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Update Newsletters
14 July 2010 Issue

1. Activist Feedback

2. Conference on Animals in Research

3. Essay: Should Animal Advocates Seek Reforms? Part 1

4. This Week’s Sermon from Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman

1. Activist Feedback

Jeff, who leafleted with Dawn at the Ignite Your Teens' Passion 2009 - 2010 Blaze Tour in Phoenix, AZ, writes:

We distributed 292 CVA booklets and 12 Vegan Outreach booklets. This is a conference to teach young Christians to spread the word. We leafleted from 6-7 pm just as everyone was returning back from an afternoon outing. We always have trouble with security at this venue, and today was no exception. The Theatre security tried to bully us off of the public sidewalk. The last time Dawn gathered signatures here they did they same thing, but police twice backed her up on her right to gather signatures. We told them we would be very happy if they'd just call the police to straighten it out, but they never did.

But the leafleting was surprisingly great. Many of the kids were high school aged, and almost everyone we offered one to accepted. Many came back to get one too! Even the adults in the group were open to reading about it

Upcoming Outreach Opportunities  

07/21-24 WA Enumclaw HUGE Creation Northwest Music Festival

07/24-25 IL Schaumburg Ignite Christian Rock Festival

07/24 WI Green Bay DecembeRadio in Concert

07/24 OR Ashland Sleeping Giant Rock Concert

07/29 VA Virginia Beach Decemberadio Christian Rock Concert

07/29-08/1 DE Houston Jubilee Fest

07/31 OK McAlester Stellar Kart Christian Rock Concert

07/31 CO Longmont HeavenFest Christian Music Festival

08/4-7 NH Gilford Soulfest Christian Rock Festival

08/5-7 TX Midland Rock The Desert Festival 2010

08/5 TX Dallas Sleeping Giant Christian Rock Concert

08/6-8 IL Decatur Decatur Celebration Street Festival

08/7 IL Marion Francesc Battisteli Christian Concert

08/7 TN Fayetteville Stellar Kart Christian Rock Concert

08/9 FL Jacksonville Sleeping Giant Christian Rock Concert

08/13 MD Towson Sleeping Giant Christian Rock Concert

08/14 OH Dayton Sleeping Giant Christian Rock Concert

08/14 IL Peoria Heights Francesca Battistela Christian Concert

08/14 MT Great Falls Addison Road Christian Rock Concert

08/17 MO St. Louis Sleeping Giant Christian Rock Concert

08/20-21 TX Dallas Women of Faith Conference

09/4-5 NJ Frenchtown TABLE Revelation Generation Music Fest

10/2 FL Tampa TABLE Tampa Bay Veg Fest

10/2-3 CA San Francisco TABLE World Vegetarian Festival

10/23 FL Tampa TABLE Central Florida Veg Fest

11/6 FL Jacksonville TABLE Northeast Florida Veg Fest

International events:

07/23-25 CANADA Ontario - Burlington A Vegan Event: FREE Burlington Jazz'n Blues Festival

Contact Paris at christian_vegetarian@yahoo.com  if you can to help. To find out about all upcoming leafleting and tabling opportunities in your area, join the CVA Calendar Group at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/christian_vegetarian/  

2. Conference on Animals in Research

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is sponsoring on August 26-27 in Washington , DC , a conference on modernizing medical and scientific research entitled Animals, Research, and Alternatives. There will be speakers with diverse opinions and expertise in order to foster informed discussion surrounding the ethics of animal testing and research. The conference will address key issues including the ethical, scientific, and legal imperatives relevant to the use of animals in research. A focus will be the principal achievements and challenges in developing alternatives to animal research. More details are available at www.ResearchAlternatives.org.

Conference Details

What: “Animals, Research, and Alternatives: Measuring Progress 50 Years Later”

When: August 26 - 27, 2010

Where: Washington Marriott
221 22nd St., N.W.
Washington, DC 20037

Who: Medical professionals, scientists, ethicists, policymakers, and students.

Why: Concerns about advancing medical research, drug and vaccine development, and ethical considerations about the treatment of animals in research.

