NO on California's Prop 2 for Animals

There's been a lot of debate about California's Prop 2, another regulationist measure intended to present what are, at best, excruciatingly modest reforms of animal treatment in order to benefit various ruling relations among agribusiness. As Gary L. Francione has suggested, abolitionists (and anyone else) who cares seriously about animals should vote no on Prop 2 or definitely not vote yes.

As an effort to regulate the human use of animals, Prop 2 is progress for human beings, not for non-humans. Let me tell you why.

Let's say someone is robbing and murdering someone in the street. I'm not going to rush and get my violin and play something beautiful to make the experience more enjoyable for the victim. That's not progress. It doesn't even insist that that person has a right not to be robbed. It's not a yell for the police, or a boot in the smelly junk of the perpetrator, or even just a request to stop.

Comforting the victim in the face of gross injustice doesn't push on any of the weight bearing walls in the house of oppression, does it? That's the house all vegans have sworn to tear down with non-violent vegan outreach, isn't it? We may not be able to tear down the house all in one go today. But we should push on the weight-bearing walls rather than just changing the wallpaper, shouldn't we?

To understand regulation as progress requires that we believe in good faith that
  • a) regulation seriously helps the victim (which we know it doesn't)
  • b) regulation today leads to abolition tomorrow (a belief that is on its face historically inaccurate and unfounded),
  • c) regulation is the best we can do (which we know it isn't), or
  • d) the victim doesn't really deserve more 'progress' than that.
I sincerely hope that no vegan believes the last, since it's speceisist on its face. If we believe a), we're not reasoning properly and are profoundly divorced from the realities of what it means to be someone else's slave, even if the cage be guilded. If we believe b), we are woefully, woefully ignorant of history and social theory. If we believe c), we're also either not reasoning properly or not bringing the force of our convictions into our daily lives, forgetting what we owe to beings who are wholly dependent on us to speak for them, to say no for them, to insist for them, to fight for them.

For any non-human animal, the only acceptable understanding of 'progress' is his or her emancipation, his or her life back, his or her children back (for species to whom this is important), a sunny sky, fresh rain, a quiet hole, tree, lake, mountain, river, plain, or ocean, and our unequivocal guarantee that his or her right not to be used as a resource by human beings will be respected.

Anything less is just opportunism to make us feel better.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...