The fight for animal rights, against the use of fur or laboratory animals can sometimes escalate or lead to violence. The reason is that many activists for animal rights have difficulty aiming solely at long term strategies, but want to see results in the short term as well.
They feel powerless and search frenetically for a way to quickly gain control of their opponents, whose intransigence in their eyes points to malice.
Punctuation is the fight over how reality should be viewed. When the other person explains the facts differently or has a different perspective on the context of the interaction, two ‘explanations’ are favorite: the other person is either evil-minded or crazy.
In both cases the perspective on the other person is less respectful, because there is no equality. Debates are no longer about content and people talk at cross-purposes because they don't want to listen to someone they believe they are superior to.
In a country like Great Britain this is intensified by the original class society.
Nothing seems more fun to a fox hunter from the 'upper classes' than to aggravate the lower classes by keeping old aristocratic traditions alive.
Especially young people are at risk of losing their patience. Their lack of patience goes hand in hand with the lack of an outlook on life in which they have experienced for themselves what really matters, namely freedom and love. These neutral concepts are important both for the animal rights activists and for the people who use animals. Immature people as yet give shape to these concepts by not being very responsible and show less interest in who the other person is or wants to become and what his or her interests are.
People who use animals (people who wear fur or eat meat or who use laboratory animals) use this concept to restlessly chase after thoughtless pleasure, unscrupulously earn money and try to achieve unlimited power and status (for example through publications or promotions).
How can you have understanding and compassion for people who (in your view) treat animals badly, (or let them be treated badly), i.e. loveless and unfree?
What matters, is that you are able to see that the above-mentioned terms (sometimes phrased differently) are also of importance to others. Everyone wants to be valued and to stay healthy; everyone wants a reasonable income. To some people the interests of animals are, for the time being, secondary.
If you want to get into conversation with farmers or a person who uses animals, it is important to recognize their neutral interests at that level. Only when there is open communication there is a possibility of an effect leading to a change in behavior. Intimidation has a temporary effect and will lead to the search for ways that lead to invulnerability and will harden the point of view that is unfriendly towards animals. Escalation is in the distance. Mistakes made by activists are grist to the mill of the opportunistic publicity machine, which is driven by the infinitely more powerful capital.
As long as human civilization has not yet developed to the point where everyone can let go of their inclination to use animals and their dependence on animal use, the animals whom this concerns will lead a suboptimal life.
In the build-up to an animal friendly society it is important to offer, support or develop animal-free or vegetable alternatives in an attractive way. Attractive means healthy, tasty and affordable.
Besides creating awareness by means of information and honest, convincing arguments, there is no other way to tempt animal users than by offering a more attractive alternative for their present lifestyle.
As with the search for a creative solution it is useful to be able to step outside the box of the problem and stay out of the physical arena. Better to take a step back when you are right, than a step too far to be proved right. When you use violence or negative means to find a solution for people and animals, you are part of the problem.
See also: The Disastrous Way and Working on an Alternative