Thursday, 26 July 2012

Animal Rights Sociology's Triumphant Perfection: "Abolitionists...lie a lot."

A fateful few months ago Dr. Roger Yates posted on his blog, "Human Nonhuman Relations," an essay, "The Abolitionist Approach Is Not Fit For Purpose,"[1] in which he sought to give the purported flaws in abolitionism their sociological remedy. To some (his cat Tidge, for example), his critique is seen as of prophetic sociological significance, of alarming depths; to others, however, it is seen in a less incorrigibly flattering light. In the following, our little exercise in exploring Yatesism, we seek with ideologically unbiased eyes, not fearing "difference and diversity," to give both sides of this impassioned debate their due; to come to a complex and nuanced judgment on the character and color of Dr. Yates's critique; and ultimately, not to say slowly, cautiously, tentatively, with delicate eyes and fingers, to assess the true meaning, the final significance, of Yatesism.


New welfarists take abolitionism to be problematic, of course. With this judgment Dr. Yates agreed and still does agree; and after much sociological cogitation, he formulated a counter-approach, which we have christened Yatesism, or the Yatesian paradigm. Its chief proposition is that abolitionism is not complex and nuanced enough[2], and therefore, from the Yatesian perspective, insufficient, unacceptable, a sociological failure. Yet even so Dr. Yates thinks that abolitionism may be salvaged, provided it is completed by Yatesism. What exactly is Yatesism, that sociological paradigm which can be found on Dr. Yates's blog and...well, just on his blog? We cannot here delve into every aspect of Yatesism, so astonishing is its intellectual fecundity, so dizzying its depth. But we will rivet our "elitist" and "authoritarian" attention on some of it, its constitutive propositions, those aspects which are fundamental, inexpungeable, utterly basic, and through which Dr. Yates's status as an independent thinker, a sociologist of some distinction, can be referred to as an established fact, or at least is so by his Twitter followers. This self-imposed restriction is felicitous, as it happens; for it is important to see Yatesism in its essence, the "norms," the "values," the "socialization" (have we missed anything?), because thus only can its nuances be navigated, its complexity communicated. And though on so profound a subject it is difficult to offer much by way of useful commentary, still less criticism, it is to the Yatesian paradigm, in its essence, that we now turn.

Yatesian Proposition #1: Abolitionists 'lie a lot.'

As though compelled to unburden himself of the superfluity of his sociological wisdom, Dr. Yates has in the essay blurted out all his complex and nuanced ideas at once. It is to be noted, however, that on sociological paradigms less sophisticated than Yatesism, these ideas would in fact be considered a mere hodgepodge of assertions and accusations, all drearily astonishing. These ideas, in any event, take their leave from some comments of one of the ARZone moderators, an expert in property law, on an online academic journal, called Facebook. Backed up by such heavy intellectual artillery, located in a position of tactical superiority, Dr. Yates confidently takes sociological aim at abolitionists, whom he claims "lie a lot and are not really interested in the truth."[3] Where comes the inspiration for such a weighty sociological yield? Dr. Yates mentions the suggestion made by an abolitionist (we are not sure whom) that he "ignored" Professor Francione's challenging him to a debate, a suggestion he dismisses as "disgraceful."[4] It perhaps would be so, or if we wish to be a little less theatrical at least unwarrantable, if it could be shown that Dr. Yates was, on the contrary, (i) stoutly undaunted by criticism of his activism, facing rather than evading or misrepresenting it, or that (ii) Yatesian sociology, being a established paradigm, was at least a match for Francione's abolitionist theory.

For evidence of (ii), heed Dr. Yates's hypotheses that "Society is complex," that "human beings are complex," and that "social movements are complex social entities,"[5] all impressive enough in themselves, and even more so when one considers that his work always attains the quality in evidence in the first two and usually that in the last. Taken together, these hypotheses herald the sublime appearance of a new sociological paradigm, of interest as much to professional sociologists as to animal advocates, and the insightfulness of which is only uncertainly matched, if at all, in abolitionist theory. Moreover, thus interrogated, the problem of animal use has surely received its most comprehensive treatment to date. And all this is of course to say nothing of Dr. Yates's call for "complexity" and "nuance," nor of his championing of "rational discourse," as against the irrational variety. Indeed, we feel, on reading over Yatesism, that whatever shift toward rationality we may see in this century will be traced by posterity to when Dr. Yates, having joined the ARZone podcast, radically began calling for it.

