Are Animal Activists Making Things Worse For The Animals?

How many of us have stopped for a minute to consider the possibility that our actions, as animal activists, could possibly be making things worse for the animals?

Having just asked that question, I can see virtually everyone who calls themselves an animal activist, putting their wagons in a circle, and getting ready to defend their position that they don’t.

I would be willing to bet that as part of the first defensive salvo of shots will be at least we are doing something, and what is it that YOU are doing?

As animal activists, we are supposed to be doing things that improve the conditions for ALL animals, not just a select few. Otherwise, we are just as guilty of the type of speciesim that we charge others with.

Take for example, the recent Melbourne Pig Save protest that took place as part of the poorly named Animal Activists Forum.

Whilst the organisers of this event would have you believe that the groupĀ aims to inform the community of the plight of pigs in our food production system, they fail to mention that this is achieved by exploiting the very same animals that they are meant to be protecting.

Have a look around the group’s Vimeo page , and you will see that not only do they bring piglets out to the event wearing a harness and lead. Whilst at these ‘protests’, these piglets only have a towel placed on the footpath to stand or rest on. There is even footage of a ‘protest’ where Polly the Pig from Edgar’s Mission is featured.

Unfortunately for Polly, her presence there was more to perform tricks than be an advocate for the plight of those animals. Watching one of the clips that Polly is featured in, she is made to perform a number of ‘tricks’ to entertain those watching. I wonder if getting a pig to perform tricks using reward based behaviour modification is a good thing for any animal to endure, let alone one that we are supposed to be protecting?

If animal advocacy groups are against the use of other animals for entertainment, why is it acceptable for them to use an animal in their protests?

What makes this one protest even worse is that there are a number of people taking part in it who really should know better. Such as representatives from the different Animal Liberation franchises, Vegan Australia, and the Animal Justice Party.

Oppression is oppression.

Just because you are oppressing an animal(s) for your own gain or allegedly theirs, it doesn’t make it right.

7 thoughts on “Are Animal Activists Making Things Worse For The Animals?”

  1. i felt confused and uncomfortable after watching the video where Polly performs.I want to believe that Polly likes to busk with her human companion but I can appreciate Polly has most likely been trained and even though the woman with Polly does move around and interact with Polly ,its more to instruct Polly where to go than any real equal team effort or mutual support in the name of fun. Its not a message of equality that’s been given there. This highlights the apparent confused logic available in certain animal welfare campaigning groups. The idea that you can eat and use animals while advocating on their behalf, the notion that you can be vegan and still ride horses, put dogs in dog shows is another example. Its as if the humans involved in this confused logic believe they love animals and don’t eat them, but they want the non human animals to do what makes them ( humans) happy fulfill their desires. Often excuses for perpetuating nonhuman animal exploitation in entertainment or other industries is” they9 the nonhuman animal) like it”, ” its natural” . I would rather these human people stopped “loving2 the nonhuman animals and started treating them with equality and respect. Which means not making them perform demeaning tricks of course.

    • This is exactly right.

      In comments on facebook and elsewhere, one of the most common things I am seeing is the statement “they like it” or “This is their natural behaviour, just more focused”, just like you said they would.

      It is unfortunate that most people cannot understand that with reward based behaviour modification, they perform the task because of the reward, not because they ‘like it’.

      I certainly hope this is the last time that we will see pigs brought into the city and made to perform tricks whilst activists are campaigning to improve the perception of pigs.

      Should I be holding my breath?

  2. Don’t see what your objections are really. To me they are using Polly to change peoples perception of pigs in general. Most meat eaters baulk at the idea of eating Dogs or cats and the protesters are trying to show them that Pigs are just as intelligent and affectionate. What they are doing is no different than me teaching my dogs to sit, beg, give a paw or roll over and play dead.

    This is not the same as Elephants and big cats being forced to perform degrading, unnatural acts in circuses or a Bear being pulled about with a rope through it’s nose to make it dance in a third world back street. These are people who are trying to change the way meat eaters think about an animal they would normally view as being suitable only for food.

    If a display of this nature makes people see Pigs as something other than food then surely that can’t be a bad thing? As far as the “towel” on the pavement goes. What I saw in the vimeo clip was actually a Dog mattress.

    • Why do groups need to force these animals to perform these tricks to ‘prove’ how intelligent/affectionate they are? And you are right, there is no difference between the two, and as far as I am concerned, neither are acceptable.

      You are so right. Putting a dog mattress down whilst a pig is performing tricks makes it totally acceptable that these groups are doing this to an animal. It is just the same as animal agriculture giving the animals bigger cages or barns makes it acceptable for them to use their animals how they see fit.

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What are your thoughts?