Animal Rights Zone

Fighting for animal liberation and an end to speciesism

Jeff Perz ~ Guest Chat Transcript ~ 29 - 30 May 2010

Transcript of Jeff Perz's Live ARZone Guest Chat

29 May 2010 at:

3:30pm US Pacific time

6:30pm US Eastern time

11:30pm UK Time

and 30 May 2010 at:

8.30am Australian Eastern Standard Time

Carolyn Bailey:

Jeff Perz is a Canadian animal rights philosopher and activist living in Australia. His activism has involved the use of portable audio-visual kiosks placed on the streets In this way, Jeff has shown the public video images of non-human animals being exploited and killed for human consumption while simultaneously presenting rational arguments for animal rights and a vegan lifestyle from an abolitionist perspective.

His Master’s thesis is entitled Core Self-Awareness and Personhood and argues that all self-aware beings are moral persons and ought to be legal persons.

Jeff has written several animal rights articles, which are linked here:

ARZone is proud to welcome Jeff Perz as our guest today, please say hello to Jeff …

Michael T Tiedemann
Hi Jeff!

Carolyn Bailey:
Hey Jeff, welcome!

Jeff Perz:
Hello everyone, thank you for having me here.

Roger Yates:
Hi Jeff.


Carolyn Bailey:
Before we begin, I’d like to request that all comments be withheld until the formal chat has concluded, at which time Jeff will be happy to take questions from all members in open chat. I’d now like to ask Jeff his first question on behalf of Tammy McLeod who can’t be here:

I consider myself an abolitionist. I define this by my desire to abolish all animal use and abuse completely, without exception. I also believe, in order to do so, direct action is an acceptable way of accelerating this. I believe direct action has a place and is necessary, to remove animals who are suffering NOW from their current circumstances. Could you please explain why you feel my opinion is wrong, and why you feel your approach is superior?

Jeff Perz:
Thanks very much, Tammy, for your eloquently worded question.
When you speak of “direct action” above, you appear to be limiting it to removing animals from situations of exploitation. If this is indeed all that you mean, my view is that sometimes rescuing animals is morally acceptable or desirable, sometimes it is not clear whether a rescue is acceptable and other times rescues are clearly immoral.

I will start with the rescue situations that I am ambivalent about. On the one hand, there are individual healthy animals in need of rescuing, and it would be cold to turn one's back on them. On the other hand,
rescuing healthy animals will cause more animals to be bred into existence to replace those rescued. In other words, the act of rescuing one healthy animal is casually connected to the response of the exploiter, who will respond to the demand that the rescuer has created, phone his supplier, and ask that more animals be bred into existence, used and killed. The rescuer is the cause of this suffering and death NOW. So, I am of mixed minds when it comes to rescuing healthy animals.

Regarding rescue situations that I believe are morally acceptable or desirable, these would involve “unhealthy” animals, or animals that the exploiter does not want for whatever reason. If the animals are so
unhealthy that they would be discarded by the animal exploiter, then I support efforts to rescue them, so long as nothing is paid for them, not even $1. These situations do not create demand for breeding more animals into existence, whom would then be exploited and killed. Rescues are clearly unethical when not enough consideration is paid to the well-being of the animals. For example, cases of releasing minks from mink farms, where the minks have died of dehydration, starvation, or have been hit by cars. All of that said, it is a better use of an activist's time to do vegan education than to rescue animals. Vegan education saves* many more lives. One could spend days (or more) planning and executing an open or covert rescue. Perhaps that would save 10-50 animals. Or, instead, one could spend that same time doing vegan education. Helping just one person in her 20s to go vegan would save*(i.e. prevent _thousands_ of animals from being bred into existence, exploited and killed) NOW. As Francione notes, we’re in a zero sum game: every minute spent doing a rescue is one minute less that we could have been doing vegan
education, saving more lives.

So, in general, this is the reason why I believe direct action via rescue is not the best approach to abolish all animal use. That said, I do not actively oppose all rescues, as I explain above.

Carolyn Bailey:
Thanks very much, Jeff.

Roger Yates:
thanks Jeff

Jeff Perz:
You're welcome

Roger Yates:
the next Q comes from Carolyn on a cranky old Aussie computer....

Maggie Baker:
thank you Jeff

Carolyn Bailey:
Thanks, Rog!
Could you please give us your opinion on the keeping of companion animals. Doesn’t this violate the most basic right any animal should be afforded of not being treated as property?

