Liberators believe that today, more than at any other time
in history, people are a product of society. Our lives are filled with messages
from advertisers telling us how to act, think and feel. Whether it’s television,
radio, billboards, newspapers, magazines, books, or the mail, people are under
constant bombardment from advertisers trying to brainwash consumers. And it
works. Advertisers were even able to get people to twice elect a mindless actor
to the office of President of the United States !
world where your senses are overloaded with bullshit, all of which concerns
people, it’s hard to think about animals. Americans think of themselves as the
freest people on Earth, but they are controlled and manipulated like cartoon
characters, living a fantasy existence designed by Madison Avenue animators.
Even if human nature was amenable to an ethic of respect for animal life,
this society would not allow it, say the liberators.
People who believe that animals have a right to live their own lives free from
human exploitation have been called ? terrorists? by key figures in the animal
abuse status quo, such as Dr. Louis Sullivan, Secretary of the U.S Department of
Health and Human Services. Fearing that such comments will alienate the general
populace and cause a loss of public sympathy, animal supporters condemn all
illegal animal liberation tactics and promise to work within the system, just as
the abusers want them to. They blame all the ? terrorist ? activities on the
A.L.F., which they promise has nothing to do with themselves, and pledge
allegiance to the rules and laws of society.
animal supporters don’t realize, according to the liberators, is that the
abusers are correct. If we were true supporters of animals, we would be
terrorists. The abusers see that the logical, consistent extension of
an animal rights philosophy is not only the liberation of animals from all forms
of abuse, but the destruction of the abusive society. According to
liberators, nothing short of a complete revolution will gain animal
Liberators expect that this statement is
more difficult for animal supporters to accept than it is for animal abusers.
This is because people who wish to defend the rights of animals are still, for
the most part, invested in remaining members of this society. They do not like
to think that living in society as a normal citizen and defending animals
against human tyranny are mutually exclusive. But, according to liberators, they
are ! Liberators believe it is impossible to be a true animal rights
supporter and still be a member of this society. This is because animal abuse is
an integral feature of this system.
explain their view using the following argument.
abuse in society takes two forms - overt and covert. The overt forms are common
knowledge to anyone who has read a book on animal rights or has seen a movie
describing animal exploitation. Any readers not aware of this information can
refer to Peter Singer’s Animal Liberation. Information can also be obtained from
national organizations like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
(P.E.T.A.). Or call your local animal rights group.
Overt forms of animal exploitation are a part of our society’s daily
consumerism. Most obvious is the use of non-humans for food. This is by far
the largest and most hideous crime against our non-human family. Each year in
this country alone, 5.5 billion chickens, 40 million cows, and 95
million pigs are murdered. That’s in addition to millions of
sheep, turkeys, ducks and geese killed. Nobody even counts the billions
of fish, shrimp, clams, oysters and other ? seafood ? animals people eat, not to
mention the billions of ? trash fish ?, sea turtles and marine mammals
and other non-target animals destroyed in the hunting process.
Another overt abuse of animals is the use of their body
parts for clothing and ornamentation. Perhaps the most common body part
used for these purposes is skin. The appeal of fur leads to the worldwide brutal
massacre of over 90 million animal beings each year, including coyote beings,
wolf beings, fox beings, mink beings, rabbit beings, bobcat beings, lynx beings,
muskrat beings, squirrel beings, raccoon beings, beaver beings, skunk beings and
any other animal beings who are unfortunate enough to have been born with a
beautiful coat that humans wish to steal. Approximately half of these beings,
mostly foxes and minks, are ? farmed ? under appalling conditions. The other
half is trapped out of their homes in the wild.
is more than a byproduct of the meat industry. It is a significant profit maker.
Since so many cow beings are slaughtered each year, there is lots of cow skin
available for inclusion in products from shoes and other clothing, to handbags,
steering wheel covers and furniture upholstery. The reason it is so difficult
for vegans to find cruelty-free products, that is, items without any dead animal
ingredients, is that the slaughter industry has so successfully marketed its
Feathers of slaughtered birds make the down of
sleeping bags and the stuffing of pillows. Seashells serve as ornamentation,
with their purchasers rarely considering that these perfect shells did not wash
ashore, and were not uninhabited. Silk is obtained from industrious silkworm
beings, who are boiled alive to remove the product of their labor.
