Some thoughts on Animals Australia’s “dairy calf cruelty investigation” campaign

Animals Australia (a large animal “protection” organisation) has launched another confusing campaign, this time focusing on the dairy industry and the dairy calves. Male dairy calves are “by-products” and are of no use to the dairy industry. Animals Australia’s “dairy calf cruelty investigation” campaign was sparked by “hidden” camera footage obtained of “abuse” of young dairy calves at a slaughterhouse.

On their Facebook page and website a caption accompanies an image of a young calf peering through a crate:

Hidden cameras have captured the illegal abuse of week-old dairy calves. But legalised cruelty continues. Help save other calves from abuse by exposing animal cruelty.

First, the most obvious omission is that nowhere does it say we should go vegan. Second, “abuse” implies that the normal functioning of a slaughterhouse is non-abusive. In their campaign it also notes there are certain “humane” legal codes of animal use which are not being adhered to. These so-called welfare “codes of practice” would be considered torture if they were applied to humans, but they are promoted as “humane” when applied to nonhumans.

Let’s consider why industry have these codes of practice.

One of the main reasons that these torturous welfare codes of practice are place is they are part of an industry public relations campaign. They help increase industry’s profitability by soothing the public’s conscience, believing that industry cares about animals. Large animal “protection” organisations like Animals Australia and others, assist industry by monitoring the implementation of these torture codes and promoting them as something to be upheld, something that is “humane”. This demonstrates profound moral confusion on the part of Animals Australia and it is false and misleading.

William L. Garrison (May 1, 1845, an American abolitionist)

So profoundly ignorant of the nature of slavery are many persons, that they are stubbornly incredulous whenever they read or listen to any recital of the cruelties which are daily inflicted on its victims. They do not deny that the slaves are held as property; but that terrible fact seems to convey to their minds no idea of injustice, exposure to outrage, or savage barbarity.

If I may give an abolitionist vegan’s viewpoint. First, abolitionist vegans (myself included) would view the very fact that nonhuman animals in society are viewed legally as property as morally wrong. We believe their property status needs to be abolished and this can only be done through nonviolent vegan education. Second, it doesn’t matter if nonhumans are from factory farms or mom and pop small hobby farms. It doesn’t matter if calves were stroked gently and sung sweet songs before they were murdered. The fact that they are used at all is morally unjustifiable. Abolitionist vegans recognise that nonhumans love and value their life; they have interests, likes and dislikes; and they are moral persons. We understand it is irrelevant whether they are “like us” or not. All that matters is sentience. Abolitionist vegans regard ALL animal use as abuse. The issue is not treatment, the issue goes beyond this to the very immoral act of using them.

Frederick Douglass, (1818-1895, an American abolitionist) said:

“Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation, are people who want crops without ploughing the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning; they want the ocean without the roar of its many waters. The struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, or it may be both. But it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”

There is a clear difference between the way regulationists like Animals Australia view nonhuman animals, and the way abolitionist vegans view nonhuman animals. In fact, the philosophical positions are completely different and that’s why there exists two separate and distinct movements today. When advocates of regulation criticise abolitionists claiming we are “divisive” or accuse us of “in-fighting” for criticising their campaigns and position, we point out to them that this could only be so if we were all part of the same movement, but we are not. One should welcome criticism if it is constructive.

Sadly, Animals Australia -as with other large animal orgs- does not say to the public that we humans are responsible for great violence when we use animals for food, clothing, entertainment or other reasons. It does not suggest to the public that the way to stop this situation and all forms of animal use is to go vegan. No. Instead, Animals Australia suggest that we are able to “save” dairy calves from “abuse” by “exposing it“. This is a confusing message.

Animals Australia ask their non-vegan donors and the non-vegan public to write and complain to the dairy industry. Little do they realise that the dairy industry will *always* have male calves as a “by-product” of their industry and they will be murdered. The public also do not realise that the animal use industry will do little to nothing to “improve” conditions for animals if those “improvements” negatively impact on their profitability. For industry, animals are economic commodities, nothing more. Industry has no real interest in their “welfare”. The “improvements”/”reforms” — if you could call it that — will be tiny (if any), and it’s a question of if or when they will be implemented.

