|Uncaged 1993-2012: This is the archived website of Uncaged. All information correct at the time of archiving - November 2012.|
Overarching reasons for change from Uncaged to CASJ:
To be frank it is a lack of any real progress for animals. The Government’s badger cull policy is a good example of why the animal protection lobby rarely achieves significant victories, even when the public and the science are on our side.
Addressing this fundamental question - and proposing solutions - is precisely why we have created the CASJ. We have to understand how the world works - how power operates - to make the changes needed to remove the threat of such gratuitous persecution of animals in future.
As this is ultimately a power struggle, a military metaphor helps to illuminate the problem (the way we exercise power is, needless to say, peaceful and democratic). Campaigns to protect animals resemble the sporadic, opportunistic resistance of an impotent guerrilla movement whose capabilities are limited to occasionally inconveniencing the dominant 'regime'. All these animal protection activities take place in a hostile political context, meaning that any achievements are isolated and any territory gained is difficult to secure, so we face a constant uphill battle. What has been absent is a long-term strategy that moves beyond defensive 'fire-fighting'.
In the real world the overall problem is that animals and their welfare aren't represented politically. There are no Government bodies to defend animals and their wellbeing is not even considered in policy impact assessments. This has to change if animals are ever going to receive meaningful protection.
Educating the public is essential, but our political system isn’t particularly democratic - we've seen that public opinion has little impact on the high levels of cruelty the government permits in laboratories, farms etc. So public opinion - on its own - won’t make much difference if we can’t move the political blockages to animal protection. Also, lots of other, larger groups are working in public education, with more reach than we have.
To some extent but, unfortunately, at the moment the influence works more the other way round. For example, most people are against animal testing of cosmetics in principle, but because most well-known products are made by animal-testing companies, they are the ones that get bought. Ultimately, we need to change people’s environment to make it easier for them to make ethical choices, and that involves political change such as a ban on animal-tested cosmetics.
The CASJ is collaborating with academic experts to expand our vital animal protection research projects. We’ve already recruited our first PhD researcher to work on the democratic representation of animals. What we’re doing is called 'building capacity', and it’s essential to create a powerful network of animal protection experts. We are also in discussions with some of the largest animal protection organisations in the world about supporting and implementing our groundbreaking research. Our research will be largely 'applied'; in other words it will produce findings - ways to advance animal protection - that can be applied directly to the real world.
Q6. Given that scientists, philosophers and other academics have been speaking up for animals, how does the CASJ think it can breakthrough "the iron curtain" of silence, so the media will take up the animals’ cause and put pressure on the establishment to augment change?
There are virtually no academic researchers focussing on animal protection politics, which is the crucial missing step to turn the scientific and philosophical progress into real changes that help animals. With our focus on politics, the CASJ will provide the structure to help bring these experts together and channel them into having a real world impact - which no-one is doing at the moment. There's never been a focused effort at changing the political power balance.
The additional expertise provided by the CASJ will counter the negative prejudice that animal protection is mere sentimentality. We will work with the media to increase their understanding of the causes of animal cruelty and promote more informed coverage of animal protection issues. This will in turn given animal protection more influence during life-or-death political decisions.
Q7. While you have to appear non-partisan, the Tory Party don't seem very pro-animal, so do you see your dialogue to be mainly with the Labour Party?
No, we are duty-bound as a registered charity to try to work with all political parties, even though some, clearly, are more pro-animal than others. The CASJ has links with animal advocates in the Conservative Party, as well as in other parties, because animal protection will be strengthened if there is cross-party consensus on compassionate reforms. The party of government changes over time so we need to engage with all political parties.
Q8. How, and with whom, will you approach the major question of animals’ legal status, which is a step further than political status for animals?
Actually, animals’ legal and political statuses are two sides of the same coin. Enshrining any legal status for animals will logically depend on achieving the political influence needed to push such reforms through. We also need to understand the dire reality of the current situation. Despite Governments paying lip-service to the notion of ‘animal welfare’, in reality hundreds of millions of animals have no voice in the corridors of power, and there are no meaningful laws that might help protect them. In other words, animal welfare is barely considered, never mind protected through legal and political mechanisms such as rights.
So the CASJ has been established to solve this critical problem of how to create and advance animals’ political and legal status. This is something that hasn’t been done on a practical level before, so it’s new ground for the animal movement and animal academics.
Uncaged will cease its campaigning activities, but will still exist as a registered company. This means we can continue to collect any unknown legacies left to Uncaged and put them to use on behalf of animals through the CASJ.
We will archive this website to keep its valuable information in the public domain
Uncaged Campaigns 26.09.12, updated 01.10.12.