"Randy Sandberg highlights the connection between the illogical racist
justifications for 19th-century human slavery and the illogical speciesist
justifications for today's enslavement of other animals."
- Brandon Becker
"Trying to Prove the Abolitionists Wrong"
Slaveholders, when pushed into a moral corner by abolitionists, create
whatever arguments it takes to make consumers feel okay about purchasing the
products of slaves. Back in the 1830s when American Abolitionists were hard at
work educating the public about the evils of slavery and how slavery needed to
be immediately abolished, slaveholders were also hard at work trying to prove
the abolitionists wrong.
One proslavery argument used back in the 1830s was that owners were like
benevolent parents to their slaves. This was the “Happy Slave” argument and
it was used to convince the public that Southern slaves were much better off
then their Northern (non-slave) factory worker counterparts.
Another proslavery argument spoke to the supposed supremacy of the white race
which suggested that the “intellectual
capacity of Africans was abysmal”. This, of course, was racism and it too
was used to keep the public’s growing concerns at bay.
Finally, even though the majority of abolitionists used biblical references to
shine a bright light on the horrors of slavery, slaveholders also used biblical
references to suggest that the Christian “God
recognized slavery under the law, and that slavery was full of mercy”.
Nowadays slaveholders are doing the very same thing—trying to prove the
abolitionists wrong so they can keep their industry alive. “Happy Slave”
arguments such as “free-range”, “pasture-raised”, “grass-fed”, “old-fashioned”,
“humanely raised”, etcetera abound. Some slaveholders have even gone as far as
to call their slaves “Happy
Speciesism, like racism, is used by the slaveholders to keep the public’s
growing concerns at bay. And, of course, biblical references are used by both
those who seek an end to the use of other animals as well as to keep the
slaveholder’s businesses thriving literally off the backs of their slaves.
Think, then Go Vegan!