Wednesday, 26 December 2007

What If Welfarism Were Conducive to Abolition?

A constitutive part of welfarist ideology is the claim that welfarism is conducive (a "step on the road") to abolition in that it supposedly fosters conditions of kindness toward animals, which in turn dispose people to take animals seriously. However, it doesn't follow, from the fact that something may be conducive to abolition, that we should therefore promote it. For example, someone once told me that, prior to going vegan, she had a nightmare about factory farming, a nightmare that played some part in convincing her to go vegan. In a sense, then, this nightmare was conducive to her going vegan. But someone could only jokingly say that the animal rights movement should spend its time and resources trying to induce nightmares about factory farming in people because they might in some peripheral sense be conducive to veganism.

Moreover, there are things that can be conducive to abolition, but which we should never support because they are positively anti-animal rights. For example, some people go vegan after visiting slaughterhouses [1]. But clearly, only a crank could claim that we should support slaughterhouses because visits to them can be conducive to getting people to go vegan.

The general point is that, even if it were true, the claim that welfarism is (or can be) conducive to abolition is too thin to do the work that welfarists wish of it -- it cannot, of itself, justify support for welfarism. We need further criteria to enable use to responsibly decide whether we should support something that is claimed to be a "step on the road" to animals rights. More specifically, we need to determine how conducive to abolition our various advocacy options are, or are likely to be. Then, after we have determined how conducive to abolition they are, it makes rational sense to engage in those forms of advocacy that are maximally conducive to abolition. At least it is difficult to understand what could seriously be meant by saying that we should support welfarist initiatives because they are conducive to abolition, even though they are less conducive to abolition than other forms of advocacy. And what is maximally conducive to abolition? Abolitionist vegan advocacy.

[1] This example is taken from a comment made by Vincent J. Guihan on the Vegan Freak forum.

Monday, 17 December 2007

PeTA Petition - take two

It has been pointed out that some people may not have access to the first petition which requires registration. Roger Yates has therefore come up with a second PeTA petition designed to replace the first. The petition can be found here:

Can those who signed the first please sign this one too. Thanks.

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

PeTA Petition

The abolitionist Roger Yates has started an online petition to send to PeTA concerning their claims about Peter Singer's Animal Liberation. Despite the fact that Singer himself has clarified on several occasions that he is a utilitarian animal welfarist and not an animal rights theorist, PeTA nonetheless promote him as a rights theorist and his work as an -- indeed the -- animal rights philosophy. For example:

Animal Liberation by Peter Singer. Referred to as the animal rights 'bible,' this book includes in-depth examinations of factory farming, animal experimentation, vegetarianism, and animal rights philosophy. If you read only one animal rights book, it has to be this one. 204 pages, paperback."

It is important that the public is not exposed to misleading information about what animal rights is and who stands for it. (Roger has written a more extensive rationale for the petition.) If you agree that this is not a trivial matter in terms of the evolution of the animal movement, then please visit the petition blog and sign your name, using the "comments" feature. Thank you.