Skip to content

Eating Animals to Raise Funds for Animals–Not Just for Local Humane Societies

July 25, 2010


It happened last week. And it is surreal. I shared this video via AR&AO’s Facebook page last night, but I want to make sure those who aren’t on Facebook see it too. I hope you will pass it along to your fellow animal advocates as well. It’s short. It’s non-graphic. It provides important information and raises such important questions. Please watch.*

Addressing these issues can be difficult; we all know how hard it can be to voice your dissent and push for change when you realize a group or movement is going in a direction you can’t support — or to cut ties when change clearly isn’t going to come — especially if you feel emotional or personal ties to the group(s), especially if you feel affection and respect for individuals in the group. But if our loyalty is to our fellow animals, we have no choice but to ask the questions: What are we, as animal rights advocates, supporting? What are we willing to continue supporting? What seeds do we want to plant? For what are we laying the groundwork? And what troublesome, hypocritical strategies for raising support and money do we not want to be a part of? Are larger numbers of animal rights advocates finally ready to say “Enough!” and switch gears (and reexamine support and alliances)?

I can’t imagine any animal rights advocate finding it acceptable that HSUS invited and encouraged Ohioans to come to a celebration and fundraiser — an “exciting event for Ohio animals” – where animals were to be the “delicious food” HSUS was highlighting in its invitation to encourage people to attend. Nor is it justifiable that an animal advocacy group, which so many want to consider an animal rights group, captioned a photo of an animal with “Respect Our Food,” labeling the individual as food.

In an interesting twist, and in an experience I may write about later, I spent last night in a room full of animal farmers, slaughterers, and breeders who are convinced (or whose spokespeople at least pretend to be convinced) that HSUS is a hard-core animal rights group opposing all animal consumption and use,  that it is promoting a vegan-world agenda, and that it does not endorse any meat not “grown in a petri dish.” Sometimes, it seems that animal rights advocates want so much to keep believing in certain ideas and people and groups that we’ll take the rhetoric of anti-AR groups such as this and give that more weight as “proof” of an organization’s supposed AR agenda than we give to the actual evidence and facts we have.

Please, let’s hold each other accountable, even when that’s difficult to do (and yes, even when we know there are good, well-intentioned individuals inside groups). Please, let’s firmly stand together to say that this is not okay. Please, let’s change course. Please, let’s stop making excuses for what is inexcusable. Please, animal rights advocates, let’s fight for what we actually believe and stop supporting groups and campaigns that are less than honest, that do not reflect what we know to be right and just, and that give credibility and the “humane” label to the exploitation and killing of animals. Let’s show more loyalty to the nonhuman animals than to the groups that keep selling them out.

See also Advanced Advocacy (additional videos and articles) at HumaneMyth.org


*Edit: Should I explain the title of this post? Maybe. Many of us have had frustrating experiences with local humane societies using barbecues and the like as well, where the bodies of cows and pigs and chickens are sauced and served, to raise funds for cats and dogs — and some of us have had maddening experiences with groups that even rescue cows, pigs, chickens, and other farmed animals also hosting such meat-serving events to raise funds for those same animals (which is what happened last week with HSUS and Ohioans for Humane Farms); in at least a couple cases, these same orgs have hosted polo events to raise funds for rescued horses as well. So many disconnects.

Update: Follow-up from LaVeck here and from an Ohio activist here.

101 Comments leave one →
  1. July 25, 2010 5:21 pm

    Hi Stephanie
    Thank you for highlighting this, a frequent occurrence in Australia as well. It’s the ‘disconnects’ that cause so much animal suffering – a man won’t eat his best pal dog but he’ll eat a pig sandwich while taking his pal walking; a woman won’t eat the family cat but she’ll tuck into a lamb while stroking that cat. These events serve to perpetuate these disconnects. Children are taken to these events in droves yet rather than being educated honestly about their family’s food choices they’re taught how to disconnect. How to look themselves in the mirror and feel semi-comfortable even when inside they know it doesn’t quite add up. These events are far worse than simple lost opportunities; these events encourage the cruelty that the organisations claim to be fighting against.

  2. July 25, 2010 5:58 pm

    As an employee of one of the sanctuaries that endorsed the Ohio effort, we most likely would not have endorsed it had we known there would be an event celebrating a “victory” for farmed animals that served their flesh for dinner. So far as I know that did not happen in California w/ Prop 2. As pointed out in the video, that is the unfortunate and painful reality we face if we want to align ourselves with entities that profit off the exploitation and suffering of non humans. I hope we never make that mistake again – it pains me greatly to think the animals we work tirelessly to save through rescue, education and outreach are the same ones who ended up on those dinner plates. That is not right.

    • July 25, 2010 7:28 pm

      Yes, I imagine there are a few different groups that never would have signed their names to Ohio for Humane Farms if they’d been able to predict multiple eventual events. But I was immediately dismayed, the first time I even heard of Ohio Humane Farms, that vegan groups and activists were signing on and endorsing and promoting. As James briefly discussed in the video, I think, the very name is problematic, even without getting into the debate over all the details of the original goals/strategy of the initiative and the ultimate cringe-worthy compromise. It’s just as deceptive and dishonest (and, to me, infuriating) a name as that of Prop 2 (i.e., Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act).

      • July 25, 2010 8:14 pm

        I know this is a sensitive issue amongst ar activists. It was sensitive among staff at the sanctuary too. I know some sanctuaries, like Peaceful Prairie, refused to sign on, while several others, like ours, did. We all had our reasons, and we all understood from where everyone was coming. We all made decisions on how we would react, and I admire that diversity. We’re finally in an era where farmed animal issues matter and, more importantly, they’re mattering beyond our special interests and into mainstream. That’s pretty phenomenal.

        Our compromise was to endorse/support the campaign in California so long as we always included caveats about veganism and that the law would never make farming animals for their flesh, breast milk or eggs morally acceptable. I don’t feel we compromised our ethics by supporting it, but I respect and understand that you and others may disagree (sometimes I disagree with myself, heh).

        For me, there’s something very provocative and moving being on an egg farm. I’ve literally pulled hens from cages, cradled them as they died, trimmed nails six-inches long, and happily placed survivors into loving homes. I want them out of cages. I want them not to exist, period. I’ll take almost any path to get there if it means fewer birds being raised for eggs and fewer hens suffering in the profound, intense ways caged birds do. I (and the organization for which I work) felt Prop 2 was one avenue to do that. We felt in similar ways about the 27 million hens on farms in Ohio.

      • July 25, 2010 8:40 pm

        Thanks for your thoughts, Marji. I can’t imagine what it must feel like to see what you see and do what you do in your work. And I hope it didn’t seem that I was coming down on you personally; that wasn’t my intention at all.

        This steers into a tangent, and I have to keep it brief b/c I need to get back to work, but my problems with these campaigns have been with, indeed, the campaigns as much as with the proposals themselves — that is, the misinformation, withholding, false dichotimies, etc. used to promote and pass them, implying to (and sometimes outright telling) people that if they vote for these measures, suddenly, everything will be “humane” and allowing people to believe that the measures will do far more than they really will. Deceptive tactics, language, and images were so widely used in Prop 2 (with expected results) that I could barely contain my anger, and I was braced to see more of the same in Ohio, with the coalition name, from the start, already setting that tone.

      • July 25, 2010 8:42 pm

        One more clarification: I wasn’t implying that you were involved in the Prop 2 misinformation, of course.

      • Wendy permalink
        July 26, 2010 4:11 pm

        I agree with that, and I would point out also that this in not the first time. Some organizations that I respect(ed) very much signed on, several years ago, to a thank-you letter to Whole Foods for advocating “humane meat,” and “requiring” rigorous standards of meat production if it’s to be sold at Whole Foods. The catch, of course, is that no meat farmers had met Whole Foods’ standards, and Whole Foods of course would not stop selling carcass.

        I remember the humanemyth.com site posting this, and when I found out about it a few months after the initial post, Whole Foods had STILL not found any suppliers to support the myth.

        Farm Sanctuary and Mercy for Animals were both signers of this letter, along with Viva!USA, which disappointed me greatly.

        So the idea that Farm Sanctuary had no idea what kind of coalition it would be joining seems a bit naive, and also doesn’t speak too highly of Farm Sanctuary — how difficult could it be to actually check what the coalition is about before endorsing it? Who endorses an organization without knowing much about it? That’s kind of, well, silly at best.

        And sadly I also have read where Mercy for Animals now has its own “humanely produced” label for dairy products. That’s just wrong for any animal rights organization, especially one that does good undercover work.

      • July 26, 2010 5:13 pm

        Hi, Wendy. I’m sure sanctuaries understood what they were signing onto in general, in terms of Ohioans for Humane Farms’ philosophy and the goal of getting reforms implemented in Ohio, but to be fair, I don’t think we can assume that they would/could have known a fundraiser of this nature would be held (and promoted by HSUS). Then again, maybe FS would/should have known this was coming, given its close ties to HSUS, but as disturbed and upset as I am (as we all are and should be), I don’t want to speculate beyond what we actually know either regarding what the sanctuaries did know. It seems clear, in this thread, for example, that at least some sanctuaries didn’t see such an event coming and would never support such an event. But yes, as Marji (and James) said, then we get back to the issue of what always could potentially result when animal rights orgs and sanctuaries do sign on to coalitions such as these in the first place.

        Finally, regarding Mercy for Animals and a “humane” label for dairy products, this is something I have heard and read nothing about, and that’s a pretty concerning and serious matter. So do you have a source/link for that? I may not always agree with all the group’s decisions, but this is a move that would really, honestly shock me.

      • July 26, 2010 6:26 pm

        I feel like I was just all over the place in my response, Wendy (sorry — I haven’t been sleeping), so I should clarify: I do obviously have concerns with vegan/animal rights groups signing on with something called “[Anybody for] Humane Farms,” not only because of objection to the idea of “humane” farming and killing, but also because of how the proposed reforms still weren’t going to come anywhere near even what most non-AR people would think of as “humane,” and yes, I think our association with these groups/ideas creates a lot of problems and confusion. But I’m just trying to be careful about not coming down on anyone/any group for anything they didn’t actually do (or intend to do). I think that’s important. Am I making sense?

      • July 26, 2010 9:55 pm

        Oh no, I didn’t take it personally or feel as if you were coming down on me or the sanctuary. I could handle it, though, if that were the case. :)

  3. Haidar S. permalink
    July 25, 2010 7:02 pm

    Did I see Animal Place Sanctuary on the list of endorsers? I know there was a group listed as Animal Place on the list of endorsers, but is that Animal Place Sanctuary?

    I can’t actually say I’m surprised after watching this video… it was really just a matter of time before the HSUS jumped on the humane slaughter bandwagon. What I find sad, though, is the fact that +95% of the human population (supposedly the most intelligent species on this planet) is buying into all this bullshit.

    • July 25, 2010 8:16 pm

      Yes, Animal Place sanctuary endorsed the Ohio initiative.

    • sad permalink
      July 26, 2010 11:39 pm

      95% of human population actually doesn’t give a shit, which is probably why some of these groups feel the need to create a ‘bridge’, I agree with a lot of what has been posted here, and I posted the humanemyth vid on my FB page too. but to think that 95% are buying into humane? you wish that many people cared. I don’t know 1 person who goes out of their way to buy humane raised meat…not one…they don’t care. SO, maybe getting better conditions for those farm animals is where they think they can make a start. I agree it is repulsive to serve meat at a function like that. Man, if anyone can find a way to turn the humans into vegans overnight ‘hallelujah’, I am for less suffering for those animals while the world starts to take notice, I can’t think of any better way to do that than incrementally, I wish there were a way. the groups that are against that don’t seem to be making a lot of progress, except at pointing fingers

  4. sundog permalink
    July 25, 2010 7:42 pm

    Perceiving animals as a meal instead of as individuals is a tradition all of us, vegan and nonvegan, accept on some level. Otherwise, we’d be taking a fire extinguisher to the neighbor’s barbecue grill every weekend. With Prop 2, Farm Forward, etc. we continue to witness animal activists siding with industry as willing or inadvertent fellow exploiters. Not excusing the inexcusable isn’t extreme or impractical. It’s simply making a true commitment to the individuals we hope to help liberate. To reduce the suffering of animals is admirable. However, let’s not limit ourselves to thinking of these individuals only in terms of suffering. To do so denies them of everything they are. They’re unique individuals with their own desires, family ties, capability for delight and so much more. All animals, not just humans, want to explore the great mystery of life.

    If a small organization such as Tribe of Heart can speak with a strong voice for the animals, all of us can find ways to help educate our communities. The strength of the movement depends on each of our actions. These actions must be clearly rational and compassionate.

    Our society must make new traditions based on respect for all species.

    • sad permalink
      July 27, 2010 3:03 pm

      If I were on death row, I would want NOT to be tortured while my lawyers argued the case of the laws being unconstitutional. I don’t think it is true that advocating for better conditions for animals injures the abolitionist movement at all. There is no reason not to do both on behalf of the animals.