And for (ii), that Dr. Yates misrepresents criticism of his activism, we can find no grounds, further than that of how he characterizes the abolitionist criticism of ARZone in his programmatic essay, "The Operation of the Animal Rights Zone Chats."[6] There he claims, rather obliquely, that he "disagrees with the suggestion made that people in general are not bright enough to be exposed to different viewpoints."[7] Is it not clear, from an exhaustive perusal of abolitionist literature, that abolitionists have never opposed welfarism, but on the grounds that the public cannot understand it? 

Moreover, we shall add another example, similar, though in being from Facebook more intellectually respectable, to the last, and that is Dr. Yates's complex and nuanced take on a certain aspect of abolitionist theory. This take, fully exemplifying Dr. Yates's extreme love of truth, is on the claim that the public can understand the right thing. Where some welfarists reject this claim outright, while Francione on the contrary insists on it, Dr. Yates sociologically synthesises both positions: he agrees that the public can understand the right thing, but strikingly infers from it that we should promote the wrong thing, as well as the right thing: "Since it is more and more argued that people understand the difference between vegetarianism and veganism...and since people are 'not stupid'...can't we trust them to fill in the gaps in an age in which veganism is increasingly seen as the moral baseline"[8] More strikingly still, Dr. Yates assures us that this is in strict fidelity to Francione's own thinking, though those of us "not really interested in the truth" may not be prepared to yield up our unqualified assent here: "ALL I'm doing is agreeing with Gary Francione that people are smart and can 'see through' the welfarist messages they receive."[9] And yet abolitionists, while agreeing the public are smart enough to see through the wrong thing, perversely fill out their time promoting the right thing only, and thus contradict themselves; such advocates are for that reason alone the irreconcilable enemies of logic. Furthermore, as it it contradictory, so it is "elitist" to promote the right thing only: for otherwise we would give the impression that the public cannot distinguish right from wrong, sense from nonsense: "[I] disagree with a suggestion made that people...are not bright enough to be exposed to different viewpoints." Thus, by this learned logic, the degree of respect we exhibit for people's intelligence is inversely proportional to the amount of nonsense we present them with.

This complex and nuanced Yatesian reading of Francione prompts the following question: Can it not be explained as an innocent mistake, and not a deliberate distortion, consistently with what Dr. Yates can reasonably be assumed to understand of the abolitionist position? And does not Dr. Yates's characterization of abolitionist criticism of ARZone reflect a self-consciously fastidious tendency on his part never to misrepresent the abolitionist position, never to raise anything against it that cannot in reflective considered seriousness be said? We shall delegate the task of answering these questions to our readers, lest we should lapse into "elitism."

Yatesian Proposition #2: Nonvegan activism can create vegans.

Dr. Yates thinks that Francione has become irrational[10], and his work, which Dr. Yates used to like, simplistic, simplistic with its unsociological insistence that the only way to create a vegan world is by promoting veganism. Consequently, Dr. Yates has adopted what he takes to be a more complex and nuanced position instead of it. He casually mentions that he recognizes "other possibilities"[11]; i.e., possibilities, other than vegan advocacy, by which people can be convinced to become vegan. But he does not deign to elaborate on these, at least not otherwise than by merely asserting that the "humane" farming industry can 'open...hearts'[12] - not, literally, those of the animals whom it kills, it should be pointed out, but rather those of the "happy" meat eaters whom it purportedly touches figuratively. Such morbidly sentimental apologetics from Dr. Yates may come as a surprise - but we live and learn. Those not so moved by that sort of rhetoric as Dr. Yates, however, may instead think they have a good reason for rejecting that industry, by its functioning as a reactionary counter-force to veganism. And though it may, through pure inadvertence, get some people thinking about veganism, its creating many more "happy" meat eaters than vegans shows that it has no abolitionistic function, no power to shift the paradigm.

