Short Title: Violence To Animals Must End Now
Floor manager / Shepard: Joshua Gerloff, joshuagerloff [dot] gmail [dot] com
Co-sponsor: Danny Factor
Committees from which you are requesting review and feedback: Adcom, Platform, Chapters.
Explanatory Background and Proposal Summary:
What does this proposal call for?
This proposal calls for the GRP to do three things: 1) Amend our Party Agenda to say that the GRP opposes unnecessary violence to animals, and endorses and calls for the promotion of veganism 2) Issue a press release stating the same. 3) Cease spending any GRP funds on products derived from animals.
Why is this proposal consistent with our 10 Key Values and the GPUS Platform?
The GRP values nonviolence. Veganism is all about nonviolence! The unnecessary use of animals for food, clothing, entertainment or any other purpose is unjustifiable. By endorsing and promoting veganism, the GRP will fully embrace nonviolence and extend a policy of mutual respect to every animal species.
GPUS Platform Part III K, entitled “Ethical Treatment of Animals” states at the outset that “Cruelty to animals is repugnant and criminal. The mark of a humane and civilized society lies in how we treat the least protected among us. To extend rights to other sentient, living beings is our responsibility and a mark of our place among all of creation. We call for an intelligent, compassionate approach to the treatment of animals. We reject the belief that our species is the center of creation, and that other life forms exist only for our use and enjoyment. Our species does not have the right to exploit and inflict violence on other creatures simply because we have the desire and power to do so. Our ethic upholds not only the value of biological diversity and the integrity and continuity of species, but also the value of individual lives and the interest of individual animals.” Our GPUS Platform then goes on to call for the end to a number of violent acts on animals, including but not limited to animal experimentation, animal testing and animal classroom demonstrations. As an affiliate of the GPUS, the GRP is grounded by the same principles: that animals are sentient beings and have rights, violence to animals is repugnant and cruel, and our species has no right to inflict this harm purely for our pleasure when alternatives exist. We feel then, especially at a time when consumption of animals is linked to the cataclysm of climate change, that it is time that a state affiliate of the Green Party specifies more explicitly and consistently that the only way to end violence toward animals is to endorse and promote veganism. With recognition of the need for animal rights/veganism growing around the world, and within our party (for example the establishment of the GP Animal Rights Committee in 2016), and the history of our party taking bold no-nonsense, zero-tolerance action when it comes to violence, we believe that only veganism is the consistent position of a Green who truly supports nonviolence and sustainability.
How would this proposal make the GRP more consistent in its advocacy of nonviolence and sustainability
Right now, the Green-Rainbow Party is committed to nonviolence, but fails to condemn violence to animals. The GRP supports the idea of healthy ecosystems and biodiversity, so in an abstract sense, animals matter in that they comprise part of nature. But what about unnecessary violence to animals?
It is wrong to hurt an animal unnecessarily, including for pleasure, amusement or convenience. Most of the ways that animals are used by human beings are unnecessary. In this era of abundance, the use of animals for food, clothing or entertainment when alternatives exist is wrong.
In 2009, the American Dietetic Association stated that:
“It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes.” (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19562864/)
If an appropriately planned vegan diet is healthy and safe for humans of every age, it follows then that the consumption of animal products is unnecessary.
The availability of alternative textiles also makes the use of animals for clothing unnecessary. Those concerned with plastic pollution and “fast fashion”, there are natural fibers, such as hemp or bamboo, that can be used to make our clothing, bedding, etc.
Greens are certainly aware of how resource intensive and environmentally destructive animal agriculture is. Animal products represent large scale destruction of forests and ecosystems, a major strain on the world’s grain supply, topsoil runoff, dead-zones in our rivers and oceans, etc. Biodiversity continues to decline.
Veganism is the most important personal action one can take to halt climate change. Because of the greenhouse gas emissions caused by animal agriculture, veganism is by far the largest personal step that a person can do on their own to halt climate change. Studies have shown that embracing veganism curbs more greenhouse gasses than installing solar panels on one’s home, buying an electric car or any other conceivable personal act.
