How do Gary Francione supporters reply to this? - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 12-20-2009, 03:22 AM
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One of the common arguments against the position of Gary Francione is the following:



In the countries where you have the strongest farm animal welfare laws, you have the most vegans. And in the countries where you have no farm animal welfare laws, you have the fewest vegans. Hence, they conclude, the adoption of farm animal welfare laws does not impede the growth of veganism.



I have often heard this argument, but I have never herd how Gary Francione and his supporters reply to this. Does anyone know?



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#2 Old 12-20-2009, 05:45 AM
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I don't know what G-Fran would have to say about it, but it seems fairly logical that in countries where vegans make up more of the population, there would also be more incentive to adopt stronger animal welfare laws. In other words, I think vegans are bringing about stricter animal welfare regulations, rather than the other way around. It also makes sense that, in countries where there are more ARAs/vegans, there would also be more animal welfare activists.



In any case, the crux of Gary's argument against animal welfare isn't that it impedes veganism (although that's part of it), but that it can never really succeed in giving animals the treatment they deserve because they would still be seen as property, and the rights of property owners will always supersede the rights of their property.



Do you have a source for that, BTW? I'm just curious - I've actually never heard that argument.
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#3 Old 12-20-2009, 08:18 AM
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I have heard that argument at least a few times. The rebuttal to it is that there is confusion over the direction of the causal relationship between vegan education and welfarism. Welfare supporters believe either that 1) the two are mutually causal or 2) that welfarism causes people to (eventually) go vegan. However, neither is the case, or the industrialized world would have been vegan decades ago. Further, it doesn’t make sense that concern over welfare would, by itself, cause people to go vegan (think about it).



What is true is that vegan education causes more welfarism (as beatricious pointed out). We should strongly expect the correlation between vegan education and welfarism, but we should recognize that the direction of causality is in only one direction: from vegan education to concern about welfare.



There’s quite a bit more detail to the rebuttal than I have given here, but when you think it through, you can probably fill in the blanks.
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#4 Old 12-20-2009, 10:35 AM
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I think that both animal welfare laws and the number of vegans reflect the same thing: a given society's attitudes towards non-humans and their interests. However, as far as I can see, this shared causal origin does not, as such, say much about the causal relationship between the two (AW and veganism).



I think one could find other examples of a correlation between A and B that is compatible with B hindering A. Perhaps the number of acts against the law, and the number of convictions.



I'm not a "GF supporter" though.

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#5 Old 12-20-2009, 10:43 AM
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I have never heard this argument before but I more or less agree with what Beatricious said.



Sevenseas - why don't you like Gary? I listen to his podcasts and I generally like his viewpoint so I am just curious as to why you don't
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#6 Old 12-20-2009, 10:54 AM
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Sevenseas - why don't you like Gary? I listen to his podcasts and I generally like his viewpoint so I am just curious as to why you don't

I like many of his positions and arguments, not just all of them. As an example, I disagree with the way he not only defines property destruction as violence but tries to marginalize people who don't agree with him on that.

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#7 Old 12-20-2009, 11:03 AM
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I like many of his positions and arguments, not just all of them. As an example, I disagree with the way he not only defines property destruction as violence but tries to marginalize people who don't agree with him on that.

To me his greatest flaw is that he tries to marginalize people who disagree with him about anything. This unfortunate tendency does nothing to aid his reasoning, and may actually distract from it.

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#8 Old 12-20-2009, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Sevenseas View Post

I like many of his positions and arguments, not just all of them. As an example, I disagree with the way he not only defines property destruction as violence but tries to marginalize people who don't agree with him on that.



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To me his greatest flaw is that he tries to marginalize people who disagree with him about anything. This unfortunate tendency does nothing to aid his reasoning, and may actually distract from it.



Yeah I can definitely see that. Personally I don't like his views on "owning" cats either. He claims you should only adopt a cat if you can make it vegan and only if it gets sick can you can "resort' to buying cat food with meat in it and not have to feel guilty. I'm not convinced that most cats can be vegan and this is potentially bad advice for people who have cats.



But I do like his views on welfarism vs. abolition
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#9 Old 12-20-2009, 12:43 PM
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To me his greatest flaw is that he tries to marginalize people who disagree with him about anything. This unfortunate tendency does nothing to aid his reasoning, and may actually distract from it.

Agreed.

