Animal rights activism is big business, bringing in over $800 million in income annually — up from $650 million last year and $595 million in the year prior. These groups rely on funding from investors, charitable donations, and grant programs to support their shared agenda to eliminate consumer choice and remove meat, dairy, poultry, eggs, and seafood from our tables. On the Animal Agriculture Alliance’s updated Animal Activist Web, you can see how each of the groups listed is part of a much larger interconnected network of people, funding, and anti-animal agriculture campaign strategies.
While each of these groups share the same end goal, they vary in their tactics to reach that goal. Some groups, like the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), appear more moderately in the public eye and focus their efforts on the halls of Congress to force change. At HSUS’s Taking Action for Animals Conference, held August 5 and 6 in Springfield, Ill., attendees were encouraged to actively engage with representatives, policymakers, media, and even neighbors to support legislative efforts. Key topics and takeaways included:
- Opposition to the Ending Agricultural Trade Suppression (EATS) Act, with speakers noting it’s a “huge threat” to the animal rights movement at the federal level. Speakers were especially concerned that its passage would supersede state legislation — including California Proposition 12 and Massachusetts Question 3 — that dictate farming practices inside and outside of state borders.
- Encouraging supporters to become “experts” by researching issues and attempting to position themselves as a resource for lawmakers, media, and the public when it comes to animal agriculture.
- Elevating representatives that support the animal rights movement. Speakers recommended creating questionaries pertaining to animal protection issues to provide to candidates running for office. Based on results, they would determine whether to vote for or against a candidate and share this information with others.
- Challenging the fur community and working to abolish fur farming in the U.S. Attendees were encouraged to pass and support legislation and ordinances to eliminate fur farming and the sale of fur products. As with many animal rights campaigns, this is an incremental step that, if passed, focus would soon shift to prohibiting other types of farming.
Groups like Direct Action Everywhere and the Animal Liberation Front are much more extreme. They are frequently seen trespassing onto farms and breaking into facilities, stealing animals, or pretending to be someone they are not. Documented direct actions in 2022 from these more extreme groups include:
- 95 vandalism incidents
- 70 stolen animals
- 60 criminal trespasses
- 10 arson cases
- Nine harassment and intimidation incidents
No matter where an animal activist organization sits on the spectrum of extremism, they are all actively working against animal agriculture and against consumer choice in the grocery store. We need the collective voices of everyone involved in the food supply chain — from farm to table — to be actively engaging about agriculture. Learn more about becoming an empowered advocate for agriculture through the Alliance’s Animal Ag Allies and College Aggies Online programs.
Emily Ellis is the manager of communications and content at the Animal Agriculture Alliance. In her role, she works to execute the Alliance’s issues management and communications strategy.