Knowing all of this, humanity is free to live in harmony with nature and cease further unnecessary violence to animals.
The GRP will take the lead in promoting veganism, a gentle lifestyle that seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.
The GRP will take the following actions:
1) By November 1, 2019 the GRP Party Agenda on our website will be amended from:
To counter the exploitation of people and the planet, the GRP seeks to strengthen and revitalize our communities so every person can be a creative contributor, have a decent life, and be free from fear, discrimination, and hopelessness. To that end, we seek to reclaim and rework the economic and political activities of our Commonwealth.
Part 1 - Healthy Communities
Healthy communities are places where people thrive and find meaning in their lives. Communities where all find a place and a livelihood are more stable and better able to deal with physical and social crises and disasters. Growing income inequality and the continuing transfer of wealth from the less to the more affluent undermine our society and the shared understandings on which it is based. We propose measures to strengthen the vitality of Massachusetts communities, funded with savings from superseded programs and shifts in sources of local and state revenue.
Basic Needs: To enable all to participate in their communities, we will prioritize measures to meet basic needs, adding community based programs to the standard safety net. We will act to facilitate local food production and make healthful, affordable food available in all communities, assure adequate and affordable housing for all, and provide universal health care. We will fund services which strengthen communities, including, but not limited to, early childhood education, day care, after-school and outreach programs, adult education, special needs and arts programs.
Part 2 - Sustainable Economies
Common Good: The Commonwealth of Massachusetts was formed to work for the common good. To protect the commons, including land, water, air, and ecosystems, in the face of catastrophic threats posed by accelerating climate change, the Commonwealth must aggressively promote the transition to local, sustainable economies. Such economies are based on energy conservation and efficiency, distributed clean energy production, local organic agriculture, and public transportation with safe walking and bike paths between transportation hubs. Towards this end, we must generously fund environmental research, programs, and education, as well as regional planning and public transportation. The highest standards for environmental and public health protection must be applied to new and old technologies. Reducing use of energy from fossil fuels and developing alternative energy sources need persistent attention and funding.
To (Changes are in bold italics):
To counter the exploitation of humans, non-humans and the Earth, the GRP seeks to strengthen and revitalize our communities so every person can be a creative contributor, have a decent life, and be free from fear, discrimination, and hopelessness. To that end, we seek to reclaim and rework the economic and political activities of our Commonwealth.
Part 1 - Healthy Communities
Healthy communities are places where people thrive, find meaning in their lives, live in harmony with nature, and respect all sentient beings. Communities where all find a place and a livelihood are more stable and better able to deal with physical and social crises and disasters. Growing income inequality and the continuing transfer of wealth from the less to the more affluent undermine our society and the shared understandings on which it is based. We propose measures to strengthen the vitality of Massachusetts communities, funded with savings from superseded programs and shifts in sources of local and state revenue.
Basic Needs: To enable all to participate in their communities, we will prioritize measures to meet basic needs, adding community-based programs to the standard safety net. We will act to facilitate local veganic food production, make healthful, affordable whole food plant-based living available in all communities, assure adequate and affordable housing for all and provide universal health care. We will fund services which strengthen communities, including, but not limited to, early childhood education, daycare, after-school and outreach programs, adult education, special needs, and arts programs. Because it is a basic need for all sentient living beings to be free from violence, we oppose violence to all animals and endorse and call for the promotion of veganism.
Nurturing Connections to Non-humans: Humans share this planet with a rich diversity of species. We recognize that communities that value the principles of peace and nonviolence cannot exploit anyone, whether human or non-human. By promoting veganism, we halt animal agriculture’s destruction of ecosystems and habitat that wildlife require to thrive; we also halt the unnecessary exploitation of domesticated animals.
