The animal rights movement is very diverse, with so many different
organizations. It seems impossible at times for all of us to ever have
focus. When will there ever be any real victory?
Answer: Civil rights weren't won overnight. But the AR
organizations could be more professional.
We are anything but professional. We have enough people,
enough resources, enough energy, and enough money to be an enormous
force on the political agenda. But we consist, not of one solid block,
but of a few million strong-minded individuals, everyone of whom
believes to know exactly how this fight for the hearts and minds of the
public should be waged. And that's why we make little headway.
We do circuses, rodeos, whales, wolves in Alska, turtles in shrimp nets.
We do fur farms, primate research, pet theft, deer hunting in state
parks, leghold trap bans. We do elephants, seals, Hawaiian pigs,
rooster pulls, beavers, Canada geese, humane mouse traps, prairie dog
shoots, pigeon shoots, zoos, dog fights, canned hunts, classroom
dissection, Premarin, vivisection in the military, xeno-transplants,
cloning, no-kill shelters, feral cats, sled dog racing, horse slaughter,
veal production, battery chickens, downer legislation, vegetarianism,
cruelty-free cosmetics, Animal Welfare Act amendments, lobsters,
pot-bellied pigs, ostriches and emus, dogs and cats, vegetarian pet
food. We do ... why fill more space? (I've done every one of these.)
We call for boycotts of AAA, American Airlines, American Express, Ayerst, Anheuser Bush, Coca-Cola, Proctor & Gamble, Disney, Sears,
and 50 or 100 other companies. (It would be easier to list those
nobody wants to boycott just now.)
I said "We" do these things. But it's not "we" collectively, and
that's the trouble. If there are twenty of us in one group, pretty
soon we split up because Betty says that Bill just doesn't get it, and
another new group is added to the 1,200 or so now listed in BHG.
Because everyone one of us seems to know exactly which project is most
important and what tactics will succeed.
"Grassroots" is always the key word. The nasty national organizations
are bloated, bureaucratic and corrupt. Who needs them! (It's
interesting that not one single person here has raised the question what
came out of the recent "Summit" Conference, where the heads of the
nationals meet every year.)
I would add this: It needn't be a long time. But as long as 1,000
people are trying to knock down 500 different doors, all doors will stay
shut. Only when we all push at one door at a time, will they open, one
at a time. As I said before, we do have the collective strength. But
we don't have the wisdom to subordinate our strong views to those who
know more than we do about how movements ought to be operating in order
to succeed. There are such people in our movement. You won't find them
on the internet mailing lists or newsgroups.
Don't misunderstand: I'm not arguing against single-focus
organizations. I'm glad that we have those who work just on primates,
or on poultry, or on pigs. But we don't really have a "movement", one
that's taken seriously in Washington, appears on TV, gets into the
schools, and breaks through the molds of traditional life styles, unless
it's professionally organized and directed.
We need such strategic planning more than other movements, because
no other movement is up against so many vested interests and so many
traditional personal habits. Taking them on all at once is futile.
To succeed, each of us should stop saying, "I want to do XYZ - who wants
to join me?", and instead ask, "where is my energy needed at this time
for maximum leverage?"
That's how I see it. Most people apparently don't. And so we'll muddle
along, and ten years from now people will continue to ask on the
internet email list:
Link to Diversity 2
I absolutely LOVE the ar movement, it's certainly a VERY worthy cause,
it's just a shame it's not progressing very well.
-- Dietrich Von Haugwitz