The Abolitionist Approach?

Posted on July 9, 2008

While I have tremendous respect for all people who campaign to reduce the suffering of animals, I must say, the work of Gary Francione has opened my eyes to a contradiction that’s been lingering in my mind for a while.

Gary runs a website representative of a movement called ‘the abolitionist approach‘, and argues essentially that

“The abolitionist approach is to move full steam ahead in promoting veganism explicitly and without reservation as the only acceptable baseline of the animal rights movement. The more people who embrace veganism, the less is the demand for animal products; the fewer animals produced for human consumption, the less animal suffering. And unlike the welfarist approach, which reinforces the property status of animals and makes the public feel good about animal use, the vegan approach makes clear that we have no moral justification for exploiting nonhumans: however “humane” the treatment. The abolitionist approach seeks to shift the paradigm; the welfarist approach remains steeped and enmeshed in the status quo.”

I have for long been an armirer of those people who can go out and campaign for the welfare of animals. But It is worth considering that it is more effective to campaign for the rights of animals instead, which will in turn improve their welfare – or veganism, which hopefully end our abuse altogether. After all, as Gary points out often, we don’t need them at all.

I guess the bottom line is to keep doing what keeps you doing stuff, from the heart, with all your soul :)