  5. Olivia permalink
    July 25, 2010 11:01 pm

    Thank you for sharing the video with us non-Facebookers, Stephanie. I watched it after receiving Humane Myth’s e-alert just minutes before seeing your blog. I admire how respectful the tone of James’ message is, as well as the back-and-forth comments made between friends on the AR&AO site.

    One thing I know is that it would be pain me beyond words to witness, face to face, animals being brutalized by any form of abuse or neglect. Heck, I can’t even stand to see a rescued dog locked in a crate and desperate to get out! My admiration for Marji and other rescuers is enormous and undying.

    Could anyone point to recent literature that gives facts on how cage-free hen operations are not only no kinder than battery-cage facilities, but can be actually more stressful and miserable for the chickens who are crammed together in unlit barns?

    Thinking it through a bit, I reckon there is still the overwhelmingly painful sting and smell of ammonia, right? And didn’t I read that the natural behavior of the chickens is still stymied and stifled in every way?

    True, they no longer fall into manure pits or get caught in cage bars and die slow, painful deaths, or have excrement fall on them from above. But isn’t life just as unbearable for the uncaged egg-laying “slaves” as it is for the caged ones?

    And isn’t the lack of respect for their needs, their individuality, their dignity and their desire to LIVE — a lack of respect built into all animal agriculture — the stumblingblock that will forever prevent farmed animals from being free of exploitation?

    It would seem we’re all being called upon to reexamine our thoughts and actions to see if they are aligned with one another. Speaking for myself, I’ve had to question many of my decisions in the past year, and am continuing to reassess my motives, aims, and deeds.

    One book I recently re-read that helped me ask myself hard questions and answer them honesty is MORAL COURAGE by Rushworth Kidder. It’s mentioned on the Humane Myth website. I recommend the book highly to everyone committed to improving society’s view and treatment of animals.

  6. July 26, 2010 11:47 am

    Ugh, HSUS. How incredibly, incredibly upsetting. You make it impossible for me to want to support you, even when I think you’ve got the right idea and are heading in the right direction. What’s more, you make people who identify vegan/animal rights=HSUS=PETA think we look like stupid hypocrites and devalue our message even more. It’s one thing to support “humane” operations while maintaining veganism as a baseline, but it’s another thing all together to say that these animals deserve our respect, but we can still eat them.

    By the way, HumaneWatch.org is operated by CCF, and their “facts” are almost impossible to duplicate using the data HSUS is required by law to make public. I don’t take anything they have to say seriously, as they’re basically a mouthpiece for the restaurant and agriculture lobby and their goal is to marginalize not only HSUS, but the actual animal rights movement. They don’t give a lick about non-humans and should be exposed for who they are. We don’t need them to make valid points about HSUS.

    • Pamela Page permalink
      July 26, 2010 1:43 pm

      Just wanted to point out, in case there is any confusion, the important distinction between HumaneWatch.org (a tool of the animal using community, as Jennie described above) and HumaneMyth.org, which Stephanie referenced in her initial post. HumaneMyth.org is a timely and excellent resource for education and advocacy from an animal rights perspective.

  7. anonymous permalink
    July 26, 2010 2:09 pm

    Stephanie and James~

    A MILLION THANKS to you for posting/creating this!!!

    As a *very*frustrated* Ohioan who participated in the gathering of signatures for Ohioans for Humane Farms (and now wishes she hadn’t) ~ and a vegan ~ I applaud your time, efforts, sensitivity, and advocacy.

    Keep it up!!!

  8. July 26, 2010 4:56 pm

    Thanks for posting this Stephanie. A similar incident happened up here in Canada last month after someone butchered a small number of “farm” animals at a petting zoo run by the city. Outraged by the atrocities committed against these animals, concerned citizens decided to have a fundraiser to buy security cameras for the petting zoo. Needless to say, the fundraiser was a barbecue and the food served were “farm” animals. When the issue was raised by local animal rights people, they were ridiculed and insulted in the local paper for their “extreme” views. Such a disconnect indeed.

    As for HumaneWatch, HSUS and Mercy for Animals , they’re not only an embarrassment to the movement, they are counter-productive to it, reinforcing millenia-old stereotypes about others we share the planet with. That’s why this movement needs to be about non-violence, and not just an “animal” movement.

    • candice permalink
      July 26, 2010 11:29 pm

      Humanewatch is an Anti-HSUS group put together by Rick Berman on behalf of animal agriculture…it is NOT an animal rights group http://www.bermanexposed.org/

    • Priya permalink
      July 26, 2010 11:49 pm

      I’ve also become increasingly confused with the division within the movement and this Tribe of Heart video certainly raises some new concerns. It’s not easy to determine where an organization stands without doing your research. But I think it’s inaccurate to group Humane Watch (an animal exploiter) with HSUS and Mercy For Animals. As Jennie and Pamela pointed out, Humane Watch (aka. Center for Consumer Freedom) has an agenda to marginalize and destroy the animal rights community. Though I have been disappointed with the recent strategies of HSUS and Mercy For Animals, I give due credit to the very important work that they have done. Mercy For Animals has conducted a number of ground-breaking investigations and this must not be discounted or dismissed. As far as I’ve seen, every piece of MFA literature advocates nothing short of veganism. Until I see actual evidence of the contrary, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.

  9. July 26, 2010 6:18 pm

    I’m officially confused…

  10. Allen permalink
    July 26, 2010 9:39 pm

    It’s too bad you didn’t bother to get HSUS’s or Farm Sanctuary’s position on this before you lambasted them Stephanie. I emailed both groups and here were their responses to this unfair attack:

    From Farm Sanctuary: “Farm Sanctuary would never promote or serve any animal products at an event that we organized. Our events have always been and always will be vegan. The event referenced by James LaVeck in his video was not attended, organized or sponsored by Farm Sanctuary. It’s unfair and misguided to characterize Farm Sanctuary as he has. LaVeck never once contacted us for clarification or to express any concerns about this event, nor is he willing to meet to discuss his ongoing criticisms of Farm Sanctuary despite several requests on our part. Instead, he’s taken a course aimed at creating divisiveness within our broader movement to end animal exploitation…. Despite Tribe of Heart’s assertions, Farm Sanctuary never has and never will endorse the consumption of meat. You need look no further than the content of our website, our public position statements, our print materials and our action alerts to know where we stand within this movement. We have always been open and honest about who we are and what we stand for, and to be mischaracterized like this is frustrating to say the least. It is fine to disagree with our approach, but to deliberately mischaracterize our values and make us appear to be something that we are not is unfair, and it wastes valuable resources that could be spent saving and helping animals.”

    From HSUS: “It was a fundraiser for Ohioans for Humane Farms, which is a big coalition consisting of family farmers, chefs, animal groups, environmentalists and others. HSUS urged its supporters to come to the event, which had plenty of vegan options. All HSUS events are vegan — this was not an HSUS event. But to win in a state like Ohio, we must get beyond our base and reach non-traditional supporters. I’ll work with just about anybody to get the job done for animals. Of course, we did not pay for any of the food at the event, including the few meat items that were there. The owner of the restaurant is an anti-factory farming advocate and he hosted the event.”

    So, a bunch of groups sign on to a coalition that’s stated goal is to end some of the worst abuses of factory farming and then one single member of that coalition holds an event without the knowledge of Farm Sanctuary, Mercy For Animals and other vegan advocacy groups and all of a sudden these groups are promoting “humane meat”? Sorry, but that’s total BS!

    If anyone needs to be held accountable, it’s James LaVeck for putting out this slanderous video without bothering to contact Farm Sanctuary about the event first.

    • July 26, 2010 10:42 pm

      I intended my reply to Allen to be threaded here, but I accidentally posted it at the bottom instead: http://challengeoppression.com/2010/07/25/eating-animals-to-raise-funds-for-animals-not-just-for-local-humane-societies/#comment-2009.

    • July 27, 2010 11:01 am

      HSUS is the moving force behind Ohioans for Humane Farms. They funded the signature gathering effort. They put a lot of money into it. They sponsored and created the coalition.

      Yes, their events are vegan.

      But they encouraged folks to attend THIS event, where dead cows, chickens and sheep were being served.

      They did not ask all the organizations on the list of endorsers if this would be an event they would support. If they had, I am certain many would have stripped their endorsement, feeling it is not appropriate to serve the flesh of the very same animals they protect.

  11. July 26, 2010 10:02 pm

    If you’re interested to know Farm Sanctuary’s response to this video, here it is:

    Farm Sanctuary has recently been criticized for its involvement in a broad coalition in Ohio – called Ohioans for Humane Farms – which was formed to initiate a landmark campaign to end some of the most egregious abuses on factory farms in the state. Farm Sanctuary signed onto this campaign because we believed in the specific objectives established to end extreme confinement, the slaughter of downed cattle and calves and the inhumane euthanasia of animals on farms. These three specific objectives are near-term reforms intended to improve the lives of animals on farms and drive a spike in the cog of factory farming.

    Many individuals, organizations and businesses signed onto this broad coalition with the same goals in mind. They do not necessarily hold the same values as Farm Sanctuary, but on these specific issues, we found common ground. When building and joining coalitions, this is typically the case. Coalitions are created to concentrate efforts and resources around one central objective to build the groundswell of support needed to achieve a successful outcome.

    Farm Sanctuary would never promote or serve any animal products at an event that we organized. Our events have always been and always will be vegan. The event referenced by James LaVeck in his video was not attended, organized or sponsored by Farm Sanctuary. It’s unfair and misguided to characterize Farm Sanctuary as he has. LaVeck never once contacted us for clarification or to express any concerns about this event, nor is he willing to meet to discuss his ongoing criticisms of Farm Sanctuary despite several requests on our part. Instead, he’s taken a course aimed at creating divisiveness within our broader movement to end animal exploitation.

    Farm Sanctuary has always had the short- and long-term in mind when advocating on behalf of farm animals. We directly rescue farm animals from abuse and provide them with urgent care and lifelong homes. We educate people about the benefits of a plant-based diet and encourage a compassionate vegan lifestyle. We also advocate for institutional reform through legislation, ballot initiatives and the like to address farm animals currently suffering within animal agriculture. We employ many strategies to end the suffering of farm animals.

    We stand by our efforts to advocate for incremental reform at the institutional level. We wish the world would turn vegan tomorrow, but we also know that social movements throughout history have taken time and required both personal and institutional reform. We would be doing an injustice to farm animals being abused and exploited every day to ignore their suffering.

    We see our movement to end animal exploitation on a continuum and various organizations and individuals work at all points along this continuum. We engage in vegan outreach and education just as we engage in welfare reforms that improve the quality of lives of animals suffering on farms. We don’t see our work, and the work of other organizations in this movement, as either welfare or abolitionist and we believe this characterization of the movement is unhelpful and inaccurate. Farm Sanctuary always has and always will strive to meet people where they are at, and we organize various campaigns and activities that appeal to people at every point along this continuum that encourage kind and compassionate choices and force institutional change.

    Farm Sanctuary’s involvement in Ohioans for Humane Farms was consistent with our values as an organization. We chose to participate in those activities within this campaign that correlated with our values. Had we held a fundraising event in association with this campaign, it would have been vegan.

    For anyone commenting on this thread, if you’ve specifically supported our work in the past, we thank you, and we hope you will continue to support us moving forward, as we work at every opportunity to end the slaughter and exploitation of farm animals.

    If you don’t support us and you don’t agree with our position, that’s fine too. Everyone is welcome to their opinions and I would hope that we all continue to work toward the end of animal exploitation in the best ways we know how. For Farm Sanctuary that’s rescue, education and advocacy.

    Yours in compassion,

    Tricia Barry, Communications Director
    Farm Sanctuary

    • July 26, 2010 10:40 pm

      Tricia,

      You posted Farm Sanctuary’s response directly while I was responding to Allen’s quotations from it. I won’t repeat all of what I pointed out there, but I will reiterate that I have been trying to be clear (in this comment thread and elsewhere) that I don’t think Farm Sanctuary — or other sanctuaries and AR organizations, such as Animal Place — ever would have directly promoted or endorsed or otherwise had involvement in an event such as the one that gave impetus to the video, the one that HSUS very clearly did promote. I did not take that message from the video either. What I see and hear in the video is an attempt to address the broader issues about which there is — is already — debate, including the implied endorsements that seem to come with such a coalition and the seeming disconnect between what is said and believed and fought for on one hand (e.g., “don’t eat animals,” “no animal agriculture or killing is humane”) and what is simulatenously joined and supported and validated on the other (e.g., giving endorsement to “Ohioans for Humane Farms” and to the idea that “humane” ag and killing are indeed possible — and can be achieved via the reform efforts of such groups).

