Now and then it’s quite interesting to read some stuff written by our “opposition”: the meat industry. It can be quite insightful to learn what they think about the animal rights/vegan movement and how they perceive us.
From what I have read, I feel they are the most afraid of the “moderates”. The animal abuse industry is the least at ease when our movement, our groups, our activists are smart, strategic and realistic. They are not afraid of the more “radical” part of our movement. They are afraid of the groups and activists who voice reasonable demands which the public might be open to and act on.
Here’s an article from Pork Network. It’s about our movement’s outreach (especially in the US) towards religious groups, but I found this passage particularly interesting:
Activist groups realize that a simple “go vegan” message does not resonate with the average consumer. To achieve their goal, they instead “scale back” their demands – rather than pushing people to abandon eating meat altogether, animal rights activist groups portray themselves as focused on animal welfare and advocate for changes that they deem to be “more humane” in how meat and poultry are produced. Of course, the intent is to make livestock production increasingly more difficult and expensive. These groups will continue to move the goal post of what they consider to be acceptable until animal agriculture is no longer sustainable.
Of course, we are not deceiftul like the author portrays us here. Framing a message, adapting to our audience, thinking up smart baselines and campaigns are things that any movement and any commercial company have to do. And we usually are clear about our end goal – at least when people ask for it. For the rest, this analysis is I think quite on point.
Another interesting article is one about the meat industry’s infiltration (in the form of two interns) at the 2015 Animal Rights congres in Washington DC (we may safely assume they do this every year). In a similar vein as the commentary above, the author writes:
Another encouraged activists to look at every action as a stepping stone, to scale back their initial demands to something acceptable and then build on each small victory toward the end goal. (…) This strategy really hit home to me as I scanned through the report, as we’ve had a few fresh examples of its success hitting the news wires.
It seems that the meat industry itself confirms that incremental action works and is dangerous for their livelihood. Learn from them 🙂