There are literally millions of animal rights activists around the world who feel that animals have rights and should not be viewed as property. Activism can be traced all the way back to ancient times when philosopher, Pythagoras, stated that animals had souls and were reincarnated. Animal rights activism really took off in the early 20th century when a number of groups organized and protested the cruel treatment of animals. The same views and prospective can be seen today. The animal activists stance is that animals should not be consumed as food, used for experimental purposes, skinned for clothing or used in films and entertainment.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is one of the largest and most organized animal activist group in the world. Since its founding in 1980, PETA has marched, campaigned and even launched consumer boycotts against the use of animal fur for clothing. They have even recruited celebrities to help their cause. PETA has filed a number of lawsuits against many agencies and corporations including Sea World and has fought the Australian wool industry and the Canadian fisheries for animal cruelty.
There are also smaller grass roots animal rights groups that are also effectively going after the farming industry. Sadly, many of the laws on the books do little to protect chickens, birds and livestock. Many organizations have secretly taped the brutality perpetrated against terrified and defenseless animals who are well aware of their impending doom. Many of these animals are housed in filthy, closed quarters until they day they are slaughtered. Videos that are frequently released showing the awful treatment that these animals endure has done little to change the laws.
Keith Mann has been at the forefront of animal activism since the 1980s. Keith Mann on crunchbase has risked life and limb to protect animals and get laws changed. In 2003, Mann and another associate raided Wickham Laboratories in the middle of the night and released 300 lab mice that were being used for cosmetic testing. He launched the “Highway to Hell” campaign to target airports, trains and ships that imported and exported animals for animal testing.
Animal rights organizations have had some major victories over the years. At the very least, they have changed attitudes regarding the treatment of animals by obtaining footage of what really goes on behind closed doors. Agencies who make a great deal of money being cruel to animals have been unsuccessful in shutting down PETA and other organizations. PETA spokesperson and founder Ingrid Newkirk says while activists are making progress, they still have a ways to go.