Dear friends & readers:
Do you ever feel as if you are fighting the same battles for animals over and over?
Thirty years ago we celebrated a global ban on commercial whaling, a ban on international sales of elephant ivory and rhino horn, and a 10-year suspension of the Atlantic Canada seal hunt. U.S. retail fur sales fell by half. Many leading personal care product makers pledged to quit animal testing.
We rejoiced that for the first time ever, more than 70% of all the owned cats and dogs in the U.S. were sterilized. Shelter intakes and killing fell like a rock.
Twenty years ago, you and fellow voters in state after state passed initiatives to stop horse slaughter, leghold trapping, and hunting bears and pumas with dogs.
Now, though, you are receiving frequent urgent appeals by direct mail and through social media, warning that most or all of the “victories” you won for animals are in urgent jeopardy of being erased, have been eroded, or maybe were never really won at all.
Were you fooled?!
Were you fooled all this time? Did you waste years of effort and emotional input––tabling, picketing, marching, circulating petitions, writing to media, and donating, donating, donating?
No. Your work and the heartache you felt over animal suffering were not wasted.
Some of your donations were squandered at times by bad leadership, but many of the “victories” you thought were won, that now seem to be slipping away on the political front, were in truth won in shaping the attitudes of the next generations.
Great gains for the greatest animals
Japan has resumed commercial whaling, but on a fraction of the scale of the “research whaling” done in the past, because Japanese young people no longer eat whales.
Iceland recently suspended commercial whaling, in part because ANIMALS 24-7 pointed out in a timely manner several weeks ago that each escalation of whaling in recent years coincided with a slump in vacation visits by the adventurous young tourists whose spending has become a cornerstone of the Icelandic economy.
The bans on elephant ivory and rhino horn trafficking are again in jeopardy, yet have held up for nearly two generations, because younger people don’t use ivory or rhino horn.
A lot to celebrate
The Atlantic Canada seal hunt resumed, yet no one buys seal pelts. The token hunt today amounts to nose-thumbing at world opinion.
Adjusted for inflation, U.S. retail fur sales have never recovered. Few young people wear fur, or want to.
More animals are used now in biomedical research, but only because vastly more research is being done. Use of non-animal methods has sharply cut the numbers of animals used per experiment.
Animal shelters are now receiving less than a third as many dogs and cats as 30 years ago, killing less than a seventh as many.
The vegan food sector, almost invisible 30 years ago, is now shoving meat and dairy products aside in the main freezer cabinets of every supermarket.
Refighting old battles
You have, in short, a lot to celebrate. But you are also quite right that you are being asked to fight many of the same battles over and over again.
There are many reasons for this. One reason is that the current political environment has enabled animal use industries to undo animal protections by stealth that could not be undone by daylight.
Another reason is that some of the issues have expanded: we are making the same arguments to the whole public, not just a few friends. Thirty years ago we asked for vegan options at restaurants. Today vegan products are sold in every supermarket. The entire animal agriculture sector is beginning to contract, for perhaps the first time ever.
Who helps you sort it all out?
Unfortunately, some of the biggest “animal advocacy” charities saw donations slump when some of the abuses that moved you the most were no longer visible.
Some of these big “animal advocacy” charities therefore backed away from successful legislation, for example, and turned instead to “winning victories” in partnership with animal industries that in California turned some hard-won felony penalties for cruelty into misdemeanors, and in Vermont, cut the cage size for puppy mill puppies by as much as 75%.
Who helps you sort all of this out? Who do you turn to, to know which “victories” are really won, which battles must be refought, and which organizations and leaders you can trust?
You look to ANIMALS 24-7. We are still on the job, 24-7, doing everything we do to empower you to continue to make a lasting difference for animals.
But we need your help. Your generous donations of $20, $50, $100, $500, $1,000 or more make ANIMALS 24-7 possible––and we never forget your trust.
P.S.–– Your gifts of $20, $50, $100, $500, $1,000 or more help ANIMALS 24-7 to help you win for animals the victories that endure.