Making Animal Protection a Political Issue



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Karen has expressed

Karen has expressed beautifully, that which so many of us that work in the animal protection community think and feel re the neglect, cruelty, and misuse of animals. I hope that more articles are written that expose the atrocities inflicted upon animals. We HAVE to ban puppy mills, all forms of animal fighting, unnecessary experimentation and testing on animals, and establish programs for feral cats for a start.

Beverlee McGrath more than 1 year ago

Please check out Clifton

Please check out Clifton Roberts- Humane Party Presidential Candidate for 2016. and We are an ethics based political party in which animal rights is part of our platform.

Humane Party more than 1 year ago

Thanks for this piece and

Thanks for this piece and while I agree with much of it, I'm on the fence about supporting campaigns that advocate for ending things like gestation crates and caged egg-laying hens. As one who works in farm animal rescue, I've seen horrendous conditions on farms of all caliber and levels. As a matter of fact, some of the chicken rescues I've been involved with from "free-range, pasture-based" farms have produced some of the worst cases of animal abuse and neglect I've seen. I can't get behind a campaign that makes people feel good about the products they are buying when it's really not the case that they are any better, and sometimes, they are just worse. It's certainly a topic for discussion and I thank you for bringing it here.

Lori Woods more than 1 year ago

Thank you so much for making

Thank you so much for making this very excellent point. It is not at all surprising to me that you even find worse conditions on those farms. Thank you for your work.

Lisa Qualls more than 1 year ago

I think the common ground we

I think the common ground we should focus on is CLIMATE CHANGE, with animal protection a close second. The world now agrees that CLIMATE CHANGE is not only real, it's a life- and planet-threatening issue demanding immediate action. Most, if not all, Presidential wannabes focus on fossil fuels or sustainable energy, completely ignoring the even more devastating impact of factory farming on our planet. Let's hold politicians accountable for mitigating CLIMATE CHANGE by curtailing FACTORY FARMING, the LEADING CAUSE of CLIMATE CHANGE. Let's get COWSPIRACY: THE SUSTAINABILTY SECRET on CNN and demand a response from those who would lead us. That's where we have a chance to gain traction. We don't have time to waste. Earth doesn't have time to waste. Vanishing animals don't have time to waste. It's up to US, the voters, to DEMAND more from politicians. Let's make CLIMATE CHANGE the political issue of 2016.

Janet Weeks more than 1 year ago

So happy to see attention

So happy to see attention going to this subject. Thanks Dawn for bringing this to the forefront!

Nicola Siso more than 1 year ago

Thank you for this very

Thank you for this very informative article. I to believe that we as animal activists must organization and become a strong political force. One small correction should be made , African Lions are listed as "threatened" not endangered. We must get them placed on Endangered Species List in order to protect them from being hunted, and ultimately from extinction. Contact USFWS Director Dan Ashe and express your opinion re: this very important issue. Time is running out for our beautiful African wildlife.

Lori Sullens more than 1 year ago

I'd like to echo the many

I'd like to echo the many comments here that applaud Karen Dawn for her well-reasoned article. Civilization may well have been built upon the backs of animals, but we no longer have any excuses whatsoever to continue to treat them as non-thinking machines here only for our 'benefit.' It is largely the strength of lobbies and the money they provide to our politicians to keep the status quo that keeps animals enslaved. If people would awaken to this fact and vote accordingly, things could change quickly. Thank you, Karen Dawn, for opening many more eyes to this issue.

Karen O'Connell more than 1 year ago

One of the most well written,

One of the most well written, comprehensive articles I have read on this subject. Thank you!!

Crystal Weber more than 1 year ago

Thank you for this important

Thank you for this important and well written article. I hope it is widely read and a call to action.

Ellen Ervin more than 1 year ago

Karen Dawn's article is both

Karen Dawn's article is both brilliant and timely. It does seem to me that the human race is approaching a crossroads with one path leading to kinder practices, healthier diets, and a less polluted world while the other path leads to what I call "the dark side". The dark side is where animals are treated as no more than cogs in a machine, factory farmed, people value human intelligence with no value placed on empathy, more of the world's oxygen producing forests are lost to livestock grazing, and obesity rates soar while our life spans are shortened due to unhealthy diets. It's time for a big change in the way we treat the sentient beings who share our world.

Lynn O'Toole more than 1 year ago

Karen Dawn is one of the most

Karen Dawn is one of the most eloquent & best writers of animal rights/welfare issues. How perfect that The Progressive includes a typically well written article about the treatment of all non-human animals by humans. Hope to see many more such articles.

