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Jun 24, 2008
dear friends,

i decided to publish my first writings. The book is called fruitistica & is made of images & words.
It is an e-book, for i don't want trees to be cut to be able to publish my images & words. Organic & fair trade cotton paper would be the solution, yet it is still hard to find, especially to publish a book.
This book is about
the cruelty toward humans, non humans, plants & the earth.
The site i chose to host it seems ok & many unknown writers are hosted there. Hopefully, i won't remain unknown for too long
i hope you find some interest in it.
You can find it here.

Thank you for reading me.

be well & in peace.
pelagus
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Posted: Jun 24, 2008 3:56am
Apr 9, 2007
http://abolitionistanimalrights.blogspot.com/2007/04/why-cant-animal-welfare-lead-to-animal_05.html

Why is the history of animal welfare an incessant procession of incalculable defeats? Why, after hundreds of years of welfarism (the first welfare law was enacted in 1641, and welfarists have been trying to implement their ideology for the past couple of hundred years), is humans' hegemony over other animals still absolute? Why do we have gestation crates and battery cages; drug addiction and burn experiments? Why has animal welfare not negated institutionalized animal exploitation at all? In Animals, Property, and the Law and Rain Without Thunder, Gary Francione provides the answer. Francione identifies two major problems that as it were castrate animal welfare and render it pathetically impotent: (1) animals are property; and (2) humans have property rights in animals.

Within the framework of Anglo-American legal systems, animals are accorded the status of property -- which means that they are regarded exclusively as means to human ends. They have no intrinsic value; rather they have only extrinsic or conditional value – in other words, they have only that value which we, as animal property owners, choose to give them.

Animals are thus completely rightless beings (i.e. they are legally entitled to nothing) and (legally) have value only as means to our ends.

Humans, on the other hand, have rights in general and property rights in animals in particular.

A presupposition of Anglo-American legal systems is that rights have special normative force. Rights are (to use Ronald Dworkin’s metaphor) “trumps”: “they give [powerful] reasons to treat their holders in certain ways or permit them to act in certain ways, even if some social aim would be served by doing otherwise.” That is, rights invariably trump competing (non-right) considerations.

The implications of this legal framework -- a framework that characterizes humans as rightholders and animals as rightless property -- for a non-right consideration such as animal welfare are clear. Animals’ interests are (supposedly) protected by welfare laws. Exploiters’ property interests in animals are protected by rights (property rights). Thus we have a conflict between interests protected by right and interests protected by welfare laws -- between exploiters' property interests in animals and animals' interest in not being used as property. That is, we have a “conflict” between a right and a non-right consideration. The entailment here is obvious:

Exploiters’ property interests in animals always trump animals’ (welfare) interests.

Because exploiters’ property rights trump animals’ interests, it follows that any welfare law that sought to accord animals protection that impinges on exploiters’ property rights (i.e., that wasn’t also in the exploiters’ interest) would invariably be rejected by the framework of the system.

Thus the system of animal welfare is inherently incapable of doing anything other than ministering to exploiters’ property interests: If a welfare law is in the (economic) interest of the exploiters, then it may be accepted; but if the welfare measure is not in the interest of the exploiters, then it will necessarily be rejected. Ironically, then, animal welfare protects the interests exploiters have in animals rather then the interests of the animals -- in other words, animal welfare protects the exploiters and not the animals.

Within a legal framework that allocates property rights in animals, animal welfare cannot exist; thus animal welfare groups (RSPCA, HSUS, PeTA etc.) are inherently redundant. Welfare groups represent a non-right consideration that will invariably be “trumped” by the fact that exploiters have property rights in animals. Thus welfare groups will be able to secure for animals only that protection that exploiters take to be cost-justified -- which basically means that protection necessary to exploit animals efficiently. But as exploiters will accord animals this level of protection anyway (in order to protect their economic investment in their animal property), animal welfare groups in particular, and the animal welfare movement in general, may as well not exist.

The only function that welfare groups do perform is a wholly insidious one: they reinforce the legitimacy of a vicious speciesist framework (or “animal welfare”, as it's euphemistically known) that will sacrifice any animal interest for the sake of any human interest -- notwithstanding the gravity of the former and the triviality of the latter -- thereby prolonging the horrific exploitation of nonhumans animals.

The special normative force of property rights within Anglo-American legal systems thus leads to a system of animal welfare that is virulently anthropocentric and anti-animal: in order to protect exploiters’ property rights in animals, it will allow animals to be treated in the most horrendous ways imaginable (gestation crates, veal crates, battery-cages), as long as the treatment is economically efficient. Welfare laws merely preclude the gratuitous waste of animal property; because animal property is a very valuable species of property, and if it was gratuitously wasted, overall social wealth would be diminished.

