From taking extreme action to liberate livestock to discussing the reproductive rights of female animals, animal rights activists covered it at all at their latest conference. And the Animal Agriculture Alliance has all the details, releasing a report today with their observations from the Animal Rights National Conference, held June 28 through July 1 in Los Angeles, California.
The event was organized by the Farm Animal Rights Movement and sponsored by Mercy for Animals, The Save Movement, Compassion Over Killing, and The Humane League, along with other animal rights extremist groups. According to conference organizers, the Animal Rights National Conference is the world’s largest and longest-running gathering of animal rights activists with the shared belief that “animals have the right to be free from all forms of human exploitation.”
“We believe it is important for everyone in animal agriculture to stay informed of how animal rights extremists plan to target us next,” said Kay Johnson Smith, Alliance president and CEO. “That’s why we release reports from major activist conferences every year. If your livelihood depends on animals, whether for food, research, transportation, or any other purpose, you need to review this report and prepare for what strategies and tactics these groups and individuals will use in their increasingly aggressive efforts to take meat, poultry, dairy, and eggs off of our plates.”
Speakers at the conference made it clear that their objective is the liberation of animals, not enhancing animal welfare. “Animal rights is different from animal welfare. It’s not about better cages; it’s about empty cages,”said Anita Krajnc of The Save Movement, a group who conducts “vigils” at slaughterhouses across the country.
Speakers agreed that any form of meat production is inherently inhumane, making statements such as “There is no such thing as humane slaughter” (Michael Budkie, Stop Animal Exploitation NOW!), “You cannot humanely kill something that doesn’t want to die”(Justin Van Kleek, Triangle Chicken Advocates), “I do believe that all farming and slaughterhouses are cruel”(Jaya Bhumitra, Animal Equality) and “All farms are factory farms, no matter the size”(Hope Bonahec, United Poultry Concerns).
Attendees at the conference were encouraged to take extreme action in the name of promoting animal rights, with speakers saying, “if we can rescue animals, we must rescue them”….”until every crate is empty, and every tank is drained”(Simone Reyes, Social Compassion in Legislation). “Our movement must adopt all avenues, the methodical and radical,” Reyes added.
“We as a movement need to push the boundaries of the law,”said Jay Shooster, an attorney and writer in a session about “Influencing Lawmakers.” “Using any means necessary [to defend animals] is morally and ethically responsible,”said Dr. Jerry Vlsak, a surgeon and founder of the North American Animal Liberation Press Office.
This year’s conference speakers focused heavily on the “reproductive rights” of animals, an apparent new focus area for the movement. “We don’t allow them [animals] to do the thing they do so well, and that is be a mother,” said Susie Coston with Farm Sanctuary. Using eggs from laying hens and milk from dairy cattle were mentioned as “female animal exploitation,” and this message was tied into feminism and women’s rights issues by several speakers.
Also speaking at the conference were: Gene Baur, Farm Sanctuary; Bruce Friedrich, The Good Food Institute (formerly with PETA and Farm Sanctuary); Kristie Middleton, The Humane Society of the United States; Erica Meier and Mike Wolf, Compassion Over Killing; and vegan ‘celebrities’ Earthling Ed and James Aspey.
The 2018 Animal Rights National Conference Report, which includes personal accounts of speaker presentations and general observations, is available to Alliance members in the Resource Library on the Alliance website. The Alliance also has reports from previous animal rights conferences accessible to members on its website.