Part 2 - Sustainable Economies
Common Good: The Commonwealth of Massachusetts was formed to work for the common good. To protect the commons, including land, water, air, and ecosystems, in the face of catastrophic threats posed by accelerating climate change, the Commonwealth must aggressively promote the transition to local, sustainable economies. Such economies are based on energy conservation and efficiency, distributed clean energy production, local vegan organic agriculture, and public transportation with safe walking and bike paths between transportation hubs. Towards this end, we must generously fund vegan educational programs, environmental research, regional planning and public transportation. The highest standards for environmental and public health protection must be applied to new and old technologies. Reducing use of energy from fossil fuels and developing alternative energy sources need persistent attention and funding. Given that animal agriculture is the primary driving force behind climate change, we must provide economic incentives for vegan organic farming and provide nutrition educational resources on whole food plant-based eating. By promoting a whole food plant-based diet, we directly promote public health by preventing and reversing chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and greatly reduce risks for cancer.
2) By January 1, 2020 the GRP will issue a press release (sent by email to the GRP Press List, ‘supporters’ email list and ,’members’ email list) announcing the above amending of our Party Agenda, explaining the reasons that we have enacted a policy to oppose violence to all animals, and endorse and call for the promotion of veganism.
3) The GRP shall not purchase products (e.g. food or clothing materials) that are derived from animals.
Financial Impact: It is expected that donations to the GRP will increase, in particular from the many people who support nonviolence, animal rights and veganism and also those who find that the GRP now has more credibility due to the GRP’s more consistent stance.
1. Comm Comm shall be charged with the clerical responsibility to ensure that the wording of the Party Agenda on the GRP Website is changed, pursuant to the amendment that State Com has authorized by adopting this proposal.
2. The Treasurer shall be charged with ensuring that party funds are not spent on animal products.
Hello Gentle Greens,
I have finalized edits to this proposal. Newest changes are bolded, italicized, and underlined.
Veganism is not about perfection. Veganism is a commitment to not exploit anyone, human or non-human.
Remember that the platform is a series of guidelines. The GPUS platform already has a strong statement about animal ethics. It has been there for years. Did you feel GPUS twisting your arm about anything? Are you vegan because of this position? But having this on our platform sends a clear statement that we oppose unnecessary violence to animals. Vegans and animal rights activists will see this as a bold action and will bring their enthusiasm to the GRP.
Thank you very much for your careful consideration of this proposal.
Vegan for the animals,
GRP apppointee to GPUS Animal Rights Committee
Showing 40 reactions
In addition after talking with Josh Gerloff at length and thinking about this proposal more, I have become convinced that it is wrong to think of non-human animals as “persons” who should have individual rights. Non-human animals are not persons. We human beings tend to think of our animals or dolls or cars or whatever as persons. We mentally anthropomorphize them. But this is not right. It confuses the issues and distracts from focusing on human rights and protecting the environment. Our protection of animals should be about protecting ecosystems and biodiversity not about individual humanish rights for animals.
-to the intelligence of voters of all social classes and cultures,
We can not end all violence against animals because we do not cause all violence against animals – Some animals are violent, and some animals are carnivorous. We can’t change that.
Just as some animals are carnivorous, so are some human cultures. (Indeed, some cultures are or have been cannibalistic). Some carnivorous human societies have been sustainable.
Animals in intensive rotational grazing are said to be effective agents of soil carbon sequestration. We may need to use this to restore our air’s carbon dioxide levels to preindustrial levels. While, to guide animal grazing into sustainable patterns of intensive rotation, we don’t need to eat animals, neither do we need to ban animal consumption to live sustainably, as far as I can tell.
Industrial meat production is admittedly a nightmarish environmental disaster, but it isn’t the only method of producing meat. Much of the incentives that power the horrors of industrial meat production are due to market failures. With fossil fuels looking so inexpensive, it appears to meat producers that manure is of negligible value, and that feeding grazing animals seed crops in feedlots is better than having those animals actively grazing pastures. With proper financial costs for fossil fuel use , subsequent nitrogen fertilizer production, and resulting air pollution, and proper financial rewards for competent grazing’s measurable carbon fixation within grazed soils, such a skewed meat production system would not appear financially competitive.
