Actually, it’s not wrong to be inclusive.

A response to “Racism and Mixed Messages: What’s Wrong with Australia’s Animal Rights Movement?”

In a nutshell: Yes, it can be interesting looking at bigotry within the Animal Rights movement (I do so myself when I look at the anti-science bigotry of a few famous vegans).
No, it isn’t right to libel entire organisations and unfairly accuse them of rubbish. Whether it was the purpose of Adey’s article or not, it is the end result. Sea Shepherd and Animals Australia need and deserve our support.

I originally assumed (and I was wrong) that Anna Adey was your typical self-titled “abolitionist” because I found her article on what I can only describe as an intolerant “abolitionist” blog (The Academic Abolitionist Vegan). After a brief online talk, I understand that she is not, and she said she simply wanted to expose elements of xenophobia in the Australian Animal Rights scene. (Note: this heavily edited version of “Actually, it’s not wrong to be inclusive” borrows many lines from the great folks over at Friendly and Pragmatic Vegans and Vegetarians. I trust they won’t mind me re-using their pertinent arguments.)

This article is opinionated propaganda, attacking well organised and efficient organisations such as Sea Shepherd and Animals Australia with twisted facts. It is spiteful and filters information in order to fit the author’s ideology.

Just because you can find some people who oppose live export who are also racist does not mean that opposing live export is racist. Just because opposing live export won’t end speciesism doesn’t mean opposing live export is speciesist.

Opposing factory farming contributes to saving a massive amount of animals. It is a significant step in the right direction. Attacking popular and efficient organisations such as Animals Australia because they have a campaign against factory farming is… counter-productive. It is also sad, really.

Animals Australia is reaching a very wide audience precisely because of its intelligent, multi-dimensional AND FRIENDLY approach. I think it is great to have all sorts of people take part in Animals Australia protests.

Animals Australia’s page promoting Veganism / Animal friendly dishes.

If you don’t want right wing or prejudiced people to be allowed to take part in animalist issues, you are excluding a very large part of the population in the name of some ideological purity.
I disagree strongly with racism, sexism, etc. but I accept that many people with racist or sexist prejudice can care about non-human animals. On the topics of racism or sexism, yes I would confront them in a reasonable manner.

Saying that Animals Australia is somewhat racist because some random people left racist messages on their facebook wall and some angry self-titled abolitionist was quick enough to screenshot it, is nonsensical.

The accusations laid by Anna Adey are dishonest and not actually based on the work of the great organisations she is badmouthing.

Yes, on Animals Australia’s anti-Live Export website, there is a page linking to detailed investigations on the cruel treatment of these animals once they reach destination. Is this promoting xenophobia? Of course not. Animals Australia give information on everything that is wrong with Live Export, as a part of one of their campaigns.

Animals Australia have covered so many issues with animal agriculture in Australia, Live export is only ONE of their campaigns, not their only campaign and I’ve never found this campaign to be based on racism, rather the level of suffering experienced by the animals. Live Export is the ONLY campaign Animals Australia runs that has anything to do with international affairs (even though they are Australian cattle). Their factory farming, puppy farming, dairy, egg and other campaigns are solely based on the industries within Australia, focussing on Australian consumers.

Any animal abuse is wrong, however that does not mean we should not speak out against the wrongs committed elsewhere, that Australians can directly stop. I am aware of countless Animal activists, who became involved after the Live Export exposes, as well as vegan.

I don’t support bull fighting. I think it’s barbaric. Does it mean I’m racist towards the people of Spain because I didn’t shut down the horse riding industry in Australia before I brought it up?

Adey seems to suggest that Live Export should not be talked about based on the fact that talking about something negative in another country may promote racism or xenophobia.

She also claims that banning live exports in Australia will not make a difference to the total amount of animals killed. It’s basically the same as the argument that being vegetarian/vegan will not affect the amount of animals that are killed, which is wrong. I am disappointed that she is fine with using an argument to support her position that she would most likely reject in a different context.

In addition, opposing Live Export or the racing industry or rodeos or shark and kangaroo culls is not only effective in itself but it is also a way to gather people who care about animals who would not have been confronted to animal rights ideas and who might discover animal friendly alternatives and animalist philosophies as a result.

I think that the nasty lies and negative propaganda in Adey’s article to discredit Animals Australia and Sea Shepherd are dangerous and insidious. Just because an opinionated piece on the internet accuses Paul Watson of racism doesn’t make it true. I very much doubt that he considers all Japanese people as barbaric. Let’s not spread lies and libel.

The article is also saying “Sea Shepherd asks for millions of dollars to support their sea adventures. They are not advancing the cause of animal rights. They are promoting speciesism, the very reason why we enslave, torture and kill animals in the first place.”

Seriously??? And some people take this article seriously?
The Sea Shepherd crew is vegan and they risk their lives protecting animals. But noooo, they are not protecting all the animals all at once and they don’t shout “go vegan go vegan go vegan” all day long so they must be evil speciesists. How do you even reply to such nonsensical accusations?

In conclusion, I will simply say that while Adey says she doesn’t call herself “abolitionist”, her prose is exactly like the self-titled abolitionist approach, when it excludes well meaning people and organisations, when it insults fellow animalists, when it puts off and turns away people from efficient groups, and this approach is counter-productive and toxic. By all means share your views and ideas and promote anti-speciesism but stop attacking everyone who is not following your exact same path.