Those who stand for animals need to stand together, not bicker. - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 10-19-2009, 04:20 PM
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As a lifelong animal lover I have noticed that sadly many people who stand for animal rights and welfare bicker over the details too much, or become obsessive.

You get vegans accusing vegetarians of not doing enough, you get extremists who give everyone a bad name- and pacifists who mean well, but won't speak up.

Not to say everyone falls into this category- but many do sadly.

Most people's hearts are in the right place, but as far as I can tell few can agree on where the right place is.

It would be great if everyone could decide to get the basics done first.

For example? We might not be able to make the whole world turn veg*n any time soon, but we may be able to stop factory farming- or at least lessen the horror of it.

Standing together as a sensible unified front with realistic goals would get our point across so much better than in-fighting and preaching and sadly even idealism. Because we all want an ideal world, but we can get a better world. Frankly I think the latter is worth fighting for and may some day lead to the former.





Not trying to pigeon-hole everyone, or point fingers. This is just an expression of frustration after hearing two people have an absurd 'holier than thou' conversation about animal rights that lead nowhere and achieved nothing.

Thanks for listening, I hope I did not offend anyone too badly. That was not my intent!
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#2 Old 10-19-2009, 04:52 PM
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Sadly, bickering has torn apart movements for years. The antiwar movement of the 1960s was a good example. It became so splintered, with different quarrelling factions, that many of the movement's stated goals were either lost or came at a much later timetable than they had hoped.

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#3 Old 10-19-2009, 04:55 PM
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Actually, I sort of disagree with you. I think it's really important for movements to check themselves. The truth is, animal advocacy and rights is not a unified front of opinion. Some ideas--like closing puppy mills--are more popular than others--like total abolitionism. If in any one animal group, in-fighting became more important and time-consuming than actually working for animals, then that would be a problem. Chalking the vast diversity of opinions amongst animal lovers up to simply "bickering" is not a fair characterization of the variety of philosophies and groups.
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#4 Old 10-19-2009, 05:00 PM
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I see an immediate problem with your post. Animal rights and animal welfare are completely different fields and often are not compatible. The promotion of "happy meat" is a welfare movement and is completely incongruous to animal rights, so why would animal rights advocates want to align themselves with it?



As a vegan for animal rights, my philosophy towards animals is totally different to a vegetarian for animal welfare. Whilst I don't bicker with welfarists, I also don't feel like we're fighting for the same thing.
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#5 Old 10-19-2009, 05:22 PM
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Well- I see where you are all coming from here.

But rights don't come before welfare- black people didn't get the vote until they stopped being slaves. First steps first.

And the fact that animal welfare and rights (which i feel are connected if not exactly the same) do not stand unified with a clear message -is- the problem.

Look at religious groups- they generally stick together on certain issues even if they don't agree on details.

Take prop 8 in california (that made marriage in the state between a man and a woman, not same sex couples) All kinds of groups stood together to pass that, even ones that don't always see eye to eye. Now I happen to disagree with prop 8 (although that is a discussion for another place and time) but the unified forces to stop it worked efficiently. If animal rights and welfare groups could do that, find some middle ground, maybe we would get farther.

We need to make people realize that 'utility' (farm, laboratory etc) animals are deserving of compassion before people will stop wanting to 'use' them. Start at the beginning then build from there.
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#6 Old 10-19-2009, 05:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WorzelGummidge View Post

I see an immediate problem with your post. Animal rights and animal welfare are completely different fields and often are not compatible. The promotion of "happy meat" is a welfare movement and is completely incongruous to animal rights, so why would animal rights advocates want to align themselves with it?



As a vegan for animal rights, my philosophy towards animals is totally different to a vegetarian for animal welfare. Whilst I don't bicker with welfarists, I also don't feel like we're fighting for the same thing.

This. I suppose stating that my beliefs are different from those of welfarists may be called bickering by some, but it can't be helped. I simply cannot lend aid to a movement that seeks not to end use, but merely make it kinder and gentler.



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And the fact that animal welfare and rights (which i feel are connected if not exactly the same) do not stand unified with a clear message -is- the problem.

They are not connected. They are almost diametrically opposed.

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#7 Old 10-19-2009, 05:47 PM
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This. I suppose stating that my beliefs are different from those of welfarists may be called bickering by some, but it can't be helped. I simply cannot lend aid to a movement that seeks not to end use, but merely make it kinder and gentler.





They are not connected. They are almost diametrically opposed.



Currently what we have is apathy and indifference on behalf of the general public. A significant majority of the population refuses point blank to give up animal products and that is remarkably unlikely to change in the near future. That is truth, that is sad reality. Believing we can get the world to stop using animals in the near future is not going to work- as long as there are people who 'can't live without steak' there will be no universal v*nism.

Surely it is better to change what we -can- change? Not saying that people should not be veg*n of course not. But the world as a whole is not going to change over night.

I would dearly love it if everyone -did- give up using animals. Considering I live in a country where people won't give up guns, I do not see -any- of these people even -considering- giving up meat. But because of people making all or nothing with us or against us stands, animals are suffering horribly.
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#8 Old 10-19-2009, 05:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Rattie View Post

Believing we can get the world to stop using animals in the near future is not going to work- as long as there are people who 'can't live without steak' there will be no universal v*nism.

Surely it is better to change what we -can- change?

Well I won't stand in your way. But if we all give up working toward total abolition now because we can't change the world instantaneously how is it ever going to come to pass? Some of us have to give up the satisfaction of thinking we are working toward change we will see in our lifetimes. It may take many lifetimes before a vegan world becomes a reality. This is not sufficient reason for me to abandon working toward it now.

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#9 Old 10-19-2009, 06:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Rattie View Post

you get extremists who give everyone a bad name



you kind of just undercut your point about getting along and not bickering, right?



why not accept those who are more "extreme" in fighting for animals than you are, even if you don't like their rhetoric or tactics? the truth is that most people - including vegans and especially vegetarians - aren't activists for animals at all. the biggest divide among activists (which is really the group you're referring to - people who will be active for animals) is exactly what you pointed to: some people thinking others are too extreme, that they make other activists look bad, that they don't do it "right," etc. i.e. degrading the work others do on behalf of animals, rather than everyone finding where they want to work and letting others do their thing.

"If you want to know where you would have stood on slavery before the civil war, don't look at where you stand on slavery today, look at where you stand on animal rights." - Paul Watson.

 

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#10 Old 10-20-2009, 03:36 AM
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Well- I see where you are all coming from here.

But rights don't come before welfare- black people didn't get the vote until they stopped being slaves. First steps first.



And we need to stop seeing animals as our slaves before we can see that they deserve compassion.



Welfarism does not lead to rights. By improving welfare for animals we make people feel better about using and eating them, which is exactly what rights does NOT want to achieve.
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#11 Old 10-20-2009, 04:06 AM
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But rights don't come before welfare- black people didn't get the vote until they stopped being slaves. First steps first.



Animal rights activists (as opposed to animal welfare activists) are trying to stop animals from being slaves. In fact, that's why we call ourselves abolitionists; it's a direct reference to the fight to end black slavery. Animal welfare is more comparable to giving black slaves a longer chain, or an extra glass of water once a day.
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#12 Old 10-20-2009, 04:15 AM
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This thread is an excellent example of the OPs point about bickering.
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#13 Old 10-20-2009, 04:50 AM
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Standing together as a sensible unified front with realistic goals would get our point across so much better than in-fighting and preaching and sadly even idealism.



We don't share exactly the same views just because we all don't eat animals. I don't really have much in common with a vegetarian who avoids meat for health reasons for example.
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#14 Old 10-20-2009, 05:08 AM
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Is it better for two vegetarians to be arguing about nuances of AR/AW instead of those same two vegetarians arguing with omnivores about eating meat?



To me its a question of energy. Arguing finer points with each other is not as important as getting more people on board with the general concept of animal welfare/rights issues.
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#15 Old 10-20-2009, 05:16 AM
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Is it better for two vegetarians to be arguing about nuances of AR/AW instead of those same two vegetarians arguing with omnivores about eating meat?



There aren't any omnivores on Veggieboards are there?



I personally don't know one person that is vegetarian in my "real life". I only know vegans and omni's. If it wasn't for VB I wouldn't have contact with any vegetarians.
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#16 Old 10-20-2009, 05:22 AM
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There aren't any omnivores on Veggieboards are there?



I personally don't know one person that is vegetarian in my "real life". I only know vegans and omni's. If it wasn't for VB I wouldn't have contact with any vegetarians.



Good point. But you'd be amazed at how many people concerned about animals will spend much more time arguing with other vegetarians than arguing or discussing vegetarianism with omnivores. In fact, this is one of the main reasons I dropped out of AR activism. The constant infighting and bickering was just too ridiculous.
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#17 Old 10-20-2009, 07:30 AM
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I think its important to remember that all people can make a difference. Whether it be a welfarist, rightist or abolitionist, we all have something we are fighting for. As long as we all keep on track and go for that change, we can make a difference. It will never be exactly how everyone wants it. That's just life. But if a welfarist can make living conditions better for dogs in shelters and rightists can help change laws to get elephants out of circuses and the abolitionist can rescue animals, I fail to see how any of these don't matter. There will be bickering I mean, what social movement doesn't have bickering? Every social movement has the "mainstream" and the "extremist" movement. This movement, our movement, is about animals. The animals need us all to make a difference the best way we each individually can. Just do it because the animals don't have any time to spare, they've waited long enough.
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#18 Old 10-20-2009, 08:48 AM
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I think its important to remember that all people can make a difference. Whether it be a welfarist, rightist or abolitionist, we all have something we are fighting for. As long as we all keep on track and go for that change, we can make a difference. It will never be exactly how everyone wants it. That's just life. But if a welfarist can make living conditions better for dogs in shelters and rightists can help change laws to get elephants out of circuses and the abolitionist can rescue animals, I fail to see how any of these don't matter. There will be bickering I mean, what social movement doesn't have bickering? Every social movement has the "mainstream" and the "extremist" movement. This movement, our movement, is about animals. The animals need us all to make a difference the best way we each individually can. Just do it because the animals don't have any time to spare, they've waited long enough.



+1 Awesome post
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#19 Old 10-20-2009, 08:49 AM
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I think its important to remember that all people can make a difference. Whether it be a welfarist, rightist or abolitionist, we all have something we are fighting for. As long as we all keep on track and go for that change, we can make a difference. It will never be exactly how everyone wants it. That's just life. But if a welfarist can make living conditions better for dogs in shelters and rightists can help change laws to get elephants out of circuses and the abolitionist can rescue animals, I fail to see how any of these don't matter. There will be bickering I mean, what social movement doesn't have bickering? Every social movement has the "mainstream" and the "extremist" movement. This movement, our movement, is about animals. The animals need us all to make a difference the best way we each individually can. Just do it because the animals don't have any time to spare, they've waited long enough.



I agree with MF. Well said.

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#20 Old 10-20-2009, 08:56 AM
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I think its important to remember that all people can make a difference. Whether it be a welfarist, rightist or abolitionist, we all have something we are fighting for. As long as we all keep on track and go for that change, we can make a difference. It will never be exactly how everyone wants it. That's just life. But if a welfarist can make living conditions better for dogs in shelters and rightists can help change laws to get elephants out of circuses and the abolitionist can rescue animals, I fail to see how any of these don't matter. There will be bickering I mean, what social movement doesn't have bickering? Every social movement has the "mainstream" and the "extremist" movement. This movement, our movement, is about animals. The animals need us all to make a difference the best way we each individually can. Just do it because the animals don't have any time to spare, they've waited long enough.



^ This sums it up for me. Very nice.



That being said, a lot of my issue with some factions of the compassion movement towards animals has to do with people who get all warm and fuzzy over animals, but are ***holes towards other human beings they just happen to disagree with.
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#21 Old 10-20-2009, 10:32 AM
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We must band together to prevent groupthink!
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#22 Old 10-20-2009, 10:43 AM
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LiveVegan I think you make an excellent post with an excellent point.



Personally, I think that often the good work people do for animal rights can be lessened by the "bickering" amoungst animal rights/welfare supporters or activists. The fragmented nature of a movement is not appealing to people outside of it.



I think it's important to allow people with similar aims, and similar ideas to our own, the space to do their bit too - this allows ideas similar to your own to become more accepted, which in turn benifts your school of thought.



However, I do not think that means we shouldn't have philosiphical debate amoungst ourselves! I think part of being a 'movement' or a 'community' is being able to discuss our ideas, and debate about them. This is not "bickering" and I feel it's vital for the progression of ideas and mindsets.
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#23 Old 10-20-2009, 11:30 AM
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That being said, a lot of my issue with some factions of the compassion movement towards animals has to do with people who get all warm and fuzzy over animals, but are ***holes towards other human beings they just happen to disagree with.



I save most of my thoughts and ideas for my offline discussions on the issue now because of that problem. The human-hating is all too common, depressing and frustrating for me to read all the time. Online, there seems to be a high level of introversion which seems to propagate that kind of attitude.

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#24 Old 10-20-2009, 11:48 AM
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I save most of my thoughts and ideas for my offline discussions on the issue now because of that problem. The human-hating is all too common, depressing and frustrating for me to read all the time. Online, there seems to be a high level of introversion which seems to propagate that kind of attitude.



I can understand vehemently disagreeing with someone's point of view (I do it on these boards all the freakin' time) but when people come out of the gate condescending, holier-than-thou, and prejudiced, without making any attempt to understand the other person's perspective, it really irritates me.



In the immortal words of Al Pacino (and in spite of its many flaws) I am a fan of man. And a humanist. I find it highly hypocritical to treat animals like the sun rises and sets on them, but to treat humans (who are just a smarter kind of animal) like some kind of Nazi scum simply because our higher consciousness leads us into very awkward moral dilemmas and because every single individual on the planet is at their own level of enlightenment. They can't be forced into a different understanding - it's a personal revelation that can only be (in my opinion) fostered through compassion, even for those you feel are misguided.
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#25 Old 10-20-2009, 03:00 PM
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The OP's point wasn't even really about bickering within the movement. What s/he is saying is that we all ought to be uniting behind the cause of animal welfare specifically.



Quote:
For example? We might not be able to make the whole world turn veg*n any time soon, but we may be able to stop factory farming- or at least lessen the horror of it.

Standing together as a sensible unified front with realistic goals would get our point across so much better than in-fighting and preaching and sadly even idealism. Because we all want an ideal world, but we can get a better world. Frankly I think the latter is worth fighting for and may some day lead to the former.



I don't really have a problem with people who are focused on animal welfare instead of animal rights (although I disagree with their approach). That doesn't mean that I'm going to celebrate or join that cause, because I believe that abolitionist activism through vegan education is a more worthwhile use of my time. I often find that when people say we need to be unified in the "animal movement", what they mean is that we all need to devote our time to making animal consumption more "humane" (read: more profitable for animal exploiters) and save abolitionism for later. I disagree. I think that both animal welfare and animal rights have their own place, but that doesn't mean I'm going to lend my support to animal welfare causes just to maintain the illusion of a unified movement. We aren't unified, and that's ok.
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#26 Old 10-20-2009, 05:19 PM
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Disagreement is fine and welcomed, and I think for a progressive political movement to flourish, it has to be capable of open self-criticism.



But the resources used for expressing that disagreement should at least be proportional to the importance of that disagreement in the larger scheme of things. If someone defends a problematic strategy of trying to improve animals' conditions, it is perfectly appropriate to object and even refuse to identify with the people who use that strategy. But whether the flaws of other animal advocates should constitute a major part of one's contribution to the AR movement and discourse is another matter.



For example, I find it somewhat troubling that some people have attacked a committed activist (even if a misguided one) like Erik Marcus with much greater force and devotion than they have attacked the countless people who participate in or defend something like hunting or vivisection. I think situations like that have more to do with ego than any real political goals.



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In the immortal words of Al Pacino (and in spite of its many flaws) I am a fan of man. And a humanist. I find it highly hypocritical to treat animals like the sun rises and sets on them

The reality is that no one, except maybe some very eccentric and rare people, "treats animals like the sun rises and sets on them". What is the case is that non-humans are treated in so unimaginably horrible ways, and are "given" so little moral consideration, that a bare minimum of decency in relating to them will earn some pejorative labels like "sentimentality" or, in this case, "treating them like the sun rises on them". Expressions like that seem like bitterness over the fact that some group "has it too good".

"and I stand

upon a mountain

made of weak and useless men"

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#27 Old 10-20-2009, 05:28 PM
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Is it better for two vegetarians to be arguing about nuances of AR/AW instead of those same two vegetarians arguing with omnivores about eating meat?



To me its a question of energy. Arguing finer points with each other is not as important as getting more people on board with the general concept of animal welfare/rights issues.



Some of us live our lives without engaging in argument!~
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#28 Old 10-21-2009, 01:04 PM
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As a vegan for animal rights, my philosophy towards animals is totally different to a vegetarian for animal welfare. Whilst I don't bicker with welfarists, I also don't feel like we're fighting for the same thing.

This.
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#29 Old 10-21-2009, 03:14 PM
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Is it better for two vegetarians to be arguing about nuances of AR/AW instead of those same two vegetarians arguing with omnivores about eating meat?



To me its a question of energy. Arguing finer points with each other is not as important as getting more people on board with the general concept of animal welfare/rights issues.







That's pretty much the point I was trying to make, this thread started after watching a vegan friend and a vegetarian friend get into a ridiculous argument.

Really the two of them were not far from the same side.

When seriously there are bigger , and pardon the awful turn of phrase. 'Fish to fry'
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#30 Old 10-21-2009, 04:53 PM
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The whole point of Veggieboards is for veg*ns to talk amongst themselves to debate the finer points. Obviously, it is not a particularly productive use of time, but after spending countless hours engaging in veg*n advocacy to the general public, it is nice to have a place like Veggieboards to come home to where we can kick back, relax, and iron out all these minor differences.



Unfortunately, in my experience, the people who spend lots and lots of time debating the appropriateness of various tactics are the people who never actually get around to doing any activism. And the people who spend lots and lots of time participating in activism never spend much time thinking about the effectiveness or consequences of different tactics.





There is a saying:



Vision without action is a daydream.



Action without vision is a nightmare.





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