Fighting for animal liberation and an end to speciesism
In August 2010, I wrote a blog entry about whether specific animal welfare campaigning is necessary. The argument is predicated on the idea that there is a three-way relationship among social movements, their countermovements, and (broadly) the state - or specific state agencies.
There may be a complex web on interactions among these groups or entities but one of the strongest links is thought to be between a social movement's counter-organisation and the state agencies. In clear terms, then, this may be a close working relationship between, for example, the meat and dairy industries and the Ministry of Agriculture in a given country. The countermovement interests enjoy what political scientist and co-author of The Animal Rights Debate, Robert Garner, calls "insider status."
The general idea is that the creation of "turbulence" in society increases the already frequent interactions between the countermovements and the state agencies. Obviously, both these groupings are deeply speciesist in nature and so the only way they can "get their heads around" animal rights claims is to translate them "down" into animal welfarism.
I always cite the case of a visiting circus with other animal "performers" which, once met by animal rights criticisms - animal use is wrong, animal use amounts to rights violations, etc. - respond by saying that their "care" for the other animals in their charge is "second to none" and, moreover, they are regularly inspected by the official animal welfare organisations (such as the RSPCA in Britain) and always given a clean bill of health.
They do not address the animal use issue or the rights violations issue because they cannot - and probably even have difficulty understanding their business in such terms. Therefore, when countermovement representatives meet with state agency staff, they are unlikely to be able to make any sense of what's going on except in orthodox welfarist terms about how other animals are treated. The animal rights claims about other animal use, if you will, are rather above them - animal rights claims-making does not compute for them!
What may happen, then, is that through this dialogue the state puts pressure on the user industry to "clean up its act" if, for example, some form of abusive animal use has been exposed by a new open rescue or another form of educative investigation. What transpires in this scenario is the enactment of animal welfare regulation or the review and strengthening of existing animal welfare law.
It seems to me that THIS story is an example of the point or relationship just made.
A Sociological Exploration of Speciesism.
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