Monday, October 26, 2009

hope for the future: but we ain't there yet

In Europe a battle is waging...the struggle between ethics and empathy on the one hand and profits, cruelty and indifference on the other. The last few years have been hard for animal activists, but not without result. Recently Ireland became yet another european nation that banned fur production: Ireland bans fur
Ireland now joined countries such as England, Scotland, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, ...

The struggle against fur is also mounting in traditionally pro fur countries such as Norway or Danmark. Recently Danmark outlawed the breeding of foxes for fur out of ethical concerns, and now the fur industry is again feeling threatened. Danish TV2 plans to air images taken of 32 different Danish fur breeders showing the deplorable conditions in which the animals live, newspaper Extra Bladet will also do an exposé. And just like in the US, the fur industry is going beserk. Norwegian Animal Rights group Nettverk for dyrs frihet (network for animal freedom) made a fitting post about it on their blog. (If you just happen to read norwegian, here it is: Danish minkbreeders panicking

Basically Danish fur breeders are trying everything to counter the truth about their bloody business. They issued a 'bounty'(crazy right?) for information about the people who took the images of the minkfarms,they linked the footage to illegal activities (releasing of minks in the area) ... and more of the same Shenanigans that also happen regulary in the US or Canada. But here comes the good part...Extra Bladet is actually defending the cause of the animals and is fighting back. Even better: journalist Miki Mistrati openly declared that the fur industry is just trying to divert attention from the terrible conditions in which the animals live.

Now why do I find this so exciting and important? Well, for starters this means that we are making progress and that opinions and views are shifting in our society. More so here in the EU then in the US (example: only +- 40% of US citizens are against fur). The climate is also quite different. I have never observed american/canadian reporters defend animal activists, causes or groups (or at least not as explicit as we get here).

What does all of this mean? For one thing: things are looking up for the animals. Now that fur is being tackled even in traditionally pro fur nations, vegetarianism/veganism is on the rise too. In Danmark alone the Danish vegetarian union doubled their memberships. In Ghent and other cities here in Belgium we know have one vegetarian day a week,... I can keep on going like this for quite some time. This tells me that there is hope for the future, and that a step by step approach is helping society evolve.

But what puzzles me is this: how come we don't see such results in Canada, Australia or the US? This is where you come in. I want to know. What do you think is the major difference between the animal activism and the 'climate' in Europe and the US/Canada or Australia. I often wonder about these things and I honestly find it staggering that with so much work and effort, there is so little result. What do you think: How come? Is a different strategy needed for certain countries? Are some countries just hopeless causes? Did something go wrong? Does the opposition (special interest groups) have more power or influence in certain countries and how do we stop them?

This post will be crossposted on the vegansoapbox.


  1. Great post!

    IMHO, it's cultural. Europe isn't just more progessive in terms of animal rights. For better or for worse (depending on yoru viewpoint) Europe is more progressive across the entire spectrum of issues: econmics issues like healthcare, taxes, welfare and unemployment; social issues like gay rights; religion and science, views on capital punishment, etc... But this is espicially true when it comes to food. It was said by Clyde Prestowitz that food is to Europe as free speech is to America.

    It is also true that we don't have public financing of elections here or very many restrictions on donations to campaign contributions (it's considered a violation of free speech by our Supreme Court). So yes, in my opinion, special interests and corporations play a much bigger part in the US than over on the continent.

    By the way, it need not be a struggle between ethics/empathy and profits. With cultured meat, we can have both. Cultured meat will be 90% cleaner, eventually 50% cheaper and (in my opinion) pretty much 100% more ethical. You can read more at: or

  2. I'm very much pro cultured meat and I think it would be a great solution to alot of problems.