This is the nature of animal welfare “reform”. It makes the pubic feel better about animal use; it does little or nothing to “improve” conditions for animals; it promotes the idea that it’s morally acceptable to exploit and murder nonhuman animals as long as it done “humanely”; it misleads the public into believing animal use can be made “humane”; it increases consumption of animal products and use; and it further entrenches animals in the property paradigm. We need to realise this about welfare “reform” and stop promoting it as if it something good for animals and start promoting veganism.

Don't turn your back. Go vegan

Don’t turn your back. Go vegan

Animals Australia’s “dairy calf cruelty investigation” campaign also says to their non-vegan donors that animals need to be properly stunned before slaughter and that all slaughterhouses need CCTV cameras. This suggests to the public that it’s OK to exploit nonhuman animals as long as it is done “humanely” and that there are “humane” ways to murder nonhuman animals. If the public believe this then they have obviously never been to an everyday slaughterhouse or they believe it because it’s better than having to think about it.

Animals Australia also suggest to their non-vegan donors and the non-vegan public to go dairy free. Why dairy free? Why not just ask them to go vegan? (Veganism is more than a diet). Their donors and the public are the very people who are creating this horrific situation not just for these animals, but globally for 56 billion land animals per year and many many more sea animals per year. Large animal “protection” organisations around the world have a big problem mentioning veganism. There’s reasons for this, and most are financial.

Animals Australia have many celebrities who speak for them, who are their ambassadors. It is very unusual if one of their celebrity spokespersons are vegan, yet they are supposedly advocating for nonhuman animals.

An an essay on UVE Archives so eloquently stated:

So, the donors create the problem through the extreme speciesism of consuming animal products, which leads to the breeding, confining, torturing, and intentional killing of the innocent. Then the donors send their money – tens of millions of dollars of it annually – to PETA and HSUS to attempt the absurdly impossible: regulate a perpetual holocaust of billions of victims annually. These big groups are beholden to the very donors who are creating the problem that needs to be fixed.

It is a classic circular farce and would be a knee-slapping hilarious example of human stupidity if it were not so tragic.

We cannot regulate the holocaust. We need to stop it by going vegan and encouraging others to do the same.

I should also mention this “dairy cruelty” campaign follows closely on the heels of their recent “Make it possible” campaign (focusing on factory farming with no mention of veganism) which pulled in mega-donations and their most recent frivolous Australia Day “Everyone deserves a day off” campaign (no mention of veganism).

Every one deserves

Cruelty investigations are a very popular and effective way of raising donations for large animal “protection” organisations. Cruelty investigations are a never-ending source of donations, because while society continues to use animals as “things”, as resources, there will always be abuse. The “cruelty investigations” will go on ad-infinitum while the public is not vegan. And who is going to tell the public to go vegan? The evidence would suggest it will not be regulationist organisations.

As UVE Archives states in an essay about PETA’s cruelty investigations:

[u]ndercover investigations are more of the same single-issue and welfare campaigns dressed up in a heroic gown. Whereas a human rights organization would unequivocally claim that rights violations – slavery, exploitation, and killing – are wrong and should end, PETA merely wants the target exploiter to observe traditional welfare standards while rights violations continue.

Other excerpts.

“Undercover investigations are just another example of PETA’s role in the industry-welfarist partnership as both strategic advisor on quality control and traditional welfare cop.”

“PETA doesn’t oppose industry’s exploitation per se; they just want industry to exploit and kill according to generally accepted exploiting standards and to receive their compensation from consumer-donors for their work as industry’s quality control auditors.

Undercover investigations should function in an animal rights movement the same way they do in a human rights movement: to bring attention to the issue and continue a dialogue about ending rights violations. In other words, undercover investigations should function solely as a catalyst for vegan education. Outside of that particular context, they are worse than useless. In supporting PETA’s attempts at improving quality control over exploitation and killing through undercover investigations, donors ultimately support industry.

