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Framing Animal Rights in the “Go Veg” Campaigns of U.S. Animal Rights Organizations

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How much do animal rights activists talk about animal rights when they attempt to persuade America’s meat-lovers to stop eating nonhuman animals? This study serves as the basis for a unique evaluation and categorization of problems and solutions as framed by five major U.S. animal rights organizations in their vegan/food campaigns. The findings reveal that the organizations framed the problems as: cruelty and suffering; commodification; harm to humans and the environment; and needless killing. To solve problems largely blamed on factory farming, activists asked consumers to become “vegetarian” (meaning vegan) or to reduce animal product consumption, some requesting “humane” reforms. While certain messages supported animal rights, promoting veganism and respect for animals’ subject status, many frames used animal welfareideology to achieve rights solutions, conservatively avoiding a direct challenge to the dominant human/animal dualism. In support of ideological authenticity, this paper recommends that vegan campaigns emphasize justice, respect, life, freedom, environmental responsibility, and a shared animality.

Affiliations: 1: Georgia State University, Email: cpfreeman@gsu.edu

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