By GARY TRUITT
Hoosier Ag Today
Did you ever wonder where radical animal activists come from? Were they once sensible, ordinary people with normal IQs, college degrees and mini vans? What turned them into hate-filled radicals who reject science, religion and anyone else’s opinion except their own?
I cannot speak for all of them, but many underwent a very special kind of education at the National Animal Rights Conference. This year’s conference was in late July in Washington, D.C. During a span of five days, 100 speakers from 60 different animal rights organizations came together to "teach" more than 100 sessions on how to be a better animal rights activist. The event had more than 1,500 attendees from 47 states and 22 countries.
Masquerading as an educational gathering, this was nothing more than a training session for the dedicated soldiers in the war on agriculture.
It goes without saying that I was not invited to this gathering, but Protect the Harvest (PTH) did an excellent job of monitoring what went on. As they described it, "This training session is highlighted by absurdity; and while humorous, it is a danger to the general public whom they hope to manipulate in their quest to attack our way of life."
One of the first sessions of the conference dealt with fundraising. As an activist, it is important that you keep those donations rolling in – in order to support the very large salaries leaders of the movement get. Keep in mind; most of the funds that are raised do not go to help animals.
The next session covered how to manipulate the media. As a radical activist, it is vital you know how to use your willing sycophants, the media, to tell your story and spread your message.
Other sessions covered how to be an effective lobbyist, reaching children in schools with your message, using public pressure on businesses and corporations, and a session called "Gender, Sexuality and Animal Equality." I will let you guess what that was all about.
The conference featured big name groups including HSUS, Mercy for Animals and Animal Liberation Front. But, a lot of lesser known and fringe groups were there, which shows just how diverse (you could also say silly) the movement is. Groups including The Bunny Alliance, Fish Feel, Alley Cat Allies, Yoga Animalia Project, Fanciful Fox and Vegan Bodybuilding & Fitness, all participated in the event.
As PTH correctly pointed out, "They are training their people, increasingly so each year, on how to manipulate the public. We have to fight back; we have to protect tradition, farmers, ranchers and the American way of life."
Underneath the slogans, silly names, activist culture and conferences are well-organized and well-financed businesses: yes, businesses. All these groups are connected in some way. Their leaders serve on each other’s boards, and money flows easily from one group to another.
Give money to the Bunny Alliance, and there is a good chance it will end up supporting a ballot proposal in Massachusetts prohibiting bacon and eggs. Many of the top leaders of these organizations are talented administrators and organizers who get 6- and 7-figure salaries.
If you really want to rise to the top of the animal rights movement, get an MBA, have your conscience surgically removed, and learn to lie with a smile.
Contrary to what you may have thought, animal activists are not just misguided nut cases. This is a movement that is extremely dangerous. Agriculture’s response must be just as organized and well-funded.
The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of Farm World. Readers with questions or comments for Gary Truitt may write to him in care of this publication.