Tuesday, November 10, 2009



My current stance seems to be wavering. On one hand, I think that though we are indeed aiming to abolish the cycle of breeding more animals as 'pets', we have a moral obligation to assist those already in this system (e.g dogs in pounds etc). But also, part of me thinks that we should be able to co-exist - why do we say animals cannot be part of our society? isn't THAT speciesism? 

Other individuals who disagree with me state that it is hypocritical having this stance because in owning a pet I am displaying that I am supporting the system and perpetuating the idea of animals as property. And, in supporting this idea, I may also support the notion of dumpster meat eating (by vegans) as it is the same concept.

I have been toiling over this. My ideas in relation to that argument are;

1) Everything we do can be hypocritical. The only way to be a true vegan is commit suicide. In eating a Vegie Burger on the side of the street it can, to a passer by, perpetuate the idea that burgers are good and go eat a beef burger - not knowing the reasons behind that very burger. Similarly, a passerby may not understand my reasons for homing a rescued animal and assume it the norm and do their daily business. This leads me into point two...

2) It is worthwhile in weighing up the benefit you can have in abolishing the system whilst being amongst it and educating the public as opposed to displaying no compassion and remaining out of the system. In being 'in it', not only do i maintain the opportunity to help lives, but I also maintain myself in a position to teach others about it and begin the snowball effect of rejection of a) breeders/pet shops and b) bringing more into existence (desexing).

From this thread I quite liked Silverfire's response and sums things up nicely:
"We could act like perfect beings in a perfect world.

Instead, I believe we must act like compassionate beings in an imperfect world.

We must of necessity 'pick up' after those who don't feel the need to. The world will remain this way until a critical mass is reached.

I don't believe this critical mass will be reached by point blank refusing to care for lost, abused and abandoned animals. I'm quite certain that the abuse will continue. It will be 'hid' by less compassionate means.

I think we need to work toward a more compassionate world on all fronts, and by demonstrating leadership.

Leadership and wisdom are not demonstrated by the widescale abandonment of either children or animals. "

3) I see a big difference between a vegan homing a rescued animal and eating the flesh of a dead animal. Yes, both perpetuate the idea of animals as property - but the key difference is that the pet issue is an exceptional case as through participating in the system, we can indeed work together to slowly abolish it whilst at the same time working together to assist the 'slaves'.
In homing a rescued animal and taking up every opportunity to talk about it you're a) starting to mainstream rejection of the continuation of the system (long term) and b) helping a life (short term).

4) It is EXACTLY like open rescue. Though our desired end result is abolition - in the short term we help as many as we can now, try to protect the ones trapped in the objectifying system whilst working slowly to change it.

5) It's our nature to nurture and care. We should not reject this. We nurture children, same as how we nurture our non human friends - what we need to do now is discontinue classing them as beneath us or 'ours'. So, let's try to work together compassionately. Threads like this are a great read: http://www.vegsoc.org.au/forum_messages.asp?Thread_ID=4082&Topic_ID=8
And they get me to wonder whether co-existing is possible? But if we did choose this path would we be able to remove the property status of non humans?



sage said...

Well said Amy: you may be off on two different tangents, but at least it shows you are thinking of the issues involved, instead of just ignoring the issues and continuing the status quo of 'blissful ignorance', or should that be 'blissful indifference'.

Abolition is the long term goal, but in the here n now of the short term, compassion must also be shown to those animals already in the system.

Both our cats were strays, and are still free to roam; they didn't choose to be introduced to our country, so why should they be punished for being born here. But to minimise their impact on the native environment, both are sterilised and well fed, so they sleep most of the time, occasionally catching a mouse (another introduced species) - it's not a perfect solution, but the best we can provide for them.

And off on a tangent here re vegan sweets, have you tried those new Leda 'Chocolate Rum Balls' ... YUM


Amy K said...


Been so long my friend :)

Thanks for the great comment!

No, have not tried LEDA rum balls but saw them in the shop. Not a fan of LEDA so didnt buy it but if you think its good then i will surely buy it next time!!!


Anonymous said...