Jeff Perz:

Let me answer with a human analogy. Suppose the question were asked, “Could you please give us your opinion on providing sanctuary to runaway (human) slaves.

Doesn’t this violate the most basic right any runaway slave should be afforded of not being treated as property?” The answer, obviously, is “no.” So, for cats, dogs, etc., this means that we can rescue them from shelters. We can care for and provide sanctuary to the animals that exist now. But we must stop breeding new cats and dogs into existence.

Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks again, Jeff

Jason Ward has the next question, but he may be unavailable at the moment, so Rog will ask for him, Rog?

Roger Yates:

I will!

What’s your opinion of vegans taking advantage of medications or procedures which have been developed through vivisection, or the use of animals as commodities? Is this not inconsistent with living a vegan lifestyle and taking an animal rights position?


Jeff Perz:

Thanks for this question, Jason. I believe someone from PeTA (which I oppose) effectively answered this question decades ago. Gary Francione gives a variation of this answer in the appendix to Introduction to Animal Rights. I am opposed to (human) slavery and the use of prisoner labor. Yet, many of the roads in the Southern U.S. were originally built by slaves and continue to be maintained by prisoner labor. If we live in the U.S. South, should we avoid driving on these roads? I believe the answer is “no, but we should become strong advocates against the use of prison labor.” Similarly, if I had to choose between a medication with no animal ingredients but it was tested on animals, vs. dying, I would choose to take the medication and live. Then I could do more vegan education, which includes anti-vivisection education. Thus, I don’t think there is any inconsistency. That said, I strive to avoid all animal-tested products, including medication. When I can, for example, I will take feverfew herb instead of aspirin or whatever.

Roger Yates:
thanks Jeff
the next Q is from Carolyn

Carolyn Bailey:
There are many people who are most effectively convinced of the necessity for veganism by rational argument.

However, there are also many people who are most effectively persuaded by emotional impact, such as that delivered by films like Earthlings and similar video footage.

Indeed, I know at least a few, if not several people, some who are now abolitionists, who went vegan directly as a result of the emotional impact of watching Earthlings or similar video. The criticism of films showing emotional impact is that they focus on treatment instead of use per se. The concern is that many people will react to such films by wanting more regulation, either as part of, or instead of, abolition. As an abolitionist with significant formal training in rational argument who has experience showing video of the cruel treatment inherent in virtually all animal exploitation, do you think such videos are an effective educational aid for abolitionists? Do you believe adding such “emotional impact” to rational abolitionist argumentation is more effective than rational abolitionist argumentation alone?


Jeff Perz:
Thanks, Carolyn. First, let me paraphrase Gary Francione’s view: There is no right or wrong answer to your question. My view (and my personal experience) is that, if gory videos of animal use are shown
with no commentary, then the default position of the viewer will prevail. In other words, she will say or think the images of animal use are “horrible, I don’t agree with that. But conditions could be greatly
improved and I agree with the humane use and killing of animals.” Then, this person will go on eating factory farmed animals, simply because the mere possibility of improving conditions of use exists. To avoid
this scenario, I do the following. If conducting a workshop or formal film night, I will begin by presenting a clear, rational and easy to understand argument for why regulating animal use does not work, and
why doing so is immoral. Then I will show the video. Afterwards, I will re-cap the argument I began with and then open it up to questions and discussions with the audience. After being shocked, and after
empathizing with the animals in the video, the audience is generally hungry for a way to make sense of it all.

They need reasons for maintaining the status quo, or reasons for changing and going vegan. In other words, empathy and emotion need to be accompanied by easy to understand reasoned analysis.

Also, in informal situations where I am simply showing videos on the street, there is no opportunity to give an introduction. In these cases, I make my own abolitionist pamphlets that explain everything,
and I am there to answer people’s questions. Unlike in conventional protests that generally have aggressive atmospheres, which encourage passersby to walk past as quickly as possible and avert their eyes,
showing videos of animal use on the street causes large groups, semi-circles of people, to gather around the screen. (This is only true if the population density in a given area is at the right balance.)
There is a quiet, somber atmosphere. People approach me, the activist, with an open mind. Lastly, some people respond more to reason, some more to empathy and emotion, but most people need both.

Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks again, Jeff, for your thoughtful replies. Next question is from Sam Jenkins and will be asked by Roger Yates, Rog?

Roger Yates:
here's the Q:....There has been some debate online during the week regarding a video which was filmed by “Mercy for Animals” of an Ohio dairy farm and some of the extreme atrocities carried out by their workers and owner. The undercover video displayed some of the worst cruelty imaginable, including severe and relentless beating of cows and calves, in the head and face, using crowbars and other tools.

The debate has involved some activists suggesting that to place any importance on this video would be to suggest all other dairy cruelty was less significant, and more acceptable, in comparison. Some activists have suggested that not to place emphasis on this video is a wasted opportunity to educate people who choose to consume dairy, of the atrocities that occur in every dairy farm, every single day, for every single cow.

Do you see these videos as potentially beneficial for vegan education? Why or why not?

Jeff Perz:

I prefer not to use videos that involve scenes of illegal activity within industries that exploit animals. For example, activity that violates the Humane Slaughter Act and other laws. Beating cows is illegal because it is a waste of worker time and causes carcass damage (although that doesn't matter in the case of cows used for dairy, whose bodies are later ground up). As Dan Cudahy recently said, “The horrific treatment of these innocent beings is merely a symptom of the disease of using them and of speciesism. The use *cannot* be regulated; use must be abolished.” I agree with Dan.

I don’t support using videos of illegal animal exploitation. I do support using extremely violent abhorrent videos of legal animal exploitation--so long as the images depict commonplace, standard industry practice. See my reply to Carolyn’s question above. I also support using videos of so-called “free range”
and “hobby” farms.


Roger Yates:

Thanks Jeff

Lorna was supposed to be here to ask her Q - but apparently not... Carolyn will step in...


Carolyn Bailey:
Thanks, Rog. This is Lorna's question for you, Jeff:
HI Jeff, my question is: when you wrote "Exclusive Non-Violent Action: Its Absolute Necessity for Building a Genuine Animal Rights Movement", did you realise how controversial this essay was going to be, as i was
reading Daniel Peyser thoughts on this. Daniel Peyser wrote: "I argue that his essay, its premise, contents, and conclusion, are wholly incorrect". What is your reply to this, and did you do enough research?

Jeff Perz:
Thanks, Lorna. Yes, I realized there would be disagreement with my article, as passions tend to run high on this issue. And yes, I did do enough research. Here is my reply to Peyser:
I invite you to read my reply to Peyser linked above, and then e-mail me later (via Carolyn of ARZone) with your reaction. But let me also say this now: Aside from Francione's point that violence focuses on the wrong side of the demand-supply equation, and therefore does not save the lives of any animals, I would add the following. If I were sitting in an animal rights campaign office, how should I choose to spend my limited time and money?

Consider these three options:

(a) Spend 8 hours per day seeking out people who are in the process of
severely beating their dogs, and then I intervene and violently
defend the dogs.

Although option (a) would be an inefficient use of time, it IS analogous to self-defense, or the defense of others.

(b) Spend 8 hours per day planning the murder of a vivisector or slaughterhouse worker. 

Option (b) is NOT analogous to self-defense, or the defense of others, because the animals who were supposedly saved by the murder of the human could be saved by another means. Namely…

(c) Spend 8 hours per day encouraging the public to go vegan, including not eating or consuming the products of slaughterhouses and vivisection labs.

The fact that option (c) ALWAYS exists and is viable and effective means that option (b) is always unethical. Why? Consider this analogy:

You are visiting a prison. A three-time murderer is in a cell with an open door. He looks at you, picks up a knife, says "I am going to kill you" and slowly but determinedly starts walking in your direction. You can defend yourself by pushing a button that will close and lock the cell door before the prisoner can get out. Alternatively, you can defend yourself by shooting the prisoner dead. The latter option is unethical because it is not a genuine instance of self-defense. Similarly, murdering a vivisector or slaughterhouse worker is unethical because it is not a genuine instance of the defense of others. Just as many animals (many more, in fact) could be saved by doing vegan education. The above is true when the decision is made at the animal rights campaign office, or the “level” of a social justice campaign. In other words, the decision is not a response to a random event that is isolated from animal rights advocacy. 

Again, as Francione argues, no animals are saved by murdering vivisectors or slaughterhouse workers because the same number of animals they would have killed will be killed by someone else, perhaps at a different, distant facility.


