Doing animal welfare activism everyday: questions of identity
School of Communications and Arts
Abstract: Animals Australia focuses on making animal welfare issues visible to consumers so as to direct consumer behaviour and invoke everyday activism, an objective integral to their ‘Make it Possible’ campaign. In this paper, we primarily explore the claimed and practised identity of everyday or mainstream animal activists. This is an identity that, whilst partially and communally elaborated and affirmed online (in the online Animals Australia community), is enacted more commonly through personal and familial everyday actions such as shopping, cooking and eating than it is through such public actions as explicitly advocating or demonstrating for better welfare standards for animals involved in factory farming. A discourse analysis was conducted of 2198 posts from October 2013 to January 2014 to analyse contributors’ accounts of their feelings (notably their gut reactions) and reasons for pledging, as well as to examine how contributors’ accounts of their everyday practices might be understood as the development of ‘a voice for these “voiceless” animals’. Overall, then, our analysis has shown supporters, participants and/or consumers who support the ‘Make it Possible’ campaign self-select into and identify themselves in terms of four overlapping frames: being vegan or vegetarian, shopping for change, personal activism and public activism and advocacy. This paper contributes to the debate concerning intersectional activism within the food activism movement. © 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.