We Can Try Begging Them To Stop Or We Can Try Forcing Them To Stop

systemWhich do you want to try?

There are two approaches that can be employed to end the exploitation of animals: Dissuading people from doing so and impeding their ability to do so.

The animal movement, by and large, has been woefully unsuccessful employing either approach.

Neither can be entirely successful, as there will always be people who will engage in cruelty, but dissuasion is by far the less helpful course of action.

We can dissuade by persuasion or by coercion. There is a point at which persuasion is no longer effective as we reach the limit of people who actually care about animals. And that limit is very low in the general population. Witness how few animal activists are vegan and extrapolate that reality to the public at large.

Coercion would be substantially more effective than persuasion for the great majority of humanity, who value their own lives more than they care about animals.

The approach pursued by most in the animal movement is dissuasion.

We try to dissuade people from hurting animals, from consuming them, from supporting companies and policies which exploit animals.

Most attempts to dissuade fall upon deaf ears. Vegans are a tiny percentage of the population, despite years of proselytizing and recruiting. Spreading empathy has not been very successful as a strategy.

Simple math demonstrates our failures. More animals are enslaved and murdered than ever before. While we have made advances in rescuing companion animals, over the past 50 years the number of dogs and cats we have saved is fewer than the number of animals who will have their throats cut in the next 8 hours.

For most of the animals abused, enslaved, tortured, and murdered, it is as though the animal movement does not exist.

Aside from failing miserably at dissuasion, our efforts to impede animal exploitation have been equally ineffective.

Impediments to animal exploitation can be public or private. Public impediments are legislation and enforcement, areas in which there has been little real progress in a century. Private impediments are direct action.

Most of the direct action engaged in has been not only ineffective, but financially crippling to the movement in supporting imprisoned activists.

ALF raids, burning slaughterhouses, freeing mink, etc, are tactics that impede animal cruelty, but only in the short term. Insurance covering losses of facilities, animals, and profits ensures the resurrection of the cruelty.

If we are to engage in direct action, it should be direct action that will dissuade. Direct action that impedes is covered by insurance.

Aggressive direct action against animal exploiters should be aimed at convincing animal abusers that their personal safety is at risk if they continue with their conduct. Action aimed at people who exploit (rather than the faciliities they work in) would likely cause many to re-evaluate their dedication to animal exploitation.

Coercion could save many more millions of lives than we are saving now, but even that would hardly make a dent in the billions of animals murdered every year.

The pathway to impeding animal cruelty is through changing the very systems that permit, protect, and encourage it.

Most animal cruelty is the product of businesses in pursuit of profits.
Our legal systems permit the enslavement and murder, and our governments protect the abusers.

 We need a paradigm shift in our understanding of the struggle in which we are engaged, and paradigm shifts in both our objectives and our strategies.

The first step is to recognize that the animal movement is a leftist movement. That we are the successors to the struggles against human slavery, oppression, and fascism. That our allies are liberals, progressives, and socialists.

The second step is to recognize we cannot win unless we join in solidarity to bring down the capitalist state.



Author’s Note:

Natasha Sainsbury, of Good Karma Graphic Design, has joined Armory of the Revolution as Editor, and is responsible for the transformation of the blog’s appearance.


13 thoughts on “We Can Try Begging Them To Stop Or We Can Try Forcing Them To Stop

  1. I think the major real hope I have is that the stock market, the capitalist money-system, the unjust Free Trade and the market-forces GDP etc., will indeed collapse, as has been forecast by some, including advanced spiritual soul Maitreya in recent times. I can’t help but think that such endeavours as farming/factory-farming, even fur-trade, leather products etc. etc. etc.,, are at risk of collapsing, given situations internationally – prices dropping consistently and so on; people less able to afford certain products, and feeling against those who are unjustly wealthy and commanding policies, growing among the millions of ordinary folk………who are increasingly protesting to governments as to needs and wishes. ..This is my greatest hope for the animals, for beneficial changes as the old worn-out systems deflate and can be replaced! We can continue advocating for animals; and realize the power of imaginative thought, by picturing – visualising – freedom and peace for the tortured animals and animal kingdom; AND ‘picturing’ a walloping great dose of MERCY and AWARENESS and COMPASSION entering the hearts and minds of perpetrators of cruelty. A change in their diets…foods and drinks. (especially removing sugar), .would soothe and renew nervous systems and help lessen aggression. This has been proved!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. catching up with your essays, roland….my heart is so heavy…personal experiences this august have just exhausted me and my convictions are faltering…that happens when we have crossed into the logical appreciation and reverence for other species in addition to ourselves…even more than ourselves for some of us…not enough of us!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. As Geoff points out, trophy hunting (aka “sport” or “recreational” hunting) is not tied to capitalism. In its present form it goes back to feudal societies based on a landed aristocracy, although it also clearly existed in ancient times, and likely in prehistoric times. Ending capitalism is not a viable strategy for ending (or even restricting) trophy hunting. By the time capitalism ends, most wildlife will have long been extinct.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Roland, when I first read your comments on trophy hunting, it seemed to me that you were avoiding my point that it has nothing to do with capitalism. But now I see your logic:
        More animals are killed for food than are killed for trophies. Most animal enterprises are capitalist. Therefore ending capitalism will reduce the total number of animals killed, even if all wild species will have gone extinct before capitalism ends.
        I, for one, am not content to allow mass extinctions while waiting for capitalism to end.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Marc, my work against animal cruelty and murder is not limited to long range plans for revolution. I support, and am actively involved in, myriad campaigns that have nothing to do with fighting capitalism.

