The State of Animal Advocacy, 2010

The National Journal has an outstanding, deeply informed article assessing the state of the modern animal protection movement. The article is long and on the dry side, but it’s essential reading for anyone who is serious about animal advocacy.

There’s unfortunately no coverage of outreach here, but despite that glaring omission the piece does a tremendous job of reporting on the political and legal efforts underway to advance the status of animals.

One goal I hadn’t heard about is the effort to create a federal agency that would have the power to investigate animal care practices at factory farms and animal research laboratories:

The movement needs politicians to marshal congressional support for ambitious initiatives such as the establishment of a Federal Animal Protection Commission, modeled on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights that Congress created in 1957 at President Eisenhower’s urging. The hoped-for animal protection agency would have the all-important subpoena power to investigate possible violations of laws and regulations. Today, animal-advocacy groups mount difficult and risky undercover investigations to expose abusive practices at factory farms and biomedical facilities. Federal authority to visit such operations and flash a badge could be vastly more effective in bringing abuses to light and—perhaps more important—deterring bad practices.

Such an agency would dramatically increase pressure on industry to do away with its greatest cruelties. Expect animal abusers to fight its creation at every turn. (Via Shapiro.) Link.