Why Campaigns against the Fur Industry?
There have been animal rights and animal liberation actions since the 1970´s. In the beginning of this young social movement it was right and important to point out the frustrating impact of animal exploitation in all it forms and meanings and doing so by protesting against a butcher´s shop one day, against a circus another day, and on yet another day against a fur shop. If today we are looking at a more specified approach towards isolated segments of the animal exploitation industry, it is so we can be more effective in inflicting costs on the exploiters which they can no longer ignore. Costs which counteract the economic benefit of using animals as tools and which lower the profit, either by causing damage to the image of the company, or by loss of profit. If the global animal rights/animal liberation movement increasingly focused on the fur trade and organised joint campaigns over the last couple of years, it did so for strategic purposes and out of need.
The animal rights and animal liberation movement faces a certain urgency: The violation and destruction of animal individuals represents a severe injustice. One, that is not tolerable, not endurable, one that cannot be inflicted on affected animal individuals. The violence towards animal individuals and their destruction directly creates victims concretely and is irreversible. Furthermore the animal exploitation machinery produces these victims at a one second interval. Each individual is suffering here and now and tomorrow and there, deprived of his/her freedom and injured in his/her psyche and his/her body or both - and finally killed.
Therefore this is not a trivial part of life, it´s not a debate that one can talk about easily or postpone to the next day. The liberation of animals from servitude of human societies does not allow an adjournment, it does not allow a cowardly compromise. One of the greatest duties our society has to face itself on the path to emancipation whether directly or indirectly, is to sabotage and abolish this exploitation. Animal liberation is a social process and an emancipatory demand that should be implemented immediately, yet due to the deep cultural embeddedness of animal exploitation in our society, this is as remote as any other progressive goal.
Obviously there are no laws in this speciesist society which could be enforced in order to protect animals from exploitation. There is no support from any government agency which could rescue animals from their misery, e.g. on a ‘fur farm’. The speciesist system, particularly the profit orientated animal exploitation industry, will not abolish itself. The animal rights/liberation movement therefore, as opposed to animal welfare, forms a resistance movement. As such, it not only faces the problem of being faced with massive repression, but also of mobilizing resources. How can we, powerless considering the dimensions of speciecism, stop animal exploitation? Which animal victims should one help first?
For these reasons the animal rights/liberation movement must think strategically. Focusing on the fur industry is a strategic decision. The chances of abolishing the fur trade and therefore saving animal individuals from deliberate physical harm through the fur industry are greater than with any other animal exploitation industry of our time.