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Thread: Changing The Militant Image Of Animal Rights Activists

  1. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by AniaR View Post

    And dont get me started on peeta. They've been proven time and time again to do more harm than good, and be hypocritical.
    .
    A few months ago I unliked PETA's page, and now when I make fact sheets on AR issues for my mer-page I try to avoid using PETA as a source. They do have some well-written, seemingly fact-based points on their website that are very convenient to copy/paste into a FB note, but they're so hypocritical about issues like euthanasia and have such a negative reputation that if you want to persuade people to your cause, most see the name PETA and run in the other direction as fast as they can. I mean, all animal rights and environmental groups have their detractors of course, but PETA's probably the most infamous. One of my most recent fact sheets was "15 Statistics Showing Meat And Seafood Consumption On The Decline", I have a long list of sources which include the websites of several pretty legit newspapers, the US Department of Agriculture, the National Fisheries Institute, and farming and fishing industry websites.

    Another thought: I think Paul Watson's problem is he's a hard-core, self-proclaimed misanthrope. He freely admits to absolutely hating humanity for the damage they've done to this planet, and as a direct result has very little empathy for any person, regardless of background. I mean of course I can understand why some hard-core environmentalists and animal rights activists feel that way, but I've gotten to the point personally where my motto is "no more negative energy". Maybe I'm naive and idealistic, but I think love is ultimately more powerful than hate. I want to be a force of light and love to all living creatures, including, yes, other people. I spend a lot of money and time donating to Toys For Tots because I want to give love to children in need and use my personal interest in dolls and toys in an altruistic way. I'm not claiming to be perfect or anything, everyone struggles and I think we're all ultimately hypocrites to some extent. I don't really identify with any particular religion, but I have this kind of vaguely defined spiritual and moral code I try to live by that is based on the ideals of compassion, peace, and harmony.

    http://www.seashepherd.org/commentar...xic-planet-698
    This article is well-written and he makes some valid points that I agree with, but his blind spot on issues of poverty and privilege is clear in this paragraph:
    "The Inuit in the High Arctic defend the eating of whales and seals by saying it is an important part of their culture, yet in the face of data on dangerous toxicity levels in the meat they consume, it is their lives and the lives of their children that will be sacrificed for their culture. Survival means adaptation and adaptation means changing cultural practices or moving geographically to avoid a toxic environment."
    No mention whatsoever about the ridiculously high cost of store-bought food, making in sound like instead they're just eating seals and whales because they want to and it's their culture. Although he's perhaps a bit more tactful here than I know he sometimes is, he fails to realize that to the Inuit, the choice is often between mercury-contaminated seal meat and no food at all. The mercury contamination in seafood has always been one of the reasons why I've promoted not eating it either, so of course I personally think it's great if some of the many people who do have the privilege of choosing what to eat see this article and reconsider their eating habits, but...informing the Inuit of the dangers of consuming marine mammals won't do much good if we don't help provide them with other food options.
    Last edited by Princess Kae-Leah; 07-21-2015 at 06:53 PM.
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  2. #42
    Kalani and Raina summed it up very well. The main reason why I don't really like animal rights activists is because of the way most of them ram them down your throat, or pass around misinformation ( like this picture: WARNING, CAN BE UPSETTING BUT IT'S FAKE ) This picture insuates that shearing sheep hurts them when in fact, sheep need to be sheared because if you didn't know, sheep don't shed. Which means if they aren't sheared, they'll end up like this cutie shrek, who was up in the mountains for a few years before his next shearing


    And on top of that, a lot of animal rights activist I've encountered show now concern for other lives besides that of animals (one example is of when a little black girl was shot in her crib by the police and an animal rights group said that that wasn't condemable but then posted a picture of an officer holding down a dog and said that that was unacceptable.) Also when the quinoa or however you spelled it, industry and farms where shown to be basically slave labor and the vegans and animal rights activists (especially PETA ) said that it was a small price to pay to save the animals. like what? Also comparing animals rights to the holocaust, or slavery, or other terrible events in history. Just no. it's offensive and belittling to the people who faced those hardships and the people it still effects.

