Last approved by the Board of Directors on May 5, 2007. Originally created in 1998.
This document outlines the values that guide Compassionate Action for Animals in all of our efforts. They fall into three categories. The first category, ethical values, addresses those values which we believe cannot be compromised under any circumstances, because doing so would be unethical, regardless of the ends we are pursuing.
The second category, organizational values, deals with those values which we believe are important to building a strong, cohesive organization capable of growing over time.
Finally, our strategic values are directives that help us decide what types of activism to pursue. Unlike the other two categories, we embrace these values because we believe that they make us more effective, and are willing to change them if we find that this is not the case.
Compassion for Animals
Non-human animals are deserving of respectful and compassionate treatment. They should be allowed to live their lives without being exploited for our purposes.
We take responsibility for the accuracy of the information we present and the outcomes of our actions. We believe that in all of our actions we should strive to be honest and open to constructive criticism. Our commitment to integrity means that we will not use misinformation to further our cause, and that we will be open to new information even if it presents a challenge to our cause.
We are committed to treating everyone, including opponents and other activists, with courtesy and respect. We will not engage in verbal or physical abuse, hostility, intimidation, or the destruction of others’ property.
Our commitment to ending the oppression of animals leads us to eschew participation in other forms of oppression such as racism, sexism, and homophobia. We will work against these forms of oppression inside the organization, and we will make sure that our actions do not demean or exploit others.
We will work to overcome those fears which prevent us from being effective and active in pursuit of our goals.
As an organization, we will always strive for consensus, and we will respect the voices of all of our volunteers and employees. We are committed to fostering equal opportunities for leadership and responsibility among our volunteers and employees.
We want to make CAA as welcoming as possible. This means being friendly and accessible to potential members and volunteers, and doing our best to make those new to CAA feel comfortable.
It is important to us to maximize the portion of our donors’ contributions that can be used to further our mission directly. Toward this end we will carefully track income and expenditures and we will budget cautiously.
We strive to be aware of societal, technological, and political changes, and will do our best to capitalize on these changes in the service of our mission.
We will strive to use our volunteers’ time and donors’ support wisely. We will do our best to be effective, organized, and frugal.
It is important to us that CAA remain active in pursuit of our mission at all times.
We recognize that the people who make up our organization can make mistakes. As we count on each other to make plans and organize our activities, we will try to be patient and understanding.
Provide role models for change
We encourage others to move towards veganism, as opposed to taking an “all or nothing” stance. We believe that this makes veganism more appealing and that it makes people more willing to listen to us.
Our image and reputation are important, as we are seen as representatives of the animal rights movement and the vegan population as a whole. We do not want to be rigid and inflexible, as that is not attractive to non-vegans.
Focus on factory farming
Because factory farming of animals for food is the cause of suffering for the greatest number of animals, we will focus our efforts here.
Use media strategically and responsibly
Because we strive to be good role models, we will not attempt to garner media attention if it may compromise our standing as considerate, thoughtful, and respectful advocates of animals. We must recognize that mass media may not be the best vehicle for our message.
Focus on reducing consumption
We believe that we can be more effective by reducing demand for animal-based products than by attempting to affect the supply. We will focus on the purchasers of products involving cruelty and attempt to change their buying habits.
Target a receptive demographic
We believe that young people are more likely to change their consumption habits. Therefore, the main focus of our outreach and education efforts is on high school- and college-age students.
Consider long-term as well as short-term goals
The importance of a short-term reduction in animal suffering should not be ignored. However, long-term goals that would ensure greater future reductions are also important. We will strive to strike a balance between the long and short term.