Hi, this has probably been discussed on here in depth before so please point me to a good thread if you know of one. I did search and found some very long posts and I have read one or two of those.
A local animal rights group just formed the other day and I went along to see what it was like and because obviously as a vegan I agree with the cause of animal rights. I didn't give it much thought before going.
After thinking it through it seems that an animal rights group will generally focus on single issue campaigns rather than mainly on vegan outreach?
I had kind of assumed that promoting veganism and animal rights were kind of the same thing as IMO veganism is the personal practical application of animal rights and the mindset that considers animals as property will inevitably lead to animals being abused sooner or later.
So I kind if think the best way to promote animal rights is to promote veganism rather than any single issue campaign. What do you think?
The group's first campaign to get involved with seems to be a protest aimed at the supermarkets that sell dairy from farms that cull badgers (although the government has done a U turn some farms can pay to have badgers culled). It is possible that they could get supermarkets to not stock that dairy. The thing is though, I don't feel very inspired to get involved with this campaign. It's not that I don't think culling badgers is wrong. It's just that I wonder how is shooting badgers and different to shooting foxes or how the cows are abused for dairy in the first place?
To my mind it would be more logical to put the energy into promoting veganism rather than targeting a supermarket over this one issue.
Maybe that kind of thinking means I'm not really right for an animal rights group? I asked a friend and he said it sounds like I'm more into vegan activism than animal rights activism. I had never really considered the two to be different before.
The other thing is that I do feel more inspired by some single issue campaigns like shark finning and over fishing as the environmental impact of wiping out such a large percentage of life and likely leading to the extinction of species seems extra bad somehow.
Is that view inconsistent? Take over fishing for example. 50% of fished fish goes into fishmeal for animal feed. Maybe advising people to eat less fish to cure the problem of over fishing is illogical as if they continue to eat other meat then the chances are that they are still causing over fishing (for fishmeal for animal feed) as well as still holding the view that animals are property. Would it be far more logical to use the energy I would direct into stopping over fishing into promoting veganism instead?
Can a single issue campaign ever be justified over vegan outreach? An issue like banning circus animals perhaps?
Maybe a single issue campaign could be worthwhile if you consider:
The effort required, the likelihood of success and the reason to specifically target this single issue.
I think most fail on the specific reason part. Even shark finning (a very cruel process where the sharks fins are cut off then the shark is thrown back into the sea to die) is not necessarily any worse than the suffering endured by farm animals on factory farms. It may be different on the point of species becoming extinct but that isn't really a rights issue it's more of an environmental issue.
Maybe some single issues that require little effort could be worthwhile if they actually reduce suffering in an absolute sense. For example writing a letter to get a shop not to sell fur. I do think that it is important to consider the wider implications though. To make a big point of targeting fur while not saying much about leather seems to send out an inconsistent message at least with say advising others to boycott a shop over fur (sending the letter doesn't necessarily send out a mixed message).
I think possibly advising shoppers to boycott a supermarket over the cull of badgers possibly also sends out an inconsistent message (like the normal exploitation of dairy cows is somehow ok but shooting badgers isn't).
Asking a shop to stop stocking something is different to advising a boycott over something.
Sorry that's a bit of a long waffle
thanks for reading if you got this far!
I'm just interested as I assumed I'd be totally down with an animal rights group but Having thought it through I'm thinking maybe not unless the stated aim of the group is predominantly vegan outreach.
Maybe there's an argument I haven't considered? Maybe I'm just making excuses because I'm not really a confrontational person and promoting veganism in a positive way would be easier for me than a protest at a shop or business.