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April 16, 2014 | 124 Comments

Serpentine Ramp (Temple Grandin)

From the curators: Animal rights activist and scientist Temple Grandin created the serpentine ramp to ensure the humane treatment of cattle. The first ramps that Grandin designed, in 1974, were used during vaccinations of the herd and then, within the same year, for slaughter plants. Grandin designed the ramp so that it prevents cattle from being spooked by the workers or the abattoir up ahead. Semicircular turns take advantage of the movement cattle naturally make in groups. Walking nose to tail, the cows march their way through to the kill floor without the use of prods or noise, and without panicking and injuring themselves. Grandin observed cattle in pasture, in her vaccinating chutes, and in her designs for slaughter houses. By taking blood samples from cattle she was able to show that using her design meant that cortisol levels (a stress hormone) were comparable in all three locations. She believes that design is never a substitute for livestock managers who support low-stress handling, and she advocates for video auditing to prevent employees from abusing animals. In her own words, “People forget that nature is very harsh, especially when predators attack. The big cats kill their prey first, but the canids (wolves and hyena) may rip the guts out of a live animal. We owe the animals we use for food a life worth living and a painless death.”

Stunned is the word that springs to mind as I contemplate the slaughter chute with its snake-like reticulation and its ox-blood paint. If it works, if all goes well—as well as things can go when a living being is lured toward a violent death—then the cow will end up stunned, courtesy of a pneumatic device pressed against her forehead. Not knocked unconscious but stunned, fully sensate but disoriented, her brain scrambling to make sense of things before she is hoisted up by a chain. It’s a stunning sight: every pound of her immense weight hanging by one ankle, as she dangles and twirls like a leaf snagged on a fencepost.

It’s also stunning to realize that, in the U.S. alone, some 33 million cows—about 10 times the number of visitors who file through The Museum of Modern Art each year—will experience this space firsthand, or a similar but less welcoming version of it. Perhaps one designed with less rigor, maybe thrown together with pieces of corrugated sheeting, much as a child might nail together some planks to make a tree house. These 33 million cows—each an individual with her own thoughts and worries—will stumble through this chute or that each year, unless people begin to relate at a far faster rate to who’s on their plate.

Who? It is now thought that cows convey messages to each other via subtle facial expressions, and as reported in The Sunday Times, studies show that “[c]ows have a secret mental life in which they bear grudges, nurture friendships and become excited over intellectual challenges.” They have a secret death, too, because while most of us have been to a mall or a museum, almost no one but migrant workers and meat inspectors has ever visited a slaughterhouse.

Is it stunning to learn the perspective of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) on Temple Grandin’s designs—not just the serpentine chute but also, before that, her “Stairway to Heaven,” her kosher slaughter pen, and all her efforts to make slaughter a slightly less upsetting process for animals such as cows, who are so shortsighted that they shy away from a paper cup? Surely, PETA must condemn an object that contrives to lure hapless animals to a bloody end. But no, puritanism has no place in war, and the human race, which fancies itself as compassionate, decent, and thoughtful, is engaged in an unjust war against the animal nations. No matter how bright, sensitive, and interested in life cows may be, they are seen as raw materials for hamburgers and handbags, steaks and satchels, reduced to the sum of their flesh, blood, and skin. In war, real choices, not lofty philosophical positions, are what count. Ask me which I would prefer: my mother frogmarched by guards into a concentration camp gas oven, or having her led gently in without allowing her to realize fully what lies ahead, and the answer is simple. If wishes were horses, my mother and the cow would both be out in a flower-filled meadow―one grazing happily, the other gathering mushrooms for soup.

But slaughter is the current reality, and design makes a difference. The right design can mean that a cow doesn’t get kicked in the face by the man on the rail because she didn’t hesitate at a blind corner and turn back in a panic, setting off ripples of fear in other cows, who then tremble and turn back, too, clogging up the line and slowing down the process of converting cows into cuts of meat. And it can mean, too, that she will step calmly forward, toward the man with the chain, unwittingly drawn into the realm of violence and into an experience that she could never have imagined—her own death. What is especially stunning to me, though, is that so many people do not yet know how very easy it is to reject violence, to decide to walk past the meat case and, instead, eat for life.

Keywords:

Can we design a violent act to be more humane?

  1. April 16, 2014, 3:30 pm

    Katie

    The explanation of slaughter and the emotional lives of cows is heartbreaking. While we can’t save all these animals yet from the slaughterhouse, any time they aren’t kicked, electro-shocked or frightened when we can prevent it should be done. If this suffering moves you the real answer is going vegan, making the chutes less frightening is a band aid to the cruelty to animals happening daily in the meat, dairy and egg industries.

  2. April 16, 2014, 3:34 pm

    Erich

    Moral Relativity

    The more that I learn about and consider conditions outside of the first world and even within the underclass of first world nations, the more profoundly I am struck by almost everybody’s incredibly narrow, self-centered perspective. I think almost everyday of the quote (the source of which I am still not clear on) “No matter where you go, there you are.”

    I read about the current politic situation in Uganda and the history of the Khamer Rouge (those are just the topics I was reading about in The New York Review of Books this morning, by the way) but then worry that my iPhone screen has cracked. Even though I understand intellectually the pain and suffering of others, my experience of it, ability to genuinely empathize and certainly take action is limited. So, of course, anybody’s empathy for a member of another species is going to be far more limited, especially without first hand experience.

    Just last week, I was engaged in a conversation on Facebook in which people claimed to abhor cruelty to animals but still eat meat. My guess is that they were thinking primarily of domesticated animals with whom they have direct experience and possibly wildlife. If they saw their favorite dog or cat endure anything even close to what beef cattle experiences, they would probably be outraged. But, as Stalin may have said, one death is a tragedy, a million a statistic. These people are displaying what I consider to be blatant moral relativity while claiming to be ethical.

    As far as I am concerned, anybody living in a first world nation, particularly anybody generally able to subsist, can lay no claim whatsoever to moral absolutism. But then, no matter where you go, there you are. So, if we are to live this way, the best that we can do (if we want to maintain any claim to morality) is to make concessions. PETA’s support of these innovations may at first seem contradictory to its mission, but it is also a pragmatic concession to make an improvement in the short term while continuing to fight a larger fight.

  3. April 16, 2014, 3:45 pm

    Maria Blanton

    Mrs.

    Yes, yes, we must do anything to help the animals on their way to be slaughtered, until people see the light and slaughter houses are closed. Remember, it will also help people who eat meat as this meat will not have as much cortisol, the stress hormone, which is so harmful.

  4. April 16, 2014, 4:03 pm

    Alicia

    I hope that after seeing Grandin’s design, people will think harder about the fact that cows (and chickens, pigs, and fish) all feel pain, fear, love, and joy, just like the dogs and cats we share our homes with. Learning that it is important to keep cattle calm before their violent deaths should inspire people to think about the fact that animals value their lives and don’t want to die. In the developed world where we can go to the grocery store and buy a veggie burger or a pound of beans, there is absolutely NO reason to force any animal to endure the horrors of factory farming and slaughter just to satisfy someone’s fleeting taste for their flesh. Go vegan.

  5. April 16, 2014, 4:10 pm

    Tatum

    This is so beautifully written, and a tragic reality, that our treatment of animals is so heinous that creating a less hellish death for these sentient, intelligent animals is better than doing nothing at all. Certainly though, the kindest choice we could ever make–is not to exploit them at all.

  6. April 16, 2014, 4:17 pm

    sharon chang

    mrs

    going vegan is the first way to change things!speak out about cruelty to everyone you can!and if you are so inclined pray for mercy for the animals!Christ is stronger than anything!

  7. April 16, 2014, 4:24 pm

    LucyP

    The least we can do

    My dad had a plaque hanging in his office that said “There’s no right way to do a wrong thing.” I tend to agree with that sentiment, but in cases like this, where we are dealing with such a massive “wrong,” I agree with Ms. Newkirk that some improvement is preferable to keeping the cruel status quo while we hold out for total abolition. As more people realize the destruction our appetite for meat is wreaking on animals, the environment, and our own health, society is gradually embracing plant-based eating, but until we get there, the least we can do for the animals who are killed for meat is to make their lives and deaths a bit less painful and terrifying.

  8. April 16, 2014, 4:33 pm

    Christina

    None

    To examine how violence works within design in this case is very thought-provoking. I think the dichotomy between designing slaughter shutes to comfort cows right before they are murdered is shocking, and yet speaks to the wider human condition. We want to be absolved of guilt and not witness the slaughter of animals who experience pain, fear, and love to satisfy our selfish desires. These shutes help us accomplish this while granting some measure of peace to the animals who are about to die for us. I also agree with the author–if we can prevent even some pain and fear, why not? Thank you to Temple Grandin and Ingrid Newkirk for making such vital steps to make the world a kinder place.

  9. April 16, 2014, 4:35 pm

    Christina

    none

    *chutes

  10. April 16, 2014, 5:53 pm

    Peggy wilkey

    Ms

    We need to eat less meat then the farmers will be more appreciative of the animals the way it use to be. Today’s farmers are over abusers an we let them be.

  11. April 16, 2014, 5:56 pm

    Jessica

    Cows

    I often pass cows grazing in the fields behind my house and always apologize to them for all the terrible things humans do to them. In the hopes of getting them to think twice, I talk to people who have stopped to watch the cows and tell them how glad I am that I don’t eat them anymore. When will we learn, when will we ever learn?

  12. April 16, 2014, 6:04 pm

    Heather Wellington

    Temple Grandin’s chute is a fine concept, and I do support slaughterhouse reforms, but it’s such a small Band-Aid over the mass cruelty of animal agriculture. The cows marching down the serpentine chute can certainly still smell death in the air, and they arrive at the chute after being crammed into suffocating transport trucks for hours or days at a time. Grandin’s work has made a difference–it has helped make animal welfare a consideration of the animal slaughter industry as well as making it part of the popular discussion. However, animals don’t much care about people discussing the relative merits of the tools of their demise, so Ingrid Newkirk is right–the thing that really makes a difference to animals is the decrease in demand for their flesh.

  13. April 16, 2014, 6:13 pm

    Alexander W.

    Is Peta getting soft?

    Killing animals is wrong, period! We can have a healthy live being Vegan, period! We don´t need fur and leather, period! Anyone who is really engaged in the fight for animal rights will never condone with something that kills animals. Now people who are thinking about changing their lifestyles for a vegetarian or vegan style could think: “Well if Peta agrees, I can continue to eat meet.” They (the animals) deserve to live just like us, period! There’s no compromise on that. Doing a wrong thing in a less wrong way, doesn’t make it right.

  14. April 16, 2014, 7:49 pm

    Gary L. Francione/Anna E. Charlton

    Is There An Animal Rights Advocate in the Room?

    The MoMA curators describe slaughterhouse designer Temple Grandin as an “animal rights activist.” And Ingrid Newkirk, the head of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), takes the time to put in a good word for Grandin and her slaughterhouse design: after all, Grandin already received PETA’s “Visionary” Award. Newkirk even waxes lyrical. It’s strange: never on a visit to a slaughterhouse did a hoisted cow appear to us “like a leaf snagged on a fencepost.”

    But we are all reassured by Grandin’s pronouncements, because we want to be, and the meat industry needs us to be. She says that “[w]e owe the animals we use for food a life worth living and a painless death.” Without that reassurance, we might be uncomfortable with what we are paying someone else to do to get that meat to our table. And look: it’s working. The curators state *as a fact* that “Grandin created the serpentine ramp to ensure the humane treatment of cattle.” So we’ve just *assumed* that slaughter can be made “humane.” A “scientist” says it can be, so it must be true and PETA has signed off. Should we have any residual worries, Grandin reminds us that wolves and hyenas don’t kill nicely either. It must be alright for us, then, as we should all take our moral cues from hyenas.

    Temple Grandin’s comments are to be expected. Despite the curators’ view, we maintain that Grandin is simply auxillary to the meat industry. Indeed, Grandin, a consultant for the meat industry, makes clear that her designs are intended to “keep the meat industry running safely, efficiently and profitably.” The meat industry loves Grandin. She helps them operate efficiently and she gives that industry its cover.

    But for Ingrid Newkirk to be joining that choir? The effects of this design are things that the meat industry *needs*. That industry wants the speediest slaughter possible. Newkirk notes that frightened cattle will turn back, “clogging up the line and slowing down the process of converting cows into cuts of meat.” The concern of the slaughterhouse about cows injuring themselves has *nothing* to do with care for the cow. None of them is approaching slaughterhouse construction “as a child might nail together some planks to make a tree house.” There’s nothing innocent, picturesque or bucolic about a slaughterhouse. A large, frightened animal thrashing against a threat can injure slaughterhouse workers and cause expensive carcass damage, The concern is for profit, not the well-being of the cow, who is about to meet the violent death that will get her to your plate. The meat industry seeks efficient slaughter because that is what is in the economic interests of industry.

    If animals matter morally, we can simply not justify exploiting animals for food and it’s not just a matter of tweaking the design. It’s a matter of simply and plainly saying “no” to slaughter and using animals for food. The industry will clean up the process itself if it has its rational economic interests at heart. Industry knows the dangers and expenses of a less calm approach to the kill floor. They don’t need “animal right activists” educating them on that. They can hire someone with design expertise, just as prisons hire architects to design execution chambers, and interrogators with their “enhanced techniques” can find psychologists to consult on just what conditions are the most effective.

