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(US/ca/va) Radical Activism and the Future of Animal Rights

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  • AnimalConcerns.org
    [Pacific Standard - opinion] Last week, thousands of animal rights activists converged on Arlington, Virginia, for the 33rd annual Animal Rights National
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 3, 2013
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      [Pacific Standard - opinion]

      Last week, thousands of animal rights activists converged on
      Arlington, Virginia, for the 33rd annual Animal Rights National
      Conference. Over 90 presenters from 60 organizations discussed
      strategies central to the goal of reducing animal exploitation. The
      event garnered scant coverage from the mainstream press—always
      does—but it nonetheless brimmed with a rare kind of selfless ambition
      coming from very decent people who want animals to be treated with a
      modicum of dignity.

      While the media paid little attention, there’s no doubt that meat
      industry moles were trolling the halls of the Hilton with their ears
      pricked for the merest mention of an idea that might pierce the
      brainbox of a public so culinarily apathetic that, to date, it has
      voluntarily consumed seven billion cans of Spam. Mass consumption of a
      gelatinous rectangle of a ham-like product reflects a collective
      unthinking decision that the industry wants to protect with every
      cynically contrived resource at its disposal.

      Although the meat industry has no clue otherwise, it has virtually
      nothing to fear. Its paranoia is misplaced. The “animal rights
      movement”—a motley coalition that incorporates a multitude of
      approaches to helping animals—is currently a Babel of dysfunction. Not
      unlike the Greek hero Achilles, it is at once colossally powerful but
      ultimately hobbled by a weak spot both miniscule and fatal.

      That colossal power emanates from hundreds of thousands of everyday
      activists who justifiably believe that conscientious consumers can,
      through a wide variety of measures, take gradual steps toward removing
      animal products from their diet. These true believers do the grunt
      work of activism: they hand out pamphlets, write books, blog, make
      documentaries, start campus veg societies, publish vegan recipes, open
      vegan food carts, work for animal sanctuaries, run veganic farms, and
      do basically anything they can to encourage consumers to contemplate
      the face on their plate.

      I consider myself a member of this noble tribe. The heel of the
      movement, by contrast, consists of a handful of radicals, mostly
      academics, who do little more than set an unrealistic benchmark of
      success and effectively crucify activists who do not join them in
      dreaming the impossible dream. It’s a mess of an arrangement; the
      tyranny of the minority at its very worst.

      full story:

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