Carolyn Bailey:
Thanks again, Jeff. And thank you also for such thoughtful and helpful responses! Great answer!

Jeff Perz: 

You're welcome

Carolyn Bailey:
Roger Yates has his very own question, and is next, Rog?

Roger Yates:
I get to ask one of my own! This is where the story really starts folks! (with apologies to Spike Milligan)...

Hi, Jeff, may I quote your definition of violence

“Violence is the intentional infliction of physical or psychological harm upon a sentient being. Property destruction may or may not be violent, depending on the circumstances. “If someone burns down another’s home and cherished possessions whilst the home is empty, this form of property destruction is psychologically violent towards the people who lived in that home; they feel extreme loss, anger and fear. “On the other hand, if someone destroys a vacant construction site where a slaughterhouse was to be built, this act of property destruction is not psychologically violent. Some might object to this, “perhaps arguing
that the stockholders in the company will lose money, this will affect their ability to meet their needs and they will experience worry, panic or something else that could be described as psychological harm. This
concern, however, is “exaggerated. Whether an act of property destruction is psychologically violent is a matter of degree and is open to interpretation. “Gandhi destroyed the property of theGovernment of South Africa when he burned the permits that all Indians in that country were required to carry. Although property destruction is not necessarily violent, “it may nevertheless be counterproductive to building an animal rights movement at this point in history.” How have you developed this definition since 2005, if at all – maybe with more thoughts about the nonhuman animals who die in fires even on vacant construction sites – The apparently increased problems of defining psychological violence (Singer, for example, argued against ~any~ action that may cause psychological harm in the 1980s) –And particularly the issue you raise about ~timing~ at the end of the quote? 

Jeff Perz:

I stand by the above definition. I defend the above definition in my October, 2008 reply to Peyser, linked above in my answer to Lorna’s question.


That said, from a previous conversation with you and others, I recognize that putting this definition in to practice may be difficult. When you say that psychological violence may be difficult to define, I interpret that as meaning there will be “grey areas” or cases where we are unsure whether something is psychologically violent. The same problem, to a lesser degree, exists with the definition of physical
violence. Whether we are talking about grey areas with respect to physical or psychological violence, my answer is the same: Avoid instances of violence that are clearly violent and agreed to be such.
In cases where we are unsure, we should err on the side of non-violence, and further develop our views through constructive debate. Any difficulty in defining physical or psychological violence, or putting our definition into practice, does not mean that we shouldn’t strive to live by the ideal of non-violence. We should strive to be non-violent in deed, word and thought. Regarding your point that property destruction by arson kills insects and rodents, I maintain that this is violent and, as such, is immoral.


When I said that property destruction is not necessarily violent but it may nevertheless be counterproductive at this point in history, I was referring to a point that Francione has made. Namely, we currently live in a society where the violent exploitation of animals is considered as normal as drinking water and breathing air. In this context, even non-violent property destruction is viewed as absolutely crazy by the vast majority of people.


Consequently, property destruction has the effect of making abolitionist vegan education (directed at the public) more difficult.

Do you have a follow-up question, Roger?


Roger Yates:

I do...
Thanks for the answer Jeff. I feel we have to be careful about our thoughts on "psychological violence"

In theory, that could prevent us doing virtually anything...for fear of causing upset in others. That was the very point I made in my response to Singer in the 1980s. Violence is wrong - but there are limits to what can be defined as violence - do you agree?

Jeff Perz:
I agree that we have to be careful about defining psychological violence, and putting it into practice.


In my reply to Peyser, I used an analogy of Gandhi's: Slapping someone on the face is physically violent. But if the slap is intended to keep the person awake, because the person has been bitten by a snake, then the slap is non-violent. Similarly, Gandhi upset the British colonizers of India with his non-violent resistance. But this upset was temporary and transformative for the better. For example, Gandhi's arch opponent when Gandhi was in South Africa was General Smuts. Smuts later thanked Gandhi.

In sum, I agree with you Roger that we don't want our definition of violence (or psychological violence) to prevent us from doing non-violent action. In light of my reply above, however, I don't think it does. Perhaps I need a tidier definition of psychological violence. Do you have any further comments, Roger? (I ask because I think this is an important point.)

Roger Yates:
No - we need to move on - but I hope we can all discuss this after the transcript is published.

