The Rare Moral Consistency of Animal Advocacy Organizations

I struggle to see the point to continue to work in a field such as animal rescue when the message dominating the public discourse is one that perpetuates speciesism and continues to label veganism as extremist.  It is baffling that people who claim to love animals and who have often dedicated their lives to fighting animal cruelty cannot be bothered to extend their circle of compassion to the majority of the species suffering on the planet.  The veterinary industry is no better and in fact, is one of the main drivers of this injustice as trusted leaders in animal care. When doctors are eating their patients, we need to start asking some bigger questions about the ethics in the veterinary industry and who they are really working for.

When all those vowing to protect animals are only actually protecting humans as pet owners, animal farmers, and people profiting off the exploitation and murder of animals, the system has failed to maintain a message of any measure of moral consistency and will never be able to effectively address animal suffering as a result. Sadly, even vegan organizations such as PETA who were once labeled as leaders in animal rights to the extreme are publicly applauding welfarist nonsense like cage-free eggs and other humane labels on animal products, all of which increase, rather than decrease the demand for animal products. We have lost our way and on a daily basis I struggle to find a way to stay active in this industry and updated on the goings on of other organizations. It keeps me enraged most days that I am screaming underwater to highlight the root and solutions of animal suffering and am being drowned out by well-marketed lies from big organizations who have failed to be honest with the public about the majority of animals suffering in the world.  The vegan movement is not a movement at all if we look at the direction we are heading from the single-issue, speciesist campaigns that will do anything possible to water down the message that all animals have the right not to be used for human consumption, clothing, research, or entertainment.  Again and again we are told that dog meat awareness is going to somehow change the world and getting people to sign a petition to stop the Canadian seal hunt is a baby step towards ending the global suffering of animals, none of which has a shred of truth to it but manages to keep nonvegans paying their bills. 

“Animal advocates” spend so much time protecting the feelings of animal eating “animal lovers” on whom they rely for their funding that no one just comes right out and says to stop using animals because a dog feels the same pain as a cow who feels the same pain as a fish who feels the same pain as a rhino.  They seek subsidized infrastructure changes for animal farmers to make the short lives of their abused animals ever so slightly less miserable in the eyes of the consumer, and fail to just be honest to the consumer that no chicken gives a fuck about the hard won 3 extra inches granted her while she is forced to spit out hundreds of eggs prior to her untimely murder.  The farmers lobby in all countries is stronger than ever and the welfare campaigners are bending over politely and taking it where the sun doesn’t shine for a few bucks thrown on the end table for a new ad campaign telling the world that sure, you definitely need the breastmilk of another species as an adult human because that makes loads of sense… 

Where we stand from here in Vietnam is suffocated under the fat marketing budgets of welfarist, non-vegan organizations telling you that the dog meat trade of these “savage” Asians will be stopped by a fucking petition (and a few dollars tossed into their kitty), just as they wipe the bacon grease of their chins saying the dead pig they just consumed had a lovely and joyful life in half a meter more space of  concrete.  How can we trust organizations “protecting” animals (i.e. pets, bears, and elephants) when they refuse to acknowledge the 2.5 trillion sea animals and 70 billion land animals not covered by their donor dollars?  When “animal lovers” call vegans extreme because we choose not to harm any species, how do we know what loving an animal really is? For them, it means eating them after breeding them to live as profit machines for human greed and entertainment.  I would hate to be their mom if this is what love is for them.

We have allowed the “experts”, meaning the largest organizations with the most followers, biggest budgets, and least divisive message to tell us that we can both love one species and murder another. I, too, bought that horseshit hook, line, and sinker for decades. Most of us do. I had no problem kissing my cat goodnight on the way to a pig roast after the horse races. I was an animal lover after all and my cats were rescues! ….

“Humane” societies globally have animal agriculture leaders on their boards (HSUS is one great example), the conflict of interest is going to prevent a morally consistent message from getting through. When the farmer’s lobbies are infiltrating those who claim to protect animals, we are not going to ever be told the truth that the ONLY way to end animal suffering is by going vegan and ending our support of people who farm animals of any kind in with any measure of “welfare”. Humane societies protect farmers, not animals. They protect profit, not victims. I am well aware of the need to bring many sides of this argument to the table, but putting those with the knives in their hands at the head of the damn table is NOT going to get us any closer to ending animal suffering.

Ultimately, vegans are not against farmers at all. We are against those making profit off the suffering of sentient beings. In fact, farmers are exactly who we should work to befriend in a way that reminds them that it is not their profit we are after but the source of that profit coming from death and suffering. Farmers feed us and with the help of plant agriculture specialists within private and public sector, and with the help of communities who are supportive of change, we can assure that they are still feeding us and still making profit- just not off of the suffering of animals! Rowdy Girl Sanctuary’s Rancher’s Advocacy Program is a great example of this. We need the land owners and agricultural specialists to help us transition, but we also need the animal advocacy organizations to BUCK UP and stop supporting alterations to an industrialized system of torture and murder.

All I ask is for animal advocates to start speaking up for ALL animals and to quit perpetuating the myth that not consuming animals is extreme or difficult.  I would like to continue to work with animals, but “animal lovers” are really making me struggle with this.  It scares me how few rescues out there are actually working for animals and are not afraid to ruffle the feathers of some people whose feathers desperately need ruffling.  Being morally consistent seems like a no-brainer, but sadly it is rare.  I’m so grateful someone ruffled my feathers and even really pissed me off when he asked me how I could love animals and still eat them.  There is nothing wrong with confronting your own habits and evaluating them when lives are at stake.  I am so glad I acknowledged my own participation in animal cruelty and made the change.  Everyone has the ability to make the connection. 

Go vegan today!