Incremental Reform. Dancing With The Devil, & The Devil’s Leading.

When I originally started drafting this article, I was going to give it a semi witty title along the line of Incremental Reform. Bargaining With The Devil, Or A Means To An End?. Except that the more that I wrote, the quicker I came to the conclusion that it isn’t one or the either. It is neither.

Saying that regulation/reform of current farming practices will eventually lead to an end of animals being used as food is a greater deception than that pulled by Keyser Söze.

Industry Holds All The Cards

To say that those advocating for regulation/reform are bargaining with the devil assumes that they have something that the devil wants. Sadly, this is not the case, and couldn’t be any further from the truth. The reality is that they have nothing to offer industry, regarding the treatment of animals.

Bargaining only works when both sides are on an equal playing field. When one side has an overwhelming position of power, it isn’t bargaining, it is begging.

Look at the recent Live Export protests in Australia, for example. There are all these groups and X many Australian’s that want to see the practice of live exports stopped. Apart from the few weeks last year nothing has changed. For all intents and purposes, it doesn’t look like the trade will be stopping any time soon either.

Why? Because the market doesn’t want to buy chilled meat. If it did, that’s what it would be doing. Until the market changes, industry isn’t going to change either.

Dancing With The Devil, Not Bargaining

The animal agriculture industry leads the discussions of any incremental improvements, every step of the way. If they cannot benefit out of it, the idea isn’t entertained or even discussed.

The only way to get them to the table is to offer up a way that the improvements will make the commodity more profitable.

This is exactly what has happened with the move away from intensive factory farming to less intensive factory farming. The RSPCA even goes as far as using it as a lure, telling producers Consumers are willing to pay more for humanely produced food, so by including our brand on your product you are appealing to a premium market. That’s good for you, good for your animals and it makes good business sense.[1]

If these reforms make the commodity more profitable, why would they want to give it up?

Incremental Reform Relies Solely On The Whim Of Governments.

As we saw recently in Tasmania with the sow stall debacle, an improvement that is touted as a victory for the animals can disappear just as quick. It all depends on what the government of the day wants to do, and whether they are more scared of the voters or the lobby groups.

With Australian voters being deceived into believing that political parties are the only way to vote, there is a huge blood letting every few terms, with the next one Federally just around the corner, which means any ‘changes’ made now could be easily over turned by the next regime.

Even those politicians who profess to care about animals will tow the party line when it comes to voting on a proposed bill that is before the parliament.

What Will End Animal Use?

The cold hard reality is that regulation or reform of animal agriculture won’t. Regardless of what those supporting it claim.

For those who claim it will, what is the timetable, or how many more steps need to be taken for this to happen?

The only thing that will stop people using animals for food, entertainment, etc is for all of us to tell them not to. Granted the delivery and fulfillment of that message may take a while and different tactics, etc.

Getting someone to choose cage free eggs over caged eggs isn’t going to stop them using eggs. Eventually, you will need to have the conversation with them about not using eggs in the first place. Why not make it sooner, rather than later?

As a bit of a side note, October saw a seasonally adjusted total of 404,981pigs killed in Australia. Which means it will be interesting to see what impact Animals Australia’s Make It Possible campaign has on November and December’s figures. For other numbers, please check out the Kill Stats page.

What I can tell you is that the time has come to stop pretending that with every improvement, increasing the profitability of the commodity, that industry will one day wake up and decide that it no longer wants to use that commodity and shut itself down.

It’s time for those of us who are vegan, to put our collective heads together and work out the most effective way to promote the vegan message.

Leave the incremental reform stuff up to those who have a vested interest in seeing the industry survive.

References:
1: RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme, Producers Brochure – page 5(pdf)