    And lastly, the disregard the they have for their privilege, a lot of them just shout at you that you need to go vegan, that everyone can go vegan but they don't understand that vegan diets are the most expensive diets ever, especially for those living in poverty. I'd rater spend $1 on that cheeseburger than $5 on some salad tbh. And like Raina said with her inuit example, meat and meat products are a part of cultures, food is a part of a culture, and I'll be damned if I let my culture get erased because someone didn't like that I ate a pig. Sure, I make sure my meat lives a nice and happy life before I eat it, and that is really what animal rights activist should be focusing on imo, making sure that the conditions animals are kept in are humane, and that they don't suffer, advocate for more free range chickens, that cattle should have a certain amount of space and time of day to roam, etc. instead of shoving down everyone's throats that they're murders for including meat in their diets.
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  3. #43
    Just wanted to chime in a little here since I saw in some earlier posts mentions of invasive species. I'm not sure there really is a way to control them without killing them somehow since one of the defining characteristics of invasive species is the lack of predators in their new environment. A somewhat personal example would be the zebra mussels in many of the lakes around here.

    Fancy a cup of mermaid tea?


  4. #44
    Yeah that PETA ad about wool was criticized even on a vegetarian forum I sometimes lurk on called Veggieboards. There was a heated debate even among vegetarians/vegans about PETA's questionable tactics. Some of these people even said they're against the wool industry, as they don't believe in wearing animal parts, but felt that spreading misinformation in order to get people's attention was unnecessary. I just posted above that I had unliked PETA's FB page a few months ago and try to no longer use them as a source for facts and statistics when I put together a fact sheet on an AR or eco issue, because they have such a terrible reputation as an organization that most people just see the name PETA and refuse the read and think about the info.

    I do agree too that animal rights and environmental activists are for the most part very bad at intersectionality, which I think is the main thing we need to reform. The messages of groups like especially PETA and to some degree Sea Shepherd seems to be best-suited to middle-class, able-bodied, white people. PETA has promoted the myth that dairy consumption is linked to autism in an ad, has also indulged in body-shaming and misogyny in their ads, and insensitively compared the horrors of factory farms and slaughterhouses to the Holocaust and slavery. Captain Paul Watson of Sea Shepherd is a self-proclaimed misanthrope who really doesn't give a crap about people's feelings, so he's said some very insensitive things about the Japanese and indigenous peoples. As smart and educated as he is about the ocean and its creatures, he clearly doesn't understand the severity of the Inuit of Northern Canada's situation. The SSCS article I linked above makes some fair points but he ignorantly believes that the Inuit just eat seals and other marine mammals simply because it's their culture, not because store-bought food is probably more expensive than anywhere else in the world and the vast majority of people there are very poor so they don't have a choice but to hunt to survive. Someone really needs to send him up there so he can see it with his own eyes.

    I don't think it's realistic to expect everyone to go vegan over night either. I'm not even 100% vegan, I eat a mostly lacto-ovo vegetarian diet, but I do try to limit my dairy consumption by use soy milk in my cereal and coffee instead of dairy milk. For the longest time I was convinced I couldn't live without chicken for my health so it's been a very slow and steady transition for me. I definitely realize there are people with health problems such as food allergies that make going vegetarian or vegan very difficult if not impossible.

    I do think it's possible that I'll eventually see a mostly vegetarian world in my lifetime, as many legit statistics claim that both meat and seafood consumption are on the decline in the US at least. Beef consumption fell in 2012 to 57.3 pounds per person, compared to 94.4 pounds per person in 1976, and the average US consumer ate 14.6 pounds of seafood in 2012, down from 16.5 pounds in 2006, a drop of nearly 14 percent. Even though it may not be very realistic or practical to expect everyone to go completely vegetarian/vegan and entire industries to shut down overnight, because people are more educated than ever about the impact meat and seafood consumption has on the environment, their health, and of course the animals, more and more people are reducing their intake of animal products. Campaigns like Meatless Mondays have been very successful. In Los Angeles, HSUS convinced the school district to switch to Meatless Mondays back in 2012. Today, the program alone is saving more than 700,000 meat-based meals from being served each week. If things continue at the right they're going, it won't be surprising if almost everyone in the US is at least semi-vegetarian in a few decades.
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  5. #45
    First I just wanted to say that it’s important to make the distinction between animal welfare vs animal rights because there is a difference. You can research it if you want, but the example that I like to use when I talk about it is this:


    An animal rights activist disagrees with the consumption of animals. They want no animals used for scientific/medical research*. Some of the most extreme fringes even think that keeping pets is wrong.


