Vegan Scene

“Don’t buy into the false dichotomy between flesh and other animal products.”
September 12, 2010, 6:59 am
Filed under: ethos/philosophy | Tags: , , ,

The header is a quote from one of Gary L. Francione’s latest articles. Francione is a leading vegan philosopher and professor of law and philosophy at Rutgers University School of Law. He’s written six books, speaks publicly, and keeps a live blog, all central to his “abolitionist approach” stance on the treatment of non-human sentient animals.

The quote came from a succinct but powerful article he published last week, “Ingrid Newkirk on Principled Veganism: ‘Screw the Principle,’ “ which is a criticism of a statement given to Time Magazine from Ingrid Newkirk, co-founder of PETA. In the statement, Newkirk advocates against all or nothing vegan outreach and instead wants “simply to get more people to eat less meat.”

In the article, Francione points out that that kind of advocacy in no way helps animals, only animal industries. He explains that the “flexitarian” or “vegetarian” animal welfare movements are misguided in thinking that there is a way to humanely raise animals for slaughter. He argues against the general concept of “happy meat,” explaining that it is a myth sold to consumers to justify and actually increase animal consumption.

The “happy meat” stance suggests, for example, that so-called organic dairy manufacturers treat cows “humanely,” when in reality, cows are being tortured no less than conventionally raised dairy cows.  The use of the term “organic” in relation to dairy (or any other animal product) refers only to the requirement of organic-certified feed, and has absolutely no implication over the quality of life or treatment an animal receives. Both organic and non-organic cows endure cyclical lives of gestation and constant milking in close confinement. Every dairy cow is forcefully and continually made to produce  offspring in order to stay lactating to produce the milk consumed by humans.  The offspring constantly generated from milk production are separated from mom 0 – 2 days after birth, and become meat or dairy commodities themselves. Organic and non-organic dairy cows are “culled,” on average, at four years old. They are so exhausted of their biological resources that by this very early age, most are unable to produce what is considered to be “enough” milk to be an efficient commodity to the dairy industry. Cows that develop mastitis, an infection in the milk glands due to over-milking, are viewed as disposable in both organic and non-organic practice, and are sent to slaughter. Life expectancy for a healthy cow raised outside of the food industry is twenty to twenty five years. []

Francione points out in his response to Newkirk that every single cow in commercial rearing for meat and dairy endures a gruesome life and slaughter, even if their produce is marketed as “humane,” “vegetarian,”  or “organic.”

Repeatedly in his publications, Francione very deftly states the case that it is inherently wrong to use sentient animals and that veganism is the “moral baseline” that needs to be adapted by all so-called animal rights activists. He is well worth a read so click the above link to check him out!