The Phrase That Shocked A Nation

“As long as we’re drinking milk and consuming dairy products there’s going to be bobby calves. And again, if there’s a market out there for animals that can’t go back into the dairy herd, if they can be raised for another purpose, and we have that value adding – obviously the more valuable the animal, the better it’s going to be treated.”
Melina Tensen

Senior Scientific Officer – RSPCA

In an ABC.net article regarding the welfare of bobby calves, these comments by the RSPCA’s Senior Scientific Officer, Melina Tensen, have caused a huge stir within the animal advocacy movement.

Is this condemnation warranted, or is it a case of a few ‘leaders’ suffering from the dreaded relevance deprivation syndrome?

If you have a look at the context that the statement was made, and the organisation that did, you cannot fault the logic that has been used, and as painful as it is for most animal advocates to accept, Ms Tensen is right. As we see repeatedly with the incremental reforms that animal agriculture accept, the better they are ‘treated’ the more ‘profitable’ they become. Whether the RSPCA should be increasing demand for a particular animal based product is another question.

Unfortunately, a one or two of the movement’s self proclaimed leaders appear to be suffering from the dreaded relevance deprivation syndrome, and have decided to add their $0.10 to the discussion without understanding what the RSPCA is about.

None more so than the legend-wait for it-ary, Gary Francione with this update to his page “Adventures in Animal Welfarists Promoting Eating Veal”. Giving the impression that he has no idea of what the RSPCA is about, he makes another statement that confirms to me how totally irrelevant he is in the modern animal advocacy movement by saying, “The RSPCA believes that by promoting happy exploitation, the RSPCA will get more donations. That’s all there is to their beliefs.”

Whilst these claims may elicit cheers from his ‘faithful’ they fail to take into account that Australia’s RSPCA has never claimed to be an organisation that wants to stop the consumption of animal products.

When the statement is viewed from that perspective, and understanding that the RSPCA has never claimed to be a vegan organisation, this condemnation is unfounded.

It is an unfortunate part of the use of other animals as a commodity, that if the commodity has no financial value, then that commodity won’t have anything ‘invested’ in it. We see this happen with the way that male chicks from hatcheries are ‘disposed of’, usually via maceration.

What the statement should do, is be used as a reminder to everyone that dairy isn’t a ‘victimless’ product.