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Going to the dogs

Even overwhelmed animal charities are redirecting resources to promote Pride

Artillery Row

I care about animals, and therefore I support a number of wildlife, conservation and animal welfare charities. These organisations seem to have been preoccupied with other concerns recently, though: we have seen Drag Queen live streams from Cats Protection League, WWF and the Battersea Cat and Dogs’ Home selling Pride merchandise, and the Bumblebee Conservation Trust lecturing us about “inclusion, privilege and allyship. The RSPB had published a similar admonition a few months previously, informing us about our “heterosexual privilege”. I’m no marketing expert, but I’m not sure how conducive this approach is to garnering support for a cause. Personally, I don’t really want a charity I support to reprimand me about anything.

To add insult to injury, all of these charities already have their own causes to worry about. Due to the cost of living crisis, animal shelters are seeing an increase in animals being abandoned and surrendered, and animal abuse is at an all-time high. The state of the environment (which is the remit of the RSPB and the Bumblebee Conservation Trust) in the UK is just as depressing. This year’s “State of Nature Report” highlighted that GB’s wildlife is continuing to decline. The UK is now one of the most nature-depleted countries on Earth, with nearly one in six species threatened with extinction.

Nonetheless, all of these charities are dedicating time, resources, personnel and potentially even money to championing LGB etc. rights, whilst their own respective rooms are (in some cases) quite literally burning. The question is, “why are animal/environmental/conservation charities concerned with issues that are so unrelated to animals?” Time and again, we see the responses mentioning “equality, inclusion, safety, and authenticity”. One has to wonder whether such values are only upheld if there is a literal or metaphorical Pride flag flying. Is the Cats Protection an unsafe place for gay people to work if it doesn’t have drag queen seminars? Will gay people not feel included in the organisation if Battersea is not selling Pride products?

Overall, I find these arguments very sad. They start from the baseline assumption that these charities are hotbeds of bigotry, discrimination and harassment against those in the LGB etc. community. There is also the implication that in order for someone to feel “safe” and “included”, it is not enough for the organisation be non-discriminatory. It has to actively “celebrate” this community.

However, since equality is embedded in the law in the UK, it would be illegal for any organisation to discriminate against an individual on the basis of sexuality (suggesting that actually all organisations start off from a place of not only acceptance and belief in equality, but an enactment of it).

Most of us recognise that there is a difference between acceptance and celebration. Most decent people accept the right of individuals to be with the partner of their choice, but they don’t necessarily see why unrelated causes have to promote and celebrate this decision.

Foreign rescuers demonstrate it is possible to focus on a cause rather than the self

In our performative world, acceptance is not enough, it seems; we need to be “seen to be accepting”. It is possible that this is due in part to the LGB etc. activists, who demand that everyone expresses solidarity for the struggles faced decades ago by waving rainbows today. Alternatively, the demands for our promotion of LGB etc. causes could be due in part to the encroachment of Critical Theory into all of our public institutions — specifically the covenant that “if you are not for us, you are against us”. It might also be that charities just feel they have to jump on the latest fashionable bandwagon, in order to keep supporters engaged.

When faced with this kind of climate, we can see why and how charities feel that in order to gain support (even for nature concerns), they have to champion the cause de jour. A belief we see parroted again and again in current society (again, thanks in large part to the activists) is that you need to see someone “like you” before you can engage in or commit to anything. Apparently, we need to feel “represented”. We are constantly told that we can’t pursue a career, we can’t be interested in, we can’t purchase something, we can’t even care about something, without seeing other people “like us” caring about it. Are we really all that shallow and unimaginative? What a depressing thought.

I have more faith in people than this — I don’t think that most people truly need charities to be “about them” in order to support the cause. I see comments from supporters of animal rescuers, and the genuine care and love for the cause expressed by them. It is especially clear when we see non-western animal rescues: the founder of ROLDA searching the front line between Ukraine and Russia for injured animals, despite rescuers being shot in the same place just weeks previously; the volunteers at Ernesto’s Sanctuary in Syria providing for their animals, despite bombs raining down around them; the rescuers in the UAE fighting against authorities to gain justice for dumped stray animals.

This makes me think that the most likely cause is the activists who have pushed the notion that groups both need to be “seen” and promoted (especially given that the same rhetoric arises time and again regarding the promotion of Pride and LGB etc. rights). The attitudes of the foreign rescuers and charities demonstrate very clearly that it is possible to focus on a cause rather than the self (and how the cause treats “the self”).

Worst of all, every time a charity strays from its cause, it loses support. My own example is a case in point. When the Cats Protection League stated on its Facebook page that its “ambition was to become Stonewall accredited in the future”, I cancelled my 20+ years monthly donation. I don’t understand why people “need to be themselves at work” or what this has to do with cat welfare, but I could just about turn a blind eye to this. I refuse to have any of my donation for cats syphoned off to Stonewall, though.

Despite the claims of the activists, the problem for charity supporters with the desire to promote the LGB etc. cause is not anything to do with LGB etc. people — it’s that the charities are prioritising this over their true purpose and their true supporters. The funds, personnel and time committed to championing LGB etc. issues should be focussed on the charity’s true aims — especially when the causes are apparently so desperately in need. It is a stab in the back for genuine supporters (who give and care without any expectation of any mention in return) when their contributions are discarded at the expense of people who apparently need to be celebrated in order to do their jobs properly — or even to care about a cause outside themselves. As with everything that is touched by DEI activists, the true purpose (be it education, health, charitable causes) is twisted and damaged by those who insist that celebration and promotion of group characterises are necessary for individuals and organisations to function.

Whilst the charities would no doubt argue that what they’ve lost in terms of money and support from “bigots” like me, would be replaced by support from those in the LGB etc. community, I would be interested to see the numbers on this. Would the LGB etc. community surpass — or even equal — the financial contribution of the sector of society that believes that not everything has to be about one’s identity characteristics? It may, but even if the LGB etc. community “made up” for the losses, surely the charities would rather have everyone on board? Why alienate anyone — are the charities so well off that they can afford to lose support?

The most heart-breaking thing is that those suffering most from the promotion of LGB etc. rights are those the charities aim to help. As a result of pursuing these causes, the RSPB’s focus has moved from birds and conservation, the CPL from cats, Battersea from rehoming. I urge readers to investigate their own charities to check whether they too are pledging commitment (or finances) to other causes. I really hope that my charities realise that they should “stay in their lane”, but in the meantime, I’ll be sending my donations to those who appreciate that their causes are too essential to be diluted with virtue-signalling.

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