Becoming activist: The mediation of consumers in Animals Australia’s Make it Possible campaign
Media International Australia
School of Arts and Humanities
In 2008, the Australian Law Reform Commission journal, Reform, called out animal welfare as Australia’s ‘next great social justice movement’ in 2018; however, public mobilisation around animal welfare is still a contested issue in Australia. The question stands as to how to mobilise everyday mainstream consumers into supporting animal activism given that animal activism is presented in the public sphere as dampening the economic livelihood of Australia, with some animal activism described as ‘akin to terrorism’. The questions, then, are as follows: how to mobilise everyday mainstream consumers into supporting animal activist ideals? How to frame and communicate animal activist ideals so that they can come to inform and change the behaviour and self-understandings of mainstream consumers? This article is an investigation into the possible production and mobilisation of animal activists from mainstream consumers through the work of one digital campaign, Make it Possible. Delivered by the peak Australian animal advocacy organisation, Animals Australia, and explicitly targeting the lived experiences and conditions of animals in factory farming, Make it Possible reached nearly 12 million viewers across Australia and has directly impacted on the reported behaviour and self-understandings of over 291,000 Australians to date, as well as impacting policy decisions made by government and industry. More specifically, our interest is to engage a new materialist lens to draw out how this campaign operates to transform consumers into veg*ns (vegans/vegetarians), activists and ethical consumers who materially commit to and live revised beliefs regarding human–animal relations.