Cam Blewett on ARZone

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Cam Blewett on ARZone

Postby Sunkanrags » Sat Sep 25, 2010 7:15 am

Cameron is an abolitionist vegan residing in Brisbane, Australia. Cameron has been vegan for over 17 years and approaches veganism from the abolitionist position, which holds that animals have an inherent right not to be exploited.

Cameron writes for The Scavenger, which is an online portal of features, commentary and news that you’re unlikely to find in mainstream media.

Cam is also President of V.EX (Vegan Existence Inc.). V.EX (an abolitionist animal rights organisation) is the only solely vegan group in Queensland.

After spending many years as an avid hunter along with serving time in the Army Reserve, Cam now sees the futility in both activities.

More recently, Cam’s achievements have been as an advocate for workers' rights within the trade union movement. Being a keen writer he is rarely seen without his cherished fountain pen and notebook, taking them almost everywhere he goes.

Some of Cameron’s more recent rants and waffles can be found at cameronblewett.wordpress.com and ausvegan.wordpress.com

Cameron has generously agreed to share his vast knowledge of the abolitionist approach, the V.EX group, his writing and general advocacy within the animal rights movement with ARZone members this weekend.

This is an event for which questions must be registered with ARZone prior to the day, and may be done by leaving a message for Tim Gier, Jason Ward or Carolyn Bailey in ARZone before the event, or emailing Carolyn@ARZone.net.

ARZone is supportive of rational discourse and aim to provoke intelligent dialogue by presenting a diversity of guests to our members from the animal advocacy community.

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Re: Cam Blewett on ARZone

Postby Sunkanrags » Sun Sep 26, 2010 8:10 am

transcript...


Carolyn Bailey:

ARZone would like, today, to welcome Cameron Blewett as our Live Guest Chat.

Cameron is an abolitionist vegan residing in Brisbane, Australia. Cameron has been vegan for over 17 years and approaches veganism from the abolitionist position, which holds that animals have an inherent right not to be exploited.

Cameron writes for The Scavenger, which is an online portal of features, commentary and news that you’re unlikely to find in mainstream media.

Cam is also President of V.EX (Vegan Existence Inc.). V.EX (an abolitionist animal rights organisation) is the only solely vegan group in Queensland.

After spending many years as an avid hunter along with serving time in the Army Reserve, Cam now sees the futility in both activities.

More recently, Cam’s achievements have been as an advocate for workers' rights within the trade union movement. Being a keen writer he is rarely seen without his cherished fountain pen and notebook, taking them almost everywhere he goes.

Some of Cameron’s more recent rants and waffles can be found at cameronblewett.wordpress.com and ausvegan.wordpress.com

Cameron has generously agreed to engage ARZone members today on topics ranging from V. EX to his extensive advocacy work and more. Please welcome Cam to ARZone …

Carolyn Bailey:

Welcome, Cam!

Cameron Blewett:

Hi all

Tim Gier:

Hello Cameron!

Caroline Raward:

Hey Cameron:-)

Michaela Österlund:

Hi Cameron

Lorna Devious:

Hi Cam

Roger Yates:

Hi Cameron

Mangus O'Shales:

Hi Cameron

Fifi Leigh:

hi

Carolyn Bailey:

Before we begin, I’d like to request that people refrain from interrupting Cam during the chat session, and utilise the open chat, at the completion of Cam’s pre-registered questions, for any questions or comments you have.

I’d like now to call on Lorna Dev Ious to ask the first question, Lorna?

Lorna Devious:

Cam, could you please tell us what it was like for you growing up in a family that hunted?

Cameron Blewett:

Hi Lorna. At that time as it was something that the family did, I didnt see anything wrong with it. we spent more time going fishing than we did going hunting. and can I honestly say that I am grateful for that experience...

Cameron Blewett:

Because it puts me in an almost unique position of having been on the other side of the fence in a 'past life’ also, we weren’t a family of trophy hunters. What was hunted and killed was given to dogs or other family members to eat. I hope that answered your question.

Lorna Devious:

Thank you:-)



Tim Gier:

Thanks Cameron, Carolyn Bailey has the next question-- Go ahead Carolyn



Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks, Tim!



Could you tell me more about V. EX (Vegan Existence) please, Cam. How would someone go about being a part of V. EX and what does your group aim to achieve in the short term?



Cameron Blewett:

Hi, Carolyn. To join V.EX it’s as simple as downloading a membership form off the website, filling it in and sending it off. And presto.. :-)



In the short term, V.EX's main goal is to increase the presence of veganism in Queensland, by holding monthly talks at the Brisbane Square Library, on a variety of subjects ranging from what do vegans eat, to general abolition discussions.



V.EX is about getting an interaction with and from people about veganism, not just holding monthly social dinners.



Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks, Cam. The next question will be asked by Roger Yates, go ahead Rog.



Roger Yates:

Thanks...



In your April 2010 blog entry “Abolition Vs Welfare reform/regulation Part I,” you discuss the economic efficiencies in animal welfare initiatives, giving Temple Grandin’s slaughterhouse designs and the RSPCA Qld’s “Chicken rights, farming wrongs” as examples. Many animal advocates seem to simply assume that any change in production will automatically cost industry money and that MUST be a good thing, driving up costs and ultimately impacting on profits.



Law professor and animal rights philosopher Gary Francione has written and spoken about this, explaining that the inherent welfare problems of industrialised farming are only now being addressed by the user industries themselves - after WWII, the focus was on tightly packing animals into intensive systems of use and dealing with problems by, for example, debeaking and tail and teeth removal.



Do you feel that animal advocates are still reluctant to accept such points and, instead, are seeking some example when reform has negatively impacted on industry? Is this not a rather hit-and-miss strategy compared to the straightforward advocacy of veganism as a moral baseline, and as the basic duty we owe to nonhuman animals?



Cameron Blewett:

Hi Roger, and that is a great question. Firstly, I am not aware of any sort of 'reform' that has negatively impacted on industry in the long term. Secondly, we all know animal agri-business has a very well oiled PR machine that has a virtual unlimited budget when compared to actual AR groups. They can put press releases out about how well they are doing, when compared to something else, and an easily misled public will lap it up. We are seeing this out here in Australia now, with the advertising campaign that Steggles is doing. And yes, veganism MUST be the very first thing that we promote, everything else is secondary.



Roger Yates:

Thanks Cam



Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks again, Cam! Tim Gier would like a question now, go ahead Tim.



Tim Gier:

When considering that veganism and abolition are part of what is essentially a Peace movement, can you address how it might be possible that MDA, which some view as violence, can further the goal of peace?



Cameron Blewett:

Hi, Tim. Thank you for this question and it will probably get a little bit tricky here... Firstly, it depends on what a person defines as violence. For some, property destruction is not a violent act. And whilst I am not advocating here that we all leave our computers and torch a butchers, some of the MDA tactics create a greater economic cost for industry. A cost that is ultimately passed on to the consumer...



We all know that there are some people that don't really care about the vegan message or animal rights, because the only thing they care about is how much things cost. If MDA makes it more expensive for people to buy animal products, then I am all for that. We all know that the true cost of animal products is hidden behind layers of subsidies and tax breaks, so maybe it might be time for that cost to come out in other ways.



Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks again Cam, Lorna Dev Ious would like to ask another question now, go ahead Lorna …



Lorna Devious:

Cam, you’ve been vegan for more than 17 years, that’s a great achievement, congratulations! Can you describe some of the difficulties you must surely have faced becoming vegan in Australia in the 1980/90’s?



Cameron Blewett:

Now that is an interesting question Lorna. Way back when I did go vegan, yes it was difficult initially, though I would say a lot easier. Because back then there wasn’t the abundance of vegetarian suitable foods, that is vegan. In the early days I made a lot of the food myself, and there wasn’t the sneaky animal ingredients in things that there is now. When I was vegan, vegetarian was starting to become a trendy and acceptable term, so I had to explain what a vegan is a lot, though sadly to say, it is something that I still have to do here in Qld, though there is a lot more ready made food, which makes it easy for someone that is culinarily lazy like me :-) As for the difficulties, I didn’t face many as it was a relatively unknown term where I was, and sadly still is.



Lorna Devious:

Thank you :-)



Tim Gier:

Thanks again Cameron, Roger Yates has another question for you, Go ahead Dr. Yates



Roger Yates:

Thanks Tim!



You have written about “factionalism” in the animal advocacy movement. Since division is pretty standard in all social movements, what are your main concerns about this?



Cameron Blewett:

Hi Roger. Yes, I know there are divisions in almost every social movement. What concerns me is that the 'enemy' knows this too and is more than happy to exploit that weakness in the media and do things to keep one side happy, whilst further alienating those on the other side. Codes of practice and phase - ins, keep the welfarists happy today, and both parties can hold hands and say we are making great change, etc. Though what has it really accomplished? It is a divide and conquer tactic that is used over and over again. The more that there is seen to be division within the AR movement, the less 'credibility' the actual AR proponents have when it comes time to talking to the general population



Jason Ward:

Thanks Cameron



Next up the wonderful Ben Hornby has a question he'd like to ask, go ahead Ben



Ben Hornby:

You approach veganism from the abolitionist position. Why do you feel it not to be beneficial to focus on the other animals who are imprisoned now, suffering now and in need of help now?



Some suggest abolitionists have given up on animals who are currently suffering. How do you reply to those people?



