Pax Fauna exists to create a kinder world for animals, human and otherwise, by accelerating the emergence of a highly intelligent, collaborative, Nonviolent grassroots mass movement ecosystem to abolish the animal slaughter industry in the United States. We aim to achieve this by conducting research and developing educational, informational, and material resources to enable local advocacy communities to seize the narrative about animal agriculture using controversial mass protest and scalable community organizing.
That mission statement is quite a mouthful! (If you’re curious about what it all means, you can read more here.) For now, I want to share about how we’ll be acting out our mission in 2021.
We think of our plans for 2021 in terms of three work streams, which all flow from our overall objective of launching a new, research-based mass movement organization (MMO) dedicated to abolishing animal agriculture. To set a mass movement up for success, we’re focused on:
I’ll examine one of these in depth now to give you a flavor of Pax Fauna’s work.
The movement against animal agriculture is presented with a daunting task when it comes to communicating with the public. Modern animal agriculture is a highly complex issue, and its complexity appears only to increase year after year. Its harms include incomprehensible levels of animal suffering; decisive contribution to climate change, and separately to habitat and biodiversity loss; jeopardizing public health in several distinct ways including incubation of antibiotic-resistant zoonotic pathogens, promotion of global food scarcity, and promotion of malnutritious food, and grievous harm to air and water quality in surrounding communities (almost always impoverished and nonwhite); acute mistreatment of workers resulting in high rates of PTSD, domestic violence, and death; displacement and annihilation of sustainable bioregional agricultural practices, many of which are permanently unrecoverable; and even undermining the integrity of government through enormous subsidies paid to highly profitable multinational corporation which in turn sponsor political campaigns. It is in no way an exaggeration to say that animal agriculture presents multiple discrete existential threats to human civilization.
Yet precisely because of the multitude of harms it causes, messaging to the public about animal agriculture is profoundly challenging. Imagine a volunteer canvassing for support of a ballot measure opposing animal ag; if they merely launched into the list of harms above, listeners’ eyes would quickly glaze over and nothing from the conversation would remain in their memory. Most animal advocates especially struggle to present the issue as one of government policy rather than individual consumer choice. Research shows that even messages designed to address food system policy often inadvertently trigger personal-choice frames in recipients, which in turn activates strong opposition.
We hope to enable mass numbers of animal advocates to take on the task of persuading society to ditch animal agriculture, one conversation at a time. To do this, we need to provide them with a simple, highly memorable story which distills the most rhetorically persuasive harms into a short paragraph with a clear call to action. A well-crafted story could be even further crystallized into a powerful three-word declaration which captures the essence of our message, the way Black Lives Matter and Water Is Life have done for their respective movements. Crucially, such a slogan is powerless unless it is a stand in for a clear, memorable story being repeated constantly by a coordinated movement. It would be at its most powerful if every person in the movement was repeating that same story every chance they got, using more or less the same words.
Creating such a story may sound fanciful, but there is an entire field of research dedicated to just that purpose. We can use its methodologies to create a powerful new story for opponents of animal agriculture.
Purpose: to gain key insights into how the public conceptualizes animal agriculture, by engaging with the public directly through focus groups and surveys, in order to craft a more persuasive message capable of changing the public’s voting behavior to demand policies restricting or abolishing the animal ag industry.
The central goals of this project are:
The project would be considered a success if it gave us tangible insights into how the public conceptualizes animal agriculture in a way that would help us craft persuasive messages advocating the abolition of animal agriculture, or advocating specific policies which would move us in that direction.
Our primary model for the procedure of this project is the Race-Class Narrative Research Project conducted by Ian Haney-Lopez, Anat Shenker-Osorio, and Lake Research Partners. If funding is available, we may commission LRP to conduct aspects of this research. These are the steps of our project based on LRP’s approach:
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