Eating Animals to Raise Funds for Animals–Not Just for Local Humane Societies
It happened last week. And it is surreal. I shared this video via AR&AO’s Facebook page last night, but I want to make sure those who aren’t on Facebook see it too. I hope you will pass it along to your fellow animal advocates as well. It’s short. It’s non-graphic. It provides important information and raises such important questions. Please watch.*
Addressing these issues can be difficult; we all know how hard it can be to voice your dissent and push for change when you realize a group or movement is going in a direction you can’t support — or to cut ties when change clearly isn’t going to come — especially if you feel emotional or personal ties to the group(s), especially if you feel affection and respect for individuals in the group. But if our loyalty is to our fellow animals, we have no choice but to ask the questions: What are we, as animal rights advocates, supporting? What are we willing to continue supporting? What seeds do we want to plant? For what are we laying the groundwork? And what troublesome, hypocritical strategies for raising support and money do we not want to be a part of? Are larger numbers of animal rights advocates finally ready to say “Enough!” and switch gears (and reexamine support and alliances)?
I can’t imagine any animal rights advocate finding it acceptable that HSUS invited and encouraged Ohioans to come to a celebration and fundraiser — an “exciting event for Ohio animals” — where animals were to be the “delicious food” HSUS was highlighting in its invitation to encourage people to attend. Nor is it justifiable that an animal advocacy group, which so many want to consider an animal rights group, captioned a photo of an animal with “Respect Our Food,” labeling the individual as food.
In an interesting twist, and in an experience I may write about later, I spent last night in a room full of animal farmers, slaughterers, and breeders who are convinced (or whose spokespeople at least pretend to be convinced) that HSUS is a hard-core animal rights group opposing all animal consumption and use, that it is promoting a vegan-world agenda, and that it does not endorse any meat not “grown in a petri dish.” Sometimes, it seems that animal rights advocates want so much to keep believing in certain ideas and people and groups that we’ll take the rhetoric of anti-AR groups such as this and give that more weight as “proof” of an organization’s supposed AR agenda than we give to the actual evidence and facts we have.
Please, let’s hold each other accountable, even when that’s difficult to do (and yes, even when we know there are good, well-intentioned individuals inside groups). Please, let’s firmly stand together to say that this is not okay. Please, let’s change course. Please, let’s stop making excuses for what is inexcusable. Please, animal rights advocates, let’s fight for what we actually believe and stop supporting groups and campaigns that are less than honest, that do not reflect what we know to be right and just, and that give credibility and the “humane” label to the exploitation and killing of animals. Let’s show more loyalty to the nonhuman animals than to the groups that keep selling them out.
*Edit: Should I explain the title of this post? Maybe. Many of us have had frustrating experiences with local humane societies using barbecues and the like as well, where the bodies of cows and pigs and chickens are sauced and served, to raise funds for cats and dogs — and some of us have had maddening experiences with groups that even rescue cows, pigs, chickens, and other farmed animals also hosting such meat-serving events to raise funds for those same animals (which is what happened last week with HSUS and Ohioans for Humane Farms); in at least a couple cases, these same orgs have hosted polo events to raise funds for rescued horses as well. So many disconnects.