Every year the Animal Rights National Conference gives away awards to movement leaders, exceptional activists and celebrities who help animals. This year they are also presenting an award to the best animal protection campaigns. There are two categories: vegan advocacy campaigns and general animal-related campaigns. They are opening the voting up to all animal activists, so you can vote on it too.
Here are my top 5 animal protection campaigns
Sea Shepherd’s Operation Musashi
If you’re a frequent reader of the causes blog, you already know that I am a huge fan of Sea Shepherd. As far as I see it, the best thing that happened for animals over the past year was the airing of Whale Wars on Animal Planet. Whale Wars was watched by over 1 million people and quickly became the most popular show ever to air on Animal Planet. Despite having all their footage confiscated, a second season of Whale Wars will be airing this Friday, June 5. Whale Wars was so great because it broke down stereotypes about animal activists and dramatized the struggle for animal rights. It showed a bunch of rugged vegan pirates who roam the seas confronting and interfering with illegal whale hunters. It deconstructed the notion of “eco-terrorism” and presented a wonderful picture of how direct action can be an effective part of a broad movement.
Boca & Morningstar Egg Campaigns
A coalition of animal protection groups banded together to request that Morningstar Farms and BOCA both reduce or entirely eliminate the use of battery-cages eggs. Many calls, emails and letters later, Morningstar decided to make the compassionate decision and reduce the number eggs they use by over one million. That translate to nearly 4,000 fewer hens in battery-cages. BOCA went even further. They have committed to entirely remove eggs from BOCA products by the end of 2009. This is a huge step forward for the hens confined in egg-farms.
Egg Farm Investigation
On the topic of eggs, this year an undercover investigation broke headlines in New England. An activist from Mercy for Animals spent months documenting the conditions of animals held captive in New England’s largest egg farm. The investigation resulted in Radlo foods becoming the first national egg producer to end the use of battery-cages.
Vegan Outreach’s Adopt-a-College campaign reached an amazing milestone this year. This year Vegan Outreach members handed out over a million booklets about factory-farming at over 700 different campuses in the United States. They only have a small handful of staff, so much of that is from volunteers handing out booklets in their own cities. Since it’s inception, Vegan Outreach has given out over 3 million booklets. That’s just downright amazing.
Last November California overwhelming voted for some of the strongest animal welfare legislation to ever make it to a general vote. Prop 2 banned gestation crates, battery cages and veal crates. On the heels of this sweeping victory we have seen Maine pass similar legislation and Massachusetts now has a similar bill pending in the house.
What do you think are the top animal rights campaigns of the past year? Leave a comment below!
photo cred: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wendypiersall/3373622005/