can and have made an enormous
difference. Such a difference in fact that that yards i attend isolate suffering animals and ensure they are not sold, before i stepped in they would be sold, one cannot walk past and do nothing.


Vincent Guihan:

Suffering is only one result of the moral problem, though. All use is morally wrong. If you agree with this view, I am only saying you might find better avenues to promote an end to animal use.

 

Stephanie Dyer:

Ok let me put it this way, if you came across facilities which were operating inhumanely and you knew you could stop it what would you do??

 

Jo Charlebois:

Yes, if you are more concerned with animal welfare then that's fine, as an abolitionist I would not feel that this is the best use of my time. Regulating the industry is not going to end it. The animals are all killed in the end and will continue to be as long as there is demand for animal products.

Vincent Guihan:

Well, to be clear, if I walked by a cow who was dying of thirst, I would definitely give her water. We should always take opportunities to help those nonhumans in need if we can do so.

Stephanie Dyer:

I would rather know that while the meat industry continues i can play a huge part in ensuring it does operate as humanely as possible.


Carolyn Bailey:

We really need to move on, Vincent and Jo have been incredibly generous with their time, but unfortunately, they have other plans tonight. We'll work on Vincent and Jo coming back for another chat in the near
future though.


Vincent Guihan:

That is different from making alleviating suffering a cornerstone of our activism, when I think time is better spent rescuing and caring for domesticated nonhuman animals and promoting veganism. That's all.
:-D


Stephanie Dyer:

Thanks


Vincent Guihan:

Yes, we have to run. But it has been great talking with you all.

 

Jason Ward:

Thanks so much for coming out today Jo and Vincent = thanks for everything

 

Carolyn Bailey:

I'd like to thank Vincent and Jo on behalf of ARZone for being so generous with their time today


Trisha Roberts:

Thanks Vincent & Jo :-)


Stephanie Dyer:

Thanks Vincent it was very informative.


Timothy Putnam:

Thanks for your time with us, you two!


Jo Charlebois:

Thanks for inviting us, Carolyn

 

Roger Yates:

Thanks Jo*cent

 

William Paul:

Thanks for your time Vincent and Jo

Jose Valle:

Thanks


Vincent Guihan:

Hehe Jo*cent I like it


Vere Cristofani:

Thanks Jo, Vincent.


Vincent Guihan:

Yes, by all means. Continue the discussion.


Tim Gier:

Thank you!


Vincent Guihan:

Thanks for having us!

 

Carol Hughes:

Thanks, Jo and Vincent!


Mylene Ouellet:

Informative AND entertaining!


Jo Charlebois:

Have a good night/day/whatever it is for you, everyone

 

Barbara DeGrande:

Thanks so much!


Fifi

Thanks

 

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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