The modern animal movement is commonly dated from the publication of Peter Singer’s “Animal Liberation” in 1975. I take exception to that demarcation, as I have been an animal activist since 1958. In any event, the movement has been working for decades to end animal suffering.
Most efforts have been aimed at rescuing cats and dogs in kill shelters, and in that narrow regard, the animal movement has made significant strides. Over the last 50 years, an average of one million cats and dogs have been saved each year.
However, over that same fifty year period, the number of animals slaughtered each year has escalated from 20 billion per year to now over 60 billion per year.
For those animals trapped in the food system, it is as if there is no animal movement at all.
The only effort to end or slow the Animal Holocaust has been to advocate for veganism and to recruit people to becoming vegan.
It is a complete failure as a strategy. Carnists are reproducing faster than we can create vegans. Our current efforts literally guarantee that the Animal Holocaust will never end.
If flawed and failed strategies were not enough, the animal movement is plagued by zealots who refuse to engage in any efforts to save particular animals. They oppose efforts to stop whaling, sealing, bullfighting, fur, the dog meat trade, etc, on the grounds that supporting such efforts is tantamount to endorsing cruelty to other animals not addressed by such campaigns.
The animal movement is further burdened by political ignorance and a lack of sophistication that is almost mind boggling.
There is little or no cooperation between organizations, duplicative and wasteful efforts are common, and organizations even take opposing positions on fundamental issues. We see animal groups that are for and against kill shelters, for and against BSL (breed specific legislation), for and against TNR (trap, neuter, release).
Many of us dream of major changes in governmental policy which would benefit the animals. Some are achievable, many are not.
For example, it may be possible to ban wild horse roundups and ban live export of horses to slaughter. It may be possible to abolish Wildlife Services, the branch of the Department of Agriculture which murders wildlife inconvenient to the cattle ranchers.
It may be possible to greatly expand no-kill shelters and to increase the number of pets permitted per household. It may be possible to pass statewide legislation which would require landlords to rent to families with pets.
We may be able to make possession of ivory or endangered animal parts a felony. We may be able to ban the boiling alive of animals like lobsters and crabs.
We may be able to ban B dealers, those who sell dogs to laboratories and testing facilities.
There is no shortage of legislative goals we might achieve. And in doing so we will save hundreds of thousands, if not millions of lives.
But that is a mere drop in the bucket of blood we spill every day of every year.
In a perfect world we could ban all subsidies to animal agriculture. We could tax meat to reflect its actual societal costs in environmental damage and medical procedures.
In that same perfect world we could ban animal consumption.
But that perfect world does not exist, and those goals are not possible under capitalism.
The only way to proscribe animal consumption is through socialist government. And even then, animal consumption would only be drastically reduced, not eliminated.
Only human extinction would end human cruelty and exploitation of animals.
Neither social revolution nor human extinction is a likely occurrence in the foreseeable future, so we continue to work toward those goals which are achievable.
Many of those goals are seen by some animal activists as surrendering to Big Ag, as they do not mean an end to slaughter. Slowing slaughter lines to prevent cows from being dismembered while still conscious or preventing pigs and chickens from being boiled alive is, astonishingly, opposed by some animal groups.
The animal movement is so diverse and rudderless that comprehensive and concerted action is an impossibility. That is one of our great weaknesses and failings.
Animal organizations compete for donors and volunteers. They jealously guard their activists and their turf. Egos rule. Petty differences fracture cooperation and unity. The major organizations are invested in the status quo and salaries and position are often more important than their missions.
We spend time arguing with ourselves and dwelling on differences of opinion and strategy.
And while we do, the animals suffer.
We need to come to a common understanding about what is important, what is doable, and what are our ultimate goals,
I offer this:
Our ultimate goal should be animal rights, a legal concept well below the horizon.
An end to animal ownership and exploitation.
An end to the Animal Holocaust and animal agriculture.
An end to fishing, trapping, dredging.
An end to capitalism. (For more information on how socialism saves animals, click here.)
And in the interim, while we await achieving those goals, we embrace any and all measures which will reduce the suffering of animals in the here and now.
• I am unaware of any other blog with the Armory’s mission of radicalizing the animal movement. I certainly hope I am not alone, and that there are similar sentiments being expressed by comrades unknown to me.
If you know of other blogs dedicated to animal rights and the defeat of capitalism, please comment with a link.
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• Feel free to comment. I encourage open discussion and welcome other opinions. I moderate comments because this blog has been attacked by hunters and right wing trolls. I approve comments that are critical as well as those which agree with me. Comments that I will not tolerate are those that are spam, threatening, disrespectful, or which promote animal abuse and cruelty