    A supporter of animal welfare is ok with meat consumption (even if they are vegetarian or vegan themselves), but would prefer to see the animals live cage-free or free-range. The general thought is that if the animal is to be used (food, research*, whatever else), there needs to be strict regulations for their care, and that they need to live as good of a life as possible while being utilized or until they die.


    Like I said, it’s a very broad generalization, but it’s my favorite example because it seems to get the point across and get people thinking about these issues critically.


    I personally believe in animal welfare. I want ALL the animals to live great lives before they die. I am ok with their use, but I would be dishonest if I didn’t mention that I have a stake in this argument other than thinking cheeseburgers are delicious. I’m molecular biologist turned veterinarian, so the use/research/captivity/ownership of animals is the reason that I have a job. So yeah, there’s that.


    I work at a mixed animal practice. The other two docs at our practice see small animals and cows, and I see small animals only. (I ain’t about that large animal life, but I am totally fine with shameless plugging so if you live in south central Wisconsin BRING ME YO FURRY FRIENDS!) I see the best of the best and the worst of the worst DAILY. For my own sanity, I have to draw an emotional line between human life and animal life, and this is something that hardcore animal rights activists typically don’t do. My job has taught me that every animal has their time to die (whether it be naturally, via euthanasia, for food, or for the good of research*), but we can absolutely do our best to care for them while they are here. It’s literally my job to care for them while they are here.


    It’s a better use of my time and expertise to try to help dispel myths about animal husbandry, use, and research. So about changing the militant image: I think lot of activists are very quick to yell “cruelty” without actually grasping the situation. Raina made a great post illustrating this! I feel like a lot of activists (cough PETA and HSUS cough) can generate buzz really quickly and be really loud about things they know little to nothing about, and then propagate half-truths and straight up lies. There’s nothing more frustrating to me than that.


    *When I say research, I don’t mean using animals to test out cosmetics. Humans can test their own damn lipstick and leave the critters out of it. I’m talking about scientific and medical research only!

    Thanks for facilitating an interesting discussion Kae-Leah!
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  6. #46
    thank you for clarifying madison!
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  7. #47
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    Great informative posts ladies!

  8. #48
    Right now a cause I'm promoting on my mer-page that I think is both practical and makes a difference is Meatless Mondays. Maybe not everyone can go 100% vegetarian/vegan overnight but just about everyone can practice Meatless Mondays and go vegetarian one day a week. Some public schools are already having Meatless Monday programs and it's worked out well.
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  9. #49
    I took it a step further and only eat meat on Mondays and weekends.
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  10. #50
    Fantastic, SeaGlass Siren!!
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  11. #51
    Sorry to beat a dead whale, but I think I found the article by Paul Watson that upset Raina so much.

    http://www.seashepherd.org/commentar...l-butchers-191

    My response to some of his more problematic statements:
    "Inuit killers roared and laughed barbarously as they inflicted torturous death upon these gentle creatures"-um, no, I don't think it's fair at all to make assumptions about how the Inuit hunters acted and felt when killing without seeing the incident with his own eyes. While I absolutely hate the idea of killing 500 narwhals too, I don't see much evidence that they killed them simply for their own sadistic enjoyment. They were probably trying to provide food for their family and community, sad as it is that such a beautiful and intelligent animal has to be used for food. What a tough, tragic situation

    "It is also true that I do not respect a culture that slaughters wildlife to sell to the outside world in exchange for material benefits like snowmobiles, rifles, television, appliances etc. There is no traditional hunting for survival anymore - there is only the capitulation of the Inuit to the fur industry and as guides and bearers to rich white hunters who are motivated out of perverse desires to kill large predators like the polar bear. The Inuit want the materialistic benefits of the industrialized society and they still want to slaughter wildlife."-The problem with this statement is it makes it sound like most Inuit live a comfortable lifestyle, when statistics say otherwise. I agree that trophy hunting polar bears, or any other animal for that matter, is unacceptable, but to say there's no hunting for survival any more is false, due to a huge percentage of Inuit being food insecure.

