The Animal Protectors Alliance (APA) is an informal affiliation of individuals who are committed to the protection and liberation of all animals from all forms of human cruelty and oppression.
APA originated as a voice for individual animal protection activists protesting the Australian Capital Territory’s annual kangaroo slaughter, who felt they needed a new mechanism for conveying important information to the general public in a prompt and unambiguous manner. It was formed primarily as a banner under which letters and press releases on animal issues could be published and promoted.
Over the two years since its formation and the commencement of its Facebook page, APA has become a forum where activists – or anyone who cares about animals – from anywhere in the world – can promote causes and discuss issues about animals. It provides links to other websites that host papers on various issues including some of internal debates currently challenging – and often being side-stepped – by animal activists.
Unlike most other groups, we are not seeking members or donations at this stage. We do not wish to compete with other worthy groups for limited human or financial resources, but rather to:
- promote animal causes on behalf of other groups and individuals;
- take actions that other groups are unable to take or fail to take;
- give a voice to activists who feel shut out of other processes; and
- promote discussions that do not appear to be happening elsewhere.
While we promote open discussion of issues, we will not publish comments that promote ideas that are contrary to the well-being of animals, or comments that attack other activists or undermine their work. However, we recognise that there are differing opinions about priorities, strategies and tactics for helping animals, and we aim to provide a safe and cooperative environment for discussion of these matters.
We will support any cause that aims to help any animal, even if the initiators of that cause do not share our commitment to all animals equally. However, we will not support causes which urge or allow cruelty to one animal to alleviate the suffering of another.
Where an individual animal is suffering as a result of natural processes, we support any action that can be taken to alleviate that suffering as long as it does not harm any other animal. However, we also recognise that our primary responsibility as humans is to end the cruelty that humans inflict on animals. We understand that, much as we might like to, we cannot intervene in any significant way in natural processes without risking doing far greater harm than good.
Our Vision, Values & Mission
A world in which human society protects, without discrimination, the rights and wellbeing of all sentient beings, human and non-human, that are affected by human society’s activities.
All animals are sentient in that they have physical and emotional awareness, experiencing love, fear, pain, pleasure, sadness and joy.
Humans are sentient only because we are animals, sharing with other animals all the evolutionary developments which comprise sentience.
Harming sentient beings must always be avoided, even when the purpose is to prevent harm to others. All sentient beings are of equal value to themselves. If one individual does not matter, neither does anyone else. If one matters, all matter.
Human ownership of animals is a form of slavery and must be abolished, along with all forms of human slavery.
Although the lives and wellbeing of sentient beings are more important than property, damage to property can be physically or emotionally damaging to both humans and non-humans. Moreover, the backlash against animal activists and the animals we wish to protect can be devastating. Damage to property should be avoided unless it is the only way of preventing harm to sentient beings.
People of compassion frequently suffer Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSS) as a result of their exposure to the suffering of animals, the lies of animal abusers and governments, and the apathy and ignorance of the general public. We need to look after each other, to be alert to symptoms of PTSS and take action to help each other as needed.
All humans are capable of compassion and are therefore capable of sharing our vision.
Frank and fearless, intelligent, informed and courteous discussion and debate within the animal protection movement are critical to building the world of our vision.
Our long-term mission is to move the rest of human society to share our vision.
Immediate objectives/desired outcomes
By promoting action and constructive discussion and debate by groups and individuals who are working for animals, APA seeks to promote the following outcomes:
1. changes in human attitudes on animal issues, including:
- recognition of the sentience and rights of non-human animals;
- education, sensitisation and awareness among the human community about the widespread exploitation and abuse of animals; and
- understanding of the changes needed to end this exploitation and abuse;
2. positive changes for animals in the decisions of industries, law makers and policy makers;
3. direct rescue and protection of as many individual animals as possible from abusive human activities;
4. a culture of friendly and intelligent discussion and debate within the animal protection movement, especially on contentious issues;
5. a culture within the animal protection movement and society more generally of recognising and assisting animal activists suffering from PTSS.
For some discussion of each of these objectives click on the links or read on. We will oppose any action that:
- involves physical harm, or risk or threat of physical harm to any animal, including to any human; or
- is likely to alienate public opinion, thus hindering the necessary attitudinal change (for example hate-mail or vandalism).
Other groups and individuals
All over the world vast numbers of other groups and individuals are doing amazing work to protect animals, and websites reporting these actions abound. To support these campaigns, the APA will endeavor to provide links from our website to as many Australian and overseas websites as we can, providing access to stories and petitions on animal protection issues from all round the country and the world.
Changes in human attitudes
The only thing (other than the complete destruction of human society) that will permanently end all the (currently) lawful cruelty our society inflicts on both animals and humans is a significant change in the dominant social paradigm.
We know from human history that such paradigm shifts generally occur incrementally, and take decades if not centuries to occur. Small changes of attitude lead to small institutional reforms, which pave the way for further changes.
Incrementally changing the dominant paradigm means changing one person at a time – specifically changing how they consume and how they vote. This is frustrating work in the face of the propaganda power of industry, government and the mass media. But it is the only option.
People do not change their attitudes on any matter unless they are exposed to information that challenges their current perceptions, values and choices – and, even then, it usually takes several exposures for the new information to sink in. For this reason, it is most important that animal advocates never miss an opportunity to get the truth ‘out there’.
