From the 1989 Agricultural Law newsletter
What is effective strategy? Some find it useful to objectify naked humans to get their point across... Some appeal with vegan food... Some initiate petitions... Some plead through the legal system... Some do open rescue and undercover video... Some destroy property... And on and on.
Which is the answer? My belief is that all of it is necessary to change society. I don't think there is one single road to convince billions that animals deserve their lives. Different messages reach different people. Some come to Animal Rights through viewing a graphic image... Some make their connection via a sanctuary. Point is... There is no "one way".
I don't support welfare. My end goal is to see nonhumans out of man's domination entirely... But I do know that every tactical battle includes incremental change and multi-faceted strategies. I know that nothing will change over night and that reform efforts will continue till the goal is reached. That's just fact.
I know too that when someone buys "cage free" or "free-range" options because they care... It is up to abolitionists to correct the positions to what "care" really means...
A HOLISTIC APPROACH:
I think Animal Rights will be had through a constant series of measures that ever-more pushes in the same direction. But whatever each of us chooses to invest our advocacy time, effort and money in is something that I stand little hope of influencing, so I avoid criticizing fellow advocates. My focus has always been on addressing consumers who are unaware or disengaged from the systems that exploits nonhumans: Carnists.
I view culture's relationship to nonhumans as an injury... Really more like a sickness, requiring many therapeutic steps towards recovery. Would I recommend the "medicine" of continued animal use in "better ways" as part of the cure? Absolutely not... But I'm afraid there are "doctors" that would suggest this. Our job as healers is to tear down this idea every chance we get. And to remind everyone that the end goal is not to use animals at all... No matter how much sugar is on the poison.
Put another way of how I see Animal Rights as a multi-tactical, "holistic" endeavor is by viewing it through a prism:
Direct Action as in acts of open rescue and under cover video will increase awareness of issues.
Science & Health will expand options for better choices. Concerns to the environment and diseases caused by raising and eating flesh will persist... So will technologies create "vat meats" and urban farms. This will all reduce animal consumption.
Economic & Legislative changes will influence demand. If politicians are sent the message that favors, grants and tax payer funding to these institutions is unacceptable... Eventually the animal using industries will be forced to operate in a true market.
Social & Cultural contributions are seen everywhere through literature, Animal Rights artists, plays, music and other methods of emotional/aesthetic expression.
Generational Influence will accumulate and re-adapt it's relationship to nonhumans. Because the nature of youth is to constantly question the teachings of the generation before - They will be more receptive to new ideas and progressive thinking.
Advocacy will press on throughout all these other changes. And it will be a mix of welfare, reform and abolition... I know what shade of "purple" I think is the best - But I also realize that others will see it their own way, with or without my approval. And the time/energy spent arguing with each other - means that's less attention reaching totally unaware & disengaged individuals.
Obviously, I am confessing that I haven't got any one "right" answer as to the way justice will be achieved. I'm not enough of an expert and have no crystal ball to say what the "only" way to abolition is. Thus far I believe that all changes are part of the grand scheme.
I know the quickest way is for everyone to just "go vegan" - It's a pure idea. But most see that as extreme and will muddle their way only with constant nudging. Using reforms helps those people drag their way down the road. I don't like it. But it's what we have until a tipping point can be reached.
I'm not against anyone's personal tactics to achieve Animal Rights. All that I ask is that they sincerely question whether their work really does help animals... Or does it just help people continue to use them?
The following have helped shape my views:
Yes, we do support a gradual, incremental approach to animal liberation, but one vegan meal at a time – not one inch of cage space at a time. The distant goal must be a vegan world – not a world with animals in huge cages.
~Alex Hershaft FARM President and Founder
Steve Best discusses the Rights vs Welfare debate: Reform articulated through rights
Change Of Heart: What Psychology Can Teach Us About Spreading Social Change
I don't believe there is one single strategy which will work, exclusive of others. Spreading the message through potlucks or protests all have their place within this movement.