I don’t have a lot of first hand experience with advocacy for nonhumans because I am not on the front lines, as it were. In the beginning of this journey I learned about veganism from my daughter in the safety of my own family.
When I first started to read and research about this very important subject, I worked mainly from the comfort of my own home. I learned that Veganism means refraining from using, wherever possible, any product derived from the exploitation of nonhumans.
This definition forms the basis of the abolitionist approach to veganism. One of the leading proponents of this movement is Gary Francione. On his Website, Animal Rights: The Abolitionist Approach, their Mission Statement is very clear:
“The mission of this website is to provide a clear statement of an approach to animal rights that (1) requires the abolition of animal exploitation and rejects the regulation of animal exploitation; (2) is based only on animal sentience and no other cognitive characteristic, (3) regards veganism as the moral baseline of the animal rights position; and (4) rejects all violence and promotes activism in the form of creative, non-violent vegan education.”
This differs from the Welfarist approach which Mr. Francione defines as the regulation of animal exploitation. Well known proponents of the Welfarist movement are Gene Baur of Farm Sanctuary and Jenny Brown of Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary.
Baur’s work in the arena of State and Federal reform in the United States is well documented on his website as well as in his book entitled, farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds about Animals and Food. I enjoyed reading this informative book and recommend it to everyone.
Jenny Brown’s book, The Lucky Ones: My Passionate Fight for Farm Animals is the first book that I read about Veganism and Advocacy. She tells us about her journey. It is a heartwarming, yet often sad story and is well worth reading.
On her website, Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary their Mission Statement is similar to that of Gene Baur.
“At the heart of our mission is the hands-on work of rescuing, rehabilitating and caring for farmed animal refugees — as well as educating the public about the horrific treatment of animals who are raised for food.”
Governmental reform seeks to legislate more “humane” (I use the term loosely) and ethical treatment of nonhumans in all of our various industries. One example of this would be the banning of gestation crates for pigs and battery cages for hens.
There has been some success in this arena. Gestation crates have recently been banned in Canada, but it is only for new or renovated facilities after July 1st, 2014. The pregnant pigs will be kept in group housing systems. What the heck does that mean? Will they be crammed into a shed like chickens? Will we be trading one cruel practice for another, with the same outcome for the pigs?
There are so many more ongoing cruel practices that need addressing and abolishing that it seems to me to be a very steep hill to climb. I believe this is why Gary Francione argues for all money, time and effort to be invested in vegan education. It is such an urgent issue. Nonhumans are suffering at our whim, with seemingly little hope of escaping, now or in the future.
But, I hesitate to say that there is no place for welfare reform. Reading about it has certainly made me think about veganism at large, my veganism, my place in advocacy for nonhumans. And I do respect people like Gene Baur, who work tirelessly to improve the lives of enslaved nonhumans, while advocating for the end to all exploitation.
I have been to two Farmed Animal Sanctuaries and they are places of extreme peace and hope for what could/should be possible, namely freedom from harm for all farmed animals. They do educate the public about the cruel practices of farming nonhumans for profit and are firm about their commitment to a vegan world. But they also deal with reality and try to save as many nonhumans as possible.
Annie’s Vegan View
We may not want to look at the pictures or read the articles, but the information is there and it is frightening.
We can tap into our kindness and compassion and change the world for the sake of all these sentient beings.
We can join forces with the people, Abolitionists and Welfarists alike, who are working tirelessly for this change.
I urge everyone to be part of this change, for the all the little piggies and their friends.
Therein lies our own salvation.
May all beings be happy and free.
Websites you may find helpful: