Did the collective farms in anarchist Spain have any kind of animal welfare standards?

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DekuScrub3's picture
DekuScrub3
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Jan 24 2015 17:32
Did the collective farms in anarchist Spain have any kind of animal welfare standards?

I'd also be interested in welfare standards during other revolutionary periods in different locales where animal agriculture was collectivized.

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Jan 25 2015 14:24

Best thread ever.

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Jan 25 2015 14:31

Gets to the meat of the matter.

Fleur
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Jan 25 2015 14:53

Half a million dead, followed by decades of fascist rule, executions, work camps, stealing children, sundry other repressions but what about the chickens?

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the button
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Jan 25 2015 15:00

All chorizo was made from anarchist pig suicide squads.

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Chilli Sauce
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Jan 25 2015 15:01

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Jan 25 2015 15:08

Standards, as in legislative norms that are monitored, corrected, upholded and approved? Of course they did. I recommend Franz Borkenau 'The Spanish Cockpit' - essentially a book on avian emancipation.

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Jan 25 2015 21:09

You all jest, but I can't imagine a self-managed abattoir without major changes to the labour process. I struggle to imagine it full stop tbh, given as anyone who'd work there without the compulsion of wage-earning you probably wouldn't want to let anywhere near animals, or blades.

So even on strictly workerist grounds (working conditions, redirection of agricultural output from animal feed to human-edible crops etc), I imagine we'd eat less meat (in the west at least) 'after the revolution'. Add to that the fact a good number of people who eat meat prefer not to think of it as a dead animal, and I wouldn't be surprised to see industrial meat production disbanded by insurgent workers' councils and replaced by smaller scale localised animal husbandry or something.

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Jan 25 2015 22:08

I've known three slaughtermen over the years, two fitted both bills - people who shouldn't be left alone with a knife and only in it for the money (and it's usually pretty good), one of which an out and out head banger, the other freaked out and having nightmares, and the third a lifer who was a good friend of my dad. There is a lot of people crack up in this line of work, can't hack it (no pun) and move on. But, the clear impression I got from the more commercial set ups was that it was the volume of work and the pressure workers were put under - they're basically very fast paced factory lines. But rather than turn it into discussion on the rights and wrongs of factory abattoirs - my concerns are primarily around the amount of meat we eat (IMO too much) - but, for me, a better organised society would free up access to land where today working class people have very little - one of these reasons is beef farming. In a sentence, it's either beef or land; faced with this option and the possibilities of better, less cramped housing intigrated to more gardening land, small holdings and leisure space, I know which one I'd go for.

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Jan 25 2015 22:37
Joseph Kay wrote:
You all jest, but I can't imagine a self-managed abattoir without major changes to the labour process. I struggle to imagine it full stop tbh, given as anyone who'd work there without the compulsion of wage-earning you probably wouldn't want to let anywhere near animals, or blades.

So even on strictly workerist grounds (working conditions, redirection of agricultural output from animal feed to human-edible crops etc), I imagine we'd eat less meat (in the west at least) 'after the revolution'. Add to that the fact a good number of people who eat meat prefer not to think of it as a dead animal, and I wouldn't be surprised to see industrial meat production disbanded by insurgent workers' councils and replaced by smaller scale localised animal husbandry or something.

This one of the theories of Bob Torress' Making a Killing puts forward. The problem is he believes veganism is a baseline of political activity, which still fails to understand that non-human animals can't liberate themselves, therefore, as a priority, human liberation must supersede any question of the moral status of animals.

Outside of our own emancipation, animal rights is largely regressive and charitable, because we need to address the issues around the mode of production.

The OP could do as well checking out Beasts of Burden which does suggest revolutionaries have always looked favourably on animals.

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Jan 25 2015 22:59
Quote:
You all jest, but I can't imagine a self-managed abattoir without major changes to the labour process. I struggle to imagine it full stop tbh, given as anyone who'd work there without the compulsion of wage-earning you probably wouldn't want to let anywhere near animals, or blades.

Nah, just send your livestock to the Libcom commune - the populace wander around dripping with blood and gore, club in one hand, chainsaw in the other looking for fluffy bunnies to mince into the afterlife. Bah! If only they'd all turn their weaponry on liberals instead. Oh well, better go, I really need to spend some time figuring out how the hell I'm gonna get enough protein.

Fleur
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Jan 25 2015 23:06

Thing is Webby, I've never come across a really good recipe for liberals. I'm not convinced that they'd taste any good nor do I have an oven or cookware big enough. Bunnies, on the other hand, are immensely versatile.

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Jan 25 2015 23:08
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Bunnies, on the other hand, are immensely versatile.

That may well be so, but I'll bet they're not half so versatile as Birds Eye Potato Waffles. They are waffley versatile!

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Jan 26 2015 00:08

So, waffles, different thing in America.

I'd never had British waffles until, this one time, we had this Sainsbury's delivery screw-up and they gave us all our stuff, plus some other random shit, too. That included 6 boxes of Birds Eye Potato Waffles. And I always thought, who the hell orders 6 boxes of Birds Eye Potato Waffles? Now I know.

Fleur
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Jan 26 2015 00:25
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So, waffles, different thing in America

Yeah, they're actually edible on this side of the Atlantic.

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Jan 27 2015 16:15

My mum used to make a nice rabbit stew. Myxomatosis put the kybosh on that dish.

boomerang
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Jan 27 2015 17:06
Fleur wrote:
Half a million dead, followed by decades of fascist rule, executions, work camps, stealing children, sundry other repressions but what about the chickens?

So, if someone cares about the chickens they can't also care about the humans. Interesting.

Fleur
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Jan 27 2015 17:31

Oh for god's sake.

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Jan 27 2015 17:58
Fleur wrote:
Oh for god's sake.

What if it was your cat/dog/hamster/bunny rabbit/other pet! Hypocrite!!!!!!111
Just thought I'd get that one in first wink

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Jan 27 2015 18:06

With some seamless editing and improvements in keeping animal welfare, maybe Nick Lloyd could change his Spanish Civil War tour guide introduction to:

Quote:
Spanish Civil War tours around Barcelona visiting some of the key sites in the city between 1936-1939. The tours cover themes such as Anarchism, George Orwell, the realities of daily life, bombing and chickens. I hope this is a different way of looking at the city and chickens.

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Jan 27 2015 19:53

OK, joking aside, all this animal vs. humans concern is just a load of bollocks. Logically boomerang has a point, we all know that we are intimately linked with other animals. Though in the context of the Spanish Civil War and its mind boggling carnage, the scale of which we only now are beginning to comprehend, leaves the issue of animal welfare in a secondary position.

Where I live there is a large abattoir employing mainly Eastern Europeans. Tell me how I can approach them, language difficulties aside, and engage them in an ethical debate about animal rights. I believe they have their own domestic problems.

Fleur
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Jan 27 2015 19:17
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So, if someone cares about the chickens they can't also care about the humans. Interesting.

Presumably everyone is familiar with the concept of a false dichotomy?

A brief, glancing familiarity with the history of Spain would inform anyone that it was not a massively industrialized country at this time, with the same for farming. Presumably chickens scratched around in the same sort of way as they had always done. What was particularly pressing during this period was that there was a civil war on, with all the unimaginable horrors which went with that and as a consequence, the welfare of animals on collective farms was most likely somewhere way down the list of priorities. One of the priorities that was pressing though was feeding people, which was no easy feat given the food shortages in this period. I have no sources for this, just a hunch, but I expect if someone on a collective farm suggested that what they really needed to do was to draw up some kind of standard practice for animal welfare during this time of human carnage and privations, they might have been told to get their heads out of their arses and get their priorities straight.

Alias Recluse
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Jan 27 2015 22:41

As in so many other domains, such as the furniture industry and the barbershops in Barcelona, the agrarian collectivists wanted to not only improve the standard of living and working conditions of the agricultural workers but also to modernize livestock production in Spain (which was so backward by Western European standards) by taking advantage of modern technologies and economies of scale in order to produce more efficiently with less labor and lower overhead costs. They were proud of their social role and were not just looking out for their own betterment. The following is an excerpt from an eyewitness account of one of the most successful model collective farms in Aragon, the Graus collective:

“Everything is systematically organized. Each sector of production has its file with the exact figures of its current production and forecasts for its growth that are updated daily…. This organization has facilitated all the improvements carried out by the Collective: in association with the town it has established a model farm for raising pigs, which is home to approximately two thousand animals of all ages and different varieties…. The farm is operated in accordance with the requirements of the most modern installations. The animals have showers and all the benefits of modern scientific stock raising. I asked the comrades who were in charge of the farm, and also those who had designed it, where they obtained the model for their farm. They told me, without making a big deal about it, that when they first set about the task of setting up the farm, they carefully studied and discussed various models and that they finally chose the American model, the same one used in the pig farms that supply the pork industry in Chicago. Elsewhere in the vicinity of the town another farm has been established, this one a poultry farm, a very satisfactory model of organization and experimentation…. The most varied species of domestic fowl are kept in the departments of the farm. They expect to have nearly ten thousand birds by next fall. The farm’s buildings now harbor six thousand. Everything is new and magnificent. Everything has been set up in accordance with the latest technology and based on experience with the latter. The director of the farm has invented a new incubator with a greater capacity than the earlier types. Thousands of tiny chicks swarm in these heated chambers. Hundreds of ducks and geese. Hundreds of roosters and hens, carefully classified. All in one amazing farm, just like the pig farm. This Collective is a model for all the counties of Aragon. Graus is a place of pilgrimage for the workers of Aragon and a school for the economic reconstruction of our fatherland.”

Quoted from Carlos Semprún-Maura, Revolution and Counterrevolution in Catalonia. Original source: Alardo Prats, Vanguardia y retaguardia en Aragón (pamphlet), n.d. [ca. 1937-1938] pp. 85-93.

Understandably, most of the emphasis is on improved working conditions and quality of life for the agricultural workers as well as on increased production and efficiency, but there are also some observations in these texts that indicate that the animals were housed in more sanitary conditions, that an outdoor enclosure was being built so that the pigs could have access to sunlight and fresh air, that the diet of the chickens included cod liver oil, etc. It is not expressly noted that such initiatives were taken out of consideration for the well-being of the animals or whether they were undertaken rather for the health and well-being of the consumers and workers. The references to Chicago, “scientific stock raising”, and the chicken farm swarming with “thousands of tiny chicks” would seem to indicate that the animals’ comfort and happiness were not the leading priorities for those who designed these “modern” farms.

Another, more complete translation of the above passage may be found in: José Peirats, The CNT in the Spanish Revolution, Vol. 1 (online at: https://libcom.org/library/cnt-spanish-revolution-volume-1). This passage also appears in Sam Dolgoff, The Anarchist Collectives. There is also a section on Graus in Gaston Leval, Collectives in the Spanish Revolution (online at: https://libcom.org/library/collectives-leval-2). More information on the topic of animal husbandry and livestock in the collectives may be obtained from these and other sources, many of which are available at the website of Libcom.

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Jan 27 2015 22:55

Yeah, back to more serious note I don't really know. I know that lots of Spanish anarchists of the time were very forwardthinking in terms of their lifestyle choices, with some of them being vegetarian etc. But as with the above poster I don't know if that was more for animal welfare reasons or for health reasons

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Jan 27 2015 23:19

For the jokey posts on the thread my reaction is lol.

For most of the serious ones it's double lol.

For the initial response to the OP, that hasn't changed - it's still asshole.

DekuScrub3's picture
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Jan 27 2015 23:54
Alias Recluse wrote:
As in so many other domains, such as the furniture industry and the barbershops in Barcelona, the agrarian collectivists wanted to not only improve the standard of living and working conditions of the agricultural workers but also to modernize livestock production in Spain (which was so backward by Western European standards) by taking advantage of modern technologies and economies of scale in order to produce more efficiently with less labor and lower overhead costs. They were proud of their social role and were not just looking out for their own betterment. The following is an excerpt from an eyewitness account of one of the most successful model collective farms in Aragon, the Graus collective:

“Everything is systematically organized. Each sector of production has its file with the exact figures of its current production and forecasts for its growth that are updated daily…. This organization has facilitated all the improvements carried out by the Collective: in association with the town it has established a model farm for raising pigs, which is home to approximately two thousand animals of all ages and different varieties…. The farm is operated in accordance with the requirements of the most modern installations. The animals have showers and all the benefits of modern scientific stock raising. I asked the comrades who were in charge of the farm, and also those who had designed it, where they obtained the model for their farm. They told me, without making a big deal about it, that when they first set about the task of setting up the farm, they carefully studied and discussed various models and that they finally chose the American model, the same one used in the pig farms that supply the pork industry in Chicago. Elsewhere in the vicinity of the town another farm has been established, this one a poultry farm, a very satisfactory model of organization and experimentation…. The most varied species of domestic fowl are kept in the departments of the farm. They expect to have nearly ten thousand birds by next fall. The farm’s buildings now harbor six thousand. Everything is new and magnificent. Everything has been set up in accordance with the latest technology and based on experience with the latter. The director of the farm has invented a new incubator with a greater capacity than the earlier types. Thousands of tiny chicks swarm in these heated chambers. Hundreds of ducks and geese. Hundreds of roosters and hens, carefully classified. All in one amazing farm, just like the pig farm. This Collective is a model for all the counties of Aragon. Graus is a place of pilgrimage for the workers of Aragon and a school for the economic reconstruction of our fatherland.”

