Animal Rights

Commentary #23: A Discussion on Abolition vs. Regulation with Robert Garner

| by Gary L Francione

Dear Colleagues:

My most recent book, The Animal Rights Debate: Abolition or Regulation?, involves a debate between me and Professor Robert Garner of the University of Leicester.

In this Commentary, Professor Garner and I discuss our book and we focus on the following questions that I prepared:

1. In our book, you state that animals have a right not to suffer “unacceptably.” How do you determine what levels of suffering are “acceptable”?

2. Although you think that factory-farming cannot be morally justified, if animals could be raised in a pleasant way with minimal suffering and killed in a relatively painless way for food, or if animals could be used in experiments with minimal suffering and significant benefits for humans, you could not object, could you?

Let’s take a very clear example: I have a cow who lives in the back garden. I treat her very well. I shoot her (one bullet; instantaneous death) and kill her and eat her. Have I done anything morally wrong?

3. In our book, you state: “I am accepting the view that, all things being equal, nonhuman animal life (of most nonhuman species at least) is of less moral value than human life.” p. 187 Why do you take this position?

4. A central point of disagreement between us is that you believe that regulationist groups, such as the RSPCA, CIWF, PETA, HSUS are seeking and achieving “worthwhile” wins. Do you believe that any of these “wins” does much more than make animal use more economically efficient? If so, can you identify them?

5. Do you believe that these groups are stimulating demand for “higher welfare” products in a way that will adversely affect overall demand? Given that all of these groups are promoting “happy” exploitation labels, can you doubt that whatever the effect will be, these groups believe that these labels will make people feel more comfortable about exploitation?

I hope that you enjoy the discussion.

If you are not vegan, go vegan. It’s easy; it’s better for your health and for the planet. But, most important, it’s the morally right thing to do.

The World is Vegan! If you want it.

Gary L. Francione
©2011 Gary L. Francione

Related posts:

  1. Commentary #18: A Step Backward, the Importance of Veganism, and the Misuse of “Abolition”
  2. Commentary #21: “The Animal Rights Debate,” the Abolitionist Approach Discussion Forum, and a Response to Nicolette Hahn Niman
  3. Commentary #11: Discussion with Professor Gary Steiner
  4. Commentary #17: Discussion with Ronnie Lee and Roger Yates
  5. Commentary #8: A Discussion of Abolitionist Principles