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Are Alliances between Animal Rights and Animal Welfare Organizations Possible?

We are often getting messages from our supporters outside the rescue world saying that all animal rescues and animal advocacy organizations of different kinds should work together and form alliances with the purpose to save more animals. I am often criticized for being “combative”, not playing well with others. For many years in the beginning of my work in rescue, I also believed that by forming larger alliances with anyone at all working in rescue, we could make a greater difference and help more animals.  I learned the hard way over the past 7 years that this is just not the case given the vast differences in the vision for animal advocacy and the speciesism so deeply ingrained in the animal welfare world which is so harmful to ALLanimals.

We are an animal RIGHTS organization, not an animal welfare organization, and this distinction is vital to how we operate, the message we promote, and the animals that we care for.  Animal welfare organizations, particularly those in Vietnam who speak of the dog meat trade as if it is the “greatest crime of humanity” (though anyone who’s seen a slaughterhouse video or concentration camp could dispute that), are spreading a message to the public which is completely ignorant of the big picture of animal rights and which perpetuates animal suffering rather than alleviates it. This message ignores the very basic scientific fact that dogs do not suffer any differently than the trillions of animals that are put on plates around the world by doggie-loving meat eaters. Animal welfare (not rights) organizations spread the message that some species matter more than others, a concept known as speciesism and it is this ideology which has downplayed the suffering of the majority of animals to their detriment.  One of the greatest crimes of humanity is that people who we trust to be the leaders of animal protection are the same ones who are throwing the majority of animals in need of protection under the bus. Those who are supposed to be fighting for animals are only fighting for a tiny handful of species while telling us that the torture and murder of the others should merely be better regulated. That’s truly criminal.

Animal welfare organizations focus on legally regulating animal use rather than ending it entirely is meant to protect the profit of those who exploit animals for a living, not the animals themselves. They have convinced the public- including myself for most of my life- that ending animal suffering requires them only to do the exact same thing as before, just eat free range eggs instead of battery hen eggs and sign petitions to end the dog meat trade in countries they know nothing about. They have lied to the public about the potential to do a violent act humanely,, but common sense says there is nothing humane about taking life unnecessarily. They have said that laws regulating animal exploitation, torture, and murder will make a difference to the 2.8 trillion land and sea animals that humans kill every single year, but they won’t. They have downplayed the vital step towards veganism that truly ENDS animal suffering while applauding companies that give their tortured animals inches more space in their short and miserable lives. Worse than all of this, animal welfare organizations spread the absolute nonsense that some animals matter more than others. They have marketed lies that harm trillions of lives and for this, we cannot support the message they spread. We can never support a message which only increases animal use, “happy exploitation”, and speciesism. We will never betray those animals who are most vulnerable to human exploitation, regardless of how unpopular that message is at this time in history. We will never absolve the public from their daily participation in animal suffering and murder. There is simply no gray area here. This is a matter of life and death for literally trillions of sentient beings. Why would we water that down?

Which species matter?

The species which matter most to animal welfare organizations and those which receive by far the most funding in organizations are those which are pets, the animals that do something adorable for humans, meaning the 900 million dogs and 600 million cats on the planet. Let’s go over some numbers:

—The number of dogs and cats living today (both as pets and strays total) equals 500 million less than the number of pigs murdered every year globally for human consumption. 

—The number of cats and dogs on the planet makes up one-fifth of the number of male chicks murdered yearly on the day they are born in macerating machines or suffocated in plastic bags in just the egg industry which is calculated at 6 billion animals.

—Nine BILLION chickens are killed in the US alone every year, while “animal welfare” organizations ignore this statistic when mentioning the 30 million dogs killed globally in the dog meat trade that their supporters cry buckets of tears over.  That means 300 times more chickens are murdered in just one country than dogs are killed globally. Let that sink in. 2300 times the number of land animals killed than dogs killed. Yet where are the organizations telling you NOT to eat them???

And yet in spite of these easily available statistics reflecting the truth of animal suffering, these welfare organizations have yet to raise their voices for these other species or even consider speaking of veganism as a solution to ending animal suffering. Most people working in rescues are still consuming other species, in fact, but consider the fact that they care for fluffy things as irrefutable evidence of their “love” of animals. They choose instead the path of moral inconsistency which keeps their meat eating donors happy. Sadly, the few vegans in rescue often remain silent or fear of the financial repercussions. Heaven forbid we ruffle a few feathers for the trillions of vulnerable beings who need us…

It is interesting how easy it is for these organizations to avoid publicizing the well-known statistics on animal agriculture.  You think China has a dog meat problem when they are killing 10 million dogs a year?  China kills 12 million pigs A WEEK!  Where are the petitions to stop that? What animal welfare organization will ever talk about those 12 million pigs in China or any other part of the world in which these animals are tortured and murdered needlessly? How about the 24 MILLION chickens killed every single day in the US? When will the “animal advocates” wake up to that and start speaking up to the murder of the animals killed in the highest numbers in the most horrific ways? 

Ignoring the majority of animal suffering in farm animals and sea life does nothing for the dogs and cats they claim to love and protect.  It is all part of the same system of abuse and exploitation and no sanctuary, no adoption program, no welfare education programs, no spay/neuter program, and definitely no ban on dog meat or wildlife consumption will ever make the change necessary for the animals when the vast majority of species are ignored.  When these animal organizations talk of bans on one species that donors deem cute enough to protect, yet condone- if not support- the industries of poultry, cow, and pig production, they are promoting happy exploitation. This is the idea that keeps consumers happy by telling them their free range eggs cause no harm, their grass fed cows are happy while their babies are stolen them, and the murdered pigs had happy mothers with an extra foot of space to move while pregnant from rape. It protects producers of animals who profit off their exploitation no different than the puppy mills they cry over.

