Where’s the Diversity in Animal Welfare Advocacy?

During the economic downturn we stopped spending money on lots of things. But what did we not stop spending money on? Our pets. In fact, spending on pets actually increased during the recession, which is why every bozo with a gimmick is starting a pet-related business.

So why does that love for our pets not translate into advocacy?

Why do all vegans in the media seem to look like this? Are there no vegans of color? No fat vegans?  (Photo: Greenprophet.com)
Well, for one reason, the animal welfare “clique” isn’t very inclusive.

And that’s not just me saying that, though I’ve been saying that for several years now. No, Dr. Corey Lee Wrenn analyzed media from two major animal rights movement publications and found evidence it’s true.

For instance,  60% of the photo subjects in those publications were of women, over 80% were white, and over 90% were thin. So much for diversity.

Kaley-Cuoco, the lastest face of animal welfare advocacy (By Mingle Media TV [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons)
This idea that one can change the world without inclusion is an idiotic one, and yet groups of well-intentioned people fall into that trap all the time. It’s an elitist and bigoted message that implies, “You really don’t fit in with us, but we’ll  call you if  we need you to do some grunt work.”

Bully for you asshole. If you keep sending me the message you won’t want me, you can rest assured I won’t be there to help. I have better things to do with my time.

So what’s the answer? That’s up to the advocacy groups. Ready to open up your ranks yet to rest of us?


Dr. Wrenn’s research entitled An Analysis of Diversity in Nonhuman Animal Rights Media was published in December 2015 in the Journal of Agriculture and Environmental Ethics.



16 thoughts on “Where’s the Diversity in Animal Welfare Advocacy?

  1. I dislike that living vegan or vegetarian turned into a market niche what became infected with lies and false promises now too, just to milk it like the real cows we don’t want to milk anymore. And I was surprised that vegan products are next to the deli food in our stores now (yes the price fits). I had no clue that to live without meat and without animal products is luxury for the opinion makers :o(((

    1. Yeah! In my town if I want to shop for vegan or cruelty-free I have to go to the beach where the people with money shop. Us normal folk aren’t marketed to.

  2. Odd.The image in the study does seem misguided. Although some people want to stand next to and say they are part of a group of “pretty people”.
    The makeup of rescue groups seems be very different than here – almost totally opposite – don’t look for any perfect nails in the local ones. Maybe there are more Hollywood/celebrity/high dollar social club “rescues” in other parts of the country. The last groups can afford to pay for glossy publications and media ads (which caught the study’s attention) – the feet on the ground groups would rather spend that money on the animals and their care…but they don’t get dresses and go to galas either.

    1. You are referring to those already involved in rescue while Dr. Wrenn and I are referring to advocacy groups that send the message that only a certain type of person is welcome in their ranks.

      1. True, but this study is what we in research call an analysis of a literature search. A limited one.
        Not sure that’s intentionally the message the advocacy groups intend to send, but it could be interpreted that way. They should take notice. National/big advocacy groups are out to make big money, get noticed by decision makers, and draw people in. Nothing does that on a national like glitz, flash, and the rich and famous (who have the time and wardrobe to pose and then all see each other and brag about their involvement). Face it, nothing draws money in like the chance to be around “pretty”.
        Things vary by location, but the general public ( who don’t ever see the glossy mags) are probably more familiar with their local rescue groups, school programs, and shelters – those people are most likely the face that the average ordinary person connects with animal rescues. At least that’s around here. Who has time for the fancy?
        Interesting. It’s kinda like the serious dog breeders and dog show people – guarded cliques.(But at least the advocates actually help animals). People are just basically weird.

  3. So true! And unless you’re a disabled veteran, don’t have a disability. I volunteered for every event a local pet pantry had but no one would pick me up. I’m legally blind and don’t drive so no one wanted to let me help. Every time I see them now, their new volunteers ask if I want to volunteer. I tell them I was a volunteer but “didn’t fit” with them.

    1. Good for you. If there’s no change in leadership, there’s not likely to be a will to help you participate either. It gets on my nerves when they act like they’re so inclusive, then they aren’t.

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