By the mid-1980s, having joined the attempt to boot "the royals" out of the RSPCA, and been an executive committee member of the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (now Cruelty-Free International) in 1982, I had seen enough to detect a rather bad smell in the animal movement: careerism.
But, boy, how naive was I?
Back in the 1980s and 1990s, I would never have predicted the toxic careerism of the 21st century. The Trump Veganism, the Playboy Veganism, the veganism-is-a-diet veganism - nope, never saw all that coming.
More fool me, I guess. But then, back in the day, sure there were people wanting to make a paid career out of some form or other of animal advocacy, but I knew no-one who thought that the animal movement was a means to get rich and/or famous, and no-one who understood the power of branding oneself or one's group for those ends. I knew numerous people who would - and did, sometimes repeatedly - put their liberty on the line for the animal cause; but no-one who conceived of "activism" as flexing male muscles, getting tattooed left, right, and centre, and travelling the world as a paid vegan "celebrity." I'm sure that the historians of our movement will see the "Yourofsky turn" in the animal movement as a huge disaster.
Social media has certainly changed the world, and maybe it is down to boring old farts like myself to simply accept the truth of the situation.
I'm an has-been, I get that. However, for a generation who saw activism as smashing into laboratories and raiding farms, coming out with beagles, or boxes of rats, or a stolen animal companion; coming out with boxes of chickens, rabbits, or even quails, the idea that "militant animal activism" now amounts to standing in the street holding a laptop for a few hours, or "witnessing" other animals being driven into houses of slaughter does tend to bring a smile to the face. Ah, bless!
I guess I'm saying that the movement I joined in 1979, after a false start in 1977, is becoming utterly unrecognisable to me.