I am very aware of the years of effort you have personally put into elephant protection. I have been with you in spirit for a long time, including as much letter writing and phone calling as time has permitted. But I have also spent an enormous amount of time studying Professor Gary L. Francione’s abolitionist approach to animal rights. He developed this theory over 25 years ago, while practicing animal law. He went on to be the first to teach animal rights at a US university and has written several pivotal books on abolitionist theory over the years as well. His message is one of justice and respect for all nonhumans with the main tenets being: we must reject the ‘property status’ of animals in order to abolish all animal exploitation and as such it is our moral obligation to stop eating, wearing, or otherwise using animals in any way. This, of course, makes the practice of Veganism the moral baseline of the Abolitionist Movement.
I would highly recommend reading his books. But he also has an amazing website, which hosts copious valuable audio and video content, including many interviews, as well as a huge array of highly logical and very convincing, searchable blog essays:
The reason I wanted to share this with you is because I am absolutely convinced, having watched and learned the history of circus abuses, that our efforts are nothing more than a cat and mouse *game* we play with circuses and owners like the Felds. For every one (elephant) we might save—after an eternity of torture—there are tens or hundreds more coming on stream. You may be aware already but see, for example:
Today, elephants, like all animals, continue to suffer enslavement, torture, and misery at human hands in ever greater numbers largely due to public socialization to animal use as normal. This latest effort by the USDA is merely lip service to appease the “irritation” we are to them and circus operators and even zoos. I’m sure the users consider it nothing more than an expense of doing business. And you can be sure this news will be spun to persuade the public that it is now more acceptable than ever to attend animal circuses because they are USDA monitored.
I know you participate in protesting at circus venues, but I would like to invite you to consider modifying those protests to become instead a massive grassroots network of, as Gary Francione calls it, “creative non-violent Vegan education.” As I said, I would encourage you to read on the subject to familiarize yourself with the theory—Veganism is definitely not just a diet, for example—so that you will appreciate not only the futility of the present “Welfarist” path but also the enormous potential for real and lasting and instantaneous change by removing all *demand* for the products of exploitation, be that for food, clothing, experimentation, AND entertainment.
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