I used to be a Francione fan (on Gary Francione and “abolitionists”, part 2)

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(note: you may want to read Why I’m openly criticizing Francione first) 

Though Gary Francione has written a few books – which have their merits – he has mainly made a name for himself by criticizing animal rights organisations. Virtually no organisation, in his eyes, seems to deliver a net benefit for the animals. One could wonder: where is the appeal in this kind of message?

GLF list

Actually, I do understand the appeal of Francione’s message. More than that: I used to be a fan, back in 1997, when I first started with animal rights activism. I was writing my thesis about the human-animal relationship and got really enthusiastic about Francione’s book Rain without Thunder. And I was shocked: wow, this guy was the real deal, and lots of other public animal rights activists and organisations were actually betraying the cause of abolitionism, right? Now here was a man whose message was pure; here was somebody with a clear aim, who wouldn’t take anything less than total animal liberation for an answer. Yes, this was going to be a message that a lot of people wouldn’t want to hear, but… you can’t have rain without thunder, right?

I remember bringing this book up, very enthusiasticallly, to a leader of the animal rights movement in my country, Belgium. He didn’t react very positively to my enthusiasm. At that moment I wondered why, but I forgot about it. For some time, I remained under the illusion that Francione was right, and that all the others were selling out, leading us astray from our true cause.

It seems to be how today’s Francione fans think and act. They are raging against all kinds of groups, uncritically taking Francione’s words for true, believing that PETA, FARM, Mercy For Animals, the Vegan Society in the UK… have all sold out.

To those who believe that, I would say: talk to the really dedicated people in these organisations. Is it credible that those who put their lives in the service of the animals, some of whom started decades ago, and who have not eaten animal products for ages, and who have had a huge impact in creating awareness about veganism and animal rights… is it credible that those people have actually sold out? Is it credible that all of a sudden they have all become reformists or welfarists? Is it credible that they’re actually not thinking about strategy? Is it credible that they’re all less intelligent than you and Gary Francione?

So that’s the conclusion I reached myself, after a while. I talked to people in the movement. I started to see things from the perspective of the people we want to reach, instead of just adhering to dogma I heard again and again. So I no longer went along with Francione. I try not to doubt people’s good intentions, so although it requires quite a stretch for me, I try to still assume Francione is doing what he’s doing with the best intentions, out of compassion for animals, and that he actually believes what he says and preaches. And I want to believe the same about the people who follow him.

But I have moved on, and I hope my posts on this topic can help some followers of Francione to start thinking critically about his approach. 

Basically, if you’re an animal rights activist, this is a trajectory you might go through:

Phase 1: you discover animal rights, maybe through one of the organisations. You get into it deeper.
Phase 2: you discover Francione or the abolitionist approach. You think you’d do better to be very critical of the organisations you thought were good and interesting and effective.
Phase 3: you get over Francione and the abolitionist approach, see it for what it is, and you know that by supporting the work of most animal rights organisations, you are indeed contributing to abolitionism, only in a much more pragmatic and effective way than by adhering to Francionite dogma.

Back to Rain without thunder
Think about that title for a minute, and think of how often you see rain without thunder…?

Right: all the time.

Thinking is vegan. It’s allowed, you know.

41 thoughts on “I used to be a Francione fan (on Gary Francione and “abolitionists”, part 2)

  1. While I understand your criticism of the abolitionist approach (and share it to a certain extent), you misrepresent the meaning of the title of Francione’s classic, Rain Without Thunder. It doesn’t mean, as you state, that “you can’t have rain without thunder”, but it rather refers to a quote by Frederick Douglass, born as a slave in Maryland in 1818, and later renowned abolitionist, editor and feminist. The quote goes as follows: “Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation, are people who want crops without ploughing the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning; they want the ocean without the roar of its many waters. The struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, or it may be both. But it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”
    That being said, the reason why I only share your criticism to a certain extent is because I also see the merit of Francione’s line of thinking (without condoning his bashing of what he terms ‘welfarist’ organizations). The animal rights movement needs a few strong, moral figures like him, just as they need the many pragmatic organizations and individuals that he criticizes. In trying to publicly discredit Francione’s approach you commit the same mistake that he commits: Taking on the fight against individuals or organizations who have the same goal, but choose different paths to reach it. And that’s a pity, because it won’t contribute to less animal suffering and death, and is therefore neither effective nor pragmatic.
    I strongly recommend that you read Eat Like You Care, a much more recent Francione book, where he very convincingly outlines the moral dilemma of eating animals and clears up with a host of ‘arguments’ against veganism – without bashing or even listing a single ‘welfarist’ organization. According to the Amazon reviews and the letters from readers which he regularly posts on his Facebook page, this book has converted hundreds of people to quit consuming animals, because of his excellent delineation why eating animals is morally wrong, if animals matter morally at all.

