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A DEBATE IN ANIMAL ADVOCACY: To be or not to be an abolitionist?

My journey to becoming an animal activist started from a gut feeling that the way humans treated nonhuman animals was immoral and unacceptable.
I was brought up in a home where consuming animal products, visiting zoos and circuses, riding elephants and having birds in cages was “normal”. Then I woke up.
Through exposure to a range of issues, I decided to give up my clinical psychologist practice and dedicate myself  to nonhuman animal advocacy.
When I embarked on this journey I naively thought that the common goal of improving the world for all sentient beings would bind people and make them tolerant of each other.
Well I was wrong. I have found the world of animal activism to be fractured, often with people on their own power trips. People have shown the petty side of human nature through being judgemental and jealous of others.
This, however, will not deter me.
I have become aware of the abolitionist approach to animal advocacy and perhaps some of you follow this practice.                                                                                                                                                                               Given  the following post on my blog from a blogger @ http://legacyofpythagoras.wordpress.com/  and my response below, I would appreciate input from you.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        same mission. 
legacyofpythagoras (http://legacyofpythagoras.wordpress.com/ ):

I applaud your intent in attempting to shed light on this practice. Exploiting and killing animals for fur is immoral. This is true. But focusing on just one issue (fur) lends legitimacy to other exploitation of animals (eating them and their secretions, wearing leather, etc.).

All exploitation of nonhuman animals is equally immoral. It’s counter-productive to the fight for Animal Rights to focus on any one issue involving the abuse of animals, instead of focusing on the larger picture, which is the use of them at all.

Here are a couple articles that explain in more detail:



These links and tons more on Veganism:


 My response:
Thank you for opening this debate in the area of animal advocacy.
I commend you for remaining true to your ideology and showing me the only way to stop the exploitation of nonhuman animals i.e. the abolitionist way. I understand the abolitionist approach to promote veganism as the moral baseline of the animal rights position. Activism is in the form of nonviolent vegan education as to why animal exploitation is immoral. In so doing, speciesism and the use of nonhuman animals will stop. Nonhuman animals will no longer be viewed and treated as property. 
Although I have adopted a vegan lifestyle I am not abolitionist, welfarist or militant, as I consider humanity to be more complex than these divisions purport. I believe that all life has equal value and therefore support all attempts to end the exploitation of nonhuman animals. When appropriate, I will raise awareness about our moral obligation to end the exploitation of nonhuman animals. I have been doing voluntary work at a cat sanctuary since 2005, which the abolitionist approach benevolently approves of (see bostonvegan.org). 
The underlying premise of the abolitionist philosophy is honourable: that “moral education” or “abolitionist-vegan” education, condemning the use of all sentient beings, will ultimately lead to a world where no being is treated as property. This will be a world where nonhuman animals have rights that are respected by all humans unconditionally. However, I find the abolitionist viewpoint unrealistic and in its own way counter-productive to any practical change. 
I understand and agree with the argument against welfare, although I find it selective to focus on one issue, namely the meat/dairy industry, to back the abolitionist anti-welfarist argument. While I have reservations about PeTA, I acknowledge PeTA has done a lot more than giving Temple Grandin an award in 2004. To condemn animal welfare organisations on one issue detracts from the larger picture and dismisses their other efforts to practice responsibility towards nonhuman animals. 
 In the fur industry there is no humane way of farming. As the welfarist approach cannot apply in this instance, you would categorise me as a “single-issue campaigner” (SIC). You would argue that through my campaign I am sending out the message that other uses or exploitation of nonhuman animals is acceptable. This argument to me is simplistic. You cannot seriously argue that if someone supports a campaign to end the despicable fur industry they are going to become so confused as to believe that exploitation of other animals is acceptable. The worst case scenario is that they will not become vegan but condemn unspeakable cruelty to nonhuman animals. I further argue that certain, and obviously not all campaigns, sow the seed for people to start reflecting on the various ways humans exploit nonhuman animals. Small acts of activism, in any form, can grow bigger. 
The abolitionist paradigm advocates nonviolence to the earth. Regarding this, there are urgent issues that cannot wait until everyone becomes vegan. We have to put the brakes on before it is too late. The devastation of rainforests for palm oil and soya production with resultant deaths of thousands of animals is one example. By the time people are educated that they do not need these products there will be no rainforests and ecosystems left. If we do not end puppy mills there will be so many unwanted animals that shelters will never cope. More and more nonhuman animals will be born in captivity for circuses and zoos. Heinous acts of poaching will lead to the extinction of species if people do nothing but encourage everyone to go vegan. Where does the abolitionist approach stand on environmental protection campaigns? Laws on protecting the environment vary from country to country. Would the abolitionist approach reject SICs taken by Greenpeace? If so, I find this stance extremely arrogant. 
In your view I am wasting time and energy when instead I should be educating people to adopt a vegan lifestyle. In South Africa which has 11 official languages, pervasive poverty in communities without sanitation and electricity; shocking levels of unemployment; crime; woman abuse and domestic violence this indeed would be a challenge. It was partly the armed struggle and international boycotts that ended Apartheid, not education that all people are equal. 
According to the abolitionist argument, SICs promoting human rights are acceptable because humans are not legal property. However, if one looks at the historical trajectory that led to this point, there was a time when slaves, minority groups, women and children were considered the property of others. People fighting for human rights used SICs. Petitions were successful in changing law where a change in attitudes followed. Among many examples, trading in slaves stopped before slavery was abolished; suffragettes fought for the vote through SIC actions before they obtained equal rights; child labour was stopped before other children rights came into force. It was incremental campaigns that finally led us to where humans are today. I find it confusing that you want nonhuman animals to have the same status as humans but you reject the model of campaigning that worked to attain these human rights. Is it not short-sighted to reject past experience?


