As a law professor at Rutgers, an author, and a lecturer, Francione is one of the most prolific leaders of the animal rights community. He maintains a blog called “Animal Rights: The Abolitionist Approach” which outlines his philosophy on veganism. He is a personal hero of mine and one of very few voices that I trust in the cacophony of the animal rights dialogue.
The new book is called “The Animal Rights Debate: Abolition or Regulation?” and features Gary Francione arguing for abolishing the status of animals as property, while political theorist Robert Garner argues for regulation of the animal agriculture industry.
The importance of the issue debated in this book cannot be overstated. Whether the movement should move forward purely on abolitionist, animal rights objectives or whether we should embrace animal welfare regulation defines everything from our rhetoric to our tactics to our future plans and objectives.
Francione’s philosophy for abolitionism is outlined in six points on his website. As an activist, I have embraced Francione’s view that every sentient being has the right to live without being treated as the property of another being, and that regulation of animal industry is based on the premise that animals are property. Only by changing their status as property can we ever have an ethical relationship with animals.
In the same way that the solution to the issue of African slavery in America wasn’t to pass laws that made a slave’s life marginally more comfortable. The solution wasn’t to enact a “slave welfare act” that outlawed certain specific treatments of slaves. The solution wasn’t to create a “humanely treated slave” label to attach to human beings to make people feel better about buying them. The solution was to abolish slavery, to fight against the status of human beings as the property of another.
In order to truly alleviate the suffering of the animals we torture, persecute, confine, kidnap, and murder, we must never cease to advocate against the status of animals as the property of humans. As long as animals remain the property of human beings, words like “humane” will always be a cruel mockery to the beings we exploit.
I recommend reading Gary Francione’s projects, books, and blogs. He offers the most consistent and meaningful insights into the true struggle of the animal rights movement.
Consider this my holiday gift recommendation to you. Buy this book for someone in your life and you can consider it a Christmas gift to them and an even bigger gift to the animals.
Photo: Gary L. Francione