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Confronting Cruelty

Moral Orthodoxy and the Challenge of the Animal Rights Movement

Lyle Munro

Why and how do people campaign on behalf of a species that is not their own? Responses to this question provide important insights into the much misunderstood animal rights movement and the people in it who challenge the moral orthodoxy that underpins our attitudes towards nonhuman animals. The norm of moderate concern for animals - that animals matter albeit less than humans - permits the (ab)use of animals in vivisection, factory farming ,bloodsports and other contexts where animals suffer.
Social movement theory is used to show how animal rights activists are engaged in the social construction of cruelty as a social problem which they seek to prevent by their intellectual, practical and emotion work in seminal campaigns against cruelty in the United States, England and Australia.
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Lyle Munro

Abstract

This paper profiles the animal activism of the late American animal activist Henry Spira, whose campaign strategies and tactics suggest a number of links with the nineteenth century pioneers of animal protection as well as with approaches favored by contemporary animal activists. However, the article argues that Spira's style of animal advocacy differed from conventional approaches in the mainstream animal movement in that he preferred to work with, rather than against, animal user industries. To this end, he pioneered the use of "reintegrative shaming" (J. Braithwaite, 1989) in animal protection, an accommodation strategy that relied on moralizing with opponents as opposed to the more common approach in animal advocacy of adversarial vilification, and hence, disintegrative shaming. The article describes the framing of some of Spira's best-known anti-cruelty campaigns and his use of reintegrative shaming to induce animal users to change their ways.

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Lyle Munro

Abstract

This article addresses a countermovement to the animal liberation movement and its campaigns against vivisection, factory farming, and recreational hunting in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. As moderate welfarists, pragmatic animal liberationists (Singer 1975), and radical abolitionists who advocate animal rights, animal protectionists campaign for animals. The countermovement defends acts that animal protectionists decry. Meanwhile, sociologists accord little study to interplay between the movements (Meyer & Staggenborg, 1996). In Buechler's and Cylke's collection of 34 papers on social movements (1997), only one paper focused on countermovements, describing the connection between social movement and countermovement as "a continuous dialect of social change" (Mottl, 1980). Although extensive writings exist on the main campaigns of the animal liberation movement, little scholarly material exists on the defenses mounted by the countermovement. This article examines key elements of a values war, a struggle over moral capital waged by animal protectionists and their countermovement opponents.

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Lyle Munro

Abstract

Using the results of a survey of animal rights activists, advocates, and supporters, the paper reveals much more convergence (80%) than divergence (20%) of attitudes and actions by male and female animal protectionists. Analysis of the divergence suggests that the differences between men and women in the movement are contingent upon such things as early socialization, gendered work and leisure patterns, affinity with companion animals, ambivalence about science, and a history of opposition to nonhuman animal abuse by generations of female activists and animal advocates. Aside from the feminist and women's movements and groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving, it is rare to find a social movement in which the standing of women eclipses those of their male colleagues. The paper suggests that animal protection remains a bastion of female activism and advocacy because women care about blood, flesh, and pain and, unlike earlier generations of animal activists, no longer are seen as a liability to the success of the movement.

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Lyle Munro

Abstract

Australia's Coalition Against Duck Shooting (CADS) sees duck-shooting as a social problem and as an injustice with moral, legal and environmental consequences. The small animal liberationist group has succeeded in dramatically reducing the numbers of duck shooters in Victoria, which is the home of duck-shooting in Australia. The Coalition's framing work with the public via the electronic media involves three parts: a diagnosis (assembling claims), a prognosis (presenting claims) and a motivational frame (contesting claims), all of which construct hunting as a cruel, antisocial blood sport that ought to be banned. In this article, television news bulletins and feature stories from the 1993 and 1994 campaigns are analyzed to show how CADS makes and sustains its claims. In addition to 90 pages of transcripts of news commentaries and descriptive accounts of the visuals, the data include tape-recorded interviews with some of the duck liberationists involved in the campaign.