    1. Gabi, thanks, I know the context of the quote, but I can’t see how i misinterpret it? Douglas says you can’t have rain without thunder, you can’t have progress without a struggle. I say: you can have progress with the struggle francione has in mind, just like you can have rain without thunder. What’s wrong about my interpretation?

      Secondly, it puzzles me how you can call Francione a “strong moral figure” (see my previous post on him, and his horrible attack on the AR conference. Of course if you mean with moral that he’s concerned about the morality and ideology… yes, I can understand the movement needs such figures, but we can find better ones than him. Also, the movement needs pragmatists much more, imho. We don’t have a moral deficit in our movement, I think, though of course it’s always good to be on the lookout for it.

      I explained why I think it’s useful to publicly condemn his approach, and I think that it has not been done enough. The result is that intelligent and caring people, who are not critical enough, jump on his wagon. And i think i’ve been rather soft and polite, so far.

      But i’ll take your suggestion to heart and I’ll read the book.

  2. Douglass says that rain without thunder isn’t enough, not that you ‘can’t have it’.
    Other than that: Read the book. 🙂

  3. Thanks for these posts, Tobias. I think you hit the nail on the head when you point out how attractive it is to think we are the purest, most dedicated people out there. But you are right that if the puritans were so much smarter than everyone else, they would have a lot more real-world results to show for their efforts, other than attacks on fellow vegans.

  4. Tobias, I have to say, it is clear from your post(s) that you probably never were a truly informed fan of Francione’s theory. And that is unfortunate. Because if you were one, regardless of what you think about Francione’s personality, you would see that his ideas and the moral position are uncompromised in the midst of the various animal rights/welfare organizations.

    1. Vidulencija, in your reaction you are giving an exact illustration of what i see as the problem: that you think francione alone is moral and uncompromised, while the rest has sold out. It is exactly this belief that i think is false, and harmful for the animals.

    2. So basically you imply that if someone disagrees with Francione, it automatically means she hasn’t understood his theory well enough? Now thats a worrying statement. Whats the point of debating if you can always say that if somebody disagrees, it is because of not understanding Francione truly. Itimplies that Francione has discovered the one and only ultimate truth, which is absurd.

  5. Morals attract only those who believe in them. As such it is not change but adherence or conformity. There are about 450 million conforming veg Hindus Jainas Sikhs and buddhists in India. Because that society is externally defined through layers of conformity in law. If thats the end result you want you’ll have to go as far as Veganism as religion otherwise civic approaches in a highly capitalistic post modernist post freudian self centred world will create about as much useful indignant shame- based moral change as whistling in the wind. Rationalist society based on civic ethics does not create fundamental human or animal rights.however secular, however well meaning however right-on and valuable, the world does not change because you want it to. Equality in the market place is just a sham for what is your right anyway. To LIVE FULLY. Only you can investigate you, not a code of morals , because that is merely shit on shinola. Go for being a veg seventh day adventist or a veg anarchist or a veg anything you please… and the only other people you’ll end up impressing are people in the mirror. This is neither strategically useful nor impressive.Loonies in whatever garb attract other loonies.. meat or no meat. Sure there are plenty of decent veg activists of all colours.. as well as plenty of people who think doing good nice moral things shifts them into being psychologically morally feelingfully of benefit to themselves or animals. It doesn’t. There are no prizes and this is no political rally. You just do what you do without judgement or wanting approval… and certainly by avoiding that most abused disincentive to anything worth doing.. Morality.. Yukk ! Stay away from do-gooders. I only meet individuals not systems of belief. I also do not consider Francione absolutist AT ALL. Why ? Because his world is relative only to himself and those who need morality to define themselves.with. There is no way to establish all context that lead to change, therefore he cannot be absolute at all.But he loves the mentality of morals.Its a cop out because reality is always changing unless you’ve a stone for a brain or heart. Go deeper than stricture or justification , you owe it to your intelligence.