Carolyn Bailey:
Thanks again, Jeff! Jason Ward has another question, but as he's been held up at work, Roger will ask this one for him as well. Rog?


Roger Yates:

OK. You’re obviously a strong advocate for abolition and non violent vegan education. My question to you is this: How do you react to people who are adamant that animal liberation must come now, today, and it must come by any means necessary. How do you respond when those people suggest abolitionists are merely “dietary vegans”, and have little care for animals which are held in terrible conditions now?

Jeff Perz:
Thanks, Jason. I ask these people what their reasons are. Then we debate the merits of their reasons vs. the merits of my reasons. Before starting reasoned debate, however, it is often very helpful to make it clear

that I fully understand the other person’s point of view. For example, I might say something like “It sounds like when you think of animals undergoing horrible suffering right now, you feel a sense of urgency. So, you would like me to see why you support violent resistance to animal exploitation. Is that right?” Then, the person will answer, and I will continue to empathize with her point of view until she feels completely understood by me. Then, the person will be receptive to having a reasoned debate, without anyone getting offended or walking away unsatisfied. I have stated some of the reasons I used.

Other reasons are found in my two articles on non-violence, one of which is linked above.

Regarding the false claim that abolitionists are merely people who advocate a plant-based diet, I simply reject that definition and explain that I define veganism as follows. Veganism is a political stance, which rejects violence and speciesism. In practice, veganism means not eating any animal products, not wearing any animal products, not using any products that contain animal ingredients or products that were tested on animals, not patronizing animal entertainment and not using animals in any other way. This prescriptive (moral and political) definition of veganism must then be linked with rational arguments for veganism, abolition and the basic rights of animals.


Roger Yates:
Thanks Jeff.
There is indeed a final Q - and it comes from the Mighty Carolyn.

Carolyn Bailey:
Thanks again, Jeff. For taking the time to provide such insightful responses.

How beneficial do you think the Internet has been for abolitionist advocacy? What do you think of the effectiveness of blogging, social networking, and educating and/or debating (as the case may be) on public forums?


Jeff Perz:
My pleasure

Thanks, Carolyn. This is a difficult question for me to answer. A clear benefit of the internet for abolitionist advocacy is that activists can easily communicate with one another, network and organize together. In other words, the internet provides us with more opportunity for solidarity among abolitionists, and allows us to assist each other more in our efforts. We can also reach a wider audience, and -- as Francione notes -- the
flow of information is no longer restricted by gatekeeper organizations like PeTA.

My partner has helped *many* people go vegan simply by debating on public internet forums. So that is a great benefit of the internet.

All of that said, the internet is not the savior of animal rights advocacy, or of social justice generally. I highly recommend that everyone here at this guest chat today read the book “Necessary Illusions” by

Noam Chomsky. In a nutshell, Chomsky rightly concludes that ALL media reflects the interests of the powerful; in our case, animal exploiters and the public who empowers the exploiters. To paraphrase Chomsky: media corporations do not sell newspapers, etc. In fact, they lose money on the sale of newspapers. Rather, media corporations sell human beings. They sell audiences. They sell privileged, wealthy audiences to advertisers. So what would you expect to be in newspapers? Whose interests will be supported?


It is acceptable for a newspaper to express the view that the war and occupation in Iraq is justified--for whatever spurious reasons. On the other hand, it is also acceptable for a newspaper to express the view that the Iraq situation is not justified, because it fails to achieve the goals of “stability” (i.e. stabilizing economic exploitation), “freedom,” safety from WMDs, etc.

In other words, “fight it better.” But what never happens, what is never acceptable, is for a newspaper to oppose the war/occupation of Iraq on the grounds that it is inherently immoral -- with a list of cogent, compelling reasons. For, if a newspaper did this, where would the oil industry be? What would the companies that advertise gasoline-fuelled automobiles do? What would the airlines do with their ads, which sell jet-fuel powered flights? The list goes on. They would pull their ads and the newspaper would die. A relatively recent example of this is Bill Maher’s TV show, “Politically Incorrect”

being cancelled due to complaints from advertisers. Maher was talking about Iraq and oil too much. But it usually never gets that far; journalism school indoctrination makes sure of that, the culture of journalism makes sure of that. Or, executives, managers or editors will be fired, threatened or subtly pressured as a result of their decisions.

