This is a topic to discuss those who have helped you, and to discover more people who may educate us. So who are activists that have influenced or inspired you in some way? Personally for me the biggest influences have been:
John Muir (conservationist, helped preserve places such as Yosemite)
Joe Duplantier (vocalist for the band Gojira, got me looking into Sea Shepard and then all of this, also showed me that vegetarianism isn’t something only for pansies.)
Gary L. Francione (Although somewhat radical for my tastes, he is no doubt a man of logic who has helped convince me to move further into my dietary change)
And obviously Peter Singer, you should know who he is. That’s it mainly, if I think of or find more I’ll post.
They’re not violent.
In fact, both are so opposed to violence that they have broken laws to prevent it.
Their reaction to humans torturing animals is actually the most sane reaction.
If all of us reacted the same way, the torturing would stop overnight.
The problem is that only a small minority of us is reacting this way, and it’s easy for the powers-that-be to demonize small minorities.
A good assortment of influences, although I myself am not too keen on the more violent activists, I will nonetheless look into those people. Another activist I would like to cite is Henry Spira (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Spira).