Should Abolitionist Vegans just agree that we should just let animal welfarists do their own kind of activism and not question their ideas about what kind of activism works?
The short answer: No.
Animal welfare is not Animal Rights. The 2 are as separate and distinct as intentional animal exploitation is from Veganism.
Animal welfare is the idea that it’s ok for humans to exploit nonhuman animals; enslaving, raping, and murdering them as much as we want, as long as we don’t “torture” them before they die.
Animal Rights is the idea that nonhuman animals have the right to never have those things done to them by humans. That nonhuman animals have inherent value to themselves, and that we human animals do not have the right to exploit them merely for our own pleasure or convenience.
Now, when I talk about “Welfarism” in broad terminology, I’m including all Single Issue Campaigns and petitions as well. I understand that not all SICs are technically for Welfare Reforms, but regarding the issue being discussed here, they might as well be. While Welfare Reform Campaigns are immoral and counter-productive to AR for many reasons, all SICs share some things in common with them. Among these reasons is both that they are all speciesist and that they use up time, resources and effort we should be using to do the most powerful form of activism for animals. To choose to do a speciesist and less powerful form of activism instead is nothing less than immoral.
The cry of the welfarist is “Let’s just agree to disagree, we shouldn’t fight amongst ourselves, you’re being divisive, Abolitionism is not the only valid form of animal activism, we need all different kinds of activism, every kind of activism is good activism, we should all do the kinds of activism that we think works best, we can combine abolitionism with welfarism, every little bit helps, infighting only helps the exploiters and/or hurts the animals, you’re pushing your beliefs on me, forcing people to adopt your beliefs will only make them run from you, blah blah blah blah blah.”
There is no Animal Rights that is not Veganism. There is no Veganism that is not Abolitionism. These things are all fundamentally one and the same. To say that some non-Abolitionist-Vegan form of “Animal Rights” is effective is utter nonsense. You can’t claim that animals matter morally and still intentionally exploit them.
The thing is, the Institutional Animal Exploiters NEED Welfarism to continue. If Welfarism stops, then they face a threat that is not immoral and speciesist and counter-productive to itself and is much more powerful: worldwide Veganism. Moreover, The Institutional Animal Exploiters need welfarists to use their aforementioned Battle Cry as often as possible. If they can decrease the amount of rational debate between Abolitionists and welfarists (in which the welfarists actually learn something) they can keep Welfarism grinding on and that means more financial profits for both the IAE and the Welfarists. And that is really the only goal of the IAE. Increasing profits.
Let’s be clear here: I’m not advocating attacking people or their character. No matter what some people try to tell you, questioning the validity or even morality of someone’s beliefs or actions is not the same as questioning whether they are good people or not. I don’t hate anyone. I love everyone. But if we don’t question each other’s beliefs and actions, then how are any of us ever going to learn why or how we need to change?
Think about it: if you’re Vegan, how did you become Vegan? Did someone not explain to you why exploiting animals was wrong? Even if it was just a video or text and not in person? If you’re now Vegan, does that mean that you have nothing left to learn? You’re perfect and you have no flaws or weaknesses at all anymore?
Furthermore, if someone is telling you that your actions or beliefs are wrong, does it make more sense to try to learn why they are wrong and change them for the better, or to just keep engaging in those behaviors while attempting to justify them?
Telling people that their beliefs or actions are immoral is not counter-productive to the ARM. In fact it’s the only thing that’s going to make any difference at all.
Welfarism needs to be utterly obliterated from existence or at least severely decreased in order for Veganism to have a serious chance to heal this world. Until each Welfarist recognizes the folly of Animal Welfare and becomes Abolitionist Vegan, the progress of the Animal Rights Movement is going to a painful crawl at best.
I for one would rather we stood up and ran towards a bright, shining Vegan world.
Who’s with me?
To read my previous writing on Welfarism, check out these posts:
If you’re not already Vegan, and you think animals matter morally, then please go Vegan. It’s easy and great for you, incredible for the animals, and wonderful for the planet. If you’re already Vegan, please educate non-Vegans about why they should go Vegan. Please rescue, volunteer, adopt, foster, spay, and neuter the nonhuman refugees of domestication whenever you can. Please feed your nonhuman family Vegan where you can. These things are the most important, morally responsible things to do and are desperately needed by everyone.
To learn more about Abolitionist Veganism and the issues I’ve outlined in this post, check out The Master List Of Vegan Info:
Disclaimer: My only goal with this list is to produce as comprehensive a resource for Vegan information as possible. I am 100% Abolitionist Vegan and 100% against exploitation of nonhuman or human animals, any type of violence against human or nonhuman persons or property, welfare regulation, any form of speciesism, ethnic bigotry, genderism, ableism, heterosexism, etc., any of the large governmental or non-governmental nonhuman animal organizations, “happy meat,” vegetarianism, veg*nism, Meat-Free Mondays, or other forms of reductionism and anything else that makes it seem like any form of violence or exploitation of animals is ok. If any of those positions are endorsed on any site in this list, or any language is used to imply that, it’s not that I included that link because I agree, but simply because I don’t control every bit of information on all of these sites.