What is DxE's objective?
To empower a diverse network of individuals committed to taking nonviolent direct action to end the exploitation and killing of all animals.
What do you mean by "animal liberation"?
We mean species equality. We mean legal protection of every feeling being's right to autonomy over their body. We mean legal personhood for nonhuman animals. We mean an end to human use of conscious, feeling animals for food, clothing, entertainment, research, or any other purpose that exploits nonhuman animals for human benefit. We mean a world where all animals’ interests are honored, and where love, care, respect, and freedom are present.
What kinds of activism does DxE do?
Our activists engage in creative nonviolent direct action to confront speciesism. That can mean disruptive demonstrations inside or outside restaurants, grocery stores, animal labs, zoos, or anywhere else that promotes speciesist violence. It can also include leafleting or tabling, creative street theater, open rescues, or anything else in accordance with our Organizing Principles. It can even mean confronting friends and family members when they engage in behavior that normalizes animal exploitation.
What is Open Rescue, and why does DxE do it?
Open Rescue means going into farms without concealing our identities, documenting the conditions, and proudly rescuing dying animals. We do open rescues because they powerfully demonstrate that when animals are a commodity, even the best-of-the-best farms are inherently violent. Further, we save individuals like Angie and Sarah, and we share their incredible stories - stories that will move the world.
What is Liberate Berkeley, and why is concentration important?
Liberate Berkeley is our initiative to transform Berkeley into a training hub for the animal liberation movement and a violence-free, anti-speciesist city. Concentration in key cities has been invaluable for many movements -- for example, ACT UP's dynamic San Francisco and NYC chapters inspired activists across the world and created templates for cascading change.
What is the DxE Forum?
The DxE Forum is our annual, week-long conference. It's now called the Animal Liberation Conference as we are collaborating with The Save Movement. Activists from all over the globe gather to share ideas and inspiration, do massive demonstrations, and have lots of fun!
How often do you do actions?
We encourage all chapters to organize at least one demonstration per month. Typically, these demonstrations are coordinated globally. Additionally, our activists often attend protests organized by other local animal rights groups. Ultimately, we encourage and empower every DxE activist and chapter to take creative, autonomous action any time!
Why do DxE's activists often go inside the place you are protesting at?
Peaceful protests on the street are pretty normal and accepted by the public these days, even if begrudgingly. Disrupting people while they break bread, however, is a complete breach of the status quo, thereby conveying the seriousness of the issues and inspiring people all over the world to take action for animals.
If I attend a DxE protest, do I have to go inside?
While we encourage disruptive protest, you certainly do not have to do anything you feel uncomfortable doing. There are multiple roles at demonstrations, and you can always come as an onlooker.
Is direct action dangerous or risky?
It doesn’t have to be! Remember: direct action can take many different forms. Even a personal conversation can be a form of direct action. What brings all forms of direct action together is sharing your true beliefs. In our case, that involves an uncompromising vision of a world where every animal is free from human exploitation. And while there absolutely is room for acts of physical or legal courage, the original form of direct action, going back even to the days of Socrates, is an act of social bravery -- to simply speak where our words are most unwelcome.
Do activists with DxE have legal counsel and representation?
Yes! Our Legal Team and legal network can give advice and help secure representation.
Why doesn’t DxE focus on traditional vegan education, such as literature tables advocating a vegan lifestyle?
Veganism is not just a diet or a lifestyle, but also the philosophy that exploiting animals is always wrong. This position was clarified by the work of Gary Francione, which distinguishes between "lifestyle veganism" -- framed as a "personal choice" to not use animals -- and "abolitionist veganism" -- defined as "the animal rights based opposition to all animal use by humans," which maintains that all sentient beings share a basic right not to be treated as the property of others. Traditional vegan education emphasizes the promotion of a vegan lifestyle. But if we take seriously the proposition that exploiting animals is wrong, we must also be outspoken advocates of animal liberation. Additionally, although we also do vegan literature tabling, our emphasis is on nonviolent direct action and telling animals’ stories, necessary elements for the growth of our movement and amplification of our message.