Some lands are not sustainably farmable, but are sustainably grazable. Typically these lands’ soils are too rocky or steep for frequent plowing, but kept held by living pasture plants by periodic grazing, these soils can yield human nutrition sustainably. (It might be possible to periodically mow these lands, then grow edible mushrooms on the hay, instead of graze them, but why restrict ourselves to a hypothetical possibility, when we have actually sustainable grazed meat production working already)?
Moral elitism and revolutionary elitism are not as transformative as grassroots democracy, which is one of our key values. If we few, who are now active within the party, decide this for the many inactive, without consulting them, we lose the opportunity to incorporate much additional wisdom into this decision.
Perfection can be the enemy of good, in that attempting impossible perfection neglects the lesser, but possible, good.
The Cowspiracy facts are discussed here by the executive producer. He explains how the scientists reached the animal agriculture green house gas contribution of 51%. http://www.climatehealers.org/webinar
Mic the Vegan walks us through the debunking claims here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KpmTiHjUEBU
We do know that cholesterol causes arteriosclerosis. And we know that heart disease is the number 1 killer of Americans. https://nutritionfacts.org/video/how-do-we-know-that-cholesterol-causes-heart-disease/
NutritionFacts.org is a public service to show the scientific evidence regarding nutrition and lifestyle where it pertains to health.
The corporate food giants do everything they can to downplay unfavorable research about their products. https://nutritionfacts.org/video/a-political-lesson-on-the-power-of-the-food-industry/
Rich people probably have better health outcomes because they have better insurance and are better informed about their food choices. Can poor people afford high medical costs? Maybe they should eat a whole-foods plant-based diet? https://nutritionfacts.org/video/more-than-an-apple-a-day-preventing-our-most-common-diseases/
David is right: oppressed people need us to stand up for them. But what does that have to do with what we are having for lunch? We don’t need to eat animals. There is no necessity to eat animals. Eating animals when you don’t have to is wrong.
This proposal doesn’t insist that anyone does anything. It’s asking the GRP to actively promote veganism because it is nonviolence to animals, its better for our health, better for the earth and its the only hope we have for starting widespread personal action for climate change. Joseph Poore, University of Oxford: “Avoiding meat and dairy is ‘single biggest way’ to reduce your impact on Earth” https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/may/31/avoiding-meat-and-dairy-is-single-biggest-way-to-reduce-your-impact-on-earth
Veganism is non-violence. There is nothing extreme about that.
I also don’t agree that eating meat causes high cholesterol or obesity. There is no consensus about what food is healthy. Again I see a ton of health sites about keto diets etc., that say that eating fat and protein is healthy and that the unhealthy thing is eating sugar and other carbs that our bodies convert into fat.
If the parts of the proposal about animal agriculture supposedly causing climate change and about meat supposedly being unhealthy were removed then I would be more sympathetic to the proposal. Promotion of nonviolence towards animals is a legitimate topic for us. But even so I would still have concerns.
I am concerned that promoting veganism is not a class issue. What I mean is that this is not an issue that disproportionately affects impoverished and oppressed people or that is of concern primarily to impoverished and oppressed people. In fact it is possible that this issue tends to be of more concern to wealthier more privileged people. Therefore it is a divisive issue. We should be championing issues that bring oppressed people together and unite resistance movements, not find ways to divide ourselves from the struggles of oppressed peoples. I do know some African revolutionaries who are vegan but I don’t see them dividing their movement by passing resolutions insisting on veganism.