The international rabbit fur trade 

~ The fur industry fails any test of morality, as there is no justification to subject animals to prolonged suffering for fashion items~

(I do not usually post images of such a graphic nature, but the truth needs to be known).
Rabbits are social and intelligent creatures. They love to play and groom each other.rabbit    All in a day’s work. skinned rabbits                                                                                                    
Increasingly, worldwide, millions of rabbits are being farmed and killed solely for their fur – their wasted bodies pile up. In South Africa the farming of rabbits just for fur is on the rise.        
Not only is rabbit fur used in the making of fur coats and hats but is also used as fur trim. Fur trim is a totally decorative and unnecessary part of any garment. According to Freedom for Farmed Animals, rabbit fur can be sold under the labels cony, coney, comb or lapin. Fur from rabbits is often the base of trinkets, such as pet toys and may even be labelled as faux fur. It takes 30-40 rabbits to make just one fur coat.
40 rabbitsThe two main breeds in the commercial rabbit farming industry are the Rex and New Zealand White. Angora fur is sheared off the live Angora rabbit and recently PeTA exposed the intense cruelty in this process. As a result, many retailers withdrew Angora based products from their shelves. 
With all fur farming,  in order to maximise profit, it is impossible to farm humanely. Free-range farming is unfeasible, so intensive battery-farming methods are used. Wild “fur bearing” animals are crammed into tiny metal cages where they can barely move. When deprived of the conditions essential to their natural lives, wild animals go insane and develop stress related diseases. 
PictureRabbit confined on fur farm
To preserve pelts and lessen expenses, slaughter practices are merciless on fur farms, often with no laws to protect the animals. They are bludgeoned to death or have their throats slit. Rabbits are commonly skinned alive and fully conscious. Apparently the warm body facilitates the skinning process.  If in doubt, this rabbit was photographed and is still alive after being skinned!             Live rabbit        Rabit farming       I believe that people who participate in this horrendous process have become disconnected from their souls.


Whether one observes the Christian Easter celebration or not, most people have heard of the iconic Easter bunny.                                  

While many people grew up thinking that the Easter bunny is simply a mythical being that distributes candy, there is more to the story than that.