  6. I consider this among the most damning things Francione has said: “The institutional exploiters are not “the enemy.” We are the ones who demand animal products. If we stopped consuming animal products, institutional users would shift their capital elsewhere.” and this: “Many “animal people” are not even vegan and are willing to tolerate and support the torture of nonhuman animals simply because they like the taste of animal products and just cannot give up the cheese, ice cream, or whatever animal products it is that they eat. How are these people any different in a moral sense from vivisectors? At least some vivisectors think that they are performing some social good.” Nowhere does he make it clearer which side he is on. In the first quote he does not hold exploitation industries responsible at all for encouraging meat and dairy consumption or going to the government for subsidies. In the second he is saying that a vivisector who deliberately tortures a victim, is more ethical than an anti-vivisection activist who through ignorance, eats meat. He grants understanding to the animal torturer’s position while assuming the worst of the animal advocate! Which side is he really on? He is a supporter of animal exploitation who says he is vegan and then attacks animal advocates. http://www.abolitionistapproach.com/on-vivisection-and-violence/#.U6niErGYzMB

    And then look at his appearance on CNN: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kyiSsEzyWWQ

    He agrees with the host that a cat is not a person (on his facebook page he has corrected people for saying “it” instead of he or she when referring to nonhuman animals), he mentions “racism” and we need no crystal ball to know who he was going to accuse of that. He lends support to the host’s foolish idea that a stray cat gets more attention from the law than humans would—as anyone but an idiot knows, unless the human was a baby, the force of the kick by the assailant would be negligible in harm. This is the type of idea you would expect from a backwoods cockfighter or bear baiter, not a university law professor who claims to be an expert supporter of nonhuman animals.

    He does mention meat and dairy—but only in passing, and only to reinforce the idea that “animal people” upset about the cat have bigger problems. He could have talked about the pet industry or breeders but why do that when it would promote animal concerns not attack advocates? He has criticized Mercy for Animals: “The word “vegan” appears nowhere in the press release.” And yet in the CNN interview he does not mention it either.

    1. I saw the interview about the cat and it highlights to me this obsession that Francione has of constrasting everything to animals in food. Sure, the latter are the victims of the most egregious kind of cruelty. But you can’t compare a person who eats meat to a person who deliberately kicks an innocent animal. The intention is different but Francione does not see that. People are conditioned to eat animals, but not conditioned to kick them. If you do, you have agency in your action whereas people who eat meat do it because they were given meat by their parents.

  7. Peta has strongly authoritarian , fearful, psychotic elements in the way it is run from the top-down. This organisation has such a stranglehold over its staff atmosphere in their main US office , that is as corporate and interpersonally abusive to freedom between individuals, that anyone thinking them to be a template for compassion is media-tically fooled. The people who run this joint are anal retards.
    Never mind any scandals that go back to their support of euthanising strays, and being associated with a kill policy for pets, there is not a single shred of evidence that their veganism is anything but neurotic at a corporate level.That they combat the violence of meat industry is fine.Just don’t expect the brave new world to be made from these stalinists. Their sexy advertising stuff has no mirror at the level of the libido in the own structural anonymous control of staff at HQ.

    Why are so many activists so easily identified as hiding behind their hurt indignation and outrage as being the only thing that they can hook onto in life to give fragile personalities with such poorly developed language of selfhood a sense of purpose ?

  8. It is unlikely that Peta corp could ever bring a magnifying glass of satire to their own behaviour Charlie Hebdo style,(who were/are animal centric btw) whilst they have such goodness to perform for animals. Lack of vitamins, lack of irony in the diet.Same with Francione.Very Pilgrim fathers.

  9. I felt disillusioned with the animal charities before I found the Abolitionist Approach. For me it has been and is an enormous support and I feel much stronger when it comes to to vegan advocacy.

  10. It seems to me that in this article you are saying that anyone who agrees with Professor Francione can’t think for themselves. Do you believe this is true about everyone who doesn’t agree with your view, but whose opinions and views coincide with someone else’s?

    It seems that many believe Professor Francione demonizes anyone who does not agree with him. Nothing could be further from the truth. He may passionately debate a different viewpoint or criticize an organization, but I am sure that I’ve heard him state in interviews that the people working within animal welfare organizations are generally very dedicated, compassionate people that work tirelessly in an attempt to make a difference. The problem isn’t them. The problem, (my words) is the carefully crafted corporatized message of the organization itself. The organization does not focus on veganism, and the real meaning of animal rights has been marginalized to attract maximum donations. To find out more detail of exactly what he means, someone would need to actually read his work. He has written at least seven books that I know of and countless essays, many of which are available at his website and facebook page. His latest book “Eat Like You Care: An Examination of the Morality of Eating Animals,” co-authored with Anna Charlton is superb and well worth the read.