    But the meat industry *does* need people identified as “animal rights activists” to convince consumers that it is possible to kill at this industrial level and still do it nicely. Then “[i]f it works, if all goes well—as well as things can go when a living being is lured to a violent death,” as Ingrid Newkirk notes, then what actually happens is that we forget the fear; we forget the death; we forget the “realm of violence” of the slaughter house, and we are reassured, as the curators comment, that design has brought us to the “humane treatment” that *we* want. We’re the ones who decide to buy the meat and animal products. It’s about *us*; it’s not about the animals.

    Ingrid Newkirk gets out in front of the dissonance of her comments considering that she leads an organization that purports to be concerned about animals. According to her, criticism must be “puritanism”; “lofty philosophical positions” have no place. But we can get to condemnation of slaughterhouses without high philosophy. All valuable moral thinking is, in essence, simple, but it does require *thinking*.

    We would have hesitated to recollect other times when humans have designed a “highway to heaven,” as Grandin calls her ramp design. We do not believe that we need to compare slaughter to concentration camps where the same term—himmelweg—was used, to question the morality of designers participating in slaughter on an industrial scale. But Newkirk takes us there: “Ask me which I would prefer: my mother frogmarched by guards into a concentration camp gas oven, or having her led gently in without allowing her to realize fully what lies ahead.” Perhaps she finds it useful to rank evils. Himmler put care into the design of his facilities. Would we ever consider designers or supporters of the “nice” gas chambers to be human rights activists? Would we ever call what they designed “humane”? Let’s take the sneers out of the situation and not defend the indefensible. Is there an animal rights advocate in the room?

    Gary L. Francione is Board of Governors Distinguished Professor of Law and Nicholas deB. Katzenbach Scholar of Law and Philosophy at Rutgers University. He is the author of numerous books on animal ethics and law, including The Animal Rights Debate and Animals as Persons. Anna E. Charlton is Adjunct Professor of Law at Rutgers University, and, with Francione, is co-author of Eat Like You Care: An Examination of the Morality of Eating Animals.

    Gary Francione will be one of the two participants in the debate at MoMA on Thursday, April 17.

  15. April 16, 2014, 8:20 pm

    Peggy Moniz

    Just because the design is jolly and interesting to humans does not mean the cattle want to be slaughtered here.

  16. April 16, 2014, 8:39 pm

    Debbie Anderson

    Grandin an animal rights activist? An entire movement is insulted by using this name to describe her. Grandin is a killer. Bottom line. Just another kind of killer.

  17. April 16, 2014, 8:57 pm

    Rebecca

    There is nothing “humane” animal exploitation. Nor can there ever be. Hint: that’s why it’s called exploitation. And for supposed animal rights advocates to line up to give this project a stamp of approval only consolidates the belief that enslaving and killing another sentient being is somehow concomitant with ethical treatment, and the belief that the interests of the vulnerable can be used as means to our ends provided they are not tortured *too much* (as if one could substitute ethics for mathematics, or measure it out). Making people feel more comfortable with abusing animals is the very opposite of any stance for the end of animal use. There is no middle ground. True animal rights activists must categorically reject such moves in practice as well as in theory, if they are to reach the non-vegan population and make any substantive progress towards ending animal use. Anything else confuses the issue. And that is certainly not needed.

    Grandin may think she cares, but all she has done is produce a terrible amount of propaganda in favour of the continuation of the meat industry.

  18. April 16, 2014, 9:08 pm

    Nancy Kane

    Health/Fitness Specialist

    There is no humane or designer or high end way to murder, torture or exploit any living being, period. We prolong these practices when we do not consistetnly stay true and pure to the cause.

  19. April 16, 2014, 9:09 pm

    Rudy Kazudi

    Angel of Death

    It is no surprise that Grandin is supported by Newkirk, under whose direction thousands of healthy and adoptable dogs, cats and other animals are executed in service of Newkirk’s aberrant anxiety that they may endure some suffering sometime in their lives. Newkirk’s theme is “killing is kindness”, and she must see a sister in someone who can actually create the mechanism of death.
    Grandin is part of the killing team, anyone who calls her an animal rights activist should be laughed out of town. Newkirk has stated that an animal’s right to life is not what peta(Newkirk) espouses, so we already know she’s not one.

  20. April 16, 2014, 9:10 pm

    Lisa Wager

    The serpentine ramp is not designed to ensure the humane treatment of animals. The humane treatment of animals would be to allow them to live as animals and not exploit them, kill them, eat them, skin them, etc. The serpentine ramp is designed to justify the exploitation and allow us to think that we’re doing something good instead of something unspeakable and heinous. It may be a small step above the traditional model but we’re still stepping in the wrong direction.

  21. April 16, 2014, 10:04 pm

    Pamela

    Temple Grandin an animal rights activist?? HA!! Pigs are officially now flying and I just saw a snowball being lobbed from the depths of hell. I know, it hit me square in the jaw!

    That’s about the level of reality one must be living in to consider Grandin anything but a shill for the meat industry. Seriously, that is one of the most demented statements in the history of statements. Good lord.

  22. April 16, 2014, 10:26 pm

    Pamela

    Hey there Ingrid, rape is always going to happen so can you please design a more humane rape apparatus, or have Grandin design one for us? I mean, I know a lot of women will appreciate being raped more gently until such a time as men no longer feel the need to rape women. As a woman, I would really appreciate it if you’d do that! Thanks a mill, Ingy!

    (for anyone who wants to flame me, the above is what’s called “excessive sarcasm”)

  23. April 16, 2014, 11:33 pm

    Megan

    I am so let down right now. I have looked to PETA for many years for guidance and to see that the president supports this slaughter chute feels like betrayal. Animal cruelty is animal cruelty and this ridiculous looking contraption does not change the fact that these beautiful creatures suffer greatly. As the president of PETA, I feel you need to be spending more time fighting the battle to save animals instead of waving the white flag to surrender as you show your admiration to those who torture and murder the animals. My suggestion is to spend less time perfecting a lovely eloquent writing style and spend more time in the field making a difference. What is the point of this little essay? To me it looks like you are using animal suffering for your own benefit (publicity). I am so disappointed right now. What kind of leader of the animal rights movement do we have here? Apparently it’s one who runs from the enemy, hides behind all those who get out in the field and do something good, and switches sides for her own personal benefit. There will never be anything that makes slaughter humane.

  24. April 16, 2014, 11:46 pm

    Maha Raman

    Earthling

    Using this Paradigm for ‘humane’, we can say the 9/11 highjackers were also ‘humane’ since they slit the throats of the passengers to give them a ‘humane’ death before crashing the plane !!

    White PEOPLE AND THEIR JUSTIFICATION OF ANYTHING TO SUPPORT THE MONEY-MAKING MACHINE CALLED THE CORPORATIONS !!!
    They used the ‘curse of Ham’ to justify enslaving blacks for their COTTON INDUSTRY !!
    NOW they use ‘NOAH and the flood’ to justify eating animals…and now they twist EVIL in to necessary Kindness….

    I WILL NEVER SUPPORT PETA AGAIN !!!

    CHANGING MY WILL !!!

    Maha Raman

  25. April 17, 2014, 12:09 am

    Amanda

    Death is death and all animals have a right to life

    This platform that Temple Grandin is to be lauded as an animal rights activist is deplorable dissonance, the kind that leads mankind on further into the abyss of destruction of self, of human kind and of our biosphere. Temple is a wonderful person, I’ve known her for years and her position on this point is buried in denial and dangerous justification of mass death of creatures who- each and every one of them- does NOT want to die for anything- especially human “appetites” for death. I don’t even know what to say about Ingrid Newkirk supporting the mass murder of animals. What is PETA anymore. Temple- your work promotes mass murder and the death of our biosphere- the cattle you help factory farm industry murder create 51% of the greenhouse gas now destroying our ozone. Meat consumption is evil in every possible way. Please consider adopting a plant based diet.

  26. April 17, 2014, 12:39 am

    Jo M

    This is so incredibly sad and messed up. To call oneself an animal rights activist and at the same time endorse the slaughter of animals is just disgusting. Promoting the myth that there is such a thing as humane slaughter gives people the idea that brutality against animals is okay, if its done nicely. By making killing more efficient the only thing that happens is the meat industry can more efficiently exploit animals and increase their profits.
    Really, really sad that this is endorsed by an ‘animal rights’organisation, it is almost like a sick joke, but apparently its just the reality if the animal welfare business. It is pathetic.

  27. April 17, 2014, 12:46 am

    Pamela

    @Maha, so black people, Asian people, Indian people, etc. never support animal industries and corporate greed? Wow. Everyone shares the blame for this, no matter what race they are.

    @Amanda, “meat” is not the problem. Animal use is the problem, consumption of animal products in general is the problem. Dairy and eggs involve as much if not more animal cruelty as meat. They are morally indistinguishable from meat.

  28. April 17, 2014, 12:48 am

    Elizabeth Collins

    Stunning, all right

    It is stunning beyond belief that Ingrid Newkirk, a vegan, did not take the opportunity to mention the word ‘vegan’ in her essay. It is stunning that the founder of a supposed ‘animal rights’ group has made such a wishy washy speciesist statement as the one made here. But then again PeTA did give a slaughterhouse designer an award. FYI: slaughter has *nothing* to do with animal rights and everything to do with animal exploitation.

    “Ask me which I would prefer: my mother frogmarched by guards into a concentration camp gas oven, or having her led gently in without allowing her to realize fully what lies ahead, and the answer is simple. If wishes were horses, my mother and the cow would both be out in a flower-filled meadow―one grazing happily, the other gathering mushrooms for soup.”

    ^What on earth does this even mean? Does this mean that during the holocaust Ingrid Newkirk would have organized campaigns focused on Serpentine Ramps and ‘stairways to heaven’ for victims going to the gas chambers? Actually I can’t be sure but I doubt it – only when it comes to nonhumans are such terrible compromises made – including by vegans and supposed animal ‘rights’ activists, who are often just as steeped in speciesism as can be. I advise all readers, if you want to hear from a real animal rights activist, to forget Ingrid Newkirk and scroll down to read what Gary Francione has to say. Please open your ears to him at this debate if you are attending.

  29. April 17, 2014, 2:37 am

    Pamela

    Given that it is PETA’s practice to kill thousands of healthy, adoptable animals every year, I am not surprised by any of this.

  30. April 17, 2014, 2:51 am

    Ephraim Rubin

    Yes, it is “war”. Newkirk has the guts of a general on the front lines. She has experienced these bloodbaths on more fronts like no other. Criticizing Newkirk’s position is like criticizing the Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War. It’s easy to abdicate responsibility and argue that we absolutely should just have no more war. Absolutes, of course, do not help the abused and murdered prisoners. Compassion and justice for prisoners and an anti-war position are not in conflict.

  31. April 17, 2014, 3:09 am

    Pamela

    Ephraim, what General in wartime can you name who condones the killing of the people he’s trying to liberate, or simply takes up the knife and kills them himself?

    Let me help you out since your worship of Ingrid has you a bit delusional–that would be none.

  32. April 17, 2014, 4:43 am

    Carol

    It is astounding and distressing to learn that PETA awards someone who advocates for and assists with animal slaughter, even if it is allegedly “more humane” than the conventional abattoir. I have read two of Temple Grandin’s books and other articles about her. She portrays herself as a compassionate person but if she is a model of compassion, we’re all in trouble.

  33. April 17, 2014, 5:06 am

    Ephraim Rubin

    Pamela, what have you done to lessen the suffering of farmed animals? I doubt it is any consolation to them that you have self-congratulatory, absolute principles and revel in the condemnation of those actually trying to change the system and help these animals in the process.

  34. April 17, 2014, 5:35 am

    Jill

    Tangible victories for animals

    I think PETA uses forums like this one that MoMA provided to educate people about the horrendous suffering that animals endure, in hopes that by having this discussion, some people will realize that they can indeed reject the violence and bypass the meat counter altogether, as Ingrid wrote.

    Abolition is the goal, but unlike some other groups that are all talk and no action, PETA is out in the trenches, conducting undercover investigations at slaughterhouses and factory farms (and laboratories, circuses, animal breeding mills, horse racetracks… you get the picture). PETA’s investigations resulted in the first ever felony convictions of farm workers for abusing pigs, and the first ever felony convictions of farm workers for abusing poultry. A pig slaughterhouse in Mississippi that PETA investigated in 2013 just announced that it is shutting down.

    Sniping at a group because it embraces multiple approaches to ending animal suffering is counterproductive.

  35. April 17, 2014, 6:28 am

    Denzil Brown

    mr

    Is it April the 1st? c’mon, this is a prank isn’t it? Temple Grandin is an anagram for ‘murdering bastard’ surely?

  36. April 17, 2014, 7:23 am

    Elizabeth Collins

    Victory? Death is not a victory

    Jill I read your comment with interest, especially the title. Can you answer me how animal suffering is *ended* by sending them to a slaughterhouse? Unless your definition of ‘end’ is very different from mine (their lives end that is true—is that what you mean by “end”?) I fail to see how sending animals to slaughterhouses, whether they have been given awards by PeTA or not, “ends” suffering.

    So where are the tangible victories? Unless your definition of tangible victory for animals is, as I suspect, completely and utterly inconsistent to what you would consider a tangible victory if human beings were involved. Would it be a “tangible victory” if victims of genocide were slaughtered slightly more ‘humanely’? Again, only when it comes to nonhumans are these terrible compromises made, in the name of ‘multiple approaches’ or whatever else. Would you accept similar ‘multiple approaches’ when it comes to horrific exploitation and slaughter of humans? Speciesism is insidious, it is rampant within the mainstream animal ‘rights’ movement and there are plenty of examples of it here.

