Advocating for Animals, part 3
Animals: Tradition - Philosophy - Religion Article from


Stephen Kaufman, M.D., Christian Vegetarian Association (CVA)

Advocating for Animals, part 3

I have been thinking about which is better for animals: promoting laws and standards aimed at reducing animal mistreatment, or to exclusively promoting abolition of animal abuse.

Frustrating my analysis is the difficulty in predicting the course of animal protectionism. Is it possible that it can continue to spread to the point that one day we will have a near-vegan world where people will oppose enslavement of animals just as widely as people oppose human enslavement today? Or, despite the best efforts of animal advocates, will the pendulum swing back the other way, and the very modest recent gains be lost?

Whatever happens, I doubt that the strategies of animal protectionists will have a big impact. Whether they advocate for ameliorating the conditions under which animals are exploited or whether they advocate only for abolition of animal exploitation, I think several other factors will likely have much more impact on the scope of animal abuse. They include 1) the relative cost of different foods; 2) notions about which plant and animal-derived foods are healthy; 3) growing awareness of how animals are treated (and undercover investigations of factory farms has been important); and 4) the availability and palatability of “mock meats” and other plant-based substitutes for animal products.

Abolitionists often assert that animal welfare concerns relate to how animals are treated today, but a more important consideration is how animals might be liberated from human tyranny. Next week, I will continue to reflect whether welfare reforms undermine the goal of animal liberation.

Go on to: Advocating for Animals, part 4
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