Sunday, February 14, 2010

I Never Dreamed that Vegans would hate PETA and the HSUS too.

Dear readers: I was shocked to learn recently that vegans and vegetarians may hate the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) more than most farmers and ranchers do. Obviously we dislike those groups for entirely different reasons. But I wanted to learn more because I always assumed that a vegan was a card carrying member of both organizations. I couldn't have been more wrong.

It may seem odd for me to give my blog over to an animal activist to talk about her goals for the animal rights movement. I believe it is important for us to learn more about their way of thinking just as we would like them to understand where we're coming from. And I wanted to learn more about the issues they have with these groups.

I know many of you won't agree with my guest author Khaetlyn, but I ask any comments you leave to be respectful. I would like to get more insight from vegetarians and vegans. There are things we can learn from each other. Please keep reading--Jody

I despise People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and the Humane Society of the United States. Those loud and obnoxious animal people with their silly antics, who are only trying to get publicity and donations for their organizations, make me feel ill to the point of nausea. No, I am not a rancher or a farmer. I am not a vivisectionist. I am not a zoo keeper. I am a vegan, and I support animal rights.

I would not cage Jade the cat and force her to have babies her whole life, and when she is too worn out from the constant cycle of breeding, slaughter her and eat her flesh. I would not force Diesel the dog into submission to perform unnatural tricks for the sake of people's amusement, nor would I kill him to wear his fur and skin. If I would not inflict unnecessary suffering, such as the aforementioned acts, upon the cat or dog with whom I share my home, why would I do these same things to other animals? This "moral schizophrenia" as animal rights philosopher and author Gary L. Francione (photo above right) calls it, is unjustifiable as there is no morally significant difference between a cat, dog, cow, or chicken. Indeed, if we were to do to cats and dogs the things we do to animals raised on farms or in labs, it would be a felony offense. 

But what if we made it better? What if we improved their conditions? Would it not it be better if Diesel had a bigger cage? Would Jade not feel better if her throat was slit more quickly and efficiently? No. Humane slaughter is still slaughter. Kind confinement is still confinement. Their exploitation should be abolished, not merely regulated, according to Francione.

So what about their "rights?" When the term "animal rights" is used it really only means one right, or the right not to be the property of someone else. Francione states that as long as animals are considered property, the interests of the property owner will always outweigh the interests of the piece of property, so we cannot really take animal interests into consideration until their property status is abolished. Animals are sentient creatures; animals feel pain, pleasure, and a wide range of emotions. They have an interest in continuing life free from pain and the tyranny of human dominance and corporate greed. They are someones, with individual personalities and family bonds, but as long as they are still pieces of property, they are nothing more than production units and are reduced to mere commodities.

How do I convince people that animals have rights? How do I convince them that going vegan is the first thing someone must do to be consistent with the principles of animal rights theory, as stated by Francione? Well, I do not throw paint on them, for one, and contrary to popular belief, abolitionist vegans and animal rights activists do not want to pass legislation concerning the legal status of animals or how they are treated. I do not bomb the buildings of farmers or lab technicians, nor do I threaten to harm the employees who work there. I agree with Gary L. Francione when he states that non-violent and creative vegan education is the best and most effective way of showing people the importance of abolitionist animal rights theory and understanding how to practice it in every day life.

I do not see non-vegans as my "enemies" but rather as potential dinner guests with whom I will share my mashed potatoes, vegetable stew, and lemon-vanilla cupcakes. They need not worry about getting their windows smashed with a crowbar or their coat ruined by red paint at my house; leaflets, patience, compassion, and a well-stocked kitchen are my weapons of choice.

About the author:
Khaetlyn Grindell is a 16 year old abolitionist vegan and animal rights activist living in South Carolina. She is a staff member of the Eagles View Newspaper and Quill & Scroll literary magazine at Greenwood High School. When she isn't writing and spending time on human and animal rights or political affairs, she enjoys drawing, painting and reading non-fiction publications.

To read more of Francione’s thoughts go to his website.


  1. While I don't necessarily agree with Ms. Grindell's views on animal rights and being a vegan, I appreciate her taking the time to write about her views in a civil manner. It's refreshing to hear the dialogue like this from the animal rights world and not be inundated by demeaning terms that we would usually get from PETA and HSUS supporters. Conversation like this will only lead to better outcomes for everyone.

    Khaethlyn, good luck to you and I hope you can be an example to more people in the way you should approach differing points of view.

  2. Thank you for publishing my article, Jody, and thank you for being so kind, Allen.

  3. HSUS, PETA, and Gary Francione all want the same thing: for us to stop eating animals. It's just that HSUS and PETA are more effective at couching their message in a way that's more palatable for the public, which is why they enjoy more public support than Francione. Let's hope Francione gains a bigger following so that people turn away from groups like HSUS and PETA that are clearly more effective at damaging animal agriculture than he is.