    What is Professor Francione’s abolitionist approach to animal rights?

    This quote from “Rain Without Thunder” by Professor Francione is a pretty good overview of his philosophy. I suggest to those who are interested that they read this book and some of his others to fully to understand his viewpoint. Please don’t agree or disagree with his philosophy based on what I or someone else writes about him. Spend some time and read his material, then yes, think for yourself about it.

    “To oversimplify the matter a bit, the welfarists seek the regulation of animal exploitation; the rightists seek its abolition. The need to distinguish animal rights from animal welfare is clear not only because of the theoretical inconsistencies between the two positions but also because the most ardent defenders of institutionalized animal exploitation themselves endorse animal welfare. Almost everyone-including those who use animals in painful experiments or who slaughter them for food-accepts as abstract propositions that animals ought to be treated “humanely” and ought not to be subjected to “unnecessary” suffering. Animal rights theory explicitly rejects this approach, holding that animals, like humans, have inherent value that must be respected. The rights view reflects a shift from a vague obligation to act “humanely” to a theory of justice that rejects the status of animals as property and the corresponding hegemony of humans over nonhumans. The rights theorist rejects the use of animals in experiments or for human consumption, not simply because these activities cause animals to suffer but because such use violates fundamental obligations of justice that we owe to nonhumans.

    As a general matter, rights are, as Bernard Rollin writes, “moral notions that grow out of respect for the individual. They build protective fences around the individual. They establish areas where the individual is entitled to be protected against the state and the majority even where a price is paid by the general welfare.” For example, if my interest in free speech is protected by a right, my interest is generally protected even if the general welfare would benefit from my being deprived of that right.
    The theory of animal rights maintains that at least some nonhumans possess rights that are substantially similar to human rights. Animal rights ensure that relevant animal interests are absolutely protected and may not be sacrificed simply to benefit humans, no matter how “humane” the exploitation or how stringent the safeguards from “unnecessary” suffering. Animal rights theory rejects the regulation of atrocities and calls unambiguously and unequivocally for their abolition.”

    Gary L. Francione. Rain Without Thunder: The Ideology of the Animal Rights Movement (Kindle Locations 52-53). Kindle Edition.

    1. Peggy, have you read my first post? https://vegansapiosexual.wordpress.com/2015/03/02/on-gary-francione-and-the-abolitionists-1/
      I’m saying francione deliberately creates confusion about this rights vs welfare topic, calling rights organisations welfarist, which is very dishonest, and results in the fact that many people have a low opinion of these organisations.

      And yes, I see a serious lack of critical thinking among francione followers, which is exactly why i call them franciobots.

  11. And quite frankly I find your disrespect of those of us who agree with Professor Francione’s work perplexing and unnecessary. Just because you disagree with his work you don’t have to slam everyone else who does. I find most of the people who engage in his approach to be very progressive, intellectuals and excellent critical thinkers.

  12. Tobias I neither have the time nor the desire to debate you. I could pose the question do you think that it is ok for HSUS’s president to be a pig farmer? Or for PETA to round up stray dogs and cats and put them to death? Or for animal welfare organizations to give a big happy stamp of approval to “humane” slaughter?

    I am only taking the time to post because I don’t like to see misinformation spread about someone I deeply respect. I posted my above comment for others wishing to learn about Professor Francione, not for you since you have apparently already made up your mind. I don’t care a whiff what you think of me personally. I only hope and trust that anyone with a thimble full of intelligence can read Gary Francione’s work for themselves and decide whether or not they agree with his approach.

    1. ok, so you avoid the question.

      Do you realize at all that if i were francione and you were me, that i would have blocked you from this page and not allowed your posts?

      And have you talked to someone from peta about their euthanizing politics instead of just gobbling it up out of francione’s mouth? I don’t think you have, and i don’t think you’re treating this with the critical intelligence that it deserves, and that you undoubtedly posess.

