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A Message from Your Favourite Corporate Animal Charity

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A Victory for the Animals is in Your Hands!

In 1999, a European Union Council Directive instructed member states to implement legislation to ban conventional battery cages by 1 January, 2012.* Enriched cages were to be the new minimal standard. Although this was an enormous baby-step, and although it took decades to get from the point of campaigning to the implementation of the ban, what we campaigned for was not what we really wanted.

It wasn’t that we set out to deceive you, our loyal donors, and we’re grateful for the megabucks you helped us raise to campaign for something that we didn’t want (and yet pretended we did). You see, change doesn’t happen overnight and, according to the Animal Orgs’ Textbook, Logic 101, if you ask for what you want and things change then you’ve clearly asked for the wrong thing.

Recently, we’ve been to visit laying hens in order to ask them “as exploited birds, what is it that you want?” We listened very carefully to their responses (while some of our undercover investigators participated in their exploitation and killing), but since we couldn’t understand them we decided that if we were among Europe’s 498 million laying hens we’d want to be exploited without cages.

We spent many years asking for enriched cages and, although they were better than battery cages, we realised that if we were hens, we wouldn’t particularly like living in them. After all, although every little bit helps, a little extra space (for which we advocated, and which we said would make a significant difference in the lives of those animals) doesn’t really help at all.

We decried our critics who said that these cages for which we campaigned so hard—and which were implemented after decades of petitions, donations and media galas—were little more than window dressing. Our critics—the animal exploiters’ best assets with their divisiveness (and their nonsensical statement that if you want to end animal exploitation you have to end animal exploitation) were wrong, of course, but those cages were little more than window dressing.

Now, we are asking you to help us get rid of the cages that we asked for, in order that almost 500 million laying hens can be exploited in the way that we’d want to be exploited ourselves. Incidentally, there were about 90 million laying hens still in battery cages in Europe in 2012 after the implementation of the ban, but animals are just statistics, so that doesn’t really matter. We recognise that the enriched cage ban will take us another decade or so to achieve, and another decade after that to be implemented, but what’s 20 years? After all, there are hundreds of millions of birds exploited in Europe every year, and they are killed after about 2 years, so those who are around when the campaign starts won’t have to endure the protracted period of campaigning with us—they’ll already be dead and replaced 10 times over.

The world won’t go v-word overnight, so if we phase in improvements, each taking about 20 years from campaigning to implementation, then we should have a much happier and profitable exploitation system within a millennium. THEN, we’ll have primed people to care about our happily exploited (and grateful! It’s what they’d want!) animals, and can start talking about the v-word. In hushed tones, because we don’t want to drive anyone away.

Donate today to help us help the animals who are suffering now in order that their successors after 10 rotations might see the golden age: exploitation and killing without wire bars! We’ll have a v-word world by 4016!

If you want to do more to help, please download our “What can I do?” guide, which includes the following tips:

* Don’t eat speckled eggs;
* Don’t eat eggs that come in blue cartons;

* Eat one egg fewer per year;
* Offer up thanks to the exploited chickens for their sacrifice, since this will be as useful to them as our campaign.

If you are interested in activism:
* Send people to our website;
* Share our petitions;
* Donate;
* Try to stay quiet, and certainly don’t mention the v-word.

* Gary L. Francione, in his 2010 book co-authored with Robert Garner, The Animal Rights Debate: Abolition or Regulation, discusses the Directive, noting that it gave producers the option to switch to “enriched cages” (“that have a nest, a perching space, litter for scratching and pecking, and unrestricted access to a feed trough”) or to go to a cageless system. An EU report insisted that there would not be a significant cost disadvantage associated with the enriched cage, and that “the higher animal welfare standards can serve as a valuable selling point for EU producers.” Both Compassion in World Farming and the RSPCA agreed that the enriched cages were little better than battery cages (p. 43).

Read more from Gary Francione on the ban that was not a ban here.

It is also important to note that the EU Directive did not apply to establishments with fewer than 350 laying hens or establishments rearing breeding laying hens. This “Victory for the Animals” also resulted in massive culls of birds who were farmed by people not able to afford to switch over to the new cage system.

As Gary Francione writes, “If anyone thinks that this campaign was a good use of movement resources, then I disagree. It is clear to me that the time, money, and labor would have been better invested in a clear and unequivocal vegan campaign, rather than confusing the public into thinking that “welfare-friendly” eggs are any more real than unicorns.”

Don’t entrust animal interests to the large animal organisations who ask for or celebrate “welfare improvements” that they actually condemn, only to have them ask for something else when what they requested was granted. Instead, get out into your community and talk to people about veganism. We have limited time and resources; let’s use them wisely by asking for our vegan world.

The proceeds for writing this article will be donated towards local TNR projects. 

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  • Vege Cat

    Wait, this was a parody? (Only half-joking. I used to fall for this, especially PETA with their “we are for animal rights, not animal welfare, except we’re for welfare because it will lead to rights” talk, because hey, if they’re for animal rights, I should donate, right? This article gave me a sense of deja vu.)

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