Animal Rights

Why Does the IVA Not Engage in Reform Work? Te International Vegan Association has a simple mandate: to promote the idea that we should stop using animals and, accordingly, to persuade people to become vegan. Our organization holds that, at the very least, we owe it to other sentient beings not to breed, control, kill, or otherwise harm them when we have clear alternatives to doing so. Since we have easy alternatives to using animals for food, clothing, personal care products, transportation, entertainment, and so on, we believe that it is wrong to continue using animals for these purposes. We are focused on creating a social movement of conscientious, kind, and outspoken vegans who will educate the world about ending animal use. Our focus is exclusively on education. Some groups share our values and long-term goals but spend their time and resources attempting to improve the way that animals are used. For example, many groups work to increase the amount of room given to animals on factory farms, to promote methods of killing animals that cause less suffering, to ban certain forms of mutilation that seem most heinous, and so on. Tese groups generally have laudable motivations. In some cases, a group pursues a welfare reform because they believe that the reform would be a small step in the direction of ending all animal use or because they believe that the reform would help to make the world more accepting of the animal rights position. In other cases, a group pursues a welfare reform simply because they are trying to reduce the horrible suffering endured by animals. We passionately share the desire to stop animal use and to end the suffering that animals endure. But the International Vegan Association does not support or participate in reform work. We agree with Professor Gary Francione’s seminal arguments, according to which the prevailing political, social, and legal structures prevent welfare reform work from either genuinely benefting today’s animals or helping to move us toward ending animal use. We will not here rehearse all of Francione’s arguments concerning animals’ property status and the structure of the legal system, as they are widely available elsewhere. To put it bluntly: we think that welfare reform doesn’t work. Te International Vegan Association is an abolitionist organization, in the sense that we focus exclusively on the abolition of animal use and refuse to engage in welfare reform campaigning. But more important than our belief that welfare reforms don’t work is our conviction that public education can be revolutionary. Instead of engaging in welfare campaigns, we focus our resources on educating people about the underlying moral issues. Our mandate is to educate the public about animals’ interests and needs, and to talk to people about why they ought to become vegan. We believe that the quickest and most effective way to bring about the end of widespread