Definition of Violence
The inevitable verbal attacks the animal rights movement encounters includes the label "violent," and labels do matter because they may also give instructions. If for example, John Doe, on trial for murder is labeled guilty, his tag could lead to the end of John Doe.
The 'violence' label flung at the animal rights movement may be, ironically, the unfortunate result of well meaning, but imprudent error on behalf of animals. Such errors have included, a bomb threat, arson, threats to the families of exploiters, and the alleged cutting of brake lines, a tactic with lethal implications. We needn't dwell on the seriousness of such accusation, the question is, how should we react to such information?
More than one answer prescribes the unequivocal disapproval of any conduct whether by individuals or groups, that can be characterized as destructive, immoral, violent, and self defeating. Can violence be so indiscriminately defined? The answer can be best answered after a careful analysis, and sifting of facts to separate truth from emotion, and fiction.
Destructive measures to vivisection, and testing laboratories, puppy mills, fur farms or any place of animal abuse along with any measures that endanger human life are indiscriminately defined as violence by segments of the public. 'The public,' broadly defined, could include animal advocates, the possibility of which inspired this essay. As noted above; if reformation is not to become deformation, the animal rights movement must not be seduced by any tempting form of error, and indiscriminate definitions can conduce to error.
The meaning of a word is not a natural attribute which man discovers; meaning is given to a word by people who agree to let it have that meaning. I believe that any conduct, which includes animal advocate conduct that is an immediate or potential danger to either human, or animal life must be defined as unacceptable violence that cannot be tolerated.* I aver also that it would be an error to indiscriminately include 'destructive action' to various brutal facilities as unacceptable violence that cannot be tolerated by "animal people."
It seems therefore, that a definition of the word 'violence' in keeping with the need is in order, such as; Violence n: 1: Conduct which entails immediate or potential harm or death to human or non human animal life.