August 30, 2011
Why Animal Rights Activists are “Crazier than the Rest”
Someone recently remarked to me something I’ve heard before, along the lines of: “why are animal rights activists so (effin) crazy? You know your crazy is giving the movement a bad name”.
Allow me to explain.
An 8 Point Guide to Understanding Crazy Animal Rights Activists
1) The voice of the voiceless
What would one say who was made to endure a lifetime of confinement in filthy, crowded living conditions, unable to even turn around, separated from their peers and offspring, parts of their body hacked off with no painkillers, humiliated by being hung upside down, or shaved, or castrated, pumped full of drugs just to keep them alive, sick and dying from lack of care, abused by numb, begrudging workers, treated as products from birth until death, raped, anally and vaginally electrocuted, and then killed sloppily and unceremoniously?
What would these voices say?
They would be upset. They would be angry. They would be sad. They would feel disrespected. Betrayed. Lonely. And hysterical. How is it that we are made to face such atrocities? They would ask.
This voice would demand answers and change.
This is what the collective animal rights voice calls for.
2) Until humanity ceases to nourish itself from violence, violence will prevail
Some people find it ‘crazy’ that animal rights activists place animals ‘over’ people. But animal rights activists see the widespread, systematic animal abuse in our world as the root of all other problems.
The Tolstoy quote goes: “As long as there are slaughterhouses, there will be battlefields.”
Animal rights activists do not place animals above people, they see them as equal (but different) to people in that they, too, have a right to live.
3) What is violence?
99.99% of animal rights activists are pacifists. We are so upset to see violence towards animals because we are disturbed by violence in general. Violence meaning physical and emotional harm and abuse to others. Violence does not mean: yelling and breaking stuff. Violence means gore. Expressing anger and sadness is not violence.
While animal rights activists may pay you a home visit to protest you testing a make up line on baby monkeys, we are not going to show up and torture you or murder you – that is exactly what we’re protesting against. And for those who think home demos are acts of intimidation, compare in contrast the animals in labs who do not have homes, who are kept in cages their entire lives in isolation, only to be taken out to have painful experiments performed on them. They don’t get to go home.
4) No measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society…
Animals rights activists usually adopt a vegan diet since it doesn’t make much sense to fight for some sentient beings and torture others. There is some discrepancy as to what veganism is among activists, which is okay, as most of us are on the same page about most things. But from a vegan standpoint, ARAs find themselves among a very small portion of the population, making us, for lack of better terms… freaks. We are used to being the odd ones out.
If we cared about what people thought of our unwillingness to consume products derived from suffering animals, we would throw in the towel. But clearly, we like it over here, and we are willing to give up being normal for inner well-being. So standing on street corners and being vocal are really just a few more steps in a direction we’re already confident in.
5) They’re not ‘beliefs’, they’re understandings
Nothing annoys me more than when people start talking about ‘my beliefs’. If you watch the footage, if you read the statistics, if you go to the factories and smell the putrid, rotting smell of death, you will know that factory farming is not a concept one needs to believe in for it to be true.
Animal rights is not something certain people engage in to be different; it is not something that defines us (just like some people like the colour blue, or fencing, or Buddhism, or clogs) – it is about paying attention to a mass component of the state of the world.
“It takes all kinds”, is a cop out used to explain that well, some people like to be vegetarian and others just like meat—we’re all different. No. While it takes all kinds, we don’t need to all be different in this sense. Just like we don’t need for there to be some murderers, some child molesters, some serial killers, and some normal people to provide a lovely rainbow of variety within society. We can all eat a plant-based diet and celebrate our millions of other differences. Meat is not part of anyone’s identity. Although some rednecks have no other personality traits, so they make websites and TLC shows about bacon fetishes and the extreme barbecuing of flesh.
6) You think we’re crazy?
While animal rights activists stand outside with signs or megaphones, do crazy shit, or write controversial pieces, those who consume animal products willingly are actually signing the slip for horrific animal abuse to occur.
What’s more crazy? Standing on the street naked, or ripping the skin off an animal while it’s still alive? (Common practice in the fur industry)
What’s more crazy? Screaming at the top of one’s lungs in public, or hanging a cow upside down and slicing it open so its innards spill out while it’s still conscious?
What’s more crazy? Talking about the horrors of factory farming at Thanksgiving turkey dinner, or sticking your arm up a cow to impregnate it against its will and then putting its baby inside a dark box for the entirety of its life?
If you wear fur, if you eat meat, if you drink dairy – you are the reason why these acts of cruelty are happening. You are paying for these industries to exist. They exist only because of you.
7) The truth is persistent
When you feel good, you want to share it with others. Although there is a lot of misery expressed by animal rights activists, it is not our personal misery – it is misery that we are strong enough to know about and not take on ourselves.
The only reason that we are strong enough to persevere in looking at these images and teaching others about what goes on behind closed doors is because we are doing it from a place of confidence and strength. We feel good in our path. We feel good in our diets. We are not being vocal about animal suffering to ‘recruit you to our side’ like missionaries; we could care less about your inner beliefs. We just want you to know what’s actually going on. Someone else told us, and we, at our own pace, changed. We are so glad they told us.
Thank goodness a plant-based diet is a karmic superfuel or we wouldn’t have the energy to keep doing this.
8) A bad name
Okay, part of the purpose of the animal rights movement is to educate and bring people together to form new, conscious communities. Excellent. The other part of the movement is to simply: stop the killing. By any means necessary (except violence).
So while it’s great to see a plethora of tactics being used, from PETA’s porn site to vegan potlucks and bake sales and leafletting at high schools, the other part of the movement is just as necessary. Making it known that animal abuse is politically incorrect. Setting free confined animals. Hitting these business where it hurts: the profits. These means of direct action have nothing to do with winning the support of the general public.
It’s a choice of getting in where you fit in. Joe Backwoods might not have the best people skills, but he may have a crowbar and some spraypaint to do some serious liberation for the ALF.