  13. As I said I don’t have time or desire to debate you, so if you see that as avoiding the question, fine. I will say that plenty of informed people, such as author Nathan Winograd know the dark side of PETA. Here is a recent copy and paste of a FB post from his page:

    PETA tells Maryland legislators NOT to save cats

    These are some of the community cats of Maryland: http://bit.ly/12k1I4r They are healthy and happy and watched over by dedicated caretakers. Studies show that community cats have A+ grades across a wide range of physical characteristics, live as long as indoor cats, and are thriving. A House committee in Maryland will take up legislation today to further protect them by making it illegal for shelters to kill them if they are part of a managed colony. The committee will also consider making it illegal for shelters to kill animals if qualified rescue groups are willing to save them and put an end to convenience killing: killing when there are empty cages and kennels in the shelter.

    But one group is trying to kill the bill. One group is arguing that every one of those cats should be dead. One group is saying those cats pose a threat to humans and could kill them. One group is claiming that those who sterilize and rerelease cats are guilty of criminal abandonment, even when the cats are “feral” (unsocial with humans), would otherwise be killed in shelters, would prefer not to live in a human home, and are provided food, water, and needed medical care by volunteers. One group is even suggesting that those who do TNR should be arrested and jailed. What group is that? PETA.

    Not content to steal and kill dogs (http://bit.ly/16pRzoz), not content to kill 96% of cats they seek out (http://bit.ly/1B6DpEf), not content defending abusive shelters who neglect and abuse cats (http://huff.to/XZQ0n6), not content arguing that feral cats are better dead than fed in other states (http://bit.ly/1Eux7Sm), the Butcher of Norfolk (http://bit.ly/1B1BlhT) and her henchmen have written the House committee asking them not to pass the Maryland Companion Animal Protection Act when they consider the bill at 1 pm today.

    The bill is here: http://on.fb.me/1wUZFNp

    PETA’s letter of opposition is here: http://bit.ly/1El1sl3

    Before you defend PETA (and I am talking to an infinitely small minority here), before you say “they do so much good,” consider this: if a slaughterhouse owner donated a percentage of his profits to a vegan advocacy organization or a dog fighter donated some of his winnings to a rescue group, would the killing and cruelty they inflict upon animals be rendered acceptable, the harm being cancelled out by the good? Though an obvious absurdity, that is what you would be arguing here. If you are one of those people, spend five minutes in a dark room thinking and ask yourself: “How much killing is acceptable to me?” “How many deaths am I willing to allow PETA before I draw the line?” Since the 31,250 they killed in the last 12 years, including healthy kittens and puppies, isn’t enough (http://bit.ly/1FX2O47), is it 100,000? 1,000,000? How many? I’ll start: zero. First, do no harm.

  14. That’s significant data about PETA. What’s useful about it, is that it bursts their mythical self serving self created vanity as absolutely non-violent to animals. This can work against them from carnists who call them hypocrites, for their own carnist ends or it can work from the inside , ideologically against them with potential co-sponsors. What is not discussed is their own intent behind this policy. I have not sought one from them in answer. I make an estimated gues that it might have something to do with denying slaughter manufacturers tin food profits to feed pets with. However being that strays end up in tin food too in some states , then this is not a substantial argument if found to be used by them.

    Some people on the other hand live a variety of vegan criteria in their own lives, which would be difficult to itemise as absolutist in all respects. The only way a peer group can afford to be absolutely resolved to sponsor only other animals and those who do not use them would be to live autonomously in a Vegan Dukhobor-ish or Vegan-Cathar community. Aimimg to build links with others only in absolute preference. If you belong to the banking system you sponsor exploitation , and are forced to. So a system of barter would be the only effective renunciation.

    Morality has a habit of being conservative both in use and emotive function.From the best intentions, we end up proposing structures that cannot fit with an all encompassing social policy. Therefore, I contend that only you can make decisions for yourself, including who you will and won’t affirm. If you consider that sellable as an ideology, then the best of success to you. It’s what people do anyway.
    You then take responsibility transparently for your choice and your condemnation and all or none of your praxis.But you won’t get conformity to a world view. You’ll just end up making yourself aware of what you do and why, because that’s the only person who can . The rest will do what they do. This the power games end and negotiations begin.Or not.

