The animal advocacy movement appears to be in the midsts of a flurry of activity. The activity ranges from the extreme, such as 269life style brandings and Gateway To Hell protests, marches to close slaughterhouses, and even so-called direct action campaigns by Direct Action Everywhere (DxE).
With participation in DxE protests appearing to be on the increase, it’s time for the following questions to be asked.
Is it really direct action?
Are these done for the animals or the activists themselves?
What Is Direct Action?
action that seeks to achieve an end directly and by the most immediately effective means (as boycott or strike)
Direct Action Everywhere’s mission is to empower activists to take strong and confident action wherever animals are being denigrated, enslaved, or killed, and create a world where animal liberation is a reality.
If there is a protest at a restaurant or a supermarket, is it following along with DxE’s mission as stated above?
The answer would have to be no.
By the time that any animal used for food ends up wrapped in plastic for sale, or grilled/fried/boiled, etc on someone’s plate, there is very little left to distinguish that part as an animal.
The denigration, enslavement and killing of the animal happens at the slaughterhouse, not the supermarket or restaurant.
If It Isn’t Direct Action, What Is It?
With these protests not being close to what could be defined as direct action, what else could they be?
Being brutally honest here, they can only be seen as an action for the activist.
Once an animal has been killed whether it be for food, entertainment or anything else, any action taken is just a protest.
To honour the principles of direct action, the activists would need to be there at the sale yards, at the feedlots, and at the slaughterhouses actually taking an action that would prevent the denigration, enslavement, or killing of an animal.
Unfortunately, all these activities do is allow the participant to give the impression, and claim that they are doing something for the animals, without actually achieving anything.
And the photos being shared all over facebook, twitter, etc helps reinforce how much they are doing for the animals.
It’s All About Raising Awareness
This seems to be another often used claim by those who take part in these protests which confuses me greatly.
Are they about taking direct action or raising awareness?
You can’t have both.
Standing around yelling at people does nothing to increase sympathy for the message.
Its About Animal Liberation
This is another claim that DxE makes, though just like the direct action claim, this one is also false.
IF DxE was about animal liberation, they would be at the farm gates, sale yard chutes or even truck stops, liberating other animals.
Total animal liberation involves more than holding up a few signs and talking about the life of an animal.
What Other Options Are There?
Instead of making this all about you, the activist, how about taking the time to get to know the person whose eyes you are trying to open, and consider them, their troubles, passions, etc.
After all, nothing will happen while society holds the view that other animals are property.
Maybe it is time that we started thinking less about ourselves, and more about those who we are supposed to be advocating for.