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Winter 2006 - Act•ionLine

by Priscilla Feral | Winter 2006

In My View

In My View

We’re about to embark on a milestone year. I invite you to the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Friends of Animals on Friday, 18 May 2007 at the New York Hilton. Circle the date on your new calendar and look for your invitation soon. We have so much to celebrate.

Alice Herrington founded Friends of Animals in 1957, and some of the writers who gained prominence two decades later started their research in Herrington’s library. For fifty years we have uniquely stood our ground, declining to lend our seal of approval to “humane” slaughter laws, and refusing to help concoct the rules and regulations that facilitate the use of animals in laboratories. Long before there was a context in our society for such a brave decision, Alice Herrington decided not to collaborate with the marketing in the bodies of other animals. In fifty years, we haven’t wavered.

From time to time, sticking to our unique mission has meant forsaking money and popularity. Sometimes it has put our activists and supporters under substantial pressure. It’s your dedication that enables us to forge ahead and sustain our reputation as organizers who take on difficult cases and don’t give up.

Recently, this has taken the form of supporting Primarily Primates – an expansive Texas sanctuary which, as I write, is defending its very future.

And we’re doing a less visible but nevertheless crucial kind of defending, and what’s at stake is no less, we believe, than the soul of a movement. Today’s animal advocates are being pressed ever more openly to hand over their power to corporations by agreeing that industries ought to set humane standards for the animals whom they buy, breed, sell, and kill. Handing authority to exploitive corporations (big or small) in order to get respect for other animals simply does not make sense. More than ever it has become clear to us that we must avoid the trap of deriving “victories” from agreements issued by corporations, and work instead with the power we ourselves have to enjoy freedom from the products of such industries.

To paraphrase Brigid Brophy, when we’re told that "we must be realistic," they mean they are going to make money out of it. “Humane” animal products comprise an exceptionally lucrative sector. The groceries that feature them are becoming multinational in scope, thus adding themselves to the marketing trend that pushes the profitable animal trade into every corner of the globe. Scratch the label of these expensive and “compassionate” animal products, and you’ll find that husbandry modifications haven’t really done much at all; and they won’t, because corporations simply aren’t set up to put their living raw materials ahead of their duty to bring in the profits for their shareholders.

And this is why we appreciate your backing when we advocate for veganism and lead by example.

This can and does work. It works each time someone wholeheartedly commits to animal rights. We see it happen every week. And we tell newcomers that the values which inspired them needn’t be compromised.

And on the matter of not compromising, please see our article inside this issue on Primarily Primates, the oldest private primate sanctuary in the United States. Until the day that all primates and other self-aware beings awaken to find their interests respected by the species that’s so long unfairly controlled them, sanctuaries are necessary, and it’s the advocate’s role to support them.

The future of Primarily Primates will say much about whether the animal-advocacy community will fight to keep true sanctuaries. We’re committed to that.

Priscilla Feral

Act•ionLine Winter 2006

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