Blogging About Critters Since 2007

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Is There Danger of Elitism in the Animal Rights Movement?

This post is inspired by a thought-provoking piece on the Provoked blog (clearly a good name for a blog!)

I believe that we have to be inclusive in the animal rights movement and attack the system using all kinds of methods in all sorts of fields. Economics, science, literature, film, politics, law, etc. I'm no sociologist or historian, but it seems like there has always been a variety of inputs involved in any kind of social change, even violence. Remember the impact John Brown and his failed raid on Harpers Ferry had on the abolition movement?

And, even though I sometimes want to smack people in the head because I am baffled at how little they care about, well, about ANYTHING, I am still practical enough to understand that there must be a mass change in thinking that involves a large number of people. This may take time and maybe lifetimes to build up to that tipping point, but we have to use everyone and every resource we can.

I do think that there is a real elitism in the movement, however. This is probably an unpopular view, but I think it's legitimate. Is a vegan's efforts at advocacy worth more than a vegetarian's or even a meat eater's if they happen to agree on the same issue? If a meat eater eats meat, but hates the factory farm system or animal experimentation, do we discount anything we can get out of them because they are not "pure." Or the vegetarian who still uses dairy? So instead of three votes, we alienate two, but still maintain our purity?

At the same time, do we have the time to wait for everyone to become vegan to enact laws that will at least allow more humane care in the short term. You can exhort people to go vegan, but if only vegans have legitimacy in the movement, then it's condemned to a very, very small voice and limited short-term impact.

1 comment:

Bea Elliott said...

Ana... appreciate your support in seeing this side of what the problem is in our "movement". Seems we spend more time denouncing "the other" than we do making progress for animals. They just always take a back seat to our human issues. Some of greed, power, stubborness, elitism, inflexibility, you name it.

I get frustrated sometimes - I can see you do too! I think this really got blown out of context with trying to pin down what "violence" means -and some got the (wrong) idea that this advocates killing humans!!!

And this does get hard to distinguish... If I watch someone abusing a puppy, society would understand if I forcefully protected that one puppy. BUT - if an institution harms thousands of puppies... well, protecting the puppies is a "terrorist act". Go figure!

We're just not ready to deal with our speciesism yet - or our hypocrisies of "might makes right".

It's a long haul and we should to accept that often even "welfare" initiatives help spread information; and sometimes do hinder animal abusers.

I just want to stop warring among "friends"...

Guess the only solution till then is to keep educating people - in all the varied ways we can - Hoping someday to reach a tipping point. Hoping someday for empty cages. :(

Your one voice of agreement with me Ana - meant the world to me... Thanks ever so much.