As animal activists we must face a number of inconvenient truths. Enumerating them is helpful in forcing ourselves to evaluate what we are doing, what works and what creates failure. Recognizing those truths focuses our thoughts and attention on ultimate goals, on short and long term strategies, and on how to realize the least amount of suffering for the greatest number of animals as we pursue our dream of gaining rights for our fellow Earthlings.
Probably the most important of those inconvenient truths is that if we keep doing what we are doing, we are dooming billions of animals to suffering, fear, agony, and death.
There are several reasons. The most obvious one is that we are not impacting the Animal Holocaust at all. Four times as many animals are being slaughtered now as were being slaughtered when Peter Singer published Animal Liberation in 1973. And projections are that animal slaughter will double in the next 20 years.
Despite all our efforts at recruiting vegans and educating the public to the horrors of animal agriculture, the percentage of vegans continues to decline against the world population. And even in those countries where veganism is sharply rising, the affect is completely negated by exploding populations in the Third World.
Animals not consumed by vegans are not freed by capitalists, their corpses are merely exported to foreign markets.
Another inconvenient truth is that even if we were to somehow enlist everyone on the planet who cares about animals into the animal movement, we would still be a small minority of the population. Most people do not care about animals, and compassion is easily outweighed by profits, greed, religion, convenience, disinterest, and apathy.
And this is not even exploring the subject of Animal Rights, a concept most animal activists do not fully grasp, let alone embrace.
Animal Rights is a legal concept, just as are human rights.
Rights do not exist in a vacuum. Rights are concepts that are recognized by society, by governments. No government on Earth currently acknowledges Animal Rights, nor are any likely to do so in the foreseeable future. And that is simply because capitalist governments are unalterably opposed to the concept, and the few socialist societies that might conceivably do so are not quite enlightened enough to make the leap.
Capitalism is the engine that drives almost all animal exploitation, cruelty, and murder, around the world. The Animal Holocaust is almost entirely the product of the pursuit of profit at the expense of life.
Upwards of 60 billion animals are murdered in slaughterhouses each year. Another two and a half Trillion die in ships holds, in dredging, on long lines, and seine nets.
Over 99.9% of the killing is done for profit. By businesses. By capitalists.
If we are ever to end the Animal Holocaust we must end capitalism. That is another inconvenient truth. And it is one not readily accepted by many animal activists who still cling to the notion that compassion is not a political issue. Those activists find it difficult to reject the very system under which they live, regardless of how it brutalizes animals. Convincing those who are wedded to conservative political beliefs is an uphill battle, as those animal activists value other interests more than they do animals. Religion, taxation issues, prejudices, abortion, guns, etc, are more important to many activists than are the animals they profess to care about.
For those who value animals above society, there is but one course of action: to change society.
But to end capitalism is far beyond the capability of animal activists. To end capitalism will require the concerted and coordinated efforts of all who oppose capitalism, the broad political Left.
The political Left is comprised of animal activists, social justice advocates, occupiers, environmentalists, feminists, LGBTs, people of color, the poor, the working poor, prison reformers, anti-war and anti-death penalty activists, children’s and seniors advocates, among many others.
Our task is to not only join in broad leftist coalitions, but to share in the efforts of our coalition partners and to assume leadership roles in left wing political campaigns.
Our ultimate goal must be political and social revolution. The lives of billions upon billions of animals depend upon ending capitalism.
Socialist societies consume fewer animals per capita than do capitalist ones, so we must militate for socialist societies to replace capitalist ones. Even socialist societies that do not have compassion for animals are kinder to them than are profit-driven murdering, capitalist societies.