a. Nonhuman animals are exploited
b. 99.8% of animal exploitation = food
II. What strategies must be used to abolish animal exploitation?
a. Strategy used by social movements
aa. Claim-making machines
bb. Psychological study of Professor Asch
If the social pressure generated by unanimity is so strong for those questions for which the solution can be found just by looking, we can easily imagine that it is even greater for justice issues that require some ethical thinking.
Once a claim demanding the abolition of a practice is heard in society, the unanimity about the legitimacy of that practice is broken. It begins to be perceived as problematic, making it easier for others to refuse to comply with the majority and to also support the abolition of the practice.
Therefore, one can understand that by expressing and making visible the claims that create a debate in the society, social movements take full advantage of the beneficial effect caused by the act of breaking the unanimity about certain situation.
b. Strategy used by animal rights activists: conversion strategy
III. Consequences of the conversion strategy
aa. Historical look
bb. Proportion dominance
Studies have found that courses of action that completely (or almost completely) eradicate some problem are preferred over courses of action that provide incomplete eradication. For example, in a study published in 2006, Professor Bartels found that an intervention saving 102 lives out of 115 at risk was judged more valuable than one saving 105 lives out of 700 at risk, even if the number of lives saved was higher in the second intervention! This psychological effect is called “proportion dominance” and Bartels showed that its impact was even more important in the context of saving natural resources or animal lives. An intervention preventing 245 of 350 fish deaths due to pollution from Factory A was judged much more important than one preventing 251 of 980 fish deaths due to pollution from Factory B (see: Bartels, Daniel M., Proportion Dominance: The Generality and Variability of Favoring Relative Savings Over Absolute Savings (2006). Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Vol. 100, pp. 76-95, 2006).
cc. Misuse of time and energy
b. Question of personal choiceThe advocacy of veganism creates the impression amongst the public that it is a question of personal choice and not a question of justice. “Just like some people are Muslim, some people are vegan, everyone has the right to do what s/he wants.”
c. Psychological reinforcement of speciesism
IV. What to do to abolish the exploitation of nonhuman animals?
a. Example of human slavery abolition
b. Morally unacceptable strategy
c. Social movement strategyIf we want to abolish animal exploitation, we must express a claim asking for its abolition and make it resound more and more in the society, creating a societal debate on this issue.
“Veganism is good for the planet.”
“Veganism is good for your health.”
“Vegans have better sex.”
“Vegan food is great!”
“Slaughterhouses must be closed now.” (copied from the official website of international marches to close down all slaughterhouses: https://stopabattoirs.org/)