Cameron Blewett:

Hi Ben. That is one thing that totally confuses me. How can promoting veganism, and only veganism be giving up on the animals that are suffering? Telling someone to go vegetarian or eat happy meat still means that people are consuming animal products. Then what about the animals they wear? Their leather shoes, wool jumper, etc. What I usually ask them, is how they can justify an X yr phase in for some incremental change, when veganism and abolition STOP all animal use, not change the way they are used.



Its all about getting them to justify their position, not me explaining mine.



Roger Yates:

Thanks Cam. Next Q comes from Jason Ward who is busy transcribing - just to prove that men can multitask too, go for it Jay...



Jason Ward:

Thanks Roger...



Hi Cam, could you please explain how you came around to veganism and, if you do fully accept the abolitionist approach, how did you come around to that?



Cameron Blewett:

I originally became vegan due to a book called "fit for life". Whilst it was and still is a 'diet' book, some of the things that were mentioned in there made a lot of sense to me. I looked at what I ate, objectively and without emotion, then made the decision to go vegan, after reading other books about it, and realised that I wouldn’t end up in hospital somewhere, being protein or iron deficient. I think the turning point for me for adopting the abolitionist position was one of the epiphanies that I had when reading through a hunting magazine, and came to the conclusion that ALL animal use is wrong, regardless of whether they are a cute and cuddly seal pup or an 'ugly' 300kg wild pig.



Jason Ward:

Thanks Cam



Next Jason Nightingale has a question he'd like to ask



Go ahead Jason



Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks, Jay. Jason is busy at the moment, so I'll ask for him.



Where is the future of vegan activism heading? Do you see a future for the large organisations, or do you see online activism becoming more relevant?



Cameron Blewett:

I think there is a need for both. There needs to be a public organisational appearance to portray a professional image to the media, and give the message a greater impact to get the message out there. The online activism is good for those people that are curious and want to know more, yet for peer group reasons be unable to ask someone about it in person. Done



Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks again, Cam. Roger Yates has another question to ask, go ahead Rog.



Roger Yates:

Cheers ears...



Your involvement in the Scavenger looks interesting. There is a discussion of contemporary feminist issues in the Feminism and Pop Culture section, and you also wrote about the commodification of women - http://cameronblewett.wordpress.com/201 ... -movement/



You’ll know that feminist issues are current in the animal advocacy movement, not least due to PeTA-inspired juvenility.



So-called postmodern feminists insist on their “right” to self-commodify, seemingly indifferent to wider socio-political consequences. What are your views on this?



Cameron Blewett:

Thanks Roger. I see this as one of the hypocrisies of the modern feminist movement. They can and as we are living in a 'free' society, commodify themselves as much as they want, dress any way that they want, and so on. I just think it is a confusing position. Motor racing uses 'pit girls' to promote their products at racing events, though how do lettuce ladies and go naked for fur promote it? All it really does is promoting the peta brand.



These same feminists, whilst not having a problem with that woudl jump up and down about strip clubs and other adult industries, because they exploit females. Yet in western society, everyone has a choice about what tehy do and how they earn their money.



Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks, Cam. Lisa Rees has a question for you now, but appears to be still asleep! So, Jay will ask for her. Thanks, Jay.



Jason Ward:

Thanks Carolyn



I would like to know if you are against working on single issue campaigns, and if so, would you recommend that I do nothing to try to stop the camel cull of 100s of thousands of camels within the next 4 years? If you think it’s a good idea to continue on with it, what would you suggest to be the best way to go about it, and if not, why not?



Cameron Blewett:

Thanks Jason. I do see single issue campaigns as counter productive, and confusing to the general public. From what I understand, the camels will be exported overseas to a foreign market. So the more productive thing would be to stop demand not supply. Because, if they aren’t killed here, they will be killed somewhere else. As for the best way to go about preventing the slaughter, question the govt dept that has allowed them to be slaughtered in the first place.



Draw attention to what ever false argument they have used to justify killing the camels, and promote ALL animal use as being wrong regardless of what the animal is.



Jason Ward:

Thank you Cameron.



Carolyn Bailey:



If I may follow up on behalf of Lisa, I'd like to ask if you're suggesting she withdraw from this campaign?



Cameron Blewett:

Carolyn, that really depends on what she is doing now. If she is writing letters and things like that don't stop. She might just have to change tactics a little bit.



Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks, Cam. I do believe she's doing the petitions, letters etc. Tim Gier has another question for you, all yours, Tim.



Tim Gier:

In your essay "The Future of Vegan Activism" you highlight some of the different approaches to ending animal exploitation but stop short of reaching any conclusion about which approach is best. Can you do that now?



