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Animal Rights Misrepresented by PETA

category dublin | animal rights | press release author Monday September 22, 2008 20:46author by Laura Broxson - National Animal Rights Associationauthor email naracampaigns at gmail dot comauthor address PO Box 11019, Dublin 2 Report this post to the editors

***Press Release***

Misrepresenting Animal Rights: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).


Although Irish organisations and individuals have sought to care for nonhuman animals for many years, animal rights advocacy ~informed by rights-based theory~ is a very recent development in Ireland. Grassroots animal rights advocates in Ireland intend to defend animal rights from the threat of neo-welfarism.

The Literary and Historical Society at UCD are hosting a debate next Wednesday (24th) entitled "The Animal Rights Debate", featuring Mr. Bruce Friedrich of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PeTA). We believe that Mr. Friedrich will be contacting the media in Ireland to publicise this event and PeTA in general. He will characterise himself as an animal rights advocate even though he and his employers reject and marginalise animal rights theory. We, the grassroots animal advocates of Ireland, we who take rights, animal rights, and animal rights philosophy seriously, are furious about PeTA's distortion of animal rights, and we want no part in it. PeTA is not an animal rights group even though it claims to be (it claims to be the largest AR organisation in the world). This is misleading: PeTA do not promote animal rights beyond using the term as a rhetorical label and they purposely act against animal rights philosophy.

PeTA are inspired and influenced by animal welfare ethicist Peter Singer (author of the famous non-rights text, Animal Liberation).[1]

PeTA promotes NO animal rights philosophy on their web sites, eg: http://www.peta.org/

"Animal Rights" to PeTA is just a slogan – they are not interested in the philosophy of animals rights and they never promote or mention AR philosophers such as Gary Francione [ http://www. abolitionistapproach.com/? page_id=52 ] and Tom Regan [ http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/ animalrights/about.html ].

Instead, they deliberately misname Singer as an animal rights advocate (see "why Animal Rights?" http://www.peta.org / – the 'learn more' tag links to Animal Liberation, a utilitarian text by a leading utilitarian philosopher. Animal rights is based on deontological ethics).

Laura Broxson, spokesperson of Dublin-based National Animal Rights Association, said: "We are just beginning to make a mark for animal rights in Ireland. The last thing we need is for people to believe that PeTA's childish stunts [2] and sexist campaigning [3] have anything to do with genuine animal rights campaigning. PeTA cheapen and trivialise animal rights. The message from Ireland: we don't want PeTA's silliness".

Speaking about NARA's philosophy, Laura Broxson said: "We say clearly and openly on our web site that we are opposed to rights violations. Animal rights is more than reducing suffering. It is a vegan position on human-animal relations that says we humans should not use nonhuman animals but respect them as a matter of justice. We at NARA feel we are making headway with our rights-based campaigns and the Irish public are beginning to understand that animal rightists believe that nonhuman animals are rights bearers who rights are frequently and routinely violated. We also would never engage in sexist campaigning like PeTA do".

Asked to comment, Dr. Roger Yates, sociologist and social movement theorist at UCD, said: "It probably would be a serious blow to rights advocates in Ireland if PeTA muddy the waters here with their rhetorical version of animals rights. From the perspective of effective advocacy, it seems logical that it is best for animal rights to be represented by those genuinely committed to rights-based philosophies about human-nonhuman relations. I doubt that Irish animal rights advocates will think that gassing millions of chickens, PeTA's latest 'victory' in Canada in partnership with KFC, has anything to do with animal rights. It is far from certain that such initiatives have much to do even with animal welfare".

"There has been a long standing belief within the animal protection community, at least among animal advocates in the USA and Britain, that animal rights and animal welfare are compatible ideas about the use and treatment of other animals. However, there is growing evidence supporting the contention that traditional animal welfarism and its newer formulations ('new welfarism' - represented by organisations such as PeTA) are antithetical to the aspirations of animal rights advocates", he added.

Contact:

Laura Broxson, spokesperson for NARA – 086 8729 444
Roger Yates (UCD) – 01 716 8586 [mobile 0863912018]

Notes.

[1] Ingrid Newkirk, president of PeTA, endorsed Peter Singer's 2006 collection, In Defense of Animals: The second wave (Blackwell), thus: 'Peter Singer's writings changed my life. I have waited for this book a long time, a quarter of a century in fact...'

