Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Playing into the Hands of Animal Exploiters

I would like to comment on the animal rights fundamentalist threat to the alliance of animal rights pragmatists and "welfarists." This is a point I mentioned in my outline of harms to the animal rights movement posed by the fundamentalists, and I will now expand on it. Animal rights fundamentalist movement strategy plays right into the hands of the arch-animal-exploiters' own Napoleonic strategy of "divide and conquer." When I speak of animal industries I refer to the factory farmers, fur ranchers, vivisectors, and so on. They do not mind so much if there is a minority of animal rights advocates in society. They do not really find that threatening. What they are concerned about, and may well be prepared to pay millions of dollars to offset, is "welfarist" legislation which would protect animals and cost industrialists a lot of money. So as a strategy, these animal industries favour a "divide and conquer" strategy with animal "welfare" proponents. The best way to kill chances of animal "welfare" laws, from the point of view of animal enslavers and destroyers, would logically consist of several different prongs:

I. To weaken support for "welfare" reforms by taking animal rightists, together with their outspoken and influential advocacy, right out of the picture.

II. Industries want to pit their enemies (the animal rights people and the "welfarists") against each other, and this is accomplished through
(a) fundamentalists attacking the pragmatist-and-traditional-welfarist alliance, and
(b) the ongoing bitter and strategically costly conflict that ensues.

III. Taking out animal rights advocates of suffering-reduction takes a lot of oomph out of the reform movement, since animal rights people are more highly motivated, serious and passionate about animal interests. Even Francione is a very demanding "welfarist," I have argued, although he would disagree with that assessment. Traditional reformists might just say, "Well, it's OK to use animals, but can't we agree to make things a bit better?" When they are already willing to kill animals for a taste of their flesh that is an indication that animal interests will be much less strongly championed as a matter of psychological fact.

IV. Try to make animal rights fundamentalism, which sabotages strong "welfare" measures in the law, seem like the "only" approach to animal rights. This is done by Francione calling his site "The Abolitionist Approach," as there is only his way or no way, and him calling his followers animal rightists or abolitionists, and animal rights pragmatists are just mistakenly called "new welfarists" (see "Animal Rights Law," especially MIRROR PRODUCTIONS version, for a discussion of "new welfarism" as a misnomer)

V. Stir up hate against animal rights pragmatists and speciesists. See my earlier post on "Insults and Illusions." Using insults makes people hate or at least dislike each other and undermines chances of animal rights/welfarist people working together. It is not only profitable to disrupt alliances between animal rightists and animal rights pragmatists, but if traditional animal "welfarists" are compared to "Simon the Sadist" or Jeffrey Dahmer, there will be very little chance of humanist legislatures being receptive to the hateful animal rights message.

VI. Make animal rights industries seem committed to animal welfare and respecting the law. Francione furthers this goal by his definition of "legal welfarism" as mere rhetoric in favor of humane treatment which merely means adopting measures that make the exploitation of animals more profitable. This move makes "legal welfarism" the preserve of industry and exploiters, rather than of people who seek anything more progressive for animals such as Martin Balluch (whose contributions are discussed in earlier posts). Francione ironically states that any "welfare" laws will just make animal exploiters earn more money. Meanwhile, abstaining from strong "welfare" laws saves them a lot of money. Francione himself notes that factory farming's cramming saves money in rent, crap food costs less, as does no veterinary care, not cleaning up, etc. It follows logically that anti-factory farming measures will cost "producers" of misery money. However, Francione's urging that animal rightists abstain from political/legal reforms saves money to animal industrialists, not animals.

Now the fundamentalists help out a great deal with all of these goals, and are fervently animated in this general direction. So this is what futilitarians would have, a convergence of animal-rights-enemy and their own animal-rights-proponent strategy. This explains why, in my conversations with others, some fundamentalists are repeatedly suspected of being collaborators with "the other side." Even if they are not paid by animal industries, I would say they usually do an effective enough job to earn such a salary. The industries must be delighted that they are getting so much free work. By the way, I am neither stating nor implying that any given fundamentalist is an infiltrator. Such an interpretation would be mistaken. I am merely exploring the fascinating territory of trying to understand why some people in my experience (whose identity will be protected by me) have thought that way.

Ironically, fundamentalists often believe that animal rights pragmatists play into the hands of exploiters by posing legislation that is not animal rights. However, such legislation is not possible in the short-term anyway, so it is neither here nor there for the exploiters' agenda. Rather, again, it is "welfare" laws that are the real thing the industries are averse to, and animal rights pragmatists are much more likely to foil the animal industrialists' agenda in that respect as I have argued (i.e., fundamentalists staying as outsiders to the legal process may have something to do with that). Also, animal rights pragmatists are generally more effective in cultivating animal rights for the long-term, which means the pragmatists foil the exploiters' agenda more effectively in the big picture as well. It is a bitter turnaround for the fundamentalists that yet again they are guilty of that which they accuse others.


A Selection of Related Articles

Sztybel, David. "Animal Rights Law: Fundamentalism versus Pragmatism". Journal for Critical Animal Studies 5 (1) (2007): 1-37.

go there

Short version of "Animal Rights Law".

go there

Sztybel, David. "Incrementalist Animal Law: Welcome to the Real World".

go there

Sztybel, David. "Sztybelian Pragmatism versus Francionist Pseudo-Pragmatism".

go there

A Selection of Related Blog Entries

Anti-Cruelty Laws and Non-Violent Approximation

Use Not Treatment: Francione’s Cracked Nutshell

Francione Flees Debate with Me Again, Runs into the “Animal Jury”

The False Dilemma: Veganizing versus Legalizing

Veganism as a Baseline for Animal Rights: Two Different Senses

Francione's Three Feeble Critiques of My Views

Startling Decline in Meat Consumption Proves Francionists Are Wrong Once Again!

The Greatness of the Great Ape Project under Attack!

Francione Totally Misinterprets Singer

Francione's Animal Rights Theory

Francione on Unnecessary Suffering

My Appearance on AR Zone

D-Day for Francionists

Sztybel versus Francione on Animals' Property Status

The Red Carpet

Playing into the Hands of Animal Exploiters

The Abolitionist ApproachES

Francione's Mighty Boomerang

Dr. David Sztybel Home Page

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