How: RSVP to comp@pcrm.org . For questions and additional information, please contact Leah Engel at lengel@pcrm.org .

The conference is sponsored by PCRM and The George Washington University Medical Center, along with the Johns Hopkins University Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing, the Institute for In Vitro Sciences, and the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University. This conference offers 16.5 continuing education units for physicians through The George Washington University Medical Center.

3. Essay: Should Animal Advocates Seek Reforms? Part 1

Last week, I took issue with those who claim that animal advocates should utilize only “the abolitionist approach.” In this week’s essay, I will expand on the question of whether only the abolitionist approach is morally defensible.

Defenders of the abolitionist approach use a range of moral arguments, and I will address the ones I hear most frequently. Often they assert that it is obscene to work with companies or individuals who harmfully exploit animals. They make two main claims: that such negotiations legitimize animal exploitation and that animal protectionists become co-opted by animal exploiting industries to the point that they abandon their ultimate commitment to end harmful exploitation of animals.

In general, animal rights advocates who endorse welfare reforms have done a good job of reminding people that, while compromise is often necessary, they ultimately seek to end harmful exploitation of animals. Occasionally they have not communicated this message well, and advocates of the abolitionist approach have highlighted these occasional missteps to denounce those who have endorsed reforms. Regarding animal protectionists being co-opted by animal exploitation industries, intelligent and dedicated animal activists should be able to avoid this trap. Though others might have different perceptions, I have not seen this as a problem.

Another argument is that groups identifying themselves as advocating “animal rights” or “animal liberation” create public confusion about the meaning of these terms when they endorse compromises that fall short of abolitionism. I don’t think this is a reasonable concern. It takes a certain degree of intelligence and insight to consider the current status of animal treatment and to choose to adopt a vegan lifestyle. Such people should be able to understand that there is no inherent contradiction when an organization states that animals are not ours to eat, wear, or experiment on and also states that, until people stop exploiting animals, it is desirable to reduce animal suffering.

For the general public, those with the loudest voice generally define the terms of the conversation, and the animal exploitation industries have a much louder voice than animal protectionists. If the terms “animal rights” or “animal liberation” change over time, there will be a need for new terms. Protection of actual animals is more important than protection of terms about animal protectionism.

Proponents of the abolitionist approach sometimes maintain that ameliorating conditions makes it harder to seek abolitionism. I find this argument most unsatisfactory. It assumes that it is morally justified to commit many billions of animals to extreme misery and suffering each year and for many years to come so as to make a stronger rhetorical argument for abolition. This treats animals currently suffering in factory farms as objects – mere means toward the end of animal liberation. This contradicts the notion that God cares for all creatures, including the sparrows (Luke 12:6). Also, I find this argument flawed. This view presumes that the public will oppose exploiting animals harmfully only if the pain and suffering are severe. If true, the public will not pursue abolition. Instead, the public will choose to consume animal products derived from conditions that have involved less suffering, or the public will pursue legislation that seeks to end some of the worst abuses. If false – if the public could be convinced that animal exploitation is inherently wrong – then ameliorating conditions will not interfere with the campaign to abolish harmful animal exploitation.

Some have denounced reforms as “window dressing” aimed to reassure consumers that humane concerns have been addressed when in fact there has been little change. I agree that reforms should be meaningful, and indeed many reforms have improved the lives of confined animals significantly, even if the conditions have continued to fall well short of humane.

I think the abolitionist approach, in its advocacy of a vegan lifestyle and its rejection of humanity’s right to harmfully exploit animals, is meritorious when it comes to individuals. We should definitely encourage people to do what they can to reduce their harm to animals, and we should never endorse harmful activities as “humane.” Though we can talk about “reducing animal ill-fare” or “eliminating the worst abuses,” we should not give unqualified endorsement to any activity that harms God’s creatures.

Next week I will discuss whether using only the abolitionist approach and rejecting all welfare reforms is a wise strategy.

Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.

4. This Week’s Sermon from Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman

Memorial Service for the Animals
http://www.all-creatures.org/sermons98/s20100711.html  .

Your question and comments are welcome

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