To those who say that Jerry Vlasak causes dissention among AR activists
(and that it is a bad thing)
By Ann Berlin

I can't think of a movement that has gone backward because of internal conflict (despite revisionist history by those afraid of change). Certainly not civil rights. Any public debate loses momentum without publicity -- and attempts to squash the debate merely fuel it. The success of Salman Rushdie's "The Satanic Verses", the movie "The Last Temptation of Christ", and the website "bonsaikitten" were all fueled by their critic's protests.

Certainly the recent controversy within the AR movement has helped garner attention. More people are aware of factory farming today than before the 60 Minutes interview. History shows us that, despite of what folks think about activists (remember the despised Vietnam protestors?), the public separates people from the issues.

PETA put animal rights on the map with conflict. Why protest when you can throw a pie? Larger animal welfare organizations did less in centuries in trying to reach the masses. They are still worthy. But PETA got its message out there, and millions agree, despite the fact nobody thinks it's nice to throw a pie at someone. The opponents resort to ad hominems about PETA. They don't attack PETA's logic, and their positions are always self-serving and easy to see through.

Enemies to the AR movement are welcome. When they surface, it's a last-ditch desperate effort, a sign that we can no longer be ignored. The more name-calling and infiltration (as if we don't recognize it), the more it draws attention.

As the saying goes, "Cruelty can't stand the spotlight", and most people simply haven't seen it. Thanks in great part to our enemies, more are looking. Few ever forget. Most change.

Worldwide, the movement is getting stronger.

Regarding specifically the United States, there is good news and bad news. The bad news is that the rest of the world is progressing towards animal rights much faster than is the US. Especially Europe.

The good news is that the US is going into debt so fast and losing its economic power, that it is less relevant every day in the scheme of things. Shh - don't tell them.