Jake Johnson/Photographer

Somehow, in a conflation of various myths and ancient practices the Easter bunny (rabbit/hare) kindly brings people chocolate eggs on Easter Sunday. Although we usually associate eggs with chickens, the Easter chicken just never got recognition. It seems that the prolific breeding habits of rabbits earned them a spot on the Easter agenda alongside the symbolism of fertility associated with eggs.
To confuse matters more, these traditions are all to mark the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his resurrection a couple of days later. 
I wonder how many children think of Easter in these religious terms or just see it as a time of a big chocolate binge.
Confectionaries are smiling at this time of the year, as their sales increase from people buying overpriced chocolate bunnies and hollow eggs in colourful wrapping. 
Sadly, though, some see this as an opportunity to buy live bunnies without thinking through the long-term implications of being responsible for another creature’s life. Rather stick to toys rabbits is the strong message that animal welfare organisations put out.Easter bunny                                                                                                                               Even more tragic, is that because rabbits have soft luxurious fur, millions are skinned for their fur. Usually this is just to be a trim on an item of clothing or to make up a trinket.                                           Rabbits and fur 

This is so pointless!    

MAHIKI: No fur through our door

              GREAT NEWS!!        ban fur A bold move: MAHIKI has taken a no fur policy.

MAHIKI, a London nightclub, is considered to be one of London’s most popular clubs. It is well known for its celebrity clientele and is regularly patronised by royals including Princes William and Harry.  MAHIKI DUBAI, MAHIKI UK’s sister, has also banned fur from its premises.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Other celebrities patronising Mahiki are well-known fur hags:  RihannaLady Gaga,  Kelly Rowland,  Paris Hilton among many more. Yes, they can still go to MAHIKI but without their furs. We can only hope that the message sinks in that fur is cruel, senseless and tasteless! Rihanna No wordslady gaga Lady Gaga                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Let's get this party started! Beyoncé's former Destiny's Child bandmate Kelly Rowland gave just a glimpse of her daring slashed black gown under a white fur coat as she made her way inside the event, silver diamanté mask in handKelly Rowland                              Paris HiltonParis Hilton 

For more on celebs and fur please check out my previous post:  https://emynow.wordpress.com/2013/10/02/celebs-and-fur-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly/ 

Let us hope that this is the start of a great trend for NIGHTCLUBS TO GO FUR FREE!                            

Read the full article @ http://7daysindubai.com/top-dubai-nightspot-mahiki-bar-entry-revellers-wearing-cruel-fur-clothing/   



There is something so reprehensible about Canned hunting that people worldwide, from all walks of life, came together on March 15, 2014 to protest against it.  

                                         care 2 Lion

No, Canned hunting is not the killing of lions to can them for meat, as someone naively asked. It is an activity where wild animals, in this case lions, are poached or bred in captivity solely be shot in a confined space. According to Campaign Against Canned Hunting (CACH) people have observed how wild lion prides have been chased, by those in 4×4 vehicles, to the point of exhaustion; the pride adult lions shot; the cubs captured and smuggled across South Africa’s borders to be sold to unscrupulous lion farmers. Many of these lion cubs become habituated to humans through “lion petting” schemes. These lions are later put into a field to be shot by tourist hunters, from a 4×4 vehicle – just to become a trophy. 
This photo shows the shocking treatment and conditions that captive lions endure on South African lion farms. These lions are later used for Canned hunting purposes.  
While I don’t support any form of hunting, Canned hunting has to be the lowest of the low! The lions offer no resistance and may even be partially anaesthetised beforehand. These lions have no chance of survival and are killed only so the tourist hunter can go home with a trophy. 
dead lion                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             dead lion 1
To preserve the “trophy”, the lion is shot through the body. Many of these tourists are inexperienced gunmen and it might take several shots to kill the lion. Consequently these lions aren’t always killed instantly and often experience a prolonged and agonising death.  
The lion carcass is sold to the Chinese Traditional Medicine market for the lion bone trade. 
Tens of thousands of farmers have now stopped producing food in order to farm game for rich, foreign hunters to shoot. 
Although thousands of  people are opposed to this obscene practice, Canned hunting is legal in SA. Yes, Canned hunting brings money into SA but so does eco-tourism, which is ethical unlike Canned hunting.
If anyone is planning a holiday to a South African safari lodge please check out their views on Canned hunting. We must boycott any place that supports this cruel and unnecessary practice. 
Please sign this petition:



Thank you, Carmen Mandel, for showing the nurturing side of people ❤


people create misery

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