Animals Australia is really no different from any other large animal “protection” organisations. They usually have a huge donor base who are not vegan. PeTA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) and Animals Australia (and other organisations like them) never ask any of their donors to go vegan, one reason being they do not wish to challenge their donor base as it may affect their donations. It’s a business decision. So they usually partner up with industry, promote one speciesist single issue campaign after another asking for donations but not asking their donors to be vegan. They do not have veganism as their foundation.

Their philosophy is that one can be a slave owner and still respect and love their slaves, that their slaves are “happy slaves” even while they are being murdered. One only has to view many of the public’s comments on Animals Australia’s Facebook page to see that their philosophy is working.

I will leave you with this comment I left a couple of days ago on Animals Australia’s Facebook page under the image associated with their campaign for dairy calves. I hope someone was paying attention.

The way to end this unending stream of animals who are victims or “by-products” of the dairy industry, is not to find “better” ways of transporting them to slaughterhouses. It’s not to find “better” ways of murdering them, because there’s no such thing as “humane” murder and even if there were, it would still be wrong.

The solution to address this and all forms of animal use is to go vegan and stop using animals for food, entertainment, clothing, and other reasons. We ourselves need to stop participating in animal use. We are the public. We create demand for animal products and animal use every time we go to the store, sit down to eat, every time we purchase a pair of shoes, a woollen coat, go to the zoo, or the circus, buy an animal, and so on. We are the culprits for the violence, for situations like this, and it does not matter whether an animal is young and cute or not. All that matters is sentience as to whether they have the right not to be used as property. It is WE who need to change, not industry. So let’s start changing our own lives and take violence out of our lives and become vegan. No need to point fingers at anyone. It’s we who need to change. Here’s a great vegan resource It’s easy to become vegan. 🙂

Thanks for listening

"Free range" "organic" "factory farmed" etc - In the end the all end up in the same slaughterhouse.

Whether they are “free range” “organic” “factory farmed”, in the end they all wind up in the same slaughterhouse.

For more information on this issue:
UVE Archives: “On Cruelty Videos
Animal Cruelty: Who is to Blame?
PETA’s Undercover Investigations: Another example of the welfarist business cycle.
What’s wrong with Single Issue Campaigns
How Should We Respond to Australia’s Live Export Ban or Its End?




The last few weeks I’ve taken the opportunity to point out the moral confusion in campaigns by a large animal protection organisation “Animals Australia”. Advocates for Animals Australia keep telling us that AA does not endorse or promote “happy meat” or “happy animal products” and yet they regularly post campaign information like this:


Animals Australia:

“Did you know that pregnant mother pigs can legally be confined to a crate so small they cannot even turn around — for their entire pregnancy? ‘Sow stalls’ are undoubtedly one of the cruellest devices ever inflicted upon animals in factory farms. But there’s hope…

In a big step forward for pigs, Coles starts 2013 by ensuring that NO Coles-brand fresh pork products come from suppliers who confine pregnant pigs in sow stalls!

Please join us in thanking Coles for leading the way – and encourage them to continue fighting factory farming by addressing other practices such as surgical procedures of piglets without anaesthetic, and confining mother pigs in crates after birth. Click here to discover what pork labels really mean for pigs:

Thank you Coles, for helping to get pregnant mother pigs — and hens ( ) — out of cages!

This would never have happened without caring people like you leading the way. Every meal is a choice. Every shop is a vote. By choosing kindly you can help animals with every bite! Learn more:


I wrote a comment to this on their page:

I’m a little confused.

How is murdering sentient beings for their flesh (“pork”) a big step forward for pigs? Wouldn’t a big step forward for pigs be if we became vegan and educated others to become vegan so that the pubic ceased using animals for food, clothing, entertainment and other reasons? Not only pigs would not be exploited and murdered any more, but no other animals would be exploited either including dairy calves which is what the most recent AA campaign is about.

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Filed under animal exploitation, Animals Australia, cultural prejudice, dairy, dairy industry, Frederick Douglass, human rights, humane, humane murder, non-vegans, nonviolence, People for the ethical treatment of animals, property paradigm, property status, speciesism, vegan, veganism vegan abolition, Vegans

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