Establishing the Rights of Animals in Law and Human Consciousness
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Establishing the Rights of Animals in Law and Human Consciousness

Comments by David Cantor - 9 Jun 2006

Dear Frank & Mary,

I very much appreciate the discussion, too. Sure, feel free to share it if you wish.

I think the genuine animal rights movement has made far too little progress to expect anything from voters for a long time to come, or from elected officials. That's why I think the key activity needs to be getting across accurately and thoroughly what animal rights is strictly speaking, why nonhuman animals cannot have protection without basic legal rights; and the enormous benefits for human beings that no regulating of animal exploitation can provide.

Far more people are interested than the one student I mentioned. The next issue of Thin Ice, being drafted at the moment, will list RPA presentations and approximate numbers of people who attended -- just since the previous issue. It will explain that everyone who attended knows more about animal rights than they did before and that that has to be the objective of animal rights activity for the foreseeable future.

Though shocking people with factory-farming, laboratory, and other images can definitely get a response, years of working that way show me that it isn't a response that advances animal rights. I noticed at the Grassroots Animal Rights Conference in New York a short while back, for example, much enthusiasm was expressed for some news clips shown of open rescue at battery sheds and TV coverage of them and of the cruelty of the battery egg industry. Animal rights was not mentioned even once in all of the clips or in the presentation of the activist representing the group at the conference.

The discussion in the news was about whether or not battery sheds could be made "humane," whether people should buy eggs produced elsewhere, and so on. It was more of an anti-animal rights presentation than an AR one -- though no one seemed to notice. Regulating the egg industry or getting people to buy less-cruelly-produced eggs reinforces the legitimacy of exploiting chickens for eggs and therefore all animal exploitation; it offers no possibility of abolishing animal exploitation and so is counterproductive as to animal rights.

Best,

David C.

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