My first encounter with animal rights activists was last month when I went to the open farm event in Sweden. I had hired a Swedish video photographer in order to create a video of the event, however we were so lucky that a small group of four activists showed up to have a look around the mink farm.
Even though I have been involved somehow with the fur industry my entire life, I have never actually had any form for encounter with animal rights activists before. If I debate or defend the use of fur production animals, it usually takes place online in various Internet forums. It was therefore exceptionally interesting to actually meet and talk to young people, who have such an opposite view on production animals than me. I do believe we share some views; the animals should be treated well and that the well-being of the animals always comes first, however we are definitely not sharing the views on whether or not humans can use animals. I have always been a firm believer that we human beings have a natural desire to use animals and that using animals is a natural part of living on this planet. However, as we humans evolved, industrialized and grew in population, the use of animals also grew. This does not mean that we should or need to stop using animals in our life but that we have the ability and responsibility to be respectful and considerate in our animal production.
Most animal rights activists, who are vegan, are of the opinion that animals should not be used by human beings whatsoever; this includes everything from circus, leather products, food, cosmetics, scientific research, or pets etc. As you may have guessed, this is absolute ludicrous in my ears.
I sometimes wonder if there will ever be a time where people from agricultural sectors and animal rights activist agree about anything and the day I met the activists on the Swedish farm in May, I did actually get a bit more optimistic.
Luckily enough, as I had a video photographer by my side, we were able to interview and chat with the activists about their visit. It turned out to be an interesting chat and definitely the perfect example on how dialogue is always the best approach when opposing views meet.