“I’m the schnitzel”- An animal rights activist reports from her professional life.

Anja Hägele can still remember her first assignment. She lay half naked under a plastic wrap in an oversized meat bowl, in the middle of a busy street in Jena. “I was so excited, I did not want to talk to anyone,” says the 35-year-old today. “Then came the TV and I had to go to the camera.” That was in 2006 when she was as intern at Peta. After twelve years and countless missions as a meat, fur animal or half-naked eye-catcher, Hägele is now Petas campaign boss for the German-speaking region.

 

Hägeles workplace is the headquarters in Stuttgart, South Germany, with 80 permanent employees. If you work here, you eat vegan and do not wear leather, silk or wool. “In terms of employment law, nobody can prescribe that, but I think that’s okay,” says Hägele.

Compared with environmental organizations such as Greenpeace, Nabu or WWF Peta is considered particularly radical. The charitable and donation-financed association fights against mass animal husbandry, zoos, animal experiments and demands vegan nutrition for all people – often with provocative actions. In 2004, a campaign was banned by German and international courts: Peta had compared mass animal farming with prisoners in Nazi concentration camps.

Naked woman skin belongs to the trademark of Peta campaigns. Hägele says she likes to strip off for the good of the animals. “The chance of being reported in the media is higher then, but our society is working that way,” she says. “It’s not sexist to me, after all, I can do what I want with my body.”
But sometimes it even goes too far. When she stood naked behind a shower curtain in a water saving campaign in Amsterdam, a press photographer had his camera under the curtain pushed. “I made it clear that that’s not okay.”

The majority of her professional life, however, takes place in the Stuttgart office. Every day worried citizens, from neighbors complaining about neglected pets, to whistleblowers, denouncing abuses in a Group. If the case is important enough, the campaign engine will start. For example, a few weeks ago, when it became known that a hospital in Halle had pediatric surgeons surgically operated on live pigs for training purposes and died of the surgery.

30,000 activists in Germany, Austria, Switzerland

A typical peta action plan consists of three stages:

–  The activists first ask the wrongdoer in writing to change his actions and suggest alternatives. For example, the hospital was encouraged to practice operations on synthetic bodies or human corpses.
–   If the addressee does not respond, or responds unsatisfactorily, level two comes: a press release. “Most of them fold at this point,” says Hägele. So also, the management of the hospital. She invited the animal rights activists and expressed her willingness to compromise.
–   Stage three failed in this case: an action on the ground and the pillory in the network.

Hägele can rely on a network of more than 30,000 volunteer activists in German-speaking countries. They are contacted and mobilized – to sign a petition, to share posts on social media or as vociferous demonstrators on the ground. “These people help out of love of animals, and we take everyone, from students to pensioners,” says Hägele.

She too has been interested in environmental protection as a child. “I wondered why my dog got so much love, but not pigs.” After graduating from high school, she studied political science and cultural studies with the aim of later working for an environmental ministry or a green NGO. Then she saw on MTV a promotional video of Peta – and applied for an internship.

Peta pays newcomers an annual salary of 30,000 euros at 40 weekly hours. Hägele now earns 40,000 euros as a manager, has 27 days off and flexible working hours based on trust. “We want to reward employees appropriately so that they do not need a second job and are fully committed to animal welfare,” she says. And that also means: in miserable weather, freeze in shopping malls and recruit supporters. In Germany, Europe or even further away.

“I was once arrested in the US,” says Hägele. Peta had not registered the action correctly with the authorities, she ended up in a New York prison cell with nothing more than a yellow bikini. Nevertheless, she says, “I feel privileged to practice my passion as a profession.” This passion even goes so far that Hägele wants to pass her possession on to Peta. “My employer is in my will.”

Translation: Venus

http://www.spiegel.de/karriere/tierschutz-als-beruf-eine-peta-aktivistin-erzaehlt-von-ihrem-job-a-1205955.html

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: