[Below is published by the animal-torture advocates at the ineptly-named Americans for
Medical Progress. Judging from their own propaganda, illegal animal liberation activities continue
at roughly the same pace as they have for the last several years. Not that more would not be better! –Press Office]
As we look forward to what 2019 has in store, it’s clear that animal activism is in the midst of a major evolution. Within the past few years, new groups have formed and new strategies have launched. On the other hand, some organizations and tactics have faded away.
Here are a few ways that animal activism is changing and will likely continue to evolve in 2019:
Trend: A Decrease in Illegal Activities
Illegal and/or menacing acts conducted by animal activists appear to be on the decline. The graph below, courtesy of Information Network Associates Inc. shows that over time, direct actions in the U.S. have tapered off significantly.
During the most recent period of heightened illegal activity in the 2000s, institutions like UCLA witnessed vandalism and harassment at researchers’ homes. Another disturbing incident was a firebomb attack that destroyed a UCLA university commuter van.
Thankfully, incidents such as these are becoming increasingly rare. In fact, one of the main organizations that inspired several illegal and menacing acts in the previous decade, called SHAC, no longer exists. This is partially due to legal issues faced by the group. However, public perception also became a problem.
Nowadays, many of the most extreme voices in the movement, those who called for violence targeting health researchers, have for the most part, been quiet as of late. Others have aligned themselves with different causes or different groups that are either less extreme or less vocal about their most radical views.
Trend: An Increased Emphasis on Lobbying
In recent years, many animal research opponents have moved towards lobbying lawmakers. In fact, new organizations with legislative missions have launched to influence change on the national level.
For example, White Coat Waste Project is a relatively new animal rights organization that attempts to halt animal research by portraying it as a waste of taxpayer money. Many of their campaigns and proposed legislative efforts target public agencies, such as the EPA and the USDA, which study animals or fund extramural projects that involve animal research. One current White Coat Waste effort seeks to end all canine research at the VA. Another targets USDA research that is studying the effects of the toxoplasmosis parasite in cats.
While White Coat Waste is focused on change at the national level, other groups are involved in regional or statewide initiatives. For example, several states have enacted research animal adoption bills as a result of lobbying by various animal rights organizations. While adoption may sound like a good thing, these bills twist the fact that many institutions involved in research already have programs set in place to adopt out research animals when it is humane to do so.