Things Animal Rights Activists Say: 2021 Edition

From an opinion piece in Farm Journal’s Pork magazine by Hannah Thompson-Weeman

A major part of the Animal Agriculture Alliance’s work to safeguard the future of animal agriculture and its value to society is monitoring animal rights activist organizations. While animal rights proponents make up an incredibly small percentage of our population, they are aggressive, strategic, and unfortunately can be effective at making consumers hesitant about the animal agriculture community based on misinformation about animal welfare, sustainability, and other key topics. We believe it’s important to keep an eye on the activist movement so we can inform everyone in animal agriculture about what tactics might be coming next and how we can respond and, more importantly, be proactive.

Once again, most animal rights activist conferences have been held virtually this year due to concerns with COVID-19. We’ve compiled reports for our members from several major conferences, including PETA’s Not Your Usual Animal Rights Conference, the Rancher Advocacy Project’s Summit and the Farmed Animal Conference E-Summit, all held this summer. As has become tradition on this blog, I’d like to share some of the most remarkable quotes from these conferences to help demonstrate just what all of us in animal agriculture are up against.


• “We need to go toe-to-toe with big ag.”

• “One tactic we use is to buy stock so we can submit shareholder resolutions and attend annual meetings. This helps us get a foot in the door because companies hate it when we speak at their yearly pep rallies. Even the mere threat of attending such meetings has opened doors.”

• “I believe that the animal rights movements would be decades behind where we are right now, if there weren’t these undercover videos, these images of animals in pain… those images are what get people to pay attention and see that there’s a problem.”

• “Push the envelope wherever we are to confront what is destroying our planet.”

Personification of animals

• “[Fish] are not just alive. They have lives. They’re not just biology. They have biographies.”

• “We grew up being told that animals are not people. Well, animals are not humans in the same way that you could say a woman is not a man.”

• “We must challenge the ridiculous notion of human supremacy. All we are is different, and the differences never, ever justify the prejudice.”

• “I’m not interested in people’s feelings. I’m not interested in people all that much. I want one thing: to create a world where animals live their own lives according to their own will.”

Need to eliminate all animal agriculture

• “We are opposed to any exploitation of animals. Not just bigger cages, no cages. Not just less domination but no dominating. Not just making sure they are anesthetized before being killed for a shoe or a steak but not being killed for either.”

• “There’s always going to be this effort to do the wrong thing a little bit better. The sad part is our government is subsidizing those efforts while killing legislation that would provide grants to transition to plant-based agriculture.”

• “[Animal agriculture is] the big target we’re going after in our own way.”

• “Every morsel of meat we eat is slapping the tear-stained face of a hungry child.”

• “The only humane choice is vegan.”

• “There’s simply no such thing as humane meat, dairy and egg production. Don’t be misled by quaint farm names and claims.”

Animal rights as a social justice issue

• “When you buy from animal agriculture, you’re supporting environmental racism.”

• “[Speciesism is] every bit as unjust as racism, sexism and any other ‘ism.’”

• “This is not just about animal rights. It’s also about human wrongs. Animal rights is now the greatest social justice issue since the abolition of slavery.”

These quotes may have you feeling pretty frustrated. I encourage you to channel that frustration into setting the record straight about animal agriculture and making sure these voices are not the loudest ones that our consumers and customers are hearing from, as well as upping your farm security game. The Alliance has many resources available to help you in both efforts.

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