  15. Critising PETA killing some excessive pets is not a good way to go. Animals are slaughtered every second and we who are aware of reality of factory farming, speciesism and carnism ideologies are obliged to fight it as effectively as possible. We, humans (yes, even vegans) take responsibility for their lives and deaths. This is something I think Francione doesn’t understand (I didn’t read his books) because he is purististic moralist and his morality is self-centred – if we are vegans then our conscience is clean and that’s not true. As long as animals are famred and slaughtered no one is truly innocent (yes, I’m utilitarianist and think that clean intentions is not enough).
    Now, we know that billions of animals are harmed every year and it’s impossible to stop this immediately. So, should we do our best to save each one individual or focus on the goal – which is animal liberation – and do what is necessary to end this horror as soon as possible? To change the lives of animals, we need to change people’s minds and raise awareness. Of course can try to save each dog or cow but how this will help all the rest? Our resources are limited. I believe making people more animal-friendly is more beneficial to the animals than innefectual trying to help those in need.

  16. Peggy said: “I am only taking the time to post because I don’t like to see misinformation spread about someone I deeply respect. ”

    That has got to be the most ironic statement I’ve ever heard..

    A Francione follower who comments because they don’t like seeing him be criticised.

    Sorry – but that is the very definition of irony.

    The guy dedicates his life to the relentless bullying of others. He takes everything anyone has ever said out of context and constantly misrepresents who they are and what they stand – in order to manipulate people into supporting his tunnel vision views and to increase his sense of self (ego).

    On top of this, NO ONE is allowed to defend themselves or the people they love and respect. Not even to clarify a statement. Not one word.

    So Peggy, I hope you recognise how good it felt to have your say here, because that is a privilege we are denied in your neck of the woods. Tobias left your comments because unlike Francione, most people in this movement value honesty, respect and openness in communications – we also aren’t afraid of debate.

    Great article, Tobias. It’s about time Francione was rightfully and reasonably criticised for his divisive and disrespectful behaviour.

    1. thanks kathryn, i find your description very fitting. that seems to be exactly how it goes. the spell GLF francione casts on his followers must be really strong for them not to see it like it is…

    2. You’re twisting Peggy’s words. She said ‘misinformation being spread’, not ‘criticized’.

      1. I am aware that’s what she said, but given that there is no misinformation here I am led to believe that it is the justifiable and necessary criticism of Francione that ignited a defensive reaction. I was merely noting the irony of that and such sentences as:

        “Just because you disagree with his work you don’t have to slam everyone else who does.”

        ….As this is pretty much all Francione and his followers ever do.. And hence why articles such as these need to be created in the first place. We would actually have no problem with Francione (and co) doing their own thing and educating others with their AR literature. Good on them, go for it, that’s great. But for goodness sake leave everyone else alone who follow different strategies, just like we leave you alone.

        Better still, instead of complaining about other vegans all the time, how about actually concentrating on the general public, the NONvegans for a change… That’s where we need to be focused. And I assure you there aren’t many hanging around at Franciones place.

        However organisations like MFA, COK, AA and other various online creative vegan pages – You see lots of learning, discussion and inclusion going on there. Must be something about the lack of dogma and negativity that attracts a broad crowd of people.

  17. Hi. You may not read my comment, but I felt it was necessary for me to say it.

    I too, like many others, found my path to veganism through Francione. And just like you, Tobias, I was soon disappointed with his ways. I joined their terrible discussion forum to see others (myself included) being bashed not for not being vegan, but because we weren’t vegan enough.

    Unfortunately, few of his followers have a rational or scientific view on veganism, and we all should. It’s incredibly retrogade to believe that someone’s opinion is not susceptible to criticism, that is what turns beliefs into dogmas and we are certainly not a religion. It’s a social movement, it necessarily requires feedback and contributions.

    That doesn’t mean I don’t consider Francione’s views on animals rights as correct or valuable. I still read him and recommend some of his essays, I just don’t think he’s the next vegan Jesus, like some of the people who previously commented on this post and see him as a fallible human being, like the rest of us.

    Greetings from Mexico.

  18. Hi Tobias, love your work! Seen your presentations on YouTube and think you have some great points. As hard as it was for me to accept it, it is absolutely true that meat-reducers are having a greater impact than I as a committed Vegan. But as you have stated, it’s about results much more than being purist…so I have put my ego aside.

    Regarding Francione, I went through the three stages and no longer see him as an enlightened being that he projects himself to be but an arrogant bully. The last straw was the way he bullied Michael Webermann on GoVeganRadio a few days ago. Francione wouldn’t allow Michael to make his point and would constantly interrupt. You are also right about the Franciobots because they gang up on people online.

