Animal welfare movements have grown immensely and their work can be felt daily. Activists have moved their campaigns from the streets to social media, engaging users with personal narratives and visceral content. Paul McCartney once said “If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian”. This idea that a building could obscure the horrendous acts going on behind the scenes and that glass walls would make visible the atrocities being committed in slaughterhouses and factory farms is not so powerful when you consider the everyday use of phones and social media. With everything being recorded, posted, or tweeted, the difference between cement walls and glass walls becomes irrelevant. The ability to document lived experiences is so regular and literally in the palm of our hands that almost everyone has the time and ability to be an activist and use their voice.
On each platform, a creator only has so much room to convey their message and capture the attention of users. Twitter limits you to 280 characters, Tiktok gives you 60 seconds, and Instagram is just Instagram. Activists trying to get their message across to mass amounts of people have learned how to quickly engage viewers and call them to a desired action, and they do that with easy, clear slogans that they can use across many platforms and drive their overall message home.
So which slogans do I consider to be in my top five? Let’s break them down.
ADOPT, DON’T SHOP
This was the first slogan I had heard of and used when I got involved in animal rights marches and advocacy work. Adopt, Don’t Shop was coined by Last Chance for Animals, a nonprofit organization, to raise awareness about animal homelessness and educate pet owners about adoption through rescue and shelters, rather than from online retailers or pet stores. This campaign got me interested in researching and volunteering for dog rescues, because their mission is clear and highlights the work of smaller-scale advocacy organizations. I never knew about any other means of adopting a dog than a store or through a breeder, so I consider this campaign to be successful!
VOICE FOR THE VOICELESS
This slogan means to comment on the power of voice and empower those that have traditionally been voiceless or left out of vital conversations regarding basic rights and welfare. Voice for the Voiceless is often paired with personal stories about abused dogs and their rehabilitative journey towards a happy and comfortable life. This campaign raises awareness about the sentient nature of animals and works against the dehumanizing gaze that industries have perpetuated about animals for profit.
STOP ANIMAL ABUSE
I mean, you cannot go wrong with a clear statement. The people behind this slogan want to end animal abuse, and they are asking abusers to stop! The Stop Animal Abuse campaign targets both individuals, puppy mills, agricultural leaders, and companies that rely on animal abuse for personal gain. You can find activists posting this slogan on signs when they gather around trucks that are carrying cows or pigs to give them water before they are slaughtered.
FEEL THEIR PAIN
I have seen this slogan used on posters that feature animals or fish looking directly at the camera. It is a powerful statement to make while simultaneously looking the animal in the eye. The slogan and pictures force the viewer to recognize the individual animal and confront their previous notion of what constitutes a living being that feels and thinks. Advocates use this slogan to participate in the larger discussion about how humanity views animals and how that view subsequently normalizes animal abuse, consumption, and neglect.
SPAY IT FORWARD
Many nonprofit organizations, shelters, and spay programs use this slogan to draw attention to the importance of spaying a dog. Not only does this prevent a dog from unwanted pregnancies, but it also protects them from overbreeding. Reputable breeders maintain the integrity of breeds and promote healthy future generations of dogs, and Spay It Forward means to protect dogs from overbreeding and from being used as the primary means of income for an individual. It is all in the name of responsible dog ownership and happy, healthy doggy lives!
Break out your cardboard and yardsticks and warm up your vocal chords, it is time to get out and advocate! I urge you to read up on the meanings behind animal welfare movements and find out why the groups or individuals advocate the way that they do. What has worked for them and what hasn’t? Do you agree with everything that they stand for? As you do your research, you will find that quality animal welfare movements have meaning, clear goals, and seek to educate. Activism should not be bashing opinions or beliefs of others, but it is meant to engage people in conversation for the benefit of all involved! The slogans above are my higher ranked movements, but there are countless other meaningful welfare movements that you can be a part of. Hop on Twitter and check out @johnoberg, @larissawohltv, or @mercyforanimals to get started!