      Farm Sanctuary played a role in my going vegan years ago. I don’t discount the good work it has done and still does and the good intentions it has. But as I’ve said elsewhere, I still think these are huge, huge issues and conversations the animal advocacy movement needs to be having publicly and openly. I don’t think it’s the right of large organizations to stifle dialogue and dissent, and I don’t think animal advocates should feel like they don’t have the right to speak up and voice their concerns, just because their concerns are with groups that are large and well-liked.

  12. July 26, 2010 10:10 pm

    Allen,

    FS: If you were (able to?) to read Farm Sanctuary’s response critically and compare the video’s statements to the response, you’d perhaps not take such an indignant tone yourself. It is largely a response to something that no one (incl. Jim) has even said. The response implies that Jim called FS a direct cosponsor of the specific event (he didn’t), and the response addresses that false idea more than it addresses the broader issue, of the general implications of the org’s prominent association with Ohioans for Humane Farms — and, for many, the implied endorsement of the group’s mission, philosophy, activities, and name.

    And I do not believe Jim mischaracterized the sanctuary’s positions. Indeed, he quoted — and showed — the material directly from the sanctuary’s Web site. One of the points he was making was that those messages don’t mesh with supporting/joining Ohioans for Humane Farms — he was pointing out the confusing, muddy nature of the sanctuary stating in one place that it doesn’t believe in or support the idea of “humane” farms while in another place joining something called “Ohioans for Humane Farms.” Furthermore, it is my understanding from people in attendance that James and Gene did have a public discussion about these issues just recently, at Summerfest, and that there was a lot of talking around instead of responding to some core issues, as seems to be the case here.

    One of the the things that struck me in James’s video, Allen, was that he *wasn’t* demonizing Farm Sanctuary. He was expressing sadness (and indeed used such language) that it was doing things that go against the heart of the sanctuary’s mission and understandings. He seems, to me, to be expressing a hope that it will more clearly adhere to the very things the literature, Web site, etc. state, while showing the problematic, harmful nature of some of what it’s doing now.

    I don’t think he mischaracterized, and I think it’s preposterous to claim that he’s “creating divisiveness.” The disagreements or divisions or whatever you want to call them are already there. Jim has merely said what *many,* *many* in our movement feel but are typically afraid to speak out about (or they don’t have the platform to speak out about it and get attention — or they get shut down and censored if they try to talk about it). And the way I see it, those of us who are voicing concern, whether publicly or privately, are doing so to bring back some cohesion and consistency to our movement, to bring us all back to a more consistent, more effective place. But that requires addressing the issues.

    These conversations — and criticisms — come from a place of love and concern, not from a desire to attack and divide.

    Regarding HSUS’s response:

    Rubbish. 100% rubbish.

    Did you watch the video? Did you look at HSUS’s invitation — HSUS’s invitation, not Ohioans for Humane Farms’ invitation? And did you look at the menu? The menu was over-the-top focused on flesh and cheese, and HSUS used all the “delicious food” as a selling point to get people to come — and labeled a calf in the invitation as “food.” HSUS didn’t say a word about vegan food. HSUS didn’t say a word about not agreeing with or supporting the eating of animals and animal products. And HSUS didn’t even just step back and let the local group have its fundraiser. It promoted it. It promoted the animal-based menu. It labeled a calf as “food” and told people they could respect animals by eating them. I don’t give a damn how they try to spin this one. It’s crap.

  13. July 26, 2010 11:11 pm

    Since Farm Sanctuary’s inception, we have supported institutional reforms, as well as vegan outreach and direct rescue because we believe that all of these endeavours are worthwhile and beneficial to our movement to end animal exploitation. Our full statement as issued above is about a belief in these coalitions and the belief that, as a vegan organization, we can function within these coalitions and not lose sight of our values. We believe it would be an injustice to farm animals to let them suffer on farms and not advocate on their behalf to, at minimum, improve the quality of their lives.

    If we were to follow LaVeck’s logic in his video, then Tribe of Heart would be culpable for endorsing welfare measures. After all, his first installment of “Peaceable Kingdom” featured Farm Sanctuary and showcased our efforts with a glowing endorsement. Our very first rescue of Hilda from a dead pile at a stockyard was the seed that launched our No Downers campaign nearly 25 years ago, which is a welfare reform campaign. So by Tribe of Heart’s association with us during that first installment of Peaceable Kingdom, then they must endorse our welfare-based campaigns. Does this logic make sense to you?

    Despite Tribe of Heart’s assertions, Farm Sanctuary never has and never will endorse the consumption of meat. You need look no further than the content of our website, our public position statements, our print materials and our action alerts to know where we stand within this movement. We have always been open and honest about who we are and what we stand for, and to be mischaracterized like this as changing or shifting our focus away from our core is frustrating to say the least. It is fine to disagree with our approach, but to deliberately mischaracterize our values and make us appear to be something that we are not is unfair, and from our perspective we see gross mischaracterizations about who we are as an organization in this video. LaVeck’s perspective is ill informed and he has not taken the time to reach out directly to us to discuss our position before he produced this video.

  14. David Meadows permalink
    July 26, 2010 11:18 pm

    Stephanie,

    I do see your point about the invitation and how it looks, but the calf isn’t being “labeled as food”. The “Respect Our Food Rendevous” is the title of the fundraiser. But, the whole thing looks bad and doesn’t send the kind of message that is expected by animal rights organizations. But, of course they’re going to spin the thing positively, and say “will feature delicious food”. They can’t just say “will featured murdered animals”!

    This invitation should have been left up to the Ohioans for Humane Farms people to send out through their own email list since it is an event for the entire coalition. But, the owner of the restaurant called HSUS and asked them to promote the event. The email was sent out in gratitude for the owner of Fire, Food and Drink. He advocated the initiative right from his restaurant (where they serve meat). It was a bad judgment call, nothing more.

    Farm Sanctuary is not the only organization to take flack for supporting the OHF campaign. The truth is that some organizations have to do the best they can to move forward on legislation to support animals, and sometimes they’ll have to bend their own mission-statements for the greater good. There might even be some animals served at a dinner.

    The point is not everyone’s on the kind of level that the kind of “cohesion” you’re advocating is possible. It seems like Jim is saying that meat-eaters can’t sign or be part of a coalition to combat factory farming in Ohio. Is that a fair statement? If so, then how is that cohesive? Shouldn’t cohesive also be inclusive? You have to let people live their lives as they see fit and allow them the room to change in their own time. If you don’t include people, how can they change?

    And Stephanie, the statements “I don’t give a damn how they try to spin this one. It’s crap.” and “Rubbish. 100% rubbish. ” does not make what you’re saying sound like “These conversations — and criticisms — come from a place of love and concern, not from a desire to attack and divide. ” You’re on the attack. And now I’m attacking you, aren’t I? Where does it end?

    You also say “Jim has merely said what *many,* *many* in our movement feel but are typically afraid to speak out about (or they don’t have the platform to speak out about it and get attention — or they get shut down and censored if they try to talk about it). ” With all the options to speak out on the internet, you really think people are censored? Further, I rarely meet an animal rights activist that is truly afraid to speak their mind.

    • July 26, 2010 11:32 pm

      Hi, David. Honestly, my “love and concern” remark was more about the movement in general and the sanctuaries, not HSUS. Yes, I’m angry with HSUS as an institution, as are others, as many have been, for a long time. They *need* to be called out. (I recommend Ryan’s post: http://www.vegblog.org/archive/2010/07/26/on-extreme-incrementalism/.)

      Regarding opportunities to speak out, yes, people in this movement have been shut out and/or censored when they disagree with those in positions of power. It happens. I myself ended up censored a year and a half ago, when I was still in a position where people could censor me, after publicly criticizing one of the Big and Powerful.

      And I find it surprising that you find it surprising that there might be activists out there who don’t speak their minds. It’s not easy to disagree with or criticize those in power, especially not when they themselves or their supporters will be quick to shout you down as divisive or not knowing what you’re talking about, which is what often happens. A lot of people aren’t comfortable being that out there, being that vulnerable. And also, a lot of people just don’t have the platform/audience to get attention, to compete with the media/PR capabilities of large organizations. There are so many people who share similar feelings and concerns to those now being expressed publicly by few (or by few with platforms), and maybe if these conversations do start happening more openly and comfortably, they’ll eventually speak up too, but at this stage, it’s hard for a lot of people to do.

      Regarding the invitation, the “Respect Our Food” bit was essentially a caption to the photo of the calf.

      Okay, I know you said more that I haven’t responded to yet (same with others), but I’m so very tired, and I need to go to sleep before I pass out at the computer. Thanks for your engagement in this conversation, David; I appreciate it.

      • sad permalink
        July 27, 2010 12:54 am

        Ryan’s post says nothing new, and reading how he came to be a vegetarian, you would think he would give humane a little slack. those people who are buying humane may be your next batch of vegans, not to many people convert overnight

      • July 27, 2010 10:33 am

        sad — I do cut people slack who take incremental steps to becoming vegan. It’s what I did. It’s what some people need.

        But I’m done cutting slack to national organizations that encourage this step. Here’s a cut-and-paste of a comment I wrote about the difference:

        “… I think that, on a personal level, if what gets someone to veganism is by way of “humane” meat, that’s OK. I think that incrementalism can work on a personal level for certain people (for me, I eased into vegetarianism over a few-month period and then it took me several years before I went vegan). However, on an institutional level, I don’t think it works as well.

        I think capital-”We” need to encourage veganism and give them the resources to get there, but understand that on an individual level, people will find the route/method that will work for them.”

  15. Wizard of Aus permalink
    July 26, 2010 11:38 pm

    James is not totally consistent or clear about promoting an abolitionist approach to animal advocacy (wandering into environmental stuff partway into the video was odd), but he certainly isn’t in the same ballpark as Farm Sanctuary just because he *used* to be sympatico with them, so the above post makes no sense.

    I once ate animals and animal products, does that mean I’m not actually a vegan? No. I no longer use or consume animals or their products. I am now vegan. Likewise, James once had direct ties to welfarism but has since moved some distance toward an abolitionist approach. Now he just needs to stick to identifying animals as persons whose interests deserve respect and equal consideration, and learn how to use the word “vegan” more often. It’s like he’s afraid of it.

  16. July 27, 2010 12:14 am

    As an animal rights advocate, I don’t appreciate the term “humane.” It’s total sugar-coating for Americans who aren’t ready to make simple changes to their deeply rooted habits and beliefs about subjugating animals. Let’s say incrementalism is fair, I can buy that. I think it’s more productive to ask people to eat less meat rather than propagate the humane myth. I believe in baby steps over no steps, but humane meat is a fantasy I wouldn’t want to have. People aren’t committed to humane food, they are committed to making themselves feel better about their choices. We need to make people feel good about eating vegan for the same reasons people feel good about eating animals.

    • sad permalink
      July 27, 2010 1:01 am

      “I think it’s more productive to ask people to eat less meat rather than propagate the humane myth”

      you ‘think’ it’s more productive…but is it? did you become vegan overnight, or did you shift further and further? Aren’t you a vegan to feel better about your choice? What if their first baby step is humane, and until they finally make the move, they support non-factory farms. Remember that peoples baby steps are not all the same. Maybe you still ate cheese for a long time, like a lot of vegetarians…not good for the animals, so neither is humane meat good for the animals. but it might be the way somebody is getting ‘there’ PS that last sentence of yours makes no sense to me at all.

      • July 27, 2010 1:14 am

        No, I didn’t become vegan overnight and yes, I am vegan to feel better about the life I am leading. I was vegetarian for 1 year and it took time for me to get the information I needed to become a committed vegan. I thought being vegetarian was better for animals than eating meat, but I knew that going vegan was most consistent with my values. I promote vegan outreach, but if there are groups wanting to advocate for baby steps and incrementalism, I would rather they support something like Meatless Mondays rather than telling the public to buy meat that’s labeled “local/grassfed” etc.

        Regarding the last sentence, I mean that many if not most people really think they love eating animals. I hear from reasonable and compassionate people that they simply just love what they are eating..eg. “This burger is so good!” “I had this amazing sushi last night!” blah blah blah blah. I think if they were to substitute that food with vegan foods, they can still get those same feelings about how proud they are of their food, how much they love talking about it. I think there are plenty of vegans who talk about how much they love food (it has really helped the AR cause), but for the mainstream, they need to realize how awesome vegan food is so they can make familiar associations with foods that are new to them.

  17. July 27, 2010 1:22 am

    Because my every word /mistake may be scrutinized in this comment thread, I want to amend this sentence of mine:
    “I think if they were to substitute that food with vegan foods, they can still get those same feelings about how proud they are of their food…”

    Animals are not food. But I mean the “food” nonvegans call food, i.e. dead animals. Language can get rough. Please cut me some slack, I don’t comment on blogs often.

