May 29, 2022
It’s no secret: Much animal activism relies on gathering images of horrifying treatment. I have watched people scooting around demonstrations, and parents hurrying past certain stalls at vegan festivals, bent on shielding their kids from the graphic posters and bloody footage.
For decades, advocacy has been delivering a message of pain, suffering, horror, shame and guilt.
Advocates point out that the ones being harmed are the animals, not the viewers. Why should members of the animal-exploiting public escape the reality they create?
Yet organizers must be good students of human nature, observes former dairy farmer Harold Brown, who explains: “Humans, like all beings, spend nearly all of our time keeping pain, suffering and cruelty out of our lives.”
Can we think about this, and perhaps make our advocacy better?
How can we represent the animals we defend without normalizing their vulnerability?