While I don't know the behind-the-scenes details, Stephanie Ernst's last post at Change.org was Thursday.
On Friday a woman named Stephanie Feldstein posted an entry in the "Animal Rights" section, thanking Ernst and attempting to lead "Animal Rights" readers to Feldstein's new blog on Change.org -- "Animal Welfare."
Change.org is home to several progressive blogs, with such topics as global warming, gay rights, homelessness and women's rights. (Ever since its launch in August 2008, I've wondered why Change.org doesn't have a Civil Rights blog.)
Apparently, though, animal rights is just a bit too progressive for the powers-that-be at Change.org.
Last month the Web site launched Feldstein's "Animal Welfare" blog. (Click on the image to learn how animal rights and animal welfare differ.) Her first post attempted to appease vegans while at the same time give meat-eaters a pass for the cruelty they support.
I have so much respect for the vegans of the world. In over a decade of working with animal rescue, I've also learned a lot from people who love their pets and love meat, too.I'm sure most vegans have heard similar sentiments. I have. I've been told that so-and-so respects my lifestyle, so I should respect hers. But I can't respect a lifestyle that's fueled by murder.
I have no doubt that what Feldstein wrote is true. I'm sure she has respect for some vegans and has learned a lot from some meat-eaters. However, the love the omnivorous rescuers feel for their pets doesn't absolve them from the suffering they contribute to multiple times a day.
As animal lovers we have to help others realize that a pet's ability to feel love and pain is the same as a chicken's ability, or a cow's or a pig's.
And that's what Ernst's "Animal Rights" blog had been doing.
Looking at ourselves and recognizing our missteps can be hard. But those are steps we have to take to improve our world. I used to eat meat. When I was a kid, my family bought a kitten from a pet store and two dogs from a breeder. I've brought my groceries home in countless plastic bags.
But there's a saying: When you know better, you do better. I no longer eat meat. I now know that animals should be adopted from shelters or animal rescues. I bring cloth bags with me when I go shopping.
We need to be educated, not placated. An animal-rights blog will do the former. An animal-welfare blog can still educate -- ie. telling people to adopt from shelters -- but it can also mislead. Sure, factory farms are horrendous, but chickens in "cage-free" facilities may not have better lives. Eating an "organic" cow may make people feel like they're doing good, but that cow never wanted to be murdered.
In Feldstein's invitation to "Animal Rights" readers, she notes that "writers specializing in animal rights issues" will bring "new perspectives" to her "Animal Welfare" blog.
The animals don't need "new perspectives" in an animal-welfare blog. They need an animal-rights blog. Period. Murdering an animal because her flesh tastes good is not right. It doesn't matter whether she lives in a cramped cage or roams a pasture. It's wrong. Yes, I support measures that would abolish those cages. But I don't support the murder of animals. Animal welfarists do.
Change.org wouldn't support a blog that advocated domestic violence as long as it's not too severe. Change.org wouldn't support a blog that advocated for gay rights -- just as long as homosexuals aren't allowed to adopt children.
No, progressives fight for freedom from oppression. It shouldn't matter whether those being oppressed are human animals or non-human animals. Oppression and slavery are wrong.
"Animal Rights and AntiOppression"
Ernst, the former "Animal Rights" blogger at Change.org, won't be silenced, though.
With the help of a few other animal-rights activists, she's launched a blog called "Animal Rights and AntiOppression," which "[challenges] oppression and injustice, against nonhuman animals, humans, and earth."
In today's post Ernst writes about how cattle ranchers are destroying the Amazon rainforests, thereby killing animals, enslaving people and worsening climate change.
Social-change movements are stronger if they all support one another. It's a shame that some progressives don't realize this.
Discloser: I have written a couple of guest posts for Change.org's "Animal Rights" blog.
(Image courtesy of AnimalSuffering.com.)