    • sad permalink
      July 27, 2010 10:10 am

      I wasn’t ‘scrutinizing’, I truly didn’t understand what you could have meant by that

  18. July 27, 2010 1:42 am

    Thanks for this Stephanie. It’s heartbreaking how common this is. There is only one animal group here in Saudi Arabia, and it focuses entirely on saving the cute critters, you know, cats and dogs. I joined when we first moved back and was horrified when at the first meeting they were planning a huge barbecue fundraising event…without even a single vegetarian option, let alone vegan. I brought this up during the meeting and was told that people wouldn’t come and give money if the food wasn’t so tasty. I tried to convince them otherwise, but they were extremely hostile to any sort of change in the menu. It was awful and I quickly left the group. I couldn’t in good conscience advertise and sell tickets to an event where hundreds and hundreds of animals were going to be killed and eaten….just so we could raise money to save a handful of dogs and cats.

  19. mct permalink
    July 27, 2010 4:07 am

    Tricia: Farm Sanctuary deliberately chose to associate itself with Ohioans for Humane Farms (OHF), which, by definition, exists to preserve existing and create new farms where animals are bred to be killed for human pleasure. By associating yourselves with a group whose mission it is to continue to use animals for pleasure, you most certainly are not working to “end animal exploitation”. You also state that Farm Sanctuary “never has and never will endorse the consumption of meat”. By endorsing OHF, you endorse the use of animals for food. It’s that simple. You say that you can function within these coalitions “without losing sight of our values”. What, pray tell, are your values? If your values include the abolition of the use of animals for human pleasure, then it is self-defeating to associate yourselves with organizations and individuals whose mission it is to promote the continued use of animals.

    It is manipulative to state that by not advocating for “incremental reform”, we ignore the suffering and do “an injustice to farm animals”. The truth is that the animals, already within the industrial system, will not benefit from *any* reforms. They, and generations following them, will be long dead by the time even minimal reforms are implemented, if they are implemented at all. If justice is the goal, then we must advocate relentlessly and without compromise to stop animals from entering the system in the first place, whether it is labeled “humane” or not. Encouraging “kind and compassionate choices”, advocating to “improve the quality of their lives”, and ending “some of the most egregious abuses on factory farms”, is advocating for regulation, not abolition. Why not just say so?

    Nowhere in the video does James LaVeck accuse Farm Sanctuary of taking part in organizing the “Respect Our Food Rendezvous” fundraiser. However, Farm Sanctuary is a part of the OHF coalition that planned this event and, by association, it supports the members of the coalition. It is confusing, at best, for Farm Sanctuary to now, after being criticized, try to disassociate itself from a fundraiser because flesh and other animal products were provided by producers of flesh and animal products who Farm Sanctuary knowingly joined in coalition.

    The statements you have made in this thread, when combined with your involvement in the OHF coalition, leads to the logical conclusion that Farm Sanctuary is an organization that is against the most egregious abuses of “factory farming”, but not against the use of animals for human pleasure. All I ask is that you have the integrity to say so.

    • July 27, 2010 10:11 am

      MCT: I think it’s important for you to know that we have long held position statements on so-called “humane” meat and welfare reforms. I would encourage that you read them fully and carefully. http://www.farmsanctuary.org/about/position/

      I think we have a difference of opinion on the effectiveness of coalitions, and how when you join a coalition, you join to agree to work toward a very specific issue…the point of common ground. Historically, we’ve seen these kinds of coalitions in the most successful social movements. Not all participants in the coalition are going to hold the same values. That’s the nature of coalitions.

      Other parties who endorsed Ohioans for Humane Farms chose to hold a fundraiser that served meat. We disagree and would not have held a fundraiser that served meat and we did not involve ourselves in this event in any way. All parties involved in the coalition know where we stand on the issue and that we’re a vegan organization. Others within the organization probably didn’t appreciate opportunities that we took for vegan outreach as we gathered signatures for the ballot. Where we saw opportunities for vegan outreach on the ground, we took them.

      The specific objectives we all agreed to work toward was ending specific confinement systems, ending the slaughter of downed cattle and calves, and ending certain forms of inhumane euthanasia on farms. By working to end these systems, we are not endorsing “humane” farming. In fact, we even run a Truth Behind Labels campaign to dispell the myths of “humane” farming. You can read more about that here: http://www.farmsanctuary.org/issues/campaigns/truth_behind_labeling.html

      If we were only to work with vegan only groups, we wouldn’t achieve the institutional reforms we see as necessary to move the needle in our direction to end the slaughter and exploitation of animals. It’s fine if you have a differing opinion on this, you are welcome to that opinion.

      I only aim to be clear that we have always been open and honest about our position. Yes, you can be a vegan organization that endorses certain campaigns to end the most egregious abuses on farms. We’ve been doing it since the moment we rescued Hilda off that dead pile at a stockyard.

    • sad permalink
      July 27, 2010 10:29 am

      “It is manipulative to state that by not advocating for “incremental reform”, we ignore the suffering and do “an injustice to farm animals”. The truth is that the animals, already within the industrial system, will not benefit from *any* reforms.”

      truth? your opinion

      so it is better in your opinion to have no reform in factory farming/regulation, while we slowly wait for the world to turn vegan? without reform measures each animal can suffer more, and that is NOT acceptable if ANY improvement can be made it should be made. There is no reason we can’t try and lessen their suffering WHILE we advocate for veganism

      • sad permalink
        July 27, 2010 1:41 pm

        well that ended up in the wrong place

  20. Jo Tyler permalink
    July 27, 2010 9:41 am

    I wrote to Farm Sanctuary about this incident and am pasting their response below. I am a huge “Humane Myth” supporter, but now, I am inclined to believe this video is misleading, which unfortunately, makes me view all their content with a grain of salt…

    [EDIT: I have deleted the inclusion of Farm Sanctuary's statement here because it has already been presented in this thread, both in full by Tricia and in extracts by others, and this thread is already so long (and likely to grow longer) that it's best not to have the same long statements repeated multiple times. -Stephanie]

    • July 27, 2010 9:48 am

      Jo, if you will read through this thread, you will see that Farm Sanctuary has already posted that response here — and you will then see responses *to* it. The response implies that James said things in the video that he did not say. It responds to a created, perceived attack, not a real one. I recommend that you watch the video and then read the various responses here again. Further, the remarks being made in a lot of places about supposed refusal to engage in conversation should themselves be taken with a grain of salt.

      • Jo Tyler permalink
        August 2, 2010 6:27 am

        @Stephanie –

        I think much of the confusion and upset could have been avoided by including a simple statement in the video that acknowledged that most of the animal advocacy groups (other than HSUS obviously) did not even know about the dinner. The point could then be made that these groups were complicit in the event anyway on the basis of their coalition. Then viewers would be left to question the ethical problems that arise when animal groups join in coalition with animal exploiters…instead of the focus being on who was, or who was not behind that sickening dinner.

    • Wendy permalink
      July 27, 2010 10:10 am

      I didn’t hear James LaVeck suggest that Farm Sanctuary — or any other borderline “rights” organization — actually supported eating meat or promoted it. What I heard, and what I saw, was Farm Sanctuary’s willingness to join a coalition that included meat producers. I understand that sometimes for strategic reasons an organization may choose to join with another not totally in keeping with its mission (for example, an AR org working with a clean water organization and prisoners’ rights organization to help stop a slaughterhouse), but that we need to be careful of joining with organizations that are directly antithetical to the message of animal rights. If you join a coalition where there are animal farmers — and surely these groups knew who they were joining with — then you are creating a problem for animals and activsts alike by working with the very people you are trying to (let’s be honest) shut down (or change their line of work).
      Farm Sanctuary, Mercy for Animals, and others also signed on to that Whole Foods crap several years ago, commending Whole Foods for their stance on “humane meat.” The letter is on humane myth’s website, and as of two or so years ago (I haven’t bothered to go back and check) NO supplier of dead animals to Whole Foods has met their criteria. So Whole Foods charges exorbitant amounts for meat that doesn’t meet their standards while leading people to think that these standards are being met and have been endorsed by Farm Sanctuary, Viva!USA, Peter Singer and others (not that I would care about omnivores being price gouged as long as the profits are not passed back to the “meat producers”). So you know, the whole deal with Farm Sanctuary being totally innocent doesn’t wash with me. I think it’s awesome if they can be part of a peace coalition, a coalition of yoga instructors, of herbalists or gardeners or environmentalists — but a coalition with animal exploiters?

      Should we expect AAVS to start getting chummy with Wyeth?

  21. Elizabeth permalink
    July 27, 2010 11:03 am

    HSUS, you claim you would never have “won” in Ohio without the “coalition.” What is it you think you have “won” for animals in Ohio?

  22. sundog permalink
    July 27, 2010 1:18 pm

    To assume unethical compromise is necessary because drastic change can’t happen is just self-defeating. View ‘Seasons of the Heart’ by James LaVeck. The tipping point for change is unpredictable. True victory is possible.

    If James was originally manipulated by Farm Sanctuary when he began his career as a filmmaker, he has obviously educated himself on AR issues since then. Why else would he and director Jenny Stein withdraw the first ‘Peaceable Kingdom’ film from the market–sacrificing financial gain–and put themselves through the strenuous task of practically re-shooting an entire feature film? The logistics and obstacles of filmmaking are tremendous. It would have been much easier for them to play along and sanction the humane myth. Why tell an unpopular truth and make yourself vulnerable to vicious, unfounded attacks on your character? I’m sure he knew the opposition would resort to personal attacks when they failed to give a valid response for their own actions.

    When we don’t call for total justice, we fail the animals. I’m not idealistic. I’m practical.

    I thank Tribe of Heart for refusing to settle for convenient half-truths and false victories that only feel good. Their defense of the truth and the animals continues to encourage my own advocacy work.

  23. July 27, 2010 3:26 pm

    I emailed Karen Davis at United Poultry Concerns re this brouhaha and I am enclosing a copy of her response below (in accordance with her permission). This whole thing points out a difficulty everyone faces at some point or another, i.e., does everything an organization or cause does that you support follow your criteria. And, if it doesn’t do they consult with you before they take off in some direction you haven’t signed on for?

    I suspect that had the sponsors of this organized killing of animals for food contacted the groups listed as endorsing the Ohio “Humane” Farming thingee a number of them (UPC included I presume) would have opted out…..

    A sticky wicket……let me be clear, I want nothing to do with any organization that thinks it is ok to use animals, period. I believe that UPC thinks the same way I do, yet, apparently they were co-opted into appearing to support something they do not agree with because they supported a group advocating for less cruel treatment of animals.

    I think the lesson here is to be very very careful what organizations you affiliate with or support and………you must continually monitor what is going on with those organizations lest you find yourself in an uncomfortable and untenable position. Even then, you will likely get burned at some time or another.

    I think Mr LaVeck is doing a service to the animal abolitionist community as a whole by bringing to the fore the minefield that exists in advancing a social agenda (any social agenda) and that is that there will always be those who want to get behind your banner to further their own causes that may have nothing to do with what you are attempting to accomplish……and in fact may be antithetical to your principles.

    I have seen this sort of phenomena occur in the civil rights movement, the feminist movement and the American Indian movement. It will occur in the animal abolition movement. You simply learn and move on. It does not obviate the movement, it just means some people are jerks and users.

    Alliances always offer the opportunity for betrayals, that does not mean you shouldn’t engage in alliances, it just means they may not always turn out the way you want them to.

    See response from Karen Davis below:

    I recently learned from you and others that UPC is represented in this new film as supporting an animal-based diet. This is 100% false.

    UPC supports less cruel treatment of farmed animals, but we totally oppose the use of animals for food. We support and promote only a vegan diet – “Don’t just switch from beef to chicken – Go Vegan!”

    If you have any doubt, please see our homepage booklets Life Can Be Beautiful-Go Vegan, and Free-Range Poultry & Eggs: Not All They’re Cracked Up to Be, and also http://www.upc-online.org/diet/

    I was not previously aware of the fundraiser you mention. UPC would never support or attend a flesh-based fundraiser.

    Thank you for seeking clarification and please feel free to share my response with others as needed.

    Sincerely,

    Karen Davis, President
    United Poultry Concerns
    757-678-7875
    karen@upc-online.org
    http://www.upc-online.org

    • July 27, 2010 4:11 pm

      I hope Karen will watch the video now that folks have brought it to her attention because the assertion that “UPC is represented in this new film as supporting an animal-based diet” isn’t accurate.

      I can’t stress enough how much everyone needs to encourage others to actually watch the video for themselves, rather than just read others’ summaries and interpretations of it, because there seems to be a lot of misinformation floating around about what James does and does not say and argue in it. I hope everyone will encourage those who are discussing this issue to make sure they take the 10 minutes to watch it for themselves (and to watch and listen — or re-watch and re-listen — carefully and with an open mind to what is actually says, rather than what people are saying it says).

    • July 27, 2010 4:16 pm

      Oops — also, thanks for checking in with her, veganelder, and for sharing your thoughts on this with her and with us. To be clear, I wasn’t implying that you personally offered a wrong interpretation of it to Karen.