That would be so obvious as not to be worth stating, were it not for the fact that some welfarists deny it, citing an alleged want of evidence as a justification. Such a call for evidence itself requires to be motivated, and it can be only by assuming that the "humane" farming industry is either inadvertently defeating its own end by convincing proportionally more people to become vegan than to consume "humane" animal products, or else has as its own end the defeat, the eradication, of itself, again by creating proportionally more vegans. Both of these claims being absurd, neither is in any need of being tested. There is no need to test empirically that which makes nonsense theoretically.

Elsewhere, however, besides offering sentimental rhetoric, Dr. Yates has mapped sociologically these "other possibilities," unrealized by abolitionists. He said the following on Facebook:

What I am saying is - unless Melanie Joy is lying, unless Shannon Keith is lying, unless Tom Regan is lying, that some people go vegan even in the absence of a direct "go vegan" message...I prefer giving them the direct go vegan message but I think it may not be the only thing that "works" and - unfortunately - sometimes it can cause a negative reaction.[13]

Thus for this aspect of the Yatesian paradigm, Dr. Yates finds support in the fact that some people go vegan in the absence of a direct go vegan message. They may go vegan from being presented with a vegan message, they may go vegan from being presented with an anti-vegan message, they may go vegan from being presented with neither a vegan nor an anti-vegan message. We just don't know; the question of what causes people to become vegan being perhaps too difficult for human comprehension, as Dr. Yates mentioned on an episode of the ARZone podcast[14]. Spending labor on vegan advocacy may not always bare fruit, which might more fruitfully be spent on anti-vegan advocacy, on promoting cage-free eggs and "happy" meat, on promoting welfarist reform, on donating to the President Priscilla Feral Fund. There are many "possibilities," some "weird," some "wonderful,"[15] but all tending unswervingly toward the same conclusion: veganism.

There are two issues here, which really should be kept apart. First, are Shannon Keith et al. "lying" in claiming that nonvegan advocacy can create vegans? Second, and more important, would it be acceptable to eschew a clear and unequivocal vegan message, if in its absence we could still create vegans?

The "authoritarian" answer to the first question, wanting in "complexity" and "nuance," is as follows: Dr. Yates has lapsed logically in that part of his brain which is sensitive to theoretical possibilities, the result being a false choice: either Shannon Keith and others are right, or else they are "lying." They are in fact merely mistaken, though not in thinking that by their nonabolitionist activism they have instigated in some a process of thinking that terminated in these people's becoming vegan, but rather in pulling out of this that it is preferable to do nonabolitionist over abolitionist activism. (An even more extreme version of this error is seen when it is claimed that nonabolitionist activism can "get people thinking," which according to [some] welfarists is a sufficient reasoning for promoting such activism, or at least not criticizing it.) We can, by way of answering the second question, accept that nonabolitionist activism can "get people thinking," while denying that this is of itself enough to justify support for such activism. If this criterion were sufficient, it would be fine to judge the acceptability of a form of activism by whether it got people thinking, and then support anything that satisfied that requirement. It might then be okay - it might even be required - to stand on our heads while citing the alphabet backwards, on the grounds that such activism might be a perpetual instigation to the moral thinking of lunatics. But a form of activism is not sufficient when its effect is confined to lunatics, or when it is not of maximal efficacy in reducing demand, or when its abolitionist pretensions are limited to its indirect and accidental, and thus collateral, effects. The only safe test for judging the acceptability of a form of activism is whether it is, or can be said to be, directly and causally responsible to creating vegans. And it is a little difficult to deny that promoting veganism, that engaging in vegan education, is the best way of creating vegans.