[2] http://www.thestar.com/ article/497890 http://blog.peta.org/archives/ 2008/09/here_comes_the.php

[3] http://www.peta.org/feat/abc- striptease/index.asp http://billsnyder.vox.com/ library/video/ 6a00c2251f31f3f21900cd970fc4d0 4cd5.html

Related Link: http://www.naracampaigns.org
author by i beggar beliefpublication date Mon Sep 22, 2008 22:10Report this post to the editors

I watched this video of 'NARA's' teenager and 19+ something picket below. Whilst i would support the message of animal rights your childish and immature tactics would turn any decent thinking person off your real message which was lost the minute you started out on this demo and many others you have done. You're loosing your message the whole time with your ridiculous form of picket, it's time to start thinking outside your box.

Grow up and start using your time to attack companies and people that abuse animals and lay off groups and anyone who does 'something' to help animals you just give animal abusers something to laugh at.

Caption: Embedded video Youtube Video


author by elaine.publication date Mon Sep 22, 2008 23:05Report this post to the editors

outside of the welfare agrument i have got to agree with what he/she has said above. looking at the protest seemed very improfessional most would think those teenagers were lunatics and turn off their real message about helping birds for meat. ROLL UP

author by Catladypublication date Mon Sep 22, 2008 23:06Report this post to the editors

"childish and immature tactics " Which tactics exactly are childish and immature????? Having a demo where everyone is fully clothed???? Being peaceful???? Co-operating with police????? Pleace elucidate. Ghandhi could obviously have done with a few lessons from you. Perhaps he too would have a website with a barely post-pubescent girl stripping to her underwear (a la PETA) were the technology available to him at the time...?

"your real message (which) was lost the minute you started out on this demo"
The message seem pretty darn clear to me, with the focus being on the cruelty involved in the making of foie gras. Perhaps you think prancing about naked a la PETA focuses peoples attention more on the cruelty perpetrated against animals???

"start using your time to attack companies and people that abuse animals "
Seems to me that that is exactly what this group are doing, having watched the vieo evidence kindly provided by your good self. They are attacking producers and traders in death and wanton suffering. Unlike PETA who promote the killing of chickens with their latest KFC collaboration.

"lay off groups and anyone who does 'something' to help animals"
As the article above highlights, neo-welfarism does nothing to help animals. Welfarism has been around in Ireland for centuries, and look where it has got them...! We still course hares, hunt deer and foxes, farm animals for fur and flesh and so on and so on. he Green Party's brand of welfarism has not yet saved one life from the animal exploitation industries.

"you just give animal abusers something to laugh at"
Look again at the evidence. Educate yourself. Read "From Dusk 'till Dawn" by Keith Mann. You may then see the light and realise that true animal RIGHTS advocates are not of the same ilk as th media-whoring PETA crowd.

I do agree with one point you make, however. You do indeed "beggar belief"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

author by catladypublication date Tue Sep 23, 2008 05:32Report this post to the editors

please?????? a coherent one that i can reply to????????

author by Jamespublication date Tue Sep 23, 2008 16:06Report this post to the editors

I take this to be a vital necessity: the eradication of the ignominy inflicted by PeTA on the animal rights movement.

author by Devastatingly liberalpublication date Tue Sep 23, 2008 17:06Report this post to the editors

Ehm, are you saying that NARA is opposed to the ideas of Peter Singer as being "non-rights" and utilitarian?
Also are you saying that NARA is deontologist?

How about some explanation of terms here and an explanation of rights as to how it applies to animals and how this would practicly play out or be implemented?

Thanks

author by Roger Yatespublication date Wed Sep 24, 2008 01:10Report this post to the editors

Hopefully I can assist "devastatingly liberal" .

I think that NARA are claiming that PeTA follow the welfarist philosophy of Peter Singer and Singer as never suggested that he is an animal rightist: here Peter Singer says that rights play no fundamental part of his ethics - however, he uses rights language as a convenient 'political shorthand' - http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/programmes/iconoclasts/pr...shtml

Looking at NARA's web site, they do talk about rights violations. This is much to their credit. Human rights advocates base their fundamental claims on concepts of human rights abuses and human rights violations. This is not the usual language of the animal movement. They tend to express their position in the language of animal welfarism. It is true that some animal advocates say they avoid rights-based language 'tactically': the public are used to cruelty claims, the notion of animal rights is strange to them.

What this does is highlight the importance of Donald Watson, the founder of the Vegan Society (animal rightists believe that veganism is the moral baseline of their movement). Watson suggested in the 1940s that people need time to get used to new ideas. He said that people had to be 'ripened up' to new ideas as reflected in the task of anti-slavery advocates. Now, sociologically speaking, social movements are claims-making enterprises. They make claims about how they see the world and how it should change.

