Radicalizing the Animal Movement

My mission in life is to radicalize the animal movement. To have it become a revolutionary force in world politics and public policy.

Before that can ever be possible, animal activists must come to realize that they are part of the political left.

That the animal movement is a leftist one.

Just as the fight against slavery was leftist, just as the the fight for voting rights for Blacks and for women were leftist causes.

Same with child labor, workplace safety, the 40 hour work week, Social Security, integration, and gay rights.

Each of these issues was championed by leftists and opposed by conservatives.

Conservatives have been the apologists for oppression, the naysayers to all demands for rights and freedoms, the defenders of the status quo, the fodder for capitalism, the opponents of reason, the enemies of knowledge, science. and education.

Everything we are doing as a movement posits failure. There is no end in sight to homeless dogs and cats. No end in sight for kill shelters, hunting, trapping, zoos, rodeos.

Nothing we do is aimed at ending th Animal Holocaust, in which more than a Billion animal are put to death each week.

Calls for compassion have no resonance, as most people are fully supportive of killing animals for food.

Recruiting people to veganism is not the answer, as the carnist population is growing faster than we are recruiting vegans.

Political action will not end the Animal Holocaust because people vote and animals do not. And there are way more people invested in their lifestyles than there are those of us who stand for the animals.

The role of the animal movement must be to force changes in society, to ban animal ownership, slaughter, and consumption.

Those changes will never happen under capitalism. Capitalism encourages and rewards exploiting animals. Exploitation is profitable!

Yet most animal activists are capitalists.

The equate capitalism with freedom and prosperity. They are unfamiliar with history, have only a tenuous grasp of what animal rights really means, are unclear how to affect animal protection, are clueless to political strategy, and they know almost nothing of philosophy, economics, or law.

Many have divided loyalties to the animals, embracing religious and political views which are hostile to animals.

They do not recognize that capitalism is an evil that pervades society. It requires the consumption of the Earth’s resources. It demands never ending production, advertising, and purchasing by a never satisfied population of malleable consumers.

Capitalism needs an unending supply of animal corpses, of forests, of oil, of minerals, raw materials, of exploited workers and defrauded consumers.

Ending capitalism is an absolute requirement for achieving animal rights and ending animal slaughter.

Everything else is pissing into the wind.

But bringing down capitalism is not going to occur any time soon. Perhaps not in our lifetimes, or even in our grandchildren’s lifetimes.

Everything we do, besides recruiting revolutionaries, should be aimed at alleviating the suffering animals endure.

Curiously, there are some in the animal movement who consider such actions to be high treason.

Every animal born into the food system is going to die a horrible death, after living a horrible life.

And it will be so for generations upon generations.

We must work politically to force Big Ag to undertake costly reforms to their business models. Making money is what Big Ag is all about. They do not give a damn about animals or their suffering. They will continue to use the most cruel and brutal methods they can get away with to produce animal corpses.

Our task is to cripple Big Ag, if possible. Certainly impact them as much as possible.

The most important is our demand that they slow down their slaughter lines. Fast slaughter lines are supported by conservative politicians because they mean more profits for business. But fast slaughter lines mean cattle are cut up while still conscious, that they are alive when their legs are chainsawed off and their skin ripped from their bodies, that chickens are still alive when thrown into boiling vats of water to remove their feathers.

One of every 12 cows and calves is still conscious when being cut apart by chainsaws! All because of greed.

Big Ag wants to continue the cruelty because reducing cruelty is expensive, and it reduces profits.

The scumbag lobbyists for Big Ag bribe scumbag conservative legislators to block all compassionate legislation. They block moves to end veal crates, to end gestation crates, to end de-horning, to end de-beaking, to end branding, or requiring the use of anesthesia for painful procedures like castration or tooth removal.

Until the revolution, we cannot shoot the killers, arrest the boards of directors, or burn down the slaughterhouses and the packing plants.

So we must wield our votes until we can wield weapons.

And in doing so we will lessen the torture our fellow Earthlings endure.

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9 thoughts on “Radicalizing the Animal Movement

  1. I can only speak for myself also. I became involved with animals much sooner than with any political theories or interests. I grew up in a small town that did not even have an animal shelter or a regular veterinarian. There were no mailings from humane organizations, such as PETA or FARM or MFA, because they were all in the future.

    But I saw things I hated. Hunters did not invariably have pickup trucks then, so they came into town with dead deer and elk tied to their car bumpers and roofs. In the fall priests would give sermons warning hunters that if they skipped mass to go hunting, they would go to hell. It seemed to me they should have gone to hell for killing the animals not for missing church! The clergy had no satisfactory answers to my complaints about their misplaced threats. I was also taken to a kennel one day and saw men training hunting dogs. The dogs were roughly treated for any “mistakes,” and there were ducks with broken wings and legs who had obviously also been involved in the “training.” As they flopped around helplessly, the trainers’ kids kept asking, “Daddy, can we kill the birds now?” It was something they obviously looked forward too. So those were my first lessons in the great “sport” of hunting.

    So small-town Montana was just a small sample of the animal abuse in the world. I did what I could with rescues, such as winning and raising the baby ducks given as prizes at carnivals, springing the traps that local businesses set outside for mice, and doing small burial ceremonies for birds who lost their lives flying into windows.

    PETA (1980) and Farm Sanctuary (1986) were the first organizations that I first became associated with that revealed the extent of animal abuse, especially of farm animals, and that provided suggestions and opportunities to be active.

    I tend to agree about capitalism/socialism. For whatever the reason socialism has not been that successful. I believe capitalism has had a different course because it unleashes and rewards greed. Note that the Catholic Church included greed and gluttony among the capital, or deadly, sins, “deadly” because they had their roots in the desire for more and the human need for excess. That made such sins both more attractive and more difficult to overcome. That belief also recognizes that the sins arise from drivers inherent in human nature and are what we could call genetic.

    Thus capitalism not only encourages an ugly part of human nature, but greed has become more socially acceptable as wealth became more unequal. Note Gordon Gecko, Robin Leach, and Reagan’s Sunbelt Cowboys and the glorification of wealth and excess that began again in the 1980s. More and more people desire to join the ranks of the super-rich now.

    So capitalism certainly drives some of the worse animal abuse, in terms of suffering inflicted, the number of animals involved, and the amount of money to be gained. But I question whether we can overcome a system that fits so well with our human genetic inheritance and wonder what we can successfully replace it with.

    There have been studies that suggest empathy is also genetic. Psychologists from Stony Brook University and the University of California’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine conducted investigations, including MRI imaging, that revealed 20 percent of the population is genetically predisposed to empathy. Maybe we need to hope for an increasing number of people with the compassion gene to make the world better for animals.

    In the meantime, revolution sounds good to me. Nothing else has worked.

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    • Very interesting! I also lived in Montana for about a decade and quickly came to appreciate what BS it is to believe that “rural folk” are somehow more “noble”, less effete than city dwellers because they live closer to the soil and follow a simpler life-style. Most are cut from the same cloth as the greediest bunch of Wall Street oligarchs and it is why no socialist-inspired revolution of the peasants and proletariat will ever change things for the better for much of animal-kind. It’s no wonder that rural areas voted overwhelmingly for Trump and the Republicans, they represent the apotheosis of what these small minded, selfish graspers aspire to. The wonder of it is that people such as yourself occasionally do emerge from such a milieu.

      I genuinely believe that we are dealing with two distinct species of humanity here (on a cognitive/moral rather than genetic level). And trying to convince the one that they shouldn’t do murderous things to non-human animals for personal gain is like trying to convince cats not to torment mice. The best that could be hoped for would be their rapid extinction. Unfortunately, “they” outnumber “us” by a factor of something like 20-or-more to one. So, it is probably us that are likely going down in any cataclysmic contest between good and evil. A more realistic (and personally satisfying) goal would be to try and take as many of them as you can along with you on the way down.

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  2. I’m always curious whether animal rights advocates who also embrace a revolutionary leftist outlook came to the cause of animal rights through an extension of their existing left wing beliefs to include non-human animals; or were they proponents of animal rights first and then expanded from there to embrace various leftist causes. Personally, I’d find the latter individuals to be more persuasive since strongly held political ideology has a regrettable tendency to colorize everything else in the world one thinks about.

