The Political Scope

multicoloured dog by farangis

It's not enough to hand out leaflets or convey to the general public that they are simply uninformed and need to be 'enlightened'. Many people do care about animal concerns, but what it lacks is the politicalness of ideas of how to bring animal rights into a functioning democratical apparatus. In the end of the day democracies have only been established to bear the inherent rights of the human group. Animals had been seen as subordinate to human concerns, so 'the animal' had simply been classified as a 'possession'.

Today where democracies reflect the human ideal of self-fulfilment, in an at least more or less basic sense, many people do have the mind for thinking about more than 'just themselves' ...

The spearheads of the AR movement though do act as if people should be constantly informed about the role of animals in democracy as it now is, but thus they are only confirming the status as 'possessions' that need to be 'freed'.

People do already know that animals can't be just seen as 'things' - what it lacks, is a language and the political ideas to frame for the Animal Rights movement something that would be comparable to what the 'green idea' has been for the environmentalists.

What I want to say is that it is not enough to just state (and behave according the the statement) that animals need more protection or rights: what is more important is to establish the practise of what the rights have to comprise.

A fundamental right, that realistically needs to be the acknowledged in the concept of Animal Rights, is the existent independence of animals towards the human paradigma; the self-authority of animals needs to be established in rights terms and in political ideas.

Clinging to the current classification of the nature and animals, prevents a change such as it needs to get away from the human paradigm.

Democracy, Animal Rights and Human Rights

'Animals are in a worse position and so even more in need of a legal 'Defender'. In a democracy there are bulwarks which guarantee people's freedom. In a dictatorship people have the final means of resolution by revolution. In both people can communicate the misery of their own state and act to change it. So by vote and voice they can persuade or force a Government to change. Conversely, be it a democracy of a dictatorship, animals are always equally unequal and denied the means of dissent. All they can do is await their fate at the gate of the abattoir and occasionally kick against the pricks.'

Contextual Links:

Animal Law Review

Animal Legal & Historical Web Center
Michigan State University - DCL College of Law

Steven J. BARTLETT, Roots of Human Resistance to Animal Rights: Psychological and Conceptual Blocks, 8 Animal Law Review, pp. 143, 2002.

California's Political Action Committee for Animals

CHVL's mission is to benefit animals by supporting and initiating humane legislation, opposing inhumane legislation, responding to proposed administrative regulations regarding animals, and supporting candidates who align with our values.

Doris Day Animal League, Animal Advocacy

Eastern Shore Sanctuary & Education Center

Friends of Animals
The Civil Rights of Animal Rights Advocates

Angela P. HARRIS, Should People of Color Support Animal Rights? Journal of Animal Law, Michigan State University, Vol. V, pp. 15, 2009., pdf download


Humane Voters. The purpose of the League of Humane Voters (LOHV) is to support the election of candidates for public office who have a humane orientation indicated by their willingness to support animal rights issues. We are an electioneering organization formed to bring about the election of candidates pledged to support animal rights legislation.

League of Humane Voters of New York City. The League of Humane Voters of New York City ('LOHV-NYC') mobilizes public concern for animals through the democratic political process. Recognizing that animal protection is a political issue as well as a moral issue, LOHV-NYC campaigns for the election of humane candidates to public office.

National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS); The Legal Arena: NAVS believes that the constructive use of the legal system is an effective way to bring about positive and long-term change for animals...

National Institute for Animal Advocacy (NIFAA)
NIFAA's Mission is: to create a political culture among animal rescue and rights advocates, to train advocates how to form voting blocs for animals in their towns, cities, counties and states, and to develop local political leadership among animal advocates to lead these voting blocs.

Responsible Policies for Animals, Inc. (RPA)

Society for Animal Protective Legislation (a division of the Animal Welfare Institute )

Rafi Youatt: Rethinking Anthropocentric Politics. Draft prepared for presentation at Political Theory Workshop. Ohio State University. May 2008.
Professor Youatt's research and teaching interests are in international environmental politics and environmental political theory. His dissertation, entitled Nonhuman Agency and the Politics of Global Biodiversity, explores how a critical account of nonhuman agency challenges anthropocentric conceptions of international politics.