Working through an idea is human nature, right? I must dedicate “resources” to an issue in order to fairly appreciate and understand it. But coming to a workable solution isn’t always a possibility.
I was presented a very intriguing premise yesterday while listening to VeganFreakRadio, show #58, Gary Francione Returns to VFR. I’ve recently become quite attuned and extremely interested in his views on veganism and animal rights. Which would seemâ€“after hearing and reading his thoughtsâ€“they are merely different terms used to describe the same thing. Abolitionism.Â
Usually I’m a little hesitant about viewing issues as having such contrasting positions. There are almost always “shades of grey.” With that said some issues ARE that “cut and dry.” You’re either are a racist, sexist or homophobe, or you’re not. And speciesismâ€“according to Gary, at leastâ€“would fall in such a category.
He spoke about many an issue I care deeply about, but one especially caught my ear. His notion on companion animals or “pets,” if you will.
Now I’ll try to present his position accurately;
He contends the current state of dogs is one that weâ€“as a civilizationâ€“created through domestication of a wild form of dog at some point in the past. For our wants and needs, no less. And in order to continue to exist dogs are reliant on us to provide them every opportunity to do what they need to do to continue to live. And basically that’s unfair. What right do we have to perpetuate lives that are so dependent and vulnerable to us as their “owners?”Â
“We ought not to be bringing these animals into existence. They are, for their entire lives, unlike human children, who are dependent on us for a period of time, before they become independent of us. Nonhumans are always dependent on us. They’re dependent on us they’re entire lives. When they eat. When they drink. When they go outside. We have to make sure when Gary is doing a show with Bob and Jenna that someone is making sure there is water in the bowl. Someone is making sure they can go outside when they want to go outside. They are perpetually dependent, they’re entire lives, on us. They are vulnerable. They live in this weird netherworld. They’re not animals. They’re not living in the animal world. They’re not human. They’re sort of stuck in this weird/uncomfortable situation in which they’re not full members of our world and not members of any other world, either. They’re in this perpetual state of dependence. A perpetual state of vulnerability. I think it is unfair. And I think it’s not a good idea.”
His logic on new welfarism, veganism, animal rights and, yes even abortion are very intriguing. I see little room to argue against his positions. But on this issue things would seem not so concrete for me.
Honestly I was a little unsettled at first to find his argument on the issue so convincing. My transcription of the snippet above is only maybe of one minute of the more than 3 hour conversation. Please (if you can spare $5 for the monthly subscription fee, listen to it and if you want cancel it) listen to his entire positionâ€“on this and many other issuesâ€“before casting judgement on a man with such relevant thoughts towards the current state of the world.
Frankly I agreed, in large part with his assessment. Until I thought more about it. Now I’m not so sure. I’m not saying I necessarily object with him now. Rather agreeing with this position is a little more “tricky” than I first thought. It’s not so “black and white” anymore.Â
I can’t help but wonder where would I’d be without hefty intervention from doctors, especially? A pile of ashes in an urn atop my parents mantle, no doubt. Do doctors have a right to try and save a person who exhibited such dire symptoms as I did in those first few days, weeks and years after August 5th 1996? The doctors told my family IF I awoke from my coma there’s a good chance I MIGHT be a “vegetable” (sensitive indeed).Â
My point is quality of life is the issue.
I know this is a different situation. We’re talking about people and animals. Two totally different situations. But isn’t that the problem? Is it not very similar, at least?
I have no idea…