Sadly, we live in a world riddled with discrimination; although most cases are often based on gender, age, and race, one that often goes unnoticed is animal discrimination. As much as there are people out there who absolutely love animals, there is a handful that is willing to exploit these lovely creatures. For this reason, like-minded individuals have come together to advocate for the fair treatment of animals all over the world.
Animal rights have become a cause worth fighting for, so it is no surprise that activists can be found on every continent. In recent years, activists have strongly spoken and protested against acts like animal testing, factory farming as well as other aspects that constitute the systematic mistreatment of animals – this is just a fraction of what these selfless individuals engage in. However, to further understand what animal activists actually are and what they do, the below information will help.
What Are Animal Rights Activists?
On hearing the words ‘animal rights activist’, it is pretty hard to picture anything other than a group of people, holding up signs in protest outside a large conglomerate. Although Hollywood may have dramatized the whole role a tad bit too much, the truth is – animal activism is seldom a full-time job (note the emphasis on the seldom) and activists do a lot more outside holding signs up in protest. There are a number of things that make someone an activist. As such, it is important to know what the work is really about.
Animal activists are people who stand and speak up for the just treatment of all types of animals regardless of whether they are domestic or wild. They do not view animals as lesser beings and as such, do not agree with any situation that treats them in that manner. Although most activists may have day jobs, they spend a huge chunk of their time actively protesting and working to stop the abuse that many animals face on a daily basis, be it in commercial or domestic situations. Their philosophy is usually based on the belief that animals should be allowed to live out their days under cruelty-free conditions, activists work tirelessly against all sorts of individuals and groups that threaten the well being of animals everywhere.
What Makes Someone an Animal Rights Activist?
As aforementioned, there are a lot of activities involved in animal rights activism than most people know; in fact, many of us may even be carrying out our own part unknowingly.
- As a guiding principle, animal rights activists are aware of the fact that animals have much higher rights than just existence and survival. They are constantly working to change the nonchalant way that society views animals as a whole.
- Creating a world where humans and animals can coexist in peace is at the core of their mission. That is one of the reasons that most animal rights activists are either vegetarian or vegan. In a way, most of them are also environmental activists and as such, they just aim to bring on an era where one species is in no way dominating another.
Example Activities That Animal Activists Partake In
As ascertained, animal rights activists look out for the interest of all animals at every turn. However, there are so many things that they do to ensure that animals lead better lives. In addition to actions like going out for protests and events, or simply switching to a vegan diet, activists everywhere are making sure their voices are heard.
Organizing protests is definitely part of their job description and it is an important one too. However, they also take parts in events that celebrate animals as a whole. What’s more, they refrain from wearing animal hides of any kind and do not use products that encourage animal cruelty in any way. This fire is catching on gradually.
All in all, they spend a large amount of time advocating for the rights of animals. These activities also include creating awareness concerning animal cruelty online, making videos, writing blogs, and stiring up chats on forums. Here is a more detailed low-down on a few of the beliefs and activities that many animal rights advocate for;
- They stand up for basic animal rights
Although many animals are extremely powerful, thanks to the higher thought faculty that humans are blessed with, they can easily overpower these animals. So, it is an established fact that animals truly cannot protect themselves against humans. They may have defense mechanisms that keep them relatively safe in their immediate environment, but human greed is a powerful weapon in its own right.
Also, animals do not have the voice to speak out and at times, they do not even know they are in a vulnerable position. As such, it is left to humans that see and can recognize this injustice to speak up.
- They identify animal cruelty practices
Animal rights activists aim to seek out potentially dangerous situations as well as the dangerous ones, identifying them and make a bid to stop them. In the present day, animal rights have become more defined and acknowledged, as such, activists can openly work with law enforcement to carry out their goal. It is generally encouraged to work this way, but a select few still go to radical heights in order to protect animals.
With the advent of technology, some anti-animal cruelty activities have become even more doable. Many animal Activists now use their phones to take eye-opening pictures or videos of animals being taken advantage of. Whether they send these to the authorities or a social media platform, awareness has been created and as such, something can be justly done about it. In the same vein, people use social media as a platform to create awareness about the plight of animals and educate people on how they can make a difference on any scale.