      But I’ve felt like a lot of people have been playing a game of telephone in the last couple days, and at the same time, I think some others have maybe intentionally misrepresented what the video says, which, all put together, has resulted in a spread of misinformation and a number of vitriolic remarks about James (and things he didn’t say/do) that are totally unwarranted.

      • Wendy permalink
        July 27, 2010 4:46 pm

        I agree. People seem to think that James LaVeck is saying that these orgs condone meat-eating. That’s not what he’s saying at all, but he’s talking about the danger of — I hope I paraphrase this properly — advocates and sanctuaries especiallyNOT protesting that it’s animals use, not HOW animals are used, that needs to be looked at. I keep seeing stuff here about Farm Sanctuary’s stance, and its innocence when I can’t help but wonder how they can NOT know that any farming coalition that is not explicitly vegan is going to contain members who abuse animals, and that their coalition-building with these members can be easily seen as agreeing with, or at least NOT disagreeing with, what these organizations stand for.

        I don’t think I’m being very clear. It’s not being said that these AR orgs agree with eating meat or dairy, but that building a coalition with members whose sole purpose is at direct polar odds with what the AR groups stand for makes no sense. It’s like asking peace activists to form a coalition with the NRA. It doesn’t make sense. And the crap Farm Sanctuary is saying about coalition building neglects to take this into consideration. Just because you have the opportunity to build a coalition with an organization doesn’t mean you should. For example, I would NEVER be part of a coalition that was animal rights but homophobic. And it’s not like any of these sanctuaries and orgs should be surprised — it makes them sound kind of foolish to say “well we had no idea they’d serve meat.” But, okay, there’s a LAMB MEAT PRODUCER in this coalition. What did you think they were doing in that group, growing broccoli?

        Admit you made a mistake — and fix it. Drop out. Try being part of another kind of coalition. Not one that profits from animal exploitation as its very foundation.

  24. kristine permalink
    July 27, 2010 5:39 pm

    It’s disheartening to read this post and some of the comments below.

    The OHF campaign was made up of organizations, farmers, businesses, and individual volunteers that are not all veg, but all care for the humane treatment of animals. The dinner that you blogged about was organized by a supporter and volunteer of the campaign, it was NOT organized by HSUS or FS.

    I am vegan, and was a volunteer for this campaign. Many of the people that I worked with were meat eaters, but guess what. Every single one of them initiated a conversation with me about how to go veg… most of them have committed to eating less meat, and at least a couple of them are setting their sights on going vegan. Would that have happened without this campaign?

    We are all striving for an ideal world – but I’ll take small change over no change. In the case of the anti-confinement campaigns, each state that wins means MILLIONS of animals will suffer a little bit less.

    Yes, let’s hold ourselves accountable, but let’s also find out all the facts before pointing fingers.

    • July 27, 2010 7:42 pm

      Thanks Kristine for your comment, and thank you for your work on behalf of reducing the suffering of animals.

    • July 27, 2010 7:53 pm

      I’ve hit my mental limit for discussing this in any more depth today, and I hate that I have to make this same correction yet again, but please note, Kristine, that no one failed to get “all the facts.” No one said HSUS organized the fundraiser. The point is that HSUS promoted the fundraiser and its “delicious food” and promoted the idea that invitees could “respect” animals — “respect [their] food” — by coming to this event, where animals’ body parts were being cut up, cooked, and served. That the idea didn’t originate with HSUS does not change the disturbing invitation HSUS sent out hyping the event.

  25. mct permalink
    July 28, 2010 4:53 am

    Tricia: Thank you for your response.

    I had carefully read and have re-read your position statements on “humane meat”, which is why I continue to be surprised that you do not recognize that your statements are illogical and contradictory. Your position statement reads: “Farm Sanctuary has never and will never support so-called ‘humane’ meat. We maintain that the words ‘humane’ and ‘slaughter’ are mutually exclusive”. How then do you reconcile the fact that Farm Sanctuary praises the animal-exploiting industry when it sets “humane” standards? And how do you reconcile the fact that Farm Sanctuary chooses to form a coalition with animal exploiters whose livelihood depends on protecting and creating “humane” farms? According to your statement, there is no such thing as “humane” farming, but here you are forming a coalition with animal exploiters to protect something that does not exist. Everything on Farm Sanctuary’s web site indicates that its primary concern is factory farming, not animal use itself.

    When you join animal exploiters to “work toward a very specific issue”, you choose to focus on one or two extreme cruelties, making all other injustices invisible, as though they do not exist. That is a profound betrayal of the animals you claim to want to protect. Your actions serve to make consumers believe that, because you (after all you are animal “protectors”) and animal exploiters have come to an agreement, they can continue purchasing “humane” products with a clear conscience. Despite stating in your response that you do not endorse “humane” farming, that is exactly what you are doing by joining this coalition. How can you not see this? The name of your coalition, for goodness sake, is “Ohioans for *Humane* Farms”!

    You state that if you worked with vegan-only groups, you “wouldn’t achieve the institutional reforms” you deem necessary to end the exploitation of animals. What on earth have you achieved with “institutional reforms”? They are mere theoretical exercises designed to make people feel as though something is being done. The truth is that billions of individuals continue to be forcibly confined, forcibly and repeatedly artificially inseminated, forcibly separated from their newborns, suffocated, electrocuted, branded, macerated alive, and forced into shortened lives and violent deaths. What have you achieved?

    sad: Please see above regarding reforms.

    • Olivia permalink
      July 28, 2010 6:20 am

      Congrats to sundog and mct for taking an eloquent stand for integrity; and thank you, Stephanie, for continuing to insist upon what James said — and didn’t say — in his latest film for the animals.

      Observation: Those who are paid to defend their organizations have a hard time distinguishing the animals’ interests from their need to pay their mortgage, I’ve noticed. Reminds me of what Upton Sinclair famously said: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”

      To the welfarists, I reply: Even if every pig, cow, chicken, goat and sheep were to live the life of Riley before being killed, as we imagine they were treated in the good ole days, they would still be stigmatized as “just animals,” as they have been throughout human history. And they’d still be traumatized and terrified at the end of their lives (whether long or short), as any human being would be.

      So even if “humane” farming becomes the norm, we’ll be merely reverting to the past instead of progressing, which is what all true reform movements are designed to do. The only way to abolish slavery, whether of humans or nonhumans, is to insist that it is immoral and must be made illegal, instead of compromising with those who think it’s even a little bit right. Self-seeking animal-exploiters will be slower to understand this principle as long as “humane” meat remains an option — endorsed, no less, by vegans.

      • July 28, 2010 11:45 am

        To the welfarists, I reply: Even if every pig, cow, chicken, goat and sheep were to live the life of Riley before being killed, as we imagine they were treated in the good ole days, they would still be stigmatized as “just animals,” as they have been throughout human history.

        This reminds me of a recent post at the Eastern Shore sanctuary blog, in which Miriam (I think Miriam is the blogger, anyway!) eloquently captures the problem with welfarism (property status, exploitation – whatever you want to call it) in describing a visit to a “small,” “progressive” CSA farm:

        By giving credence to the idea that non-human animals are ours to use, we take a step onto an inevitably slippery slope. There is no possible way to gain a real foothold on this slope because we ourselves have created it so that we ourselves can step out onto it. Because you see, gaining a foothold — stopping the downward slide — requires adhering to lines which we cannot draw once that initial acceptance is made. In other words: once we accept that exploitation is possible, there’s nothing to stop us. [...]

        So, when your intentions are good, your actions will be in accordance and you will provide good care; when they are not, you will not; and either way, in the end, it won’t matter to you because in the beginning, you decided these animals were yours to do with as you wish. Perhaps a twinge of guilt here, a passing regret there — this is all you will have to handle if you treat them poorly.

        That’s why no exploitation is good exploitation. Just like dictatorships are all oppressive whether or not they are benevolent. Some paradigms cannot ever be trusted.

        As long as we classify animals as property or resources – things to be used and discarded at will – they will always be vulnerable to inhumane treatment.

        (Link: http://blog.bravebirds.org/archives/68 )

      • sad permalink
        August 2, 2010 4:19 pm

        By giving credence to the idea that non-human animals are ours to use, we take a step onto an inevitably slippery slope.

        ——————-

        we are obviously long past that slippery slope, like eons past, the question is not how not to slide down, it’s what is the most effective way to try to climb back up the slope

  26. David Meadows permalink
    July 28, 2010 10:21 am

    I wrote this today to someone who just learned about the fundraiser and raised questions, I did change one thing, the part in brackets about [for OHF]:

    This was a volunteer’s planned fundraiser. HSUS and supported him [for OHF] by promoting the event for him in order to thank him for his support of the campaign. This campaing was always about creating a humane farming community. This, by definition, did mean that animal farming would continue.

    “Ohioans for Humane Farms is a coalition of animal welfare, family farming, food safety, and environmental advocates advocating for more humane standards to prevent cruel factory farming practices in Ohio.”

    If you still consider the slaughter of animals murder and the keeping of them exploitation, then you might wonder how the term “humane” can apply and can be backed by some of the organizations involved. Being part of a coalition doesn’t mean that individual organizations have to change their basic ideology and mission-statements in order to support a common mission. The mission of the coalition is separate from the organizations involved.

    OHF was an effort to end the confinement of animals in cages and make their lives better and the production “more humane”. In no way did this indicate it was going to make the world vegan overnight, nor end the production of meat in any way. Organizations signed on knowing full well that in no way would this end the kind of exploitation and murder, as vegans see it, at the very heart of meat-eating itself. This campaign was an attempt to take a step forward, to try to make a difference in the lives of animals. We acheived our goal to the best of our ability.

    Every organization involved knew there would still be work to be done. Even if every state in the country stopped practicing factory farms and went to humane farms like those laid out in http://www.certifiedhumane.org there would still be work to be done. However, it wouldn’t be a situation where MFA would put out films like Fowl Play. The animals would live a life that they were meant to live. We could talk to people on a level playing field about their intake of animals and their own individual choices, without having to point to the abusive industry that eating meat supports! We do not want these practices to continue. We want people to make informed choices by becoming aware of their own sense of love for all beings, rather than the cruelty of an industry.

  27. Lisa permalink
    July 28, 2010 3:05 pm

    I have an honest question for those of you who truely believe animals being used for food is wrong, and thinking that eating a pork sandwich while sitting with your dog is so wrong. Firstly, your dog doesn’t understand the difference, but thats not the point. My question is this:

    Do you disagree with animals being used for dogs and cats to eat? Given that these animals are naturally carnivores, is it wrong for these animals to eat meat?? Wild animals have no “moral” values about eating other animals… given the choice they would rather eat a rabbit than some corn.

    • Wendy permalink
      July 28, 2010 3:43 pm

      Hello Lisa,

      The issue about eating a pig while playing with your dog is less to do with the animals than with the human mental disconnect that believes there is actually a significant moral difference in eating one but not the other (and eating humans, for that matter). The pigs (and chickens, and fish and lambs and cows, etc) suffer tremendously and that is one of my several main objections to eating animals (the fact that animals are not ours to exploit being another).

      Also, I wouldn’t bet that dogs don’t know when a human is eating another animal. This is part of the problem, I suspect — we act like animals are dumb, when in reality they have their own intelligence, and many even learn to communicate across species lines. We can’t know what a dog knows (or what a pig knows, what a duck knows, what a mouse knows) but in observing them it’s fairly safe to say that they have emotions and interests of their own — beings every bit as worthy of life as you or me.

      I do disagree with using animals for dogs and cats to eat, but it’s a much more complex matter than that. None of my companions have taken to veganism, no matter how much I try. I try to offset some of this by tithing to AR groups, but it’s extremely difficult for me to buy the carcass of one animal for another animal to eat. Jed Gillen’s book “Obligate Carnivore” makes some excellent arguments on behalf of feeding cats a vegan diet. For my guys it does not work, but I do also on occasion mix vegan food in with their carcasses.

      As for wild animals having moral issues or not, that’s pretty across-the-board. Once again, we cannot know what animals think of killing other animals in order to survive. But certainly not all wild animals are meat-eaters, nor do many eat corn. That aside, wild animals who do eat other animals do not generally exploit them in the process. And those wild animals who don’t need to physiologically eat animals do not eat animals (unlike humans who don’t need to but who do anyway). Some wild animals are scavengers and eat animals who’ve already been killed, and a lot of animals seem to eat all the organs and skin and fur and junk, unlike humans who carefully need those things removed so that animal carcasses stop resembling who they were before they were systematically killed.

      It is not something I like by any stretch — I think whoever invented this kind of existence is an idiot, that killing is sometimes necessary. But where it can be eliminated it should be eliminated, and the best place to start is for feeding humans. We don’t need to eat them. Nor do we need to exploit them.