The alternative to the above model is building independent, advertising free, media institutions. Indy newspapers, indy radio, etc. have existed for decades. PBS television in America and ABC television in
Australia are commercial free. Yet even they are pushed and pressured by the government--which is in turn controlled by corporate interests.

So let us build stronger, more effective independent media institutions. When they get strong enough, there will be strong opposition from the powers that be. We must resist and struggle against
this suppression. The internet is an excellent medium for independent media. But the vast majority of the public does not go to Indy media websites. They do not go to abolitionist animal rights websites. Rather, most people go to mainstream media websites. Most people watch commercial TV, look at commercial billboards, listen to commercial radio and read commercial newspapers -- which all direct them to commercial media websites.


But, as Leonard Cohen says, “there is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” Let us use the internet and other mediums for independent communication to carry out our abolitionist strategy; namely, vegan EDUCATION. Education requires one kind of medium or another. Let us be the most effective educators we can be. We don’t have the budgets of multimillion dollar public relations firms, but we do have one thing on our side: the truth.

Carolyn Bailey:
Thanks, Jeff! That was officially the last formal question, and I thank you again for your fantastic reply.

Jeff Perz:
My pleasure.

Carolyn Bailey:
This ends the formal segment of Jeff’s chat, and I would therefore like to sincerely thank Jeff Perz for his time and insight today, which is very much appreciated by ARZone.

Jeff has agreed to open up the chat and take questions from all members at this point.

Jeff Perz:

Yes, please ask away everyone

Carolyn Bailey:

If any members therefore would like to engage Jeff, please, don't be shy!

Maggie Baker:

Thank you, Jeff. I have already started educating my friends and family on yr very truthful information


Do you ever get discouraged by people who know all the facts about why they should become vegan but still don't? How do you deal with this? How do you keep your spirits up?

Jeff Perz:

That depends: do they agree with the facts and arguments for veganism, or not?


Yes they do

Jeff Perz:



They just say that they are too selfish to change

Jeff Perz:

First, I think the arguments we give them should be of the highest quality we can provide. I often summarize Gary Francione's argument in Introduction to Animal Rights. If they agree with that argument, but still don't go vegan, then I say something like... "I have given you an argument for going vegan, and for why non-human animals have basic rights, just as humans have basic rights.

"You say you agree with the reasons I've given you. That means the conclusion of going vegan automatically follows." "But if, for whatever reason, you cannot go vegan right now, why not try going vegan every Monday? (or, as Francione suggests, one meal per day)


Yes, i guess i am having a hard time breaking through to people. it is depressing at times. Thanks

Jeff Perz:

"Then, after enough time has passed, being vegan every Monday will become easy. Then, when you're ready, you can increase it to 2 days per week."

(Ok, I have a bit more to add)


please :-)

Jeff Perz:

“Eventually, in this way, you can become totally vegan. Note that, while you are in the process of decreasing the animal products in your life, you are still not living in harmony with your values. You said you agreed with the argument I gave you and its vegan conclusion. But, eventually, you can become vegan.

At that point, your actions will be consistent with your view that animals have rights, and veganism is essential to respecting those rights." Then I say "How do you feel about starting this process out by going vegan every Monday?" If they agree with the argument I previously gave then, in my experience, most people are receptive to this gradual approach. RE: keeping spirits up I remember that it's not about me; my spirits. It's about non-human animals. Also, I get empathy from people in my life, which makes me feel better.

Carolyn Bailey:

Great advice, Jeff. Thanks very much!


I appreciate your thoughts....thanks

Jeff Perz:

You're welcome. ohsooosara, I hope you have at least one vegan who you can get empathy from, to give you strength.

Carolyn Bailey:

Are there more questions for Jeff?

Roger Yates:

If not, can I butt in again?

Carolyn Bailey:

You go Rog!

Jeff Perz:

Please do

Roger Yates:


If you don’t mind, Jeff, I’d like to ask the “bubbling under” question about Joan Dunayer.

Jeff Perz:


Roger Yates:

A few people have said to me on knowing of your visit appearance on ARZ that your critique of Dunayer was rather unkind. In particular they wonder whether you have in a sense prevented Dunayer continuing in animal advocacy. I’ve been asked to ask you whether you regret attacking Dunayer and whether you make a distinction between “Animal Equality” and “Speciesism.” (As you’ll know, I think the former is a fine text.)