The claim of animal rightists is that nonhuman animals are rights bearers (in a limited sense) and what routinely happens to them when human use them as resources are rights violations. These are the claims that NARA appears to want the Irish public to consider and reflect upon.

Animal advocacy is not new to Ireland, but animal ~rights~ advocacy is. If the whole notion of animal rights seems laughable or weird, that reflects that animal rights claims in Irish society are new and perhaps disconcerting. Animal rights is a rather modest idea but its ramifications are far-reaching. In an important theoretical sense, NARA are showing that the idea of animal rights is not the same as the idea of animal welfarism, in whatever form it takes.

RY

author by Laura Broxson - National Animal Rights Associationpublication date Wed Sep 24, 2008 09:28author email naracampaigns at gmail dot comauthor address PO Box 11019, Dublin 2Report this post to the editors

Here are some of the links again, as some of them weren't working:

"Animal Rights" to PeTA is just a slogan – they are not interested in the philosophy of animals rights and they never promote or mention AR philosophers such as Gary Francione [ http://www.abolitionistapproach.com/?page_id=52 ] and Tom Regan [ http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/animalrights/about.html ].

Notes.

[2] http://www.thestar.com/article/497890 http://blog.peta.org/archives/2008/09/here_comes_the.php

[3] http://www.peta.org/feat/abc-striptease/index.asp http://billsnyder.vox.com/library/video/6a00c2251f31f3f....html

author by Devastate to liberatepublication date Wed Sep 24, 2008 11:51Report this post to the editors

Ehm, you still haven't answered the questions or offered a definition of terms?

I take it that the answer to are NARA deontologist is a yes?

Perhaps a definitionof deontologist, utilitarian and of rights would be helpful? Or maybe an explanation of the concept of rights, how this applies to animals and how you hope to implement it? Surely some sort of charter of animal rights would be a start and upon which you could then begin to lobby the government to recognise, no?

author by Mr Manpublication date Thu Sep 25, 2008 22:25Report this post to the editors

This all just seems like politics to me. PETA are trying to help animals, as are NARA, but due to a disagreement on methodology and ideology, NARA is taking a swipe at them? Sort of on the same team. It's like protestants and catholics arguing over who likes jesus more. Not trying to be crass, but get over it.

Beggar belief was right, your efforts would be best served countering animal abuse, not bickering about whether to establish a rights system or a welfare system.

author by Catladypublication date Fri Sep 26, 2008 03:29Report this post to the editors

"This all just seems like politics to me."

Of course the issue is political.

"PETA are trying to help animals, as are NARA, but due to a disagreement on methodology and ideology, NARA is taking a swipe at them? Sort of on the same team. It's like protestants and catholics arguing over who likes jesus more. Not trying to be crass, but get over it."

This comment simply displays your ignorance/lack of real interest or understanding/lack of respect (for not reading previous posts)/trollism. I fear, from encountering your coments on other threads, that the latter is the case.

"Beggar belief was right, your efforts would be best served countering animal abuse, not bickering about whether to establish a rights system or a welfare system."

Indeed. So rights and welfare are the same thing? or one is as good as the other perhaps??? Tell that to black South Africans pre-Mandela.

And are you REALLY interested in helping NARA serve thier efforts well????? If not, why the kindly advice????

I'd ask you to explain your nonsense but I doubt you'd be capable, as nonsense it is.

Note to serious posters, all of whom are welcome from both sides of the argument I am sure.

Mr. Man is a Troll. Do not feed him. Although it can be amusing to do so at times, resist the urge!

author by Roger Yatespublication date Fri Sep 26, 2008 18:24Report this post to the editors

RTFQ wrote: "I take it that the answer to are NARA deontologist is a yes?

Perhaps a definitionof deontologist, utilitarian and of rights would be helpful? Or maybe an explanation of the concept of rights, how this applies to animals and how you hope to implement it? Surely some sort of charter of animal rights would be a start and upon which you could then begin to lobby the government to recognise, no?"

I am not a spokesperson for NARA and would not dream of speaking for them. I do ~think~ that the NARA position is deontological rather than utilitarian and probably not an attempted blend of the two.

Some parts of this blog entry and comments may help to clarify the situation. http://www.wesleyjsmith.com/blog/2006/11/gary-francione....html

For example, the citation from Gary Francione's blog, and this from a philosopher: "I have to say that I find Singer's falling out with the animal rights people almost amusing. My inclination is to laugh and hope they waste a lot of time bashing on each other.

"As a philosopher, I find it especially funny because it reveals that the animal rights people are what we call "deontologists" or "absolutists." I am, too. It's just that my absolutes (like, "abortion is always wrong") are different from theirs (like, "eating animals is always wrong"). But Singer is just a consistent utilitarian. He doesn't think _anything_ is always wrong. It always depends on the total happiness or unhappiness to persons, etc. I'm kind of surprised this family squabble between him and the other folks hasn't happened sooner."

