Most everyone in the Animal Rights movement would like to see an end to the suffering of animals trapped in the food system. But some actually believe that embracing efforts to alleviate some of the pain, suffering, and horrible treatment of those poor creatures is tantamount to supporting the Animal Holocaust.
They even suggest that “animal welfare” is at odds with Animal Rights.
Before we can intelligently discuss the issues it is important that we are all conversant with the terms we are using.
We call ourselves the Animal Rights movement, but we are actually the Animal Protection movement.
Of the tens of thousands of animal activists, barely a handful are working on Animal Rights. All the rest of us are engaged in animal welfare, or, if you prefer, animal protection.
Those working on Animal Rights are doing one of two things: Either working to change the laws to grant personhood status to animals (which is being pursued in the courts in New York by a few Animal Rights lawyers trying to have personhood declared for a chimpanzee) or educating potential revolutionaries for a future overthrow of the system that denies rights to animals.
Those doing EVERYTHING else are working on animal welfare. And yes, that includes being vegan, recruiting vegans, hunt sabbing, liberating mink, rescuing dogs, opposing sealing, whaling, rodeos, etc.
All of it is animal welfare. It is what I do every day of my life. In all likelihood, it is what you do as well.
Animal Rights is a legal concept. It is government recognizing that animals have the rights not to be owned, exploited, or murdered. Only governments or society can recognize Animal Rights. And no government on Earth is close to doing so. Animal Rights is a distant dream, and one that you are likely NOT working on.
Some of our activist friends are unclear on the concept. They think recruiting vegans is working for Animal Rights, and to do anything short of that is to be a welfarist, which they deride as evil.
The fact is that there will be hundreds of generations of animals in the food system before we can end the Animal Holocaust. We owe it to them to alleviate their suffering. To self righteously refuse to try to help is to condemn them to more misery than they must endure. It is flawed reasoning and premeditated cruelty.
The Animal Rights movement has two goals; one is short term, the other is long term.
Our short term goal is the alleviation and prevention of suffering of animals in the here and now. These are the aims of animal welfare.
Our long term goal is to secure for animals the rights not to be enslaved, exploited, or murdered. These are the aims of Animal Rights.
Most everything we do on a day to day basis is in service of our short term goal. We rescue, we work to pass legislation which will eliminate cruelty, we engage in demos and direct acion, we impact corporate and public policies, we educate, proselytize, and organize.
Working toward our long term goal is almost exclusively a function of education. Animal Rights will only be secured when we have a political climate receptive to the concept and our numbers have reached a critical mass sufficient to ignite and sustain a political drive powerful enough to ensure the adoption of Animal Rights by whatever government is then extant.
It is possible we can achieve Animal Rights politically, but I seriously doubt it. To succeed politically means we must overcome human greed and self interest. It means people voluntarily giving up profits, pleasures, and comforts in favor of ethics and compassion.
I don’t see it happening. I believe the only solution is revolution. But revolution fomented exclusively by Animal Rights advocates is not a likely scenario. To sustain the widespread moral imperative necessary to topple governments will require broad popular support addressing a host of grievences and inequities.
To achieve our long term goal I believe we need a socialist government in place. A capitalist one will not allow animals more deference than profits, and capitalist governments have proven their hostility to both animal rights and animal welfare.
Our long term goal is truly long term. It won’t be realized in our lifetimes, perhaps not for centuries.
Our short term goal similarly requires a receptive political atmosphere. In the US the political choice is between conservative Republicans and Democrats. The Democrats, unfortunately, are not all liberals, but the Republicans are exclusively conservatives. And conservatives are the enemies of all we do in the Animal Rights movement. Local city and county conservatives oppose no-kill shelters, bans on pet shop animal sales, mandatory free spaying and neutering, neutering and release; at the state levels they are advocating new horse slaughterhouses, wolf and bear hunts, opposition to bans on puppy mills, etc.
At the national level, conservatives carry water for the slaughter industries, environmental polluters, loggers, coal and oil companies. They oppose the Environmental Protection Agency and the listing of endangered species. The favor wolf kills, Mustang roundups, the killing agenda of the infamous Wildlife Services, a wholly owned government subsidiary of the cattle industry.
Conservative politicians are the enemies of animals, even if our conservative friends don’t know it!
Like every social movement in history, ours is a political one. And we cannot win protection for animals, or ever achieve rights for animals, without winning their political struggles.
And both short term and long term, that means the success of the political left.
• 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