Hi Amy,

I am glad I found your post because I have been researching for a while now the Abolitionist theory and I cannot seem to make sense of where you guys are going with all of this.

A little bit of background: I have cared for animals all my life, have since I was little from looking after orphaned squirrels to becoming a full fledged foster carer for abandoned animals. I have been Vegetarian for most of my life, refused meat from when I was very little and have stayed that way. I am also a Volunteer Fundraiser and do big events which are always vegetarian with Vegan options and have raised funds for many organisations.

I am very surprised reading your blog. Firstly that you underestimate the general public and their ability to process information. I think it is offensive and I see it as one of the basic reasons why animal rights are shunned and looked upon as a group of hippies. Secondly the whole concept of “non-humans” roaming free? Are you serious? Have you been to India? Your non human friends roam free there, dogs, cats, horses, monkeys, cows, donkeys, you name it and every “domesticated” animal roams free. I cannot begin to tell you the kind of life they lead.

I would like to know, do you actually think that setting free these animals is what is good for them? Or have I been mistaken, I would like to know the future you see for farmed animals.

Amy K said...

Hello Anonymous

Yes, I have been to India. I am Indian. I have lived there for a long time, animals that roam the street are mistreated/malnourished... thanks to human kindess ;)

We're not all suddenly going vegan tomorrow and out of nowhere there will be millions of animals with nowhere to go so they will roam free....obviously it is a slow, evolutionary process and environment will adapt accordingly.

As with pets. I don't know. It's a funny subject because there's such a vast majority of views on this and I am just beginning to work out my actual formed thoughts! I'm suggesting we only assist animals from pounds instead of continuing the consumption cycle by making more 'pets' intentionally.

Apologies if any of my threads have made you feel as though I am underestimating the general public. To be honest, many people I come require much explanation for the simplest of concepts, so i try to be as thorough as possible when explaining something....no offence intended =-)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your response Amy, I am Indian too, the very reason I turned Vego very early in my life. I am still at a loss of understanding the whole Abolitionist cause. I have done alot of reading and research and I have still no concept of what your intention or goal is. I see a pathway but no end goal, I read phrases like yours about animals being free and not used in anyway by humans. That is a very utilitarian concept and in my opinion very unpractical. It will obviously be clear to you now that I am a "Welfarist" in my thinking.

I guess I will put my very simple question forward. As you mentioned and I understand, even with the eveolutionary process that you talk about being taken into consideration, what in your opinion is the best out come for farm animals? Do you see them eventually becoming undomesticated and somehow "returning to the wild"? Do you see them as you metioned in your other posts "free" and does this freedom include them fending for themselves?

I am not going to argue with you about wild animals because I am sure we have the same opinions regarding them As for pets, I agree that we need to somehow regulate the breeding cycle and encourage adoption from shelters as opposed to pet shops and backyard breeders. But I believe that pets being cared for and treated with respect is a good thing, and in no way will I ever suggest that owning a pet is somehow a bad thing.

With regards to your last point, I think that the reason that people need so much infiormation is because they dont understand, like myself, where abolitionists are heading. Even I, completely submerged in Animal Rights dont understand it. Hopefully you can shed some light.

Amy K said...


I asked my friend Gary Francione to reply to you regarding this - hopefully he does soon. I feel he is the best one to answer your questions.

His website is www.abolitionistapproach.com

Alex said...

@Anonymous: To the PRACTICAL question here: to return or not to return to the "wild"?

You make your argument in the most IMPRACTICAL way imaginable. Instead of assuming that there is a slow progression/forward movement built into "animal rights" advocacy (as ALL "animal rights" advocates actually believe), you argue that IF we realize "animal rights" goals TODAY then X and Y would be the consequence and THEREFORE those goals are unrealizable/impractical.

That is a ridiculous argument anonymous. "Animal rights" is about slow momentum and then (hopefully) a "critical mass". When we reach that point of "critical mass" these practical problems you cite here WOULD NOT be problems at all BECAUSE most people would agree with our conclusions!

In other words, there is a HUGE fallacy in your argument. The logic or this position is that "domestication" is wrong. Unless you can counter that position rationally, we can move to the practical question, which I addressed above.