Unfortunately, some activists have declared what they call 'single-issue' campaigns a stain on animal rights activism, and these efforts are never to be supported or followed. We believe this is a mistaken way to look at this, and so long as the effort is grounded in vegan and animal rights ideologies, and results in the end of a form of oppression, we support these efforts and refuse to allow their ideas to stagnate or paralyze activism. Read on, and we welcome discussion below.
Single-Issue Campaigns: What They Are and How They WorkWhat do you think? Post your thoughts in the comments section below.
Increasingly, activists use the buzzword single-issue to describe interventions for specific animals or communities of animals in particular locales. I’ve given this some thought recently. And it’s dawned on me that single-issue is a misleading term. Each individual, and each community of animals, is connected with others. No raccoon, no deer, no coyote, no fox is a lone raccoon, deer, coyote or fox. Each is an individual whose life matters, yet deer or foxes or coyotes interact with each other (which is how they are defined as a species); and they are, in turn, members of a larger community of life on Earth.
In any case, should anyone’s plight be dismissed for being particular, and thus somehow undeserving of current attention?
It’s appropriate to defend serious anti-fur campaigns; to stop a local, state or federal deer kill; or to support other specific interventions. Let us celebrate and support campaigners and caregivers who present a local case in connection broad changes in culture.
Friends of Animals’ work, as readers know, includes the recognition of good reasons to stop fur sales. Now, if a group is going to argue to the U.S. agriculture department that a Michigan farm ought to kill its chinchillas with one method instead of another, then we would explain (and we have explained!) the trouble with that kind of non-committal campaign.
In contrast, say a state, province or country banishes fur farms. We could count that as a welcome advancement. If we can end the use of pelts, wherever such ending might be possible, animals who could have lived free (minks, lynx, rabbits, seals, beavers, Arctic foxes…), can live free. Any time we successfully defend a free-living animal’s (or community’s) interest in living free of human domination, any time our actions free entire communities to actually experience what would be theirs if animal rights were a reality, this is a good thing and it is a step ahead.
Indeed, even though bulls cannot enjoy animal rights in the sense of living free, what animal advocate wouldn’t welcome an outright end to bullfighting in México? An adios to a sector that breeds bulls to torment and kill them for sport would be worthy of at least an audible sigh of collective relief. Although the best ban is the one we enact by controlling ourselves when we stop exploiting other animals, various bans are, in the meantime, ethically important where they can be obtained.
Some ask whether targeting fur and not leather in a given campaign is inconsistent. Leather is largely a commodity related to and encompassed by a bigger sector: animal agribusiness. Thus, we can’t ban it, so much as work on the vital issue of urging the people of our society to stop buying animal products. In the new edition of Friends of Animals’ Vegan Starter Guide, we talk about why avoidance of leather is important in animal advocacy. Check it out and share!
Striving for a consistent message, we challenge exploitation everywhere we can. Sometimes this means working on a project to stop the extermination of raccoons, sometimes to challenge language labs, sometimes to challenge the use of animal skins for fashion, and sometimes to encourage people to buy organic cotton socks instead of wool. There are many facets. If a fur ban is possible, let’s seize the day. Some will say it would not bring about a vegan culture. But it would bring our society nearer to a full shift in consciousness; so it is one of those things we need to achieve a vegan culture.
Friends of Animals
Web Site: http://FriendsofAnimals.org
FoA Vegan Starter Guide PDF: http://bit.ly/foa-vsg