Even living animals serve as ornamentation. Fish tanks
and bird cages are a private zoo for the common man, displaying animals as if
they were merely pretty or amusing objects, never really meant to live free.
Domestic dog and cat beings are often treated as nothing more than exotic
furniture. And in the streets of tourist towns, horse beings with blinders, a
mouth bit, and a yoke, are treated as slaves and forced to pull carriages loaded
with insensitive people, who do not see beyond the horses’ braided manes to
notice the boredom and fatigue in their eyes.
enthusiasts use animals in overtly abusive ways, as well. Some get pleasure
entering the homes of wild animals, the forest, desert, lakes, etcetera, and
killing them with either bullets or arrows. Others enjoy shooting animals
released from cages, as in the Hegins, Pennsylvania annual dove being shoot.
Sports fishermen get great pleasure hunting for sea creatures, delighting in the
? play ? of the animals who try to escape from the pain in their mouths or, if
they swallowed the hook, in their stomachs. And some rough and tough cowboys get
pleasure beating up farm animals in rodeos, the American equivalent of the
The use of animals in testing cosmetics
is an abuse animal supporters are trying to make overt. Some people now realize
that their household cleansers, cosmetics, perfumes, and soaps were developed
with animal testing. Animals are poisoned in the LD (Lethal Dosage) 50 test,
wherein enough of the product is force fed to the animals to kill 50 % of the
test population. Rabbits are blinded by the Draize test as a product is
forcefully applied to their eyes. Besides killing through these tests, the
products themselves contain ingredients derived from dead animals. Soaps are
often made from animal fat, another application of dead animal products obtained
from slaughter houses.
Both over the counter and
prescription drugs are developed and tested on animals. The drug industry
is a multi-billion dollar enterprise, and tens of millions of animals are killed
each year to develop new agents. The biomedical research industry is
intimately associated with the drug world, and kills 100 million animals each
year. Not all of these drugs are for direct human consumption. One half of all
antibiotics produced are fed to animals destined for slaughter, to minimize the
deleterious effects of factory farming on their growth and development. Human
beings, of course, consume these drugs indirectly, as they consume the animals’
Movie makers use non-human beings in their
productions. As in circuses, these animals are taught to perform tricks to amuse
insensitive humans. The glitter of Hollywood blinds people to the abuses that
occur backstage, where the animals are trained not to be animals, but puppets.
These are just some of the overt abuses to animals. They
are overt because they are easy to see by the unprejudiced eye. Before getting
to the covert forms, however, liberators always like to emphasize one heinous
abuse of animals which even many alleged vegetarians support. It is the use of
animals in the production of dairy products and eggs. Many people think of these
forms of liquid flesh as benign, since the animal is not killed in the process.
What could be more natural and peaceful than a cup of yogurt ?
Few people know about the connection between the dairy
industry and the veal production business. The same people who shun veal should
never drink milk.
A cow being is impregnated to produce
calves and begin lactating. The calves are removed from their mother within days
of birth and sent to veal producers, where they are chained by the neck in
crates to minimize their movement and prevent them from even turning around.
This torture is intended to make their flesh tender, since unused muscle has
smaller, more easily chewable fibers. They spend the next few months of their
lives chained this way in darkness, drinking powdered milk laced with
antibiotics, and suffering from pneumonia and diarrhea, until the time of their
slaughter ends their pain. They will soon be replaced, since their mother will
again be impregnated to keep her milk and veal production up. She will no longer
be used as a veal and milk production machine, however, once she is incapable of
producing profitable quantities of milk. At that time she is slaughtered and
sent to the pet food producers.
Eggs also seem cruelty
free. But once you reflect on the horrendous conditions of factory farm laying
chicken beings, and the fate of all chickens, even ? free-range ? ones, once
they do not produce enough to support their feed bill, it is clear to liberators
that they do not want these family members to be treated the way they are.
According to this liberator argument, no product
coming from domesticated animals can ever be cruelty free. Domestication is
slavery in service to humans. Through genetic manipulation people have
selected character traits for animals to perform specific functions. Today’s
chickens lay unnaturally high numbers of eggs. Cows produce so much milk their
udders are virtually hanging on the ground, and are kicked each time the animal
walks. These freaks are products of mankind’s ingenuity and exploitative
propensity. Nothing from them is ever cruelty free.
might agree that the above abuses of non-humans must end. Towards that goal you
commit yourself to a strict vegan diet and lifestyle, avoiding all animal
products and animal suffering in your food, clothing and household goods. You
will watch no movies which exploit animals, and avoid zoos and circuses. And so
long as you don’t engage in abusive sports, you can live a fairly peaceful life,
and feel you are a true animal supporter.