    For example, Ephraim’s comment: “Absolutes, of course, do not help the abused and murdered prisoners. Compassion and justice for prisoners and an anti-war position are not in conflict”

    ^See? If we were talking about ‘prisoners’ who were being sent to slaughterhouses, or let’s say, gas chambers for example, would you be advocating for mattresses in the concentration camps they are kept in before they are slaughtered? Or would you be advocating for soft music to play to them, as they were led to their unjust slaughter? Would you be Although I cannot say for sure, I really highly doubt it.

    Comparing the Geneva convention regarding prisoners of war, to vegans promoting welfarist advocacy regarding nonhumans who are being purpose-bred for slaughter, whose very existences are as born slaves destined for the abattoir, instead of educating people about veganism and how we can live without demanding the products of animal exploitation and slaughter instead telling them that we can make it ‘better’ — is disingenuous to say the least.

    “All talk and no action”? – this is another straw man. Abolitionist veganism is all about action – active, creative nonviolent vegan education, educating our communities about how one can be vegan, how it is easy, how it means you remove yourself *completely* from the demand for these products of slaughter, and encouraging new vegans to do the same. It is about telling people the truth, that animals are property and these welfarist measure do nothing but make people feel better about continuing to exploit them, while doing nothing to significantly – or even hardly at all – help the nonhuman victims.

    A tangible victory is every new vegan. A tangible victory is every new vegan engaging in creative nonviolent vegan education in their communities. A tangible victory is every vegan activist who wakes up to the speciesism and futility of welfarist campaigning and joins the growing, active, grassroots abolitionist movement. A tangible victory is an animal who has had their *life saved* by someone fostering or adopting them. Those are tangible victories. I encourage anyone reading this to consider that if you are not vegan, you are demanding that animals be purpose bred for you, and they are all destined for lives of misery and torment, inevitably culminating in their slaughter in the horrific slaughterhouse – and they are all horrific places, no matter what design. What I won’t do is tell you that we can make it ‘better’ so you can feel better about continuing to consume them. I only wish I could say the same for all other vegans.

  37. April 17, 2014, 9:15 am

    Marianna Gonzalez

    To regard Temple Grandin as an animal rights activist is as ridiculous as saying that victimizers are their victims’ advocates because they support the “right” of their victims to be victimized according to how they, the victimizers, are able to delude themselves into thinking that they are not only not doing anything wrong by killing, but that what they are doing is actually so morally acceptable it is worthy of praise.

    This sort of “animal rights” advocacy is that which promotes the victims’ “right” to be victimized by victimizers who think they can kill for no justifible reason with a clear conscience. That is just absurd and profoundly egocentric. I find it deeply offensive and shameful that **anyone**, and especially PETA/Ingrid N., would regard as an “animal rights activist” a supporter of such a “right”, be the supporter Temple Grandin or any nonvegan — let’s not forget that slaughterhouses exist to begin with because there is a *demand* for killing.

  38. April 17, 2014, 10:23 am

    Suzanne Carlson

    Animals value their lives just as we do and don’t want to die. It’s that simple. No matter how “controlled” their slaughter is – and isn’t that the ultimate oxymoron – they don’t want to die. Please, please, try vegan and no one has to suffer and die for your fleeting meal.

  39. April 17, 2014, 11:36 am

    Donna W

    Can't we all just try to get along?

    It makes me sad to read the words of so many people who clearly love and respect animals but, instead of working together, separate into camps that snipe at each other. Please stop. How about respecting each other and working together to bring about the change that the non-human animals so desperately need and deserve from us? We are not the enemy. The enemy is those who feel no compunction about abusing animals for financial gain, i.e. the meat and fur industries. The enemy is the ignorance of those who don’t know where their food or leather comes from. If we educate those people, their buying habits will change. If there’s no money to be made in producing meat, then there will no longer be a need to slaughter animals for it. Until then, animals will continue to die. And it there’s a way to make it less traumatic for them, I’m all for it.

  40. April 17, 2014, 12:38 pm

    Peter Singer

    Have those attacking Ingrid Newkirk have really read her comment, and especially the moving closing lines? Isn’t it obvious that she is using this forum to urge people not to eat meat? And she is putting this message before people who are part of the MOMA scene, and not part of the animal rights community, urging them to think about what they are eating. Surely everyone concerned for animals can applaud that.

  41. April 17, 2014, 12:46 pm

    LucyP

    Donna W, I agree completely. No one is a stronger advocate for going vegan than Ms. Newkirk and PETA. But we must also be pragmatic. Not everyone will go vegan instantly, as much as we wish they would. In the meantime, if we can reduce the suffering animals endure in the meat industry even a small amount, by all means, we should.

  42. April 17, 2014, 1:04 pm

    Alka Chandna

    Applying the golden rule across the species barrier

    It’s surprising to me that people who purport to care about animals reject calls for welfare reforms in the slaughtering process. PETA’s position on the slaughtering of animals for “food” is absolutely clear in the group’s mission statement: “Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, or use in any exploitative purpose.” PETA actively promotes veganism more than any other organization through wide dissemination of its Vegan Starter Kit, through recruitment of celebrities, through colorful demonstrations, and through gimmicky campaigns aimed at getting people to think about the animals who are slaughtered for their plates. But PETA and its founder/president, Ingrid Newkirk, recognize that it is a luxury to only clamor for veganism — and to ignore the messy world of reforms — in a society where people care so little about animals that they will not (sadly and tragically) turn vegan tomorrow (even with all of the efforts waged by PETA and other groups such as Mercy for Animals, Compassion over Killing, and Vegan Outreach).

    At their core, welfare reforms are about applying the golden rule across the species barrier. What would we want if we were the egg-laying hen in a battery cage, confined with tens of thousands of other hens in wire cages stacked floor to ceiling in a dark shed, inhaling the ammonia of our collected waste and unable to spread our wings for the entirety of our lives before being sent to slaughter? What would we want if we were a piglet, castrated without anesthesia and packed cheek-to-jowl in a concrete floor pen with other frustrated pigs? What would we want if we were being led to slaughter? Would we want to be one of the close to one million chickens who are scalded to death in the U.S. while still being sensate, or would we prefer to be killed without being tortured in that manner?

    No one who cares about animals enjoys comparing atrocities, but people who care about animals must consider issues of welfare reforms if they are truly going to make a difference in the living and dying conditions of animals who are used, abused, and killed for human whims. I’m grateful that Ingrid Newkirk does not shy away from such considerations in advocating for animals.

  43. April 17, 2014, 1:42 pm

    Heather Moore

    Every Step Helps Reduce Suffering

    I don’t like slaughter any more than the next vegan girl, but not everyone is going to go vegan overnight. We must do everything we can to reduce animal suffering while working to promote a vegan lifestyle. We can’t refuse to take something positive just because it isn’t everything we want. If I were standing at the top of the flight of stairs and someone told me that they were either going to shove me hard down the flight of stairs or push me gently so I likely wouldn’t far as hard, I would say that they were cruel for hurting me at all, but if I couldn’t stop them, I’d rather the least cruel option.

    When more people realize that animals have feelings and that they should be treated humenely, they’ll eventually understand that there’s no reason to eat them at all. They aren’t going to come to this realization overnight though, so we must do whatever we can to reduce animal suffering in the meantime.

  44. April 17, 2014, 2:30 pm

    Eric D.

    Just for clarification

    I just wanted to chime in with this video from Ingrid and her stance on “humane meat” for this discussion: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BfUBMKwVl7Q

    Any way that we can reduce suffering of animals is a positive step with the ultimate goal will always be eliminating suffering!

    Let’s go pass out some vegan starter kits now. :)

  45. April 17, 2014, 2:36 pm

    G C

    Agree with Heather above

    People, people, people. …can’t you see that Temple IS making a difference in these animals last breaths?? Now tell me what you are doing for that next animal in line? You are not going to change the masses by downing her efforts to.cause a bit less pain & fear. My gosh, can’ t you see that? While you preach go vegan, she IS doing something to lessen the horrific end to life right at this moment. If you knew it was going to happen, wouldn’t it make sense to help those in line? Yes, vegan is the only way to end this, but what of those in.line NOW?

  46. April 17, 2014, 2:54 pm

    Gary L. Francione/Anna E. Charlton

    The Animal Confusion Movement: Grandin, Newkirk, and Singer

    Several comments:

    First, Ingrid Newkirk and PETA may promote veganism as some ideal, but it is simply wrong to deny that she does not promote welfare reform and that this sends—and is intended to send—the message that “happy exploitation” is morally acceptable. Take two of many examples:

    (1) PETA signed a letter sent by Peter Singer to Whole Foods (see it here: http://goo.gl/iFnz8j) expressing “appreciation and support” for the “pioneering” Whole Foods program of “compassionate” animal products. That letter was posted on the Whole Foods website for a very long time. Can anyone really maintain that this is not a stamp of approval on the “happy” corpses and other animal foods sold by Whole Foods?

    (2) Bell and Evans is a chicken processor. If you go to their website, you can see Ingrid Newkirk *praising* them, stating: “Bell & Evans shows that animal welfare and good business can go hand in hand.” “…and by listening to consumers’ wishes, Bell & Evans has set a new standard for the chicken-supply industry.” If you don’t believe me (and it is unbelievable), go to the site and see yourself: http://www.bellandevans.com/content/what-others-are-saying.

    In any event, to say that Newkirk is not, whatever she believes, sending out a normatively positive message about “happy exploitation” is absurd. It is absurd to say that PETA can give Grandin its “Visionary Award” and that this does not imply some sort of moral approval. Did any human rights group give Himmler a “Visionary Award” for his funnel—the “road to heaven”—that led prisoners to their deaths? No, of course not.

    Here’s an essay that one of us wrote on the subject of PETA’s promotion of “happy exploitation”: http://goo.gl/v9HFvB

    To say that PETA’s message is extremely confused is the most favorable thing that can be said. It is more accurate to say that PETA talks out of multiple sides of its institutional mouth, depending on the audience. This does nothing but create confusion and impede clear thinking about animal ethics.

    Second, we have no idea if the “Peter Singer” who posted above is the author of “Animal Liberation” but, if so, then it comes as no surprise that Singer the author would rush to Newkirk’s defense. Let’s look at some things Singer has to say:

    “[T]here’s a little bit of room for indulgence in all of our lives. I know some people who are vegan in their homes but if they’re going out to a fancy restaurant, they allow themselves the luxury of not being vegan that evening. I don’t see anything really wrong with that.” (Mother Jones, May 2006)

    “[T]o avoid inflicting suffering on animals—not to mention the environmental costs of intensive animal production—we need to cut down drastically on the animal products we consume. But does that mean a vegan world? That’s one solution, but not necessarily the only one. If it is the infliction of suffering that we are concerned about, rather than killing, then I can also imagine a world in which people mostly eat plant foods, but occasionally treat themselves to the luxury of free range eggs, or possibly even meat from animals who live good lives under conditions natural for their species, and are then humanely killed on the farm.” (The Vegan, 2006)

    “You could say it’s wrong to kill a being whenever a being is sentient or conscious. Then you would have to say it’s just as wrong to kill a chicken or mouse as it is to kill you or me. I can’t accept that idea. It may be just as wrong, but millions of chickens are killed every day. I can’t think of that as a tragedy on the same scale as millions of humans being killed. What is different about humans? Humans are forward-looking beings, and they have hopes and desires for the future. That seems a plausible answer to the question of why it’s so tragic when humans die.” (Indystar.com 2009)

    “Just avoiding factory farmed products is a big step in the right direction, even if you continue to eat a moderate quantity of organically produced, pasture raised, animal products.” (Slow Food 2009)

    When interviewed about his book, “The Way We Eat,” Singer was asked “What do you want animal activists to get from the book?” His response, in part: “The book is suggesting that we might be more effective by being somewhat more tolerant of people who consume animal products, if they’re thoughtful about where they came from and try to ensure that the animals have had a decent life. And that we not be too fanatical about insisting on a purely vegan life.” (Satya 2006)

    In connection with the letter, referenced above, that Singer sent to Whole Foods praising the Whole Foods “happy exploitation” program, Singer was asked: “How do you feel about that letter being posted in the PR section of the Whole Foods website and when asked about the treatment of farmed animals and humane standards, John Mackey refers to it?” His reply: “I don’t have any problem with that. I support what the letter says and they’re welcome to use it. I mean, we wrote it to them expecting them to use it. It wasn’t just a personal letter to John Mackey to be put in his filing cabinet.” (Satya 2006)

    So Singer defends Newkirk. No surprise there.

    Third, those people who are defending Newkirk and Grandin seem to know little about law or economics and fail to recognize that animal welfare reform is not about the moral value of animals. It is about economic efficiency. Although the MoMA curators call Grandin an “animal rights activist,” Grandin is a paid consultant to the meat industry. The procedures she recommends, in her own words, are about worker safety, efficiency, meat quality, and profitability.

    Most animal welfare advocates simply do not understand that most animal welfare reforms are things that a rational industry would do anyway. Indeed, and unfortunately, the modern animal movement has assumed the role of being a partner with industry to help industry identify the inefficiencies of factory farming.

    Grandin helps industry to become more efficient. And people like Ingrid Newkirk and Peter Singer sell that efficiency as a morally good thing so that the public can continue exploiting animals and can feel good about it at the same time.

    How very, very sad.

