Kickstarting A Stalled Movement

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As passionate as I am about the social justice issue that is animal rights, and veganism, I am starting to believe that the ‘movement’ as such has lost it’s momentum having been bogged down by egos and the perception that doing ‘something’ is all it takes.

Following on from an article in July 2013, here are some more disturbing things that have caught my attention.

In the past few months we have seen activists claiming to be from “Gateway To Hell” storm the Brisbane office of China Southern Airlines, to protest the transportation of primates from China to the U.S.A, without being able to say if it was successful or not.

Deceptive Organisations

Animal Liberation NSW’s Executive Director, Mark Pearson, added to his 15 minutes of fame by using an ABC Landline segment on incorrectly labelled eggs to promote his bid for a Senate seat as a candidate for the Animal Justice Party. He has even gone so far as to lodge a complaint with the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission over the final product being incorrectly labelled as ‘free range’.

A few days later Mr Pearson was in the press again, this time claiming that live export “will be all over by morning tea,” once they start putting pressure on will wholesalers, and build more slaughterhouses in Australia.

Why ANY animal advocate would be wanting to build more slaughterhouses is beyond me. Mind you, Voiceless, the Australian “think-tank” dedicated to animal protection issues also seems to think that consumer protection equates to animal protection, with regards to the Federal Court of Australia case, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission v Turi Foods Pty Ltd (No 4) [2013] FCA 665.

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We have also seen a so called ‘peaceful protest’ put on by the Coalition For The Protection of Racehorses, and Animal Liberation South Australia, which resulted in two ‘activists’ getting arrested.

So much for a peaceful protest.

Animals Australia themselves have pretty much killed any chance of their being any sort of discussion on the subject of the rights of other animals, and the general acceptance of veganism  when they published their page “What is Animals Australia’s ‘hidden’ agenda?

Closer to home, in Queensland, there has been a protest about a planned broiler farm in Ridgewood, yet no mention or even a comment about the proposed $7 Million free range farm in the Mary Valley region.

Even today, a bill that will soon be proposed in the ACT to outlaw factory farming will also been seen as a victory ‘for the animals’. Let’s not focus too much on the fact that there aren’t any commercial piggeries or battery egg farms in the ACT, which means that it won’t actually impact the lives of any pigs or hens.

Yet it is apparently a victory for some, none the less.

With Shane Rattenbury saying “These are both practices that are considered ‘cruel’ and for many consumers don’t meet modern expectations about how they want their food produced.” my emphasis added

All of this came and went without even the murmur of animal activists questioning what happened.

Another thing that goes by unquestioned is the activities of those who are waving the flag of leadership around.

I’ll take any publicity

As I have written perviously, we should all be concerned about the information that Brisbane identity Leigh-Chantelle Koch is putting out there. Especially when you consider that most of it is either poorly researched or made up.

Something else that should be of concern to pretty much everyone is her supposed credentials as an environmental activist.

Sure, she started an environmental awareness group, called the Green Earth Group, though it would seem that with the increasing amount of international air travel that she has done since then, her level of ‘actual’ concern for the environment seems to be waning.

Ms Koch even promotes travel via her facebook fan page, giving viewers tips on how to save for the holiday, facts that will make you want to travel, even 100 trips you MUST take in your lifetime. Ms Koch has even gone as far as posting a link to a way to travel around the world in 80 days, saying that she wants to do it too.

Mr Mark Pearson, Executive Director of Animal Liberation NSW, and Vice-President of the Animal Justice Party is also in this group, and the reason why can be seen in the articles linked to above.

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Beware of false prophets

Thanks to the power of Facebook, there are other people who are promoting themselves as ‘leaders’ in this movement, who have dubious intentions. One I have mentioned already in this post, and the other shouldn’t be too hard to find. All you have to do is have a look at one of the many Facebook groups they are both admins of to see who I am talking about.

These two individuals whilst they are claiming to not want people following them, are doing their best to ensure that that is exactly what happens.

They have positioned themselves in such a way by being admins of a number of different facebook groups, that anyone new to veganism or the movement is only able to see what they want people to see. Others in these groups are not able to question to teachings of these most worshipful admins, nor are they able to offer a differing view or support someone deemed to be persona non grata, lest they get booted and banned themselves.

