A 12 Step Program to Recover from Animal Use, Exploitation, and Destruction
Dedicated to the premise of the animal rights movement -- that only basic legal rights can make possible humane treatment of the vast majority of nonhuman animals -- A 12-Step Program to Recover from Animal Use, Exploitation, and Destruction summarizes practical ways to move society beyond the animal welfare systems, that have failed to eliminate the present horrible exploitation, toward the rights the animals need.
1. Nonhuman animals have the moral rights, which should be established as basic legal rights, not to be used by human beings, not to be property, and to live according to their natures. Animals should never be subjected to human-inflicted suffering or interference.
2. Insist on basic legal rights -- not secondary rights without basic ones already in place -- as the primary goal, with secondary rights and enforcement mechanisms to follow achievement of that goal.
3. Do not confuse "helping animals," "improving conditions" for exploited animals, or other animal-welfare measures with animal rights objectives or goals, since animal rights by definition means getting to where nonhuman animals don't need human help because human beings are not using or interfering with them.
4. Where animals are known to be suffering due to the failure of the animal-welfare system to protect them from human beings, demand that authorities act to remedy the situation and educate about the inherent inability of the welfare system to protect the animals.
5. Educate in part by debunking claims that animal rights is anti-human and by demonstrating that animal rights is what humans need most, just as women's rights benefit men and civil rights benefit dominant as well as oppressed groups.
6. Communicate that humans are deserving of animal rights that do not currently exist or are not enforced, and that animal exploitation, oppression and abuse are original sources of similar mistreatment of humans. Animal rights should help expand, not diminish, human rights, except that human beings will no longer see themselves as having the right to use or interfere with other animals.
7. Educate people about the way capitalism and politics work, to emphasize that animal rights is a matter of justice rather than personal traits such as compassion, caring, or empathy. This is not to dismiss those traits as unimportant -- they're crucial to all interactions among human beings and
between humans and other sentient beings -- but to heighten understanding of the important difference between the personal and the political, the incidental and the systemic, feelings and principles.
8. Campaign to change practices, policies, regulations, and laws regarding government agencies and institutions that promote and/or support animal exploitation with public funds.
9. Work to eliminate the public-relations efforts of government agencies and other publicly funded and subsidized entities (usually on behalf of private industry at public expense) to maintain and promote the flesh, milk, and egg industries.
10. Demand in all circumstances that public entities adhere to the principle of equal consideration of equal interests by strictly enforcing Constitutional guarantees, open-records and open-meetings laws and by relying on substantive empirical evidence for decision-making when such evidence conflicts with what is popular or what is demanded by elites.
11. Define as victories, meaningful interim results, and achievable objectives education as to what animal rights is and animal rights' enormous benefits to human beings.
12. Have faith that small numbers of people can bring about fundamental change; do not be overly concerned with popularity or the early lack of popularity of the animal rights message.
Too much emphasis on popularity and support early on was a key factor in the declared animal rights movement's reverting to animal welfare, where its strategies, tactics, and language remain for the most part today.