The Animal Rights Movement Must Be Politically Pragmatic
Published in Animal Rights Opposing Viewpoints edited by Andrew Harnack (Greenhaven, 1996)
There are two fundamentally important challenges which we face individually as animal advocates and collectively as the animal rights movement. Our ability to respond to these challenges will inevitably determine whether we are successful in confronting the cultural, political and scientific assumptions of speciesism on which animal exploitation is predicated. The first challenge is learning how to balance the utopian vision of animal liberation with the pragmatic politics of animal advocacy. When I say the utopian vision of animal liberation I refer to our cherished ideals of a world where human and nonhuman animals can peacefully coexist together. When I say the pragmatic politics of animal advocacy I refer to the reality of the world in which we live and the day-to-day experiences we encounter which shape our opinions on what it is possible to achieve for animals. The second fundamental challenge that we face is learning how to construct a united and professional animal rights movement that balances the utopian vision of animal liberation with the pragmatic politics of animal advocacy.