One counter-argument is that promoting "humane" animal products or welfarist reform is preferable, not indeed always, but at least when we are talking to someone absolutely unreceptive to veganism. But shift our attention to the general level, and it is again a little difficult to deny that though welfarist reform and "humane" animal products may spark the thinking of some individuals, these things generally salve the consciences of "happy" meat eaters, and are therefore anti-abolitionist. Conversely, vegan advocacy, though it may alienate some individuals, generally has the power to reduce demand, and is therefore abolitionist. To put this point differently: the general effect of welfarist advocacy is anti-abolitionist, even though it may spark some individuals' thinking: that of vegan advocacy, abolitionist, even though it may alienate some individuals. An analogy may be helpful. Even though convincing one person to become vegan will not of itself reduce demand for animal products, it is a little difficult to deny that convincing people in general to become vegan will result in abolition. And likewise, it is a little difficult to deny that even though not every single individual may be receptive to it, veganism advocacy and vegan advocacy alone is of maximal efficacy in spreading veganism,

Moreover, welfarist advocacy, though fostering if not creating unreceptivity to veganism, yet (mistakenly) promoted by welfarists as the remedy to it, generates a vicious cycle process. The more welfarists encounter unreceptivity to veganism, the more they seek to oppose it by promoting welfarism, and the more desperately they promote welfarism, the more they foster unreceptivity to veganism - and so on. The only way to break this cycle is to promote veganism, clearly and without equivocation.

But what of those who will never be receptive to a vegan message? They will ultimately respond to the social pressure created by all those who will be receptive to it.

Yatesian proposition #3: Promoting Bruce Friedrich is "not [being] threatened by difference and diversity."

Dr. Yates provides a platform, called ARZone**, for people who promote animal use, such as Bruce Friedrich, as well as for those who oppose it. This is - as one could put it - the Yatesian paradox, which Dr. Yates himself describes by way of justification as "not [being] threatened by difference and diversity."[16] Respect for a diversity of right and wrong does not play a major role in abolitionism, whereas in Yatesism, its importance is underscored by being given ideological prominence by Dr. Yates in his essay "The Operation of the Animal Rights Zone Chats." There Dr. Yates argues as follows:

ARZone understands that individual members of all social movements tend to hold some competing ideas and differing values. Therefore, the site attempts to foster an atmosphere of tolerance and acceptance - we are opposed to banning people merely because they express views other than our own. We are not threatened by difference and diversity.[17]

This argument relies on a suppressed premise, without which it does not work but when stated may be seen to be not a little tainted by controversy. It is that the differing views in question are equally legitimate and valuable; otherwise, it would not be easy to see why we should "foster...acceptance" for them. Further, the rhetoric of difference and diversity is hewed from a specific context, that of the struggle for gay rights, from which it has acquired its historical and cultural resonance. It resonates with the idea that homosexuality is as legitimate and valuable a form of sexuality as heterosexuality; accordingly, that homosexuality is to be given equal respect with heterosexuality. That idea is therefore essential to the correct application of the rhetoric: it can be used where there is such a plurality of equal legitimate values; whereas, where there is not, it cannot. In the absence, then, of a serious possibility that the values in question are equally legitimate and valuable, and in addition similar in importance to human sexuality, the call to respect "difference and diversity" idles.

Now, the rhetoric of difference and diversity, when used by Dr. Yates in the context of the abolition / welfare debate, may sound nice, although we could never discover the least analogy between the struggle for gay rights and Dr. Yates struggle to interview Matt Ball. On the other hand, it might, since we are obliged to respect one another's humanity, be argued that Dr. Yates's sloganeering is an edifying and upbuilding instance of it. For should we not, after all, say that "we must respect one another's choices," to borrow the pregnant words of 'former spiritual director' Norm Phelps, that just as it constitutes an injustice to disrespect difference and diversity in the realm of human sexuality, so also does it in the realm of animal advocacy, where there is also a realm of values, or rather approaches, welfarist and abolitionist? It is importantly true that we must respect difference and diversity in the realm of sexuality; but is it really arguable analogously that we must respect someone's choice to donate to the President Priscilla Feral Fund in animal advocacy? It seems that Dr. Yates has transferred the rhetoric of difference and diversity from the gay rights movement with which it makes sense to the abolition / welfare debate with which it makes nuance-sense.

