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2018 Animal Rights National Conference

07/25/2018

The annual gathering of opponents to intensive livestock production and dedicated to promoting a vegan lifestyle gathered in Los Angeles at the end of June. Expanding on previous years, the four-day event included 175 speaker on 80 panels bringing together diverse concepts including activism, animal rights, diversity, and social justice.

It would take a psychologist to understand the desperate motivations for the extreme views expressed by speaker and participants. While some aspects including environmental concerns may be valid, comparing reproductive rights of women with those of hens is blatantly outlandish. Expressions of zealotry included advocating illegal action to liberate animals. This was exemplified in the post-conference intrusion onto a poultry unit in Petaluma, CA which required intervention by peace officers.

Conference themes included:

  • Exploitation of animals for food, research and entertainment

  • Developing future leaders in the animal rights movement

  • Opportunities for cooperation and synergy among animal rights movements which tend to be fragmented

Quotes from the various panel discussions exemplify the sentiments of participants at the conference:

  • “Hens can never have reproductive freedom”

  • “They never stop loving their babies”

  • “A significant distinction between what may be regarded as extremists and the general public is the humanization of animals. Anthropomorphism is a consistent feature of adherent animal liberation.”

  • “There is no such things as humane slaughter” and “you cannot humanely kill someone that doesn’t want to die”

  • “Owning another human being is an act of violence and

  • “All animals are equal” (Obviously this speaker is not acquainted with George Orwell!)

  • “We need to take care of all of the victims of animal agriculture”

It is evident that a minority estimated to be less than three percent of the U.S. population is either vegan or pretending to eliminate animal products from their diets. Their motivation depends on a misplaced concept of self-health, environmental concerns and animal rights. The more militant members of the animal rights movement who perpetrate farm intrusions and disruption of agriculture with no regard to the law and the rights of property owners can only be restrained by farm security and a recourse to law.

A concern emanating from the conference is the proselytizing of youth and promoting anti-meat concepts in K-12 education. Unfortunately advocates of vegan diets appear to have the megaphone. Perhaps if the organizations representing the animal production industries really understood the disparate motivations of their opponents they could craft appropriate non-scientific but logical counter-arguments acceptable to receptive consumers. All of what is posted on websites by the NCC, UEP and NTF is factual, logical and informative. Unfortunately it lacks the emotional impact of the postings by organizations opposed to intensive livestock production. Images speak words—we need less appeal to the brain and more to the solar plexus.