  28. mct permalink
    July 29, 2010 6:00 am

    David: You state that “being part of a coalition doesn’t mean that individual organizations have to change their basic ideology and mission statements in order to support a common mission”. It is one thing if the “common mission” of a coalition is not in conflict with the basic ideology or mission statement of a particular organization; it is quite another when the common mission is unequivocally contradictory to the particular organization’s mission statement. MFA’s mission statement includes this phrase: “non-human animals are irreplaceable individuals with morally significant interests and hence rights. This includes the right to live free from unnecessary suffering and exploitation”. How can this mission statement co-exist with OHF’s common mission to protect and create “humane” farms where nonhuman animals will inevitably and unquestionably experience “unnecessary suffering and exploitation”?

    You also make this disturbing assertion about “humane” farms: “The animals would live a life that they were meant to live”. What does this mean? That animals are meant to be farmed if it is done in a “humane” setting? How is that compatible with their right to live free from exploitation? It simply isn’t.

    kristine: That you had conversations about being vegan while gathering support for a coalition whose mission it is to continue exploiting animals, borders on the bizarre. Being an ethical vegan means rejecting the exploitation of nonhuman animals; it does not mean campaigning for the regulation of said exploitation.

    • David Meadows permalink
      July 29, 2010 8:10 am

      MCT,

      Yeah, ok, my bad on “life they were meant to live”. I just meant they’d be living a life which allows them to move around and exhibit their natural behaviors. Yeah, farming is exploitation, etc…

      Following is MFA’s official statement on the fundraiser and the OHF coalition. This statement explains how the mission statement of the organization is inclusive of the efforts of OHF. Notice, this word is what is missing from all of the “abolitionist responses” on this board: inclusive. This statement also explains to you how an ethical vegan can work with meat-eaters on a campaign that supports humane meat production goals:

      Mercy For Animals was not involved in any way, shape or form in planning, carrying out or promoting this event. The event was held for Ohioans for Humane Farms, not Mercy For Animals. We did not receive any funds from the event. Our organization has a very clear, longstanding and strict policy against serving any meat, dairy or egg products at any of our events. In fact, Mercy For Animals has long worked with other national and local humane societies to implement similar vegan policies for their organizations’ events.

      Mercy For Animals is one of many diverse organizations, individuals, veterinarians and businesses that have coalesced on common ground – through Ohioians for Humane Farms – to ban battery-cages, gestation crates and veal crates in Ohio. We believe that it is a basic, fundamental right that all animals should be given enough space to stand up, turn around, lie down and extend their limbs.

      Mercy For Animals strongly supports efforts to reduce the suffering of animals cruelly raised and killed for food. While we believe that animals have a right to live free of human harm and interference, we understand that there is much work to be done before that day comes. All social justice movements have advanced gradually – with understanding that there are incremental steps along the way to achieving total liberation. We view legislation that grants basic rights to animals – including the simplest rights to stand up, turn around, lie down and extend their limbs – as a step forward.

      To set the record straight, Mercy For Animals never has, and never will, promote or endorse “humane” animal products. Simply put, animal agriculture is inherently abusive, exploitive and violent, and there is no such thing as humane slaughter. Animal agriculture is based on domination over animals and driven by profit. We understand this, which is why our organization spends the majority of our time and financial resources on promoting veganism

      • Olivia permalink
        July 29, 2010 9:14 am

        So, slightly less inhumane living conditions leading to completely inhumane slaughter equals praiseworthing, no-guilt eating?

        A little less suffering for a few months plus lots of suffering for a few minutes eventually reaches real rights?

        Thanks but no thanks. I can’t buy into those kind of backward baby steps any more.

        These days, I’d rather spend all of my time and energies advocating for legitimate rights, period. For the right of all animals to be freed from their unjust status as property. Yes, even if it takes FOREVER to get there.

        With MFA’s muddy “rights” theory, forever is more likely NEVER.

        People need an incentive to change their hearts and minds about who animals are, why they exist, and what they deserve: freedom from ALL exploitation, the same as we humans have.

        MFA’s concept of changing hearts and minds doesn’t cut it for me any more, I’m sorry to say (much as I like Nathan). I wish MFA would devote 100% of its time and resources to long-term goals instead of short-term fixes, which stir false hopes, perpetuate selfish habits, further ingrain ignorance, and aren’t intellectually honest.

  29. HAROLD BROWN permalink
    July 29, 2010 9:58 am

    My take is that the focus of vegans is the moral and ethical principle of justice. Historically regulation has not led to justice for any group. Then again it is hard for me to critically deduct that what worked for women’s rights, slavery, children’s rights, etc will directly apply to non-human animals. We are fighting for the rights of a group that cannot advocate for themselves in any way and at the same time are food that feeds a literal addiction. Tricky. But it still boils down to a matter of justice for them and saying that anything that doesn’t call for the end of their use is somehow leading to justice for them isn’t logical. They are strictly working for regulation of abuse. The best case scenario that they can give us and the animals is by reducing cruelty and suffering they will lead good lives and have only one bad day. That is BS. These organizations refuse to talk about their deaths, only their stress, suffering, overt cruelty, etc.

    Coalitions are partnerships, an alliance, an association where compacts are formed for mutual benefit. This is how Webster’s defines a coalition. A truly vegan person or organization should align themselves with those who share their core values, vision and mission. To do otherwise is to set one self up for unacceptable compromises. If you limit your choices only to what seems possible or reasonable you disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all you have left is a compromise…the human spirit will not invest in a compromise.

    As Gandhi put it, “In the matter of conscience, the law of the majority has no place.”

    • David Meadows permalink
      July 29, 2010 10:29 am

      Olivia, I am proud to have collected more signatures as a volunteer than any other person in Ohio for OHF. I’m proud of the 8 changes that we were able to make to make the lives of animals better.

      I applaud the spirit of your statements for the rights of animals to be freed and live without interference by humans.

      There’s an election in 2011 here in Ohio. You can start a petition that will “Ban all animal agriculture, animal breeding facilities, and any other animal confinement facility.” If you take the necessary steps to get a legal petition drawn up and approved through the Secretary of State’s office we can get started gathering signatures to get this on the ballot in November 2011. After you get your petition drawn up and approved, you can surely contact MFA, HSUS, Farm Sanctuary and any other large organization you’d like for the financial backing necessary. If you’re able to get the petition ready and funded, I will happily gather signatures to make that historic change in our society. I will also contact my large list of animal rights activists who worked on the OHF campaign to see if they will help in that endeavor.

      Thank you

      • David Meadows permalink
        July 29, 2010 10:44 am

        And further, I’m also glad to have reached out to over 10,000 people during the campaign and opened their eyes to what is going on right now in their state.

        For more information on why you should support campaigns like OHF, read the following:

        http://www.veganoutreach.org/articles/normphelps.html

        Thank you again…

  30. Olivia permalink
    July 29, 2010 3:34 pm

    Please don’t regard this as harsh, David. I truly don’t mean to offend you or anyone else. But I can think of no better way to explain why these vegan-animal agriculture coalitions are anathema to me than to say:

    I’m proud that my great-great-grandfather, a benevolent slaveholder, gathered the most signatures for a petition in the Southern states in 1860 that read:

    ~ flogging of human slaves will be illegal after 1870
    ~ rape of human slaves will be illegal after 1880
    ~ confining human slaves to cages to prevent fighting caused by overcrowded housing conditions will be illegal after 1890
    ~ separating children from their human slave parents will be illegal after 1900
    ~ killing human slaves for any reason will be illegal after 1910

    Caveats: These laws will have minimal fines for noncompliance. We do not foresee having the money or manpower from taxes to enforce these laws. When the price you pay for cotton rises, just remember that you’re now buying “humanely grown” cotton gathered by “humanely treated” and happy workers.

    It’s a matter of perspective. Whiteocentric and humanocentric are one and the same.

    • David Meadows permalink
      July 29, 2010 4:04 pm

      Olivia,

      How could I possibly be offended by being compared to someone who petitioned against slavery in 1865? If that were how I would have had to do it in 1865, I would have gladly done anything I could to change things for all slaves. If we had a President in office in 2010 who would make the call to ending animal production just like Abe did for human slaves back in 1865, we wouldn’t have to go through the extremely difficult effort to gather signatures to get something on a ballot in a state to be voted on in order to phase in whatever changes we can get.

      I will try and explain it mathmatically: Zero times Seven equals Zero. One times Seven equals Seven. In my two equations “Zero” = Abolitionist Legislation Passed; “One” = Animal Welfare Legislation Passed; “Seven” = Number of states

      To quote Norm Phelps, again: “One-track activism sounds better than it is. It sounds simple, straightforward, and theoretically consistent. But history is littered with examples of elegant theories that failed utterly when applied to the real world. Such theories all too easily become an excuse for voicing noble platitudes while evading the difficult, frustrating, messy, nuts and bolts work of transforming our vision into progress for animals. ”

      When is your petition to end animal slavery going to start circulating? I, again, will be more than happy to gather signatures for it. I make this sincere offer now and will stand by this until the day I die. Of course that will have to happen in a world where people are willing to accept such a thing, just like in 1865 when Americans, at least in the North were ready to make the changes that had already been taking place in the United Kingdom.
      AND there were incremental steps, campaigners and petitions in the UK.
      http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Who_abolished_slavery_in_the_UK
      I’m sure there were things leading up to Abe Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. Since slavery wasn’t abolished in Siam until 1984, you could say that there have been incremental steps in ending slavery worldwide with the ending of slavery in individual nations. So, should they have not banned slavery in the US because you could still own slaves in Siam? What about in England where they banned slavery in 1807, except where people owned slaves in the colonies? Should they not have banned slavery in the UK since they made that grandfather clause, because it wasn’t absolute?

      • Olivia permalink
        July 29, 2010 5:15 pm

        When hearts are ready for such a petition, I’m sure the right person will launch it. We all know that that would be a useless strategy at this time. I choose to fight for justice for all animals — freedom from property status — instead of incremental steps that only lead back to 1800s feel-good animal slavery, which was then and remains now UNJUST.

        This thread reminds me of the good old days when Stephanie wrote for Change.org. Only I don’t think we had many VVV (vegan versus vegan) debates back then. Maybe I’m misremembering that it was mostly meat-eaters and dairy-drinkers versus vegans.

        I can see that we will have to agree to disagree on this, David. We’re not coming from the same place. But we’re each doing our highest sense of right, and that’s all we can ask of ourselves. Except to keep listening to the “still, small voice” within and be willing to change our means and methods if so guided.

  31. July 29, 2010 3:37 pm

    Friends, James has published a response to discussions, criticisms, and statements that have resulted from the Silencing the Lambs video, including further exploration of (and background on) the issues raised in the video and responses both. Please read it, in full, here:

    http://www.humanemyth.org/silencingthelambsresponse.htm

    • Marji permalink
      July 29, 2010 4:46 pm

      I’ll just say that I think he handled it poorly and knew exactly what he was doing name-dropping the way he did.

      I still think it’s a necessary and important discussion to have. I also think that anything that makes the life of a farmed animal less cruel should be pursued. The end goal should always, always be the elimination of animal farming, but I don’t think one approach is effective.

      • July 29, 2010 4:59 pm

        We’ll have to disagree. James is someone I trust, and that trust and knowledge of him combined with my conversations with him — plus my own viewing of the video — do leave me believing fully in his stated intentions and sincerity. I assume that the reference to “name-dropping” is an allusion to the latter portion of the video about Farm Sanctuary, and of course, I see that in a totally different way as well. It’s not as if he casually mentioned the sanctuary’s name in the middle of the discussion of the fundraiser & invitation. I thought his subsequent exploration of Farm Sanctuary’s stated positions and how they contradict with the coalition was a clearly related and relevant discussion, not a “name drop.” But I suspect we may not come to any agreement here.

      • Marji permalink
        July 29, 2010 5:26 pm

        I have a different perspective, being more intimately familiar with the other groups mentioned and the people who work for them. I don’t know LaVeck.

        Yes, we should have this discussion. Our own biases feed into our perspective of the video. I don’t see anything particularly damning in the video, but I can understand how groups like Farm Sanctuary and UPC and others might get put on the defensive with LaVeck’s approach. It’s not as if LaVeck called any of us up and said what the heck? let’s talk. That would have been the considerate thing to do…if he still produced the film afterwards, he did it knowing he put full effort into contacting the organizations he would subsequently list and name, that he opened up a debate amongst organizations within the ar movement.

        I want to explore this issue, but in a greater context. Our own organization will probably explore this issue in house – we’re gathering more information and ensuring we have all the information from both sides (we had LaVeck’s, but we wanted to get the other groups).

        We don’t have to agree on everything. That’s the beauty of what should be a diverse movement.

      • July 31, 2010 10:46 pm

        Thank you, Margi, for understanding our perspective. The implications were there, and we were responding to people who were accusing us of being directly involved in this fundraising event after watching this video. Stephanie, I don’t understand how you cannot see how people could have interpreted the video in this way. We had no intention of manipulating the message. We were simply defending our position.