    "500 Narwhals Mr. Audla! You can't eat them all. It is the long "unicorn" tooth you want because that's where the money is and you will be making a great deal of money off this slaughter. Or do you deny this also?"-I too question if killing 500 was truly necessary for subsistence. I won't deny that the very idea makes me really uncomfortable, but I'm still not completely convinced they'll be making "a great deal of money" off of it. I agree with him that the ivory trade is very wrong, I personally think international trade in any kind of ivory should stop, but the high poverty levels there certainly do not paint a picture of making a huge profit off of the sale of narwhal ivory.

    "Don't give me that mealy mouthed tripe about respect. What the men with the rifles did to those intelligent and gentle sentient creatures was NOT respect by any stretch of the imagination. Justify it any way you wish to appease your conscience but what occurred was not respect - it was a savage display of human arrogance."-Like Raina said before, he just isn't thinking of about WHY they would do something so horrible as killing narwhals. I too have a hard time understanding sometimes how hunting could be considered respectful, but I see that he's again making harsh, unfair assumptions about their mindset.
    Last edited by Princess Kae-Leah; 07-25-2015 at 12:24 AM.
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  12. #52
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    What I saw was a Facebook post not this. Does he even have proof this event happened?!? Even the Inuit can't go kill 500 narwhale without the government stepping in or there being multitudes of media coverage...

    All we have are his quotes. No video. No audio. No other proof these people even said these things. It is like he's writing a parody and reminds me of old time war propaganda....

  13. #53
    http://www.treehugger.com/corporate-...-narwhals.html
    Many narwhal got trapped and they decided the best solution was to cull them. Paul was upset because he felt they could've made more of an effort to rescue them
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  14. #54
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    Paul keeps claiming on his site that what Inuit do is illegal, but Inuit have their own land agreement (like a treaty)so actually preventing their access to their right is illegal.

    I can't defend and pretend every Inuit is sustainable but there is so much misinformation on their site about them that I can disprove with two clicks of my mouse it is sickening. He is painting a very racist and generalized picture and intentionally misleading people. This is the kinda thing that hurts the cause cus how can you believe him about other things??

    Canada is the second biggest country in the world. I just looked up that 400 pilot whales may be eaten annually.( an old old generalized stat not backed up by clear evidence) so even in thinking that... Nunavut and the territories are the biggest part of my country. I don't think people realize quite how spread out all of this is. Its not like taiji going into a cove and killing whole families type deal.

    I'm not saying its ideal just he's intentionally misrepresenting and it makes me mad



    Edit: also Inuit in Alaska aren't subjected to the same things as Inuit in canada FYI. And they have access to the same resources Alaskans do, and our Inuit do not. Paul likes to combine the two groups. They are american and Canadian Inuit and very different.

  15. #55
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    I missed your post cuz I edited mine. That was a government decision so be pissed at them, not racist! Geesh. And again I maintain he has no proof his conversations happened. It is very taboo for Inuit to tall to white people, especially elders. I find his quotes incredibly hard to believe

  16. #56
    Quote Originally Posted by AniaR View Post
    Edit: also Inuit in Alaska aren't subjected to the same things as Inuit in canada FYI. And they have access to the same resources Alaskans do, and our Inuit do not. Paul likes to combine the two groups. They are american and Canadian Inuit and very different.
    I noticed that too and thought about it. Alaska isn't nearly as isolated as Nunavut is. The population of Alaska is is over 700,000 where the pop. of Nunavut I think I read is just over 30,000. The city of Anchorage alone has a population of over 200,000. They have a few highly developed industries there, such as fishing and oil. While food can be more expensive and less fresh there than the "lower 48", due to the larger population they have access to a lot of conveniences the folks in Nunavut do not, like you said. Didn't you say before there isn't even hospitals in Nunavut? Life in Alaska is really not that different from anywhere else in America overall. I totally agree it's not fair to lump those two groups together. Someone really needs to send Paul up to Nunavut so he can see the poverty and high prices with his own eyes.
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  17. #57
    Quote Originally Posted by AniaR View Post
    I missed your post cuz I edited mine. That was a government decision so be pissed at them, not racist!
    Yeah he should've directed his anger at the government, not the Inuit. It sounds like to me that the Inuit didn't choose this, but due to food insecurity they were willing to accept the opportunity to hunt the whales and eat them.

