Bruce Friedrich recently wrote an article for HuffPo that criticizes those who call themselves “abolitionists” in the animal movement. His article meanders from one thing to the next; I wondered exactly who is the target audience for his piece. Friedrich has written better. Namely, “Humane Meat: A Contradiction in Terms” and “Eating Animals is Indefensible.” Frankly, the article was not all that compelling to me, but the topic of effective animal advocacy is an interesting one and the discussion is lively.
Vegan education is probably the most worthy use of our time and resources. If not THE best form of animal advocacy, it’s certainly up there in the top five. Vegan leafletling, both in-person and online, are likely the most effective forms of advocating for animals. This nonviolent, simple, legal activism is the foundation for monumental change.
However, the animal welfare reforms encouraged by large animal advocacy organizations are not going to disappear any time soon. Individual animal advocates (like us) must decide how best to respond to animal welfare reforms. We cannot control the world; we can only control ourselves. We choose how to react to welfarism. Our options: participate, ignore, criticize, condemn, attack, or reframe.
Because our time and resources are limited, we ought to consider whether or not attacking welfare reforms is a good use of our time.
If the reforms were counterproductive, that would certainly suggest that an attack is warranted. However, lead abolitionist, Gary Francione, admitted years ago that there is no empirical proof for his claim that “improving animal welfare makes people feel less uncomfortable about animal exploitation.” He asserts that his thesis is true because it’s “common sense and intuition.” But the truth is that there is emperical proof that when animal welfare is in the news, people choose vegetarian and vegan options more often. That suggests that the attacks on animal welfare reforms are counterproductive, not the welfare reforms themselves.
What do you think?
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