Animal protectionism
Animal protectionism is a position within the animal rights movement that favors incremental change in pursuit of non-human animal interests. It is contrasted with abolitionism
Abolitionism (animal rights)
Abolitionism within the animal rights movement is the idea that focusing on animal welfare reform not only fails to challenge animal suffering, but may prolong it by making the exercise of property rights over animals appear acceptable. The abolitionists' objective is to secure a moral and legal...

, the position that human beings have no moral right to use animals, and ought to have no legal right, no matter how the animals are treated.

Animal protectionists agree with abolitionists that the animal welfare
Animal welfare
Animal welfare is the physical and psychological well-being of animals.The term animal welfare can also mean human concern for animal welfare or a position in a debate on animal ethics and animal rights...

 model of animal protection—whereby animals may be used as food, clothing, entertainment and in experiments so long as their suffering is regulated—has failed ethically and politically, but argue that its philosophy can be reformulated. Robert Garner
Robert Garner
Robert Garner is professor of political theory at the University of Leicester in the UK. Garner specializes in animal rights, focusing on animal protectionism and the political representation of non-human interests in general...

 of the University of Leicester, a leading academic protectionist, argues that animal use may in some circumstances be justified, though it should be better regulated, and that the pursuit of better treatment and incremental change is consistent with holding an abolitionist ideology. Gary Francione, professor of law at Rutgers School of Law-Newark and a leading abolitionist, calls this approach "new welfarism." He regards it as counter-productive because it wrongly persuades the public that the animals they use are being treated kindly, and that continued use is therefore justifiable. Francione regards the abolitionist position as the only one that can properly be called animal rights
Animal rights
Animal rights, also known as animal liberation, is the idea that the most basic interests of non-human animals should be afforded the same consideration as the similar interests of human beings...



One of the arguments put forward by abolitionists against protectionism is that small improvements in animal welfare serve to salve consciences by persuading the public that their use of animals is not unethical. Welfare reform can therefore be counter-productive. Abolitionists also argue that real reform is invariably unsuccessful, because industries that depend on animal use will not implement change that harms their profit margin. That is, the property status of animals prohibits reform that will harm their owners' interests. For that reason, abolitionists argue, it is the property status of animals that must be removed.

Robert Garner argues against this that welfare reform is not simply a staging post on the way to abolition, but is in itself desirable. An approach that is based on the right of animals not to suffer could, in theory, be satisfied with a welfare system in which animal suffering, if not animal use, was minimized, though he concedes that this is unlikely. He also argues that Francione has not shown that improvements in welfare persuade the public that all is well. Rather, he argues, reform has the effect of raising public consciousness about the interests of animals.

Lisa Kemmerer argues that animal protectionism is, more broadly, "any ideology or behavior intended to protect nonhuman animals from human beings".

Surveys find that the definitions for animal protection are different in different nations.
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