Animal Studies Journal


Across the animal activist/academic community, there is an ongoing dissatisfaction with the movement’s achievements to date, or lack thereof – a sense that it has not achieved as much as expected, hoped for, and needed. While there have undoubtedly been positive changes, overall these efforts constitute a Sisyphean task given that nonhuman animals are entering the Animal-Industrial Complex (A-IC) in increasing numbers and faster than others are saved. Lack of unity, common goals, and related questions of (il)legitimacy are among some of the issues identified with ‘the movement’. In response, this paper proposes a new frame for animal advocacy that can offer a legitimising context for critical animal perspectives and bring a sense of unity to the movement’s fragmented and often inconsistent goals. First, questions of movement efficacy are examined with reference to a review of the websites of 21 advocacy organisations. Efficacy is then associated with (il)legitimacy, and (il)legitimacy with framing. An exploration of how frames are currently deployed in animal advocacy is then used to support the rationale for the proposed frame of ‘(animal) oppression’. Finally, this frame’s key features are clarified with suggestions for its deployment. Critically, this new frame describes the problem to be addressed, where existing frames focus primarily on solutions and motivations. Approaching animal advocacy through oppression evokes and explains the interwoven mechanisms of the entire injustice complex, of which the A-IC is one part, opening the way to challenge not only speciesism but all institutions of discrimination.