  47. April 17, 2014, 3:12 pm

    Shalin Gala

    Reducing the horror of animals' lived reality in the here and now

    When I traveled to La Paz, Bolivia, in 2010 at the request of a member of parliament to work on an animal protection bill, I seized upon a golden opportunity to visit a municipal slaughterhouse with the slaughterhouse director as my guide. To be escorted around by the slaughterhouse director is a surreal experience to any animal rights activist, but even more surreal was the sinking feeling that I had just voluntarily entered the bowels of hell. Luckily, I could escape on my own volition at the end of the “tour,” but the animals had no such luxury.

    At the slaughterhouse, I saw animals crammed in linear dirt trenches as they watched in horror as their peers entered the kill floor. One of the most disturbing things I remember was hearing the deafening screams of the animals stuck in the trenches and watching them trying to climb over each other and escape the hideous fate awaiting them just a few steps away since they clearly saw what was happening to their peers ahead in the line.

    Now imagine if these animals were in a serpentine ramp that that could shield them from anticipating their upcoming agonizing demise. I would hope that any rational person would support this improvement since the alternative is to 1) continue with the status quo and allow the animals to continue being cognizant of the horrific goings-on at the kill floor or 2) wait decades for the entire world to go vegan so slaughterhouses go out of business. Neither alternative is acceptable, and neither addresses the immediate needs of animals who are enduring this overwhelming fear and anxiety right now.

    I think people are missing the forest for the trees when arguing over whether the serpentine ramp muddies vegan outreach efforts since the device is considered an animal welfare improvement. We can all agree that killing animals for food is bad through and through – for animals, for human health and for the environment. But animals’ lived reality is that slaughterhouses are terrible places where terrible things happen right now, and animals don’t have the luxury of waiting years for some small amount of respite.

    We can either choose to advocate vegan principles while not materially altering the animals’ experiences in slaughterhouses, as some on this comment stream – while I believe they have the best intentions – appear to be doing. Or we can take a dual approach, as PETA is doing – advocate much needed animal welfare reforms for the here and now while also actively promoting global conversion to a kinder vegan lifestyle as a long-term effort — neither of which are mutually exclusive and in my view one does not hamper the other.

  48. April 17, 2014, 3:24 pm

    Ephraim Rubin

    Since this piece is about “design”…
    It appears that much of the debate could be resolved by re-designing words. This is not an argument about whether these systems are “more humane”. It is about them being “less inhumane”. There seems to be a consensus in this thread that these industries are obviously cruel and unnecessary. Is it so radical to say that some systems are “less inhumane” than others?

  49. April 17, 2014, 3:38 pm

    Samantha Suiter

    It occurs to me that enhancing animal welfare for those suffering in factory farms is a very good thing and most humans, even meat eaters, would agree. Kudos to Ingrid Newkirk for highlighting a very real solution to a very real problem in slaughterhoues. While we wait for everyone to see the light and stop killing animals for food, clothing, experiments, and entertainment, we can certainly embrace small changes that make animals lives a tiny bit more bearable.

  50. April 17, 2014, 3:44 pm

    Cynthia Mattera

    With modern technology, why are these poor animals conscious during the entire slaughter process?
    In the UK, they use COK…Controlled Atmosphere Killing. The animals are gassed , put to sleep, during the trip to the slaughter plant, and are absolutely not conscious when sliced, boiled and cut up into pieces.

    I hope one day all countries use this method, but my prayer is that one day everyone stop eating animals, fish and dairy.

  51. April 17, 2014, 4:12 pm

    Pamela

    Nice try, but

    “We can either choose to advocate vegan principles while not materially altering the animals’ experiences in slaughterhouses, as some on this comment stream – while I believe they have the best intentions – appear to be doing. Or we can take a dual approach, as PETA is doing – advocate much needed animal welfare reforms for the here and now while also actively promoting global conversion to a kinder vegan lifestyle as a long-term effort — neither of which are mutually exclusive and in my view one does not hamper the other.”

    Clearly, CLEARLY you have not read Gary Francione’s arguments about this. Or you did but it just didn’t sink in. What PETA is doing is NOT HELPING. I really don’t get what’s so hard for people to grasp about that.

  52. April 17, 2014, 4:14 pm

    Pamela

    It would also seem that some commenters on this thread want animals to continue to be exploited and killed with no possible end in sight, not even an end in the distant future, according to what some people are saying here.

    But it’s typical for people to completely ignore Gary’s comments when they have nothing substantive to say in response, and instead just spout the tired PETA party line.

  53. April 17, 2014, 4:25 pm

    Gary L. Francione/Anna E. Charlton

    Missing the Point?

    Some of you simply do not seem able or willing to grasp that what Grandin does is act as a paid consultant to the meat industry to improve efficiency, worker safety and profitability.

    So those of you who think that the issue here is about whether the meat industry ought to be more efficient (by following Grandin’s recommendations), or whether animal advocates should support industry efficiency, are missing the point. Industry will move toward more efficient behavior with or without your support or agreement.

    The more interesting issues are:

    1. Is it morally acceptable to consume animals if slaughterhouse designs are made more efficient? (That is the question to be debated later today).

    2. Should “animal organizations” like PETA give cover to industry efficiency measures by promoting them as normatively desirable and characterizing them as providing significant protection to animal interests?

    The idea that Newkirk and others are champions for animals because they are cheering on industry efficiency is peculiar to say the least.

  54. April 17, 2014, 4:55 pm

    Debbie H

    How would you like it?

    If this is so wrong. Put yourself in the place of the cattle. Is ok for me to kill as long as you aren’t scared before hand? I think your answer will be No.

  55. April 17, 2014, 5:04 pm

    Theresa Chiu

    Time Not Well Spent

    If those who created this death walk would have spent that time to educate other people on veganism, we would see more progress. If we believe harming animals is wrong, why are we accepting this method as a solution? I’m certainly not. As a MOVEMENT we should not ever say this is a good thing and should certainly never applaud such efforts as ethical solutions.

    Anyone who feels that this is a step in the right direction, I would like to ask you to try and educate non-vegans about veganism. Focus on the consumers, not the producers. I’ve seen several mentions here that people won’t go vegan overnight and we should just accept this for now. We don’t have to accept this for now — we have the power to use our resources (education) and time to change the demand so that not one cow (or any animal) suffers by our unnecessary demand.

    Solution: Educate people on true veganism and see the world go vegan. Ways to make slaughter less barbaric won’t be needed because time was spent solving the problem (consumer), not simply putting a bandage on one end of it.

  56. April 17, 2014, 5:10 pm

    Pamela

    If the “Peter Singer” who commented above is the same as the author of Animal Liberation then I wouldn’t take anything he says seriously. This is the same man who has gone on record as saying that sex with animals isn’t *necessarily* morally wrong.

    http://townhall.com/columnists/marvinolasky/2004/12/02/the_most_influential_philosopher_alive

  57. April 17, 2014, 5:46 pm

    Paula

    A step in the right direction

    As a vegan, I would prefer that no animals be killed for food, but we can’t ignore the horrors of factory farms and slaughterhouses just because we wish that they didn’t exist. If Ms. Grandin’s designs can decrease the amount of fear and pain that animals experience, then that is a step in the right direction. Until the day that we get animals off our plates altogether, it shouldn’t be too much to ask that we do everything we can to reduce their distress and suffering inside slaughterhouses.

  58. April 17, 2014, 5:53 pm

    Pamela

    It never ceases to amaze me how people can simply disregard real, substantive arguments about how this is nowhere near a “step in the right direction”, and instead just spout the same party line over and over. Can anyone address Gary Francione’s comments directly? Does anyone actually have any sort of substantive rebuttal to what he says? Or is just ignoring what you can’t argue with the preferred method of dealing with it?

  59. April 17, 2014, 6:01 pm

    LucyP

    The “all or nothing” approach is idealistic, but it hurts animals. We all want an end to animal slaughter. Most of us here are probably vegans. But what of the billions of animals who are killed every year to satisfy the cravings of those who insist on their “right” to keep on eating them? While we educate and persuade people to go vegan; expose abuse on factory farms and in slaughterhouses; work to increase vegan options and awareness on campuses; and other efforts, do we deny animals headed for the knife this small measure of relief? No, we should reduce all the cruelty that we can on our way to ending this horrific cruelty completely.

  60. April 17, 2014, 6:13 pm

    Pamela

    Well it’s just as I expected, no reply at all to any of Gary’s points. Very sad. Only the animals pay the price.

    Just imagine, for five seconds, how many more vegans there would be today if large, wealthy organizations like PETA advocated for veganism as the baseline from their early days until today. Oh but they can’t alienate their donors, many of whom are not vegan, nor even vegetarian. I suspect the same is true of many of their supporters on this thread.

    If, instead of giving props to a slaughterhouse designer, they were instead to educate about veganism, think of the world we’d have today. Would we all be 100% vegan? Of course not, but we’d undoubtedly be closer than the sad, ineffective welfarist state that many people cling to for dear life as though there are no alternatives. Alas, some people are not reachable, that is as true on this thread as it is in the population in general.

  61. April 17, 2014, 6:17 pm

    Janet

    Talkers v. doers

    PETA is a “doer” organization. They don’t spend time “bloviating” and criticizing others like so many have on this site. They are out there every day in the trenches saving animals on chains in the cold, being tortured in laboratories, and getting people to go vegan. Anyone who thinks PETA isn’t working towards a vegan world has his or head up his or her you-know-what. This forum was a terrific way to get non-animal rights people to think about the suffering they are causing with their food consumption. And Ingrid’s essay, as Peter Singer writes, was doing exactly that. Those who can, do. Those who can’t (or won’t), criticize….

  62. April 17, 2014, 6:22 pm

    Pamela

    Animal “treatment” is not the problem. Animal use is the problem. Animal USE leads to poor treatment and abuse, but treatment itself is not the root cause. The “baby steps” approach doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of changing the current paradigm that society holds today – that animal use is acceptable – because it does nothing to challenge the paradigm.

    According to researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute , if we had 10% of the population firmly convinced that no animal use can be justified, that would result in a spread of that idea and we would be having a different social discussion. And the paradigm would begin to shift.

    So let’s work toward changing the conversation from treatment to use; from welfare to abolition; from “happy exploitation” to no exploitation.

    http://news.rpi.edu/luwakkey/2902

    I would love to hear the baby steppers advocate for more humane child molestation, or more humane rape. After all, men are going to rape women whether we want them to or not. Might as well make the experience less painful for those poor women who have to suffer at the hands of those awful men. We can’t stop ‘em, can we, so might as well help those rapists make it as easy on their victims as possible!

    Said no one…. ever.

  63. April 17, 2014, 6:26 pm

    Pamela

    Oh yes, PETA does indeed do a lot… to set the animal movement back as far as they possibly can. Yes, if it weren’t for PETA cooking up delicious schemes like this one: https://news.vice.com/articles/peta-will-not-be-turning-dahmer-home-into-a-vegan-restaurant …no animals would ever be saved!

    My God, my eyes have been opened!! If only PETA had been able to open their Jeffrey Dahmer restaurant, they’d be DOING something about the problem of animal use!! Praise be!!

  64. April 17, 2014, 6:40 pm

    Nicola Twilley

    The question is “Can we design a violent act to be more humane?”
    I’d say that we can, and Temple Grandin’s ramp is a good example of re-designing the slaughter experience to make it more considerate of and sympathetic to cows. Perhaps not humane, but *more* humane.

    If the question was “Can cows be slaughtered humanely,” then there’s a whole different discussion to be had (which, indeed, most of the commenters have skipped straight ahead to!).

    And tonight’s debate motion (which I’m arguing for, and Gary against) is different again: “Design can allow us to humanely include animal products in our diet.”

    I’d also argue that humane treatment of livestock is a very different question to ethical treatment. Ethics is about determining moral rights and wrongs; humane is an adjective that applies to actions that are considerate of or sympathetic to others. Indeed, perhaps regarding animals as “others” in the first place is the problem.

    This might seem like semantics, but I think that the way we talk about these things—the words we choose—is very important for the way we think. Being clear about the difference between ethical and humane treatment or the difference between whether design can make slaughter humane vs. whether design can make slaughter more humane, is a critical part of being able to advance our collective social discussion about animal/human relationships. If you can’t listen to the other side of the argument, you can’t advance your own.

  65. April 17, 2014, 6:43 pm

    Pamela

    I am thankful you are not advocating for women’s rights or campaigning for more humane rape. With advocates like that, who needs enemies?

  66. April 17, 2014, 6:53 pm

    ChrissyLouise

    PETA

    The fact that animal rights scholars are criticizing Ingrid for working toward improving animal welfare while exposing the horrific industry is sad. While others are arguing about the *perfect* animal rights message, PETA’s undercover investigators are closing down labs, ending trauma training on animals, forcing airlines to stop shipping non-human primates to labs, videotaping what really happens to pigs and chickens in factor farms to expose it to the world (and therefore creating more vegans), and more. Their victories page is incredibly long and inspiring. Their Vegetarian Starter Kit has helped countless people become healthy vegans. It makes perfect sense to those who care for each individual animal to not waste time fretting over a moral message, but to get out there and help lessen the pain and fear that animals are forced to go through before slaughter right now. PETA is doing that while working to get rid of the entire industry. The simple fact that Ingrid brought this discussion to MOMA shows that she will bring her message to whatever platform she can in order to make a real difference for all animals.

  67. April 17, 2014, 6:56 pm

    Pamela

    For all that PETA has supposedly “done” – we are using more animals in more horrific ways now, at this very moment, than at any time in history. How have they helped anything, exactly?

    And still waiting for someone, anyone, to directly address Francione’s arguments. Or do you ignore what you cannot refute?