        I might also add that in our eight paragraph response, only the third paragraph addressed this implication. The other seven paragraphs defended our decision to join the Ohioans for Humane Farms coalition, which seemed to be the crux of James’ criticisms in the video. To say that we didn’t address this, or ignored this part of his video is false.

        We have found that our participation in reform campaigns, like Ohioans for Humane Farms, has created great opportunities, not only to lessen the suffering of potentially millions of animals who we can’t rescue directly, but also create a gateway for people to participate in this movement and begin to make more compassionate personal choices. Many people have embraced veganism and activism on behalf of farm animals because of these reform campaigns. I’ve had countless conversations with people who have been forever changed for the good after engaging in these campaigns. These campaigns may not give us everything that we want as quickly as we want them, but they have proven helpful for both the animals for whom we advocate and the people touched by these campaigns.

        Being a sanctuary, we have intimate knowledge of the terror that these animals experience within the food production system. We have rescued and rehabilitated pigs and chickens who have suffered in gestation crates and battery cages. We also have animals we’ve rescued who have come from so-called free-range and cage-free facilities. They ALL have suffered in their own ways. However, there are very specific stereotypical behaviors and acute suffering we have witnessed with animals kept in extreme confinement. If we know that we have a chance to eliminate or even lessen the suffering of these animals by establishing legal protections for them, we will take those chances, because we cannot, in good conscience, ignore their suffering simply because we may not be able to save them all.

        If certain activists are only interested in vegan outreach, that is wonderful. We encourage anyone in their efforts to change hearts and minds. We will also continue on this path, encouraging people toward a vegan lifestyle and educating people about how amazing these animals are and how much they deserve respect and a full life. But, someone must also be willing to address the near term, to do what we can to lessen suffering on farms, to begin to establish legal protections for farm animals, and to engage the broader public with the notion that farm animals deserve consideration and protection. We will continue to respect the efforts of any organization that works to do this, even if they don’t share an identical mission to our own.

        We don’t have to agree on every approach in this movement, we just need to trust one another a bit more and focus our efforts on what we believe will garner the most effective results for animals.

        For the sake of my own advocacy, I don’t have time to spend defending every decision Farm Sanctuary, or other organizations make within this movement. It’s unfortunate that James LaVeck and a few others seem to distrust so many people who I know to be forthright, compassionate minded, intellectually astute, constantly focused on prioritizing our valuable time to the best effect for farm animals, and tireless in their efforts. Because I have other vital work to focus on, let this be my last submission on this subject.

        If you agree with me, GREAT. If you don’t, that’s fine, too, as long as you’re doing something that benefits our collective movement to end animal exploitation.

        Peace and compassion always,

        Tricia Barry, communications director
        Farm Sanctuary

  32. Wendy permalink
    July 29, 2010 5:17 pm

    Damn, I just attempted a reply but something happened and it didn’t take.

    I will simply say that this whole thing is driving me bananas. I do not see this as being name-dropping at all, just a demand for transparency and for taking responsibility for one’s actions instead of taking a defensive posture.

    I don’t think we’ll ever know what path to animal liberation is most effective, and we all believe that the way we work works or we would do something different. But I can’t help thinking that James is right — it makes so much sense to me. From the outset I did not view the video as patronizing, and rude, as instigating fight, but rather a sort of unwanted expose — the kind of thing you’d rather not mention but you must because you feel it’s doing grave damage to animals and to a lesser extent, to the AR movement.

    And he made it clear in his video and his repsonse that he sees the movement being co-opted by the meat industry (which it does indeed seem to be), and, worse, the issue becoming more that it’s how we treat animals that’s important, not the fact that we use them in the first place.

    Organizations need to admit when they make a mistake, or they need to seriously discuss why they believe what they’re doing is right and not cut off the objections.

  33. sundog permalink
    July 29, 2010 9:24 pm

    Fear can control our rational thoughts. The fear that years of support for an organization(s) has resulted in systematically assisting in the continued gruesome destruction of the animals we hope to help is unbearable. Many are still in shock. Denial can ease the pain of betrayal; but it doesn’t negate the truth of that betrayal. James has made the most agonizing decision to sacrifice enormous personal comfort to tell the terrible truth. I cannot imagine being in his place. It must be heartbreaking to feel scorn from some activists for simply doing what is right—and doing it for the sake of those very activists. Those who defend the disingenuous position of the humane myth do so because they have vested interests, emotionally and/or financially.

    Blaming the humble messenger won’t alter the truth. Is it wise, or even fair to the animals and ourselves, to continue living in the illusion of the humane myth? False hope is not better than true hope. Not for the animals now. Not for us in the long run. Do we want to starve on false hope, lapse into bitter disappointment, then cling to a new false hope, and repeat the vicious cycle indefinitely? Haven’t we done it long enough? Do we want to look like effective activists or actually *be* effective activists?

    To activists who feel if they embrace the truth, their work has been for nothing: this is what the leadership of the organizations are counting on. That’s false. Denying the animals have been betrayed and perpetuating the humane myth will indeed be working toward nothing. We’ve chosen to serve the animals. No social justice movement is static; it changes and evolves each hour. With new knowledge we grow stronger and will accomplish more than we ever imagined. It’s as certain as the sunrise. How else could we have even chosen a vegan life and continue to choose it daily?

    Let honest hope for the animals grow from our sorrow today. The beauty and justice we envision is possible. This conversation has only begun. I thank Howard Brown for adding his profound perspective. I hope more such voices of reason and critical thinking will prevail. As some of you know, Harold is an ex-farmer. He’s living proof that we can survive the coming transformation and learn to thrive.

    • Olivia permalink
      July 29, 2010 9:48 pm

      Last night I memorized a sentence that perfectly describes your post, sundog. Here it is: “When the heart speaks, however simple the words, its language is always acceptable to those who have hearts.” (Mary Baker Eddy)

      • sundog permalink
        July 29, 2010 10:50 pm

        Thank you, Olivia. Your own words here, like that of many others rising to the challenge, have shown me that reason, courage, and love are all still alive in our world. There is much hope.

  34. mct permalink
    July 30, 2010 4:44 am

    David: When words used shroud the truth, they serve to perpetuate and legitimize exploitation under the guise that it is no such thing. Whether it was intentional misspeaking or not, saying that in “humane” farms nonhuman animals “live a life that they were meant to live” creates a false idyllic reality. Euphemisms and rewordings enter our vocabulary and our consciousness in subtle ways and before we know it, we appropriate others’ deliberate linguistic manipulations and become complicit in shrouding the truth. I detect a note of sarcasm in your initial paragraph indicating that I am taking what you stated too seriously. Unfortunately, for nonhuman animals, the misuse of language has devastating consequences.

    Rather than respond with a rational rebuttal to my assertion that MFA’s mission statement is incompatible with the mission of OHF, you choose to post a statement by MFA defending its involvement in OHF. You state that MFA’s statement “explains to [me] how an ethical vegan can work with meat-eaters on a campaign that supports humane meat production goals”. I disagree with you that MFA’s statement does what you assert. If anything, the statement confirms that MFA holds inconsistent and contradictory values.
    One cannot state on one hand that one “never has, and never will, promote or endorse ‘humane’ animal products”, on the other hand forge an alliance with “humane” animal product producers, and then expect to be taken seriously by anyone who takes the time to critically assess what is being said and what is actually being done.

    MFA’s primary justification for joining OHF is the diverse organizations’ common belief that there should be legislation stating that “animals should be given enough space to stand up, turn around, lie down and extend their limbs”. This is analogous to an anti-slavery organization defending its alliance with slave owners because they both believe that there should be legislation granting slaves the basic right to eat and sleep. Do we really need to forge alliances with those who oppress the very beings we want to protect, so that we can grant them the most basic of physical necessities? Have we lost our minds?

    The most nefarious aspect of the official statements of defence from various organizations, the HSUS, MFA, and Farm Sanctuary in particular, is that not one of them discloses the whole truth about the agreement forged. In calling this agreement a “victory” for animals, the public is led to believe that major reforms and bans are in place as of now. Nothing could be further from the truth. This is a non-binding agreement to make *recommendations* for specific “reforms” – some of which will require legislative procedures, which take an inordinate amount of time, may not pass, or may not happen at all. Some “reforms” are not scheduled to come into force until many years from now, within a different political climate involving politicians not yet elected.

    The agreement leaves hens and pregnant pigs “living” in extreme confinement. Calves will continue to “live” in “veal crates” for another 7 years after which they will be placed in communal confinement where they can continue to be starved of nutrients while crowded with other calves destined for slaughter.

    Calling any of this a “victory” for animals and selling it to the public as a major achievement is pure evil.

    Marji: I agree with you completely that this is a crucial discussion. However, I strongly disagree with your perspective on “Silencing the Lambs”. Everything I have read on Jenny Stein’s and James LaVeck’s web sites (www.humanemyth.org, http://www.peaceablejourney.org, http://www.tribeofheart.org) reflect a principled, uncompromising, and consistent voice and one spoken with great integrity. Speaking the truth in this climate takes great courage. Ultimately, the truth is the only approach that will protect animals in any significant way.

    • Olivia permalink
      July 30, 2010 8:40 am

      What you say, mct, brings to mind the following thoughts:

      The opposition knows full well that all vegans are distraught over the unrelenting suffering each animal endures daily at the hands of the humans who commoditize them. I can see how the producers of this pain (to the animals and thus to us) use our emotional devastation as a weapon with which they beat us until we are worn down and concede to their wishes.

      It’s understandable for a sensitive soul to relent under that intense pressure, especially if one has witnessed the animals’ suffering up close and is in a position to relieve it (say, through hands-on rescue work).

      So the manipulators of animals end up manipulating some very fine advocates for animals, with the latter not even realizing they have succumbed to the subtle (or not so subtle) designs of these thieves of joy/thieves of life.

      I’m also reminded of the so-called Stockholm syndrome, wherein kidnappers con their captives into befriending them and are thus able to control their victims’ thoughts and emotions.

      I believe James has seen deeply into the nature and methods of evil. This insight, coupled with moral courage (defined in Rushworth Kidder’s book MORAL COURAGE as having “greater confidence in principles than in personalities, high tolerance for ambiguity, exposure, and personal loss, acceptance of deferred gratification and simple rewards, independence of thought, formidable persistence and determination”), has enabled him to withstand the pressure to conform to evil (not individual people, just impersonal evil) and to refuse to be taken hostage by evil.

      Now, with this series of statements, he is publicly reaching out to others who have felt the same relentless pressure to follow the Prop 2 feel-good crowd. I am sensing that this is an effort on his part to aid those who want to take a like-minded stand against cooperating with animal exploiters. I believe in the same truth he’s following. Any person or organization who has signed onto the Ohio coalition (or any other coalition) is of course free to change their mind about the direction they’ve taken and join him.

      Yes, diversity is good. But to be united under a big tent of Non-Compromisers would strengthen our diversity and give our movement new life. Germany proved that mental and physical walls of oppression can fall at the most unexpected moment! :-)

      • Olivia permalink
        July 30, 2010 9:36 am

        Just had an idea:

        David, would you consider putting your admirable zeal and determination to use again by inviting the many Ohio petition-signers you met to a screening of James’ film, “Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home” ?

        I’m being serious, not facetious or flip. Because, from what I understand in post-film reviews, many, many progressive people, folks who had not previously given much, if any, thought to animals as food, have attended the screenings at indy film fests around the country and have given “PK” first-place awards and have walked out of those theaters with changed hearts. For many, their individual transformation from flesh-eater to compassionate consumer is already underway.

        The reception accorded the film confirms to me that James has captured a force for good higher and mightier than all of us put together.

      • Marji permalink
        July 30, 2010 11:36 am

        I’ll try not to take too much offense at the notion that I’m being manipulated by people who profit off the slaughter of animals.

        I think it’s fine and dandy for folks to have a “no compromise” stance.

        About five years ago, we tried to stop high schools from slaughtering animals on school property. We were lucky – it got out of committee b/c it was education, not ag. It crashed on the floor – we got 10 votes. If we had the resources, author, and time to introduce it next year…guess what? B/c of compromises like Prop 2, we have a significantly higher chance of getting it passed. Significantly higher.

        Every compromise, like Prop 2 and OHF, brings the issue of farmed animals’ suffering to the forefront of people’s minds. It’s an opportunity to educate, educate, educate. It’s a chance to say – hey, it’s all super nice to make the lives of these animals less cruel, and we should do so, but let’s also consider our dietary choices. It’s a chance to talk about veganism as much as it is a chance to make the lives of farmed animals less cruel (never more humane, that’s a serious incongruity). Not all groups will take that approach, but ours certainly does.

        And when faced with the crap pulled by OHF and one of its supporters, we have to evaluate the value of such coalitions.

