The New York Times recently endorsed California’s Proposition 2,calling for all other states to enact similar legislation. The question of animal welfare legislation has become increasingly vexed within the animal advocacy movement. The seemingly intractable dispute between proponents and opponents of measures intended to increase the well-being of farmed animals has left many activists feeling exhausted and has been particularly demoralizing for novice activists confused by the idea that animal welfare and animal liberation might be incompatible.
The Eastern Shore Sanctuary has released two reports in hope of helping to resolve this conflict:
In Defense of Actual Animals: Moving Past the Welfare-Abolition Impasse
This brief strategic action memo sketches the outline of the controversy and offers practical tips for creative conflict resolution among allies, arguing that activists must learn to argue carefully and constructively and that proposed measures must be individually analyzed in context rather than unequivocably supported or opposed in the abstract.
Strategic Analysis of Animal Welfare Legislation: A Guide for the Perplexed
This comprehensive strategic analysis report goes more deeply into the roots of the controversy and proposes a method by which proposed protective measures may be analyzed. The method is then applied to the question of the abolition of the battery cages in which hens are confined in egg factories.
At the heart of this report are sixteen axioms or principles that guide the thinking behind the proposed method of strategic analysis. These include the all-important principle that the wishes of animals, as expressed by animals themselves, must be respected by those who purport to act in the interests of animals. Perhaps the most important aspect of this approach to a question that has been the subject of so much unresolved debate is its focus on actual outcomes rather than abstract rules. Disagreements based in divergent theories can sometimes be resolved by appeals to the relevant facts.