Farhad Manjoo wrote a great piece on the right to rescue farmed animals recently in the New York Times. He just needs to add a sentence or two more.
It’s misleading to omit the impact of family policy, which is hiding behind the story. FACT: Pronatal policies, which intend to push population arcs upward, will put more animals in factory farms than animal activists, or veganism, will ever take out – by far.
Most of the billions of people that will be born in the near future will not be vegan. So saving animals first involves family policy, not food choices. This is not rocket science. We think of the latter because companies control the narrative and want to sell products, not help animals.
This is not a separate issue from anything – family policy is the foundation of everything else.
FACT: The New York Times has run more stories pushing women to have kids because of an “underpopulation” crisis (a myth that Elon Musk helped start), and supporting pronatal policies like expanded child-tax credits rather than Fair Start planning entitlements.
Writers like Ezra Klein routinely push women to have more kids because he is anthropocentric, the antithesis of animal liberation.
FACT: The impacts of current family policies harm animals on many levels, including exacerbating the climate crisis, and driving extinction.
FACT: Your cannot omit this impact from any form of writing or advocacy. Try to think, say, or do anything that does not derive from some set of theoretical or actual power relations, relations that would have had to derive from whatever norm created the people between whom those relations exist. It’s not possible to do, and for those relations to create obligations between people they must be created fairly and in a way that measurably empowers people.
FACT: Farhad and the New York Times show a conflict of interest when omitting these issues, because the family reforms would decentralize the concentrated power they have in controlling media – and the New York Times is exceptional in this regard. Their semi-monopoly on information is backed by a system of state violence. They have a conflict because they would be otherwise obligated to pay for their role in creating the climate crisis now devastating places like the Amboseli.
We don’t want to live in a fantasy world where we pretend to help animals with one hand, and increase their suffering and death with the other. The fix? Simply promote better family policies that actually liberate animals while doing the downstream work of how we should treat them.