The Animal Rights National Conference: We Went So You Don’t Have To

Photo (AR15 Car) (1)This weekend, HumaneWatch bravely waded into the belly of the beast: We attended the annual Animal Rights National Conference—undercover, of course. For three days, our researchers selflessly abstained from basic hygiene and survived (read: starved) on a tasteless vegan buffet to blend in with the crowd of hemp-clad animal rights activists.

Well, OK, maybe it was pleather-clad activists.

We feigned interest—and kept a straight face—during group discussions staler (and stranger) than freezer-burned tofurkey. Topics included a very serious conversation about why vegan activists have a responsibility to replace their entire closet with animal rights slogan t-shirts.  Academy Award nominations are a few months away, but we’re hopeful we’ll get a nod.

So what didn’t you miss? Here’s an inside look at the latest schemes and delusions peddled by HSUS and its radical activist cohorts.

Let’s start with the speakers. HSUS representatives joined a not-so-prestigious roster of presenters, with the acclaimed line-up including: Nick Cooney (a convicted criminal with the radical Mercy for Animals), the head of “Fish Feel” (a half-baked organization as ridiculous as it sounds) and Ethan Wolf, president of the Sea Shepard Conservation Society (a group that fancies themselves pirates and has the criminal charges to prove it).

The next time HSUS tries to act like it’s a friend of agriculture or food companies, look no further than the company it keeps.

The content of the conference presentations was exactly what you might expect from an event billed as the Super Bowl (minus the pigskin) for animal rights fanatics.

Speakers attempted to make grossly inaccurate and insensitive comparisons likening the treatment of animals to the treatment of African American slaves, Holocaust victims, and gay and lesbian Americans.

Straight from the HSUS playbook, VP Paul Shapiro used cute pictures of pet puppies in his presentation—a strange choice for a talk on farm animals. But then again, HSUS uses lots of pictures of dogs and cats to raise money to attack farmers, so maybe it made sense.

Conference content also included accusations and insults thrown at us, which we take to mean that we’re doing an effective job.

Newkirk has said plenty of batty stuff over the years, but she had a new line this year: “Not to be for animal rights is to be a racist.” (Right.) She also gave us a sneak peak of what life might look like if the vegans had things their way, explaining: “Sometimes on the talk shows, some hosts will usually say… ‘If you ruled the world, would it be against the law to eat a hamburger?’ Yes, yes it would.”

Luckily for those of us who enjoy ice cream or a steak, a vegan future is nowhere in sight.

Attendees at the event this weekend probably feel otherwise: The Animal Rights National Conferences is a pep rally designed to “recharge the batteries” of activists by convincing them the vegan movement is winning. But when consumers are eating a billion chicken wings during the Super Bowl, the celebration of imminent vegan triumph is laughably off-base.