    Take care.

  19. Hi Tobias, love your work! Seen your presentations on YouTube and think you make some great points. As hard as it was for me to accept it, it is absolutely true that meat-reducers are having a greater impact than I as a committed Vegan. But as you have stated, it’s about results much more than being purist…so I have put my ego aside.

    Regarding Francione, I went through the three stages and no longer see him as an enlightened being that he projects himself to be but an arrogant bully. The last straw was the way he bullied Michael Webermann on GoVeganRadio a few days ago. Francione wouldn’t allow Michael to make his point and would constantly interrupt. You are also right about the Franciobots because they gang up on people online.

    Take care.

  20. It’s been a while since you wrote this,but I shall nonetheless reply.

    It is sad for me to see how some people can trash-talk PETA, sure they may have some approaches that are questionable, but, I have to say when I went from vegetarian to vegan,what helped me the most at first,was the AD’s by PETA, the articles they present and the videos, I don’t see why there is such a need to criticize them, for better or for worse but thanks to them many people know what a vegetarian and a vegan is.

    Also, I used to like Mr. Francione’s work, I think he has interesting points,but I also find that being so inflexible and purist leads to no good, this “all or nothing” approach will most likely leave us with nothing, this blog has even inspired me to write about vegans who shake their fingers at other vegans and vegetarians and people who eat meat, so, I really like what you write, I agree with you and I think you word your ideas in a proper,understandable manner.


  21. i had not heard of your blog before now, nor have i ever met Gary Francione. i have read a few of his books and have been listening to interviews and speeches he’s been giving for many years. i do not disagree that he is a fallible human being that has likely made many mistakes in life – we all are and have. that being said, i have been made aware of very few people (of course there are some others) in my 57 years that have been as relentlessly passionate and committed to such a tough cause in my life. i happen to agree with nearly everything I’ve heard him say 100%, but i do not love you any less because you do not agree – nor am i some kind of Francione robot or apologist in any way because of it. i have never been on the Facebook page and i had to look up the correct spelling of his name in order to compose this. let’s hope your “different” approach to this dire and difficult atrocity is more successful than Gary’s. i won’t love you any less if Gary’s meager little flawed contribution might help it along a little, as well. if we can all work to take care of this soon, there are a lot of animals (non-human and human) that will be very grateful. one last thing; i do not think for one minute that anyone’s disdain for these organizations is ever meant to be an attack on the dedication of those working for these organizations. peace!

  22. The all-or-nothing approach that many take in regards to the abolition of animal cruelty is somewhat detrimental to the cause. On Go Vegan Radio a couple of years ago Francione belittled the Australian organisation Animals Australia and called New Zealand animal rights organisation SAFE an evil organisation, saying they were not vegan and supported animal abuse. SAFE IS a vegan organisation, they are working to abolish rodeo’s, duck hunting, all factory farming, and so so much more. Even Animal Liberation Victoria (ALV), of Australia got criticised and there’s no one more dedicated than Patty Mark, and the other members of ALV. They’ve been arrested, been in court and gone to prison to stop animal abuse in slaughterhouses, factory farms, etc. Meanwhile Mr Francione sits back and criticises all those out there in the field that actually do the hard work and put their lives on the line. The world is not suddenly, instantly going to turn vegan. While Francione preaches from the pulpit billions of animals are being raised and slaughtered, and to those he turns a blind eye.

  23. Gary Francione: does battle with no one except other animal activists.

    Lame narcissist that cares just about himself.

  24. I’m persuaded more by Tobias’s case for coalition building from the ground up. And I disagree with Francione’s all or nothing moral abolitionism. AT THE SAME TIME, that I think Francione’s voice is a necessary one. In a world where everything is privatized and animal rights is trapped in a non profit industry, they need to be called out. Why? Because organizations must be held accountable in order to have an honest discourse. Likewise, if abolitionists are engaging in baseless charges they too must be held to account.

    The need for questioning on both sides should never end. As massive corporations continue to invest in BOTH vegan alternatives and the big meat and dairy purely for profit motives—and animal rights non profit organizations jump to these corporate behemoth defense—we would be crazy not to ratchet up critical dialogue.

    Big meat and dairy are quite capable of fabricating so called “vegan” alternatives. Indeed one look at all the chemicals in big label vegan foods is a huge red flag.

    We need all vegan voices on board now more than ever

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