Yatesian Proposition #4: Abolitionists are "authoritarian[s]."

Of all Dr. Yates's contributions to contemporary debates in sociology, none is more illustrative of the character of Yatesism than his complex and nuanced assessment of abolitionists' online behavior, that is to say as "authoritarian."[18] Being a minority group in our society, and in addition having the human right to post whatever they like on abolitionists' websites, welfarists are continually being victimized by abolitionists, who, in "unfriending" them on Facebook, for example, stand convicted of an utterly unjustified exercise of power and privilege, itself got by those very nefarious means. Such barbarism, in which no horror is wanting, reveals with terrible starkness the counterfeit character of abolitionists' call for nonviolence. This "unfriending" on Facebook, added to the equally odious blocking of Twitter followers, is according to Dr. Yates sociologically explicable only by "authoritarian[ism]"; moreover, as authoritarianism tends to run in groups (witness Comrade Stalin and his henchmen), so Dr. Yates charges all abolitionists with being authoritarian on that account. Thus, abolitionists may have affinity with progressiveness but rather more with Genghis Kahn, with whom they are rumored to stand in a line of direct hereditary continuity. Having thus diagnosed abolitionists as suffering from authoritarian personality syndrome, Dr. Yates suggests ominously that they cannot tolerate "dissenting voices,"[19] specifically welfarist ones, which they see as misguided, counterproductive, a dead end. Suspicious indeed is this refusal to promote what one views thus, not as abolitionist but as reinforcing animal use; important indeed is Dr. Yates's explanation for: that it cannot be accounted for, but by authoritarianism. For is it not worrying, after all, to think that there are some animal advocates who, instead of indiscriminately "respecting one another's choices," be they right or wrong, are promoting only what they take to be right, clearly and without equivocation?

Yatesian Proposition #5: Abolitionists are caught in a contradiction.

Francione argues that being smart enough to understand the arguments for veganism, the public should be presented with an abolitionist message only, and not, as welfarists think, both an abolitionist and a welfarist message (we are assuming for argument's sake that this latter mix is possible, and not, as is really the case, a flat contradiction.). This argument, seemingly of the plainest commonsense, is claimed by Dr. Yates to be problematic, an example of bad reasoning, not yet complex and nuanced enough, sociologically speaking. Indeed, to be itself a contradiction, in that if the public are smart enough to understand the arguments for veganism, so are they smart enough to see through welfarism, which is why it's okay to promote a diverse assortment of messages, welfarist and abolitionist:

Well, if we subscribe to the idea that the public are smart social agents, we can expect them to see through the vegetarian argument - at least many of them...Given this view, it would rather [be] better for Melanie [Joy] to carry on talking about vegetarianism rather than veganism.[20]

To deny this is to denigrate the public's intelligence; is to see them as "cultural dopes" not able to figure things out for themselves, the unwitting "dupes" of the welfarist movement[21], as abolitionists allegedly do, and as Dr. Yates, by noble contrast, most certainly seeks to avoid. The upshot here seems to be that Dr. Yates does not know how we can in consistency say both that people are smart and that they should not be presented with both abolitionism and welfarism; nor consequently, how we can avoid "elitism," not to say contradiction, without promoting both the right and the wrong thing: "He [i.e. Francione] cannot have it both ways. PEOPLE are confused, but PEOPLE see through things."[22] Hence ARZone Zone, which features both abolitionists and welfarists, though disproportionately the latter.