  68. April 17, 2014, 7:08 pm

    ChrissyLouise

    PETA

    Pamela, you seem to have an odd, angry, and impolite ax to grind against everyone who doesn’t agree with you. I will leave these links for others to look at but a lot of people have spoken directly to Francione’s arguments. http://www.peta.org/about-peta/victories/ and http://www.peta.org/about-peta/milestones/

  69. April 17, 2014, 7:20 pm

    Katerina

    Ms

    Better be in the company of butchers than amidst traitors . You betray non humans every single time. But, I guess, everyone can be bought at the right price, huh? If anyone believes that promoting “humane” murder, will make people stop eating / using non humans , you are illusionists , at least.

  70. April 17, 2014, 7:29 pm

    Kate FitzGibbon

    Ms

    Saying ‘yes’ to welfarism (and the well bit is a big joke) is saying yes to exploitation which is criminal, a crime in which virtually the whole of society participates. Veganism is the moral BASE line. There is no middle ground. Please educate friends and family to practise BASE line ethics by being vegan.

  71. April 17, 2014, 7:30 pm

    Karen

    Black-and-white thinking

    The problem with the Gary Francione argument is that it sees everything as black or white. There is no nuance whatsoever. Newkirk clearly doesn’t support slaughterhouses–she has worked her entire life to make them disappear. But they are not going to disappear anytime soon, so what is the point of suspending any actions that would actually make the lives of real animals less horrible right now, today? We shouldn’t let our idealism stop us from saying and doing things that will help animals in the short term. That in no way hinders our long-term goals. It’s not all or nothing. Look at it from the point of view of the animals who are suffering right now. If we could speak to them, would we day, “Sorry, you’ll have to wait for any relief until we have achieved 100 percent of our goals”?

  72. April 17, 2014, 7:37 pm

    Tracy

    PETA

    It’s sad that people who care about animals choose to fight with others who care about animals. Our energy could be spent in a much more useful endeavor.

    I’d prefer if every slaughterhouse closed its doors right now, but that’s not going to happen. If I were going to be killed in a slaughterhouse, I’d want it to be as less frightening as possible. Of course, with these ramps, it’s still unbelievably hellish, but I’d take any “help” I could get.

    I could see you getting upset if PETA came out against veganism and said, “Hey, with these ramps, now it’s OK to eat animals!” But of course, our stance is that it is never OK.

  73. April 17, 2014, 7:39 pm

    Theresa Chiu

    *More* Humane??

    Nicola,

    As mentioned above:

    “She believes that design is never a substitute for livestock managers who support low-stress handling, and she advocates for video auditing to prevent employees from abusing animals”

    So she is installing cameras so that they don’t abuse animals while they’re directed to their acceptable death?

    Abuse:
    To treat in a harmful, injurious, or offensive way — pretty sure death qualifies as harm/abuse.

    The other issue here, is these two are labelled “animal rights activists.”

    Animal rights definition:
    “Rights (as to fair and humane treatment) regarded as belonging fundamentally to all animals.”

    Notice this isn’t *more* humane but humane.

    You closed with, “If you can’t listen to the other side of the argument, you can’t advance your own.”

    The problem with your stance is there is no advance. Your ideas of *more* humane being the better outcome compared to *less* humane is not progress but a way of making excuses for what should never be called animal rights activism (keep in mind that definition includes humane, not *more* humane) and seriously slows any collective social progress.

    You mention that you are for the idea that design can allow us to humanely include animal products in our diet. You later mentioned, “humane is an adjective that applies to actions that are considerate of or sympathetic to others.”

    Considerate:
    Careful not to cause inconvenience or hurt to others

    Sorry, by all definitions, your arguments are invalid.
    Animal use = harm = not humane.

  74. April 17, 2014, 8:02 pm

    Jan

    Not a good way to speak for animals

    Peter Singer wrote:
    “Have those attacking Ingrid Newkirk have really read her comment, and especially the moving closing lines? Isn’t it obvious that she is using this forum to urge people not to eat meat? And she is putting this message before people who are part of the MOMA scene, and not part of the animal rights community, urging them to think about what they are eating. Surely everyone concerned for animals can applaud that.”

    It is technically correct to say that Newkirk is using this forum to criticize meat-eating, as she ends her comment with the suggestion of choosing life, and as she laments the horrible experiences cows have to go through. But it would be a distortion to say that this is the primary purpose of her comment. On the contrary, the primary purpose is clearly to defend Grandin and to defend PETA’s endorsement of her. Her appeal to the consumer is mainly indirect, through descriptions of the horrors of industrial slaughter.

    It also seems to escape both Newkirk and Singer that focusing exclusively on cows and meat is strategically problematic. Meat isn’t any worse than dairy products or eggs. Indeed, as both Newkirk and Singer surely know, but some readers of the piece might not, male chicks are routinely and cruelly killed in egg production, even in connection to “organic” or “free range” eggs. If Newkirk wanted to use this avenue to advocate for animal rights, making a few references to meat interspersed with a celebration of Temple Grandin’s work sure seems like a weird and ineffective way to accomplish that end.

    This is what I find most disappointing: let’s say for the sake of argument that Temple Grandin is a gift from the gods for animals, and that supporting her is the way to go for any serious animal rights advocate. Why, then, waste this opportunity by talking just about her, rather than using the issue as a springboard to advocate directly for animals, and to raise the larger ethical issue of animal exploitation? That is what we should all be doing: saying that in the year 2014 and in the middle of Western privilege, it is beyond incomprehensible that we’re still rendering sentient beings into objects and killing them, in the dairy, meat and egg industries. That is certainly what I want to say right now: animal agriculture is horrible ethically, harmful environmentally, and even bad for your health. And anyone reading this has the power to do something about it.

    The problem here is not just a wasted opportunity, however. Talking about how helpful Grandin’s designs are for animals does not exist in a cultural vacuum. Rather, it exists in the context where most consumers are on some level (perhaps only very slightly) concerned about animal treatment but usually too passive to want to do anything about it. So they are precisely looking for any chance they get to outsource their moral responsibility to organizations like PETA or people like Grandin. For someone like Newkirk — highly visible in the animal movement — to address the public by touting the virtues of new, more “humane” slaughter, is thus far from a mere point in an internal argument between abolitionism vs. welfarism. It actively latches on to the basic ideas our culture has about animals: that there is such a thing as “humane” exploitation, and that the ultimate agency resides in reformers and organizations, not the individual.

    In short: someone who feels bad about what happens to animals, but is also hesitant to want to change anything in their life, will feel relieved by Newkirk’s message — sure, there are references to how cows are treated, but the main thing (to such a reader) is that someone out there is improving the industry, making it all good and peaceful and humane, so that more cows will enter their “stairway to heaven”, as the consumer falls back into their apathetic slumber.

    Nicola Twilley wrote:
    “I’d also argue that humane treatment of livestock is a very different question to ethical treatment. Ethics is about determining moral rights and wrongs; humane is an adjective that applies to actions that are considerate of or sympathetic to others. Indeed, perhaps regarding animals as ‘others’ in the first place is the problem.”

    I don’t think that distinction works. The word “considerate” is already morally charged and so opens up a debate on what would be considerate to animals, given that there is no need to breed and exploit and kill them in the first place. I would say being considerate would be to not put a bolt gun to their head.

  75. April 17, 2014, 8:47 pm

    Nancy

    I am thankful that when I became vegan 14 years ago there were activists in my area who were familiar with Prof. Francione for many years. If people never hear the idea that it is wrong, immoral and unethical to use non-human animals for any reason whatsoever, including killing them to eat, things will never change. The only way things will change is if the truth is told. Making it easier for people to sleep at night in their land of denial after supporting the rape, torture and slaughter of sentient beings is not going to change a thing for these animals, whether their last minute on this earth is possibly less horrific, because make no mistake about it, the end is the same. Why allow people to feel good about it?

  76. April 17, 2014, 9:16 pm

    Pamela

    Yeah, I have a big problem

    So astute of you Chrissy to make that observation. Yes, I have a problem. I have a big problem, a huge problem with people who sell out animals – the most vulnerable beings among us – to make a buck. I have a huge problem with people who repeat the party line without giving it any thought and thereby perpetuate harm to animals, when they could be doing vegan education and making a *real* difference. Yes, I have a problem with those people. How very observant of you. I have no problem with the problem I have with those people. And if you do, it’s your problem.

  77. April 17, 2014, 11:53 pm

    Allan

    Reject Violence Against Animals

    The last sentence of Ingrid Newkirk’s reflective and artful essay makes her position quite clear: “What is especially stunning to me, though, is that so many people do not yet know how very easy it is to reject violence, to decide to walk past the meat case and, instead, eat for life.”

    And that’s what PETA is all about: getting people to understand and then reject violence against animals. PETA works toward that goal in all sorts of ways each and every day.

  78. April 18, 2014, 12:29 am

    Robyn Revesby

    VEGETARIANISM, IT'S EASY!!

    So many Vegetarian products for meals that are delicious. I squash Vegetarian patties for certain cooking, a herb/garlic sauce, melted Vegan cheese over almost all my vegs. My fav. is marinated Tofu & my own Pizza. In this you are taking proud possession of your commitment of not being a blind member of the must do, animals to eat club. Every Vegetarian is important in ridding, animals’ deaths for selfish, blind human consumption. You do need amino acid Taurine in brewer’s yeast & seaweeds, spirulina etc. in a vegetarian diet. Into a gravy or drink. And I take a calcium & Vit D sometimes. And I’ve felt “tops” for 25 yrs. as a dedicated Vego. You don’t need the thoughtless practice of Meat. I allow free-range eggs in my diet.

  79. April 18, 2014, 12:42 am

    Robyn Revesby

    CAREFUL WITH SPIRULINA

    A bit of cautionl with Spirulina powder, particularly, as it is a high source of Iodine, so, I just use 1/4 tspn or just a tip, twice a week. Too much constant Iodine can cause Hyperthyroid. Although I see container instructions say 1/2 – 3 tspn per day. I would not do that.

  80. April 18, 2014, 1:23 am

    Daniel

    Moral Scizophrenia

    The moral schizophrenia lacing the thoughts and comments of welfarists is mind-boggling and would be wholly unacceptable when dealing with any other societal ill. What anti-rape activist would suggest furnishing back-alleys with mattresses to lessen the rape victims’ discomfort? And maybe some nature scene murals on the nearby walls for them to fix their eyes on while undergoing the ordeal? Anyone making such proposals would be immediately and rightfully laughed, ridiculed, and marginalized out of the public arena and into irrelevance. Sadly, non-human animals have had to settle for exactly this kind of advocacy and the results speak for themselves. A clear, unmuddled, straightforward call for veganism as the moral baseline is the only viable alternative.

  81. April 18, 2014, 1:59 am

    Pamela

    Daniel hit it

    “The results speak for themselves.” That is it exactly, Daniel. And your rape analogy is apt. What is inarguable is that welfarism has been around for between 100-200? years now, PETA has been around for over thirty of those and yet here we are using, abusing and slaughtering animals in more horrific ways than at any time in history. The welfarists just ignore this point as it’s not very convenient for them to acknowledge it, but “not facing a fire doesn’t put it out.”

    I guess the baby steppers think that thirty years of PETA-style advocacy isn’t enough and that we should keep on flushing precious time and lives down the toilet because that’s what they’ve been told to do. Only the animals lose.

  82. April 18, 2014, 2:18 am

    Heidi

    I became vegan because of PETA. I teach people about making kinder choices every day, with the goal that they, too, will go vegan. Maybe they will overnight–great! Maybe they’ll take years to get all the way there, as I did. Some people will continue to eat 3 burgers for every one that I don’t. While those people eat themselves to death, cows will continue to be killed. We should all do what we can to lessen the cows’ (chickens’, pigs’, etc) suffering. Have you all read that a pig slaughterhouse will soon close because of a PETA investigation? And there was a cow slaughterhouse that closed a while back after a PETA investigation. That’s PETA’s goal. Close them down. And they’re working on it. It’s working. Because of PETA, there are more vegans/vegetarians/veg-interested people and fewer slaughterhouses.

  83. April 18, 2014, 2:31 am

    ChrissyLouise

    The rape comparison is not apt

    Rape is illegal. Slaughtering animals for food is legal. PETA fights legal institutions day and night and has closed down slaughterhouses and laboratories. Talk is cheap. Action speaks volumes.

  84. April 18, 2014, 2:42 am

    Pamela

    You know little about analogies and even less about the rights of animals

    Legality is irrelevant. The baby steppers whine about any “improvements”, no matter how meaningless or ineffective, being the way to go because, they say, people will continue to eat meat so why not make it a little less horrible for the animals? That is straight out of the mouths of just about every welfarist on this page, and in the world in general. Guess what Chrissy. Rape will continue to happen anyway, so we might as well make it a little less horrible for the victims! That’s using your own “reasoning.”

    Why don’t you just come clean and admit that you accept a lower standard of morality for animals? I mean, your arguments, such as they are, and attitude say it all. Actions speak louder than words.

    Animal cruelty in some contexts is also supposedly illegal and yet it goes on daily, btw.

  85. April 18, 2014, 2:44 am

    Pamela

    And boy don’t my predictions just keep coming true. Not one peep from the baby steppers about how we are using more animals not more horrendously than ever, in spite of orgs like PETA being around. No one care to address that., but then no real surprise there.

  86. April 18, 2014, 2:59 am

    Pamela

    *now more* in my comment above, not *not*

  87. April 18, 2014, 2:59 am

    Jill S.

