Animal Rights. How can we be losing this battle?

I have had the title of this post staring at me on a blank piece of paper for the past few weeks and haven’t really known how to write it as I believe that it is one of the most challenging and hardest ones that I have had to write.

Whilst the title of this post is bound to create a few discussions within itself, there are far too many things that are pointing to this actually being true.

Before I begin, I will make it clear that I am talking about Animal Rights, not Animal Welfare, though even that seems to be failing miserably too.

Over the past few months in Australia we have had 2 slaughterhouses closed due to cruel treatment of animals that were due to be killed there.

As to be expected, the industry has put their spin on these incidents claiming that they were rogue operators, that Australia has some of the best standards in the world, etc. All aimed at making an already gullible public feel better about their choice to consume animal flesh.

Unfortunately it worked. There was even an opinion piece in the ever so informative Courier Mail entitled, “Even meat eaters care for our animals“. I’m not going to make any comments about what the author wrote, because, those of us who have been vegan for more than a few months have all heard this song sung before.

What makes what happened at these two slaughterhouses really interesting is that a few months earlier, most of the animal caring Australian public were up in arms and protesting about the treatment of Australian cattle in Indonesia. The footage was enough to have the live export trade stopped for a few months while the live export industry put in place checks and balances to make sure that it didn’t happen again.

Now something similar has happened in Australia, and what has been done about it? Absolutely nothing. Our laws and worthless codes of practice failed these animals and the wider Australian community that believed that they would stop the barbaric practices that were caught on camera.

So why do I think that the animal rights movement is failing?

To start off with, how many more exposés have to happen before people realise that killing animals for any reason is wrong?
Like any normal person, I would have thought that the first one would have been enough to create a groundswell of people converting to veganism, especially seeing as the live export saga isnt too much of a distant memory. With the first slaughterhouse being exposed in November of 2011, I thought that maybe people might cut back on the amount of dead animals they consumed at Christmas time.

Sadly, I was wrong.
I even think there were media reports that the 2011 Christmas period was one of the best for dead pig sales recorded for some time.

I though that maybe after this most recent exposé that things would now make a change for the better.

Sadly, I was wrong once again.

A few weeks ago, the folks over in the animal welfare camp applauded the decision made at a recent ALP national conference to create an independent office of animal welfare, or some other touchy feely term. This was put out as a win for the animals, even though it was only a vote at the membership level, not actually creating it as a ministerial office.

[GARD]
Now with Queensland being in election mode, the ALP has come to it saying that if re-elected, they will support the creation of a slaughterhouse in North West Qld. And they even released a report backing up the claim that Qld needs it’s own slaughterhouse. One thing that the associated press releases didn’t say was that the State and Commonwealth Governments will need to spend millions on roads and infrastructure along with other concessions to make it attractive for investors to want to build one in the first place. And all this is being done so the farmer can save $40.00 per head of cattle by having them killed at this new slaughterhouse as opposed to sending them somewhere else. Oh, by the way, this new planned slaughterhouse, will be able to “process up to 100,000 beasts per year”

It appears to me that the vegan movement seems to think that the most effective form of activism is the occasional protest and writing letters to politicians, companies, or even the newspaper, along with ticking a box of an online survey. Protests can be dismissed by the media as the work of loonies, letter can be ignored or insultingly replied to with a form letter, and as we have seen with the recent alternative medicine poll, they are easily manipulated.

We have conceded defeat on so many fronts that it cannot be allowed to continue if we expect the message to be taken seriously in the future.

If we can’t even stop cafes charging us extra for soy milk in our coffee, what hope have we got of getting them to do anything else?

What will it take for you to stand up and say enough is enough?