  4. Dan is right. Agribusiness should hope that more animal activists follow Prof. Francione. HSUS is a real threat to animal agriculture, and Francione isn't. While HSUS is passing laws that make animal agriculture harder, Prof. Francione's argument will appeal only to a tiny minority who don't pose any real threat to producers.

  5. I must disagree with the idea that animals should not be property because, as beings with Rights equal to ours, they would be subject to legal actions that, as being of inferior intellect, they would be unable to defend against. Can you imagine the strain our courts would operate under? Of course, eating them would be out of the question.

    While I know animals feel pain, sadness, loneliness, they also feel joy, happiness and contentment. Although I "OWN" my pets, they are every bit as precious to me as family, and that's the way I treat them.

    If PETA & HSUS had their way, only those animals that could survive "in the wild" would survive at all. HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle has stated that he was ok with the idea of ALL domesticated animals becoming extinct, and that he had NEVER had a close, bonded relationship with an animal. Ingrid Neukirk, president of PETA, looks toward the day "when the idea of a pet is forgotten."

    Most domesticated, and increasingly wild animals have nowhere to go. If vast tracts of land are not returned to nature as future wilderness areas, then only by close association with people will some survive. Even allowing for new wilderness, the gene-pool of reintroduced animals must come from somewhere. That place is from captive-bred stock.

    HSUS & PETA are successfully motivating the DESTRUCTION of our ability to maintain these diverse stocks through unscientific and emotional pleas to BAN the ownership, movement, sale and display of them. There are CURRENTLY bills in Congress that would make TOUCHING a big cat a crime!

    In the process, our Civil Rights are being trampled upon in flagrant violation of our Constitutional Rights to Privacy, Property, and protection from Unreasonable Search & Seizure.

    The simple fact here is this: our elected officials, at HSUS & PETA prodding, are currently legislating our Rights away by majority vote, in direct disregard of the unconstitutionality of these acts.

    The real kicker is the animals are merely pawns in a larger con job. HSUS & notably PETA have dismal records when it comes to re-homing seized animal. PETA's largest expenditure for the keeping shelter animals is a large walk-in freezer to store the DEAD BODIES in between CREMATORY RUNS!

    In the last 40 years, the amount of animal abuse has exploded, if you believe HSUS or PETA, just like their annual budgets. They will always claim that poor animals are being victimized to justify their enormous demands for donations.

    Of over $110 MILLION raised in 2007, HSUS spent less than $5 MILLION on actually helping animals! They run NO SHELTERS! The only reason that even that paltry sum was paid out was as reimbursement to REAL SHELTERS that supported animals ripped from their homes in quasi-legal or illegal SEIZURE RAIDS.

    The major outlay of funds was for junk-mail pleas for more donations, followed by LOBBYING lawmakers and making political donations, in violation of their TAX-EXEMPT status.

    Finally, the high-level executives are very well-paid and reap additional benefits and bonuses. These people will always find ways to extend HSUS & PETA's power into and throughout our lives. Their missions will never be successfully accomplished and WE and the ANIMALS will SUFFER for it.

    My GoTo Web sites for the latest info: - Responsible EXotic ANimal Ownership - Yup, that's right! - Humane Society US Watchdog Group

  6. Thank God we now have the power of the internet. It used to be real easy for animal abusers to hide their filthy farms full of sore covered animals. No more!

  7. Khaetlyn, I appreciate your thoughts on being vegan, and though I do not agree with all of your views, I could happily deal with many more people with view points like yours, rather than the radical and hypocritical views of PETA and the HSUS. I love all of the animals, pets and livestock, that I deal with and do my best to assure they are well cared for. Thank you for sharing Khaetlyn!

  8. Although I appreciate the politely worded perspective, Khaetlyn is still expressing the idea that animals have only one right, the right not to be owned. Civil, yes. Different? No. It's still the same animal right rhetoric dressed up nice: take away the rights of people to share their lives with animals.

  9. Khaetlyn, I was wondering where your idea of a human or animal right comes from? Who determines what a right is or isn't?

  10. Khaetlyn,
    Thank you for sharing your views with us. I think it is important for all of us to remember that everyone is allowed their own views and opinions. I love all of my animals, from our house cats to our cow/calf pairs in the pasture. If we don't appreciate the polite views of those who disagree, aren't we just as bad as PETA and HSUS?