    It’s clear to me that everyone who has posted here cares deeply about animals and vehemently opposes their use and abuse on this planet—and that’s a beautiful thing. If you are angry at PETA for failing, in your eyes, to take the “correct” stance, you should be out there busting your butt to prove to everyone through action how much better your approach works and how many more individual animals are helped because of it. Instead of fighting against people who are as concerned about animals as you are, go out and wake up the masses who don’t even consider animals. We must try, and keep trying, everything and anything until animal rights is a reality.

  88. April 18, 2014, 3:11 am

    Pamela

    No, focus is the key

    So, Jill, we should keep trying things like buying stock in McDonalds, trying to open a restaurant in serial killer/cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer’s old home, giving awards to slaughterhouse designers, and bidding a 7-figure amount of money on a naughty site (since I can’t use the actual word without my comment being deleted, suffice it to say it’s a site that you can’t legally access unless you’re 18 years old). We should keep on trying those tactics eh? And how are those helping exactly? Wow.

    How about we just focus on the one approach that actually works – vegan education? I know it works on a personal level because I’ve had people come to me personally and tell me that my advocacy has changed them and they want to know how to go vegan. Francione gets loads of emails daily from people’s whose minds and hearts he has changed, and he doesn’t do the “anything and everything” approach. He uses one tactic, vegan education. It’s very simple, really. Educate people about veganism and they will usually listen when the message is clear and consistent. Those who won’t listen, aren’t going to listen to welfarists either.

  89. April 18, 2014, 3:24 am

    Spencer Lo

    Newkirk’s piece is not only eloquently written, its main point is as simple as it is unassailable: that for the animals about to be slaughtered, less suffering is preferable – from their perspective – to more suffering, and Grandin’s designs lessens the extent to which they suffer in their final moments. And so if the choice for the countless animals who *will* be slaughtered, at least for the foreseeable future, is between experiencing less suffering or experiencing more suffering—and not between being slaughtered or not being slaughtered (I’m sure everyone here realizes that society won’t go vegan overnight)—the preferable one is clear. It thus remains a mystery to me why some animal advocates, of all people, would disagree with this.

  90. April 18, 2014, 3:53 am

    Elizabeth Collins

    Clearing up misunderstanding/misinterpretation.

    To address to the reader, a common misinterpretation that is articulated yet again here: Every one knows and agrees that less suffering is better than more suffering. No one has said “More suffering is BETTER!” So it is very disingenuous to insinuate that we are advocating that animals suffer more or that we are advocating against their suffering less. So to make it clear to those reading these comments who may be taken in by this straw man argument: Abolitionist are saying we don’t *campaign* *to cause less harm*. We don’t campaign to regulate torture and call it ‘better’. We campaign for veganism.

    Our issue, as you can see *very clearly* if you would just read Gary Francione’s comment above, is with vegans and animal advocates spending their time and energy perpetuating speciesism (by saying it’s not THAT we use them rather it’s HOW we use them that is the problem) and by getting behind things like a ramp to a slaughterhouse, which industry would have designed anyway, because as Temple Grandin states, and the animal industry agrees, this makes everything more *efficient*. Rather than campaign, spending valuable time, resources and energy, on campaigns that give people the illusion that things are so much better for animals (they are not, and it wouldn’t even be discussed in this manner if it were human beings who were the victims of the outright torture and death) we urge vegans to use their time and energy and money and resources to fight for ABOLITION by promoting VEGANISM, in their communities, online, on air, unceasingly, nonviolently, with all their united energy. We don’t want animal advocates to perpetuate speciesism and perpetuate the notion that animals are things for us to use, by focusing the general public on *treatment* rather than *use* and spending their time talking about everything BUT veganism.

    Hope that clears it up for the readers.

  91. April 18, 2014, 4:02 am

    Elizabeth Collins

    Reposting for those who missed it

    Gary Francione’s comment, from above, illustrating the points I tried to make in my comment. For those who missed it (please read all Gary Francione’s books too):

    “The MoMA curators describe slaughterhouse designer Temple Grandin as an “animal rights activist.” And Ingrid Newkirk, the head of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), takes the time to put in a good word for Grandin and her slaughterhouse design: after all, Grandin already received PETA’s “Visionary” Award. Newkirk even waxes lyrical. It’s strange: never on a visit to a slaughterhouse did a hoisted cow appear to us “like a leaf snagged on a fencepost.”

    But we are all reassured by Grandin’s pronouncements, because we want to be, and the meat industry needs us to be. She says that “[w]e owe the animals we use for food a life worth living and a painless death.” Without that reassurance, we might be uncomfortable with what we are paying someone else to do to get that meat to our table. And look: it’s working. The curators state *as a fact* that “Grandin created the serpentine ramp to ensure the humane treatment of cattle.” So we’ve just *assumed* that slaughter can be made “humane.” A “scientist” says it can be, so it must be true and PETA has signed off. Should we have any residual worries, Grandin reminds us that wolves and hyenas don’t kill nicely either. It must be alright for us, then, as we should all take our moral cues from hyenas.

    Temple Grandin’s comments are to be expected. Despite the curators’ view, we maintain that Grandin is simply auxillary to the meat industry. Indeed, Grandin, a consultant for the meat industry, makes clear that her designs are intended to “keep the meat industry running safely, efficiently and profitably.” The meat industry loves Grandin. She helps them operate efficiently and she gives that industry its cover.

    But for Ingrid Newkirk to be joining that choir? The effects of this design are things that the meat industry *needs*. That industry wants the speediest slaughter possible. Newkirk notes that frightened cattle will turn back, “clogging up the line and slowing down the process of converting cows into cuts of meat.” The concern of the slaughterhouse about cows injuring themselves has *nothing* to do with care for the cow. None of them is approaching slaughterhouse construction “as a child might nail together some planks to make a tree house.” There’s nothing innocent, picturesque or bucolic about a slaughterhouse. A large, frightened animal thrashing against a threat can injure slaughterhouse workers and cause expensive carcass damage, The concern is for profit, not the well-being of the cow, who is about to meet the violent death that will get her to your plate. The meat industry seeks efficient slaughter because that is what is in the economic interests of industry.

    If animals matter morally, we can simply not justify exploiting animals for food and it’s not just a matter of tweaking the design. It’s a matter of simply and plainly saying “no” to slaughter and using animals for food. The industry will clean up the process itself if it has its rational economic interests at heart. Industry knows the dangers and expenses of a less calm approach to the kill floor. They don’t need “animal right activists” educating them on that. They can hire someone with design expertise, just as prisons hire architects to design execution chambers, and interrogators with their “enhanced techniques” can find psychologists to consult on just what conditions are the most effective.

    But the meat industry *does* need people identified as “animal rights activists” to convince consumers that it is possible to kill at this industrial level and still do it nicely. Then “[i]f it works, if all goes well—as well as things can go when a living being is lured to a violent death,” as Ingrid Newkirk notes, then what actually happens is that we forget the fear; we forget the death; we forget the “realm of violence” of the slaughter house, and we are reassured, as the curators comment, that design has brought us to the “humane treatment” that *we* want. We’re the ones who decide to buy the meat and animal products. It’s about *us*; it’s not about the animals.”

    NO WHERE in that comment was it stated that our goal is to see animals suffer more, or that we don’t want animals to suffer less. No. More. Straw. Men. Please.

  92. April 18, 2014, 4:03 am

    Ruth P

    Get to work!

    Pamela, if you took a fraction of the time you have spent on this site castigating people who work their butts off for animals and spent it on actually doing something for animals yourself, you might feel a whole lot better about yourself and have less need to spend all your time whining. A big thank you to Ingrid and the PETA folks who work hard and get more done to save animals and end animal suffering than any other organization.

  93. April 18, 2014, 4:26 am

    Spencer Lo

    It’s a mystery to me why, if one agrees that less suffering is preferable to more suffering, she or he would reject campaigns that aim to bring about that outcome, assuming they are effective and will help animals more than hurt them. And yet, this is precisely Gary Francione’s position—he would reject welfare reforms even if he thinks they are effective, even if they resulted in saving “a million or more” animals. https://www.facebook.com/abolitionistapproach/posts/622783841074707

    None of the above critical comments actually engage Newkirk’s basic point: for instance, even if certain welfare reforms make animal exploitation more efficient, to some extent, that does not in any way refute the fact that those reforms reduce suffering—which, from the perspective of the cow headed for slaughter, matters tremendously.

    (Btw, I never stated, implied or insinuated that anyone is advocating for animals to suffer more).

  94. April 18, 2014, 4:49 am

    Elizabeth Collins

    Please read Gary Francione's books

    Spencer Lo says it is a ‘mystery to him’ why we as animal *rights* advocates (not animal welfare advocates) reject campaigns that ‘aim’ to bring about this outcome. Aim is right. Firstly – Temple Grandin and the mean industry worked together on this project to *increase production efficiency*. It is clear. No mystery there. No need for any animal advocates to put their stamp of approval on it.

    Secondly, if you read Gary Francione’s work on the property status of animals, it is arguably obvious that any supposed welfarist ‘reform’s are entirely based on production efficiency, as this ramp by Temple Grandin illustrates. And as his work clearly illustrates, animal industry will bring about these changes because they improve production efficiency. What is sick is that they are also getting a huge leg up in their advertising of these products by stamps of approval of animal welfare advocate, the ‘voices for animals.’

    When it comes to any significant difference for the victims, who are still force bred, enslaved, imprisoned, tortured and slaughtered, in even the supposed ‘better’ situations, they are next to none. given that they are still force bred, enslaved, imprisoned, tortured and slaughtered. So again, speciesism is rampant, within the animal movement as without. If it were human beings involved there would be a call from all advocates for the abolition of the force breeding, enslaving, torture and slaughter. Hands down. Only when it comes to nonhumans do these horrible compromises get made. And that is caused by speciesism.

    The welfarist advocates are also still conveniently sidestepping the point being made that *animal advocates* – the ‘voices for animals’ – have no business perpetuating the property status of animals, and focusing people on treatment rather than use, instead of challenging exploitation and working towards abolition by promoting veganism. I understand if they are not vegans themselves, as I believe Spencer Lo for example is not vegan, but vegans doing it is just plain wrong.

    The welfarist advocates are also conveniently overlooking the huge benefits to animals that are caused by waking people up to the moral personhood of all sentient beings and turning them on to veganism. Even if they do it in stages, gradually or whatever, before they go vegan (and no one is saying they won’t) – reduction in demand occurs. “Cutting down” as the favorite saying goes. What we don’t do is *advcoate* ‘cutting down’. We advocate veganism.

    Another benefit is an increase in environmental awareness which is inevitable, as abolitionists recognise what we owe to *all* sentient beings with whom we share this earth. And once one is vegan, the demand for future animals who will be bred into existence and slaughtered to fulfill their demand for animal products is eliminated. Forever. And the more people who go vegan, the more veganism spreads, and it’s all exponential.

    So, to answer Spencer’s question: just as we see it is immoral to campaign for ‘more humane rape’ or ‘more humane sex slavery’ – despite the irrefutable fact that ‘more humane’ is ‘better’ – we also see it as immoral to campaign for more humane animal torture- especially when we have a CLEAR ALTERNATIVE. Which is to promote veganism. See? If you are not speciesist, it is not one bit mystifying. It is only mystifying to those who hold that all other animals have lesser moral value, and that it’s not that we use them but how we use them. It’s only mystifying to those who think that animals are things for us to use, as long as we do it ‘humanely’. It’s only mystifying to someone who doesn’t recognise the moral personhood of all sentient beings. Then I imagine it is very mystifying indeed, but luckily more and more people are waking up to the moral personhood of nonhuman animals and all sentient beings, thanks to the growing active, grassroots, abolitionist vegan movement, which is directly a result of Gary Francione’s work.

    Please read Gary Francione’s books. They make it all so clear. you can find them here: http://www.abolitionistapproach.com/books/

  95. April 18, 2014, 4:54 am

    Elizabeth Collins

    Yes, actually they have

    “None of the above critical comments actually engage Newkirk’s basic point: for instance, even if certain welfare reforms make animal exploitation more efficient, to some extent, that does not in any way refute the fact that those reforms reduce suffering”

    Yes, they have, over and over. We have said: industry will do this anyway. What is the issue here is that animal advocates are helping industry to sell their products by giving them their stamp of approval. Such as awards and letters and statements praising their ‘forward thinking’ etc etc. The issue is that that makes people feel better about continuing to exploit them. And despite the slight difference this ramp, for example makes, in the grand scheme of things these animals are still horrifically slaughtered, they are still driven to the slaughter houses, they are still tortured while alive during ‘farming’ their babies are still stolen, etc etc etc. What the problem is is that animal advocates are focusing everyone on this particular slight very slight ‘improvement’ in this particular moment, the walk up the ramp to the slaughterhouse, which takes the focus OFF the immoral fact that they oughtn’t be being bred into existence and slaughtered in the first place. So it is just another straw man argument, or someone’s not paying attention.

  96. April 18, 2014, 1:36 pm

    Spencer Lo

    First, no one in this debate is against promoting veganism, and so it’s not a question of whether to promote veganism or welfare reforms, but whether to do both.

    Second, that reforms may increase efficiency, as I pointed out, does nothing to refute the fact that they also reduce suffering—which, from the perspective of the cow headed for slaughtered, matters tremendously.

    Third, whether industry will implement reforms anyway is a questionable empirical claim, and even if it were true, it’s uncontroversially better – from the perspective of the animals who will be slaughtered – that they happen sooner rather than later, since lessening animal suffering sooner is preferable to lessening animal suffering later.