Kathryn Dalenberg more than 1 year ago

Thank you for covering this

Thank you for covering this topic with this thought provoking article. Very good insight into the social justice movement for animals, which seems like it is on the cusp of creating big change.

Mindy Kwiatkowski more than 1 year ago

Of course killing animals for

Of course killing animals for sport is abominable But, sadly the funding for conservation of game animals and their habitat is sometimes dependent on selling hunting liscenses for the privilege of murdering same such as lions. In my view this reflects facts such as gross public apathy , human overpopulation, avarice and poverty. The future is grim for most if not all large mammals... Including I hope Homo sapiens.

Robert Bakewell more than 1 year ago

"We cannot have peace among

"We cannot have peace among men whose hearts delight in killing any living creature. By every act that glorifies or even tolerates such moronic delight in killing we set back the progress of humanity." ~ Rachel Carson

JC more than 1 year ago

I believe we will soon

I believe we will soon witness history being made regarding animal welfare. More and more, as people ignorant about the extentsive brutality built into common practices become enlightened, they will be moved to speak out and our politicians will be forced to listen – or forced out. Toward this end, The Progressive is to be lauded for publishing this level-headed article on a topic so many feel so passionately about. This is clearly not only a growing “political” issue, but also a moral one. The Pope certainly seems to agree: In his recent encyclical, he calls upon not just all Roman Catholics, but upon all people, to rethink their treatment of animals when he says: “ We must forcefully reject the notion that our being created in God’s image and given dominion over the earth justifies absolute domination over other creatures. The Bible has no place for tyrannical anthropocentrism.” We should be grateful to Karen Dawn for her work and to The Progressive for printing such an educational and inspiring piece.

Carol DiCaprio Herrick more than 1 year ago

Thank you for posting the

Thank you for posting the article Making Animal Protection a Political Issue, written by Karen Dawn. As always, she poignantly and intelligently summarizes some of the many animal abuses that occur in our world every day. While civilization may have become less barbaric through the centuries in some areas, it has become far more heinous and cruel in other areas with respect to animal research, factory farming, entertainment, and more.

Though most people are somewhat aware that these cruelties exist, they choose “selective compassion” and/or deny the existence of the astronomical amount of suffering that is inflicted upon animals in the name of the aforementioned. However, together we can instigate change for animals with "strategic activism” so our legislators will not only listen but instill change. This is indeed long overdue.

Linda more than 1 year ago

Yes, our laws do not reflect

Yes, our laws do not reflect our values, as Karen Dawn points out in her comprehensive article. Legislators have reputations for ignoring the will of their constituents in favor of doing the bidding of powerful special interest groups that line their pockets. The result is not only the on-going suffering of billions of animals each day, but also the ensuing degradation of our environment brought on by the meat industry, including a significant contribution to climate change, and in the field of research, the continuation of antiquated methods of testing, in the face of the development of more progressive methods which not only do not use animals, but also result in more accurate results. It's also unfortunate that when the law allows mistreatment to exist, it tends to run rampant, as a multitude of undercover investigations attest to.

Jackie Raven more than 1 year ago

Thank you to The Progressive

Thank you to The Progressive for publishing this article by Karen Dawn. I've often wondered how something like the killing of Cecil the Lion can go viral on the internet and obviously anger and upset so many millions of people around the world and yet our own legislators remain completely apathetic about protecting animals from systemic industrialized animal abuse. Our politicians are clearly not working to promote issues held dear by broad sections of the public. As Ms Dawn makes clear, it is now up to animal lovers to learn better methods of persuasion to bring animal protection laws and enforcement in alignment with twenty-first century values.

Hilary Spreiter more than 1 year ago

Brilliant, well-reasoned

Brilliant, well-reasoned article. I have always wondered why it it is that we can't get any closer to a goal so many of us seem to share. Thanks for your insights.

Gloria more than 1 year ago

It's not just opposition to

It's not just opposition to wanton killing of wildlife; it's not just opposition to killing magnificent individuals of a species (Cecil, biggest buck, etc.) for the "thrill of the kill" or for a trophy head wall mount; it's not just exponentially increasing opposition to killing any other animals such as livestock for food when plant-based food can and do sustain life; and it's not just in the United States, but rather it's global: People are seeing animals as other sentient beings who occupy the earth and deserve to be treated as such--not treated inhumanely and ruthlessly killed unnecessarily for food. In addition to increasing ranks of vegans and vegetarian for both ethical and health reasons, opposition movements to stop animal exploitation for entertainment (rodeos, circuses, bull fighting, fox hunting, horse and Greyhound racing, etc.) is gaining momentum, as it should. Thank you for publishing this article--it accurately reflects the bigger picture.

Ernie Jay more than 1 year ago

With animal protection

With animal protection emerging as the number one social justice cause of the 21st century, some legislators are recognizing the public's concerns and addressing them. However, it's up to the public to voice those concerns and let their representatives know what's important to them. And, yes, animal advocates vote just like everyone else; that's a good reminder to those in office (or seeking one).

Annoula Wylderich more than 1 year ago

It's not easy to cover the

It's not easy to cover the complexity of animal protection in a human-centric world, but the author draws in many aspects of the issue. Nicely written.

Anonymous more than 1 year ago

It is indeed wonderful, and,

It is indeed wonderful, and, I dare say, long-overdue "progress" toward the end of animal rights that a journal by the name of The Progressive has printed Karen Dawn's piece outlining various ways in which our common, legally protected practices regarding our treatment & use of animals does not match many people's values about non-human animals. And while I understand & applaud the sensible approach of working strategically to draw upon the values that many people already hold regarding the suffering of animals, since any way to lessen the suffering of sentient animals is important and should be fought for, at the same time, I think those of us who are serious about non-human animal liberation and justice should also keep pointing out that most people are hypocrites when it comes to what they say about their concern for animal suffering and what they do, given that it is really impossible to genuinely care about animal suffering and eat or wear animal flesh or by-products that are the result of industrialized farming methods. Can we please be real about this?

Corinne Painter more than 1 year ago

My fellow progressives are in

My fellow progressives are in favor of extending rights to others, but most just can't seem to move beyond the species barrier. Why? It is exactly this attitude - that some lives are more important than others - that perpetuates most injustices. Violence is violence, whether inflicted on a human or non-human animal. It is just plain common sense that if you truly believe in justice, you cannot treat animals unjustly simply because they are unable to defend themselves and because they are different. If you work for social justice, I commend you and urge you to continue to fight the good fight. But try as you might, it is often difficult to influence world events. The one place you can have a positive, life-affirming effect every day is at the dinner table. Becoming a vegetarian - or better yet, a vegan - is an easy way to immediately reduce the suffering in the world. Animal lives matter!

My fellow progressives often mock conservatives for denying climate change. Yet, those who acknowledge the gravity of our situation and continue ignoring the compelling scientific evidence indicating the necessity of making simple, healthy, compassionate dietary modifications are, perhaps, exhibiting an even greater level of denial. The official companion handbook to the Live Earth Concerts noted that “refusing meat” is the “single most effective thing you can do to reduce your carbon footprint.” This is proven by countless studies, including the U.N. report revealing that the meat industry produces more greenhouse gasses than all the SUVs, cars, trucks, planes and ships in the world combined. Common sense and critical thinking render the same conclusion. It is grossly inefficient to grow crops to feed animals and then eat their flesh and eggs and drink their milk when we can, instead, grow food for humans to eat.

Stewart more than 1 year ago

Animal welfare advocates need

Animal welfare advocates need to heed the message of this essay carefully. The more effective message was that Christie defied the will of his constituents in order to pursue his political ambition with out-of-state early primary voters.

Peter more than 1 year ago

Thank you for placing this

Thank you for placing this article by Karen Dawn in your newest publication. Her emphatic but also realistic views on animal protection and rights are well written without condemning or aggressively attacking those not (yet?) involved in this worthy cause.

Alexandra Bechter more than 1 year ago

I am so excited about this

I am so excited about this article by Karen Dawn. It is long overdue. Thanks for publishing this article.
Politicians should do what they're supposed to do as unbiased leaders of those who voted them into parliament. If the voters out-vote the meat/wildlife farmers their vote in favour of better treatment of animals should be heard and the laws should change in favour of the animals. It's high time that animal head-hunters power to shoot and kill which ever way they like (because the laws protect them) be cut off at the knees so that shameful oversights like the "Cecil-Lion" shooting and other like issues not be repeated again. Also its high time that meat farmers be cut off at the knees as their improper treatment of animals and exploitation of their lives for their meat and derivatives (and selling thereof to the public) has caused the earthlings of this planet to become diseased and sick and caused untimely deaths. This planet has been polluted because of these money driven organisations (plastic and manure pollution of the ocean's and rivers - breeding of farm animals for meat & dairy)
What more must the World Health Organisation and other scientists and doctors do to get the attention of politicians and governance to put laws into place that will phase out these FAT-FARMERS who have made their living through exploitation of animals and people through consumption of animal products?

