Monday, 22 June 2015

"Another victory for the animals"

When animal "rights" groups and organisations claim that there has been a "victory for the animals" I can't help but shudder at the blatant speciesism on display. The phrase is used any time a single-issue campaign appears to have had some effect - from pressuring a fancy restaurant to remove foie gras from it's menu, to international bans on cosmetic animal testing. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm always glad to hear when fewer animals are being used for human gain. However to suggest that any of these things is a "victory for animals" is insulting. How is removing foie gras a victory for the cows, pigs, chickens and fishes whose body parts will most likely replace a duck's liver on the dinner plate? Equally, a ban on cosmetic testing suggests that testing on animals for other reasons is morally acceptable.

But there's another reason I find this type of victorious declaration unpalatable: money. It feels like these organisations are exploiting the generosity of people with good intentions by pandering for donations at any given opportunity. Francione has touched upon the subject many times and sums it up rather nicely "... single-issue campaigns (and welfare reform campaigns generally) are nothing but business opportunities for the large groups. They have nothing to do with helping animals." These charities choose to focus on single issues, with short-term, accessible targets in order to declare victory as often as possible and use each "victory" as a marketing strategy. The campaigns are catered specifically to non-vegan, "animal-loving", speciesist supporters in order to maximise donations, rather than aiming for real change or, God forbid, asking their supporters to go vegan. But when becoming vegan is the very least we can do to help end animal exploitation, surely we should be promoting nothing less than veganism, and celebrating the creation of each new (abolitionist) vegan as real victories.

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