When speciesism feeds speciesism, and why AR activists should not fall for unproductive rhetorical twists

When speciesism feeds speciesism, and why AR activists should not fall for unproductive rhetorical twists.

From a recent discussion / Gruppe Messel

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Two debates, the same problem with speciesist rhetorics blurring out a reasonable, coherent discourse.

A.)   The (unfortunately) highly controversial debate about Halal and Kosher slaughter methods.

B.)   The ‘humane meat’ marketing campaigns, using Animal Welfare as the as a vehicle for their sales boosting.

In both these speciesist segments – the one religious, the other one more plain-culturally based – you face an upholding of speciesist ideological tenets, additionally to the front-fight of defending a speciesist practice.

Why are we discussing these two examples of speciesist praxes?

Pro-arguments defending these two praxes, that are finding their basis in cultural reception, have permeated the AR debate to some extent on outreach strategies in regards to multiculturalism and culture – assuming “traditions” to be fixed societal phenomena/entities, immune to continuous ethical historical change.

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The Problem of rhetorical twists permeating the AR discussion in the case of A.):

The basic argument from an AR side defending religious slaughter methods, as no less “cruel” than pre-stun methods, goes that Nonhumans suffer either way, conditions in slaughterhouses might even be worse, at least as bad, and that all slaughter must stop.

Usually missed in this string of argumentation is a more detailed critique why e.g. slaughterhouses such as those designed by Temple Grandin are for example “as bad” as religious slaughter methods: So called “humane” slaughter methods have to be criticized and critically examined in their own respect.

The argument against the relativization of ‘different speciesist practices’ as in the case A.) from an AR position can be:

Why are we fighting to be able to film abuse in factory farms, when in the end of the day the comparably more abusive form of “handling” does not make any difference at all? After all we are always trying to alleviate any comparably more “extreme” forms of suffering in a situation where we can’t stop speciesism overnight. We do that, alongside with campaigning for veganism!

The trap with religious animal killing practices is that the degree to which killing becomes a deed of “good” is mostly being overlooked let alone critically discussed. Can you really expect strict believers to end killing Nonhumans, if it’s on behalf of an “almighty God” who decrees you to do so?

From an AR point of view we would say that no religion/religious tradition/belief whatsoever must come before either Animal Rights or Human Rights, equally.

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The Problem of rhetorical twists permeating the AR discussion in the case of B.):

Anecdotal example: A German animal advocacy group advertises for “humane meat” with the slogan: “For a life before becoming meat” (http://www.provieh.de/downloads_provieh/01_ki_schweine.pdf, 5/11/14), the same slogan is being used by the Austrian Green Party (http://www.gruene.at/europa/2-welle,5/11/14).

The problem being that cultural tenets of speciesism are not questioned, nor what strategies are effective at what given context. Strategies and analyses seem to fall short to a short-term mass-movement idea and behaviour within the AR community.

– There is no clear line drawn towards the impacts of what comes along as cultural heritage.

– Activists fight against the symptoms, not the cultural roots of speciesist rethorics that enables speciesist practices to be culturally active.

On one hand “humane slaughter” advocacy has moved “down”, in terms of Animal Advocacy ideals, to some of the “stricter” Animal Welfare organizations, like the CIWF with for example their recent campaign “Better-Chicken.org”: it seems that such welfarist pro “humane meat” campaigns throw the baby out of with the bathwater, since instead of trying to seek alleviating suffering with the goal of ending speciesism overall as a target, they are of course prolonging speciesist culture.

However, AR advocates who do distance themselves from such campaigns, seem to fail to address (analytically and strategically) how important it is to target the functionality of speciesism and its rhetoric in the plain culturally-based sense.

– AR places its critique more at the sociological and the psychological level, not as much on the anthropological and cultural level, and when at least not with a distanced view.

– A question would be e.g.: How does the argument “I only buy organic humanely slaughtered meat” set in? Why is it accepted in society seen from a cultural / anthropological critical perspective?

This type of question has to be contextualized with how a culture works, and how the individual takes a role within this cultural setting for example.

 

A vegan economy? Where to start.

Human society annexes every ‘natural’ space, primarily through societal economic processes.

‘Nonhuman Animal Rights’ thus have to cover all spaces on the globe – within human communities and within the natural environment overall.

In regards to creating a ‚vegan economy’:

1. First of all we should address the history of ‘rule and possession’.

a.) Different economic models have been historically existent. Which components came into play for forming current economical models (i.e. the capitalist economies and socialist inspired economies) in pure economic terms, politically, socially?

b.) Which forms of political rule went along with ‘ownership’ and ‘dominion’ (annexation of ‘nature)? And what created the basis of legitimization in rule, such as in: monarchies, democracies, tyrannies, as grounded for example on: religion, ideology, philosophy?

c.) How did forms of ‘rule’ and ‘authority’ interact with exploitative contractualist agendas such as imperialism, colonialism, nationalism?

An aspect to highlight: Legitimization falters or ends where the ‘entitlement’ for ‘rule and possession’ excludes and comes into conflict with interests / rights of other human beings, other animals and the ‘natural’ realm / ‘nature’.

2. Secondly we should see how ‘economy’, as a societal material construct, and ‘nature’, as an borderless/undefined space, conflict.

a.) What stands at the centre of the conflict between our human-centred economic matrices (as systems of ‘rule and possession’) versus ‘natural’ and autonomous life? What are core reasons for conflict? (The reasons might stand alongside the questions of legitimization.)
b.) Society’s inability for groundbreaking political change, and the inability for change on the private scale (in the individual’s life in society) as being part of society, extends the need for the legitimization of ‘dominion’/’rule’, exploitation and destruction – it otherwise leads to rebellion.

What can be alternative forms of economic societal organization?

3. How does veganism – as entailing some of the key aspects needed to form a pacifist eco-consciousness – offer ways out of economic systems that utilize ‘nature’, nonhumans and “powerless” humans, in different degrees, as resources or as in the case of humans, as partly involuntary collaborators?

a.) Discuss the need for veganism to become aware of its own politicalness, in problem-solving and problem-creating terms.
b.) The core of veganism, taken as a social revolutionary ‘movement’, mainly differs from other liberation movements because of its primary focus on nonhuman animal exploitation and nonhuman animal murder / zoacide … .

Economic ethics or non-ethics:

Where does profiteering from (or/and voluntary collaboration with) ecocide and zoacide mainly begin?

How are humans affected today by the consequences of economically driven ecocide and zoacide, ethically?

How do you think should ethical vegans work against ecocide and zoacide, despite the “vegan revolution’s” minority constellation within society?