I think the easiest way to see that promoting veganism is not a progressive class issue is to look at the movement of Dalits and Adivasis against the Hindu caste system and the way in which upper caste vegetarianism is used as an elitist marker against people without caste privilege. See http://theaerogram.com/caste-privilege-101-primer-privileged/ which presents a Dalit/Bahujan/Adivasi attitude towards meat-eating as “We are very proud of recipes that feature our meat-eating tradition. Whether its beef or scavenged meat, there has been much shame put upon what began out of families’ exclusion from food networks in the system of caste apartheid. As a result our hard-won food decisions are a form of culinary self-determination” Also see this article https://qz.com/india/738758/indias-dalits-strike-back-at-centuries-of-oppression-by-letting-dead-cows-rot-on-the-streets/ about cow-protector vigilantes in India lynching Dalits who subsist by scavenging cow carcasses. The Dalits fought back by going on strike and refusing to dispose of cow carcasses so that there would be rotting cow carcasses everywhere.
Another concern is that the proposal seems to promote an extreme version of veganism. I am not even sure if passing the proposal might mean that disabled people would not be allowed to bring service animals to our meetings.
I agree with: Healthy communities are places where all living beings thrive and find meaning in their lives……….. Because it is a basic need for all sentient living beings to be free from violence, we oppose violence to all animals.
I strongly disagree with “endorse and call for the promotion of veganism.”
We, as a political party should not be endorsing and promoting any kind of diet or lifestyle Are we not marginalized enough? I find it classist and self-righteous to, as a political party, judge and promote a diet. Seriously people – the way we eat? “ Of course we should all eat and live according to non-violent principles and be mindful of what we put in our bodies but….not as a platform in a political party.
About the line – Further, the consumption of animal products is violence to our own bodies. – are we going to promote abstinence from alcohol? tattoos perhaps?
I agree with: 3) The GRP shall not purchase products (e.g. food or clothing materials) that are derived from animals. Just as we should have the union bug on all materials and only have meetings/catering at socially responsible places
I work with him directly as part of my shelter reform lobbying in New York.
Basically to the extent they “self domesticated” (they’ve historically chosen to live with humans in mutually beneficial relationships) they are our friends and family. They should not be “owned” and they have the right to legal personhood.
He posted this about a recent New York court case (which I plan to post about on the Green Party Animal Rights Committee Facebook page) in which the court determined that not only should cats not be considered property but under the legal concept of “best interests” of “all concerned” standard including the cat and both litigants the court let the cat help choose his home.
Winnograd acknowledges the potential issues on how a human interprets a cat’s “decision” but that there’s a basic legal understanding that “pet’s are not property” and that such animal is capable of independent thought and interest.
This is the link to Finn v Anderson lawsuit
Backyard Chickens: Expanding Our Understanding of ‘Harm’
The Harm of the Hatcheries
The Harm of Breeding
The Harm of Breeding
Benefiting from Harm
Plus other related topics
1.“All living beings” can include microorganisms and venomous animals or insects.
2. “We oppose violence to all animals” can be read to infer that we should prevent violence to animals by other animals.
3. This text seems to imply that each of us should judge the relationship of other humans to “living beings” in diverse cultural contexts. How is eating eggs violent? How about stealing honey from cultivated beehives? If you could limit to a widely agreed definition of animal cruelty, few would disagree with you.
4. Further, the relationship of human to animals in this proposal does not seem to include positive connections. Should I not have pets? Should I not train them to “entertain” me? I could not, in good conscience, remain a member of a group which came between me and my dog.
United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization
How Bad of a Greenhouse Gas Is Methane? Gayathri Vaidyanathan, ClimateWire
More from FAO
-in particular, referring only to diets— is that would not the GRP be saying then that the purchase and use of leather is acceptable, even though leather is produced as a result of the most extreme violence towards animals? The term ‘veganism’ means to refrain from to buying, using, or eating animal products in all ways, not just their diet. As a result, I think that veganism (not ’plant-based diet) is the more proper word to express the action to further non-violence that GRP should urge— not taking part in any use of animal products.
Not sure how to address this comment. If anyone has any suggestions for a more appropriate place in the GRP Agenda, let me know! http://www.green-rainbow.org/platform