Through letters, articles, opinion pieces, press releases, interviews, reports, discussion papers and creative work (eg poems, stories, songs, cartoons, photographs, artwork) in both the mainstream and social media, APA will endeavour to help change the paradigm.
Industries, law makers and policy makers
It is not enough to target the public: the consumers and voters. It is true that industries that rely on consumers and governments that rely on voters will ultimately change their behaviours and policies to reflect changes in the dominant paradigm. But often these institutional changes lag decades behind actual public opinion. Industries and governments also have the resources to pay for massive propaganda campaigns aimed at slowing or reversing the paradigm shift.
For these reasons, it is critical that activists also target these institutional decision makers directly, through letters, meetings, submissions, public protests etc. There is no reason to believe that decision makers in government and industry are inherently less humane than the general human community. Most would be horrified if they could only be made to face the routine cruelty inflicted on animals by human society. Most would change it – if they could be convinced they could do so without dire economic or electoral consequences.
APA believes it is the job of animal activists to convince industry and government decision makers that it is in their economic and electoral interests to make one small change, and then another, then another. Eventually, with enough sympathisers within industrial and governmental institutions, we can expedite the institutional change to keep pace with the public paradigm shift, and forestall the propaganda backlash.
Direct rescue and protection
APA supports and encourages direct rescue and ‘human shield’ type protection of individual animals from any cruel or dangerous situation, because it is animals as individuals that matter to us. If one single being has no value, no number of billions of beings can have any value.
Direct intervention can have other beneficial outcomes beyond saving individuals immediately. Interventions often provide an opportunity for obtaining evidence that can then be used to expose cruelties to the scrutiny of the public and its decision makers (see Changes in human attitudes above). Interventions can also inspire fellow activists to similar actions.
APA totally opposes any form of physical violence against any living thing. We accept that damage to property might sometimes occur in the course of rescuing or protecting animals – for example smashing a window to save an animal from a burning building. However, we oppose any form of ‘protest vandalism’ because such actions incite a public backlash against animal activists, and therefore against the very animals we aim to protect. We define ‘protest vandalism’ as damage to property committed purely in anger or in order to make a public statement.
We know that those who exploit animals routinely accuse animal activists of vandalism (which may or may not have occurred) for the purpose of turning the public against us. No matter how angry we are, we must not help them out by taking such pointless actions ourselves.
Discussion and debate
The APA encourages frank and fearless, intelligent, informed and courteous discussion on animal-related issues, including those that cause contention within the movement. Our web page and social media will welcome comments which provide constructive criticism of prevailing strategies or priorities, or help us move towards a common vision of the future of the world’s humans and animals. The website will also provide links to other websites which host discussion papers on animal-related issues.
5. Activists suffering from PTSS
We understand that, in addition to their own suffering, activists suffering from PTSS can be driven to strike back in desperate, irrational, counter-productive and sometimes violent ways against those who are causing them pain (by causing animals pain), and often against themselves as well. We know exactly what they are going through – and we are committed to helping each other avoid these destructive actions.
APA will endeavour to provide a conduit through which activists can seek confidential assistance from like-minded professional health care experts.
Our vision, values, missions and objectives are, by definition, global in nature. We will use our Facebook page website to promote campaigns for animal protection occurring anywhere in the world.
However, because APA began as a group of citizens from the ACT and its kangaroos, a primary focus will continue to be (initially at least) on issues arising in the ACT and its surrounding regions.
National and international campaigns
Nationally and internationally, APA will give priority to the following campaigns:
- ending all live animal export industries, especially from Australia;
- ending all intensive animal production practices (including but not limited to: chickens, turkeys, pigs, cattle and dogs);
- ending the commercial slaughter of kangaroos and other native animals;
- ending the ‘management’ slaughter of kangaroos and other native animals on farmland, public land and Defence force land and exposing the faulty science that provides the rationale for these mass killings;
- banning all cruel and/or lethal measures currently used to ‘manage’ naturalised wild animals (eg cats, dogs, foxes, deer, pigs, brumbies, pigeons, Indian mynas, carp), and exposing the faulty science that provides the rationale for these mass killings;
- ending all forms of animal experimentation and research that harm individual animals;
- ending all forms of entertainment and recreation that harm individual animals;
- minimizing threats to wildlife habitat from proposals to develop new roads, or suburbs or other development;
- banning the use of barbed wire fences on both public and private land inhabited by animals, and removing all existing barbed wire from such fences;
- banning the killing of healthy companion animals in so-called shelters, facilitating foster and re-homing programs, and removing impediments to people keeping companion animals in rental accommodation, aged care accommodation, and from transporting animals on public transport;
- revegetating the vast areas of land cleared for animal production, both in the region and across Australia, for wildlife habitat, crop production, plantation forestry, greenhouse sinks, solar and wind farms; and phasing out animal agriculture.
In relation to kangaroos in the ACT, we will continue working to:
- end the slaughter of kangaroos on ACT public land, on Defence Department land, and on private land;
- expose the ACT government’s reckless risk to human life in its determination to kill kangaroos;
- expose the ACT government’s abandonment of democratic processes in its determination to kill kangaroos.