The Growth of Extremism

The Growth of Extremism

By: Staff  Date: 10/11/1995 Category: | From the Offices of NAIA |

Historical overview

Over the last hundred years, the United States, along with the rest of the western world has undergone what many historians consider to be the most dramatic transformation in all of human history: the shift from a rural, agricultural society to an urban, technological one. As recently as the late 19th century, more than 80 percent of American families still lived in rural settings, 40 percent on farms. Today only 27 percent live in rural areas and less than one in fifty (1.8 percent) live on farms! Of course, Americans still depend on animals for food, clothing, medical advances and countless other animal-based products and uses, but today the only experience most people have with animals is with their pets.

What was lost

Traditional husbandry practices fostered an understanding of animals that no longer exists. Modern Americans, typically three generations off the farm, lack even a surface knowledge of how the animals they depend upon are raised and utilized. Although intending to be humane, they are typically unaware of accepted husbandry practices and susceptible to misinformation campaigns about animal use and abuse. The result is that methods of husbandry, wildlife conservation and scientific research - especially when sensationalized by the media - often disturb the public more than the important but abstract problems they are designed to alleviate. This ignorance spawns broad misunderstanding of complex problems and complicates efforts to find remedies for genuine problems. Pointedly, this form of ignorance is an exploitable resource for fundraising industries. 

The exploiters

There are always elements in human society who are ready and willing to capitalize on any widely perceived problem; who will deliberately foster misunderstandings, exploit misperceptions, or offer panaceas (often self-serving) for the complex issues of the day. They share a common mindset, tactics and fundamental values. They are doctrinaire, deceptive and encourage fear and disdain of traditional institutions and beliefs. They will use any means to achieve their purpose; the pursuits of power and wealth drive them. They are masters of deceit and they are willing oppressors.

Today, leaders of the animal rights movement fit that profile perfectly. By camouflaging their true agenda and encouraging the public to confuse animal rights philosophy with the public's own belief in principles of animal welfare, such as humane and responsible animal treatment, they have organized a powerful, highly sophisticated, media-savvy, international movement designed to cash in on the fear, concern and ignorance modern, humane people have regarding animals and animal issues.

Do animal rights extremists pose a serious threat to society?

The effects of the animal rights industry on society are wide ranging and substantial by any measure. The destruction of research by animal liberationists costs lives, not to mention the millions of additional dollars diverted from research to secure animal enterprises each year. Animal rights fundraising practices have destroyed the cultures of centuries-old indigenous people who depend on consumptive animal use. In the US and western Europe, fur farms and stores, slaughterhouses and research laboratories have been firebombed. Worldwide, animal users receive threats; some live in constant fear. Animal rights educational materials have gained access to schools by piggybacking on humane and environmental curricula. Animal rights fund-raisers take money away from local shelters and other projects where the money could do some good.

If one needs proof that animal rights has blurred the public's understand of traditional animal welfare, try listing an animal organization under the heading of animal welfare in the phone book or on the Internet. Even though the public is squarely behind animal welfare, not animal rights (97% of the public eat meat according to a recent Roper poll) and you are likely to find that the only category heading available is animal rights. Ironically, NAIA, an animal welfare organization, is listed in both the yellow pages and on the Internet as an animal rights organization.

Issues framed by the animal rights leadership dominate the public debate about how animals should be treated - with the result that the public has accepted many of the half-truths spun by animal rights fundraising groups. American courts have decided that if a person claims to believe that all animal use is morally wrong (that is, that a person embraces an animal or nature-based religion), then misrepresenting responsible animal use in the media so that the practitioner looks evil is a manipulation that is protected by free speech. The misrepresentation may be outrageous, but is accepted by the courts because the misrepresentation is viewed as a "natural outgrowth" of the true believer's perspective. From this springboard of logic, the modern animal rights movement is allowed to raise millions of dollars annually (precious little of which ever reaches animals) by doing little more than defaming people and industries that use - and therefore, according to their doctrine, abuse - animals! That is why many responsible animal users, some who have spent their entire lives working to improve the welfare of animals, now find themselves on the losing side of a full scale propaganda war, the targets of extremists whom the public confuse with true animal lovers.

A new organization is born

The National Animal Interest Alliance was formed to fill the void created when traditional animal welfare organizations were taken over by radical animal rights groups and switched their agendas from promoting "humane treatment and responsible use for animals" to "rights for animals!" Since animal rights extremism is promoted through misinformation, intimidation and even terrorism - activities that clearly pose a threat to a free society (See the 1994 Report to Congress by the US Department of Agriculture and the US Justice Department) - NAIA recognizes as an important part of its mission a responsibility to provide industry officials, the media and public policy makers with the established facts regarding the actions of some in the animal rights movement.

NAIA is a coalition of diverse animal interest groups represented by some of the most respected animal science and husbandry experts in the US. NAIA actively supports humane treatment and responsible use of animals (animal welfare). NAIA also educates the public about the new value system and extremist philosophy known as animal rights that equates the life of a human with the life of a rat and exhorts, intimidates and terrorizes humanity to quit using animals altogether. Finally, NAIA serves as a trustworthy resource for factual information regarding responsible animal use and wildlife conservation today. Please call on NAIA and make us the organization you rely on!

The Animal Rights Agenda adapted from the book, The Hijacking of the Humane Movement, by Rod and Patti Strand, Doral Publishing, Wilsonville, Oregon; 503-682-3307


  1. Abolish animal research
  2. Abolish product testing on animals
  3. Establish vegetarianism as the standard Western diet.
  4. Prohibit livestock grazing on the public lands, phase out intensive confinement systems of livestock production and eventually eliminate animal agriculture.
  5. Eliminate predator control on public lands and phase out use of herbicides, pesticides and other toxic agricultural chemicals.
  6. Transfer animal welfare enforcement from the Department of Agriculture to an agency created to protect animals.
  7. Eliminate commercial trapping and fur ranching.
  8. Prohibit sport hunting, fishing and trapping.
  9. End international trade in wildlife and goods produced from exotic and/or endangered fauna or flora.
  10. Discourage any further breeding of companion animals and abolish commerce in domestic and exotic animals for the pet trade.
  11. End the use of animals in entertainment and sports such as racing, fox hunting, hare coursing, rodeos, circuses and other spectacles; and reappraise the use of animals in quasi-educational institutions such as zoos and aquariums.
  12. End the genetic manipulation of species.

About The Author

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All Authors Of This Article: | Patti Strand |
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