It is interesting that the word “animal rights activist” is associated with the attribute “self-proclaimed” in most cases. Anyone who has a little sense of language can understand that this is meant to be pejorative, discriminatory and disrespectful. But what exactly is so disparaging about the attribute “self-proclaimed”? That is probably related to our common notions of expertise. Only someone who has learned something is allowed to call himself an expert. Everyone else gives themselves a title without having a clue of what they are doing. This term is often used by farmers and hunters or others who either earn money from animal suffering or have fun with it.
Hunters see themselves as keepers and keepers or like to present themselves that way. They are not self-appointed because hunters need a hunting license for their murderous trade, for which they must pass an examination. But what do they learn? Which animals can be hunted and when, which they are not allowed to shoot? Then they must go to the shooting range. That’s it. No training in biological contexts, maybe something worth knowing about the animals that you are allowed to hunt, so that a pony is not mistaken for a wild boar again. This is then called training.
But at least the farmers have an idea of the animals. I would say only peripherally. First and foremost, you will learn efficient stable management and how to get into debt at Raiffeisen so that you can never get out of this vicious circle. They have at least a relevant education, but ultimately only to the extent that the animals can earn as much money as possible, that is, how they survive the ordeal, at least most of them.
In contrast, most animal rights activists have no training, no relevant specialist training. Of course, there are also biologists among them, but they are few and far between. And knowledge is only valid if you have a diploma for it. Autodidacts don’t know anything per se, which is just another word for self-proclaimed. If you look at the careers of most animal rights activists, there are many parallels. It often begins with information about the type of animal exploitation, in the stable, in the aquarium, in the breeding facilities, in the laboratories, in the forest and wherever. Anyone who thinks and feels normally notices immediately that this cannot be okay the way it is handled. Then you take a closer look, find out more, listen to lectures and accumulate more and more knowledge, because the feeling that something is wrong and that it should be changed is not enough, because how should it be changed and how can we protect the animals help efficiently. There are meanwhile worldwide conferences, seminars, also individual lectures, literature and documentation that are held or made by well-known experts. This means that the animal rights activists often know more than the self- proclaimed experts after a three-week intensive course with permission to kill. But that is deliberately ignored, and everyone nods sympathetically when animal rights activists are still defamed with the attribute “self- proclaimed”. Why is this being done?
If I deny someone that they have a clue of what they are doing, that they assume that they are following their emotions headlessly, then I make them implausible and therefore irrelevant for the discussion. With a single word every possibility is forbidden that this person can make a valuable contribution to the discourse. On the other hand, it is also a good sign, because if it is necessary to defame someone, then I see the risk that I will no longer be able to continue my shameful hustle and bustle. Hunters must justify when they kill and how they kill. Farmers are held responsible if their animals are kept in such a way that a quarter of them die miserably before they reach slaughter age. It is a thorn in the side of animal users that society wants information about their activities and that it is entitled to it. Simply close the doors and do what you want behind them, if there were no animal rights activists who pointed out these abuses and brought the unadorned truth to light. The defamation thus serves to distract from the actual occurrences and to make the people who make the discoveries appear untrustworthy. The only problem is, no matter which attributes are used, the photos and films from the extermination industry speak their own language – and it is not self-proclaimed, but simply reality. As a person I am empathic – and see when a living being suffers, especially when it is held in a way that fundamentally contradicts its nature. And that’s each of us who has a heart and a brain and is ready to use both.