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Insights on animal rights activism

Monday, September 10, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Lauren Brey
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By Allyson Jones-Brimmer, director of industry relations, Animal Agriculture Alliance

The Animal Agriculture Alliance works to protect farmers, ranchers and food companies who are under constant pressure from animal rights activist groups. Edge has been a member since 2017. Annually, the Alliance sends representatives to national animal rights conferences to gain insight on activist tactics and prepare for threats. Below are summaries from two national conferences this summer.

A major theme from the 2018 Animal Rights National Conference was the “reproductive rights” of animals. Using eggs from laying hens and milk from dairy cattle were mentioned as “female animal exploitation,” and this message was tied into feminism and women’s rights issues by several speakers. “We don’t allow them [animals] to do the thing they do so well, and that is be a mother,” Susie Coston, Farm Sanctuary, said.

Speakers at the conference made it clear that their objective is the liberation of animals, not enhancing animal welfare.

Attendees were encouraged to take extreme action in the name of promoting animal rights. “Our movement must adopt all avenues, the methodical and radical…until every crate is empty, and every tank is drained,” Simon Reyes, Social Compassion in Legislation, said. “We as a movement need to push the boundaries of the law,” said Jay Shooster, an attorney and writer.

The Taking Action for Animals Conference, hosted by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), focused on working with legislators to pass bills that make raising livestock and poultry more difficult for farmers and ranchers.

“We are reaching in our toolbox and using everything we can,” said Kitty Block, HSUS acting president and CEO. “The single most important thing you can do is build a relationship with your legislator,” said Kristen Tullo, HSUS. Attendees were encouraged to target officials at the local level. “You can change the world with local ordinance,” Carol Misseldine, HSUS, said.

Another topic was enacting change through corporate engagement. Kristie Middleton, HSUS, discussed how it's easier to persuade a food director to change a menu for what thousands of people eat than trying to persuade individuals on the street to go vegan.

Full reports from these conferences are available to members of the Animal Agriculture Alliance. Contact them at

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