    Fourth, it’s still a mystery to me why, if less suffering is better than more suffering, animal advocates (like Gary Francione and Elizabeth Collins) would reject reforms that aim to lessen the suffering of countless animals who *will* be slaughtered—even if they are effective and will save “a million or more” animals. This position necessarily implies that allowing the status quo to continue (or worsen) is preferable to supporting reforms that make the situation for animals a bit better.

  97. April 18, 2014, 2:47 pm

    Gary L. Francione/Anna E. Charlton

    Still Missing the Point

    What is fascinating to us is how *none* of the PETA supporters here seems able to understand–much less address–the point that welfare reforms generally increase production efficiency. Grandin’s work is an excellent example of this. She very explicitly maintains that her work is focused on profitability, reduction of worker injuries, and general industry efficiency. In any event, industry–or relevant segments of the industry as animal agriculture involves many types of actors–will adopt these things irrespective of what anyone else says.

    The issue is whether Newkirk and other “animal advocates” ought to promote these industry efficiency measures in normative ways which, in effect, gives cover to industry and allows for characterization of these measures as important *moral* steps and as resulting in “humane” exploitation.

    There is, of course, a symbiotic relationship here. Industry needs people like Newkirk to provide that moral cover for what are, in essence, efficiency measures. Industry needs welfarists to provide a positive moral characterization of their efficiency efforts. But PETA needs industry as PETA uses these efficiency measures to proclaim “progress” and to fundraise. For the most part, welfare campaigns target economically vulnerable industry practices for precisely that reason. These practices are in transition anyway, so there is an easy “victory” for fundraising purposes.

    So the issue is not whether we oppose industry efficiency. The issue is whether “animal advocates” should provide cover for industry efficiency and facilitate its characterization as resulting in “humane” exploitation.

    It is disappointing that many of the PETA supporters here do not seem to understand these issues. And it is disturbing that some of them are mischaracterizing our position in ways that seem to be deliberate.

  98. April 18, 2014, 3:04 pm

    ChrissyLouise

    Not Missing the Point

    I can’t speak for others, but can speak for myself and say that I understand exactly what you are saying but vehemently disagree. It is simpler and less expensive for factory farmers to use gestation crates; and yet PETA pushes for an end for those and has made great strides. Farm owners prefer not to stun animals or spend any extra money on welfare reforms. Is it easier to throw a live chicken into boiling water before stunning that chicken? The answer is “yes”. People who use and abuse animals aren’t adopting welfare reforms because it will help them become “more efficient”, but because they understand that the tide of public opinion has changed due to PETA’s amazing 30+ year work exposing what happens behind slaughterhouse walls. Because of PETA, the entire industry has been exposed for what it is. I am not missing any points. I fully agree with providing as much peace as possible to animals who are suffering now and working to an ultimate ideal, rather than just talking about that ideal.

  99. April 18, 2014, 3:12 pm

    Gabriel Walters

    I wonder whether Mr. Francione and Ms. Charlton have fully read the piece they’re reacting to. Newkirk is criticizing Grandin, not defending her work. Newkirk has written time and again that there is no such thing as humane meat. Those asking for no more straw men would do well to examine their own works.

  100. April 18, 2014, 3:35 pm

    Vera Cristofani

    Either/or

    Spencer Lo said, “First, no one in this debate is against promoting veganism, and so it’s not a question of whether to promote veganism or welfare reforms, but whether to do both.”

    Spencer, it is a mystery to me why you cannot see the impossibility to promote both. To do both, it woudl be the same as promoting no rape at all and, at the same time, promoting “gentle” rape. Regarding animals, you either have to decide if you want to send a clear message that, if people care about animals, no use can be morally justiable and they have to consider going vegan in order to align their thoughts of care with their actions or you send a message that now animals are being “happily exploited” and “humanely” killed which will make people feel more comfortable to continue using them, especially when this message is sent by an animal organization.

  101. April 18, 2014, 3:48 pm

    Spencer Lo

    Gary Francione/ Anna E. Charlton claim that no one has addressed “the point that welfare reforms generally increase production efficiency,” but this is false: for I addressed it above, by noting that increasing efficiency does nothing to refute the fact that welfare reforms also reduce suffering—which, from the perspective of the cow headed for slaughtered, matters tremendously.

  102. April 18, 2014, 4:11 pm

    Gary L. Francione/Anna E. Charlton

    Becoming a Waste of Time

    Chrissy Louise: We apologize but your comment is indicative of the problem–you have no idea what you are talking about. You are apparently unaware that most of the welfare reforms to date actually increase production efficiency, at least for certain market segments. A good chunk of the California egg industry even supported Proposition 2!

    Welfare reforms will happen whether or not Newkirk supports them. If the animal movement challenged animal use as a general matter, industry would respond with the same reforms. The difference would be that Newkirk and other welfarists would not be there handing out awards to, and praising, industry, which *necessarily* promotes a normatively favorable message about consuming animal products.

    The issue, as we stated yet again above, is whether “animal advocates” should give cover to industry. But if you and others do not understand the efficiency aspect of this, it is no surprise that you are unable to engage the issue of “movement” support.

    Gabriel Waters: Of course we’ve read it. Have you? It is quite clearly a defense of Grandin and a defense of PETA’s giving her an award.

    Have you read what Newkirk says on Bell and Evans site? Let us–once again–remind you: “Bell & Evans shows that animal welfare and good business can go hand in hand.” “…and by listening to consumers’ wishes, Bell & Evans has set a new standard for the chicken-supply industry.”

    Bell and Evans is using that as a promotion of their chicken: . http://www.bellandevans.com/content/what-others-are-saying

    And you don’t think that Newkirk is giving a stamp of approval to “happy exploitation”? Perhaps you should let Bell and Evans know as they certainly seem to think so. They are using the statement as publicity. They must have missed something.

    PETA talks out of many sides of institutional mouth on the issue of “happy exploitation.” But to deny that one of those voices is very strongly supportive of “happy exploitation” is folly. Indeed, it’s quite clear that PETA does endorse “happy exploitation”: http://www.abolitionistapproach.com/a-response-to-petas-position-on-happy-or-humane-exploitation/#.U1FHjqL_naE

    In any event, this thread is not going anywhere interesting. We extend our thanks to all who participated but there is really nothing more for us to say on this issue at this point. One or both of us may participate in the follow-up debate page that MoMA has set up.

  103. April 18, 2014, 4:56 pm

    Debbie H

    Legalities

    ChrissieLouise, noting your comment above that slaughter is legal while rape is not is irrelevant. What is ethical has nothing to do with what may be legal at a certain point in time.

  104. April 18, 2014, 6:01 pm

    Pamela

    Oh my

    Isn’t Gabriel Walters Current Counsel at the PETA Foundation? That’s what your LinkedIn profile says. Please tell us Gabriel, in what way is giving an award to Temple Grandin “criticizing her work?” I will be fascinated to know the answer to that.

    Ironically your saying that Gary and Anna attack straw men is, ahem, a straw man. I’m embarrassed for you, Mr. Waters.

  105. April 18, 2014, 6:18 pm

    mitchell schuman

    what is the debate about?

    April 18, 2014, 6:09 pm
    mitchell schuman

    what is the debate about?

    I attended the debate last night. It was thought provoking in so many ways and I was impressed by the intelligence (and also the attractiveness) of the speakers and the moderator, (as well as the intelligent questions from the audience). I would like to understand which question/premise the debate was designed to address. Was it:

    SHOULD HUMANS KILL ANIMALS (USE ANIMALS) AS PROPERTY AND AS A SOURCE FOR FOOD?

    OR WAS IT:

    GIVEN THAT HUMANS EAT MEAT, FISH, EGGS AND DAIRY PRODUCTS, IS THERE A (MORE) HUMANE WAY TO TREAT THE ANIMALS THAT ARE USED FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION. CAN DESIGN EFFECT A MORE HUMANE TREATMENT OF ANIMALS THAT WE ALREADY ACCEPT ARE USED AS A FOOD SOURCE?

    I would love to comment on the topic but my first question is “What is the topic?” (Or have I completely misunderstood it?)

  106. April 18, 2014, 7:14 pm

    Gary L. Francione

    A Great Question!

    Mitchell:

    A great question! I can speak only for myself but it was my impression as a participant that Nicola interpreted the question in latter sense. As I hoped I made clear, I do not dispute that design *can* lessen suffering. That would, indeed, seem indisputable. But I interpreted the question in the former way. I think that was a legitimate interpretation of the question because I do not think “humane” is a coherent moral notion when we are imposing any level of suffering or when we are killing for palate pleasure, fashion, or any other transparentally frivolous purpose.

    I hope you enjoyed the event. I cannot believe how quickly it went. I thought that Paola was a great moderator. And Michelle Fisher and all the MoMA people did a splendid job of having it all come off smoothly.

  107. April 18, 2014, 7:55 pm

    Michelle Fisher

    MoMA Design and Violence Coordinator

    Dear Mitchell, Gary,

    A great question, and perhaps a way to refocus the discussion here.

    The motion for the debate last night was shown on the screen several times–it was: “Design can allow us to humanely include animal products in our diet.”

    Nicola Twilley argued for the motion and Gary against. Both did a really excellent job of offering the audience a range of ways to interpret this motion. In concert with Design and Violence co-curator Paola Antonelli as a moderator, they facilitated a conversation about not only our own individual and larger societal attitudes towards the use of animal products in our diets, but specifically how *design* fits into this equation.

    We are, after all, entering this debate series from the very specific viewpoint of a museum institution, and asking MoMA audiences to think about important and compelling contemporary issues through the lens of design.

    Gary, as we discussed last night before the debate, we know you and many of the audience members hold deep and unshakable convictions about the right of animals not to be used for consumption (in any form) by humans, and we respect those convictions very much. The conversations you, Nicky, Paola, Jamer and myself had in preparation for the debate were really productive–we thought about how we could ask people to think anew about everyday choices like the foods they eat or the products they use/wear, and what role design plays or could it play?

    The Design and Violence curators try to remain on the sidelines of the comment section in order to allow an unmoderated public forum for free discussion, but it seemed helpful in this instance to clarify the debate motion, and to thank Gary and Nicky for a really thought-provoking discussion.

    Video will be up on the debate page early next week, and those who want to respond directly to the debate motion can comment here, whether or not you were able to attend the event: http://designandviolence.moma.org/design-and-violence-debate-iii-eating-animals/

    If commenters want to see some of the questions raised during the debate, or pictures, you can take a look at the Storify here: https://storify.com/Desviolenz/design-and-violence-debate-iii-eating-animals

  108. April 18, 2014, 7:55 pm

    Elizabeth Collins

    yet again re-clarfying a (deliberate?) misinterpretation

    Spencer Lo said “animal advocates (like Gary Francione and Elizabeth Collins) would reject reforms that aim to lessen the suffering of countless animals who *will* be slaughtered”

    Spencer mustn’t have read my or any other abolitionist comments – well, i know better than to say that, since i have dealt with Spencer before and he is a genius with straw man arguments and deliberate misrepresentations, if nothing else.

    Again – nowhere, NO WHERE, was it said,by ANY of us, that we “reject reforms that aim to lessen the suffering of countless animals”.

    What we said, and I repeat the very comment Spencer ‘responded’ to, to save time (with some highlighting as it seems to be needed, although oughtn’t be necessary):
    “What is the issue here is that *animal advocates* are *helping industry* to sell their products by giving them their stamp of approval. Such as awards and letters and statements praising their ‘forward thinking’ etc etc.

    The issue is that that *makes people feel better about continuing to exploit them*. And despite the slight difference this ramp, for example makes, in the grand scheme of things these animals are still horrifically slaughtered, they are still driven to the slaughter houses, they are still tortured while alive during ‘farming’ their babies are still stolen, etc etc etc.

    What the problem is is that *animal advocates* are *focusing* everyone on this particular slight very slight ‘improvement’ in this particular moment, the walk up the ramp to the slaughterhouse, *which takes the focus OFF* the immoral fact that they oughtn’t be being bred into existence and slaughtered in the first place. ”

    This is why i say you are a troll, Spencer, and choose to have nothing to do with you, ever if I can help it. You troll, do nothing but repeat straw man arguments which deliberately misrepresent while completely ignoring the substantive point made. Classic straw man argument trolling. And you are relentless abut it. While this is typical of what is done by welfarists, you have taken it to a new and highly dishonest level. I suspect it is because you are not vegan, so perhaps have guilt? Who knows.

    I only engaged with you here because what you do is insidious and dishonest and i want unsuspecting readers to beware. However, it is a waste of time to engage you further. It is pretty obvious now that you are unable to respond to the points being made, which was the goal of my even acknowledging your straw man comments in the first place, . Exposing that dishonesty is worth it I guess, so not a total waste of time then. Goodbye! Adios! And all I can say is thank goodness for ban buttons on Facebook and youtube. Life is too short.

  109. April 18, 2014, 8:13 pm

    Elizabeth Collins

    Please read Gary Francione's BOOKS!

    “whether industry will implement reforms anyway is a questionable empirical claim”

    this is an astonishing thing to claim on a thread on a post that is dedicated to a slaughterhouse ramp designed for industry which has the primary goal – as stated by the designer herself – to increase production efficiency.

    Everyone: please read Gary Francione’s books!! You can find them here: http://www.abolitionistapproach.com/books/

    read them ALL! :)

  110. April 18, 2014, 9:00 pm

    mitchell schuman

    "humane killing"

    I can not see how the premise is arguable if we accept the idea that “humane killing” is an oxymoron (even as qualified). Can one argue whether capital punishment should be “humane” if one believes that capital punishment is always wrong? Yet societies have gone from public hangings and beheadings (sometimes by less than skilled executioners who don’t “get it right” the first few times) to lethal injection. Either way, the discussion is thought provoking for someone who wants to think of himself as “a good person”. Also, it’s fascinating to hear the thoughts of so many smart people.