Unfortunately, according to liberators, you would be fooling yourself !
Covert animal abuse is a normal, virtually unavoidable
part of our society. This nation was built by people who ignored the rights
of any beings other than white, Christian Europeans. We all know what
happened to the American Indians. But they were treated like kings compared to
our non-human family members.
Consider for a moment what
it would be like if we had no roads with cars and trucks traveling along them.
The image is impossible to envision, unless you imagine some tribal existence
where small bands of people live in harmony with nature. In the reality of
today’s cities and interstate commerce, the image is pure fantasy. But did you
know that road kills are the number two destroyers of non-human life ? One
million animals are run over by cars and trucks each day in the United States
Liberators want you to think about that the
next time you drive. If you are going to a rally to protest against fur, you may
accidentally hit a squirrel being, or skunk being, or raccoon being, or deer
being. And the situation is even more devastating if you consider insect beings.
Some people extend their compassion even to spider beings, fly beings, moth
beings, and other small beings. They would let them out of their homes if caught
inside. And many vegans avoid honey and silk because of respect for the bees and
worms, who clearly make their products for their own use, not man’s. Yet these
same conscientious people slaughter these creatures, sometimes in the hundreds,
when they drive just a few miles in their metal assassins.
If you really loved animals, you would not drive your
car. You may think that suggestion sounds absurd. But the fact is that you
are driving through the homes of other creatures when we take a ride through the
forest, desert, countryside, or even the city streets. Animals do not see the
highway as off-limits. They cannot understand the concept of road easements. The
road is simply a cleared area of their living space. They are sometimes even
attracted to the asphalt pavement for reasons of warmth, or to scavenge the
decaying flesh of other creatures who were flattened and splattered by some
vehicle. Driving a car is like entering a crowded forest and shooting a gun. At
some point you are bound to hit and kill someone.
have not killed any mammals or birds while driving, it’s only a matter of time.
Of course, we call such events ? accidents ? when they occur. That means we
didn’t plan on them happening. If you fired a gun in the woods, say, while
target shooting, and some innocent animal was shot and killed, you would call
that an accident, too. But knowing that someone could have been shot by your
target practice makes that act irresponsible. You certainly would not practice
shooting in an area where children were playing. If you tried you would be
arrested. And if you killed someone, you would be sued for manslaughter. The
fact that it was an accident when a child was shot does not release you from the
burden of having killed him.
According to the
liberators, the same thing goes for driving a car through other creatures’ back
yards. Some will die because of your actions, and you know that. To continue to
drive despite this fact is irresponsible and an act of aggression against these
Liberators explain that it
doesn’t matter, from the animals’ point of view, what your intentions were. You
may have been driving to the pound to rescue a dog. The animals you kill will
not rest more peacefully knowing that you meant them no harm.
People don’t want to think about this problem. Even those
who are conscientious about their respect for animals ignore this issue. Those
who have mentioned it lament that little is done about road kills, and suggest
that people drive carefully. What a bullshit suggestion, exclaim the liberators
! Would you accept people driving carefully through your backyard with your five
year old brothers and sisters running around, the liberators ask ?
The fact that this is such a difficult issue is
precisely because driving is an integral feature of modern day life. People
drive to work, shopping centers, schools, friends and family, entertainment
centers, health care providers, and vacation spots. The car has become a
necessity of life, a fact that pleases every auto manufacturer, oil driller,
highway constructor, steel plant operator, and tire maker.
Not only do individual families believe they need cars
to get around, but our food, fuel, clothing, and nearly every other consumer
item are shipped by truck. The nation’s, and world’s, communities are not
self-sufficient. Transportation is the life blood of the world economy. Without
it people would have to live in small, self-reliant bands.
Liberators are all for leveling society and living within
a small band of peaceful people. That is a fantasy that has been fulfilled for a
few people of like mind and heart who have decided to ? drop out ? and live on a
commune. But liberators feel that that would not solve the greater problem of
road kills, since the bulk of our nation’s 270 million people are not about to
give up their big homes in sprawling cities and suburbs, or their two cars and
off road vehicles.
