“There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root, and it may be that he who bestows the largest amount of time and money on the needy is doing the most by his mode of life to produce that misery which he strives in vain to relieve.”
~ Henry David Thoreau, Walden, Economy (Chapter 1-E)
For many activists confronting widespread animal exploitation and related cruelty – from food, to clothing, to experimentation and entertainment – it can sometimes appear as though there are so many issues to focus attention on that the situation becomes overwhelming.
When advocates are unclear about the best way to address these countless concerns, many choose to focus on one issue, such as eliminating battery cages or gestation crates. Others try to spend their advocacy hours doing “a bit of everything”.
As explained in Making a Killing with Animal Welfare Reform, campaigns against specific practices of animal exploitation are lucrative for animal welfare groups, bringing in tens of millions of dollars into their coffers annually for acting as the large, non-profit “regulators” of industry. Such campaigns are known among animal advocates as single issue campaigns, or “SICs.”
When you combine the financial motivation of large animal welfare groups and the besieged feeling animal advocates often experience from trying to tackle so many different issues, the result is the current dominant culture of the animal advocacy movement, where the efforts of countless individuals are scattered across countless different single-issue campaigns.
It certainly seems that such division amongst animal advocates must work strongly in the favor of the animal industry and the current cultural paradigm of speciesism. By contrast, a united front of widespread public education focused on why and how to become vegan would address the root of the exploitation problem by challenging not only all of our uses of animals, but our society’s decidedly speciesist attitude in and of itself.
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