In a nutshell, there are three schools of thought among animal activists:
This view encompasses the overwhelming majority of the animal movement. It includes everything from rescuing dogs and cats to fighting hunting, sealing, whaling, bullfighting, etc. Animal protection includes everything not directly aimed at establishing or procuring animals’ rights.
The animal movement is frequently referred to as the Animal Rights movement, but only a handful of activists are actually engaged in pursuing animal rights. Animal Rights is a legal concept, wherein human societies acknowledge that our fellow Earthlings have the same rights to life and liberty as we humans claim for ourselves. Those attempting to change the law or advocating for changing government are the only Animal Rights activists. All the rest of us are working to protect animals in one fashion or another, from dog and cat rescuers to the Animal Liberation Front, from Sea Shepherd deck hands to vegan recruiters.
Even so, there are deep schisms between animal protectionists (also disparagingly referred to as “animal welfarists”). Most animal protectionists are not vegan. Most are concerned only with particular species or with narrow issues. Within the protectionist community are a broad range of concerns for animals, from the occasional sympathetic donor to those who have dedicated their lives and resources to ending cruelty and suffering
Large and small, animal organizations are almost all protectionist. Jealousies and criticisms exist, most having to do with programs, donors, influence, and aggrandizement. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), headed by Wayne Pacelle, and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PeTA) are among the best known protectionist organizations.
Animal protectionists are under no illusions that they will change the world. But they do believe they change the worlds for those animals they impact and save.
Veganism is a moral baseline. It is a lifestyle which rejects the exploitation of others. No one can claim to love animals or even respect life if one consciously chooses to eat their flesh, wear their skin, or enslave them.
Those who eat meat and wear leather are complicit in violent abuse and murder. Those who consume dairy are responsible for raping cows, slaughtering their babies, enslaving them until they no longer produce enough milk, then murdering them. Consuming eggs means the most gruesome deaths for male chicks, who are ground up alive after hatching.
So called “abolitionist” vegans reject all animal protection efforts as condoning speciesism. The self proclaimed leader of the “abolitionists” is Gary Francione, whose bizarre attacks on the Animal Liberation Front, for example, are legendary.
According to the “abolitionists,” if one is opposing bullfighting or whaling one is somehow embracing the mistreatment of circus animals or supporting the dog meat trade, etc.
Readers are directed to Gary Francione is More Dangerous to Animals Than The Department of Agriculture, The Safari Club, and the Republicans Combined and to Gary Francione, Darling Of The Slaughter Industries.
While the abolitionist view is widely derided within the animal movement, the more conventional vegan activists who militate for veganism to end animal exploitation and cruelty are no less doomed to failure.
The Animal Holocaust, the institutionalized murder of over 60 billion animals annually, can not be eliminated or even reduced by recruiting people to change their lifestyles and eschew meat. The human population is increasing faster than we can create vegans.
Capitalism is the author of most animal cruelty in the world. The pursuit of profit causes most all animal exploitation, enslavement, and murder.
The greatest atrocities ever perpetuated by humans are not buried in history. They did not occur at the hands of barbaric forebears or despotic kings.
They were, and are, being committed today. Right now. As you read this.
And they are being committed by pillars of society and respected members of our communities.
They are murdering a billion of our fellow Earthlings every week.
Six million every hour.
Around the clock.
A Nazi Holocaust every 60 minutes. Day in, day out.
And no one is in jail. No one is being hunted down by police or prosecutors. Not one victim is being avenged.
They are just making money. Because the horror is legal. Owning other creatures is permitted. Torturing and killing them is perfectly OK. Such is the product of capitalist rationale and justification.
Capitalists are running slaughterhouses, factory farms, feed lots, packing plants, wholesalers, markets, restaurants.
Trading on the corpses of innocent creatures who wanted to live as desperately as do you. Who had families, mothers, babies. Who suffered unspeakable cruelty, terror, and pain.
Half a million died while you read this far. One million if you are a slow reader.
The horror is almost beyond comprehension. A billion is a thousand million. The Animal Holocaust claims 60 billion lives a year, and is expected to increase, even if the human population weren’t increasing, which of course it is.
If the human species survives capitalism and environmental disaster (the jury is still out on this), a future, enlightened human society will look back upon the Animal Holocaust with the same incredulity we experience as we look back upon the horrors committed by Nazi Germany.
For those of us who believe all life is sacred, one species cannot ever justifiably carry out a genocide against others. And those responsible for such crimes against animals should be brought to justice.
Our current political system will never provide that justice, nor will it end the horrors. Our present political system is a tool of the capitalist interests which profit on the deaths of calves, lambs, piglets, and chickens.
Only a revolution will end capitalism.
And even then, a socialist replacement will not end the Animal Holocaust, although it would dramatically reduce it.
Socialist societies murder and consume half the animals per capita as do capitalist societies.
A socialist world would mean 30 billion fewer animals murdered each year.
Revolutionaries do not see themselves as changing the world. They see themselves as preparing for the world to change.
Successful revolutionaries are heroes, failed ones are traitors.
Revolution may not come in our lifetimes, or in our grandkids’ lifetimes. But while we await the opportunity, ten thousand creatures are being murdered each second of every day.
While we dream of ending the system that tortures and kills those creatures, we owe it to them to minimize their suffering.
Animal Protectionists, Vegan Activists, and Revolutionaries may disagree with each other, and may often be at cross purposes with one another.
But compared with the general public, all are giants among the human race.
• I am unaware of any other blog with the Armory’s mission of radicalizing the animal movement. I certainly hope I am not alone, and that there are similar sentiments being expressed by comrades unknown to me.
If you know of other blogs dedicated to animal rights and the defeat of capitalism, please comment with a link.
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