Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Postscript to my previous blog entry

Critics of new welfarism are often confronted with the objection that they deny that other activists want the abolition of animal exploitation. That is not the case.

Since we don't have the ability to read minds, we don't know if what others purport to want is what they really want. But we can make valid predications about whether someone’s actions are logically and credibly consistent with what they claim to pursue. Furthermore, we can make valid predications about the structural conditions under which someone acts and the relevance of these conditions to what they can possibly pursue.

As a general matter, an organization whose running costs are paid for by membership fees and donations cannot act independently of the interests and goals of its members and donors. In order to continue to exist (and to grow), the organization has inevitably to act in accordance with the interests of those whose money forms its financial base.

This means in the context of animal advocacy:

In a society in which 99% of the population uses animals, mainly by consuming animal products, and consider this just as necessary or at least as unproblematic as breathing air and drinking water, the majority of the members and donors of an organization which appears to act on behalf of animals is formed by animal users, unless the orgainzation would do nothing but promote veganism, or the acceptability of members, donors, and sponsors would be linked to their being vegan.

Where this is not the case, the organization will, in order to persist, inevitably act on behalf of those who use animals and who, not being educated why it is wrong to use animals, wish to continue to do so. In other words, for reasons of self-preservation, the goal to abolish animal exploitation CANNOT seriously be pursued by this organization. The possibility of its existence is principally incompatible with that goal. And an institution which economically sustains functionaries and employees cannot be conceived as one which is intended to become ''superfluous'' by eliminating what makes it allegedly necessary. Accordingly, the institution's policy will be one which results in making animal exploitation appear more morally acceptable to make people feel more comfortable about it.

By Karin Hilpisch