Environment Social Justice Opinion: Activism, the response to animal rights rollbacks By The New Political Posted on March 16, 2015 6 min read 0 0 565 Photo courtesy of Flickr user Jason Ross Williams. Animal rights has focused on animals which are integrated into human society—in our slaughterhouses, research labs and city streets. Some of these animals face no protection from human brutality. Thousands of these cases can be found on the Internet, including a recent story shared about a leather factory in China. For those who cherish the universality of what we call “rights” and extend their reach to our fellow animals, more activism is needed in the future. Eating a black bean burger instead of a medium rare Black Angus burger may just fall too short to achieve anything meaningful for the non-human animals. Animal rights activism is passing through a lull currently, a period of potential rollback on progress. The movement associated with these rights is not to be confused with environmentalism — which focuses on aggregated concerns and not the well-being of individual animals. In current politics, some measures are being taken to ensure the well-being of animals, while others are taken in the opposite direction. There is a push to make illegal the videotaping of private industrial farms — they have long been home to some of the most obscene cruelty, on par with the worst of acts read in human history. For those who want to safeguard against such despotism over animals and instead expand animal rights, there are the politically inactive and the active. The first is distinctly larger than the second, and it consists of individuals who support the animal rights movement by practicing certain lifestyles that minimize harm to animals. Such people are often thought of as the kind of vegetarians who support groups like PETA. The second group takes things a step further. There is no animal that can politically organize with their fellows to assert some of the basic rights that humans cherish, and so this second group takes it upon themselves to do it for them. These are what we know as animal activists.These activists often do more than just take to the streets with signs. They resemble a crowd that has the functionality and organizational capacity of a militia or gang. This does not mean that they are necessarily violent but their members are focused, loyal, and capable individuals. They spread awareness. They do so by living in and exposing the brutal reality of what some animals go through.The footage released earlier this month in China is full of graphic detail so that there is no mistake recognizing the pointless physical and mental agony dogs there are put through. Even though environmentalism and animal rights may find tension with one another — because hunting overpopulated deer is good for the former and bad for the latter — there can be times to cheer for both. Some activists like the PETA members who infiltrated Procter & Gamble embody this. They fought for the preservation of forests and the tigers that inhabit them. Regardless of the specific nature of the activism, the rollbacks on the ability of Americans to learn and know about animal cruelty must meet strong resistance. Legal censorship is an unfathomable and reactionary response to the exposure of the backwards treatment of animals in the making of human products and in discovery through research. People deserve to know, and if people are going to want to know, someone has to get up from their vegetarian lunch-in and light the torch so that everybody can see things clearly.