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Abolitionist Animal Rights: Critical Comparisons and Challenges Within the Animal Rights Movement

 
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Short Description:

This article describes the goals and positions of the abolitionist segment of the animal protection movement as well as its current state, challenges, and future prospects. The author discusses the reform/abolition debate and posits that abolitionism is the only morally consistent approach to animal protection. The author also presents reasons for why abolitionism has thus far been unable to achieve substantial success.




Abstract:
[Abstract excerpted from original source.]

“The abolitionist movement is an emergent and radical approach to nonhuman animal rights. Calling for a complete cessation in nonhuman animal use through the abolishing of property status for nonhuman animals and an adoption of veganism and nonviolence, this approach stands in stark contrast to mainstream approaches such as humane production and welfare reform. This paper describes the goals and stances of abolitionism; the basic debate between abolitionism and other nonhuman animal rights movements; and the current state, challenges, and future prospects for abolitionism. It is argued that abolitionism, as developed by Francione, is the only morally consistent approach for taking the interests of nonhuman animals seriously. Further, it is suggested that the newness of the abolitionist movement and the mainstream nonhuman animal welfare movement’s dismissal of abolitionism has thus far prevented any substantial abolitionist success.”

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Spot Check Number: 2385
Sponsor: Colorado State University
Researcher/Author: Corey Wrenn
Animal Type: Various
Research Method: Literature Review
Geographic Region: Unknown/Not Applicable
Year Conducted: 2012
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Abolitionists too focused

I have given quite a bit of thought to the abolitionist position. I do support ending the use of non-human animals. Recognizing this will not happen overnight, I also recognize farmed animals are suffering greatly and also deserve to get the best we can offer them at this point. What can we actually achieve? There is a politically acceptable amount of change that can be made at any given time. To alleviate a hen's suffering is not of interest to the abolitionists; they say 'let them all suffer until we can convince people not to use them'. Those hens have self-interests. If they could finally have a place to stretch their legs (which they like to do), that makes their miserable lives a little less miserable. The increased space requirement makes it more costly to industry and hence, the consumer. People are price sensitive in their purchases, as demonstrated by economics. Some people will, due to cost, actually drop out of meat consumption. At this point, I believe they will be more concerned about animal rights. Personally, I would not spend most of my resources on the plight of today's farmed animals, but on the prevention of this cruelty in the first place. At least one abolitionist I have met has said she doesn't have time to volunteer, although she watches video after video on the weekends and at night. She likes philosophy, but doesn't lift a finger even when a vegan outreach opportunity is organized. In my experience, if people notice I see the issue in black and white, they will discredit me as being too unreasonable. That is counter-productive to my goal of getting people to reduce their animal consumption with the hope they will transition to eliminating it altogether, as was my path. I think we, as animal rights activists, have to do both welfare and abolition. I see a place in society right now for extremists. I see a place in society right now for abolitionists and welfarists, too. Like all the vegans I know, I don't support 'humane' labeling; we know that is a lie. We have to respect that some of our fellow vegans are doing work that helps animals, whether they are animals on the planet today, or those who are yet to be born. Perhaps I should call myself a spectrum vegan, as I would like to see everyone in society encouraged to be increasingly pro-animal, until we all respect the lives and dignity of non-human animals.

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