Myths About Animal Advocacy

    Myths:

  • We Don't Care about People
  • This myth is among the most misleading because it ignores the complex connections we share with nonhuman animals. First and foremost, we ARE animals - and proud of it! So much of what is fabulous about humans - our emotions, sensations, intuitions - has been dismissed throughout history as "animalistic," and we think it's time to celebrate these similarities. The interests of humans and animals frequently overlap, so we seek to improve the lives of both through initiatives like our alliance with Middle Way House.

  • Real Activists Eat Tofu
  • Plenty of meat eaters care deeply about animal well-being! While we respect (and many of us are) vegans and vegetarians, we reject the assumption that meat eaters are ignorant and uncaring. Instead, we believe in an open-minded approach to activism - one that draws upon a variety of perspectives and recognizes that there are many different ways to act on behalf of animals. Projects like our campaign to convince IU dining services to switch to cage-free eggs are based on our belief that vegans AND meat-eaters can find a common ground that empowers us to improve animals' lives.

  • We're Out of Touch
  • Clueless. Impractical. Checked out. Totally oblivious. These are just some of the adjectives used to describe animal advocates. But in fact, we are very tuned in to the complexities of balancing the needs of agriculturalists, consumers, scientists, farmers, and researchers with compassion for animals. We are motivated, educated, and empathetic citizens seeking to create viable, innovative solutions to the challenges we all face in managing our resources and treating animals with respect and dignity.

  • Activism is a Drag
  • Activism doesn't have to mean griping about injustice; instead, activism can focus on celebrating and enacting positive changes. Our philosophy is that activism can - and should - be fun!

  • We're Terrorists
  • It's silly to think that the diverse range of people who advocate compassion toward other beings would ever be lumped together and labeled as terrorists, but it happens. Sadly, any political cause can attract self-righteous extremists, but animal and environmental activists are often singled out as harborers of such elements. This couldn't be further from the truth. Despite the many deaths and injuries caused by abortion clinic bombers, it would still seem insane to label all pro-life activists as terrorists. Yet due to stereotypes perpetuated by the media and special-interest groups, many find it easier to attach this label to animal activists, insane though it may be. Even the government sees us as an impending domestic threat. Despite its absurdity, this may be the most dangerous myth since it threatens to undermine the legitimacy of our concern for animals. The best way to combat it is to be outspoken about our passion for compassion and engage in thoughtful, respectful dialogue with others. In our experience, people who may have been turned off to animal advocacy by the antics of extremists find RAW members' friendliness and positivity irresistable!

  • We'd Rather Save Animals than Cure Human Diseases
  • While the issue of animal experimentation is often presented as a choice between a lab rat or your child, this view reduces an incredibly complex issue to a simple binary. RAW members have a wide range of views on the use of animals in medical research, but we all agree that the choice is never simply either/or. Mice, pigeons, dogs, and chimpanzees are just a few of the species who suffer in the search for cures for diseases - many of which are preventable. Due to differences in our DNA, animal research often does not yield - and can even hinder - medical progress for humans. While many health charities like the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, and March of Dimes DO fund animal experimentation, a growing number of charities, including the Cancer Treatment Research Foundation, Lown Cardiovascular Research Center, and Birth Defect Research for Children, fund only cruelty-free research. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has compiled a list of charities that do and don't fund animal experimentation, demonstrating that human and animal well-being can - and do - go hand in hand!

  • We're Uptight
  • At RAW, we resist the stereotype that animal activists are humorless, holier-than-thou elitists. Our membership demonstrates that a shared compassion for animals can unite even the most diverse range of people. We take our common goals very seriously, but we feel just as strongly that activist well-being needs to be revitalized, too! We LOVE combining work and play in our activities because a healthy dose of goofiness rejeuvenates us, leaving us pumped and ready to tackle our next project.

  • We Can't Make a Difference
  • Strangely, we are often more terrified by our brilliance and potential than we are by our limitations - and thus find ourselves more afraid of our own successes than of possible failures. Apathy, lethargy, ambivalence, and/or a stubborn refusal to act frequently stem from fear. Here are RAW, we understand that we actively create the world around us; that we have choices to make every day; and that we can and will make a more beautiful world by building strong communities where animals and people can thrive together.