Quoted from Carlos Semprún-Maura, Revolution and Counterrevolution in Catalonia. Original source: Alardo Prats, Vanguardia y retaguardia en Aragón (pamphlet), n.d. [ca. 1937-1938] pp. 85-93.

Understandably, most of the emphasis is on improved working conditions and quality of life for the agricultural workers as well as on increased production and efficiency, but there are also some observations in these texts that indicate that the animals were housed in more sanitary conditions, that an outdoor enclosure was being built so that the pigs could have access to sunlight and fresh air, that the diet of the chickens included cod liver oil, etc. It is not expressly noted that such initiatives were taken out of consideration for the well-being of the animals or whether they were undertaken rather for the health and well-being of the consumers and workers. The references to Chicago, “scientific stock raising”, and the chicken farm swarming with “thousands of tiny chicks” would seem to indicate that the animals’ comfort and happiness were not the leading priorities for those who designed these “modern” farms.

Another, more complete translation of the above passage may be found in: José Peirats, The CNT in the Spanish Revolution, Vol. 1 (online at: https://libcom.org/library/cnt-spanish-revolution-volume-1). This passage also appears in Sam Dolgoff, The Anarchist Collectives. There is also a section on Graus in Gaston Leval, Collectives in the Spanish Revolution (online at: https://libcom.org/library/collectives-leval-2). More information on the topic of animal husbandry and livestock in the collectives may be obtained from these and other sources, many of which are available at the website of Libcom.

Thank you!

boomerang
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Jan 28 2015 00:40
Fleur wrote:
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So, if someone cares about the chickens they can't also care about the humans. Interesting.

Presumably everyone is familiar with the concept of a false dichotomy?

And yet you heavily implied that the OP doesn't give a shit about the human suffering in the Spanish civil war, simply because they asked about animal welfare.

Serge Forward wrote:
What if it was your cat/dog/hamster/bunny rabbit/other pet! Hypocrite!!!!!!111
Just thought I'd get that one in first ;)

Thanks for saving me the time of saying it myself, but I wouldn't have put so many 1's after my exclamation marks.

Fleur
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Jan 28 2015 01:04

No, but I did imply that next to all the human sufferings both during and after the Spanish Civil War, what happened to the chickens pales into insignificance. People were fighting for their survival, I'm pretty sure animal rights was one of the more marginal of their concerns.

Fleur
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Jan 28 2015 01:09

By the way, while you are calling me a hypocrite, what are you wearing? I'm sure it's animal free but is it cruelty free? Human cruelty, in particular. I know what I've got on is environmentally damaging (cotton) harvested by people earning subsistence wages and made in a sweatshop because unfortunately I cannot afford to wear couture. But hey, that's capitalism and I can't afford to get particularly preachy about it.

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Jan 28 2015 10:09
Fleur wrote:
No, but I did imply that next to all the human sufferings both during and after the Spanish Civil War, what happened to the chickens pales into insignificance. People were fighting for their survival, I'm pretty sure animal rights was one of the more marginal of their concerns.

Vegetarianism and 'naturalism' did have quite a few adherents amongst the Spanish anarchists, spiritualism was also de reger as well as other experiments in lifestylism, which went back many decades. Barcelona also banned bullfighting during the civil war iirc. People sure were fighting for their survival, but they were also experimenting with different ways of being and seeing the world.

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Jan 28 2015 11:24

Good post Alias Recluse. The revolutionary anarchist movement in Asia - particularly China, Japan and Korea, etc often had as its core objectives not only the abolition of capitalism and the state, but also opposition to 'tradition' to fight sexism, homophobia, militarism... so in many organisations vegetarianism was openly advacated/endorsed.