The Alliance for Animal Rights or AFAR was founded in 1989 in Dublin. Its aim was to campaign and educate on animal exploitation and abuse. Over the years our Information Stand in Westmoreland Street /College Green has become a familiar scene to those in town on a Saturday Afternoon. In more recent years we have encompassed the four provinces with our Information tabling.
We have distributed billions of flyers on issues such as veganism, fur, live exports,animal farming, cruelty free products (vivisection) and blood sports. AFAR has inspired others to form single issue organisations like Greyhound action Ireland or the Association of Hunt Saboteurs, both affiliated to GA International and the Hunt Saboteurs Association in the UK.
We continuously seek new people of all ages to join us. Active campaigners are needed on a continuous basis to help us to plan campaigns or simply to help in whatever way they wish. All of our members are voluntary and unpaid but striving towards animal liberation is fulfilling and varied. Our ideal is a vegan lifestyle which most people readily aspire to having worked alongside us in AFAR. As a campaigner, a vegan lifestyle is logical and healthy.
Why do so many people illogically pet the dog and eat the cow?, both are sentient beings and deserve to share this planet without fear or suffering. Feel free to give us a call, as little or as much time as you have will help in some way.
Tears are not the answer....action is.
A scanned copy of the very first “The Vegan News” has appeared online recently. Written before the end of the Second World War, on November 24th 1944, by Donald Watson, the four-page bulletin is subtitled, “Quarterly Magazine of the Non-Dairy Vegetarians”.
This is an amazing and important document, written with much humour, good sense, passion and, above all else, fortitude. It provides a humbling lesson for modern-day animal advocates who all too often appear to self-limit their campaigning to small-scale moderate welfare or legislative reforms.
Watson would have had no truck with the modern-day poverty of ambition in animal advocacy. The document sets out the first formal words of what was to become the world’s first Vegan Society – and let us not forget that these ‘non-dairy vegetarians’ were advocating veganism in days when most people thought they would die if they followed the diet. However, right from the start, Watson was having none of that, pointing out to never-weaned human mammals that, “we know that milk drinking by adults is an absurdity never intended by Nature”.
He said that the new vegans, “will not accept that adequate nutrition need violate conscience”. When so much modern advocacy tends to suggest that veganism and vegetarianism is pretty much on an equal moral footing, Watson states that his vegans “condemn the use of dairy produce and eggs”. While stating he wants no animosity between vegans on the one hand and the veggies he calls ‘the lactos’ on the other, he is nevertheless prepared to correctly label vegetarians parasites, vegetarianism illogical and, “but a half-way house between flesh eating and a truly humane, civilised diet”.
And what of the argument that the public is not ready to hear the vegan message? Of course we still hear this and also a cousin of this argument in the present day when many animal advocates suggest that the public is ‘not ready’ for rights-based claims about human-nonhuman relations. In 1944 Watson was to dismiss the notion that the time was not ‘ripe’ for veganism as we should likewise not tolerate the current rot that animal rights is an extreme ideology. Watson clearly understood he was doing “real pioneer work” and that radical ideas push the envelope and serve to test boundaries:
Can time ever be ripe for any reform unless it is ripened by human determination? Did Wilberforce wait for the ‘ripening’ of time before he commenced his fight against slavery? Did Edwin Chadwick, Lord Shaftesbury, and Charles Kingsley wait for such a non-existent moment before trying to convince the great dead weight of public opinion that clean water and bathrooms would be an improvement?
The answer, of course, is that they did not wait – they were not timid – they certainly showed fewer of the limitations that scars much modern-day campaigning for nonhuman animals. Watson understood that ‘the great dead weight of public opinion’ can be shaped – but all new ideas take time to ‘settle’ in the public imagination. Is it nothing short of a scandal that the so-called ‘animal rights movement’ has existed in parts of the world for decades and yet one can rarely hear the claim that nonhuman animals are rights bearers and what humans do to them amounts to rights violations? Ask a member of the public or a journalist if she’s ever heard of animal rights and she will probably say she has – but if you ask what animal rights stands for you most often will be told that it is about the opposition to ‘cruelty to animals’. You will be lucky ever to hear the words ‘nonhumans are rightholders’ and ‘animal rightists oppose the violation of animals’ rights’ from such respondents.