I understand that the modern conception of rights is that they are a social construct, not existing in nature (like speed limits), and not god-given. As for your comment about government, this aspect of animal advocacy is complex. Obviously any social movement would like to think that they can convince people through force of argument of the validity of their claims yet many social movements will turn to law when they can get sufficient political support and thereby force people to not do what those people still desire. That is an issue that, of course, takes us well beyond just the ramifications of animal advocacy.

RY

author by Mr Manpublication date Sat Sep 27, 2008 16:12Report this post to the editors

"This comment simply displays your ignorance/lack of real interest or understanding/lack of respect/trollism"

I do not see how. PETA and NARA both campaign for animals. They both want what they think is best for animals. But since NARA disagrees with promoting welfarism instead of advocating rights and feel that PETA dirties the name of animal right advocacy, Laura Broxson takes a swipe at them.

"So rights and welfare are the same thing? or one is as good as the other perhaps??? Tell that to black South Africans pre-Mandela."

The ideal situation is to have both surely? And again, equating apartheid to animal rights is stretching it. Different morals apply to animals than to humans. Anthropomorphism is a cognitive(and in my opinion moral) fallacy.

And are you REALLY interested in helping NARA serve thier efforts well?

In a word, no. I disagree with NARA tactics, some of their campaigns and from this example, their pettyness.

Calling me a troll is just an attempt to ignore debate.

author by I agree with Mr Man.publication date Sun Sep 28, 2008 21:55Report this post to the editors

mr man save yourself the time and bother responding to that 'catlady' no one knows who she is or what she is about, she spends her time consistently on indymedia looking for this type of hatchery and will always find something wrong whatever right you do shes a real example of negativity whatever the hell she does be murcking on about.................. leave her to it, let her type god love her and go do your good work for animals whatever it may be....

author by veganpandapublication date Fri Oct 17, 2008 17:05Report this post to the editors

I never fail to be surprised by the lack of commitment to the animals by welfarist organisations (PeTA, Greenpeace, RSPCA, WWF, WSPA, etc) & people alike! Surely you either care about the rights of animals or or you don't & if you support a welfarist org then the animals really do not matter to you!

I'm proud of the organisation NARA & what they stand for, no half measures for them!

n704073418_474927_4521.jpg

author by Mr Manpublication date Fri Oct 17, 2008 22:15Report this post to the editors

"if you support a welfarist org then the animals really do not matter to you"

That seems a completely counter intuitive point. You may disagree with their methods, but to say they dont care just shows your irrationality. Its the same as saying animal shelters dont care about animals because they have to put them down if they dont find homes.

I have separate problems with PETA but their heart is in the right place. NARA are just the same, just a different brand. Petty squabbling only encumbers the efforts of all involved and denigrates the animal cause as a whole.

author by Catladypublication date Tue Oct 28, 2008 02:01Report this post to the editors

I disagree with the following "Petty squabbling only encumbers the efforts of all involved and denigrates the animal cause as a whole."

Firstly, on the grounds that engaging a debate about approaches to social justice issues is never a waste of time, but rather serves to widen the scope of the issue at hand. A society which cannot debate the various possible ways in which to achieve harmony is not one in which I would like to live.

What is described here as "petty squabbling" is in fact, when taken in context, part of a worldwide philosophical debate. The type of debate without which no advancement would ever be made.

There are deep divergences of belief and opinion on the question of rights vs. welfarism. It is not something NARA has pulled out of the blue, but rahter a question which has preoccupied academics from around the globe for quite some time.

I know which side of this particular debate I stand on. I am unequivocally an Animal Rights thinker and advocate the abolitionist approach. I do however welcome any and all intelligent discussion of mthods of achieving rights for non-human animals. I am not interested in ensuring their "welfare", simply because during the history of the welfarist movement, the situation of non-humans has actually become worse. Nothing speaks to me clearer or louder that cold hard fact, and for this reason, I refuse to be associated with "welfarists".

There is an enormous difference, morally and philosophically speaking, between granting rights, and looking out for welfare. Not to mention the difference in the results that each produces.

author by RTFQpublication date Tue Oct 28, 2008 12:18Report this post to the editors

"There are deep divergences of belief and opinion on the question of rights vs. welfarism."

How come no one so far has been able to enunciate either of them?

author by Cianpublication date Wed Oct 29, 2008 10:47Report this post to the editors

Welfare is concerned primarily with suffering.
Rights is concerned with animal use.

