Are animal rights activists making things better or worse for animals?

Feb 2012
3,791
Portugal
#1
Animal rights activism arrives even to the fringes of Europe and so this debate has been in the order of the day around here in particular after the election of a political branch to parliament that has been quite effective in pushing the agenda.
The problem is it is not clear if they are making things better or worse for animals. They oppose bullfights, the killing of abandoned dogs and cats, advocate for adoption of such animals and then there are operational groups who go as far as breaking the law to enforce the agenda. However when you look at the other side you see studies that conclude pet food is responsible for a large part of the environmental impact of meat production, which also means that in order to save a cat or a dog you are condemning other animals and maybe even humans to death,; it is not clear that overall the bull raised for bull fights is in a worse situation than the cattle that is raised only for meat consumption; and then when you look at the vigilant animal activists that break entries to save pets they usually exibit a body physic that is not common among strict vegetarians so you wonder if they are not responsible for a far greater number of animal deaths and sufferings than the ones they save, not to mention that a dog saved from famine means more animals suffering to feed him; finally these movements have also been linked to the adoption of animals and the idea that if you have pets you are an animal lover, they appear side by side with these celebrities that have large amounts of dogs and cats. Should they just change the name to "pets rights activists" and drop any claim to environmental concerns or should society revise what means to protect animal rights and the evironment?
 
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Chlodio

Ad Honorem
Aug 2016
3,227
Dispargum
#2
Horse racing has declined in popularity over the past several decades, at least here in the US, for several reasons one of which is a growing awareness of animal rights. People are increasingly uncomfortable with the idea of whipping horses just to make them run faster for the amusement of humans. But if we were to ban racing, the horses would not go to some grassy pasture to live out their natural lives playing and jumping with each other. Most would probably end up as dog food, and the next generation of race horses would never be bred. Is a reduction in their population good for a species? On a planet ever more dominated by humans, the best survival strategy for other species might be to enter into some kind of cooperative relationship with humans. The more useful horses are, the more likely they are to survive long term.
 
Likes: Ichon
Nov 2018
37
Denmark
#3
They hurt their case more than they benefit, as for example when the Vegan Party in Denmark compared the eating of young animals with pedophilia.
The whole discussion run out of a sidetrack where people just gasped with outrage. Instead of discussing how to keep animals in a way that is both profitable for farmers and give the animals a good life before they are slaughtered.
Similarly, when vegans let out mink from mink farms, it is not animals that belong in Europe. They are a competitor of martens, and they can eradicate entire areas for birds and small animals. Again not a good idea.
To my knowledge, there are no animal shelters in Denmark that has a no-kill policy. The people I know who work in animal shelters has an unsentimental attitude .They believe it is better to kill the sick, old and mentally unstable animals, so they can concentrate on the animals there is a chance to give a home.
I think the reason that those with the right opinions have focused on meat eating as the thing that is bad for the climate is that there is more sob effect in large innocent calves’ eyes, than to miss the annual trip to Thailand or recycle waste.
So instead of devalue people who eat meat, it was better to start a discussion about how to keep animals according to their species, and promote to eat quality meat, where the animal has had time to grow up and mature before slaughter.
 
Aug 2016
781
USA
#4
To some extent this debate has analogues in other forms of activism. There are always fringe elements that make the rest of the group look bad.

I don't really follow animal activists, but I would like to see more of them take a pragmatic approach too. But, activists, generally speaking, are not pragmatists. Someone who sees the world in shades of grey usually isn't going to dedicate a huge amount of their time to any cause unless they are at least fairly well compensated. I see myself as a pragmatist, and while I'm not evil, I just don't get as upset over these matters as many people.

It seems a lot of modern politics is just ruling pragmatists half-battling, half-compromising, with idealist activists.
 
Likes: Ichon
Feb 2012
3,791
Portugal
#5
They hurt their case more than they benefit, as for example when the Vegan Party in Denmark compared the eating of young animals with pedophilia.
The whole discussion run out of a sidetrack where people just gasped with outrage. Instead of discussing how to keep animals in a way that is both profitable for farmers and give the animals a good life before they are slaughtered.
Similarly, when vegans let out mink from mink farms, it is not animals that belong in Europe. They are a competitor of martens, and they can eradicate entire areas for birds and small animals. Again not a good idea.
To my knowledge, there are no animal shelters in Denmark that has a no-kill policy. The people I know who work in animal shelters has an unsentimental attitude .They believe it is better to kill the sick, old and mentally unstable animals, so they can concentrate on the animals there is a chance to give a home.
I think the reason that those with the right opinions have focused on meat eating as the thing that is bad for the climate is that there is more sob effect in large innocent calves’ eyes, than to miss the annual trip to Thailand or recycle waste.
So instead of devalue people who eat meat, it was better to start a discussion about how to keep animals according to their species, and promote to eat quality meat, where the animal has had time to grow up and mature before slaughter.
That vegan party makes more sense than the local activists we have here though its approach doesn't look the best. People may not like it but reducing meat consumption is the best and most effective way of reducing animal suffering besides the huge environmental impact it has, the same way a minimalist lifestyle is the more friendly to the environment. Of course it is not something that should be enforced with prohibitions it's better to promote vegetarianism by making it available in school and college caffeterias like it happens around here and raising the level of consciousness of people. The idea that people can keep escalating consumption and so long as you do some recycling and ban some products everything will be fine just looks like wishful thinking.
 
