At the April 6-8, 1995 Summit for the Animals meeting – the annual meeting of leaders of the nonhuman animal protection movement – United Poultry Concerns presented a Proposal that the Summit for the Animals Adopt an Ethically Consistent Policy of Veganism as a Necessary and Practical Part of the Animal Advocacy Movement. The Proposal was conceived and prepared by UPC President Karen Davis and presented as a joint proposal, with Farm Sanctuary and the Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights, on April 7, 1995, in St. Louis, Missouri. While most Summit business is confidential, approved resolutions may be circulated and published. The Resolution:
Subject: A Proposal that the Summit for the Animals Adopt an Ethically Consistent Policy of Veganism as a Necessary and Practical Part of the Animal Advocacy Movement.
Argument: Tactical diversity notwithstanding, the animal advocacy movement represents certain principles which constitute the integrity and worth of our movement and sustain our members with the sense of being part of a coherent, vigorous, and affirmative force on behalf of nonhuman animals and animal rights. The recognition that other animals have lives and interests of their own which they have a right to pursue with dignity, according to their kind, and beyond human interference, is the essence of animal liberation. Animal advocates seek to protect other animals from human abuse and to develop a way of living that could actually allow the other animals of the world to “fare well” with humans on this planet. Our movement affirms a philosophy of animal protection, animal rights, antispeciesism, anticruelty, equal justice, and peace. We reject and work to replace the arbitrary privileging of the human species over other creatures and the equally arbitrary privileging of certain groups of nonhuman animals over other groups.
Accordingly, we must ask whether the animal advocacy movement can consistently advance a “peaceable kingdom” philosophy and lifestyle while buying, serving, and eating dead animals and other animal products. Does not the presence of animal products on the tables at animal advocacy conferences, fundraisers, and other “humane” functions mock our profession? Does not the serving of animal products at these functions raise the depressing question of how we can logically urge or expect government, industry, and the general public to alter their outlook and habits when we ourselves cling to entrenched habits and excuses that perpetuate the cruelty and disrespect for life which these products embody?
We therefore propose that
Whereas the billions of nonhuman animals raised for meat, milk, and eggs in the United States each year are routinely subjected to cruelty, pain, neglect, intensive confinement, deprivation, degradation, and killing in commercial production operations; and
Whereas millions of nonhuman “food” animals are routinely subjected to cruel, painful and degrading laboratory experiments each year on behalf of the food industry; and
Whereas there is an abundance and ever-increasing variety of nourishing and appealing plant-based foods and cookbooks on the market; and
Whereas the animal advocacy community is dedicated to protecting animals from preventable suffering and to promoting justice and peace in the world,
Resolution: We, the undersigned organizations, resolve to adopt a vegan meal policy for our organizational functions, including fundraisers, and to encourage and help our companion organizations to serve only vegan meals at their functions, thereby showing the strong and creditable leadership which speeds public acceptance of progressive social attitudes and customs.
SIGNATORY ORGANIZATIONS (in the round-the-table order signed at the meeting):
1) Farm Animal Reform Movement
2) Psychologists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
3) Farm Sanctuary
4) United Poultry Concerns
5) Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights
6) Performing Animal Welfare Society
7) Humane Farming Association
8) Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting
9) Fund for Animals
10) New England Anti-Vivisection Society
11) Alley Cat Allies
12) National Animal Alliance
13) The Elephant Alliance
14) In Defense of Animals
15) Animal Legal Defense Fund
16) Friends of Animals
17) United Animal Nations
18) Primarily Primates
19) The Animals’ Agenda (magazine)
Subsequently in 1995, the following groups signed the Resolution:
20) Last Chance for Animals
21) Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
22) People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
23) Progressive Animal Welfare Society (PAWS)
24) St. Charles Humane Society (Missouri)
25) Animal Protection Institute
26) The Animals Voice
Update, February 2006.
In 2004, the Summit for the Animals made a transition to become a national association of animal protection organizations. A majority of members of the previous coalition voted to adopt an organizational plan that establishes (among other things) a code of ethics. After having attended the Summit each year from 1991-2004, and served two terms on the Summit Executive Committee, United Poultry Concerns President Karen Davis declined to join the newly formed association because, while member organizations must agree to abide by the Association’s Code of Ethics, “which includes provisions for adhering to nonviolent practices” towards human beings and human property, member organizations are merely encouraged, but not required, to abide by nonviolent practices towards birds used for egg production and cows used for dairy products at their organizational functions where food is served. They are not even required to serve only vegetarian meals at their functions in keeping with the traditional definition of vegetarianism as meat-free. Member organizations of the Summit association need only agree to “offer” a vegetarian “option.” In other words, member organizations must only agree to include vegetarian food at their functions. They may serve meat as well as dairy and egg products. Such leniency contradicts the Summit Code of Ethics requirement that Summit association member organizations must adhere to nonviolent practices. (The Summit association meetings serve only vegan food.)
In 2006 the Summit named the association the National Association for Animal Protection (NCAP)
United Poultry Concerns’ Position on the Serving of Animal Products by Animal Protection and Vegetarian Organizations
United Poultry Concerns’ position on the serving of animal products, including dairy and egg products, at events sponsored by animal protection and vegetarian organizations is that while recognizing an organization’s need to attract new members and to raise money, we disagree with the idea that certain animals may be treated as sacrificial bait to achieve these goals. Sacrificing hens and cows whose eggs and milk are intended in nature to nourish these animals’ own young, in order to attract members and money, is sexist and discriminatory. It implies that hens and cows suffer less and have fewer claims on our ethics than do other animals exploited for food. People retain the false idea that eggs and dairy products aren’t so bad because even the animal protection and vegetarian societies accept them. As a result, many people who might otherwise have become vegan never become vegan because there is no sense of urgency, no mandate, to do so. United Poultry Concerns regards sacrificing hens and cows in order to recruit members and money as a betrayal by groups that claim as their mission the promotion of compassion, nonviolence, animal protection, anticruelty, and humane treatment of animals. And we do not agree that more people are likely to be attracted by a weak stand than by a strong and principled stand. We think the opposite is true.