    As for whether or not the conversation actually happened, it seems the head of some Inuit organization sent Paul an email about an earlier article he wrote, correcting his misrepresentation and that was his response. A very harsh and disrespectful response that makes extremely unfair assumptions about the Inuit's motives. That's my main issue, unless you witness something with your own eyes, you can't just make assumptions about what motivates an action. Paul's failing here is he's being very judgmental.
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  18. #58
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    Inuit usually have around 4 children on average, which means their number doubles every generation.
    Thus, the amount of food they require- whether bought or killed- doubles every generation as well.

    Not keen to say this, because people get really up in arms if it's mentioned, but I said it already in another thread:

    Subsistence hunting for a stable, environment-adapted number of people is one thing.
    It becomes a problem when said number steadily increases incongruently.
    Nature is a delicate balance, always has been.
    The environment can only bear a certain number of predators.
    If the predators overpopulate their region, they will wipe out their prey and subsequently starve themselves.

    Everyone understands that (see all the wonderful "culling is necessary, so is sterilization" info), but as soon as humans are involved, the concept is abandoned.

    All over the world, human population is growing in an insane fashion


    the result is the depletion of all natural sources, be it space, farmable land, or animals.

    If the human species wants to survive, they cannot go "oh noes, we need to double the number of animals killed every few years- whatever will we do when they die out".

    Humans lack a natural predator, therefore they must control their numbers themselves, or all ecology systems will collapse.

    And this goes for all humans on the planet- so don't pull your "racist"-card out again.

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    Didn't you say before there isn't even hospitals in Nunavut?
    There are a few but most have to fly as far as HERE to get help! The higher population places have them, but don't have enough staff. Also when someone gets lost they send search and rescue from Halifax!

    Inuit usually have around 4 children on average, which means their number doubles every generation.
    Thus, the amount of food they require- whether bought or killed- doubles every generation as well.
    Inuit have 5 times the national average of suicides. edit: most recent stats put it at 13 times! More people are dying by suicide alone than being born. According to the actual studies (not Paul's made up stuff) the numbers of animals killed by inuit are not increasing, many are decreasing, and many are staying the same. I really don't want you to think their surviving on animals has anything to do with their population exploding or something, because it 100% does not. These people are scattered across the largest part of the SECOND BIGGEST country in the world. I often find non-canadians do not grasp how giant Canada is. You have communities of a few 100, a few 1000 and that's about it. The capital of the entire place has less than 7000 people. It's absolutely not a case of too many people not enough food.

    Of the 1,172,790 people who identified themselves as an Aboriginal person in the 2006 Census, about 4%, or 50,485, reported that they were Inuit. That's less people than in my CITY. (390,000+ in Halifax alone) for their whole entire nation strung across the giant North.
    ^stat from Canadian census.

  20. #60
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    ^^
    If your figures are correct, then indeed what I said does not apply to Inuit in this case.

    I was also more generally speaking btw.
    I know many native tribes are decreasing in numbers. Inuit just make more headlines because of the whale hunting.

    Canadians, Australians and other denizens of sparsely populated areas probably have a hard time imagining the world's population is rapidly increasing, and that their few numbers can make a difference to the environment where they live.
    Keep in mind though that especially in such environments where surviving is harsh, few numbers can already make an impact.

    Unrelated to anything else that has been said;
    people who live on a diet rich with fish, dolphin, whale and other marine mammal are not doing themselves a favour because of the high mercury levels, which leads to many health and mental problems.

    Either way, I regard the Inuit as the people who have gotten the shortest end of the stick- their normal food sources have been thinned and poisoned by others.

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