In the past 40 years I have witnessed the leadership of the Animal Rights movement turn gray. Most animal organizations are run by people in their 50s and 60s.
Most of us who were involved in the movement’s infancy were too busy rescuing and organizing to grasp the fact that Animal Rights is a philosophical movement, not just a collection of animal lovers and rescuers.
The movement was politically unsophisticated, philosophically adrift, and without vision, goals, plans, or strategies.
We weren’t political. We hadn’t a clue that Animal Rights went hand-in-hand with human rights. We didn’t realize that the same oppressors who made slaves of humans were slaughtering animals.
The same people who fought against Civil Rights, women’s rights, and gay rights were fighting us on Animal Rights.
We didn’t see that conservatives were the animals’ enemies. And ours!
We didn’t take notice that Congressmen and legislators we voted for were funding animal enslavement and abuse.
Many animal organizations continue to ignore the enemies: Corporate Power, and the conservative political hacks who represent Big Business.
Most animal activists are still unaware that the system we live under is the primary cause of animal suffering.
The legal systems which allows for animals to be owned and to be considered chattel.
The religions which condone human domination over animals and excuse animal cruelty and exploitation.
Capitalism, which rewards animal deaths and the trade in their body parts.
And the governments, which protect the killers.
But I am thrilled with the generation that is following us. Young animal activists who are unintimadated, who are willing to take the fight to the precincts and ballot boxes, who support direct action, who stand up for the powerless and the innocent, both human and animal.
There is a level of understanding, commitment, and focus that never existed before. One which will carry the movement well into the Century.
And the next crop of leaders will put to shame those of us who went before!