Exitus acta probat. The animal rights cause is just: Violence against helpless victims must end regardless of species. But when do the ends justify the means?
A significant problem arises when the animal rights cause is used as a convenient channel for the internal rage some have felt during a lifetime of perceived violations and helplessness. Our society is violent: It supports, ingrains and indoctrinates violence as acceptable and yet the symptoms propagate more violence from fanatics inside the movement. Supporting such a self-fulfilling cycle is insanity. Ergo, I never refer to myself as an “animal rights activist“. And yet I categorically support the rights for animals movement and by default support any group who contributes to that end. With a few exceptions; but I’ll get to them later.
I see the solution as predominantly non-violent. All the issues we face can be resolved by making right choices and encouraging others with the benefits of a conscious society. I generally disagree with the bloody shock tactics used by far too many working toward animal protection. I prefer to focus my strategies – as much as possible – on appealing to reason, empathy and compassion. With so many visible occurrences of cruelty and suffering available on disparate channels, it’s just too much for the average person to bear.
For instance, I think PETA does a lot of things right: But I immediately turn them off when I’m assaulted by animal violence and cruelty propaganda. I’ve seen enough of it for one lifetime and I don’t require such stimulation to be compelled to act. I know I’m not alone. PETA is regarded by many as sometimes taking things too far but I do see the value in that strategy considering so many individuals have a hard time shaking their complacency long enough to eyeball a worthy cause, let alone support it financially. Yes, sometimes it takes guerrilla tactics to get attention.
Social media has proven to be a double edged sword. While on one hand it allows broadcasting to the eager public, on the other hand it allows broadcasting to the eager public. There are no filters for qualifications, accuracy or repugnant behavior. Give every clown an apple box to stand on and free speech suddenly sounds a lot more like a rotten shitstorm drowning out all reasonable discourse. Wading through the social media sludge quickly becomes more trouble than it’s worth. Facebook has increased the challenge by allowing fraudulent groups to persist on their platform regardless of reported criminal behavior and all while garnering significant followings of well-meaning yet completely ignorant supporters and diverting much needed funds from legitimate groups.
I’ve seen more than my fair share of cowards in the animal rights crusade hiding behind fake social media accounts and refusing to stand by their convictions in public. They talk like heroes online yet don’t have the nerve to show their faces. Instead they form secret Facebook groups where they can childishly conspire together to validate their shared grand paranoia. It took some time to realize these idiots are everywhere and they simply need to be turned off permanently. There are some voices in the conversation that just aren’t worth including. You cannot reason with fanatics – you might as well be asking ISIS to be more sensitive toward their beheaded victims.
“Whenever we are talking about facts, certain opinions must be excluded.” Sam Harris
The psychosis exhibited by some individuals in the animal rights community takes its toll. Good people have walked away from the cause to avoid further abuse and recuperate from the constant din of obsessive ALLCAPS rhetoric. The infighting is chronic and tedious. On the surface it would be easy to assume that everyone in the community fought side by side for animals’ sake – it’s anything but that. In the same way religion is broken up into so many schisms who fight and kill each other over the best interpretation of the laughable divine, animal rights activists are just as full of dangerous vitriol.
I guarantee, at some point, an ARA is going to read this and obsess for days about crafting a caustic response rather than use it as an open door to valuable discourse. To such individuals I say proactively: Don’t bother, your opinion carries no weight here.