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The Politics of Animal Rights Advocacy

Kim Stallwood


The main aim of this paper is to make the case that the politics of animal rights advocacy rests with establishing the moral and legal status of animals as a public policy issue. Presently, animal rights is primarily framed as an optional lifestyle choice. It is not understood as a matter for mainstream politics,  including public policy, the policies of political parties,  regulations and legislation. Starting with Barbara Noske’s  concept of the animal industrial complex, I consider the present status of the many traditions, cultural norms, economic and other incentives which license our instrumental use animals for human gain. I propose a five-part evaluation process of social movements and use it to evaluate the modern animal rights movement. I critique its present strategy with its emphasis on personal lifestyle choice as inadequate in challenging the animal industrial complex. I conclude the modern animal rights movement must implement a long-term strategy which advances animal issues as public policy, which is in addition to its present strategy promoting optional vegan, crueltyfree lifestyle choice.


Advocacy; animal rights; industrial complex; lifestyle; moral crusade; otherness; policy; social movement; strategy; vegan

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7358/rela-2013-001-stal

Copyright (©) 2018 Kim Stallwood – Editorial format and Graphical layout: copyright (©) LED Edizioni Universitarie

Relations. Beyond Anthropocentrism
Registered by Tribunale di Milano (04/05/2012 n. 211)
Online ISSN 2280-9643 - Print ISSN 2283-3196

Executive Editor: Francesco Allegri
Associate Editor: Matteo Andreozzi 
Review Editors: Sofia Bonicalzi - Eleonora Adorni
Editorial Board:
Ralph R. Acampora - Carol J. Adams - Vilma Baricalla - Luisella Battaglia - Rod Bennison - Matthew R. Calarco - Piergiorgio Donatelli - William Grove-Fanning - Serenella Iovino - Luigi Lombardi Vallauri - Christoph Lumer - Joel MacClellan - Dario Martinelli - Roberto Marchesini - Alma Massaro - Serpil Oppermann - Simone Pollo - Paola Sobbrio - Kim Stallwood - Sabrina Tonutti - Jessica Ullrich - Federico Zuolo

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