I have a few questions for you and would appreciate answers left in comments. I’ll assume if you’re reading this then you are indeed a pet owner and would maybe call yourself an animal lover.
My first question is – what motivates you? There is no multiple choice, there is no right or wrong answer – what motivates you? Your answers can be anything whatsoever so long as they definitely fit the criteria of being something that motivates you into some sort of action.
My second question – I’ll assume that if you’re reading that you are already in agreement that its high time the punishments better reflected the grave nature of these crimes. My question; How do you hope to get that without direct advocacy aimed at achieving it?
My third question. If you agree that direct and relentless advocacy is a necessity then where do you specifically think its going to come from? Someone needs to do it. Who? And how?
Its a bit of a 180 for me to be asking such questions, since I’m ordinarily the one trying to give up some answers.
But I’m a bit out of answers for now and I cannot speak for people that I don’t know.
I have no idea what motivates others.
I have no idea how you’d get punishments that fit the crime without direct and tenacious advocacy.
And I have no idea who is going to do it, since, to be fair, the likes of the RSPCA have been around for over a century and its going to take a bit more than Ricky Gervais occasionally painting whiskers on his face.
That’s why I am asking you – because I don’t have answers to those questions.
I do know that my perception of this challenge is different to how it was in the Spring of last year.
What I saw was pretty simple really. We had a nasty situation which was not an isolated event in this country.
We had/have a justice system currently unable to give the offender the time they merit for such actions. We also saw a mass of people who at least appeared sincerely triggered by both the offences and also by the perpetual weak sentences that always follow.
The math was simple – if you can get a sufficient number of the angry and triggered people to be meaningfully productive, then with a co-ordinated effort you could very soon create a momentum which would generate its own energy – eventually leading to a pathway to change.
Its a simple formula and a formula which unquestionably does work and has worked in many other fields and areas.
We have simply not been able to get nearly enough people to be meaninfully productive. That’s why I say I have no answers to the three questions and that’s why they are questions to pet owners at large.
We can safely say that we have tried almost everything plausible to evoke and provoke more from that mass of angry people out there in the cyber world – but it seems that there is nothing that does the trick.
Only the very tiniest fraction of a % can be said to have been meaningfully productive since the Spring of last year. I salute them all, past and present, but they really do represent but a tiny fraction of the general mass that always say how triggered they get over the status quo.
My perception has changed in the sense that I once felt sure there would be far more stomach for this fight than has proved to be the case.
I obviously knew we’d face an uphill battle getting lazy MP’s to finally face up to the fact that this has been ignored too long and by too many.
I’m also not naive, I didn’t think we were going to get like 100,000 super active people. You’d be fortunate to get that for anything. But I definitely was once of the view that a substantial enough % of those angry people could be made productive and that this productivity would, as productivity does – lead to growth and results.
We’d originally estimated that if we stuck in for over a year and kept on showing we were a serious deal by doing things that by now we might have a knot of say 100 people that donate.
I don’t think that was an unrealistic target given the sizeable audience, the subject matter, the stakes and the fact that we are in desperate need of activism and advocacy.
However, we have simply gotten that calculation wrong. We budgeted for 100 in the Spring of 2016 and despite our flat out and never ending efforts, we’ve never managed to reach that figure. We completely over estimated despite the fact that it began as a humble estimate.
For the past two weeks I’ve been communicating back and forward with a director of a top PR firm in the city. Not with a view to paying them as we by no means have the £ to do that.
I simply asked them to review our body of work and give us sincere feedback. His professional view was that its a great body of work with a more than plausible aim. He also stressed what I have wasted my breath stressing for over a year …. if done continually, he said. You cant afford big gaps in other words, especially not now in this modern media age.
He’s invited me in to meet him if I want to, although he did fairly emphasise that he probably wouldn’t advise me to do that much different to what we have already done.
And there lies the issue. Its good to have our work professionally approved by the director of a top PR company. Its obviously true to say that if you do it in a relentless manner it creates its own momentum. But it takes time, work and money to do such things.
We get that people wont fully understand that until they try to do it – then they will get it very easily. We only ask that they at least try to understand it.
We’ve only ever wanted people to see that nothing happens by itself. We’ve only even wanted people to see that without direct and constant advocacy there is no hope of change. We only wanted enough people to understand and fully accept the fact that to build, grow and maintain anything takes work, time and funding.
We have not been able to make enough people understand that.
It may even be that they do understand it but we over estimated how much this really matters to people when it comes down to it. Its possible. We over estimated that after a year of flat out work we’d have around 100 sponsors nationwide, so its quite possible we over estimated the stomach people have for the fight.
And make no mistake – it IS a fight.
Correction – it is only a fight IF a sufficient number of people have the nuts for the fight. Only then is it a fight. If sufficient numbers don’t have the nuts for the fight then its not a fight but a losing battle.
So, my fourth and final question to any pet owners reading this evening – how much stomach do you really have for the fight?
That fourth one could perhaps be better answered with deeds and not words.
We are all grown up enough to know that this crime, as hideous as it is, is not the only hideous crime going on in the UK.
We are also all aware enough to know that this crime (of pet cruelty) is by no means the only hideous crime in which the victims and wider society are let down by the justice system.
I’d most certainly describe this fight as a just and worthy one. What we are trying to do and achieve is a serious thing in the ugly world that is animal sadism. This isn’t some made up and not very serious issue in which we’re painting our arse to get attention from Salon magazine and Buzzfeed.
We’re not here to virtue signal and protest and fight for the ‘rights’ of people who already have all the bloody rights that they could possibly want. We’re not here to perpetuate and try to ‘combat’ some ridiculous made up ‘phobia’ (insert pre fix).
We are here to get our hands dirty in an ugly ‘business’, we are here to raise awareness, and we are here to at long last make those in high office wake up and start treating such offences with the seriousness they warrant.
And to win. That’s why we’re here. Not to score a victory against this offender or that one, but to score a victory against all of them.
Can it be won? If I thought no then I could honestly think of better ways to spend my time than deal with this type of subject matter. Of course it can.
But it will not be won without a much greater level of desire.
That’s the bold and hard truth. The bitter pill if you like.
The future is your future to shape. You can play a part in determining the future of both offenders and countless pets as well.
Don’t complain about Government ministers unless you can fairly say you have personally done all that you can.
We’ve done good work along the way on this journey but we can only take you so far.
Can we take this and you further? In theory we can. But it would take a great deal more push and more direct input from … every pet owner that reads this.
It would take the biggest push we have seen since the Spring of last year.
That’s another question I don’t have an answer to – can we get that sort of push?
Pet owners (and that includes you with a single goldfish!) – its over to you.