The liberator message is clear :
Don’t delude yourself. If you participate in this society you are an
accessory to this crime against our fellow creatures. You do not have to run
over an animal yourself to be guilty. Guilt is included along with the receipt
for every consumer item.
Related to road kills are
two other covert abusers. One is the oil industry. Most people are now
aware of the environmental impact of oil drilling. Their concern, however, is
usually directed at the economic impact of oil spills. Will it damage commercial
fish hatcheries, or wash up on beaches located in resort areas ? Seldom is it
considered that the homes of our brothers and sisters are being polluted,
regardless of the economic significance of those homes to humans.
Each year there are dozens of oil spills of all sizes,
killing millions of animals. Liberators suffer with their brother, the water
skimmer, as he flies inches over the water, dipping his lower beak into the top
layer of ocean to sieve the water for food, and finds his mouth coated with tar
and oil. Liberators can imagine what marine mammals feel when they get covered
with oil, the sticky, smelly substance clumping their fur, stinging their eyes,
and clogging their nostrils and mouths. It doesn’t take much empathy to imagine
what these aquatic family members feel when their world is contaminated with
oil. And, liberators conclude, it doesn’t take a genius to realize that ?
accidents ? will happen, and that more oil spills will occur. Is this enough to
stop society from using oil products ? Of course not, lament the liberators.
Some people say that they would willingly use an electric
powered car, if it was available. Unfortunately, those people regret, it is not
available at the present time. If this is your excuse, you should realize what
the liberators would say. If you respected animals, you would not participate
in the system of oil production that kills so many creatures. Also, driving
electric cars would still not get you out of animal abuse on the roads.
Even if one ignored these two massive problems in our
society, one could not ignore the second covert abuse related to transportation.
Roads have to be built to allow transportation to occur. The land chosen
for their location may already be occupied, and almost assuredly is. If those
occupants are human, then the State reimburses them for taking their land. If
the occupants are squirrels, or deer, or woodpeckers, or even millions of
insects, there is no consideration made. Animal beings are treated as natural
resources who only receive consideration when they can fulfill a human being’s
needs. At other times they are mere obstacles, objects that must be cleared out,
like dead tree stumps that are uprooted or plowed under, making way for human
Liberators believe that whenever you drive
or consume products of this driving society, you are implicitly accepting the
abuse that this transportation system commits against members of our family.
Even if you eat a vegetarian diet, consisting of organic food shipped directly
from local farms, you are participating in the destructive distribution system
that enabled the foods to get to market.
You may be
fortunate enough to have missed the deer that ran out of the bushes onto the
road a minute before you drove past, or to have swerved in time to not smash the
squirrel that darted across the highway just as you approached her foraging
area, or to have stopped short in time not to crash into a dog running across
the street to catch a cat. It doesn’t matter that you do not have fur
sticking to a dent in your front fender. By participating in this cruel system,
you have simply let someone else do the killing for you.
The transportation system is enough of an inherent
feature of our society to condemn our system as irrevocably abusive to
non-humans. But there’s more ! Wildlife habitat destruction is not only
committed in the name of highways. The roads lead to building projects, whether
they are new condominiums built on what had been an ? undeveloped ? hillside, or
a strip shopping center constructed on what had been a ? vacant ? lot consisting
of trees and grass.
There are quotation marks around ?
undeveloped ? and ? vacant ? because these are human-centered words.
?Undeveloped? simply means not yet built to human specifications. Trees, moss,
and other vegetation, burrows for small animals, ant hills, bee hives, and nests
are natural developments in the lives of non-human creatures. Likewise, the
notion that an area is ? vacant ? limits its reference to human inhabitants.
To liberators, the clearing of land is nothing less
than theft from its original inhabitants, the animals. People should
approach every location on the planet with respect for its current inhabitants,
and consider whether human presence would be unfair to the other creatures. We
expect other humans to give us the same courtesy. It wouldn’t be fair if someone
came into your neighborhood and decided to bulldoze your home to build their
home. Liberators don’t believe in treating their brothers and sisters any
As far as the animals are
concerned, it doesn’t matter why their homes are destroyed. The
issue is that they cannot eat, sleep, play, walk, or raise a family in an area
taken over by humans. And humans will take over land for more than building
projects. Ski slopes are on clear cut mountain tops. Mining not
only levels mountains and buries the area in tailings. It also pollutes
waterways, extending its destruction for miles. Utility easements, making
way for power and telephone lines, cut wide tracts of wilderness out of
existence, so that metal monsters can march across the landscape. The
lumber industry rapes forests and desertifies once pristine lands.
