A few weeks ago, I attended my fourth Animal Rights National Conference in Washington, D.C. Like times past, I was swept away by the collective compassionate aura, and left recharged and inspired by the power of the activist community.
However, I noticed something else this year that filled me with additional hope and excitement – from the conference agenda to the conversations I had with animal rights leaders, there seemed to be a palpable shift towards effective activism. No, not everyone was on the same page regarding the most beneficial tactics to help animals, but the shift was there.
Across the major national advocacy groups, tangible steps are being taken to analyze data and improve outreach materials. Bruce Friedrich and Gary Francione held a spirited debate about a welfarist versus abolitionist approach, and I was pleased to hear the crowd cheer louder for data-driven comments than for anecdotal speculation. Nick Cooney received a standing ovation for his talk on “Utilizing Psychology for Social Change,” which was essentially a talk on maximizing effectiveness of outreach. Last but not least, every person that I talked with was excited to hear about EAA’s goals and plans for the future, including our upcoming research projects.
This shift signifies a powerful step forward in the animal advocacy movement, as efforts to increase efficacy gain momentum every single day. I look forward to seeing that trend continue, and to EAA having a strong presence at the 2014 Animal Rights National Conference. I hope to see many of you there.