Frequently Asked Questions
Animal Liberation is, as the name suggests, committed to the liberation of all animals from all forms of human enslavement, oppression, and cruelty. This includes: farm animals (ie meat and production animals); animals used in research and teaching; animals used in entertainment (including recreational hunting, rodeos, circuses, zoos, horse and greyhound racing, animal shows, as well as activities already illegal in Australia - but not everywhere in the world - such as bull fighting, dog fighting, bear baiting, and the torture of animals in fiestas); wild animals (both native and introduced), and even companion animals (for example those kept for breeding purposes).
Animal Liberation ACT was formed in the late 1970s, around the same time as other Animal Liberation groups in NSW, Victoria, and Queensland. The phrase ‘animal liberation’ was coined by Australian philosopher, Peter Singer, in his 1975 book of the same name. Although the concept of animal rights was not new even then, Singer’s book helped launch the animal rights movement in Australia and around the world. As the title suggests, the book recognised that animal liberation is the last and greatest of all the world’s freedom movements – and of course it is the first dedicated to sentient beings who are not humans.
Drawing on the history of human liberation predecessors, we refer to ourselves as an ‘abolitionist’ organisation. Of course, this does not mean we want to abolish all human interaction with non-human animals, any more than our predecessors meant that women wanted nothing further to do with men, or that dark-skinned people wanted nothing further to do with fair-skinned people. We wish to abolish the assumption of human superiority and the exercise of power over those who do not have it, rather than the interaction.
Animal Liberation ACT itself was started by a local dairy farmer who was horrified when she followed the fate of her own dairy cows after they left the farm gate. Here are just some of our main activities over the years:
See above for some of them. But it is hard to talk about achievements when the number of animals suffering steadily continues to increase commensurate with the steady increase in the human population of the Earth, Australia, and the ACT.
In terms of campaigns, Animal Liberation ACT will focus on battery hens, kangaroo killing, poisoning of non-native wild animals, and rural neglect of sheep, cattle, and horses.
In terms of the potential for real change across Australia, there have recently been some exciting developments which are beginning to bear fruit.
The liberation of all animals from all forms of human exploitation, oppression, and cruelty is our goal.
In terms of shorter-term goals, we have the following, with (1) being the most likely to be achieved, to (4) being the last we expect to be achieved:
(1) The abolition of:
(2) The abolition of:
(3) The recognition that all animals are entitled to equal protection under the law.
(4) The recognition that animals’ rights to life and bodily integrity are entitled to protection under the law in the same way these rights for humans are protected.
The simplest and most effective way to stop animal cruelty is to stop consuming:
While it is hard to avoid products that involve some degree of animal cruelty, it is a good start to become vegan, and to choose only cosmetics and household products from the ‘cruelty-free’ list. And anyone who really wants to stop animal cruelty can do even more than make the best consumers’ choices available to them. You can also make the best voters’ choices available to you, the best parenting choices available to you (including your ‘guardianship’ of companion animals); and the best career choices available to you. If people from Generation Y and Generation Z, for example, never agreed to follow the orders of their employer when those orders involved causing or turning a blind eye to cruelty, we would be rid of all animal cruelty within a generation.
Part of it is not knowing. Part is not caring. Most of it is not wanting to know.
We can blame greedy farmers and ruthless businesspeople. We can blame gutless politicians. We can blame ignorant and intransigent bureaucrats. We can blame neighbours who care for nothing more than their next steak dinner and trip to the rodeo (the Romans called it ‘bread and circuses’)...
But our biggest problem are the good people who do nothing. These are the silent majority, and these are the people we need to reach out to and motivate.
Everything Animal Liberation ACT knows about, we endeavour to make public. We do not always succeed; we are in the hands of newspaper editors and TV and radio producers with their own agendas. But we certainly try.
One of the least publicised issues of animal cruelty is the treatment of so-called ‘pest’ and ‘feral’ animals. These animals are killed in ways that would not be tolerated for dogs and cats. There is a broad social acceptance that introduced wild animals are ‘bad’ for the environment and must be removed by any means, yet there is nothing resembling a scientific basis for this view.
In the end, however, it doesn’t matter which of the many animal cruelty issues get publicised or which you choose to focus on. Any issue that awakens more people to the fact that a particular animal is entitled to consideration extends that awareness to animals more broadly. If ‘pest’ animals are currently demonised beyond the reach of even the appallingly minimal protection enjoyed by factory farmed animals, every atom of work that raises the status of some other animal will ultimately raise theirs.
Well, we hope so, anyway.