The last sixty years has seen many world changing social movements such as civil rights, feminism, children's rights, gay rights, #metoo, environmentalism and now we are also seeing the rise of animal rights. Evidence of this can be seen in the growth of animal rights political parties, such as Australia's Animal Justice Party and Holland's Party for the animals etc

A growing number of groups around the world are joining in this movement. Some of them are campaigning for improved legal rights on issues such as animals used in research laboratories and animals used for entertainment etc.

Others are on the front line of animal welfare such as the many groups working in the rescue and homing of stray animals, promoting  'Adopt, don't shop'. Millions of stray and abandoned animals are euthanized every year whilst 'puppy farms' unethically breed en masse for profit.

A vastly growing number of groups are urging us not to consume animal products and are shining the spotlight on the horrors of factory farming and the role that the agricultural revolution is playing in climate change.

Others just want to recognise the valuable role animals play in their family - the non-judgmental, unconditional companionship that a pet brings to the home. In an increasingly lonely western world, animals are the only family that many people have.

Some groups point us to the extreme cruelty of the poaching trade and the threat to ecosystems, animal populations and tragic extinctions this is causing.

And there are many many more.

All of these groups want to do what is best for animals but each have their own ideology on how to do so. Some of these groups actively criticize other groups for going too far or not going far enough. But are they doing enough to work together on the underlying issue? And what is the underlying issue?

At the core, they want to change society's views on animals. They see living, breathing, sentient beings being treated as expendable objects and they are trying to change or remedy this. But they are often overwhelmed by the enormity of the issue and the lack of resources to adequately deal with the task at hand. They are often divided about the best approach to this.

In a divided world, flags are a symbol of unity.

A flag defines the character of a group and reinforces its identity and values.

A flag is a symbol of pride and respect for the ideals of which it stands for.

For some, a flag is a source of hope and inspiration in times of hardship, promoting cohesion and strength.

The Gay Pride flag is a great example of the power of a social movement flag. Those who fly that flag are diverse, but their shared ideal of equality unites and strengthens them.

Let us have a flag to represent this growing social movement of animal advocacy. Let us have a symbol to represent animals and unite those who want to change society's views on animals.

As animal lovers, we can recognise and empower each other by displaying this symbol on our websites, our cars and at our desks in the workplace. And we can connect and collaborate outside our established groups.

The Flag of Animals is a symbol of unity, solidarity and hope.  A reminder to support each other, focus on the values we have in common and strengthen the movement, for the animals.

By Angelique Ritchie, founder of Flag of Animals