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#10 Old 12-20-2009, 12:44 PM
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In the countries where you have the strongest farm animal welfare laws, you have the most vegans. And in the countries where you have no farm animal welfare laws, you have the fewest vegans. Hence, they conclude, the adoption of farm animal welfare laws does not impede the growth of veganism.



I think this is a really good argument for welfarism. I didn't know that statistic was true, but it does strengthen my opinion regarding the AW philosophy.
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#11 Old 12-20-2009, 12:50 PM
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I think this is a really good argument for welfarism.

Why? As I argued above, both animal welfare laws and veganism reflect the average attitudes about animals in a given society. How does this consideration provide an argument for welfarism? I think what can most naturally be concluded from this fact is that we should try to improve those attitudes and values people have about animals. How to best do that remains an open question.

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#12 Old 12-20-2009, 01:04 PM
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I think this is a really good argument for welfarism. I didn't know that statistic was true, but it does strengthen my opinion regarding the AW philosophy.



There are many more and stronger arguments against welfarism, both theoretical and practical, than the argument that welfarism reduces the number of vegans in a society or country. Rights versus welfare itself is one of the core issues, but there are structural issues as well, such as the effect of property and commodity status limiting the extent that welfare laws can ever provide decent protection to billions of commodity units (the idea itself is absurd).
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#13 Old 12-20-2009, 01:07 PM
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I'm not too familiar with Francione's work, though I agree with the little I know, buy my argument would be that correlation does not equal causation. Richer countries tend to have the most welfare laws, and their residents are rich enough and educated enough to be able to follow a healthy vegan diet.
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#14 Old 12-20-2009, 08:09 PM
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Hey guys, no one was ever claiming that welfare reforms causes the rise of veganism. This statistic is just meant as a rebuttal against Gary's claim that welfare reforms inhibit the advancement of AR and the spread of veganism. So, I guess my question is what is the response to this rebuttal?





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#15 Old 12-20-2009, 10:56 PM
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Hey guys, no one was ever claiming that welfare reforms causes the rise of veganism. This statistic is just meant as a rebuttal against Gary's claim that welfare reforms inhibit the advancement of AR and the spread of veganism. So, I guess my question is what is the response to this rebuttal?





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I think you can get a pretty good idea of how welfare reform inhibits people from going vegan right here on this board. The number of people here who are content that all they need to do to feel good about their "choices" is to treat the animals they exploit with kindness does seem to greatly outnumber the rest of us. Though I am sure they will blame this on the bad impression AR vegans make on them, I think the real reason is that they are being sold a bill of goods on how it is ok to treat animals like commodities as long as they do it with love. And buying it wholesale.



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#16 Old 12-21-2009, 03:46 AM
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So, I guess my question is what is the response to this rebuttal?

You were given many responses to that specific rebuttal.

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#17 Old 12-21-2009, 08:10 AM
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Quote:
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Hey guys, no one was ever claiming that welfare reforms causes the rise of veganism. This statistic is just meant as a rebuttal against Gary's claim that welfare reforms inhibit the advancement of AR and the spread of veganism. So, I guess my question is what is the response to this rebuttal?





-Eugene



Well I think that Gary has said that a large majority of people that support Welfarism (especially PETA supporters) aren't even vegetarian but everyone that supports abolition should be vegan. Therefore if more people were abolitionist rather than welfarist there would in fact be more vegans.



But I think cultural treatment of animals plays a large part in why there might be more vegans in Western countries and that Welfarist reforms have nothing to do with it.
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#18 Old 12-21-2009, 11:39 AM
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Not really a Francione follower but...



A society with more vegans might reflect a society where more people have the education and resources to choose to live more humanely.



Generally, better-educated and more affluent countries might be those most likely to pass animal welfare regulations.



Just a thought.

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#19 Old 12-21-2009, 01:27 PM
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I think you can get a pretty good idea of how welfare reform inhibits people from going vegan right here on this board. The number of people here who are content that all they need to do to feel good about their "choices" is to treat the animals they exploit with kindness does seem to greatly outnumber the rest of us. Though I am sure they will blame this on the bad impression AR vegans make on them, I think the real reason is that they are being sold a bill of goods on how it is ok to treat animals like commodities as long as they do it with love. And buying it wholesale.



It's that, or the cheese.



