Today I want to give a shout out to one of the animal’s most vocal and sane supporters. His name is Gary Francione and you should go over to his blog – Abolitionist Approach – now, and forget about the rest of what I’m going to write. Read and support the dude as he abides. That’s my opinion and I stand by it.
I don’t think Gary is getting enough attention and that is why I’m telling my 3 readers about it. Go on, head on over there and listen to the man. Gary takes the abolitionist stance to veganism, and if I try and tell you what that is, I’ll fuck it up, so go and read his blog for a good understanding of his stance on animal abolition.
This video below is taken from his website and does a great 15 minute job of outlining the Rights vs. Welfare argument. You can see his other videos here.
Animal Rights vs. Animal Welfare from Gary L. Francione on Vimeo.
My veganism is centered on animal rights, but before I met Gary (online, not in person), I always felt just a bit uneasy about what exactly animal rights meant to me. I liked PeTA’s idea that animals were not ours to eat, wear, use for entertainment or experiment on. But when you talk of rights, folks usually think of human rights. Perhaps in the American context that means, the right of free speech and the right to vote etcetera.
Those rights don’t really apply to veganism and animals. My veganism sprung from a desire of animal rights in the sense of the right to be left alone. Which in itself is also lacking in description, but to me seemed closer to the truth than the general term animal rights.
But having come to understand Gary’s thrust on abolitionism, that is really the alignment that rings truest with my veganism. See, to me, to leave animals alone, means to honor their spirit, their individuality if you will. Not to leave them be if they need help, are injured etcetera. But the right to allow them the freedom of encumbrance from humanities generally malevolent input.
So the right to be left alone, is the right to be free of malevolent interaction with humans. One can and should still offer assistance when appropriate and needed just as you would with a human. But otherwise, let them be.
One of the things I respect most about Gary is his honesty and clarity of vision. He makes not apologies for the abolitionist approach and neither should he. His voice, sadly, at the moment is not fully embraced and I’d like to see that change. Not, to diminish the work that Peter Singer and others like him have made, but we need to move on from there. We can no longer allow our voice to splintered into the different opinions and theories. In my mind there is only one approach to bring animals the peace and sanctity they have been denied so long, and that is the approach of abolition.
My best suggestion to you is to read Gary’s FAQs and his pamphlet on abolition which is a quick read and explains why the small and easy decision to go vegan is paramount in accomplishing the goal of animal exploitation abolition.
Several years ago I corresponded via email with Gary and he was very approachable and in spite of his tireless work in running his website, teaching law, doing interviews and generally carrying the animal abolitionist approach on his shoulders, he never failed to respond to my questions and comments.
Gary is a mensch amongst vegans. In my mind abolitionism is, and I’ve said this before, the only enduring reason to go vegan… the other bullshit is all just pandering, smoke and mirrors and diminishes the end goal. The right of animals to be left alone and live as independant beings.
Verily I say to you… go and support veganism as it should be, and shout it from the rooftops. Support Gary and add your voice to the abolitionist choir,