Animal Liberation. What Is It Exactly?

lib·er·a·tion

noun \ˌli-bə-ˈrā-shən\
Definition of LIBERATION
1: the act of liberating : the state of being liberated
2: a movement seeking equal rights and status for a group <women’s liberation>

As most of us know, other animals are being oppressed, exploited, used and abused at rates and in numbers never seen before in history.

Animal agriculture is always looking for ways to increase the profitability of their commodity, and animal abuse/mistreatment cases almost seem to be becoming common place.

As developing nations become richer and their middle and upper class grows, so does their hunger for the excesses of the west, which also includes the over consumption of non-human animal products.

As you read on, please bear in mind that in for the week ending 29 November 2012 the following animals were killed for to be consumed as food. Kill Stats
135,571 Sheep (Qld 9,274); 368,959 Lambs (Qld 5,004); 139,935 Cattle (Qld 71,778); 6,193 Calves (Qld 368); October saw 404,981 pigs killed, and 141,700,000 chickens were killed in the September quarter of 2012

Has The Animal Liberation Movement Lost It’s Way?

At some point in time after the reading of Peter Singer’s book Animal Liberation, the movement lost it’s way, to become the social club that it is today. Whether this was a gradual change over time resulting from the loss of momentum or never really having it to begin with, I cannot say.

What I can say though, is that a majority of the Animal Liberation groups in Australia seem to be doing very little in regards to actually liberating animals anywhere. Tending to focus more on the socially acceptable campaign of incremental reform.

Operating Under False Pretenses?

With the exclusion of Victoria, the other Animal Liberation groups in Australia are ‘member societies’ of Animals Australia.

Reading the Who We Are page of Animal Liberation NSW, is the following

Aims

Animal Liberation believes all animals (yes humans are animals too) have a right to live how they would normally choose without other species intervention. Just like slaves, women and other minorities in society have been able to challenge views on how they should be treated and what their rights should be, Animal Liberation wants to challenge society on its views of all non-human animals. The way we do this is through educational campaigns, public events and using the media to get our message across.

We appear at music festivals and hold monthly public meetings where information about campaigns and actions are discussed and activists can become more involved through these meeting. We are involved in research and advertising to get the message across to consumers regarding treatment of animals who are commonly eaten.

The animal rights movement is a growing one and we intend to maintain our fight for all the non-human animals on this planet until every last one is liberated from suppression.

From Animal Liberation Qld’s Objectives page.

Animal Liberation Queensland aims to contribute to the animal rights movement and to work towards a more practical and compassionate human worldwide, by:

Lobbying for legislative change at local, state and federal government levels; including collaboration with other state and national animal rights groups on a needs basis to increase the effectiveness of such lobbying.

and

Nominating animal rights advocates who are suitable to serve on various government and institutional advisory committees.

Promoting veganism as a healthier, more compassionate and more ecologically sustainable lifestyle, and by providing people wishing to change to a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle with support and information free of charge.

Yet the very actions of these groups seems to be in conflict with what they claim to be for.

A majority of people join and volunteer with these groups because they are under the impression that their actions will lead to the liberation of all animals. Which, funnily enough, is something that these groups don’t actually ask for. If you don’t ask for it, how will you ever get it?

Animal Liberation Groups, Should They Be Answerable To The Animals Or Their Members/Donors?

Seth Godin wrote an interesting blog post about not for profits, in general titled Non-profits have a charter to be innovators which I reposted here and is below:

The biggest, best-funded non profits have an obligation to be leaders in innovation, but sometimes they hesitate.

One reason: “We’re doing important work. Our funders count on us to be reasonable and cautious and proven, because the work we’re doing is too important to risk failure.”

One alternative: “We’re doing important work. Our funders count on us to be daring and bold and brave, because the work we’re doing is too important to play it safe.”

The thing about most cause/welfare non-profits is that they haven’t figured out how to solve the problem they’re working on (yet). Yes, they often offer effective aid, or a palliative. But no, too many don’t have a method for getting at the root cause of the problem and creating permanent change. That’s because it’s hard (incredibly hard) to solve these problems.

The magic of their status is that no one is expecting a check back, or a quarterly dividend. They’re expecting a new, insightful method that will solve the problem once and for all.

Go fail. And then fail again. Non-profit failure is too rare, which means that non-profit innovation is too rare as well. Innovators understand that their job is to fail, repeatedly, until they don’t.

I don’t know of too many supporters or volunteers of an animal liberation group who would be upset about their time or money being spent focusing on liberating animals from suppression, as promised by Animal Liberation NSW.

Instead, they spend their time working on softly softly approaches, aiming for incremental reforms of industry, holding their collective breaths that this may one day lead to an end of animal use. Though as I discussed in a recent article Incremental Reform. Dancing With The Devil, & The Devil’s Leading. this is unlikely to happen.

Why did these groups join forces with Animals Australia, the Australian Meat Industry Employees Union, The Greens, and who knows who else to take part in a Ban Live Export protest?

How is that maintaining our fight for all the non-human animals on this planet until every last one is liberated from suppression?

It would be the same as Melinda Tankard Reist and the people from Collective Shout joining forces with Playboy to sell their clothing range to over 18’s instead of all age ranges.

