The futility and speciesism of Australia’s “Ban Live Export” campaign

Last night I had a brief and unsurprisingly futile “discussion” on Twitter with an Australian who has set up an account for the specific purpose of promoting the “Ban Live Export” campaign. Unsurprisingly he/she was not promoting veganism.

There’s been a resurgence of the “Ban Live Export” (BLE) campaign in recent months. This campaign has been going for decades now. Please excuse my cynicism, but this ongoing futile campaign is a staple and a great fundraiser for many large Australian animal organisations. “Animals Australia” is such an organisation. Animals Australia is an “animal protection” organisation which — not unlike other “animal protection” organisations — does not have veganism as its moral baseline and promotes “humane” use and “humane” murder.

I have no doubt that the Animals Australia directors mean well, but they are not motivated by a fundamental moral justice to end animal use. Their mission is to “reduce animal suffering” by making animal use and murder more “humane”.

image kindly provided Liz Collins

Animals Australia is a “humane” use (new welfarist) organisation and through its “Ban Live Export” campaign has been promoting a solution — to murder nonhuman animals in Australia instead of exporting them to Indonesia to be murdered. Apparently Animals Australia believes — as does its supporters — that Australia has “humane” slaughterhouses. Really?  Anyone who has ever visited a slaughterhouse anywhere in the world knows they are all horror houses.

In 2003 Tom Hannan, Federal Secretary
Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union wrote:

Since the 1970’s the meatworkers union has opposed live exports on the basis of its destruction of Australian jobs, its inhumane treatment of the animals and the decimation of the meat processing industry.

The Australian Meatworkers Union are very happy to join with Animals Australia at protest events and they do. This should tell us something is very obviously wrong from a perspective of ending animal use. The AMU are happy because if Animals Australia’s “Ban Live Export” campaign is successful, this will mean more work for Australian slaughterhouse workers and Australian slaughterhouses. As is the case with all large animal organisations, Animals Australia has become partners in exploitation by partnering up with industry. Not only does the BLE campaign explicitly promote increasing the murder of nonhuman animals in Australia, it does so –at least in part — through implicit appeal to motives of nationalism, racism, and religious intolerance.

Unsurprisingly there’s not one mention of veganism anywhere in this campaign. In fact, Animals Australia has done its best to avoid promoting veganism in all its campaigns. In their BLE campaign it has specifically asked vegans (who went to the a rally and who were not AA supporters) to not to hand out vegan literature at their protest rallies.

Once again the animals lose.

Sadly, speciesist single issue campaigns such as BLE say to the public that one form of animal exploitation is worse than other forms. BLE campaign says to the public that we can “fix this” situation by murdering animals here in Australia instead of overseas and that it’s morally acceptable to use animals as resources as long as it is done “humanely”.  If BLE is successful (which is highly unlikely because live export is so profitable for the Australian government), it will soothe the public’s conscience by leading them to believe that the answer is “better treatment”, not that we should go vegan and end animal use. The “humane” use animal movement (all large animal orgs worldwide) is speciesist and confused and continues to confuse and reassure the speciesist public.

Humane” slavery is not what we should be aiming for, because there’s no such thing. If we believe in justice and nonviolence, then the end of slavery is what we should unequivocally promote and by that, I mean we should promote clear and consistent veganism.

Today I decided to visit the Ban Live Export Facebook page to leave a comment which I’ve edited slightly:

Someone said to me last night on Twitter that being vegan is too “radical”. But I say the ONLY response to this and other forms of animal use is to become vegan and educate others to do so. Creative, nonviolent vegan education is the answer.

We need to understand while animals are chattel property it will not matter how many single issue campaigns animal groups pursue. It is speciesist and counter-productive to promote them. ALL use is abuse. There is no such thing as non-abusive use.

Ban Live Export campaigns have been going for decades now without success. What does that tell us? It tells us that animal use will continue while the public is speciesist and while the public continue to think that other animals are resources, property and “things”. In other words, animal use will continue while we have a non-vegan public. Even if a “ban” on live export to Indonesia is successful, what will happen is some other country will fill the demand, but animal use will continue.

We need to understand and promote the position that there’s no such thing as “humane” murder, whether it be in Australia or Indonesia or anywhere and even if there were such a thing as “humane” use or “humane” murder, it would still be unjust. The issue isn’t HOW we use animals, but THAT we are use them that is the problem.

The only way to end the torture and murder of 56 billion other animals (not including sea animals) each year globally is for us to stop eating, wearing and using nonhuman animals and that means every person on this Ban Live Export page needs to go vegan and educate the public to do so as well. If we truly believe in justice and nonviolence, then we must be vegan. If we are not vegan, then we are participating in unspeakable violence that is happening to 100s of millions of nonhumans each day. We must “be the change” as Gandhi said. We must be nonviolent in our own lives and avail justice to nonhumans that we would want for ourselves.

I urge you to please consider this and stop promoting speciesist single issue campaigns. Please promote veganism instead.

Not vegan? Start here on this site and on LiveVegan

Please remember if you are not vegan, please go vegan. It’s easy. It’s better for your health, and for the planet (because animal use is an ecological nightmare) and most importantly, it’s the morally right and just thing to do.

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