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(en) France, Union Communiste Libertaire AL #310 - Ecology and animal cause debate (1/2) -- Combine animal cause and anti-capitalism (de, it, fr, pt)[machine translation]

Date Mon, 30 Nov 2020 09:49:53 +0200

What role for animals in human societies ? It is a central point of ecological reflection, where two major ethical questions converge: that of animal suffering and exploitation on the one hand, and on the other, that of animal husbandry as it is. is determined by capitalism, where peasants are just as much exploited subjects by a system. Is it a question of managing the breeding as it exists, of reducing its ecological footprint, animal and human suffering ? On the contrary, is it a question of completely breaking away from this model ? And how ? Alternative Libertaire invites this debate in its columns. ---- The animalist struggle is sometimes accused of complacency towards capitalism. Far from the individualistic aims sometimes put forward, we believe that the animal cause and the anti-capitalist struggle can be mutually articulated and enriched.

Libertarians have always refused the hierarchy of struggles and wanted to understand the specificities of each system of domination. The animal cause was also one of the major interests of anarchists, especially during the Belle Époque [1]. In this perspective, we defend the taking into account of the interests of animals, and denounce the refusal to worry about them on the pretext of the anti-capitalist struggle.

Read also: Jocelyne Porcher (Inrae): " Peasant breeding in coexistence with cellular agriculture is illusory " , Alternative libertaire, November 2020.
Take into account the interests of animals
We breed, exploit and kill animals for our food or clothing consumption, we lock them up for entertainment, we test our cosmetics and drugs on them - the list goes on. However, scientific research, particularly in ethology [2]show us that many species form societies, made up of sensitive individuals with specific interests. These individuals organize themselves with social roles, feel emotions: fear, joy, boredom or even empathy. They also have, to varying degrees, levels of consciousness allowing them to know that they exist, that others exist, and not wanting to die. It therefore seems to us that we must respect and take into account these other individuals and societies, in our way of building our own.

Although we cannot " socialize " with animals the same way as with humans, we can envision a libertarian society free from animal exploitation. Indeed, although they are presented as evidence of the natural order, products of animal origin are replaceable. We are thus defending a libertarian economic and agricultural project including massive revegetation of food, especially since plant proteins are ecologically preferable crops - they require less space and produce (much) less greenhouse gas. greenhouse in particular [3].

For ecology as for the animal cause, the exit from capitalism is a condition certainly insufficient, but essential.
red photo library
This libertarian and ecological society project does not require, contrary to popular belief, advanced technologies such as synthetic meat or industrial substitutes. The only constraint is the production of vitamin B12, not present in the vegetable diet, but simple to produce locally and inexpensive energy [4]..

The livestock industry is currently trying to restore its image with arguments about " exploitation on a human scale ", claiming to limit animal suffering. For this, it uses a few farms whose practices, on the one hand, are marginal, on the other hand, often stem more from the declaration of intent than from reality: " small farms " and local slaughterhouses are not idyllic places. , the animals also suffer there (and this, whereas no product resulting from the breeding is essential for us for our consumption).

As libertarians, we share the criticisms made of vegan movements which aim to transform society through a change in individual practices, and are often based on guilt. We also denounce the collusion of certain organizations with parts of the food industry. However, it is essential to remember that this collusion does not structure the entire movement.

That multinationals invest in advance in vegan products and seize a niche market, nothing more expected. It seems flawed to us to deduce from this a general complicity between animal activists and industry, at the risk of an almost conspiratorial overinterpretation: the whole of the animal cause would be manipulated by the industry to convert us to their future products, then that their current production already has a stranglehold on the food market ?

A society without animal exploitation is possible
As for us, the animal cause as we see it is inherently anti-capitalist. Indeed, the transition from an industry based on livestock to a largely vegetated production would call into question entire sections of our economy (agro-food, clothing, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, etc.). This transition, defended for ethical reasons, is radically incompatible with the capitalist imperative of profitability.

In addition, taking into account the interests of animals also necessarily implies the end of the destruction of ecosystems (which are their living environments), which implies urgently fighting for the preservation of the environment - while in a capitalist regime , environmental destruction will continue as long as it is profitable.

In other words, for ecology as for the animal cause, the exit from capitalism is a condition certainly insufficient, but essential. We do not advocate a reformist change based on laws concerning the types of breeding or the limits of acceptable suffering, but a revolutionary transformation of society involving a fundamental rethink of our relationship to the exploitation and domination of animals. .

We are opposed to the absurd logic which would like that, in order to continue to live with animals, it is necessary to necessarily exploit and kill them without necessity. We have confidence in the capacity of a society, freed from capitalism, to reinvent other modes of coexistence while supporting peasant agriculture. While this prospect may seem distant, we won't wait any longer to work on it.

UCL Animal Condition Working Group


[1] On the animal cause and an analysis of anarchist differences on this question, we can read Anarchy and Animal Cause , two volumes, published by Le Monde libertaire.

[2] Discipline that studies the behavior of animal species.

[3] We also underline that the soya intended for human consumption is for the most part cultivated in France or in neighboring countries, and not imported from South America as we still read too often.

[4] We thus see the development of local productions of B12 in France.

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