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Does it matter what Animal Advocates call themselves?

In 2004, HRC (The Humane Research Council) conducted a comprehensive research study for the National Council for Animal Protection (NCAP), a coalition of U.S. animal protection groups. The research involved multiple phases including a large survey supplemented by eight focus groups and fifteen individual interviews. The goals of the study were to understand public awareness and opinions of animal protection activities, including the perceived image, credibility, and effectiveness of the animal advocacy movement in the United States. Now, for the first time, the NCAP research is generally available (upon approval) to advocates and scholars.

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Some of you may recall, as recently as ten years ago, that animal advocates often used the terms “activists” and “animal rights” to describe themselves and their activities. The NCAP research found that these terms were off-putting to a large segment of U.S. adults, for various reasons, and suggested that it would be better to use the terms “advocate” instead of activist and “animal protection” instead of animal welfare or rights. Since the NCAP study was released to its members, which included most of the major national groups in the U.S., the language and tone of the animal protection movement has changed.

Please read the whole thing here:

http://www.humanespot.org/content/what-do-people-think-animal-advoc...

What do you think?? Please leave a comment below.

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This is very interesting Tim. I wonder might the softening of language (ie animal rights becomes animal protection etc - if I've read that correctly in the article) reflect a softening of attitude (ie animal rights becomes animal welfare becomes happy meat etc). I think its always interesting to see if language leads attitude and mindsets or vice versa.

Personally I've never really come across the term 'animal protection'. I would be afraid that if we lost the term 'animal rights' then the fight for non-human rights would be lost / forgotten. To me the term 'protection' sounds a bit patriarchal or matriarchal.

 

This is interesting as I wasn't aware of this research. But at around this time (early 2000’s) here in the UK the rise of "extremist" activity within the movement meant that quite a few professional campaigning groups stopped using the term animal rights (animal protection was a popular alternative) - as they simply did not want to be linked with SHAC/SNGP etc type campaigns. The AR tag became synonymous with an extremist tag and undermined the credibility of these groups especially when dealing with politicians, it made it easier to dismiss and discredit the good work being done by these groups.

It’s sensible to tailor your language to suit your audience – to a degree – if you want to engage with them.

Who knows but maybe a period of low ‘extremist’ activity means groups with abolitionist aims can reintroduce the term rights? But I fully understand why it was dropped - for practical not theoretical reasons.

 

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