    I think there is a much more fundamental cause of the “animal holocaust” than capitalism or religion, something that will not be eradicated simply by radically re-ordering the existing socio-economic system. The problem is human greed. And that is a characteristic not confined just to capitalist systems, although I’d readily acknowledge that its most vulgar, most malignant manifestations occur under just such regimes. Socialism explicitly or implicitly posits that greed can somehow be expurgated from the human psyche. That human avarice is not a genetic tendency but a learned behavior that, with proper guidance, can be eliminated from human society. That economic equality and political freedom can co-exist happily in some future utopian society. That view fails to acknowledge that acquisitiveness is an intrinsic part of the human genome and it explains why modern socialist states, usually founded on idealistic principles with the noblest intentions, have inevitably been such short-lived failures.

    The animal holocaust is as likely to be mitigated or eliminated in a society based on religious dogma, a theocracy, as in one predicated on “scientific socialism.” You can have economic equality in a dictatorship or you can have economic inequality in a democracy. The problem is you cannot have economic equality and political democracy at the same time, the reason being that human beings are not born with a blank slate to be filled in with noble ideas about equality and brotherhood. People are intrinsically selfish, whether on Wall Street or in the People’s Republic of whatever. People come with the genetic baggage of hundreds of millions of years of evolution and, however much we may dislike or try to suppress it, “greed is good (or at least fun!)” is writ large in our genes. Even Lenin knew this: he had no illusions about communism being built with the consent of the governed.

    Until you understand the underlying cause of a problem it is naïve to believe that you can rectify it by simply changing the existing socio-economic regime.

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    • I can only speak for myself on this, and I am not famliar with any statistical research on the matter.

      I have been an animal activist since I was eight years old, shooting at hunters with my BB gun on our farm in Lock Haven, PA.

      My first political activity was as a 12 year old in Brooklyn, NY, in 1958, raising money for Gov Averill Harriman in his race against Nelson Rockefeller. Rockefeller supported pound seizure where medical laboratories could claim stray dogs and cats for vivisection.

      I have been involved in animal welfare, protection, and animal rights ever since.

      Personally, I do not care how people end up to be revolutionary socialists, just that they are. They are the only hope that the Animal Holocaust will ever end.

      My journey to socialism was long and tedious, filled with frustration and disappointment with the existing political paradigm. Even so, I am a socialist because I believe it is the only hope for animals.

      There is considerable disagreement among sociologists as to whether greed is an inherited human trait. Most believe it is not, that it is learned behavior and not genetic.

      But that determination has nothing to do with my support of a socialist system with a centrally planned economy. With the profit motive removed from human activity, incentives to exploit and murder animals for profit will disappear.

      Even more important will be the need to abolish animal agriculture for practical, political reasons: Saving our species from extinction by global warming, and feeding the world, will both require the end of animal agriculture.

      Of course central planning will have no effect upon local animal husbandry, and I doubt such could ever be completely eliminated, but the extent to which it can be banned will depend upon how well placed animal activists are in revolutionary socialist governments.

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      • You, sir, are an idealist and an optimist and I salute you and your efforts on behalf of animals. I’m afraid I’m an optimist-with-experience, better known as a pessimist. Today’s successor to W. Averill Harriman would be, I guess, Andrew Cuomo, spawn of Mario Cuomo, the Great White Hope of the liberal-wing of the Democratic Party in the 1980s. The current Gov. Cuomo has been quite busy of late pandering to the hunting and trapping lobby. A lot of current and future animal suffering can be laid directly at his door. If this wretched little coward be representative of the Democratic left, it’s almost enough to turn one into a Republican!

        But I admire your courage and love the part about the BB gun! That’s a program of radical action I could support.

        Best regards.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The left wing of the Democratic Party is best represented by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Andrew Cuomo is a centrist, Wall Street Street Democrat, considerably to the right of de Blasio, and liberals in general.

        While I am active in the Democratic Party, and support left wing Democrats, I do so until such time as a truly Leftist party can become viable.

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    • Geoff:
      I was a socialist before I became an animal activist. I no longer consider myself a Marxist, but I think there is some value to the Marxist critique of capitalism and the political parties (both Democrat and Republican) which support the capitalist system. A true scientific socialist, i.e. an historical materialist, should be able to take into account all that we have learned about anthropology and biology since Marx’s time.
      I fully agree with you that there are inherent problems with Homo sapiens that a socialist society would not rectify. Little will be accomplished by adding a few animal issues to the traditional socialist agenda. The entire history of Homo sapiens, from the earliest “tool” makers, i.e. weapons makers, is a history of killing and otherwise exploiting nonhuman animals. We need to face this fact if we have any hope of ending animal exploitation.

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