Perhaps the greatest exploitation of land is caused by
the grazing of domestic animals, such as cattle and sheep. It is becoming
common knowledge that rainforests are being cleared largely for the grazing of
cattle. But the issue is bigger than it seems at first sight. Wild animals are
destroyed, along with their habitat, to feed domestic animals, and these
domestic animals are then slaughtered for human consumption.
In the United States the situation is just as bad. Huge
areas of wilderness are destroyed to make way for cattle grazing. In addition, a
predator control program, paid for with tax money, kills millions of
animals each year who may in some way impact on the profitability of the
ranching operation. This predator control program traps, poisons, and shoots
many animal beings, including foxes, wolves, bobcats, mountain lions, raccoons,
badgers, coyotes, mink, muskrat, hawks, eagles, and any other wildlife
considered a nuisance to ranchers. But traps and poisons are not specific to ?
target animals ?. Casualties to non-target birds, small mammals, and even
domestic dogs and cats, are in the hundreds of thousands every year.
The predator control program is only one covert abuse
associated with the animal flesh business. Another, bigger one is the use of
agricultural land to feed the billions of domestic animals that are to be
slaughtered. It takes sixteen pounds of quality vegetable protein to make
one pound of animal flesh. This means that growing grain to feed animals who are
ultimately consumed by carnivorous humans, stresses the land sixteen times more
than it would to support vegetarians. When you consider that 90 % of all grains
harvested are fed to animals destined for slaughter, it becomes apparent how
much agricultural land is devoted to satisfying our society’s meat obsession.
To liberators, the significance of this is two fold.
First, land used for agriculture is usurped for humans, when it could
support wild life. If you were interested in acting fairly to animals when
living in nature with them, you certainly wouldn’t destroy their land to make it
exploitable for agriculture, or produce food in excess of what was necessary for
Also, consider that pesticides and
herbicides are religiously and liberally applied to these grains. The
chemical industry is a tremendously powerful interest. Organic farming
practices may be on the increase for direct consumer crops. But these constitute
a minute portion of all crops grown. The majority of agribusiness’s output goes
to feeding animals. Fields are sprayed, and these poisons kill hundreds of
thousands, if not millions, of field mice, rabbits, coyotes, hawks, and others
who have managed to adapt to life in the few trees or bushes that line the farm
One shouldn’t forget that the more land that is in
production, the more energy is consumed, contributing to the oil problem
discussed above. Energy is always an implicit component of any operation, and
its covert abuse of non-humans must not be overlooked.
The only energy source we have so far touched on is the oil industry, which
includes oil drilling and shipping, as a killer of our family of creatures.
Nuclear reactors, which release low levels of radiation into the
environment, damage local wildlife. Liberators point out that if people living
near nuclear reactors are coming down with higher levels of leukemia and other
cancers, what do you think is happening to the millions of creatures who haven’t
the choice of living elsewhere ? Also, water used to cool nuclear generators is
heated and then returned to its source, usually a river, raising the temperature
of the surrounding ecosystem. When the ecosystem changes, animals dependent on
old conditions are destroyed.
Nuclear reactors are not
alone in being hazardous to non-humans. Hydroelectric plants employ
dams which alter the entire ecosystem of huge expanses of land. Deserts
become lakes, and rivers downstream dry up to a trickle so that they can only
support a fraction of the beings that had come to rely on their life giving
No discussion of the damage to nature and its
animals by the energy production system would be complete without mentioning the
burning of coal and its consequent production of acid rain. Lakes have
become barren waters, and forests have been reduced to brown, lifeless rubble by
the effects of acid rain. Where did the millions upon millions of animals who
inhabited those lakes and forests go ?
sadly accept that people don’t think about the effects of their energy
consumption on non-human beings. Who wants to see that when they turn on a
light, they turn off a life ?
These comments have
not been meant to delve into the details of each of these aspects of society.
They were to present the basic reasons why liberators see society as
irreversibly corrupt. Liberators use this argument to demonstrate that all
who participate in this system are up to their necks in the blood of innocent
creatures. Even the most avid animal lover is guilty of murder by
participating in an evil, destructive system.
