What do “humanely-raised”, “free-range”, “grass-fed”, “organic” or “cruelty-free” animal products really mean for the environment?
As we look more closely at the reality of the backyard chicken trend, it becomes increasingly clear that it is the same commodification of animals, packaged in niche marketing to appeal to the modern “conscious consumer”.
(written by Gary L. Francione) We must be clear that veganism is the unequivocal baseline of anything that deserves to be called an “animal rights” movement. If “animal rights” means anything, it means that we cannot morally justifyany animal exploitation; we cannot justify treating animals as human resources, however “humane” that treatment may be.
When we make a sincere and honest effort to place ourselves in the position of another sentient being, it is very easy to see why we should respect their lives, regardless of their species or any other characteristics they possess. Like us, they want to be happy, healthy, free from harm, and to enjoy the most precious thing they have: life itself.
Donald Watson’s legacy extends beyond providing a name for our movement, but creating the term ‘vegan’ is certainly one of the most salient and perhaps widest reaching of his contributions. The vegans of today and tomorrow can look to Watson as a major catalyst for the formation and proliferation of our principles.
Although it’s true that the animal industry is an eager and aggressive middle agent, its role is only that of middle agent. As such, while institutionalized exploiters certainly have a lot to answer for, it is consumers who are primarily responsible for animal cruelty through their purchases of animal products.
The animal welfare model overwhelmingly benefits industry – not only by providing guidelines which help producers to adopt a more effective business model, but also by assuring consumers that it is possible to breed, raise, exploit, and slaughter animals in an ethical way.
This is not the story of a factory farm; it is the story of a beautiful farm with free range animals who seemed to be happy.
Humans are far from the only animals to experience the deep connection between mother and child. In fact, this might be one of the very experiences that is universal — crossing all boundaries between species. And yet, somehow, we manage to suppress our awareness of this all-important bond when it involves individuals who are different from us, especially when acknowledging this fact would require us to make a change in our own behavior, such as eliminating our dependence on the products of animal husbandry.
As I look back over the last 26 years of my life, I wonder how it took me so long to live my life the way I’ve always wanted to: with love, kindness and honesty.
Many people don’t realize that animals raised as ‘free-range’ suffer much of the same torment as those in standard operations.
A great many people become vegetarian for ethical reasons, in response to a strong sense that animals shouldn’t be mistreated on factory farms, or that they simply should not be killed for food. However, many individuals who eschew meat out of concern for animal interests continue to consume and use other animal products. Many vegetarians, in fact, upon removing flesh products from their diet, actually increase their intake of eggs and dairy, two products which result from extreme animal abuse.