Associated with various social justice causes, this term calls for the
total elimination, versus the reform, of some form of oppression,
enslavement, or abuse. For example, prior to the American Civil War, there
were some who called for the abolition of human slavery, and many others who
called for its reform, for the establishment of a kinder, gentler, Christian
slavery, there is a similar distinction between those who openly call for an
end to the human exploitation of animals, and those who seek to set
standards and pass laws that will codify a "kinder, gentler" approach to
using and killing animals for profit. Just as in the case of human slavery,
some of those who do so believe that this is the best that can be achieved
in the foreseeable future, and others do so because they believe that humans
are entitled to use animals as they see fit, provided the deed is done
according to a socially accepted standard.
Donald Watson, who was a co-founder of the Vegan movement in England in the 1940s, believed that "farming" animals was inherently unjust. Upon visiting his uncle's farm, he observed, "The idyllic scene was nothing more than death row, where every creature's days were numbered by the point at which it was no longer of service to human beings."
He also said, "We can see quite plainly that our present civilisation is built on the exploitation of animals, just as past civilisations were built on the exploitation of slaves..."