Cameron Blewett:

Thanks Tim. I think the best approach is to focus on the issues, not the person. The issues are:



A) Animal use is increasing every year B) Animal use not only exploits the non-human animal, it expliots the workers and environment C) If we are going to win this battle, we need to start thinking like the 'enemy' D) we are talking to people that will draw on our infighting as indecision and weakness. To talk a little about my job, when various unions are talking to an employer, whilst we may have different views on things, we talk with one voice, that way it is harder for the employer to exploit any weakness. This is something that we should all be doing. Speaking with one voice. And I think we should be using a multi-faceted approach, because one size does not fit all.



Tim Gier:

Thanks Cameron, the final question in this part of the chat is from Jason Ward, Jason??



Jason Ward:

Thanks Tim



Hi Cam, could you tell us what the Brisbane Vegan Meet-up entails?



Cameron Blewett:

Thanks Jason. Brisbane vegan meet-up, is really more of a little social group than anything else, just a place where we can do social things etc. And just another way to get the vegan message out there.



Jason Ward:

Thank you kindly!



Cameron Blewett:

Thats ok.



Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks so much, Cam! This concludes the formal part of Cameron's chat for today. I'd now like to open the chat up to anyone who'd like to engage Cam. Please feel free to PM myslef or Tim or Jason if you'd like to address Cam



Carolyn Bailey:

Kelly Carson would like to ask you a question Cam, go ahead Kelly



Kelly Carson:

Cam, you said "we weren’t a family of trophy hunters. What was hunted and killed was given to dogs or other family members to eat." I was raised by a hunter-trapper-fisher in northwest Canada. I saw no excuse then, and I do not to this day.



At what point do we stop making excuses for our “forefathers” and just insist that we have been on the wrong path all along? Animals are on this planet for their own existence.



Cameron Blewett:

Kelly, I wasn't making any excuses for what my faimly did. I was trying to make a difference between the two. Most people think hunters have mounted heads on walls, etc. The point I was trying to make was that I wasn't surrounded by 'stuffed' animals, etc.



Did that answer your question?



Kelly Carson:

Hunting for any reason is no longer necessary, in your view?



Cameron Blewett:

Thats right Kelly. It is not necessary nor can it be justified, regardless of what 'spin' is put on it.



Kelly Carson:

My dad used to take me hunting with him - I spoiled every shot he took. We never went hungry. :-)



Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks, Cam and Kelly. Tim Gier would like to follow-up on an early question, go Tim



Tim Gier:

Hi again Cameron, when you talked about MDA, you said that some acts against animal exploiters might increase their costs which would reduce supply. But in talking about welfare reforms, you note that cost increases are ineffective as ways to combat exploitation. Can you expound on this?



Cameron Blewett:

Thanks Tim. If industry increases the end cost, it is usually done as a justified expense. ie. all our eggs are cage free, so you have to pay more. or our animals are all organic fed and free range, so you have to pay more.



The price increase is justified because they are doing something to reduce the cruelty conscience of the public. Increase costs due to MDA activity would be 'hidden' because I don't think the public would accept it quite as easily does that make sense?



Carolyn Bailey:

Tim had to step out for a bit, but I'm sure it makes sense to him, everything does! Thanks, Cam!



Carolyn Bailey:

Douglass also had a question, but had to leave unexpectedly, so asked me to ask this for him:



Carolyn Bailey:

Mr. Blewett, Thank you for taking my question!



If I may, to give perspective to my question: for the last few years I've practiced video advocacy with videos such as PETA's Meet Your Meat.



On being enlightened to the perspective on Vegan Abolition, I've realized numerous problematic issues with blood "and guts" advocacy of this nature.



With that said, do you believe video-based Vegan advocacy is effective, and if so, can you recommend some videos?



Done, thanx!



Cameron Blewett:

Hi Douglass. I think that footage that is available on the internet at the moment can still work, just so long as people know that we are using it to promote veganism, and that by becoming vegan ALL animal use and exploitation will stop.



As for what is effective. It really depends on the people that you are talking to. Earthlings works for some, yet not others. I would try an individualised approach when talking to people; drawing on whatever it is that you have available to you.



Roger Yates:

Thanks Cam



Carolyn Bailey:

If there are no further questions for Cam, I’d like to sincerely thank Cam for his participation today, and for his thoughtful responses to some excellent questions.



Jason Ward:

Thanks Cameron!



Barbara DeGrande:

Thank you!



Carolyn Bailey:

ARZone sincerely thanks all participants for their contribution today.



Fifi Leigh:

Thanks



Cameron Blewett:

Thanks for having me, and the interesting questions :-)



Roger Yates:

Hey folks! Don't forget that an ARZone chat is just the beginning of a conversation. Feel free to comment on the transcript once it is published!
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Re: Cam Blewett on ARZone

Postby XkillerX » Sun Sep 26, 2010 8:57 am

rock on sunk, keep these coming!
Activists are the engineers of the soul. That's why governments lock them up.
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