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From 25 July 2004 Issue

Does The Animal Rights Philosophy Exclude Animal Welfare Efforts?
By Greg Lawson - ParkStRanger@aol.com 

Here at Animal Rights Online we recognize the fact that there are a lot of different viewpoints within our movement: from those who believe in working on animal protection legislation to those who think the system is corrupt, and that only direct action will lead to animal liberation. There are those who think that animal welfare and animal rights are in opposition. Personally, I don't.

I love Robert Cohen, I think of him as a brother. Seven years ago, when I met him, heard him speak and read his book Milk, the Deadly Poison, I went vegan. I will always remember the effect he has had on my life.

We decided to run his article this week because we believe many of the points he makes have validity. But I disagree with his suggestion that Animal Rights conferences are just events where we can pat each other on the back. The Farm Animal Reform Movement annual conference, AR2004, which recently took place just outside Washington, D.C. is a lot more than just a mutual congratulatory society. New activists to the cause were given new ideas and new tools to assist them in the fight for better conditions for the animals and their ultimate liberation.

As Robert points out from his information gathered from the Department of Agriculture (an agency we should distrust in my opinion), meat consumption has gone up. Certainly meat production has gone up, our country is exporting a lot more meat to other countries (except for beef, because of that pesky mad cow problem we have in our country. Other nations seem to realize that there is a cover-up of that situation).

I tend to believe that meat consumption is up because meat-eaters are eating more meat, not because the Animal Rights movement is failing. Too many meat-eating zombies have latched on to the Atkins Diet and other low carb regimes.

Too many zombies believe that just by eating lower on the food chain, eating mostly fish and chicken, that's somehow healthier. They believe that these animal products are lower in fat. They believe it is somehow more humane because such creatures have less developed brains. Any creature with a brain (or even a rudimentary nervous system) should have the right to seek it's own survival, to seek pleasure rather than pain, and we as humans, with a sense of moral responsibility, should recognize their rights.

The fact is, there is a growth in vegetarianism and veganism especially among teens who are choosing a plant based diet for ethical reasons. Sure, there are studies that say some of them have eating disorders, some of them just want to be thin and therefore eschew meat and dairy. That isn't the main reason that more people are going veg, and we shouldn't focus on that. From my experience, young people are making decisions based on ethics.

More zombies are just eating more meat.

More zombies are teaching their kids to eat meat.

For many years into the future, people will be eating eggs and products that contain eggs and using products that contain expended layer hens like chicken soup and pet food. We in the Animal Rights Movement won't be changing that fact anytime soon.

In the meantime, shouldn't we work toward eliminating battery cages like they are doing in Europe, to give those birds who will certainly die, a more natural life? Sure in the short term, meat eating zombies will feel better about eating chicken.

But if chickens have to die, shouldn't they have lived a life as free range birds?

Last week, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, released captured video footage of workers at a Pilgrims Pride slaughterhouse in West Virginia, a supplier for KFC, torturing chickens, apparently just for fun. Eleven workers including 3 managers were fired, but that was only because this abuse came to light. This kind of abuse is typical in the meat industry.

These people should be prosecuted, should lose their jobs and be imprisoned.

I don't think that sending these people to jail would be a bad idea. I don't think that the fight for animal welfare is a bad idea. I don't think the Animal Rights Movement is dead. I think we need to keep fighting for the freedom of all animals, for animal rights and for animal welfare.

That's just my opinion though.

We respect all opinions in the fight for Animal Liberation.

[Editor's Note: For further information about Peta's KFC supplier video, see the following website:]
PETA TV > Animal Rights Television
http://www.petatv.com/ 

Go on to Just What Do You Eat?
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