If you consider yourself an environmentalist, you’re probably familiar with the term "greenwashing," which is a marketing strategy that paints a corporation (usually one with a less-than-stellar reputation regarding its treatment of the environment) as environmentally sensitive or friendly when the opposite is the case.
Last year, we were introduced to "hogwashing" by James LaVeck, who defined it as "the practice of generating the public appearance of having
compassion for animals while continuing to kill millions of them for
profit." In "Hogwash! Or, How Animal Advocates Enable Corporate Spin," Lee Hall of Friends of Animals is rightfully stunned that Niman Ranch presented its "infomercial" at the "Taking Action for Animals 2007" conference (and the Animal Welfare Institute probably footed the bill and may even have paid Niman). Add that insult to the injury of Wolfgang Puck, the national obsession with cage-free eggs (because they’re humanely-produced, you know), and the spate of labels that now tell us, thank heavens, that animals really are okay to eat. And what’s worse, all of these developments tell us who is on the cutting edge of animal welfare: ranchers, chefs, and vegan grocers who sell dead animals.
Hall writes, "Viewing animals as commodities, even well-handled commodities, isn’t animal protection. . . . To take animals’ interests seriously is to opt out of animal agribusiness." And later, "We the people of the already affluent world, who have been able to make time for activism, ought to provide rational advocacy models, in which the point is not to accept animal use."
(I think I’ve got a new quote for my pamphlet!)
Telling people (as I once did, remember) whom you do not think will ever give up meat to eat free-range, grass-fed beef is not rational advocacy. It’s intellectual dishonesty. And it’s not helping the animals. Oh, and it’s making us look like fools.
There is one solution and one solution only. It’s easy, it’s affordable, and it’s light on the conscience: stop using animals. Period. And tell others to do the same. Maybe just one day a week at first, or even one meal a week, but it’s better than telling them that if they shop at Whole Foods or dine at Wolfgang Puck’s, the animals will thank them.