  111. April 18, 2014, 10:38 pm

    Spencer Lo

    Elizabeth Collins,

    Way to raise the level of discourse by personally attacking me, but I’ll ignore it and focus on substance (perhaps you can try to do the same?).

    You claim I committed a misrepresentation when I stated that “animal advocates (like Gary Francione and Elizabeth Collins) would reject reforms that aim to lessen the suffering of countless animals who *will* be slaughtered—even if they are effective and will save “a million or more” animals.”

    First, Gary Francione has been very clear about his opposition to all welfare reforms, even if he thinks they are effective and would save “a million or more” animals. https://www.facebook.com/abolitionistapproach/posts/622783841074707

    Second, in your first response to me, you stated that abolitionists “are saying we don’t *campaign* *to cause less harm*.” So, if you reject all welfare reforms, then it follows that you reject reforms that aim to lessen the suffering of countless animals who will be slaughtered, so I fail to see where I’ve misrepresented anyone.

  112. April 19, 2014, 12:21 am

    Gary L. Francione

    Dear All:

    It is my position that welfare reforms are, for the most part, efficiency measures that industry (or some segment of industry) will pursue anyway. Grandin’s work is a perfect example of that phenomenon. She is a meat-industry consultant who explicitly acknowledges that she helps industry to become more profitable and efficient.

    It is my position further that animal advocates ought not to provide cover to such measures by giving awards to people like Grandin or publicly praising companies like Bell and Evans or Whole Foods, as PETA and other groups, do.

    If industry were wiling to undertake some reform that would save “a million or more” animals, then they would see that as an efficient thing to do as they clearly are not going to do it because they regard animals as having moral value. They raise and slaughter animals for food. Animals are commodities as far as they are concerned. To posit otherwise is simply silly.

    In any event, as I stated in the piece that is cited above:

    >>As I say, it’s a zero-sum game. I choose to be clear in trying to educate the very many people who really do care about animals morally that if animals have any moral value, we cannot justify eating, wearing, or using them–however “humanely” we may do so. That’s a fundamental difference: welfarists want to tell people who care: “if you care, doing less than going vegan is morally acceptable.” I don’t. I have a great deal more respect for the intelligence and moral integrity of ordinary people. And I regard animal life and human life as having equal moral value for the purpose of using neither exclusively as resources, however “humanely.”<<

    I once extend my thanks and sincere gratitude to Paola Antonelli, Michelle Fisher, and all of the wonderful people at MoMA who made this event possible and I find it sad that any criticism of Grandin or her defenders, such as Ingrid Newkirk, results in ad hominem comments and mischaracterizations of my position.

    Gary L. Francione
    Professor, Rutgers University

  113. April 19, 2014, 1:06 am

    Alan O'Reilly

    Spencer Lo

    Still trolling I see. In the Francione item you referenced in your previous post he states he would not support welfare CAMPAIGNS or PROMOTE welfare reforms. Your misrepresentation will be obvious to anyone who takes the trouble to read it. Neither Gary Francione or Elizabeth Collins has said they “reject welfare reforms”. It seems you just can’t help yourself.

  114. April 19, 2014, 1:47 am

    Spencer Lo

    Alan,

    I don’t see how this hairsplitting between “reject[ing] welfare reforms” and “not supporting welfare reforms” really makes any semantic difference here, when in the fb post I quoted, Gary Francione suggests that welfare reforms are morally analogous to “sexist/misogynistic campaigns”–which he not only doesn’t support, but *opposes* and *rejects.*

    But, if you prefer to read where Francione has said, verbatim, “I reject animal welfare reform” or “Abolitionists reject animal welfare reform,” see the following: (1) http://www.abolitionistapproach.com/got-faith-in-animal-welfare/; and (2) http://www.abolitionistapproach.com/the-abolitionist-approach-and-farm-sanctuary-discuss-happy-meat-abolition-and-welfare-reform/#.U1HS24W26ar

    “Your misrepresentation will be obvious to anyone who takes the trouble to read it.”

    I wonder about that. I have read many of Francione’s writings and it’s obvious to me that he “rejects” welfare reforms, on both practical *and* theoretical grounds. In your reply, if you’d like to follow-up, I’d be interested to see if you will attempt to sustain the charge of misrepresentation or withdraw it.

  115. April 19, 2014, 4:35 pm

    Righto Skipper

    come again?

    I needed to read the comments, and the overview provided by “Enrich,” before I actually understood the article. I couldn’t tell if the article was for or against this ‘innovation.’ Whether a reader thinks the writer is right or wrong (and I’d like to think we each have a right to an opinion), it would be helpful if the writer could structure the work in a way that lays out the issue more clearly and sets out the contradictory opinions in an articulate manner. There was so much emotional reactive imagery, pinging off into so many directions, that I lost the energy to try and unpack it. We can sway readers with emotions but they need to understand the argument at hand. I’m never the brightest person in the room (I only have a degree in English), but I hope the writer is trying to connect with as many readers as possible, as opposed to a chosen few. If not, our issues will continue to stay in the margins. The playing field is already uneven. We need to make sure everyone understands our core arguments and accepts them as rational if we are to build mainstream support.

  116. April 20, 2014, 1:10 pm

    Mary delavalette

    The path to Animal Rights from present Animal Slavery is what we ( passionately) argue about. Giving animals a “humane” death in situations which we have not yet been able to change is one small victory along the way. Some wars are won in huge battles, others incrementally . The bigger the evil, the harder the fight and every inch of ground we advance is an inch closer to victory.

    It may not feel as good for us, but put your self in the animals’ place. All or Nothing often gives us just – nothing.

  117. April 20, 2014, 5:51 pm

    Gary L. Francione

    Attack of the Straw Men

    Mary Delavalette:

    Once again, you provide an excellent example of someone who is not engaging the position that I, Anna Charlton, and others have presented. Instead, you join the PETA chorus, espouse platitudes, and make straw-man arguments.

    First, no one is arguing “all or nothing.” We are arguing that welfare reform deals only with economic efficiency and will never get us to any place than where we are right now: the “happy exploitation” movement– where people are convinced that they can discharge their moral obligations by eating “happy” animals with the blessing of PETA and the other new welfarist groups.

    If you think that’s a step anywhere but backward, you are, I fear, in error.

    Second, as has been stated numerous times and discussed by none of you, the “humane” measures have *nothing* to do with recognizing that animals have inherent value. They have to do with economic efficiency. If animal advocates were taking the position that animal exploitation is not morally justifiable at all, rather than partnering with industry to promote “happy exploitation,” industry would respond in the exact same way and offer the exact same “reforms.”

    Let me state this simply: Certain Industry actors would be using Temple Grandin ramps even if PETA were not giving Grandin awards. It’s about efficiency and profitability.

    And if you don’t think that PETA giving her awards and praising companies like Whole Foods and Bell and Evans have a *very* serious negative effect on progress in this area, then, again, I think you are in error.

    Gary L. Francione

  118. April 22, 2014, 6:58 pm

    Mark Wiesenfeld

    A shame that Ms. Grandin has not used her God-given gifts in the service of true animal rights & liberation
    rather than 1) collaborating with industries that enslave and kill sentient individuals, and 2) participating in academia by teaching “Topics in Animal Sciences – Livestock Handling,” where “the students have a cattle handling lab, design cattle handling facilities, and research topics on animal behavior on the scientific databases…” Ms. Grandin also teaches a similar class at the veterinary school. See http://ansci.agsci.colostate.edu/grandin-temple/

  119. April 23, 2014, 6:14 am

    […] Grandin’s Serpentine Ramp (http://designandviolence.moma.org/serpentine-ramp-temple-grandin/) is a design that supposedly prevents cattle from being horrified by the cruelty of slaughtering. […]

  120. April 26, 2014, 8:45 pm

    Wendelin Wohlgemuth

    Some thoughts:

    First, for something to be “more humane” it needs to be at least a little bit humane in the first place. A serpentine ramp is not “more humane” because the act of slaughtering a conscious creature for no good reason is not humane in the first place. The only way such design implementations could possibly be described is “less inhumane.” This goes for all supposed “welfare” reforms that seek to “improve” our treatment of animals. A bigger cage is not “more humane.” It is less inhumane, if anything at all. As Francione has stated over and over again, If something is fundamentally inhumane, we should not be funding, supporting, praising it at all. This is something that I think Nicola Twilley was not addressing in the debate.

    Secondly, I think that it could be argued that something like a serpentine ramp, or a video game for pigs, etc. actually makes the process of slaughter more INhumane. In addition to torturing and killing the animal, we are, in a sense, lying to them by luring them into a trap with trickery that exploits their natural behaviors like curiosity. To me, this is much more morbid.

    Thirdly, the part in the video which took me aback the most is when Twilley stated that the belief in sentience is a theological belief. Utter nonsense. It is like saying the belief in life is a theological belief, merely because there are some doubts about when or how life began.

  121. June 19, 2014, 10:08 am

    M. Graham

    Some Considerations

    If Temple Grandin were not autistic, she would be seen as the opportunistic enemy of animals that she is. There are many people in the autism community who are seriously disturbed by her exploitation of autism in order to promote herself and her economic agenda via animal killing, yet those who are not autistic perform a weird kind of discrimination in which they automatically grant wide berth to autistic people, revealing their assumption that autistic people cannot be moral people, when nothing could be further from the truth. Grandin doesn’t represent all autistic people, and she serves the meat and dairy industries, not the animals. As for her “stairways to heaven”: Sure, any reduction in stress for an animal about to be murdered is preferable to an increase in stress. Apart from the fact that that’s a pretty low bar for moral decision making, here’s the problem: Animals, like humans, have five senses, not just one, and people who promote Grandin’s work as “more humane” and/or legitimately contributing to a “better death” for animals are in willful, self-serving denial. The animals smell the blood, they hear the screams, they feel the mass anxiety all around them (not to mention the horrific abuse they’ve probably already endured before being ushered into their “heavenly” chutes). I mean, seriously, “more humane”? Are you kidding me? This kind of logic reflects nothing more nor less than a moral cowardice, given its foundational (and idiotic) denial. In general, her work has the practical effect of salving the conscience of people who choose to continue to eat meat, since it allows them to opt out of a systemic critique, which of course would require that they examine their own implication in that system. It therefore has the further practical effect of semiotically entrenching, rather than dismantling the system. This is why liberals, and academic liberals in particular, for example, can so often impassion themselves over human inequities and exploitation, while fully engaging in direct economic and social support of animal cruelty; and when they do consider the moral obligations of humans to nonhumans,, they think that if they give papers/talks about “the moral rights of animals”–or invite somebody like Temple Grandin to campus (true animal rights folks are completely off their radar)–they’ve done their duty. Frankly, I’ve had it with humanity and their fragile little egos that need to be coddled and coaxed in order to face truths. People need to get over themselves, grow a pair, and step up to the vegan plate. We don’t need volumes and volumes of Derridean or Wittgensteinian or Utilitarian analysis to reach the patently obvious realization that nonhuman animals are our brethren. We don’t need the philosophers. All we need is human decency, and spiritual honesty, and just a tiny bit of moral courage.

  122. July 7, 2014, 10:06 pm

    Coby Carwile

    I would challenge anyone who thinks these devices actually work, to find a slaughter house that uses them and then go watch the process. I bet anyone who watches these atrocities, even with a device that claims to make the process “humane” would rethink their stance and go vegan. I do not believe they work nor are they humane. It is total selfishness.

  123. October 5, 2014, 10:20 pm

    hamish

    Vegan is not the only answer!!

    We need to stop using vegan as the benchmark and then trying to bludgeon people with guilt if they don’t agree. That tactic is what makes most people completely unwilling to change to vegan for fear you’ll become an uptight idiot like most other vegans we encounter!! Everytime a vegan lectures a meat eater about what they eat it sets peoples views on Veganism back 10yrs because everytime we start to think it may be an option we get given a lecture that puts us off of it completely!! Freedom of choice is a two way deal! If you want us to respect your right to be a vegan you need to respect our right to not be a vegan!!

  124. October 7, 2014, 1:07 pm

    Bea Elliott

    Lecture or Education?

    Hello Hamish – I don’t know that discussions and debates are “lectures”. I also don’t agree that conversations of veganism set goals “back 10 years”. Indeed I believe most people that have been encouraged to think about this issue more deeply have concluded that veganism *is* the moral baseline. As the many voices have said here and elsewhere – How can it be otherwise? Granted there are some who take steps in getting there but to say that additional knowledge is a deterrent is just nonsense. The folks who have a mind to “eat more steak” because of message that urges a better way, are not the material that vegans are made of anyway – At least not yet. This topic has been silenced since the beginning of time and look where it’s gotten us — And what a miserable road it’s lead nonhumans on. When it comes to advocating for justice or kindness there is no bad time to speak out!

    That said, the “freedom of choice” to harm others earns no “respect” from anyone who values fairness and compassion. Such “freedoms” are had at the expense of others… How can anyone equate a “freedom of choice” when there are victims in the mix? But there is a “two way deal” that has existed since the beginning of time. It’s an inherited arrangement of denial and dissonance in a culture that’s been deliriously happy to remain quiet about the issues of animal use and abuse. It’s high time this “privilege” of ignorance is challenged for the bung that it is! There’s no “respect” due to those who willfully continue to hurt others. And no prizes either for those who harm others in “designs” of “gentler” ways. I think if you were the victims you’d see this is exactly so.

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