- They organize protests against animal cruelty
They organize a handful of events to ensure that the general public is well educated on issues that plague animals as a whole. It does not matter the platform used to fight for these rights; many activists will use every available route. As celebrities obviously have a wider reach, and their voices can be heard a lot easier, it is easy to think they are more effective than the common man. This is not the case, the awareness a celebrity creates is just as effective as that of an individual who adopts a pet from a shelter rather than going to a breeder. It also does not belittle the actions of a whole family deciding to go vegan as a form of protest.
- Rescue animals being exploited
Unfortunately, there are many different forms of animal exploitation which includes extreme practices which most of the general public would be appalled by once they find out. One of the most rampant ways is laboratory testing, and activists have been trying their best to curb this for quite some time now. Animals used for testing often undergo worlds of pain, discomfort, and some eventually lose their lives in the process.
The fact that most people have been desensitized towards the thought of animals dying makes it even worse. Animals such as dogs, bulls and even chickens are used in illegal and legal contact sports such as fighting. Tons of them lose their lives or are permanently maimed for the pleasure of their audience. For this reason, among others, animal rights activists target these problem areas and try their very best to bring the situation to light. Often these come in the form of protests held against the inhumane situations in which animals are raised for their products or rallies against conglomerates exploiting animals for their own gain.
- Ensure that animals are treated with dignity and respect
Especially because there are so many people that love and adore their pets and animals in general, it is hard to fathom the fact others have no regard for these creatures whatsoever. It is not enough to sit and be sad about it and that is why animal activists make it their duty to ensure that animals everywhere have the liberty to lead their lives without being bullied or exploited.
One of the ways they do this is to make sure that animals are not rampantly taken out of their habitat to be placed in situations that do not suit their original needs. Over the years, people have tried to capture wild animals like tigers and large snakes in order to domesticate them. By nature, these animals are not meant for such mundane lives, and as such, the consequences could be catastrophic on both ends. Animal rights activists aim to make sure that activities like this are not normalized. No matter how well these animals are treated, it is a fundamental breach of rights to hold them against their will in such a manner.
On the other hand, there are people that do not treat animals with respect at all. They forget to acknowledge the fact that these are sentient beings who can feel every ounce of pain and discomfort a human being can feel. Overworking animals, giving them inadequate living and feeding spaces, denying them treatment when they are ill, these are just a few ways in which people reduce the all-round quality of animal lives.
For this reason among others, animal rights activist go as far as to keep an eye on a range of practices which involve animals. They often monitor breeding to make sure it is done within limits. They also keep an eye on veterinarians and the methods they use, in order to ensure that animals are treated with adequate dignity and respect. There’s not an area of animal care and living they do not involve themselves in these days and for that reason, animals everywhere have a shot at a better life.
Well-known Animal Activists
Advocating for any kind of rights is no easy feat, there are ups and downs, but luckily there are also people ready to brave through it. In animal activist circles, there are people who really went above and beyond. Though the world may not view it as much, most animal activists will be familiar with them. Here are a select few of them.
- Anna Kranjc
This is just a regular indigene of Toronto who happened to make headlines as a result of her selflessness even in the face of punishment. Her plight was brought to light after she gave water to pigs who were on their way to the slaughterhouse. After doing this, she was arrested and charged with criminal mischief but was not found guilty.
She went on to become the founder of Toronto Pig Save, which is an organization which aims to save pigs from all forms of abuse and finally slaughter.
- Howard Lyman
Popularly known as the ‘Mad Cowboy’, surprisingly he was a former cattle rancher. These days he is a vegan and food, safety activist. He appeared on a number of shows including the Oprah Winfrey Show, to speak his truth. These days, he is the president of Voice for a Viable Future and even travels over 100,000 miles each year giving lectures and speeches to create awareness.
- Rachel Ray
Rachel Ray has made quite a name in the culinary world; now she’s aiming to do the same as an animal rights activist. She works tirelessly to reduce the number of abandoned and abused animals that are left in shelters. For this cause, she even has a website that is wholly dedicated to animals and the organizations that truly make a difference. Her pet food line has also been an avenue for her to expand her reach, and a portion of all her proceeds go to most of the organizations she advocates for.
- Wayne Hsiung
Apart from being the co-founder of Direction Action Everywhere which is an organization which looks into the issue of animal cruelty, Wayne is applauded for not being afraid to get his hands dirty. He is actively involved in making sure that his business is as honest as possible in it’s a plight to stand up for the rights of animals around the globe.
- Animal Rights Activists: What Are They & What Do They Do – Sentient Media
- What do you mean by “animal rights”? – PETA