The notion that we should promote “happy” or “humane” exploitation as “baby steps” ignores that welfare reforms do not result in providing significantly greater protection for animal interests; in fact, most of the time, animal welfare reforms do nothing more than make animal exploitation more economically productive by focusing on practices, such as gestation crates, the electrical stunning of chickens, or veal crates, that are economically inefficient in any event. Welfare reforms make animal exploitation more profitable by eliminating practices that are economically vulnerable. For the most part, those changes would happen anyway and in the absence of animal welfare campaigns precisely because they do rectify inefficiencies in the production process. And welfare reforms make the public more comfortable about animal exploitation. The “happy” meat/animal products movement is clear proof of that. We would never advocate for “humane” or happy” human slavery, rape, genocide, etc. So, if we believe that animals matter morally and that they have an interest not only in not suffering but in continuing to exist, we should not be putting our time and energy into advocating for “humane” or “happy” animal exploitation.

~ Gary L. Francione

There are some animal advocates who say that to maintain that veganism is the moral baseline is objectionable because it is “judgmental,” or constitutes a judgment that veganism is morally preferable to vegetarianism and a condemnation that vegetarians (or other consumers of animal products) are “bad” people. Yes to the first part; no to the second. There is no coherent distinction between flesh and other animal products. They are all the same and we cannot justify consuming any of them. To say that you do not eat flesh but that you eat dairy or eggs or whatever, or that you don’t wear fur but you wear leather or wool, is like saying that you eat the meat from spotted cows but not from brown cows; it makers no sense whatsoever. The supposed “line” between meat and everything else is just a fantasy–an arbitrary distinction that is made to enable some exploitation to be segmented off and regarded as “better” or as morally acceptable. This is not a condemnation of vegetarians who are not vegans; it is, however, a plea to those people to recognize their actions do not conform with a moral principle that they claim to accept and that all animal products are the result of imposing suffering and death on sentient beings. It is not a matter of judging individuals; it is, however, a matter of judging practices and institutions. And that is a necessary component of ethical living.

~ Gary L. Francione

Personally, I believe if it ain't broke, don't fix it. I'd rather use film cameras and vinyl records and cathode ray tubes than any sort of the digital technology available. Look around! The streets are full of people who would rather have their eyes on their cell phones than on the world around them! Scientists are researching technology to erase specific memories from people! Our thrown-away digital technology is showing up overseas in huge piles of toxic heavy metals and plastic! And yet there are still people who keep wanting technology and the future to keep going. They dream of flying cars, or humanoid robots, of populated cities on Mars. But do we really NEED this stuff? Maybe before we try to keep turning our world into an episode of The Jetsons, we should focus more on the problems that are surprisingly being overlooked now more than ever. Before we design another stupid cell phone or build a flying car, let's put a stop to racism, to sexism, to homophobia, to war. Let's stop buying all our American products from sweat shops overseas and let's end poverty in third-world countries. Let's let film photography never go obsolete, let's let print books continue to be printed. Let's stop domestic violence and child abuse and prostitution and this world's heavy reliance on prescription drugs. Let's stop terrorism, let's stop animal cruelty, let's stop overpopulation and urbanization, let's stop the manufacture of nuclear weapons......I mean come on, we have all these problems to solve, but digital tech enthusiasts are more concerned that we don't have flying cars or robotic maids yet? That's pathetic.

~ Rebecca Mcnutt

What are you so angry about? my mother had asked me the last time I had gone home to visit.Why aren't you more angry, I had wanted to ask her. But I couldn't talk to my mother that way. She understood that I did not want to live her life, to work as a waitress, until my toes curled in and my feet hurt all the time, to marry a man who would beat my children and treat me as if I had no right to object to object to anything he chose to do. She didn't want that life for me either. She wanted me happy and successful, to live unafraid among people who loved me, and to do things she had never been able to do and tell her all about them.So I told her, about the shelter, the magazine, readings and discussion groups. I told her about trying to write stories, though I hesitated to send send her all that I wrote. And there were far too many times when I would sit down to write my mama and stare at the paper unable to puzzle out how to explain how urgent and unimportant it was to change how women's lives were shaped. Not only that we should be paid equal money for equally difficult work, but that we should genuinely begin to think about what word we might choose to undertake, how we might live our daily lives. Why should I have to marry at all? Or explain myself if I chose to love a woman? Why could I not spend my hours writing stories instead of raising children or keeping house or working some deadly boring job just to cover the rent of an apartments where I was not safe anyway.

~ Dorothy Allison