|Santa Cruz Animal Rights
We work to reduce suffering among both human and non-human animals.
Our primary goal is to educate people about the cruelty inherent in
the many commonly-accepted ways non-human animals are exploited and abused
in our society. These include:
Animals in Agriculture
More than 40 billion animals are killed for food each year in the U.S. alone, far more than are killed for all other uses combined. When people see the conditions these animals endure, they are usually shocked. One of our primary goals is to expose people to this information, thus allowing them to make informed decisions about how their actions affect other sentient beings. We do this in a number of ways: by showing videos, distributing leaflets, making literature available in schools and libraries, and more.
Since the scientific community now agrees that a vegan diet can be at
least as healthy as one that includes animal products, the only reason
to continue to eat meat is because we like the taste. This clearly
becomes a case of killing for pleasure, something which compassionate people
agree is abhorrent.
For this reason all our events are vegan (that is, we request that
all food brought to our events be free of all animal products). However,
we welcome open-minded people, vegan or not, to attend our meetings or
potluck dinners. We believe that once people find out how good vegan
food can be, the decision to become vegan will be that much easier to make.
Animals in Entertainment
People often don't think about the treatment of non-human animals in
circuses, rodeos, and other forms of so-called "entertainment." When
we ask people to stop and reflect on the conditions these animals endure,
and the fact that they suffer purely for the pleasure of the observers,
we are confident that people will stop supporting these cruel industries.
Animals in Sport
Hunting, fishing, and other uses of animals in sport are typically both unnecessary
and cruel. We encourage people to consider the perspective of the
victims when thinking about these activities.
Animals Killed for Their Fur
Most of the animals killed for fur garments and fur trim live extremely
miserable lives and are then brutally killed. Many of the animals
are skinned while fully conscious, or are only stunned and return to consciousness
while they are being skinned.
Animals in Research
Even after recognizing the cruelty inherent in society's treatment of
animals in other areas, many people hesitate to condemn scientific research
done on animals. They often argue that even if the animals do suffer
in the process, the reduction in human suffering is worth the price.
Looking more deeply into the subject, however, one finds that animal
research, at least today (and arguably in the past as well) not only causes
suffering to non-human animals, it also causes suffering to humans
as well. This is because the basic premise on which animal research
is typically based is invalid. This premise is that animals are "causal
analogic models" of humans -- in other words, they assume that something
found to be both safe and effective in animal tests will also be both safe
and effective in humans, and conversely that something found to be either
unsafe or ineffective in animal tests would also be unsafe or ineffective
The truth is, however, that neither of these assumptions are valid.
For example animal experimentation found the drug thalidomide safe for
non-human animals. It was only when the drug was subsequently used
in pregnant humans that the terrible side effects of malformed or missing
limbs were discovered. This is one example (of many) where the reliance
on non-human animals being causal analogic models of humans resulted
in significant harm to humans. Another example is penicillin, which
shortly after its discovery in 1928 was found to be ineffective in rabbits,
and thus was largely abandoned. It wasn't until 1942, after many
years and thousands of unnecessary human deaths, that penicillin began
to be widely used in humans. (More information on this topic can be found
in Dr. Ray Greek's work, including his book Sacred Cows and Golden Geese.)
We believe that animal research is frequently unnecessary, counterproductive,
and cruel. However, we do not condone violence or threats of violence in
addressing this issue (or any other issue, for that matter).
With more than 7 million cats and dogs killed each year in the U.S.
due to overpopulation, breeding of cats and dogs simply causes more suffering.
We encourage spaying and neutering, and remind people that wonderful
companion animals can always be found at shelters and rescue organizations.