        I support campaigns against whaling, sealing, bullfighting, trophy hunting, dog fightng, horse and dog racing, rodeos, fur, vivisection, the dog meat trade, poaching, etc.

        Some of these issues gain more traction with the general public than do others. Our strategy as a movement should be to turn up the heat on issues that attract popular support and exploit the opportunities to educate and recruit that such circumstances afford us.

        Have you read my piece Propaganda, The Ultimate Weapon For Animals?

        Liked by 1 person

  4. “While we have made advances in rescuing companion animals, over the past 50 years the number of dogs and cats we have saved is fewer than the number of animals who will have their throats cut in the next 8 hours.”

    Is this assertion true? I don’t think so.

    Ninety-nine percent of the people involved in companion-animal rescue feed other dead animals from tin cans or paper sacks to their preferred pet canine or feline, therefore, supposed “advances” in rescue of life, in general, hasn’t happened. Furthermore, supposed vegans who feed a vegan-style diet to their preferred pet(s) are as guilty as those who serve pulverized tuna from a tin can to a de-clawed indoor feline that gets a free ride in life. Am I to believe their isn’t an ecological consequence associated with the billion pets people keep on this planet? Think about it, silly humans raise food crops not just for themselves, but for their preferred pets to the exclusion and prejudice of other lifeforms that will die in the process of this mammoth manufacturing which occurs every year. You think because you have a couple of canines or felines running around your property that you are an “animal lover”?


    • What exactly do you mean by this: “Furthermore, supposed vegans who feed a vegan-style diet to their preferred pet(s) are as guilty as those who serve pulverized tuna from a tin can to a de-clawed indoor feline that gets a free ride in life.” BTW, I get it that you detest the whole idea and industry of companion animals (your privilege) but returning again and again to this same trope in your comments is really tiresome. Do you have any other ideas or are you one-note Jerry?

      Liked by 1 person

  5. A very astute analysis of the available methods of influencing human behavior towards non-humans which I would agree with ALMOST to the end. Exploring the coercive approach for a minute: what would happen if the number of hunting “accidents” in the field were suddenly to increase logarithmically. Sport hunting, by the way, is a personal perversion, not one of those evils that you can easily tie to capitalism. Recreational hunters head for the killing fields secure in the knowledge that their is very low risk of they themselves experiencing any personal harm. Being fundamentally cowards at heart, what percentage would be “dissuaded” from venturing forth if they knew there was a statistically significant risk of getting shot? (Nothing so warms the cockles of my heart more than a good hunting-accident story!) I doubt whether our erstwhile liberal, progressive and socialist “allies” are going to be onboard with this one!

    You mentioned insurance insulating various parties who profit from animal cruelty from the adverse effects of direct action. But insurance rates are directly tied to insurance claims and as claims go up, so do premiums which eats into profits. So, just to use an example pulled from the sky, if a small “sporting goods” store suffers a fire damaging much of its inventory and files a claim with its insurer you can bet that its premiums will go up and that could, conceivably, make the difference in whether the store remains financially viable. Two fires would probably result in crippling insurance rates. Similarly, a hardware store that also happens to sell leg-hold traps is going to be much less motivated to carry that item in their inventory if the cost of increased insurance premiums as the result of repeated vandalism attacks outweighs the profits from their sales.

    So, I don’t think the problem is that there is anything fundamentally wrong with direct action. The problem is that there are just not enough brave, dedicated people engaging in it at the moment!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Direct action aimed at animal abusers rather than at animal abusing facilities would be the far more effective strategy.

      But all direct action carries a cost to the movement that is almost prohibitive: The removal of the most brazen and dedicated activists from the streets and the fields. Those activists who are charged and incarcerated must depend on financial resources that would otherwise go to animals.

      The risk of apprehension would diminish as the number of activists participating in attacks increases.

      Even so, the most effective direct actions carry substantial legal penalties.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Well stated, Geoff, as usual. Too many unthinking humans, doing too many unthinking things. Going on Facebook (which I do sometimes, but not often) is Not Activism, just as those “purist Vegans” who think this is the solution to every planetary crisis. As I have said before, as a plant-based eater, I do not use the trendy word, “Vegan”–it has become the end all for everything–just like other religions.

      Liked by 2 people

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