Elsje Parsons Massyn more than 1 year ago

This is very well written,

This is very well written, and makes some excellent points. BUT........ The fact that the Animal foods industry, is factually responsible for more Earthly decimation, pollution, degradation, far and away than any other endeavor; that research shows that it as well creates human starvation, that being hundreds of millions of people, a billion, no less; that no family does not know heart disease, cancer, kidney disease, diabetes, auto immune, neuromuscular disease, with the eating of foods derived from Animals, again, being the #1 cause of ALL these maladies, makes the prohibition of " Animal agriculture ", a priority of unprecedented proportion. Of course the insane abuse rendered in the amusement arena, and the totally unnecessary, insane, sadistic, laboratory experiments and the like, the vile use of Animal body parts in all commodities, must follow, with the recreation of our sanity, based on a foundation of a sane food policy.

Michael Berenzweig more than 1 year ago

Thank you for caring about

Thank you for caring about those that have no voice, might it be that someday soon, a politician here and there can get a question directed on to their ballot box, to give creatures a voice, it's certainly long overdue.

Jasmin Horst Seiler more than 1 year ago

Sad that so few animal

Sad that so few animal advocates are involved in the legislative process. Sad, too, that animal and environmental issues are not more bi-partisan. I recently perused the bios of all 120 members of the California State Legislature. Only THREE noted concerns about environmental issues, and NONE mentioned animal welfare or rights. As the late Molly Ivins wryly noted, "All anyone needs to enjoy the state legislature is a strong stomach and a complete insensitivity to the needs of the people." This needs to change.

I've read that the pro-animal constituency is the largest in the country. That is certainly not reflected in our state legislatures. As a movement, we need to elect many more pro-animal advocates to office. Nor should we overlook the ballot initiative process.

Eric Mills, coordinator

Eric Mills more than 1 year ago

And a P.S. - A California non

And a P.S. - A California non-profit, Paw PAC (co-founded by the late and inimitable VIRGINIA HANDLEY in 1980), for 35 years has published an annual Legislative Voting Chart. The Chart tabulates the committee votes on 8-10 animal bills every year, then grades the 40 State Senators and 80 State Assemblymembers accordingly.

One would expect our representatives to be bi-partisan on welfare issues, right? WRONG! In every one of those 35 years there would be 25-30 legislators earning an "A" grade--all Democrats. And 25-30 legislators earning an "F" grade--nearly all Republicans. In those same 35 years only ONE Republican has earned an "A" grade, and that was a fluke, IMO.

Seems that if a bill costs a dollar, or puts another law on the books, the Republicans will almost invariably vote NO. Go figure.

Be aware, too, that the next President could very well be appointing three or four new members to the U.S. Supreme Court, which already leans to the right. And if it's a Republican, you can likely kiss goodbye Roe v. Wade and the Endangered Species Act, inter al.

It is CRITICAL that animal people get involved in the political process, dismal though it often is. The animals' future depends on it.

Eric Mills, coordinator

Eric Mills more than 1 year ago

I have worked for legislation

I have worked for legislation, but one big obstacle is that a politician is not going to vote for something that does not have popular support. You cannot get popular support without the street activists, like me, raising the public morality and so they will start demanding laws.

The issue I have with laws that supposedly improve conditions is that the industry will find a way, and the animals will continue to suffer as long as they are exploited. When we focus on improved welfare laws the public interprets that to mean that they can continue using animals "because they are treated better", no matter how badly they are treated. To consider a ban on gestation crates a victory is to come from a very low baseline that includes use. Use is abuse.

I prefer to work to raise the conscience of the public.

Lisa Qualls more than 1 year ago

Not only do our legislators

Not only do our legislators and laws not help animals, by subsidizing the meat and dairy industries the government actively harms animals, as only the cruelty of mass production can supply the artificial demand. And it harms the public by encouraging unhealthy diets, when every reputable health advisor recommends that we consume more plants and less animals.

Josh Garrett more than 1 year ago

An excellent article that

An excellent article that clearly reveals the many ways we need to change. A vegan life can solve all of these challenges. Well done!

Julie Tuesday more than 1 year ago

This article seems

This article seems particularly topical as we read about the battles the makers of vegan “Just Mayo” have had with the egg board. Though the outcome announced today was favorable, it was disgusting to see our government get in there and fight dirty on behalf of the egg lobby. It’s time for the animals to have a lobby that is willing to fight back hard

Jana Gibson more than 1 year ago

Great article! It explains

Great article! It explains why I am so often confused and aghast at how animals continue to suffer even though people seem to care. As Karen explains, our laws do not reflect our values. That seems to reveal the problem. I'm inspired to do what's necessary to change the laws.

Steve Oka more than 1 year ago

Terrific piece!

Terrific piece!

Hope Ferdowsian more than 1 year ago

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