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Shared on May 20, 2020 at 12:03 pm

The Animal Rights Movement

One important social movement is the animal rights movement. While there have been multiple animal rights movements over time, this paper will focus on the modern animal rights movement. The animal rights movement, in general, is more of a global movement as it has influenced multiple countries around the world, but this paper will focus primarily on its influence in the U.S.

In general, the animal rights movement focuses on influencing social and political change. There are three main areas in which the animal rights movement directs its focus: 1) advocating for animals’ moral status, 2) getting animal protection legislation passed, and 3) directly intervening on the behalf of animals. Most social movements within the animal rights movement focus on eliminating the use of animals in entertainment and animal rights arguments essay, declassifying animals as property, and reducing animal consumption for food and clothing.

An accomplishment of the animal rights movement is the Farm Animal Welfare Council’s establishment of The Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare which provides guidelines for determining what illegal harm to animals looks like: 1) freedom from hunger and thirst, 2) freedom from discomfort, 3) freedom from pain, disease, and injury, 4) freedom to normal behavior, and 5) freedom from fear and distress. Other accomplishments that the animal rights movement has made is draw attention to the harsh conditions of the dairy and meat industries as well as circuses, zoos, and other facilities like Sea World, increasing the public’s interest and practice of vegetarianism and veganism and convincing many people to stop visiting circuses, zoos, and Sea World.

Like any other social movement, the animal rights movement has faced various struggles throughout its existence. There are several issues that have slowed the progress of the animal rights movement: inconsistent animal welfare laws across states, vague, ambiguous, and outdated wording of animal welfare laws, and the lack of a universal standard of animal cruelty. Even more struggles include the highly subjective nature of deciding to investigate or prosecute for crimes committed against animals, the inability for humans and animals to communicate with one another, and the varying definitions of the term “animal” across states. All these issues make it difficult to enforce and protect animal rights.
Another struggle that the animal rights movement faces is that much of social justice literature and social justice movements tend to ignore the animals in their fight for social justice. Even though the modern animal rights movement has been taking place for more than 40 years, animals are continually excluded from social justice in both theory and practice. This can make it much more difficult to further to efforts of the animal rights movement in society.

The animal rights movement shares similarities with the women’s rights movement, the civil rights movement, and the LGBT+ rights movement in that they advocate for the rights of a particular minority group and fight to accomplish one of their main goals: to eliminate systemic oppression of those minority groups. Each social movement focuses its efforts on highlighting social issues that harm those minority groups and provide solutions to those issues. All these social movements have smaller social organizations that exist within them such as the NAACP within the civil rights movement which help spread their ideologies. These social movements all utilize social media to further their causes, recruit supporters, and achieve their goals. These social movements frame their arguments under the theme of equality and fairness among all. These social justice movements differ in that they focus on different specific minority groups: animals, women, African Americans, and LGBT+ individuals. They also differ in that animal rights are often not a topic of discussion in other social justice movements.

In this new age of technology and social media, without a solid social media presence to gain public support, the animal rights movement would likely be much less successful. PETA has also obtained undercover footage that exposes the harsh conditions and treatment of animals in various facilities and shared them publicly. By doing this, the movement’s enemies are identified.
One tactic that ASPCA uses to frame their ideologies and reach potential supporters by attempting to connect with their values is the television commercials for neglected and abused animals that maintain an incredibly sad tone and encourage viewers to consider donating money to their organization in order to help those animals. The animal rights movement can recruit supporters through the strategies: social media and television commercials . Another way to gain financial support for the cause is businesses such as PetSmart asking customers if they would like to make a small donation to animals in need. Public protests and demonstrations that draw awareness to the issues that the animal rights movement focuses on might also help recruit supporters. Social media, mass media, requests for financial donations, and protests are all ways that the animal rights movement can mobilize itself and its supporters. Without these things, the movement would likely have little to no mobilization.

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