Animal Liberation on the left

[ITEM] Rethinking Revolution: Animal Liberation, Human Liberation, and the Future of the Left STEVEN BEST:
It seems lost on most of the global anti-capitalist and anti- imperialist Left that there is a new liberation movement on the planet – animal liberation – that is of immense ethical and political significance. But because animal liberation challenges the anthropocentric, speciesist, and humanist dogmas that are so deeply entrenched in socialist and anarchist thinking and traditions, Leftists are more likely to mock than engage it.>>
That's not true as I have reviewed at least one book on the topic:

But this paragraph quoted above clearly states the crude biases and flaws that the Animal Rights movement wallows in. Prime among these is that it rests on an 'ethical' foundation. Indeed, to be precise, it rests on a Peter Singer version of ethics.(There are in fact some
very good ethical methods for analysing society.)

And that's a major problem, I believe, because it floats devoid of material substance in that Animal Liberation never gets around to answering the question of where itself came from.

It is true that animals suffer under the factory system of food and fibre production. But what drives that? and why should the suffering of animals be an essential component of that process?

Because we eat meat? But so too do Great White Sharks, polar bears and dingoes.

Or is it because we are supposed to have no respect for these creatures? Indigenous peoples worshipped different animals variously -- even adopting particular species as totems but they still killed and ate them , albeit with much deference in the feasting.

(There's a great scene in the most recent film version of The Last of the Mohicans where a deer is killed by Hawkeye and his Algonquian brothers in a way which is a long way from capitalism's slaughtering yards.)

The major flaw in animal liberation is that it only sees the creature and not its context. That may seem an ironic assessment, because aren't animals caged, corralled, herded, fished and hunted by humans? Isn't that the animals' 'context'?

No, it's not because that's all the animal liberationist wants to or chooses to see. They are so often caught up in their speciesist shibolleth that that in itself becomes their one plank platform: we see the world through the creatures' experience of it, they'll proclaim, and you don't!

That's a very crude template to make do for all occasions.(And people call the socialist left dogmatic!)

Steven Rose, a dialectical biologist, has an excellent discussion about this in the first section of his book, The Making of Memory. As a neurobiologist, Rose and his co workers have to protect their research parameters -- the killing and dissecting of day old chicks -- and themselves from the threat of terrorist sabotage and personal physical attack emanating from the ultra radical wing of the British Animal Rights movement.(These Brits are the keenest of AR'ists such that already an AR adherent has died for the sake of her beliefs.)

Rose talks about the actual societal context of his research but all the ARs are interested in seeing are the baby chicks getting their brains sliced open.

It's like that other indulgent "ethical paradigm' without material foundation -- the right to life anti abortionist.To protect "life" these ethicists blow up abortion clinics and murder staff.They in fact treat "foetuses" the very same way as an ARightist treats animals. In fact the first sentence above could read:
" It seems lost on most of the global anti-capitalist and anti- imperialist Left that there is a new liberation movement on the planet – FOETUS liberation – that is of immense ethical and political significance."
Of course the pope loves "ethics" like this. The generic and comprehensive Encyclopedia of Ethics even features the rabid anti-abortionist Mother Teresa on its front cover.

This presents a problem because regardless of what is written in articles like the one cited, my feeling is that Animal Liberation is overwhelmingly an ethicist movement and as such I think it is a gross misnomer and extremely pompous (but thats' Singer for you )to call it a "liberation" movement. I mean, who does the liberating? Do they, the creatures?

And how would an animal know when it's liberated?

But to ease the suffering of animals -- I'm all for it.If you want to talk about ethical ways to lay eggs, make bacon, or whatever -- I'm for it. But when it comes to broader issues and we talk about whole species -- the lot of any animal, including ourselves, merges with the over-riding biological imperatives of the environment such that "we" are all in this together . And in that sense, I think this so called "liberation" movement is a bit of a distraction. Even the brutality
we know rules in the feed lot or the factory farm is in the final instance unsustainable because the environmental logic isn't tenable. We need free range food because we cannot have a sustainable environment without it. And hey! the critters will get an easier life as well.

We give em a good life, the best life we can offer them...and then we get to eat them!