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Feb 2012
3,791
Portugal
#6
Horse racing has declined in popularity over the past several decades, at least here in the US, for several reasons one of which is a growing awareness of animal rights. People are increasingly uncomfortable with the idea of whipping horses just to make them run faster for the amusement of humans. But if we were to ban racing, the horses would not go to some grassy pasture to live out their natural lives playing and jumping with each other. Most would probably end up as dog food, and the next generation of race horses would never be bred. Is a reduction in their population good for a species? On a planet ever more dominated by humans, the best survival strategy for other species might be to enter into some kind of cooperative relationship with humans. The more useful horses are, the more likely they are to survive long term.
That issue of preservation of species is also used as an argument and besides the bulls horses are also involved in bull fights. Of course there are three perspectives on these issues, the environment, species preservation and animal suffering which not always agree.

To some extent this debate has analogues in other forms of activism. There are always fringe elements that make the rest of the group look bad.

I don't really follow animal activists, but I would like to see more of them take a pragmatic approach too. But, activists, generally speaking, are not pragmatists. Someone who sees the world in shades of grey usually isn't going to dedicate a huge amount of their time to any cause unless they are at least fairly well compensated. I see myself as a pragmatist, and while I'm not evil, I just don't get as upset over these matters as many people.

It seems a lot of modern politics is just ruling pragmatists half-battling, half-compromising, with idealist activists.
That seems to be the problem, politicians are looking for the payroll and compromise with what is popular so long as it does not completely derail things, activist see everything from a purely idealist perspective without caring for the consequences and sometimes end up doing more harm than good.
 

AlpinLuke

Ad Honoris
Oct 2011
24,490
Lago Maggiore, Italy
#7
For which animals?

A part that also the human being is an animal ... actually animal right activists who protect cats condemn to death millions of little animals, from insects to rats [and domestic rabbits ... a cat can predate a rabbit!].

So, I don't grasp the point in the OP.
 

specul8

Ad Honorem
Oct 2016
2,325
Australia
#8
For animals which help support the type of lifestyle that one believes they have a right to. Case example ; we had a woman here studying law so she could become an animal activist - legally .... a real animal rights nut ! But it turned out she just loved chickens, she bought a heap here and them and her affection for them took precedence over everything else .... I mean everything else ! Which caused many problems , as it meant that it took precedence over common decency, getting on with others, how she behaved and expected others to behave . Any animal that threatened her chickens was not covered by her 'rights' though .

Although she had little money, she spent a fortune on electronic snake repellents (I told her they didnt work ), had these blinking spike things all over the place , one day someone saw a huge snake wrapped around one ! :D Also goannas would be chased with tools (weapons ) and abused, eagles where frowned upon and cursed , even at high altitude . She actually forbid anyone to say the word snake or goanna in her presence. A fanatical NUT CASE , and I have met other animal activists with similar hypocritical actions.

Her, and many others, and historically, the Zoroastrians (who are credited with being the first society to have animal rights legislations) are clearly, on examination, actually practicing ' my own personal human rights', projected on to said animal. That is, they 'play favorites' under the guise of some supposed big overall principle of respect and liberation. When the Zoroastrian animal protection laws are analyzed, its all about preserving the animals that help preserve them and their culture, or are shown in a good light or relationship in their mythology or religous stories. other than that, the other animals not only do not have right, they are down right persecuted and eliminated ! Actually, the punishements listed in their law codes, for breaking them, include an 'atonement' of slaughtering other 'undesirable ' ( 'evil' ) animals .

So times have not changed much . Its like 'save the earth' ..... the earth can exist as it is now, as it was in the past, as it will be in the future; a dry barren Mars or an overheated Venus ... that won't bother or 'end' the earth or the world at all .

What they mean is 'save the earth' (and specific animals) in a form that is best suited to our comfort and security (material and emotional ) .
 
Likes: Yôḥānān
Aug 2014
3,538
Australia
#9
To some extent this debate has analogues in other forms of activism. There are always fringe elements that make the rest of the group look bad.
An argument can be made for the opposite too; that fringe elements make the rest of the movement look GOOD. The demands of the radical extreme are often so outrageous that they make more moderate demands of the mainstream movement seem reasonable in comparison.
 
Mar 2018
373
UK
#10
For which animals?
The cute ones. Why do you think the Panda is *literally* the poster boy for the world wild life organisation?


To get back to OP, animal rights activist were not originally really environmentally motivated, and definitely not climate change orientated. The theory of global warming came decades after the animal rights movement. You can care about animal suffering while not even believing in man-made climate change, or that deforestation is a huge problem. They are all different things.

Even saying that the top priority should be doing good for the environment is vague to be meaningless. Do you mean good for maintaining the status quo, or good for some species? We can cut down on plastic in the ocean by using cotton bags, but that has a huge water cost, causing problems for other eco systems. Which one of those is the "good for the environment option"? How do you balance one species against another? Do you value the health of a species as a whole or the welfare (i.e., lack of suffering) of its individuals? If we killed all domesticated cattle we would be committing genocide but alleviating a lot of suffering.

Traditionally, animal rights activists would focus on the welfare of individual animals (especially large mammals) above all. That made some gains in the west but just not that many people care all that much about it. Now that a lot of people care a lot about global warming, there has been a partial change of tactics. Animal farming is branded as "bad" not just because it makes animals suffer, but because it produces lots of CO2/Methane. This is thus another argument used to curb meat production: the end goal is the same but the reason drastically different. In same cases they even clash: Battery farmed chickens surely suffer more than free ranged ones, but have a smaller carbon footprint.


Of course, trying to get activists, or even the general public to understand this is hopeless. Most of these issues are not decided rationally in terms of compromise. Rather, people who think of themselves as environmentalists jump on the bandwagon of whatever issue is currently in the press (Plastic bags are evil! Straws are evil! Eat less cheese!) and run with it, mentally isolating it from all the other issues. It's a gut emotional reaction, or virtue signalling, more than anything else.
 

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