Animal Studies Bibliography
Munro, Lyle. 1999. Contesting Moral Capital in Campaigns Against Animal Liberation. Society & Animals 7(1): 35-53.
In this article Munro argues that looking at countermovements is an important part of understanding the movement being reacted to. He claims that the countermovement signals that the social movement is doing its job (p. 36). Its job is to redefine what is morally acceptable. However, when animal activists challenge any of the uses to which animals are putvested interestsattempt to protect their investments by mobilizing public sentiment (p. 36).
Munro disputes Goode's argument that the morals that animal activists promote conflict with those of the majority and thus lack moral capital (p. 36). Rather, Munro thinks that there is currently more of an awareness among the general public about the value of animal species. He argues that this affects the way in which movements and countermovements promote their morals. He claims that while animal activists talk about animals more scientifically, as sentient beings, those in countermovements are using more emotion-laden tactics. These countermovements appeal to the public's heart, talking about human suffering and how those who suffer benefit from animal research.
The movement and countermovement struggle over the moral high ground, with the countermovement trying to deplete the animal movement's moral capital by demonizing it as anti-scientific, violent, and threatening to the public's right of free choice (p. 41). Animal activists have retaliated with the claim that the funding for animal experimentation could be better spent on alternatives to animal research and on preventative measures (p 43). In response to this, Munro claims, countermovements have turned to the process of vilification to refute the statements made by the animal protectionists. The countermovements have chosen to publicize the acts of extremists, trying to draw a connection between these groups and the more rational/peaceful animal activists in a hope to portray animal activists as irrational.
Munro goes on to look at laws that have been made to protect those who use animals for testing or food. He also examines two pro-hunting groups in the U.S. and England. He concludes by restating the tactics of countermovements (emotion, condemnation, and vilification), discussing the similarities and differences between movements in Australia, the U.S., and England. He states that the countermovements' attacks on animal protectionist groups are predicated on emotional rather than rational, economic, or legal grounds. For in the final analysis, the competition for moral resources is not about winning minds, it's about winning hearts (p. 51).