Liberators want people to know that all the protests, writing of Congressmen,
and payment of dues to animal protection organizations will not cancel the fact
that they are paying for animal research in medicine and the military, the
predator control program, subsidies to the logging industry, price supports to
grain farmers, the maintenance of public lands used by hunters, the building and
maintenance of highways, the defense of oil industry investments, and many more
animal abuses with their tax dollars.
time you give a $10 donation to an animal organization, think about the
thousands of dollars you annually give through income, sales and property taxes
to support animal cruelty.
Liberators illustrate the
irony of living in an animal abusive system as an animal lover by referring to
the care of companion animals. Some people have accepted the moral necessity of
living as strict vegetarians, which, by the way, is a minority position even
among those who call themselves ? animal rights activists ?. Yet many of these
devout vegetarians open a tin of cat or dog food to feed their companions a
dinner of chicken, cow, or fish flesh. How can anyone proclaim a love
for animals, but kill one type of animal to feed another, liberators wonder
The answer has invariably come back that dogs and
cats are not naturally vegetarian, so feeding them meat is allowing them to live
according to their normal tendencies. To liberators, this answer ignores the
fact that dogs and cats are domesticated creatures, alienated from their natural
states. Their eating habits cannot be justified on the basis of wild animal
behavior. Also, when carnivores kill they do so as an amoral act. When a cat or
dog kills, it is not an evil deed, committed from immoral intentions. It is what
these animals do. When humans kill cows to feed cats and dogs, it is an
intentional, premeditated act, and therefore has moral dimensions. Why choose
the dog and cat over the cow ?
Each time someone
opens a container of pet food, they are feeding their companions the flesh of
innocent creatures killed for speciesist reasons. It is a conscious choice of
helping one species of animals over another. This time the speciesism is not
manifested in a choice of humans over all other beings. Rather, it is a choice
of certain species of non-humans over others. It’s a little broader minded,
perhaps, but speciesism, nonetheless.
Cats and dogs can
be kept healthy on strict vegetarian diets, as some people have discovered. But
feeding dogs and cats a vegetarian diet takes effort. The multi-billion
dollar pet food industry, which is closely connected with the slaughter
house business, capitalizes on the compassion of short sighted people who like
companion animals. The pet food industry supports the pet store industry,
which supports the breeding industry. All this is paid for by
participants in the system, who buy pet food to feed ? their ? animals. Such
participants could be animal researchers or little old lady animal lovers.
You may be having difficulty swallowing the liberator
position presented in this chapter. Liberators are concerned that people exposed
to these ideas may be stressed beyond their tolerance limit, causing them to
close off to liberator ideas completely. After all, liberators are saying that
everyone who participates in this mad, abusive, murderous system is guilty of
the slaughter of innocent beings. That’s a heavy rap to take, especially if you
think of yourself as a compassionate person. You will probably conclude that you
have no choice but to participate in society, hoping to ease your conscience by
saying it is out of your control. How can you live without a car, or without
using electricity generated by abusive means, or without buying consumer
products shipped by killer vehicles, or without paying your taxes ? You
can’t be part of this society, keep your job, raise your family, and go on
living a normal life if you were as extreme as liberators suggest you be.
How can you pay your membership dues to organizations,
drive to rallies, write your Congressmen, and feed your dog if you can’t abuse
some animals along the way ?
? Maybe some abuse is
necessary to keep on working within the system to end abuse ? ? you may ask.
The liberators’ answer to that is ? bullshit ! ? To
liberators, when someone works within the system it is a choice. If his
reason for staying in the system is to fight for his family, liberators would
understand. That’s what they believe they are doing! Every war has infiltrators
and saboteurs who help scatter the enemy’s energy. Liberators believe that
most people, however, work within the system because they are consumers, just as
society trained them to be. They like driving cars, buying furniture, having
a nice home, being respected members their community. They work within the
system because they want to be part of society. It’s for them, not the
The covert nature of much animal abuse
allows pseudo-conscientious people to fool themselves into believing that they
can be members of this society and still be living a cruelty free life.
Liberators hope their arguments have dispelled that myth. If they have, you are
probably feeling depressed right now. To the liberators, that’s good. Pain
tills the soil of change. Once you are ready, liberators wish to plant a few
In short, liberators believe that animal abuse is
an integral part of social reality. As social creatures manipulated by the
abusive forces that be, we are accomplices to the assassination of our family of
creatures. Combined with the limitations of human nature in respecting non-human
life, a deadly, impenetrable barrier exists to the liberation of animals.