From the Yatesian, then, although not the from the abolitionist, perspective, it is essential that all views one animal advocacy, not merely the right one, should be aired in order to avoid "elitism," which here seems to mean assuming that people cannot figure things out for themselves; as Dr. Yates said on Facebook, "Can't we trust that they [i.e. the public] will fill in the gaps in a age in which veganism is increasingly seen as the moral baseline?"[23] And elsewhere he has added with disciplined political sobriety, "Those with the best ideas surely need not fear others with different ones."[24]

This differentiation between Yatesism and abolitionism is important in that it may help animal advocates to decide whether they wish to approach advocacy from the Yatesian rather than the abolitionist point of view. That the public can understand the right thing provides in abolitionism a reason for promoting the right thing only, whereas in Yatesism, it provides a reason for promoting the wrong thing, as well as the right thing (because, well, if ya can understand the right thing, so can ya see through the wrong thing). That the public can see through the wrong thing is seen in abolitionism as providing no logical reason for providing a platform for it, whereas in Yatesism, it furnishes a sufficient reason, wanting in nothing, for doing so. Promoting welfarists and providing a platform where they can engage in self-promotion are seen in abolitionism as synonymous, whereas in Yatesism, these are seen as radically different in kind. And lastly, for Dr. Yates, although not for Francione, it is contradictory or in other ways logically compromised to claim that the public can see through welfarism when it is critiqued clearly and without equivocation; but not otherwise: as when it is presented together with other approaches under the banner of 'difference and diversity,' as it is on ARZone, implying equal legitimacy and value with them.

I am now, however, in extreme danger of misinterpreting Dr. Yates's sociology, when in characterizing the Yatesian / abolitionist differentiation, I said that he promotes the wrong thing, or the wrong people, such as Brucey Friedrich and President Priscilla Feral. It is not that he supports everyone for whom he provides a platform; he simply provides a platform for many whom he does not support - a triumphant rebuttal, to be studied as fully exemplifying Yatesism. Moreover, Dr. Yates and the other ARZone moderators assure us that they "challenge" their guests: as for example they did when they interviewed Brucey, who, though he used the opportunity to promote "humane" animal products, was deferred to as knowing best[25]; or when they interviewed the Great Professor Robert Garner, who, having informed us that "more 'happy' meat won't make much difference to the demand for meat,"[26] was still treated with all possible respect, that welfarist wisdom being radiant with inspired intellectualism. These are the very best effects of ARZone moderators impressing the rigors of critical dialectic on their interviews with welfarists.

It could, in any event, scarcely be different: not only because an interview must be mutually beneficial for interviewer and interviewee, or else neither would have any incentive for doing the interview in the first place, but also for a more specific reason. Corporate welfarist groups have bloated bureaucracies and their executives and functionaries can be thought of as a cross between politicians and business people who never exercise their intelligence, expect in the service of selling their lucrative campaigns to the public. Welfarist groups depend entirely for their subsistence on membership fees and donations. Most of their donors belong to the group that participates in animal exploitation; i.e., they are not vegan. Nonvegans don't support abolition. They support single issue campaigns, because these campaigns do not challenge, and are not aimed at abolishing, animal exploitation. So welfarist groups focus on regulatory and other single issue campaigns. These serve as fundraising vehicles. Welfarist groups have considerable capital assets. These groups, furthermore, sustain careers and, more important, livelihoods, so that for their employees it would be as disastrous to lose their jobs as it would be for anyone else with financial obligations. Imagine, dear reader, if your delicate sensibilities can bare this pitiless hypothetical, that President Priscilla lost her job as president of FoA consequent upon all animal advocates' getting wind that abolitionist advocacy does not prototypically realize itself in campaigning against Johnny Weir's skating costume; what would be the odds of her landing herself another $100,000 job? 

Welfarist groups are not, in any event, designed to become superfluous by eliminating what purportedly makes them necessary, and must be overridingly concerned with public relations. As a result their employees will, out of a sense of prudence and self-preservation, not appear where they can expect to be seriously challenged, and will instead patronize websites offering them opportunities for self-promotion. That is why the likes of Brucey are to be found haunting the ARZone podcast, and not so that these corporate welfarist apparitions can engage in "rational discourse"[27] with the ARZone moderators.

Thus, in any event, does Dr. Yates treat his guests; not all of them, however. Some he condemns harshly, even labelling them as "elitist" and "authoritarian"'; not on account of their doing anything anti-abolitionist, like promoting animal use, it should be pointed out, but instead to discourage them from scrutinizing his undiscriminating appetite - really, it's a banal predilection - for interviewing welfarist celebrities.


