Constructing Animal Rights Activism As A Social Threat
This research paper presents a historical overview and summary of the modern U.S. animal rights movement and explores the response of industry against the threats posed by activists. Author Jen Girgen argues that the animal use industry has responded by portraying the animal rights movement as a “social problem as well as a more serious threat necessitating social control.”
According to this research, “both primary and secondary claims-makers rely on a variety of claims, framing processes, and rhetorical strategies so as to support the status quo as it concerns animal use.” Based on an analysis of both the New York Times and Congressional testimonies, opponents of animal rights have been shown to engage in two campaigns against animal rights. First, defensive counter-claims in an effort to construct the “non-problematicity” of animal use. They position animal use as non-harmful and animal users as people who care about animals. Second, they have also presented the animal rights movement as a social problem, characterizing it as an unimportant matter with a flawed philosophy.
Findings also suggest that as time passed and the influence of the animal rights movement increased, the number of claims defending animal use also increased. These observations are useful in understanding how opponents of the animal rights movement use the New York Times and Congressional testimonies to describe that they perceive to be the animal rights threat.