These people believe that only a revolution, the complete termination of this
society, will enable us to save our family from torture and death.
I will spend the next chapter discussing
non-violence as a possible method for revolution. I will present the liberator
explanation of why non-violence is not applicable to freeing animals, and
explain why they believe militant intervention is the only effective
THE MYTH OF
? What has been is what will be, and what has
been done is what will be done; and there is nothing new under the sun. ?
The Bible’s Ecclesiastes can be used for historical
purposes to show that several thousand years ago, people were wrestling with the
fact of human cruelty and the difficulty of finding an answer to it all. How
do we make sense out of the madness of the world we have created ? As said
in the previous chapters, liberators believe human nature and society are never
going to allow an ethic of respect for animals. Given the liberator approach,
then, how are true animal lovers going to live in this world ? If your family is
doomed to suffering and death, what can you do about it ?
? Again I saw all the oppressions that are practiced
under the sun. And behold, the tears of the oppressed, and they had no one to
comfort them ! On the side of the oppressors there was power, and there was no
one to comfort them. And I thought the dead who are already dead more fortunate
than the living who are still alive, but better than both is he who has not yet
been, and has not seen the evil deeds that are done under the sun. ?
The writer of Ecclesiastes was aware of
evil, and realized that all human action to change evil into
good was for naught. ? Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, all
is vanity. ?
We cannot make a difference ! We are
kidding ourselves if we think we can. Liberators agree with that biblical
author. But they disagree with his ultimate prescription for coping with the
evil in the world. ? Fear God, and keep his Commandments ; for this is the
whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every
secret thing, whether good or evil. ?
You can see the
foundation of the peace movement in these quotations from the Bible. There is
the recognition that evil exists, and a belief that God will judge all evil at
some point. When you throw in the Christian ideal of turning the cheek and
loving your enemy, you get the following strategy. Live peacefully, refrain from
killing, and love the oppressors as your brothers, for all evil will be judged
It seems like a tall order, asking humans to live
like Jesus Christ. But the real meaning of this strategy is more true to human
nature. It means that you should cover your own ass by obeying God’s
commandments, so that when your day of judgment comes you will be a shoe in to
Heaven. On the other hand, the evil oppressors will get theirs when God gets His
hands on them. In other words, let God do the dirty work of punishing evil
bastards - keep your record clean ! There is nothing wrong with punishment of
oppressors, just with humans doing the punishing.
According to the liberators, that’s not exactly loving ones oppressors !
Nothing is new under the sun. People have oppressed
others before, and freedom fighters have existed to oppose them. Just as
Christ’s tactic was in the form of self suffering and preaching love for all,
even for his oppressors, so have other social reformers sought love and peace as
a force for social change.
Some people who hope to end
the suffering and killing of animals are attracted to non-violence, for reasons,
interpreted by liberators, that will become clearer near the end of this
chapter. Their modern day hero is M.K. Gandhi. Some broader minded people
use Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr., as a model. Since King was essentially a
Black American Christian clone of Gandhi, and himself quotes Gandhi on many
occasions, the following analysis of non-violent resistance will concentrate on
the originator of the modern day peace movement - and with his own words. Let’s
look at Gandhi’s non-violent resistance and see what his approach was all about.
The following analysis will use Gandhi’s book, Non-Violent Resistance,
published by Schocken Books. (All emphasis is added.) As in other chapters, this
presentation is from the point of view of liberators.
main force that Gandhi used was called Satyagraha, also called passive
resistance. Satyagraha is a word that he coined, and it means soul force, or
truth force. At its root is the view that : ? (One’s opponent) must be weaned
from error by patience and sympathy. For what means truth to one may be error to
the other. And patience means self-suffering. So the doctrine came to mean
vindication of truth not by infliction of suffering on the opponent but on one’s
One key point of Satyagraha is that, ? It
excludes the use of violence because man is not capable of knowing the
absolute truth and, therefore, not competent to punish. ? If one
punishes oneself, then errors in judgment would not hurt others. As Gandhi
explained : ? Everybody admits that sacrifice of self is infinitely superior
to sacrifice of others. Moreover, if this kind of force is used in a cause that
is unjust, only the person using it suffers. He does not make others suffer for
his mistakes. Men have before now done many things which were subsequently found
to have been wrong. It is therefore meet (sic) that he should not do that which
he knows to be wrong, and suffer the consequences whatever it may be. This is
the key to the use of soul-force. ?
