The Clueless, Rudderless, Disorganized, Ineffective, Pathetic, Animal Movement

ar movementThe 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.



Amory Notes:

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.

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11 thoughts on “The Clueless, Rudderless, Disorganized, Ineffective, Pathetic, Animal Movement

  1. When it comes down to it, even the fight for animals turns out to be all about us. Here we are, years after Singer, arguing over all-or-nothing tactics, abolitionism versus single-issue campaigns and intersectionality versus speciesism. As you note, even the animal organizations criticize each other and compete for funds and members.

    So some frustrated activists just give up. Many of the rest of us work on our laptops and decide what we can do without in order to make another donation. In the meantime, the population of carnists keeps growing.

    We should call ourselves the Sisyphus Society.


  2. I would appreciate it if you could provide a further clarification regarding your comment that some animal activists oppose the slowing of slaughter lines because they see this as giving into big Ag. I personally oppose supporting “humane” animal flesh and by-products because I see it as a sellout and a poor substitute for an abolishionist stance on consuming animals. And here is why: 1) Would it be ok to ever say that slavery, genital mutilation, etc in the case of humans, is ok, for now, if it is done humanely? 2) I know people who are actually now ok with not even questioning their eating of animals because they were raised and killed “humanely”. 3)Does it really make a difference to a chicken if she has 3 more inches of room in her cage, or to a cow or pig if the person shooting the bolt gun into their skull might, or more likely, does not know how to use it properly? 4) And I also believe that we are helping the animal killers sell more dead animals because they can now put “humane” stickers on their styrofoam packages. And all this of course is predicated on the hope that these businesses , who have never given a damn about the animals, or about the “enforcement” of the USDA, will now follow all “humane” regulations. I do agree with a lot if what you write, but this issue is a major sticking point with me.


    • The drive to reduce slaughter line speeds is is not regulatory, as we have absolutely no impact on Big Ag practices so long as Big Ag bribes Congressmen, Senators and presidents. It is being waged in board rooms by the likes of Wayne Pacelle, and HSUS. It is an attempt to force businesses to forego some profit by ending a tremendous amount of cruelty. Fast slaughter lines mean chickens and pigs boiled alive, calves having their legs chainsawed of wile still conscious, cows having their skin ripped from their sides while still alive.
      Until we can shoot the members of the boards of animal exploitation industries, we must be content with what we can negotiate


      • I would like to think that HSUS could actually get the industry to minimize the pain in these horror houses, if that is really ever possible in those places. But I am afraid the cost will be that HSUS will now have to publicly say its ok to buy from these companies because they really care about the animals. I have a hard time making deals with slave holders; there should be no chains, not longer ones. I would be the first one to agree this is a good step in lessening suffering if indeed it really could be monitored, and we wouldnt be putting our stamp of approval on an empty gesture. Along with the boards of these companies, lets not forget about the people who work there who usually do so to support their too-large families.


  3. Well said & sadly very true from what I’ve seen in the last 30 yrs little if anything has been accomplished out poor innocents suffer even more at the hands of evil humans most are physcopaths will their ever be and end to it i don’t think so I will die knowing I did my best for the innocents my last breath will be to all the animals I love you & im sorry for what happened to you

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Well said & sadly very true from what I’ve seen in the last 30 yrs little if anything has been accomplished out poor innocents suffer even more at the hands of evil humans most are physcopaths will their ever be and end to it i don’t think so I will die knowing I did my best for the innocents my last breath will be to all the animals I love you & im sorry for what happened to you


  5. Right-on, again. I have been arguing this point for years and unless the AR movement gets its act together we are getting nowhere.


  6. Pingback: Animal Holocaust – VeganVoices by VeganDude

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