"Animal rights activists are using religious messages to recruit a segment of the millennial generation that has little doctrinal anchor in order to advance their vegetarian agenda," said Dr. Wes Jamison, a Baptist minister and associate professor of communications at Palm Beach Atlantic University. The statement was made while addressing participants at the Animal Agriculture Alliance's Eighth Annual Stakeholders Summit, held May 12-13 in Alexandria, Va.
Dr. Wes Jamison
Dr. Jamison explained that two major factors are driving animal rights groups' attempts to engage people of faith. People motivated by religion tend to:
- give generously, an important factor to the $400 million a year animal rights industry
- sustain intensity over time, a feature lacking from the current animal rights movement since many vegans and vegetarians eventually return to an omnivorous diet.
Dr. Jamison indicated that animal rights groups are carefully selecting religious passages that appeal to targeted individuals' sense of compassion, self-denial, and guilt. He then pointed to Biblical stories that directly refute the messages and went on to label animal rights groups engaging in this tactic as "meaning entrepreneurs."
"We caution people against buying in to such messages and encourage people to do their own review of Biblical scripture and literature," said Kay Johnson Smith, executive vice president of the Animal Agriculture Alliance. "Farmers and ranchers are among the most compassionate people in the world and are committed to the care of their animals as a top priority."