Francione’s property analysis refutes one of the most ossified dogmas of new welfarism: that there is a causal relationship between animal welfare in the short and animal rights in the long term, such that successive welfare reforms will eventually lead to abolition. Animal welfare has no abolitionistic function whatsoever, because animals’ property status (and the corresponding property rights that exploiters have in animals) acts as an inherently limiting factor in the system: it keeps reform tied to the status of animals as commodities -- limiting the scope thereof to what exploiters take to be cost-justified in light of animals’ property status (anything that wasn't cost-justified would begin to infringe exploiters' property rights in animals); wefare reform cannot transcend this narrow point, and thus is inherently incapable of leading to abolition.

On the contrary, far from being capable of leading to abolition, the diametric opposite is the case: because the system pemits only those reforms that do not infringe exploiters' property rights in animals (i.e., that do not erode animals' property status), animal welfare is structurally incapable of challenging the framework of oppression and "can lead only to more and exacerbated animal exploitation." (Francione)

Accordingly, since there is no causal relationship between welfare in the short term and rights in the long term, and since welfare is capable of eliminating animal suffering only if exploiters' property rights aren't infringed thereby (which effectively means that only suffering that results from inefficient practices can be banned), it follows that animal welfare is of use only to the exploiters -- and welfarist ideologues.

The contradiction between the property rights that exploiters have in animals and the societal desire to afford animals some measure of protection is resolved by having welfare laws that protect only those animal interests -- institutional interests -- that need to be protected in order to exploit them efficiently -- which amounts to no protection at all. So, for example, there are welfare regulations requiring that animals in vivisection laboratories be given food and water; but this is only because, if they weren't given food and water, they would die and so wouldn't yield any data for vivisectors. Again, because animals are legally regarded exclusively as means to human ends, the welfare regulations protect the interests the vivisection industry has in the animals rather than the interets of the animals for their own sakes.

Thus welfare laws and regulations do not represent a partial negation of animals' property status or legal "thinghood", and a corresponding recognition that they have inherent value and morally significant interests. Rather, because welfare laws protect only those animal interests that relate to their use as property -- their use as means to human ends -- they merely represent a codification of their enslavement.

In short, animal welfare laws in particular are slave laws; and animal welfare in general conceals institutionalized animal slavery under a meretricious cloak of respectability, thereby sanitizing it and helping to maintain its legitimacy.

In sum: animal welfare is capable only of further codifying animals' property status; it is inherently incapable of recognizing that animals' have inherent value -- value independent of the economic value they have for exploiters -- and thus of eroding their property status and ultimately leading to abolition. Far from having any liberatory potential for nonhumans, then, animal welfare can only consolidate the animals-as-property paradigm.

Of course, this means that the new welfarist "radicals" are trying to achieve change for animals using a system of reform that is predicated on the legitimacy of the animal-commodity and that solicitously protects the despotic control that animal property owners are (legally) entitled to wield over their living, breathing commodities. To put the matter another way, the new welfarists are trying to qualitatively alter animals' property status using a system that structurally ensures that animals remain property -- and it is their property status that makes possible all of the suffering to which we so vehemently object.

Ironically, then, the new welfarists have become coopted by a system that is predicated on the legitimacy of that which they (puportedly at least) want to abolish. As such, the new welfarists prove themselves to be reactionaries who militate against radical change by reinforcing an anachronistic and viciously speciesist system that subserves the unbridled hegemony of humans over other animals -- and that is therefore a consitutive part of the speciesist oppression of nonhumans.

Thus as far as the abolitionist movement is concerned, animal welfare is unqualifiedly redundant. Far from being the method whereby we will incrementally abolish animal exploitation, or even a palliative for reducing animal suffering in the short term, animal welfare is -- in reality -- an institutionalized part of existing speciesist society -- a reactionary instrument that subserves the oppressive framework under which nonhumans are enslaved.

The abolitionists' rejection of animal welfare does not mean -- as welfarist ideologues would have you believe -- that abolitionists are anti-reformist. On the contrary and ironically, because they reinforce the legitimacy of a sclerotic and ossified system of animal welfare that inherently precludes change, it is the new welfarists who are "anti-reformist". The abolitionist approach is based partly on the insight that it is impossible to reform animal exploitation through animal welfare, for the simple reason that the system of welfare reform is a constitutive part of the framework of oppression that requires reformation. As such, the new welfarist "reformers" confuse the object of reform with the means thereof.

A first principle of the abolitionist movement, then, must be the rejection of animal welfare and the recognition that, to effect a paradigm shift in attitudes toward the human-nonhuman relationship, we must use qualitatively different means from those utilized by the welfare movement (and what has passed for the "animal rights" movement hitherto). We must recognize that radicalism mediated through reactionary institutions is a contradiction in terms; the former is necessarily nullified by the latter. We must rejectinstitutional exploiters.reject welfare reform and the institutions and industries that seek to neutralize radicalism with meretricious and illusory offers of progress. We must reject hypocrisy and inconsistency -- we must eschew animal welfare and make our means consistent with our ends.

Instead, we must make veganism a nonnegotiable baseline and engage directly with the real locus of abolition -- people themselves -- since abolition means abolishing exploitation in our own lives.

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Posted: Apr 9, 2007 10:54am

 

 
 
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