Exploring the barriers and facilitators to animal activism
“This paper focuses on the relationship between individuals and animal activism. Due to the scarcity of literature on the topic, indirect indicators were used to gain a preliminary understanding of the barriers and facilitators of animal activism, categorising barriers into internal and external barriers. – Euan Ross
Defining animal activism can be difficult. Broadly, animal activists believe animals deserve to live happy, cruelty-free lives. However, what constitutes ‘activism’ can be more contentious. Dietary change in and of itself may be considered activism but others may only consider more direct forms of action
like participating in animal rescues. While all forms of animal activism are important, this paper will focus on activism that seeks to change others’ behaviours, especially through ‘quieter’ forms.
This paper focuses on the relationship between individuals and animal activism. Due to the scarcity of literature on the topic, indirect indicators were used to gain a preliminary understanding of the barriers and facilitators of animal activism, categorising barriers into internal and external barriers
A survey of 1,000 individuals living in the UK was carried out. It found that participation in animal activism is very low; however, most individuals were not wholly resistant to it. Rather, most participants either had not considered it before or would like to get involved. To this end, individuals were most willing to engage in ‘quiet’ forms of activism such as charity and social activism, whereas, frontline activism garnered less support.
Overall, internal barriers, such as self-limiting beliefs, were more commonly experienced than external barriers. However, some external barriers like not having enough time were also commonly experienced.
Accordingly, the most popular facilitators to animal activism engagement resolved these barriers, such as having more time or having activism work they are comfortable with. A focus group and an interview were subsequently carried out to deconstruct the reasons behind these findings. It was found that internal barriers often exacerbate external barriers. For example, not feeling confident enough may worsen social pressures.
Participants found it easiest to engage with activism when using ‘quiet’ activism methods such as volunteering or donating to charities, rather than ‘loud’ methods such as frontline or online activism. They also preferred working towards pre-established goals or projects such as promoting Veganuary.