It wouldn’t happen.

At the 2012 Animal Activists Forum in Sydney Mark Pearson, Executive Director of Animal Liberation, gave a talk titled The Continuum Between Soft Welfarism And No Compromise (Which Is Better For Animals Breathing Today And Those Who Will Be Tomorrow?). Knowing what their aims are, what they claim to be for, and that the group is called Animal Liberation, do you think that the animals coming into the animal agricultural system in the future will be happy knowing that the volunteers and supporters of these groups spent their time asking for a bigger cage, to be fed for 30 hours before slaughter, to be killed in an Australian slaughterhouse as opposed to overseas, etc? Or, will they be bitterly disappointed that they haven’t lived up to their namesake and promise to fight for all the non-human animals on this planet until every last one is liberated from suppression?

Can The Animal Liberation Movement Redeem Itself?

I believe that it can happen, though it will take some work by the members and volunteers of these groups to tell the respective committees that it is time they got back to their roots and started campaigning for Animal Liberation.

It is time to take the fight to those who seek to subjugate animals, using any and every legal means that are at our disposal.

It is time to be proactive, rather than reactive to the animal atrocities that we see on our TV screens.

It is time to take a stand.
To take a stand for Animal Liberation.
Not continual enslavement in bigger cages.

[GARD]Make today in your diaries, because today is the day that the Real Animal Liberation movement was born.
A movement that wants to put itself out of business.
A movement that will do all that it can today, so it doesn’t have to fight another battle tomorrow.

What Can I Do?

Share this article with other people that you know who want to see animals liberated from their cages, not put in bigger ones.

It would also be great if you could leave a comment below, so I have an idea of how many people are coming on board with this idea. Or if you disagree with this entirely. All comments will be published, except for those that are spam or abusive/derogatory.

You can start by demanding that those in the executive or committee positions of these alleged Animal Liberation organisations be true to their name.

Not tomorrow, not in the New Year, not when so and so comes back from their holidays.

It begins today.

If the organisation wont change leave it. You don’t need to give it a chance to prove itself as it should already have done that before you joined.

Don’t be afraid to leave a group and strike out on your own. Remember, Paul Watson did just that, starting Sea Shepherd after a falling out with Greenpeace.

If you can round up enough supporters to join with you, I will help you set one up yourselves.

In closing, i will leave you with this quote from Animal Liberation Qld’s Philosophy page by Peter Singer.

If we have learned anything from the liberation movements, we should have learned how difficult it is to be aware of the ways in which we discriminate until they are forcefully pointed out to us. A liberation movement demands an expansion of our moral horizons, so that practices that were previously regarded as natural and inevitable are now seen as intolerable.

5 thoughts on “Animal Liberation. What Is It Exactly?”

  1. Very interesting article with some very thought provoking ideas.
    Bigger cages and longer chains support the notion that cages and chains are acceptable. rather than unacceptable.
    And at what point then do you draw the line, what size of cage is acceptable; will three centimetres difference suddenly make imprisonment okay and humane

    Thank you for sharing.
    Love and Peaches,
    from Anne XX.

    • Thank you for the comment Anne.

      Yes. I agree with what you say, though I’d also like to ask the question at what point does the improvement become unacceptable?
      And knowing at industry holds all the cards, would this ‘unacceptable’ offer become ‘acceptable’ because ‘something is better than nothing’?

      I’m not denying or dismissing that we have an obligation to those animals who are yet to enter the system, which leads me to ask myself the following question all the time.

      Would they accept that we campaigned for their prison to be bigger/killed here instead of overseas/adopted out once they are no longer useful, or would they want us to do all that we can to stop them being put in the cage/slaughterhouse/racetrack in the first place?

      I am hoping it is the latter, because that is how I’d answer it.

  2. The eternal problem Cam, is that we need those members and volunteers to actually connect with the real meaning of animal liberation. As I have seen, time and again on different forums, member group pages, and animal activism sites, the majority of the minority (the minority being vegans or vegetarians), actually still don’t fully grasp the concept of vegansm, that animals are not our products to use, that animal’s business (such as eggs or milk or honey) are not ‘by-products’ that we can use so that they don’t go to ‘waste’. Connection with the real meaning of animal liberation is of vital importance…but disconnection (a REAL disconnection) from seeing animals and their business as commodities is an area requiring some urgent work.

    • I totally agree Kellie,

      I’m still not fully convinced that the ‘softly, softly’ approach is the most effective way to bring about social change, and as you pointed out, disconnection for the thought process of animals and their by-product being a commodity.

      Governments are now resorting to ‘harder hitting’ campaigns with things like the road toll. And as we have seen with cigarettes, ‘shocking’ pictures don’t work, which is why they are now resorting to plain paper packaging.

      And even those vegans within these groups, how do we get them to focus on use, not treatment?

      As stopping them being used is the only thing that will bring about animal liberation, not bigger cages, or ‘rogue’ operators being shut down.

      • I remember when you posted this I strongly disagreed, now I am not so sure. After the direction some recent exposé have gone I am starting to think you may be right.

        However it should be noted that Animal Lib ACT have a strong group of abolitionists who are strongly pushing veganism, as do ALV.

What are your thoughts?

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