After having read Dr. Yates's densely theoretical expositions on "elitism" and "authoritarianism," who could say that he is playing to the cynical credulities of welfarists by peddling a mendacious caricature of abolitionists, invoking as a rhetorical tactic drearily astonishing stereotypes of them? Has he not rather produced a counter-approach whose brilliance is such, and support in academia so great, that it may really and truly be said that he has effectively neutralized the meaning of the term abolitionist, merely by putting it in quote marks? It is certain, in any event, that there are more Yatesian insights to follow: more complexity, more nuance, more incisive commentary on Gary Francione and other abolitionists. We eagerly await these, and though they may never be published in a reputable journal or book, we will always remain convinced that Dr. Yates has some great sociology in his head.


**It seems that Dr. Yates has now parted company with ARZone. Yet despite this tragic occurrence, we feel justified in commenting on his prolonged association with the website, since the problems with it go much deeper than that, for example, one of its administrator's writes poetry whose sentimentality and banality will not elude anyone with a minimal aesthetic sensibility, or that another administrator's contribution to "rational discourse" reduces to formulaic expressions of stepmotherly moralism (OMG! Shame one you!!!), or that the communication between these and their welfarist favorites is characterized by ceremony without decency. The deeper problem, rather, lies in ARZone's branding itself as "animal rights" while, at the same time, providing a platform for "happy" meat pimps and corporate welfarist careerists - a policy that has in no way been disavowed by Dr. Yates, who was indeed instrumental in its formulation and implementation, and whose densely sociological justification of it can be found on his blog.

[1] "The Abolitionist Approach Is Not Fit For Purpose" (blog essay, "Human-Nonhuman Relations," 4.11.2011)

[2] Dr. Yates: 'I am, however, starting to understand more and more, why Robert Garner [in the Animal Rights Debate: Abolition and Regulation?] had to write 'nuance' a million times.' (

[3] "The Abolitionist Approach Is Not Fit For Purpose."

[4] "The Abolitionist Approach Is Not Fit For Purpose."


[6] "The Operation of the Animal Rights Zone Chats" (blog essay, "Human-Nonhuman Relations," 29.01.2011).

[7] "The Operation of the Animal Rights Zone Chats."



[10] "The Abolitionist Approach Is Not Fit For Purpose."

[11] "The Abolitionist Approach Is Not Fit For Purpose."

[12] "The Abolitionist Approach Is Not Fit For Purpose."


[14] Dr. Yates: "My that we are not going to know [what gets people to go vegan] and there's possibly no way of knowing. So consequently, even the things we might want to be the case might not in the end - it's almost as though we need to have a broad range of approaches because there's gonna be a broad way of experiencing this process."


[16] "The Operation of the Animal Rights Zone Chats."

[17] "The Operation of the Animal Rights Zone Chats."

[18] "The Abolitionist Approach Is Not Fit For Purpose."

[19] "The Abolitionist Approach Is Not Fit For Purpose."


[21] "The Abolitionist Approach Is Not Fit For Purpose."



[24] "Is ARZone a Platform for Neo-welfarists?" (blog essay, "Human-Nonhuman Relations," 30.01.11)



[27] To fully appreciate that for Dr. Yates "rational discourse" has a rather special meaning, one should listen to ARZone podcast #27, where its guest, an incorrigible exponent of "rationality," made some rather interesting comments. He said that Francione is a lair, that he "repressive[ly] control[s]" other animal advocates, and that abolitionists belong to a "cult"; and similarly one of the ARZone administrators insinuated that Francione used to "control" ARZone. Not to be outshone by these sterling contributions to "intelligent discussion," with which he registered no objection, Dr. Yates offered one of his own, alleging that in her support of abolitionism a certain abolitionist is like a "religious devotee." What could be Dr. Yates's amiable purpose in providing a platform for the utterance of such maturely considered analysis? Whatever is finally to be said for it, it is clear that those who deal in such "rational discourse" are of special utility to Dr. Yates, who wants to hear it but is unwilling - some may say out of a sense of cynical prudence - to assert it in the first person.