Whilst I am not complaining that I have been banned from these groups myself, I think it is a huge hinderance to the movement that these false prophets are promoting only their beliefs. Thereby effectively limiting the growth of the movement by stifling any discussion on subjects these two either do not feel comfortable talking about, or are out of their depth when they do.

Most importantly, where to from here?

First and foremost, question everything.

Do not assume that just because an organisation has the word ‘animal’ in it’s name that it will actually be doing something for the benefit of other animals.

If these self appointed leaders are not open to being held accountable for their actions, then do not give them the honour of being labelled as a leader or taken seriously.

The only way to kickstart this stalled movement is for every activist to take responsibility for where the movement is heading, and purge it of those in it for their own reasons, and not honestly advocating for other animals.

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3 thoughts on “Kickstarting A Stalled Movement”

  1. Thank you for writing this Cameron.

    Whilst you didn’t name the two facebook admins in this article, I will as I have recently had a run in with them. Jamie Joyful, posted a clip of a discussion between Peter Singer and Richard Dawkins in one of their groups. I asked the question how it was appropriate for that to be published in a vegan group. He came back with something about it being insightful for us to look at when talking to those who are not vegan.
    I asked him another question along the lines of him possibly explaining why people follow along other blindly, to which he made some smart arse comment about being B12 deficient, then promptly booted me from that group.

    I contacted the admin SunVeg to ask why, and that as I had not said anything inappropriate, to have the ban removed. That was 2 days ago now, and I have not had a response from him. This is despite him reading the facebook message 30 mins after I sent it.

    Then again, he is probably too busy promoting this weekends “Dairy Debate”, something else I am sure he will view as a huge win for veganism.

  2. This is such a complex issue and wading through the maze of what’s out there is daunting. I think there are a couple of problems that come immediately to mind. Firstly, many people who consider themselves activists are really representing single issue protests. Hence for example you get a bunch of people who think horses love to be ridden and probably just love a day out at the races followed by a roast pork dinner jumping up and down when they learn of a case of cruelty towards horses.

    The second problem I think is fatigue. The extent of animal abuse is so daunting that it is overwhelming at times. I agree there’s no point trying to stop cruelty involved in live animal exports if it just means build more slaughterhouses here. There is generally often a focus on the problem being presented without thought to what happens next.

    We also know about those organisations that probably started out well meaning, but have become part of the problem like the RSPCA putting their stamp of approval on barn laid eggs.

    I don’t begin to know the answers to these conundrums. However I went to my last protest against live animal exports here in Melbourne a while ago when Adam Bandt was there along with the usual people and ended with the main presenter applauding that there was a representative of the Meatworkers Union in the crowd. I looked at those there and thought how many would be going home to a roast lamb dinner. Now I avoid such events. My focus is closer to home, trying to demonstrate to those I work with and am friendly with that being vegan isn’t a cult and no I’m not going to drop dead from some nutritional deficiency. There has been slowly a change in their eating habits. But I am always on the lookout for that genuine organisation I feel OK to support.

    • Hi Kerry,
      You are right about this being a complex issue, though it is one that needs to be seriously looked at.

      Unfortunately, there are more organisations that are becoming part of the problem, not part of the solution.

      For example, Animals Australia recently published an image on their facebook page about the ACT factory farming legislation. One person asked how they could help animals in other states. Animals Australia’s response was to join the ‘Make It Possible’ campaign, which I gather to mean donate to as well.

      Whilst I didn’t honestly expect them to say that not consuming or using other animals will benefit them greatly, I didn’t think that they would be so blatant in their desire to get more money out of people.

      The other thing that is troubling is that with Animals Australia’s recent ‘condemnation’ of veganism in their ‘hidden’ agenda page, why are all the supposed vegan animal groups still supporting them?

      I do not claim to have any of the answers either, though I still believe that the questions should be asked, and it is up to these groups and those who are claiming to be leaders to answer them satisfactorily.

      Good on you for choosing to focus closer to home. I still believe that vegan education will be far more effective at opening people’s eyes to our concerns, than any noisy protest or facebook picture ever will be.


What are your thoughts?