As I was organizing some old files the other day, I came upon a 10-year vision statement for the animal protection movement, which I wrote for a meeting a couple of years ago. A vision statement is a picture of how you would like the world to be. My 10-year vision is necessarily high-level and incomplete, but it may provide interesting food for thought as we consider the future of animals, their advocates, and the public’s awareness, attitudes, and behavior.
The following vision statement assumes that the essential goal of the animal protection movement is to eliminate animal suffering or, in more realistic terms, to reduce animal suffering as much as possible.
10-Year Vision Statement for Animal AdvocacyFor the Movement:
- Progress. Advocates spend the requisite time and energy to evaluate our progress and make strategic, movement-wide adjustments as necessary. This would include defining a set of essential metrics and tracking changes over time.
- Collaboration. A strong majority of the movement’s groups are involved in collaborative projects and many of them work together on research, campaigns, etc. Animal groups avoid disparaging each other or arguing in public.
- Capitalism. Advocates have meaningful ties to corporations, with the ability to encourage ethical practices and influence their animal policies. Advocates are involved in developing commercially viable alternatives to animal products.
- Politics. Animals are a mainstream political issue, with animal issues included in opinion polls and addressed by candidates from all major parties. The pro animal voting bloc is recognized as a significant player in electoral politics.
- Pragmatism. Advocates understand that complete abolition of animal suffering is impossible and focus their efforts on attainable goals. There is increased emphasis on providing alternatives to people instead of changing attitudes and behavior.
- Engagement. People are significantly more aware of and involved in animal protection issues, relative to today and to other social issues. Donations, volunteerism, and political activity for animal issues are all growing significantly.
- Attitudes. The vast majority of people have positive attitudes toward animal advocates and strong beliefs in the importance of protecting animals of all species. This attitude becomes much broader than just dogs, cats, and primates.
- Behavior. Per capita consumption of all categories of animal products is declining and people become more cognizant of their impact on animals. Growing ranks of public officials, decision-makers, and consumers are making positive choices for animals.
- Children. We have a “student bill of rights” requiring that children in public schools are provided access to veg*n food, dissection alternatives, etc. All animal organizations devote a substantial portion of their efforts to working with children.
- Farmed Animals. Elimination of the cruelest forms of factory farming (debeaking, confinement, etc.). With initial funding from the movement and the mantle picked up by producers, the first lab-grown meat products start hitting grocery store shelves.
- Research Animals. A complete end to primate experimentation and to all experiments for non-medical products or procedures. Animal testing is marginalized to only the most “necessary” research, with alternatives replacing all other areas.
- Companion Animals. Mandatory pet sterilization is enacted in a majority of states (or as federal law). Non-surgical sterilization alternatives supplant spay/neuter and are widely available, leading to dramatically lower shelter euthanasia rates.
- Wildlife and Exotics. Important ecosystems and unprecedented swaths of wild land are federally protected. Wearing fur is limited to “antiques” due to legal restrictions and the availability of alternatives. Canned hunts are abolished; other forms of hunting are significantly marginalized.
- Others Issues. Bad zoos are shut down permanently and others are held to higher standards. Animal circuses are gone due to lack of consumer demand.
What is your own vision of animal advocacy in ten years? Please share thoughts and opposing viewpoints using the comment form below (users must be logged in).