Newsletter - Animal Writes sm
25 June 2000 Issue

The Animal Advocacy Movement

When we turn down a visit to the circus because elephants are forced to balance on balls, and whips are cracked to make tigers leap through flaming hoops, or once-proud horses are made to look ridiculous as they dance wearing plumage stolen from ostriches;

When we say "No!" to eating the charred corpses of chickens, turkeys, ducks, cows, calves, pigs, and sheep, or refuse to let our bodies be compromised by the consumption of eggs, milk, and cheese because they are the "hidden" products of the slaughterhouse;

When we dispute scientists' self-appointed privilege of seizing every animal imaginable to use as a tool for research, deliberately inflicting pain and suffering without any sincere and meaningful regard for their victims' psychological and physical well-being;

When we challenge the legal status of animals as property, which gives license to unlimited numbers of heinous acts of cruelty by individuals and legitimizes the institutionalized commercial exploitation of animals everywhere;

When we affirm that animals are sentient individuals with their own inherent rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness;

This is when we become the leadership of the animal advocacy movement.


Every time we speak up for animal liberation and speak out against cruelty, we are leaders of the animal advocacy movement. Every time we act for animals we become their representatives, and everyone will judge our commitment to animals and the sincerity of our convictions based upon our actions, behavior, language, and appearance.

Every time we act as cruelty-free consumers or as vegetarians, or better still, as vegans, we are leaders of the animal advocacy movement. Every time we act for animals by demonstrating outside a restaurant, rescuing a stray dog from traffic, writing a letter to the newspaper, visiting an elected representative, participating in a state ballot initiative, reading a book about animal rights, making a donation to an organization, watching a video, and volunteering at the local shelter, we show leadership for the animals.

As leaders of a social justice movement that champions the rights of those who cannot speak for themselves, we have a particularly heavy responsibility. This duty is singularly burdensome when we remember the individuality of the billions of animals abused, exploited, neglected, and killed by members of our species.


We need to foster a movement-wide collective leadership that embraces grassroots, national, and international action; effectively utilizes the different strategic advantages of direct action and working within the legal and political establishment; and mobilizes public opinion through creative use of the mainstream media, academia, the church, and other public institutions that constitute society.

As the movements' leadership, we ultimately bear the responsibility of success and failure in our efforts to free animals from human oppression. This is why it is so important for us to learn how to accommodate any differences we may have on ideology, strategy, and tactics.

The animal advocacy movement is a complex and diverse community of individuals and organizations that share a vision of a cruelty-free society but come from different starting points and different directions. The true test of movement in leadership is to let our diversity be our strength and to not invest our future successes in any one ideology; organization, or individual.


Let us celebrate each and every one of our individual efforts to break free from a society that is largely blind to animal exploitation. Let us acknowledge our efforts to come out of the closet of cruelty and make a new world that humans and animals can enjoy equally.

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