  11. Khaetlyn (in case you people missed this) is SIXTEEN years old. I doubt she has "guests for dinner." While it's wonderful that her parents brought her up to be articulate and thoughtful, she is a child. Animals deserve to be cared for. We have domesticated them and they are our responsibility. The "right" to not be owned is as fanciful as Alice's trip down the rabbit hole. It is a notion that leads to abandonment and neglect. "Shelters" have taken this "animals are not property" logic as the go-ahead to euthanize animals that have been ILLEGALLY seized. Imagine, dear girl, if your precious Jade or Diesel were taken from you (on whatever trumped up charge) and their lives hung in the balance of whether or not you "owned" them. What would your position be then? Khaetlyn's ideas (well, Francione's ideas, as espoused by Khaetlyn) only lead to further suffering not less.

    1. You're a bitch. Don't "dear girl" her. Shut the hell up and stop arguing with a 16 year old over the internet. You a stupid ho.
      Sincerely, Khaetlyn's best friend

    2. Oh, by the way she's 18 now and she does have guests for dinner.

  12. Not all vegetarians - or vegans - choose that because of animal rights. Some don't support it at all. Other factors, allergies, sensitivities and tastes can come into play also.

    Beyond that, many animals have more without "rights" than human beings with them. Food, shelter, 'employment' (from working animals to pets). Rights infer we cannot make the decision to subject them to surgery or have them in our homes. Further they have something humans don't - if medical care isn't enough the right to end suffering. Having watched a dog with all medical treatments exhausted & making the difficult decision to end her life, then watch a friend struggle with also limited medical options...I wonder which is better. I miss my dog...but I miss my friend too. She wouldn't want to be as she is.

  13. Kheatlyn--while I certainly appreciate that you want to peacefully express your views about animal rights, you are still laboring under the basic conundrum that no AR activist I have met yet will acknowledge--with rights comes responsibility. Responsibility not to harm others, not to murder others, responsibility to obey the rules and laws of a mixed society. Animals do not and cannot understand these rules--they aren't human. Until they can be made to understand responsibility, it is absurd to afford them "rights".

    Another conundrum--carnivores and omnivores of all species kill other animals to eat, to survive. That seems to be OK with the average animal activist--I don't see any movements to urge Lions to stop killing Wildebeest, after all. Humans are omnivores, that is how we have evolved. Why is it then NOT OK for us to also kill to survive?

  14. The Pilgrims came to this country to find tolerance, yet they themselves were no more tolerant once here. That is the ultimate conundrum of our founding as a country and the way history is taught. Are we still trying to find tolerance in our country? At times I wonder.

    Kheatlyn, I find no conundrum in your opinion since you are tolerant of others choices. When any group who is far left or far right such as HSUS or PETA or KKK and the list goes on, then of course we should speak up. As an agriculture animal producer of beef I only want to have my right of choice just as Kheatlyn does. I neither want anyone to infringe on Kheatlyn's choice just as I do not want anyone to infringe on mine.

    Thank you for sharing your views, Kheatlyn.

  15. Everyone,
    I am not able to get to a computer to respond to your comments at the moment (I am using my phone) but I will respond to each of you as soon as I can.

    Someone (I cannot remember who) asked where I base my concept of rights. I base my concept of rights, along with most everything else in my life, on logical explanations and philosophy. Basically, talking about situations and figuring out what makes sense after taking into account all aspects of said situation. If you want a more in depth explanation, I suggests Francione's essay: Clarifying The Meaning of a Right:

    Thanks again.

  16. So, these are your beliefs, but you let another person speak for you (through an essay)? I am sorry that you feel the need to impose your personal (borrowed?) beliefs on others, starting with your family and friends. I hope you realize the damage that you are doing to yourself, to your animals, and to the people around you by adhering to an animal rights agenda and not embracing the beliefs and policies of the animal welfare movement. More and more the animal rights movement shows how extreme they really are; why do you want to align yourself with these policies, as young as you are?

    1. Why you wanna be a bitch? She couldn't type out a whole essay reply to you superficial stuck ups at the moment. You need to get off your little soap box right now, sweet pea. Arightbye.

  17. Larkin, I think you missed a word. The author is not sixteen years old--she is an adult who has been a vegan and abolitionist for 16 years. I appreciate that Khaetlyn shared her viewpoint articulately and kindly. I invite my vegetarian friends over regularly with no problems. By the way, I am not in the livestock industry. However, if a religious group splashed red paint on me, vandalized my car or home, and distributed pamphlets libeling my business, the law would be all over them for 'hate' crimes. MLK Jr. believed in civil disobedience to drive change. There is nothing civil in what PETA and HRUS accomplish.

    1. No, she was 16 when she wrote this. She is now 18 and sitting right next to me. We are both freshmen in college now. She WAS 16 at the time of writing this essay. Yeah, she's that smart. Get your shit skraight.

  18. "Lions eat animals, so why is it wrong for humans to eat animals"?

