As an organisation, Animal Justice Project was formed based on abolitionism and to this day, remains so. This is the core underlying messaging to all of our work. We will always demand an end to exploitation.
The core principle behind abolitionism is that no one, human or non-human, should ever be treated as the property of others. Sentient beings should be afforded the most basic right of being free from exploitation. We must fight to abolish this institutionalised exploitation, not just regulate it with 'welfare' standards. All beings deserve this right by default, not because humans decided so, but because it is the right thing to do. Veganism is at the core of our beliefs, and this should be the moral baseline for everyone. Additionally, as abolitionists, we stand against and reject all forms of exploitation, including that of humans: racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia, ageism, ableism, classism, and more. As an organisation, speciesism is our main focus.
The easy answer is that it does not work, nor does it align with veganism. Exploitation in itself is a form of harm. Independent of how an animal has been raised, we do not have the right to take away their life or use their bodies. The only individuals to gain from these circumstances are humans, as the oppressors. In modern-day intensive farms, no animal lives a 'good' life before being killed. Whether they are a broiler chicken in a shed of 50,000 individuals or a pig in a dark, damp concrete pen, animals suffer immensely on standard British farms. And like most farms in the UK, they are regulated by schemes such as Red Tractor Foods, RSPCA Assured or Soil Association. Any so-called 'higher welfare' or 'free-range' farms fall under the same remit, and we have proven why.
As our own undercover investigations have shown, suffering on farms is commonplace, and no 'welfare' or regulatory body protects these vulnerable beings. Most farms in the UK are covered by Red Tractor certification; almost 50,000. Most of these are intensive farms, where the standards fail to protect animals simply because the standards are written to benefit the producer and consumer, not to help the exploited animals. Our Gressingham Duck investigations have significantly highlighted how Red Tractor fails animals. Other welfare labels, such as RSPCA Assured, harm animals, too. We have investigated three RSPCA Assured companies, and each has shown extensive violence: slow-growing chickens, pig transportation and end-of-lay hen depopulation. Even those who self-proclaim to being a 'Gold Star' and 'free-range' farm fail animals. None of these 'welfare' schemes, buzzwords or propaganda labels will ever protect animals. We cannot trust these regulatory bodies, the government or supermarkets to keep the interests of the animals at heart. After all, if they did that, they would not be farming or killing them in the first place.
The recent calls by the RSPCA to 'End Factory Farming' reflect the increasing trend for NGOs to go down the 'welfarist' route. This is the easy way forward, and it is wrong. A large chunk of the public will agree when you ask them if they want to end animal abuse, and pushing to end intensive farming is something which most people will agree with on the surface, but they are unlikely to change their lifestyle to align with it.
We must only push for an end to animal farming and slaughter and only advocate for veganism and abolitionism. We all deserve this most basic of respect.
For the animals.