What are the demands of the international movement for the abolition of meat?
To abolish the raising, fishing, and hunting of animals for their flesh, as well as the sale and consumption of animal flesh.
Why would one want to abolish meat?
Because the production of meat causes considerable harm, in suffering and in death, to an immense number of animals, although it is not necessary to eat meat.
Shouldn’t the foods we eat be determined by each person’s personal freedom of choice?
The activities that cause these major harms to others do not belong to the liberty of individuals. It is up to society to abolish them by law.
Is it democratic to want to impose the ideas of a few vegetarians on everyone?
This movement wants to elicit a public debate on the legitimacy of meat and that the arguments, for or against, can be discussed on their own merits. On the other hand, many non-vegetarians already question the legitimacy of breeding, hunting, and fishing. Thus in France:
- 14% of people questioned responded that they disagree(1) with the statement "It is normal that humans raise animals for their meat" ;
- 39% disagree with the idea that it is normal "that one can kill an animal by fishing" ;
- 58.8% disagree with the idea that it is normal "that one can kill an animal by hunting".
(1) People saying "mostly disagree" or "strongly disagree" among 1000 people questioned for a study by Geneviève Cazes-Valette, « Le rapport à la viande chez le mangeur français contemporain », (“the relationship between meat and the contemporary french consumer”), November 2004, page 83, http://www.esc-toulouse.fr/m_pages.asp?page=480&menu=234
The production and consumption of meat seems essential to the subsistence of many humans. Wanting to abolish meat is to ignore their interests!?
No. Their interests should and can be taken into account when carrying out of the abolition of meat.
Why not just authorize breeding where the animals lead happy lives?
Our societies’ capacity to give a decent life and a death without suffering to animals whose flesh is commercialized remains to be established.
Nevertheless, meat requires killing animals for a product that is not necessary to be in good health, nor to enjoy pleasing food. A sentient being is animated by the desire to continue his existence. To stop his life is to deprive the individual of the joys, pleasures, satisfactions he could legitimately expect.
Does the demand for the abolition of meat include "in-vitro meat" or "cultured meat" ?
No "cultured meat" is not concerned. It is obtained by growing muscle cells on a nutrient substrate. The claim relates only on the abolition of the use of animals for food consumption. "In-vitro meat" could instead be developed.
Does this movement promote equality between humans and animals? Does this movement give rights to animals?
This movement promotes the abolition of meat. One can adhere to this objective whether one believes or not, that being a member of the human species is in itself a pertinent ethical criterion. One can adhere to this objective whether one wants or not to give animals fundamental rights modeled on certain human rights. In practice, abolishing meat, is, in fact, to give animals the right to not be mistreated nor killed to be eaten by humans.
Animals also suffer, and are killed, for bullfighting, experimentation, fur, etc. Why is this movement only about meat?
Each practice has its specificities (ethical, cultural, economic, etc.) which create different questions than the others, despite the links that can exist between them. For example, knowing that it is legitimate to ban a food product in the name of animals’ interests is a problem linked to meat, but not to animal experimentation.
What about other animal products beyond meat (milk, eggs, ...)?
For most people, these products are perceived differently because it seems that they do not necessitate to kill animals. However, in practice, to abolish meat is to also reconsider eggs and milk, or at least the quasi-totality of current production. In fact, the consumption of these products is not at all necessary for a healthy diet, and:
- the animals concerned (cows, chickens, …) are also killed for meat
- the calves born to start milk production are killed for meat
- the male chicks —born from all laying hens— are killed shortly after their birth
- and, just as for meat, our societies’ capacity to provide a decent life to these animals remains to be established.
What is the difference between this movement and the promotion of vegetarianism?
The promotion of vegetarianism aims that individuals, one by one, decide to change their consumption habits and stop eating meat.
The movement for the abolition of meat is a political approach: its aim is to get the public opinion to adhere to the idea that meat should be banned. The objective is that human societies, one after another, decide to ban the production, sale, and consumption of meat.
From the point of view of the movement, the refusal to eat meat can be seen as a political boycott, as an expression of one’s support of abolition. In Great Britain at the end of the 18th century, during the movement for the abolition of slavery, 300,000 people boycotted sugar produced from plantations with slaves.
Who is organizing this movement?
The resolution for the abolition of meat was conceived collectively by people from different horizons, reunited on an open internet listserv created for this purpose. This same small group of people, and any new people who would like to join them, are also taking on the task to launch this movement internationally with animal organizations, with the idea that they also take up the movement themselves.
But the movement belongs to no one, no more than the movement to abolish slavery did not belong to a small circle; it constitutes an objective to attain, a perspective to orient our strategies, a concrete horizon that can reunite us and galvanize our energies, and we hope that each person, that each organization, will know how to work for its accomplishment through their own ingenuity.
For this reason, we are not looking to create a particular structure—neither to create chapters, nor even to federate. A network between engaged individuals and structures seems sufficient to exchange information as well as strategies and to put our efforts together so that this movement proves successful.
The Movement is thus open to all!