Farm Sanctuary Back-Patting: The Annual Welfarist Bonanza
What are we to expect from this years 30th anniversary Farm Sanctuary gala? The promotion of veganism as a moral baseline? The discussion of animal ethics in terms of fundamental moral principles? Don’t be silly – of course not. It’s party-time for the promoters of “happy” animal exploitation, and what better way to celebrate than fill a fancy hotel with non-vegan celebrities and give awards to industry partners?
Allene Lapides, who is a member of the Board of Directors for the Humane Society, and president of the Allene & Jerome Lapides foundation (which solicits funding for “animal welfare & protection”) received the Gift of Life Award. Ironic, no? A board director and president for two separate bodies that promote animal exploitation through welfare reform and “happy” animal products, to receive an award supposedly celebrating the gift of life? But it doesn’t stop there. Kat Von D, a musician and tattoo artist, won the Compassion in Action award, and singer Leona Lewis won the Friends, Not Food award. While the last two are not Board of Director members for a welfare organisation, both are avid supporters of welfarist organisations – most notably the Humane Society and Farm Sanctuary itself. From Farm Sanctuary’s point of view, who better to give awards to than two celebrities that are able and willing to donate hundreds of thousands of dollars? According to this article in Variety, Leona sang a “rousing” rendition of happy birthday to Farm Sanctuary, and was followed on stage shortly after by “skip showers for beef” star, Moby. Yes, that’s right – we’re singing happy birthday to an organisation that expresses “appreciation and support” for the ways in which Whole Foods torture and kill their animals.
Farm sanctuary co-founder, Gene Baur, celebrated the evening’s narcissism and back-patting by saying that “kindness to animals is also good for us.” This guy is a pro. Nothing solicits donations faster than the mindless spewing of ambiguous phrases, directed at making us humans feel like better people for doing absolutely nothing. Sure, be “kind” to animals (whatever that means), but this is really about us and making ourselves feel better because we’re such great people. In Farm Sanctuary’s case, being “kind” to animals means sending them more money. Baur says that they “give a voice” to those who can’t stand up for themselves, but they’re not giving animals a voice. In reality they’re taking that voice – a voice that if could talk would say please don’t exploit me at all – and telling the public that the animals just want to be exploited better.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Farm Sanctuary gala without the Fund-A-Farm Live Auction. Pile as many celebrities in a room as possible, all of whom are supposedly “united against farm animal cruelty” and ask them for money. The auction in and of itself is the perfect metaphorical imagery for Farm Sanctuary’s philosophical position – vegan, vegetarian, reducitarian, it’s all the same so long as you want to stop “cruelty.” A room filled with some vegans and some non-vegans, all tarred with the same brush; a gala for Farm Sanctuary, “uniting” those against “farm animal cruelty,” while simultaneously promoting the “happy” exploitation and murder of those they all claim to protect. In the end, though, that’s not what matters. So long as those celebrities open up their wallets and the money flows, who cares about moral consistency or principle, right Gene?
Photo from Variety