LE: Animal Equality’s global success revolves around raising awareness about nonhuman animal suffering through such strategies as investigations, vegan outreach and public commemoration. How do you determine what strategies will work best in the different countries you are located?
AA: We have a specialized team of campaigners and investigators in each country that determine which investigations, campaigns and outreach programs will work best in their context. At the same time these country goals come from a unified vision of where the organization is headed. Our vision is to achieve the greatest impact on the largest amount of animals.
LE: The public memorials commemorating the lives and deaths of nonhuman animals (often with activists holding dead bodies) organized by Animal Equality have produced some of the most emotional and impactful imagery highlighting the importance of bearing witness to suffering. Can you talk more about how this action came about and its intention?
AA: “Human Rights Day” is celebrated globally. We consider this date should also include non-human animals who deserve respect and compassion. For this reason, December 10 is now also recognised as “International Animal Rights Day” worldwide.
The idea behind this protest stems from the need to unmask the victims of a highly exploitative industry, which continues to remain hidden from the public. By exposing animals such as piglets, ducks and chickens, we are able to draw attention to the individual lives of animals, which usually end up, in supermarkets and on plates. The public is completely detached from the sight of these beings and we believe that by exposing these, we are able to spread a strong, powerful message, which will act as an important step forward in our treatment towards animals.
LE: Your name “Animal Equality” represents a powerful utopian vision for many of us. What does it represent to you and can this vision be translated into the world?
AA: Throughout history, humans have subjected others to discrimination, hatred and violence. Racism, sexism and homophobia exemplify this biased attitude. These discriminatory viewpoints have been represented in forms such as slavery and violence, beliefs which are now perceived as negative and unacceptable, yet at the time were deemed as reasonable and fair.
Obviously, forms of discrimination such as sexism and racism have not completely ceased to be visible in today’s society, but they are certainly being questioned and this is a pivotal time in history to debate other forms of prejudice behaviours such as speciesism. Once a large section of society begins to question and reject these unfair attitudes, we will slowly appear to see historical changes such as animal equality.
Animal Equality is our Featured Animal Ambassador for July 2014.