I’m a political atheist in regards to the “welfarist versus abolitionist/rights” approach to the “animal rights” movement. I’m posting this excerpt from FARMUSA.org ‘s Fall 2007 newsletter to clear up confusion about this organization’s status.
FARM started off as the animal welfare organization Farm Animal Reform Movement. Its founder, Alex Herschaft has had a change of heart and now considers himself to be an abolitionist. He has changed the name of the organization to FARM – Farm Animal Rights Movement
“The world won’t go vegan in the near future, so let’s reduce the suffering of innocent animals though welfare reforms.”
Few people who care about animals can resist a proposition so enticing. And that included myself, when I founded Farm Animal Reform Movement more than 30 years ago. For half of those years, I vigorously pursued campaigns to ban the veal crate and to fund and enforce the Humane Slaughter Act.
However entincing, this proposition is based on several faulty premises. First, our work is not about the world going vegan at any specific date, but about reducing animals suffering by cutting their consumption, one person and one meal at a time. Each friend, relative, or passerby who ” kicks the meat habit” saves 34 land animals per year (in excess of 2000 in a lifetime), from factory farm and slaughterhouse atorocities, as well as countless aquatic animals.
Second, significant welfare reforms would require a great deal of money, land, energy, manpower, and other resouces, and thus, a fundamental restruturing of the meat and dairy industries. This is much more far-fetched than the likelihood of a significant number of consumers cutting their meat consumption.
But the worst consequence of advocating welfare reforms is the public perception that such advocacy sanctions continued abuse and slaughter of animals for food. Sadly, on the campaign trail, welfare reform advocates are frequently forced to deny their animal liberetion ideology.
The statistics are clear: 93 percent of Americans consumers oppose farmed animal abuse and 97 percent continue eating them. Welfare reforms are a win-win situation for consumers and industry. Only the animals lose. We need to send a clear message that the only way to help animals is to stop eating them.
Did I mention that we are now the Farm Animal Rights Movement?
– Alex Hershaft
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