There's your capsule explanation :)

author by RTFQpublication date Wed Oct 29, 2008 14:17Report this post to the editors

Okay, thanks for that simple answer, but then how come the concern with animal use has come to be enveloped in the philosophical language of rights and deontology?

author by RogerYatespublication date Thu Oct 30, 2008 13:16Report this post to the editors

The best-known philosopher of human-nonhuman relations is Peter Singer. Singer is often characterised as the "father of the animal rights movement" and his 1975 book, Animal Liberation, as the "bible" of this movement. However, Singer is a utilitarian progressive animal welfarist and he uses rights only as political shorthand and not as a fundamental aspect of his ethical position on anything. Within a few years of the publication of Animal Liberation, Singer wrote: "With the benefit of hindsight, I regret that I did allow the concept of a right to intrude into my work...it would have avoided misunderstanding if I had not made this concession to popular moral rhetoric."

The best known animal rights philosophers are Tom Regan http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fTNNJspZXA4 and Gary Francione http://www.abolitionistapproach.com/?page_id=47

Regan is credited as being the first philosopher to extent rights-based though beyond the species barrier when he wrote The Case for Animal Rights in 1983. The central claim in Regan is that many nonhuman animals are, like human ones, subjects-of-a-life. Francione, who is a law professor as well as philosopher and whose best known work in Introduction to Animal Rights, concentrates on the property status of nonhuman animals and argues that they can hold no meaningful rights while being regarded as legal 'things'. Often, what the so-called Animal Rights Movement campaigns for is rights to welfare rather than rights in a fundamental sense.

RY

author by catladypublication date Sat Nov 01, 2008 23:15Report this post to the editors

I think RY just answered all and every question th\t was asked of me. And in a very eloquent manner! I apologise for typos.
t hand is swollen and sore from rescuing a dog and getting bitten. So to random above person. I actually help animals. Physically save them. I just don't need media coverage as a reward cos .... I am no media whore.

author by RTFQpublication date Sun Nov 02, 2008 15:18Report this post to the editors

"Often, what the so-called Animal Rights Movement campaigns for is rights to welfare rather than rights in a fundamental sense."

See, I actually tend to agree with you on this, but surely then what you're saying flies in the face of this whole more radical than thou cause we support rights over welfare argument (without any explanation or understanding of any of the concepts or terms being used)?

author by RogerYatespublication date Sun Nov 02, 2008 17:40Report this post to the editors

I think a fundamental point is being missed if we interpret what's going on in animal advocacy as people competing to be more radical than others. There is a fundamental split among animal advocates in terms of philosophy and methodology.

In practical terms, social movements are claims-makers in civil society. Much of the debate in animal advocacy is about claims-making and the grounding of claims. Most people in the "animal rights movement" use rights rhetorically because when they say "animal rights" they do not necessarily mean that they hold sentient nonhumans to be rightholders, oppose the property status of nonhuman animals, or argue that what happens to them are rights violations. This is not the language of the current "animal rights movement". Ironically, it is the language of a few rights-based animal advocates who take rights serious as the main basis of their claims about human-nonhuman relations. It may surprise some to learn that the rights-based philosophers in animal advocacy are deliberately marginalised by the most powerful mainstream organisations in the movement. Some 'movement people' also have problems with animal rights theory due to its implications for pets: http://human-nonhuman.blogspot.com/2008/10/news-flash-difficult-pet-issue-resolved.html

In terms of animal rights and animal welfare, rights is about use and welfare is about treatment. However, there are complications. For example, some people such as fur farmers or animal breeders claim to be true animal welfarists. There are also traditional animal welfarists who want to regulate animal use so as to ban some of it and make some of it "humane" (the basic concept in animal welfare legislation is bringing about animal use in which there is no "unnecessary suffering").

Although they tend to resist the term, there are also new or neo-welfarists who work on the premise that they may be able to regulate animal use so much so and so strictly that (some at least) animal use becomes impossible. They tend to argue that it may be possible to regulate atrocities to the extent that they end altogether. Now, it may be the case that people who self-identify as radicals do not like to think of themselves as animal welfarists, but 'neo-welfarist' does often sum up their stance rather well.

Of course, this amount of complexity may seem bewildering to both insiders and outsiders of the animal movement - but they are meaningful in terms of social movement claims-making.

Hopeful this article may clarify matter for those interested. Here animal rights philosopher Gary Francione suggests that there is no animal rights movement in North America. I see little reason why this view does not apply ~as a general matter~ in Ireland as well: http://www.animalfreedom.org/english/column/francione.html

RY

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