    Seriously? Hundreds of books, websites, etc. abound and people STILL ask the same crazy old questions. But I'll entertain the question.

    Lions are obligate carnivores. They cannot survive without eating other animals. Secondly, they probably don't have the capacity to think about alternatives. And finally, even if they did have such a capacity, like I said, biologically they are limited. We are not. We have the biological ability to survive without eating or exploiting animals and we have the capacity to recognize that other non-human animals have their own desire; at the very least, a desire to stay alive.

    Finally, I'd like to add that many wild animals also commit rape, homicide, infanticide, incest, etc. Should we do these things, too, just because other animals do them? No (well, at least I'd say no), because what is "natural" does not mean what is "right."

  19. Someone should inform the zealots that most dogs must be forced through surgical mutilation to NOT breed. The tired out, parroted 'forced to breed' phrase needs to go.

    Other than that I agree with much of what Khaetlyn said. However, I, too, would like to live cage free. I would like to never have a job I;m expected to perform. I would like to live obligation free, to have my meals served to me in spotless dishes then have those dishes cleaned and stored separately from others. I'd like to know that regardless of how poor my behavior will ever be, regardless of teeth gnashing, biting, kicking, or screaming at a human being or an animal that I will go unpunished and remain free.

    Where do I sign up?

  20. Dan, you are wrong. Did you even read the artlcle? The "abolitionist vegan" hates the HSUS...although I suspect she hates HSUS because HSUS caters more to "humane farming" than "abolitionist veganism". To put it more simply, Khatelyn probably hates HSUS because they support the small local family farms which promote "organic cage-free eggs" and "organic grass-fed beef".

  21. Dan, why do you think HSUS owns stock in Tyson Foods and fast food companies? Because they are using their power as a stockholder in order to pressure the companies which own stock in to adopt "humane" meat, "humane" poultry, and "humane" dairy and eggs. It's not about putting Tyson Foods, McDonald's, and Wendy's out of business or forcing them to go vegan. It's HSUS' way of putting a Band-Aid on a deep, festering wound.

  22. This was an interesting blog. Thank you for posting. I am a lacto-ovo vegetarian (I eat eggs and dairy but not meat), although my reasons are not for animal rights. And I definity do not like PETA or HSUS. For one our reasons for going vegetarian (or I guess in their case, vegan)are not the same. I also find them obnoxious and don't like their in your face attitude. I choose to be vegetarian - some people don't; live and let live. I don't believe in trying make others follow my lifestyle choices or spiritual beliefs and don't like it when others do the same.

    My main reason is for simple use of resources and family background. I was never raised eating much meat. My mother is a vegetarian of the same variety (and has been since she was in her early twenties - she greatly dislikes PETA and HSUS as well). I was never forced into it - I choose to be vegetarian in my late teens on my own.

    Animal products take more resources to produce in terms of land area (land to house animal + land to grow feed) and materials. One of my causes that I'm interested in is reducing my personal impact on the planet. I still eat eggs/dairy - and I acknowledge that they take up more land/resources than my plant foods - so I'm not perfect. Eggs are actually quite efficient in terms of land area/resources compared to other animal products. Dairy is not as efficient but, its sort of a "guilty pleasure of mine"(I'm not sure I could give it up). I try to at least reduce the energy used in transportation of it by buying from a nearby dairy farm.

  23. You all need to get over yourselves.

  24. I love you, Khaetlyn. We're soulmates.

  25. I have wanted to make the jump to being vegan for a while now. I have many health issues (severe Osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, myofascial pain, lumbar stenosis, these are the worst of the maladies I endure). I cannot help but believe that eating drug laced meat has contributed to these conditions, not to mention the horrible Karma attached to the very act of eating flesh from an animal who has lived in hell up until the time their life is ended in a terrifying manner.

    While I disagree with eating meat and killing animals for any reason, I am also anti-PETA and anti-HSUS, they are SO radical that anyone associated with them is NEVER taken seriously and they themselves are often guilty of the very things they claim to abhor.

    I was searching for a Vegan site that was not connected to PETA or HSUS when I stumbled upon this site - not exactly Vegan.... so I will keep searching. Surely, somewhere out here in cyber land there has to be sites that fit this criteria.

    Ginny "FriendsDon'tEatFriends" Moore

  26. I, too, am a vegan who dislikes PETA (I do not know enough about HSUS yet to judge). But I will say that PETA provides a wealth of information regarding nutrition etc. for people transitioning to veganism. That is well done. Otherwise, money is better donated to vegan outreach.

    I like what you've written, Khaetlyn! Animals should not be used, tortured and/or killed for our convenience, pleasure or entertainment.

    Animal welfare (as PETA might advocate) sets us back.
    Animal RIGHTS is the main point.