Jeff Perz:

In my view, the two articles I wrote in response to Joan Dunayer's book _Speciesism_ objected to the reasons and arguments that Dunayer presented. In the same way, one could object to the reasons and arguments that Peter Singer uses. This is not a personal attack on Singer or Dunayer.
Rather, it is objecting with reasons.

I hope Dunayer continues to do animal advocacy.

I also regard Dunayer's book _Animal Equality_ as a fine text.

I don't agree with the premise behind the above question that I "attacked" Dunayer. I objected to her statements with my own reasons.

The major reason why I wrote the negative review of _Speciesism_ is this: I provide evidence and arguments that Dunayer misrepresents and distorts Francione's views. Based upon these distortions, Dunayer makes recommendations to animal rights activists. These recommendations, therefore, may not be effective in helping non-human animals and furthering their rights. My review was intended to un-do that consequence of Dunayer's book. In a perfect world, I would love to see Dunayer publish a 2nd edition of _Speciesism_ that removed the misrepresentations of Francione. I would then be happy to use her book and recommend it to others.

Roger Yates:

Thanks Jeff - much appreciated.




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Comment by Jeff Perz on May 9, 2011 at 23:16

Carolyn, you write:

"To suggest that I am aware of your claims that 2 previous guests have been "unacceptable" and then refuse to further discuss this is..."

to refrain from airing personal information.



"It's outrageous that you would say that two of ARZone's guests are lying about what their goals are with respect to animal advocacy. "

I'm privy to information that you're not.



"Is he suggesting that those that hold positions which differ from Gary Francione should be banished from ARZone?"

In my recent comments here, I don't think I've said much or anything about Francione's views.  Brooke, did you skim over my comments about PeTA's Bruce Friedrich being on AR Zone? No one is superior.


Roger, I don't regard  Friedrich as an abolitionist, but I think it's alright to give him a platform, as long as it's a highly critical platform. I've recently written an article on the definition of "abolitionist," which differs from Francione's approach to the definition. My definition both accords with common English usage and excludes people like Freidrich from the definition of "abolitionist." With some luck, it will appear soon. You'll have to wait for more information on this.


Thanks, Roger, for this concession:


"I agree that some of the guest interviews have fallen short of what we might have wanted from them."

Your comment about space for objections latter is a fair point.  But sometimes, this too, has fallen short. Again, however, that was not my real concern.


I was asked why I don't want to answer Tim's question here, and I gave as much of an answer as I can without bringing up personal details. Next time, I guess I won't give any answer.


In any case, all of this trivial stuff aside, if some people find the animal rights articles I've written over the years useful, then great. If not, then fair enough.


Tim Gier chose to engage on the specifics of one of my past arguments, and I appreciate that. Now, it seems, I mostly agree with Tim on open rescues.

Comment by Ben Hornby on May 8, 2011 at 19:16

I'm sure Jeff Perz isn't suggesting anyone listen only to the views of one man. That would be silly and counter-productive.

I think we should wait until Jeff responds, then learn from him. He is really experienced with vegan education. Lets hear what he says first, before we comment further about why he refuses to elaborate, he might have a good reason.



Comment by Brooke Cameron on May 8, 2011 at 18:31

Is Jeff suggesting they we only get to listen to guests that are supportive of a position he approves of? Is he suggesting that those that hold positions which differ from Gary Francione should be banished from ARZone? Is he suggesting that ARZone become similar to the abolitionist approach forum in which any opinions which differ from those of the "leader" are swiftly "abolished"?

Ahhhhaaaa, that's what the "abolitionist approach" means ... any opinions which differ from the leader are appropriately abolished.

I guess we shall be left to wonder and wallow in our new welfarist scum for all eternity, until Jeff and those with similar "opinions", permit us to understand exactly what we should and should not think.

I'd really appreciate if Jeff could help me to become an arrogant tool who has no idea how to educate people in the real world and instead rants and raves on Facebook, blocking those who disagree with him/his partner, and continues to lie about being some kind of educator.

Way to go with vegan education, Jeff. I'm a HUGE fan!



Comment by Tim Gier on May 8, 2011 at 12:36



It's outrageous that you would say that two of ARZone's guests are lying about what their goals are with respect to animal advocacy.  It's especially outrageous that you have done this without naming names, presenting evidence or making any argument. And you consider yourself an adequate judge of rational, civil discussion? I don't think you understand the term.