Why doesn't DxE promote vegetarianism or Meatless Mondays like some other animal advocacy organizations?
There is no evidence that promoting anything less than veganism is as effective as immediately presenting a clear message that animal exploitation is wrong. Furthermore, we aspire not just to change individuals’ consumer behavior but to radically uproot the entire speciesist system to create substantial and lasting change for animals. From our perspective, one vegan animal liberation activist is so valuable to animals (relative to people who simply reduce their intake without getting active) that we make creating those activists the focus of our efforts.
Why does DxE target companies that are vegan-friendly and/or claim to try to improve the treatment of animals?
The existence of these companies shows humans care about other animals. While these companies -- such as Whole Foods and Chipotle -- may be vegan-friendly, they are not truly animal-friendly, and this is a movement for oppressed animals. Our message is that there is no humane way to exploit and kill someone who wants to live and be free. Most people already oppose factory farms, so the idea of “humane meat” is the wobbly linchpin holding together all of animal agriculture. If we can topple that, then the whole system will come crashing down.
Why a nonviolent, non-hostile approach? Aren't you angry?
Because it works, as Dr. Erica Chenoweth has demonstrated in her exhaustive study of social movements. Of course we are angry. There is an atrocity happening all around us, and people all around us are participating in it. But even justified anger is destructive when uncontrolled... and incredibly powerful when directed and channeled by confidence and resolve into carefully thought-through actions. Part of this means not lashing out against individuals, but instead addressing either companies that profit from nonhuman exploitation or speciesist society at large as the "enemy". Also, we often use terms like “we,” “us,” and “our,” instead of an otherizing framing of “you” and “your.” In essence, we let our anger fuel our voice, not burn it up.
Does each city work independently or as one? Who decides what actions are implemented next?
Anyone, anywhere can be a part of Direct Action Everywhere so long as they hold to our Organizing Principles. The Global Steering Committee proposes strategic framing and several model action plans each year; however, we encourage and empower chapters to be creative and take initiative with their own actions. We are here to support YOU!
Does DxE fundraise?
Yes. Open rescues and investigations, protests, and even literature tables require funding. However, DxE is a grassroots, volunteer-based network with no paid employees. We strive to ensure that our focus remains on our objective of inspiring people to speak strongly and uncompromisingly for the animals. Given a choice of the two, we would rather you take action for the animals yourself than donate to our activities. That being said, Friends of DxE, the independent grantmaking organization that funds our campaigns, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit entity, so if you have the means, we certainly do appreciate all donations.
Why is Direct Action Everywhere abbreviated DxE and not DAE?
- In algebra, 'x' is a placeholder letter used to denote any number. This movement is comprised of people of all walks of life. The 'x' is any person.
- 'Dx' is a symbol commonly used in mathematics that describes rates of change. This is appropriate given that DxE seeks to change systemic social norms as fast as possible.
Why does DxE limit its use of graphic images?
We are concerned that repeatedly seeing images of people of a given group (nonhumans) being objectified by one's own group (humans) may normalize their objectification in the viewer's mind. Images of dead bodies being treated as objects do not challenge speciesist thinking. Only when people recognize that each of these animals is a someone who does not want to die and has a right to live will they be able to acknowledge that violence against them is wrong. Images that show the story of who that animal is or was, however, do challenge speciesism and encourage exploration of a kinder, more just world.
What are the key blog posts I can read to learn more about DxE's strategy?
- Great social change requires strong intervention
- We need to push the boundaries so that the issue cannot be ignored.
- Vegan options do not address the problem of animal exploitation.
- Veganism on its own is not enough.
- Geographic concentration is important to the movement.
- The goal is a constitutional amendment protecting non-human animals.
- Movement centers are hugely important to the legitimacy of a movement.