How An Article On Eggs In The Guardian Completely Misses The Mark
Some new vegans fall prey to the bedazzling marketing strategies employed by the large welfarist groups. Unless a new vegan has fully confronted his/her own speciesism by recognising that the issue of animal exploitation is an issue of use and demand – and not treatment – that person is quite likely to fall prey to the speciesism of the mainstream “animal movement.” Some new vegans get such an empowering false sense of self-righteousness that the idea that they still need to learn something about themselves (and what they owe others) is enough to keep them embracing speciesism. It’s just that much easier to accept it and blindly support the actions of animal businesses than to recognise that these measures have adverse effects on animals through promoting continued exploitation. For these vegans to accept that fact would mean that they also have to accept their own speciesist behaviour. If I have learnt anything in my time doing this, it’s that the egos of these sorts of people will always stand in the way of any kind of personal development.
It’s with this in mind that I bring your attention to this article posted in The Guardian. “Don’t be fooled by the pretty box: find out the horror behind your egg” has been doing its rounds on social media and seems to be very popular with the sorts of vegans mentioned above. The new vegan advocate – in the absence of abolitionist education – automatically seems to board the treatment-train and finds some sort of value in explaining the various processes of exploitation in great detail – without even mentioning veganism. Fundamentally, this comes from an ignorance to the realities surrounding animal welfarism and the default positions held by most members of society on account of 200 years of welfare. It is assumed that by documenting (or “exposing”) the various “cruel” ways in which animals are treated, people will automatically link those gruesome realities to a desire to cease exploitation altogether. The reality is that it’s very unlikely for someone to get to that position when the focus on treatment necessarily assumes the legitimacy of the underlying use. People may agree that the treatment of animals is bad, but that agreement says nothing about the perception of animals as commodities in the first instance. Indeed, the focus on this kind advocacy actually tells people that there are better ways to treat animals. The paradigm remains firmly entrenched in the notion that animals are things for our purposes. By implying that there are better ways to treat animals, their property status and subsequent commodification has actually been strengthened. This is why it is so very important that we avoid using the language of “suffering” in our interactions with non-vegans. They can only interpret it in their default welfarist light.
The Guardian article talks at length about the routine practices involved in both intensive and “free-range” egg facilities. It talks about how certain practices must end and pays lip-service to the “in-ovo-sexing” technology currently being developed in Europe, as if the presence of such technology would make things at all better for the birds who are routinely exploited and killed. It implies that there is some kind of moral distinction to be made between organic and non-organic farms, and that if “beak trimming must be eliminated, so must the heartlessly cramped conditions which make mainstream farmers feel it’s a necessary protection.” In other words, The Guardian is implying that a better way of exploiting animals exists; that the eradication of “cramped cages” would equate to a morally better form of exploitation. Aside from ignoring the fact that animals are property – and as such their protection is limited substantially – any sorts of “higher-welfare” conditions are merely employed for the sake of catering to niche markets. Regardless of the conditions at a given facility, the animals are still considered commodities with no inherent value. They are things
When vegans share articles like this, they promote and normalise the underlying message that the institution of animal use, in and of itself, is legitimate. The new vegan’s assumption that talking about horrible treatment gets people on board with animal rights is unfounded. It merely strengthens their existing belief that when it comes to animals, treatment is all that matters.