Interesting ideas. I did not know there were a lot of people on the board who feel good about exploiting animals as long as they are kind about it, and who rationalize that by the bad impression AR vegans make on them. I can see you've been around the board a lot longer than me. Have you read a lot posts where people actually express these views? In what ways do people get a bad impression from AR vegans?
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#20 Old 12-21-2009, 02:57 PM
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Have you read a lot posts where people actually express these views?

Yes, there are plenty of people here who are pro-breeding, pro-purchasing animals instead of adopting those in shelters, etc. I'm not linking to anything specific though.

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In what ways do people get a bad impression from AR vegans?

Well I think this is thoroughly in the mind of the beholder, and it must come from a place of guilt about something, because while I rarely see outright attacks being made here, I see plenty of accusations of being attacked. All you have to do to be the recipient of comments about your high horse, your ivory tower, your moral superiority, your holier-than-thou attitude, etc., is to offer your honest opinion about AR and/or veganism, often in response to a direct request for your opinion. I think people who have bad impressions about vegans are people who want to think badly of them, because it makes them feel better about themselves. There's not much a vegan can do when faced with such folk, except to continue to be honest, because they will think what they want regardless of the reality of the situation.



I think some of these people are so accustomed to judging themselves they assume that's what everyone else is doing too, especially when there are differences of opinion or disagreements.

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#21 Old 12-21-2009, 05:41 PM
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You were given many responses to that specific rebuttal.





I do not believe so. What I have been given is an explanation for the correlation, and I could have surmised that before I posted my question.



However, the question I am trying to get at is the following: Does this not negate the claim that welfare reforms prevent the AR position from taking root? It seems that the spread of veganism seems to still be occurring, in spite of these welfare campaigns, so does this not imply that Gary's concerns have not materialized? So, does this imply that the AR position and veganism can be successfully promoted, even as farm animal welfare campaigns continue?





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#22 Old 12-21-2009, 06:18 PM
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However, the question I am trying to get at is the following: Does this not negate the claim that welfare reforms prevent the AR position from taking root?

Correct.

Quote:
It seems that the spread of veganism seems to still be occurring, in spite of these welfare campaigns, so does this not imply that Gary's concerns have not materialized?

Correct.

Quote:
So, does this imply that the AR position and veganism can be successfully promoted, even as farm animal welfare campaigns continue?

Correct.



Disclaimer: Just my humble opinion. I'm not one of Gary's supporters, so I don't speak for them.
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#23 Old 12-21-2009, 09:14 PM
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I do not believe so. What I have been given is an explanation for the correlation, and I could have surmised that before I posted my question.

Well I, for one, offered a response to the rebuttal, although a vague one:

Quote:
However, as far as I can see, this shared causal origin does not, as such, say much about the causal relationship between the two (AW and veganism).



I think one could find other examples of a correlation between A and B that is compatible with B hindering A. Perhaps the number of acts against the law, and the number of convictions.


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#24 Old 12-21-2009, 09:33 PM
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My understanding of the position of Gary Francione and his followers is that they feel welfare campaigns create an "insurmountable" amount of hindering. Hence, the statistic would refute that specific claim, although it could still be true that these campaigns create some amount of hindering, but not enough to prevent everyone from eventually becoming vegetarian anyway.



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#25 Old 12-21-2009, 09:35 PM
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I dunno what you mean by "insurmountable", but I'm pretty sure GF doesn't maintain that if a given country has AW laws, no one can become vegan in that country.

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#26 Old 12-21-2009, 09:37 PM
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Insurmountable in that the property status of animals will never be abolished.



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#27 Old 12-21-2009, 09:40 PM
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Well if his position is that, say, as long as there is welfare reform, there cannot be abolition of property status, what has this to do with whether that welfare reform has a negative effect on how many people become vegan?

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#28 Old 12-21-2009, 09:43 PM
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Well if his position is that, say, as long as there is welfare reform, there cannot be abolition of property status, what has this to do with whether that welfare reform has a negative effect on how many people become vegan?



I mean, that society as a whole will never go vegan.



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#29 Old 12-21-2009, 09:48 PM
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I mean, that society as a whole will never go vegan.

Well, the stats relevant for that claim wouldn't be ones about a society where both AW laws and vegans correlate, but where a whole society is vegan despite always having had AW laws, no?

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#30 Old 12-22-2009, 05:00 AM
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We can only extrapolate from the data that we actually have.



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