The AR movement started out with some excellent welfare/protection ideals: people saw that research animals were being treated horribly and resolved to change the world so that people would not abuse animals. From that excellent beginning was born one of the most divisive and negative movements in the history of mankind, and interestingly that transformation occurred for precisely the same reasons it occurs for many religious/cult movements:
1. They stopped listening or caring about truth. They became persuaded that they knew the ONE TRUTH, and that everyone who disagreed with them should be attacked and silenced.
2. Their leaders became more interested in their own power and the feeling of having followers than in anything to do with animals.
3. They replaced reason with zealotry, and effectivly precluded all genuine discourse on animal welfare and all cooperation to make improvements by attacking everyone whose views are at all different from theirs.
4. They do not rigorously question their assumptions. For example, they assume that “natural” or “wild” is the only acceptable life for an animal. This assumption has nothing to do with Rights or Welfare—it is simply a quasi-religious assumption from which most of their arguments derive, but they will not genuinely question it.
5. Despite their love of “natural”, they have lost sight of nature and have become persuaded animals have a “right” not to die or be eaten or in any other way be part of nature.
6. They became persuaded that their goal is so important that they can lie, terrorize, steal, mislead, and hurt other people or animals to achieve their goals.
7. They recruit a huge number of members through deceit. In my experience most PETA and HSUS members believe that they are members of animal welfare organizations supporting humane treatement of captive animals. I have talked to many members, and most of them are outraged when they come to understand what they have been supporting.
I absolutely believe that 90% of the AR suporters and 90% of the animal owners and lovers actually agree: we would all like to see the same objectives met. A huge majority of AR supporters do not believe that all pets, all meat consumption, and all animal research should be eliminated. Most of them hold a reasonable middle-ground position that animals should be treated humanely and with reasoned consideration of their actual interests and that human interests should also be considered. However, the extreme AR zealots oppose any moderate rational solution because they believe it is morally untenable to have any animals in captivity. Period. And any middle ground would merely perpetuate that attrocity…