Comment by Carolyn Bailey on May 8, 2011 at 11:51

I think it's fine that ARZone has guests such as Bruce Friedrich as well. One would assume that the spokesperson for the most influential and widely spoken about animal advocacy group in the world would be an appropriate guest to invite when the aim is to invoke civil discussion in regard to issues relevant to nonhuman animals and our obligations toward them.

Your suggestion that some past guests that have appeared in ARZone are disingenuous about animal rights is an opinion. It's an ill-informed and uneducated opinion, but it's your opinion all the same, and, in ARZone, people are allowed to hold opinions which differ from others.

To suggest that I am aware of your claims that 2 previous guests have been "unacceptable" and then refuse to further discuss this is irresponsible, cowardly and wrong. I am not aware of which guests you are referring to, but of course could guess which two you refer to. One of which refers to himself as an abolitionist, the other also refers to herself as an abolitionist. I see no reason that anyone else holds the right to dictate to either of these people their position in regard to animal advocacy. Nor do I believe that those who adhere to the Gary Francione style of abolitionism should feel it their right to assume superiority over those who don't.

You mention it's "impossible to call them on this", have you ever bothered to try to engage these people in civil discourse? 

ARZone does regard inviting guests who may have differing goals and opinions to that of our own as educational, as we believe that in order to fully understand our own position, we must also examine the opinions and goals of those we oppose. 

Rational, civil discussion is something which does, and will continue to, occur in ARZone as we believe that all individuals are entitled to their opinions and we respect their right to hold those opinions, even when we strenuously disagree with them. 

ARZone will continue to invite those we disagree with to be guests, as we believe strongly in vegan education and believe this education should be available to all who are willing to engage in it in a civil and rational manner.

Comment by Jeff Perz on May 8, 2011 at 8:47

Why not?


I think it's fine that AR Zone has guests such as Bruce Friedrich and other honest new regulationists. In other words, Friedrich genuinely has the goal of abolishing all animal use and he genuinely believes that bigger cages, etc, etc will get there -- despite his media training that makes him give answers that have nothing to do with the questions. Then the guest chat is used as an opportunity to debate Friedrich and others like him. (Although sometimes the guest chats have fallen short in this regard.)


What is not fine, however in my view, is having guests that are disingenuous  about animal rights. That is, they say their goal is to abolish all animal use, but they do not actually have this goal. That is, they're lairs. There have been at least two people on AR Zone guest chats who fit this description, Carolyn knows who they are, and I do not wish  to talk further about this. It is impossible to call them on this, because they'll simply continue the lie. Suffice it to say that I do not regard this as rational, civil discussion.


Comment by Tim Gier on May 8, 2011 at 7:55

I felt awkward at first posting a link to the piece on blog about Jeff's question. I didn't want to be seen as trying to take over this comment thread (I wanted to take it over, I just didn't want to be seen that way -- hahaha!) But, all kidding aside, I am happy to see some of our comments re-posted here. It is an important discussion and ARZone is the ideal place for it to happen. All views and opinions are welcomed here, and no-one need be afraid of being marginalized or silenced. 


I think what ARZone provides to the animal advocacy movement is unique and very valuable. Keep up the good work Carolyn. It is my privilege to be associated with you and ARZone.

Comment by Carolyn Bailey on May 7, 2011 at 14:09

Hi Jeff,

I'm disappointed you feel it inappropriate to address comments on the transcript of your own ARZone guest chat.

ARZone is supportive and encouraging of rational, civil discussion about issues relevant to human/nonhuman relations. We particularly encourage discussion on guest transcripts and always appreciate when a past guest returns to engage with our members on their transcript, or elsewhere.

We are very serious about our role as vegan educators, and find that we often understand our own positions on many issues by engaging with those whose positions we may oppose or not understand fully. ARZone facilitates rational and free dialogue for this reason, so please feel free to, at a time you may be comfortable in doing so, reply to this or any further comments that may be left for you on the transcript of your chat, or elsewhere. 



Comment by Debbie on May 7, 2011 at 13:38
Jeff, why won't you address this matter to Carolyn here?
Comment by Jeff Perz on May 7, 2011 at 8:40
Tim and I are continuing our debate on Tim's blog. I'm glad to say that both of us are enjoying the debate. As some of you know, I disagree with Carolyn's comments above, but I'll not address them here.


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