        I am still of the mindset that any freaking avenue towards animal liberation should be taken. I’m tired of this notion that we have to take one stance, one position, one method to achieve animal liberation. I don’t have to compromise my core ethical beliefs by wanting and encouraging less cruel housing methods.

        Now if we find that working in broad-based coalitions, in the end, is not in the best interest of animals – as in, it does not reduce their suffering or offer up debate/discussion/educational opportunity and always ends in victory meals serving up the flesh of animals we save, then yeah, that isn’t useful. But if it can be done without the “victory” meal and means 280 million hens are out of cages, 15 million sows are out of cages, 2-3 million calves are out of cages….then I think it should be part of the animal rights approach. Which doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be challenged, but it also doesn’t mean it should be eliminated from our arsenal.

        Most of us commenting here have one goal in mind – the end of animal exploitation. I don’t think there is a social justice movement in existence that has found one method works best. The animal rights movement is not exempt from that reality. I don’t want it to be, because that doesn’t serve the animals.

    • Alexandra Jones permalink
      July 30, 2010 2:23 pm

      Marji,

      I’m wondering if you could comment on this portion of the post by mct, which offers some details of the actual agreement that was being celebrated at this “victory” dinner:

      “This is a non-binding agreement to make *recommendations* for specific “reforms” – some of which will require legislative procedures, which take an inordinate amount of time, may not pass, or may not happen at all. Some “reforms” are not scheduled to come into force until many years from now, within a different political climate involving politicians not yet elected. The agreement leaves hens and pregnant pigs “living” in extreme confinement. Calves will continue to “live” in “veal crates” for another 7 years after which they will be placed in communal confinement where they can continue to be starved of nutrients while crowded with other calves destined for slaughter.”

      In your most recent post, you stated:

      “But if it can be done without the “victory” meal and means 280 million hens are out of cages, 15 million sows are out of cages, 2-3 million calves are out of cages….then I think it should be part of the animal rights approach.”

      Your comment seems like a direct contradiction of what mct said, implying that significant improvements *are* being made, and that they are being made in a timely manner. Have you read the text of the agreement that was being celebrated, and is there a link to it anywhere that we could all read? It seems that it would be useful to this discussion if we could all read this document and decide for ourselves how much of a “victory” it truly represents for the animals.

  35. Elizabeth DeCoux permalink
    July 30, 2010 12:12 pm

    I hope we can get back to the basic issue. Certain factual statements are made and documented in “Silencing the Lambs.” One of those allegations is that HSUS and Farm Sanctuary are members of a coalition called Ohions for Humane Farming, and that coalition had animals killed, cooked and served to humans, who ate the animals. It was not some other member of the coalition that had these animals killed and cooked. It was THE COALITION, of which HSUS and Farm Sanctuary are members. This fund-raiser IS a Farm Sanctuary event, because it was put on by a coalition of which Farm Sanctuary is a member. I hope this discussion will turn back to the fact of what HSUS and Farm Sanctuary have done, as documented in “Silencing the Lambs.” The two organizations need to respond to the allegations that were actually made and documented, instead of arguing, like Farm Sanctuary has, about whether meat is served at “Farm Sanctuary” events. By the way, did I mention, this fundraiser IS a Farm Sanctuary event, because it was sponsored, planned and carried out, not by some other member of a coalition of which Farm Sanctuary is a member. It was put on BY THE COALITION. To rephrase an old saying about dogs and fleas: If you go to bed with butchers, you wake up with blood on your hands.

  36. Olivia permalink
    July 30, 2010 2:44 pm

    Oh, dear, I didn’t mean it to sound that way, Marji, not at all. I think every day all of us, me included, are being manipulated by subtle influences (sometimes coming from others, sometimes speaking directly to us) that convince us to accept something that doesn’t reflect our true intent. Upon closer examination, we see how we were led in a direction other than the one we thought we were taking. For example, most of us were taught to believe that meat-eating was normal and nice and necessary, and we had no idea that we were being influenced by wrong thinking that was being carried down from generation to generation.

    From my reading, I know that the meat industry is angling for ways to sink its hooks into our movement and not only divide us but get us on its side. I’d call that manipulation. And I think this coalition is an example of that. They “humane” meat producers must be thrilled to have the stamp of approval from vegans.

    You could well be right that Prop 2 will help in stopping a school from slaughtering animals on its property next time around. I, like you, hope that SOMETHING stops such a vile practice.

    But my sincere apologies if I made it sound like I was singling out some people as more manipulatable than others. We ALL are susceptible to false influences, in different ways and at different times. And we’re ALL, I’m sure, constantly listening and questioning, so as not to end up unintentionally doing things contrary to our core beliefs.

  37. mct permalink
    July 31, 2010 2:31 am

    Olivia: Yes, there are many vulnerable individuals, who want to belong to an advocacy group, who are easily manipulated into believing that the organization’s leaders are experienced activists who know how to strategize. There are also many, who blindly follow leaders of organizations, large and small, who know little about the principles they are affiliating themselves with and who simply do not do their homework. However, the signatories to the Ohio agreement and the individuals from various groups, who were responsible for making the decision to form and join the coalition, are not naïve individuals just entering the world of animal advocacy. They are the organizations’ principals, Boards of Directors, and CEOs and they are the ones who must take full responsibility and be accountable for forging alliances with those who use and kill the very animals their organizations claim to protect.

    Marji: I share your frustration, but I do not believe that these compromises bring us any closer to “animal liberation”. I think that these measures are meant to make the public feel better about using animals, which creates more demand, more profit, and more misery. You state that measures such as Proposition 2 and the Ohio compromise bring the issue of animal suffering to the forefront and that it is an opportunity to educate. The problem is that the dialogue taking place is not about ending oppression, but about how to make the lives of those we torture for our pleasures more “humane” or, as you prefer, “less cruel”. Whatever the linguistic twist, ultimately, the results continue to be regulation, not liberation.

    Alexandra: I should have included a link to the agreement in my last post. The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation has a link to the wording: http://ofbf.org/uploads/Agreement.pdf. If I were any one of the animals listed, I would most certainly not call any of it a “victory” for me or for my friends. The truth is that this “compromise” accomplishes nothing for nonhuman animals.

  38. sundog permalink
    July 31, 2010 9:51 am

    I agree with all of MCT’s astute observations. HSUS is one of the most powerful animal advocacy organizations in the world. A person has to ask herself, then what is its CEO Wayne Pacelle doing sitting on the board of directors at the Global Animal Partnership? That coalition is a primary animal exploiter. Please see their website for yourself. Pacelle is listed on the board of directors. Save a screen shot of the page. Who knows if they’ll delete it. Transparency is not the name of the game.

    http://www.globalanimalpartnership.org/our.leadership.html

    Semantics of the humane myth will not free the animals. Each of us must reject the humane myth and bring the truth into our communities. In my own experience with speaking to the mainstream nonvegan public in my community (because why preach to the choir), by *not ever* putting happy meat on the table as a false option, a genuine dialogue ensues with honest curiosity. I’m amazed at the lack of hostility toward me. Ironically, some nonvegans immediately grasp the nonsense of humane murder. A few have actually pointed it out before I did, thus taking the conversation to new heights. So I’ve learned firsthand Pacelle’s premise that the general public can’t handle the truth about animal farming is a total myth.

  39. Louie Gedo permalink
    August 1, 2010 10:16 pm

    Stephanie, thank you for again bringing a very important and timely viewpoint and issue to the forefront.

    Here’s my position on the main point LaVeck is making in the Silencing The Lambs video and the OFHF campaign:
    _____________________________________

    If you care about the protection of farmed animals today and for future generations of countless animals who will be targeted for hyper exploitation and condemned to death for no reason other than to perpetuate the tradition of meat-eating …then this call to action is for you.

    James LaVeck, producer of “The Witness” and “Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home”, offers a poignantly simple and seminal message concerning the disturbing trend of collaboration between businesses that kill animals and animal organizations that claim to protect the very same animals that are being killed by those businesses. To get a better understanding of this pernicious alliance, please watch this important video “Silencing The Lambs.” – http://vimeo.com/13613159.

    In Silencing the Lambs, we learn about a coalition called Ohioans For Humane Farms (OFHF). Clicking on the red LEARN MORE banner on the OFHF site ( http://www.ohiohumane.com ) will bring you to the page of endorsers. This list includes the likes of businesses such as Wood County Citizens Opposed to Factory Farms and Farm Forward (animal exploiting advocacy groups), Fox Hollow Farm and Grassland Graze ( smaller scale farms where animals are readied for the kill ), and Fire, Food, & Drink and Chipotle (restaurants serving meat and animal products) that have teamed up alongside HSUS and other animal advocacy / protection organizations. What this unabashed collaboration serves to do is reinforce the notion that so long as animals are exploited less cruelly that it is morally acceptable to eat them. Tragically this is precisely the message that is being fed to the public. Gene Bauer’s Farm Sanctuary is a notable endorser of OFHF’s disturbing, implied message to buy from humane farms. A farmed animal sanctuary signing on to promote or endorse ‘humane’ animal killing and meat eating makes me think, what’s next on the humane farming menu…sanctuary meat? Perhaps?

    The endorsements made by animal protection organizations of “humane” farming practices are by-and-large a boon to animal agribusiness as evidenced in http://www.HumaneMyth.com . Even Wayne Pacelle in the OFHF campaign video ( http://vodpod.com/watch/3211297-ohioans-for-humane-farms ) ironically acknowledges the economic benefits to animal farms when he says: “We have a great opportunity to turn the situation around. By giving animals more space we will enhance food safety, level the playing field for farmers, especially family farmers, and protect the environment.” Also In the same video Mr. Pacelle chillingly describes the horrors of factory farming as the viewer is presented with tear jerking video images of animals on farms in the background – yet he never once decried that killing animals is wrong..

    I feel that there is no better time than now to speak the truth and ask for what we know to be just, compassionate, morally right, and in the best interest of the animals. There is no time to beat around the bush or to be overly concerned about offending those who make a living by killing innocent animals. We are being asked to support ‘humane’ farming (a true oxymoron) campaigns and initiatives, all of which appear to be helpful to the animals, but when dissected are revealed to be little more than a fundraising construct. These husbandry reform campaigns do little more than to:
    1. divide many of those individuals who are trying to find in a movement a resolute leadership with a cohesive message of opposition to all forms of unnecessary violence, and
    2. distract from the more important duty of working to shift public perception of animals as mere commodities by entrenching us in a time and resource black hole by focusing exclusively or primarily on the modulation of husbandry (exploitation) practices.

    Ultimately this path will kill more animals because people, including notable numbers of vegetarians and vegans, are led to believe that consuming animal products adorned with bucolic looking labels that are stamped with one of the numerous seals of approval like the Humane Certified Raised and Handled seal is an ethically responsible dietary choice.

    Finally, it should be clear by now that I condemn campaigns (and initiatives) by animal protection organizations which endorse or promote in one fashion or another the ‘humane’ exploitation and killing of animals as they are ill-conceived, counter-productive, cause confusion and divisiveness amongst activists, and are harmful to countless generations of farmed animals. Similarly, I would condemn campaigns promoting ‘humane’ cosmetics testing on animals, ‘humane’ fur farming, and ‘humane’ bull fighting, Wouldn’t you?

    Please join me and others in speaking up right now by exercising our activist hearts and minds to question authority and at the same time to spread the message that if people want a truly humane and compassionate alternative to consuming meat and animal products derived from factory farms to consider instead choosing to not consume meat and animal products.

    Thank you for your time and consideration of my views.

    Sincerely,
    Louie Gedo

    My blog link for this letter
    http://sexyvegan.typepad.com/blog/2010/08/if-you-care-about-the-protection-of-farmed-animals-today-and-for-future-generations-of-countless-animals-who-will-be-targeted.html

  40. rob permalink
    August 2, 2010 9:12 pm

    Wow! most of you folks would probably really dislike Henry Spira. And if you say who is that you have not been working to help rhe animals long enough ( or been narrowly focused ) so go read history so you don’t repeat it. And maybe learn how things change.

  41. Louie Gedo permalink
    August 5, 2010 8:45 pm

    rob, I’ve spent some time with Henry in his Manhattan apt and elsewhere.

    That of course was many years ago in the early days of my involvement in animal activism.

    I recall that some of Henry’s campaigns (like his anti-viv) didn’t ask the American Museum of Natural History for example, to mutilate cats in a larger cage and didn’t join forces with cosmetics giants to phase out the LD50 test in exchange for an LD40 Test. Instead, these anti-viv campaigns demanded, from what I recall, that these experiments stop, not reform to make them less cruel.

    So, in this sense, as an abolitionist, I can appreciate these campaigns spearheaded by Henry Spira.

Trackbacks

  1. LaVeck Responds, Ohioan Writes Open Letter to Coalition Organizations « Animal Rights & AntiOppression
  2. more randomness: food, needs, food needs, dairy/rape, dennis kucinich & dogs » V for Vegan: easyVegan.info

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 90 other followers

%d bloggers like this: