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Animal Protection > Worldwide Actions > Turkey
Questions Answered for Turkish Supporters

1-Is it right to consider animal liberation only within limits of being a vegan or a vegetarian? If a person who is not a vegan or a vegetarian is a part of animal liberation struggle, can we say he or she is acting insincerely?

Yes, we could say that they are acting insincerely, but why would we do so? We could also say that someone who says that someone else is acting insincerely about helping animals is using their time and energy to discuss others instead of actually helping animals, so therefore they are also acting insincerely (or morally inconsistent or hypocritical). In fact, nobody is (or has been) perfectly morally consistent. Ever. Not even the fictional Christ. So why do it? Because just as many people draw a line just below themselves for whom deserves rights, some people draw a line just below their moral positions for claiming superiority.

These people who waste energy on criticizing others are loosely referred to as "obstructionists". But more significantly than wasting time, their attitude discourages others from helping animals.

If anyone wants to help animals they need to be encouraged. Example of a common situation: A person says they eat meat everyday and want to cut their meat consumption in half. Some people will encourage this. Some people will say they need to be a vegan or they are still harming animals. Statistics show that if 100 carnivores are given reasons they should cut their meat consumption in half, about 30% will try. About 10% will be successful. If 100 carnivores are given reasons they should be vegan, less than 1/10% will be successful. Which approach was better for animals? Especially since more in the first group will eventually be vegan

Anyone who wastes time discouraging others from helping animals because "it is not enough" is complicit in animal suffering. People do this for their own egos. Nothing more lofty.

The ALF has enlisted hunters who wanted to help shut down puppy mills. Not using their force would have cost animals' lives, and strangely enough at least one hunter decided we weren't as evil as he thought. He is now vegan.

The animal liberation movement needs to change brains. Brains are complex and different, but most of them respond to kindness, not insults.

2- Given the present circumstances, how realistic is a person who lives in a techno-industrial city but regards himself/herself as a vegan?

If you define veganism as living in a manner which never causes an animal life to suffer, it is unrealistic. However, it is perfectly realistic if you understand that veganism is not dogmatic. Please read: http://www.animalliberationfront.com/Practical/Health/VeganNotDogma.htm

3-.John Zerzan�s and Ted Kaczynski�s views of anti-technology and anti-civilaziton are rapidly growing in Turkey as well. On the other hand, in a documentary called Zeitgest,there is a futuristic approach which claims that the only salvation lies within technological structures, this approach is causing confusion. How would you evaulate these extreme expressions from your point of view?

The solution lies within the human brain, not in the environment. None of the views you mention are in perfect concert with, nor conflicting with, the philosophy that animals should not be property. The future holds many possibilities for increasing global happiness in sentient beings. These include "The Hedonistist Imperative" and freeing animals because it's less expensive or healthier to grow meat in a laboratory. We have witnessed through the centuries that the attitudes of man have changed, so we know it this possible and even likely to favor animal rights. To paraphrase Martin Luther King Jr. "The arc of history is long, but it has always bent toward compassion." While Zerzan and Kaczynski make good points it would not seem efficacious to spend time promoting anti-technology or anti-civilization.

4-Our country has neither succeeded in becoming a European country nor has it belonged completely to the East. Stuck between two cultures, countries like us are very bound to be affected by other cultures. As long as animal rights is the issue, along with views from the Eastern culture and also with views derived from a 50 year animal right movement in the West, we have been trying to form a movement peculiar to our culture and our own conditions. What would you like to say to the people who are trying to do their best to carry out ALF actions?

 

For the most part they should try to accomplish ALF guideline #1. "To liberate animals from places of abuse, i.e. laboratories, factory farms, fur farms, etc, and place them in good homes where they may live out their natural lives, free from suffering." The other guidelines may be more difficult to achieve, such as "shining a spotlight cruelty" and getting messages to the masses. It's okay for them to leave the public relations tasks to PETA and others who specialize in that.

5- In Tom Regan�s book Empty Cages, on page 299, there is a paragraph, which I hope is a translation mistake, that stunned me. The title is "Who are You Animal Activits Anyway?" and in the second paragraph, Tom Regan says,"I will talk about Alf actions in the 11th chapter. A bunch of people who call themselves animal rights activists sometimes carry out extreme actions with intentions to harm animal abusers, but dissatisfied people have right and place to be within animal rights movement". Although I disagree with this view totally, why is ALF regarded so negatively and why do some people insist on regarding so negatively? Isn�t it an injustice to claim that ALF has no place and dignity within animal rights movement?

Dr. Jerry Vlasak answers this question in a recent interview here: http://www.animalliberationfront.com/ALFront/Interviews/Vlasak-greenmuze.htm

 

GreenMuze: "Why are there such conflicting views about the ALF?"

Dr. Vlasak: "There seem to be two main reasons for this �Heroes/Terrorists� debate. The first is with the general public who are repeatedly sold the �eco-terrorists� and �animal rights extremists� propaganda by the media. One of the primary purposes of the Press Office is to combat this misinformation and present a rational explanation for why people would engage in illegal activities for the sake of animals. The general public doesn't tend to know the truth about these subjects, not by any lack of effort on our part, but rather because we are a volunteer organization fighting against multi-billion-dollar ad campaigns and media spin. The truth has a way of sneaking out through the cracks though, and we are confident that the average person will come down on our side for most of these issues once they are confronted with accurate depictions of them.

"The second, and in our opinion, more disturbing conflict, comes from within the animal rights community itself. According to FDA statistics, more than 10 billion animals die every year due to human consumption. That's more than 300 animals every second of every minute of every single day. And that statistic only takes into account food animals, so the number goes up when you start to add in all of the animals on fur farms, in vivisection labs, circuses and rodeos, not to mention companion animals killed in �shelters�.

"Instead of fighting for the lives of these animals, there are those among us who would rather spend their time squabbling over tactics. They spend endless hours debating the pros and cons of animal liberation. Is property destruction a �valid� tactic? Does arson go too far? These conversations are all well and good in the relative comfort of your apartment or a lecture hall, but the animals who are awaiting their guaranteed death sentences in cages and pens all around the world don't have the luxury of waiting. They need action and they need it right now."

In the last paragraph above Dr. Vlasak mentions people who like to spend time squabbling over tactics. These "obstructionists" seem to crave attention like a child who repeatedly asks "Why?" While both the child and the obstructionist may occasionally ask a seriously thoughtful question, the odds are long of gaining any new insight.

6-In Michael Tobias� book "Rage and Reason", Tobias� protagonist looks down on ALF actions and defends violence must be used against people like a fur trader, a lobster restaurant owner who are downright partners of crime in animal exploitation. Though not ethically right, nevertheless a sense of justice within ourselves defends this extreme view. As long as animal rights are concerned our sense of justice and our ethical values combine together. We defend the right to live, but if we had a chance to put our hands on a seal murderer in Canada, I don�t think we would be willing to be forgiving, and acting with a sense of justice towards that creature. What about you?

The ALF philosophy does not condone causing harm to any sentient being. Yet nobody can predict how they would react in a stressful situation. Examples are given in the essay "My Dog or Your child? Ethical Dilemmas and the Hierarchy of Moral Value" by Dr. Steven Best (viewed here: http://www.animalliberationfront.com/Philosophy/MyDogOrYourChild.htm

Perhaps the most morally inconsistent of these positions is taken by those who advocate anti-speciesism and peaceful tactics (eg, Gary Francione, Priscilla Feral, Tom Regan, Lee Hall, and Joan Dunayer). It is morally inconsistent to claim that speciesism is wrong, yet not condone the liberation of highly sentient animals with the same vigor in which one would defend less sentient human beings in similar circumstances (such as slaughter). It is equally inconsistent to speak out aganist speciesism and yet against ALF, ARM, or anyone who defends animals with the same tactics society deems acceptable to defend human beings.

7- Monotheist religions claim that animals are here on Earth just because of Man, that they were created for Man, and the most outstanding characteristic of this is the ritual of sacrifice. It is a truth that states overlook the animal rights so long as economical interests are concerned. (For instance, in Turkey, hunting, animal experiments and fur farms are supported by the Ministry). Under these circumstances, do you think it is possible that a person who is religious and nationalist at the same time can also defend animal rights? Is it realistic?

Yes, nations and religions can, and have, changed some of their behaviors.

Theologians from every major religion have interpreted their religious documents to support animal rights. Links to many of their essays are here:

http://www.animalliberationfront.com/Practical/Shop--ToDo/Religion/Religion4ARAs-Index.htm

Both the folly and the beauty of all major religions is that their founding documents are all interpreted by different people in different ways. So the documents (Bible, etc) are not the problem. It doesn't take a major re-interpretation to understand "Thou Shalt Not Kill".

Therefore, the fight for animal rights within these religions is only slightly more difficult than it is anywhere else. Once people accept that animals have basic rights, they will interpret their religious documents to match what they believe. It's what they have always done.

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