I posted the following Comment today to James McWilliams’s blog site article by Melanie Joy,
“A Liberatory Framework.” It is a brief, general response to discussions going on there and elsewhere among people interested in animal
issues. It is not directed against reform efforts as such, but against “reform efforts” that morph and have morphed dirtily into
Meatopia-style campaigns masquerading as “helping animals,” and the false suggestion that, fundamentally, we are “all on the
same side,” or that we should pretend that we are, “for the animals.” United Poultry Concerns is fundamentally and
irrevocably divided from all animal “protectionists” who promote eating and drinking animals, who portray chickens, turkeys and
other defenseless creatures sentimentally on one hand as “sentient beings,” while coldly sacrificing them for
“compassionate” butchery on the other.
October 2, 2012 at 11:36 am
There is a genuine, fully justified divide between those of us who speak for the dignity of chickens and other farmed animals and those of
“us” who are buying and selling (out) animals in celebrations and promotions of their flesh, eggs, and calves’ milk: their
There is a difference between mere bickering on the one hand and legitimate dissent on the other, within our so-called Movement. This dissent, this
public debate, is not going away, nor should it. We are not going to sit back while HSUS, GAP, the ASPCA, FACT, Whole Foods and their industry
allies actively represent and promote animals as Meat (human food) and lie to the public that they can (and should!) enjoy “compassionately
raised” Meat and other body parts and that they can eat all these animals and body parts, and still avoid “factory farming.” This
is the Evil Fable, the Lie, the Betrayal, that most deeply divides us. It is not just shallowly about “Abolition” vs.
“Welfare.” There is a much deeper, substantive quarrel on behalf of our fellow creatures who cannot defend themselves from us, worst of
all from their “protectors.”
To see precious words like “welfare” (faring well), “compassion,” “respect,” “humane,”
“protect,” etc. cheapened, degraded and devalued into their opposites, to see living, feeling birds and other animals cheapened into
meat, butchery, butchers contests, “dairy,” omelets, Meatopias and the like – no, we are not going along with this terrible turn,
and no, cheapening animals and language and lying to the public are not “steps” toward animal liberation, civility, or compassionate
Yes, we need to keep our minds fresh and our public outreach strategies alive and thriving, but, equally, we have to take a stand on certain
matters. Taking an informed, principled and passionate stand is not synonymous with sclerosis and bigotry. Nor is having a legitimate quarrel with
those who are trashing helpless animals into Meat and calling this behavior “animal protection.”
Interestingly, all of these recent calls for being open-minded and non-divisive seem to be directed against the animal liberationists, while those
who are promoting Meat and degrading animals into consumables and Butchers Contest “winners” and “losers” don’t seem
to get scolded at all. We should just shut up and let them do their dirty work and add to all the lies yet another lie about being a United Front.
The poet George Meredith talks in one of his poems of “Betrayal By What is False Within.” (“They were betrayed by what is false
within.”) We are not going to accept and be “open-minded” about the betrayal that we see taking place, all the more so when it is
not our skin that is being peeled and hacked off OUR defenseless bodies, but the skin of others. All the more so when we have pledged to ourselves
and promised our animal victims, as I did in Lafayette Park in Washington, DC in 1983, on World Laboratory Animals Day, that we are there for them
and that we will not abandon them.
Karen Davis, PhD, President, United Poultry Concerns.