After my last blog post highly praised the simplicity of the vegan abolitionist position I think it's appropriate to delve a little more into my opinions, questions, and quandaries about vegan abolitionism. I don't call myself a vegan abolitionist because I'm not one, but I'm definitely leaning in that direction. I still need to do more research because right now I rely on the wiki article by Gary Francione about abolitionism for most of my insight into the movement. I strongly agree with all of the six principles listed, except number four. That's where I start to waver a little.
Number four states: "We recognize that we will not abolish overnight the property status of nonhumans, but we will support only those campaigns and positions that explicitly promote the abolitionist agenda. We will not support positions that call for supposedly “improved” regulation of animal exploitation..."
That's a loaded principle so let's start to unpack it. I agree that the property status of nonhuman animals won't be abolished overnight, it will take time. I do not support positions that regulate animal exploitation. Factory farm cages or family farm cages, I don't prefer either because the animal is still treated as property. In fact spending time promoting better treatment for animals considered property merely entrenches their status as property. As you can see I completely agree with the abolitionist position up until this point.
It's in the vagueness of sentence two where I get a little lost. My personal opinion is that I will support anything that is actually vegan, even if the position of the group isn't always pro vegan. If the group, organization or event allows me to be express my opinions about veganism in an uncensored way then I will happily support it. I will also support groups, such as the sanctuary I volunteer for, that encourages what I consider the basic fundamentals of veganism without actually mentioning food. For example the sanctuary creates an atmosphere where humans of all ages can learn to respect and care about other animals. They are allowed to pet, groom and simply be near expressive animals who have their own names, histories and personalities. Each animal is treated as a respected individuals. These animals happen to be naturally vegan so I feel no qualms about volunteering my time and effort to make sure that they are fed.
So here in lies the problem - am I reading too deeply into number four or reading it correctly? By supporting campaigns that don't say 'vegan abolitionism' on them am I making myself not a vegan abolitionist? Even if these campaigns follow every other rule? I'm still not positive, but I'd have say I think that means these campaigns are not vegan abolitionist which means I'm not. I'm okay with that though, I'm not in it for the ability to say I belong to a certain elite group. I will pick and choose what I believe in - but as it stands of course if given the option I'd support vegan abolitionism over anything else.