St. Lawrence University
Maddie Pounder, St. Lawrence University Class of 2021
July 3, 2020


Animal rights has been an active social movement around the world since the 19th century. Activists call attention to issues related to animal welfare, ranging from the unnatural environments of zoos and factory farms to the cruelty of using animals as test subjects in medical and commercial laboratories. While the movement calls out injustices caused directly through human interaction, it also advocates on behalf of animals and their livelihood. The movement’s primary goal is to change the way humans think about animals, which in turn may change common human practices, such as consuming meat. Animal rights activists hope that this new understanding will instill the perspective that animals have the right to live in their own natural environments where they would not be subjected to slaughter, experiments, or spending their lives in cages.

In Spain, discussions surrounding animal rights activism in the first two decades of the 21st century is dominated by corrida de toros (bullfighting). Bullfights pose issues that these activists are fighting for in relation to animal welfare, particularly against cruelty. Though the first Spanish law prohibiting animal abuse was written in the late 19th century, the movement as is known today did not take footing until 1975, a year that marked the beginning of monumental political, social and economic change for Spain. In 1975, Spain’s dictator Francisco Franco died, ending a nearly forty-year authoritarian regime. As a result, many activist groups began to form, as they could once again freely express themselves without fear of persecution. Among them was the Association for the Defense of Animal Rights, which lobbied to improve animal welfare policies at the local, regional, and European level.

Since 1975, the movement has evolved significantly. Now, animal rights activism in Spain focuses on four categories: food, research, clothing, and “personhood,” in which humans treat animals as legal persons. During the last decade, activism pertaining to veganism and farming practices has also grown. Vegetarianism has gained in popularity, despite the fact that Spain, like many other Mediterranean countries, maintains a diet heavily dominated by pork and beef. Alongside Spain’s steady increase in vegetarianism is the global demand for meat production, particularly for pork. Such demand causes a significant increase in factory farms that espouse commercial farming policies characterized by increased production and lowered costs. With the rise of such practices, Spaniards are witnessing the farms’ cruel nature and are making the decision to cut meat from their diets.

The stickers in this online exhibit advocate for veganism focusing on agrarian and food processing practices, and speak to the heartless practice of using animals for research; entertainment, such as zoos; or for extracting resources, such as ivory. Collectively, the stickers call attention to the injustices that humans place on animals and advocate on behalf of animal welfare.