The organizations that claim that the dog meat trade is the greatest crime in humanity live under a fucking rock, frankly, and they do not love animals.  They love your donations.  They love commiserating with other doggie-loving, meat eaters that someone’s poor pets are killed as they ignore the fact that Vietnamese eat dogs because Australians eat chicken.  The Chinese eat bats because Texans eat steak.  The French eat horse because the Norwegians eat salmon.  The consumption of any species is only part of the consumption of all of them. The animal welfare organizations care nothing of the rights of any species, much less those who suffer in the greatest number. They care about who they can point their finger at to enrage their audience, creating an emotional response that drives donations for the 2 species they claim to protect.  Wildlife and pet advocacy pays the bills, but the moment you mention not eating any other species, you’ve lost the audience.  This means the narrative for animal advocacy remains focused on those who are suffering in the smallest numbers, while those who truly need us most are ignored in favor of more profitable marketing.

The reason we do not support welfare organizations is because we fundamentally do not agree at all on what it means to care for animals, not to mention the environmental and human health impact of our use of animals.  We know that being vegan is not hard.  We know that loving animals means loving ALL species and that there is nothing “humane” about snuggling your dog but merely fighting for giving a chicken 3 more inches of space for its short and miserable life before you unnecessarily murder it.  We have nothing in common with people who proclaim themselves heroes for rescuing a kitten, yet have nothing to say about the BBQ restaurants with pigs, chickens, and ducks on spits just up the road.  If you eat animals or support their suffering, you are no hero. A hero stands up for the vulnerable, regardless of how many likes on Instagram they get or how much donor money rolls in. A sell out will never be a hero.

How being for RIGHTS, not welfare, affects our work

To run a vet clinic and a shelter you need a lot of cash.  No way around that. This is a huge cost. Medical facilities are capital-intensive projects regardless of where they are in the world. We know that being an animal RIGHTS organization drastically limits our access to funding because 98% of the planet happily uses animals for profit while still being perfectly content to love doggies, and when you point out the moral inconsistency in that, you no longer are qualified to receive funds from most foundations.  I can get hundreds of thousands in grants for dogs, but rescuing a pig means I better have a trust fund lined up for their care. 

Selling out 2.8 trillion murdered individuals with a message that protects less than 1% of animals and sends to an early death the rest is not an option.  The rescue and veterinary industries are rife with hypocrisy that no one dares call out because if they do, they lose support.  We know this from losing our first clinic 3 years ago.  The moment we exposed the anti-dog meat campaigners for their hypocrisy and became more vocal about the detrimental effects of speciesism, we lost the funding we needed to stay open.  The doggie-loving meat eaters attacked us, attacked the Vietnamese as “savages”” for eating dogs, attacked vegans for standing up for all species. The speciesist critics from the peanut gallery came out of the woodwork to say their piece. We have again and again suffered from the critics of animal rights, those who are the people participating every single day in animal cruelty in their own consumption habits. The word “vegan” is toxic for fundraising and we have been badly affected by this for years. We stood up for all animals and we lost it all, then those same welfare organizations we did support during the years of our vet work acted as though we were never there to begin with.  Persona non grata. We paid an unreasonable price for our true love of animals and advocacy to end their suffering and there will never be a way to see eye to eye now. And yet, I regret nothing because the animals deserve better than the well-funded organizations with millions in marketing budgets to spread their love of pets and elephants while throwing the rest of the animals to the fire.

What can YOU do?

There is no value in the idea that all animal organizations should work together for the greater good when we fundamentally disagree that loving animals means ALL animals.  There is no work to do together when we are fighting an ideological battle for the lives of trillions of land and sea animals that most of the human population couldn’t give a damn about while still being “animal lovers” and “supporting animal welfare”. We will never promote the work of organizations that are made up of the same people who we are rescuing animals from. 

If you eat dairy or look the other way from the horrors of this industry, it is YOU we rescue animals from.  YOU are the reason we rescue.  If you eat eggs or intentionally avoid the subject of the 6 billion male chicks ground up on the day of their birth, it is YOU we are rescuing animals from.  YOU are the abuser.  YOU are complicit in their suffering.  This hurts to hear, but it is not just the dog beaters and eaters that we work against, but those who continue to see animals as profit for food, clothing, research, and entertainment or at least have actively chosen to avoid the topic to prevent ruffling any feathers of those who carry the cash.  This message can never be watered down in exchange for donations to open our clinic which will espouse the ideals of animal rights, not animal welfare. It is never right under any circumstances to use any species of animal for any purpose and if we were to deny that message, we would be morally bankrupt like the welfare organizations who cannot see past their own noses/bank accounts to enlighten the public to the true root of animal suffering and the solution through veganism.   There is no gray area here. This is not about diplomacy. This is a fight for the lives of trillions of animals who we will never be silent about. We just cannot support those who have traded in their integrity for the almighty dollar, selling out those who needed them most. We hope that one day, loving all animals will not come at such a cost. We hope that by being outspoken advocates for the most vulnerable will one day open the door for others to do the same.

We ask animal lovers around the world to stand up for all species and to take a hard look at how they can change their own habits to stop harming animals. We ask that when you support an organization that claims to protect animals, look deeply to find out which species they have thrown to the fire in exchange for getting meat eating donors on their side. Hold those organizations accountable for their moral inconsistency. Let them know that loving animals means not using any of them, not working to ban dog meat and just regulate chicken murders. Most of all, your money does speak volumes to these organizations. Their ability to sell lies is based on their donations to fund their staff who write them and the marketing budget that spreads speciesism with paid ads. If you love animals, support those organizations who love ALL species.