To illustrate the
effectiveness of using soul-force. Gandhi told of one of the ? sweetest
recollections in his life ? in which it was used . His wife, Kasturba, was
suffering from a hemorrhagic malady and seemed refractory to usual forms of
treatment. Gandhi felt that she should abstain from eating salt and pulses to
purify her body as a treatment. Asking her to give up pulses and salt was like
asking the average American to give up meat. Let’s have Gandhi tell the rest of
? At last she challenged me saying that
even I could not give up these articles if I was advised to do so. I was pained
and equally delighted - delighted in that I got an opportunity to shower my love
on her. I said to her : ‘You are mistaken. If I was ailing and the doctor
advised me to give up these or any other articles I should unhesitatingly do so.
But there ! Without any medical advice, I give up salt and pulses for one year,
whether you do so or not.’
She was rudely
shocked and exclaimed in deep sorrow : ‘ Pray forgive
me. Knowing you, I should not have provoked you. I promise to abstain from these
things, but for heaven’s sake take back your vow. This is too hard on me.’
It is very good for you to give up these articles. I
have not the slightest doubt that you will be all the better without them. As
for me, I cannot retract a vow seriously taken. And it is sure to benefit me,
for all restraint, whatever prompts it, is wholesome for man. You will therefore
leave me alone. It will be a test for me, and a moral support to you in carrying
out your resolve.’
So she gave me up. ‘ You are
too obstinate. You will listen to none.’ She said, and sought relief in tears.
Gandhi called this an example of domestic
Satyagrahi. It’s key elements are the same for all forms of this technique.
Notice that, much like a child who holds his breath until
turning blue, Gandhi engaged in self-suffering to get what he wanted. He
played on another’s love and pity. As he said : ? Force of love and pity
are greater than the force of arms.? In other words, give others a guilt
trip. Say to them : ? If you don’t do what I want I’ll hurt myself, and it will
be on your conscience. ?
It is extremely important
that the ones to whom you apply self-suffering tactics have a conscience.
The basis of the technique is that others will learn the truth you are trying to
communicate as they empathize with your pain and suffering. Empathy and
identification are essential for self-suffering to work.
To have empathy and identification, there must be a sense
of oneness between individuals, and a mutual love. Gandhi referred to this in
the term ahimsa, which is a universal love. But it is a typical Eastern religion
term, with many nuances of meaning foreign to Western minds. For example, it
means dissociating oneself from all worldly possessions and relationships.
(Marriage is out for true people with ahimsa. You are not supposed to play
favorites.) In this context, ahimsa is the realization of a kinship with all
people, and, in fact, with all animals.
Gandhi gave an
example of the power of ahimsa and non-violence associated with it in dealing
with a thief. ? You set this armed robber down as an ignorant brother ; you
intend to reason with him at a suitable opportunity ; you argue that he is,
after all, a fellow man ; you do not know what prompted him to steal. You,
therefore, decide that, when you can, you will destroy the man’s motive for
stealing. Whilst you are thus reasoning with yourself, the man comes again to
steal. Instead of being angry with him you take pity on him. You think that this
stealing habit must be a disease with him. Henceforth, you, therefore, keep your
doors and windows open, you change your sleeping-place, and you keep your things
in a manner most accessible to him. The robber comes again and is confused as
all this is new to him; nevertheless, he takes away your things. But his mind is
agitated. He inquires about you in the village, he comes to learn about your
broad and loving heart, he repents, he begs your pardon, returns your things,
and leaves off the stealing habit. He becomes your servant, and you will find
for him honorable employment.?
Yea, right, Gandhi,
exclaim the liberators ! Even social workers don’t believe that crap about
Gandhi was probably only talking about Indians,
not Americans or other Western peoples. In fact, he did say that his experiment
in non-violent resistance had the best chance of working in India. And he said,
near the end of his life, ? I am but a poor mortal. I believe in my
experiment and in my uttermost sincerity. But it may be that the only fitting
epitaph after my death will be ‘He tried but signally failed’. ?
Alas, Gandhi, all is vanity !
above description of how to deal with a thief illustrates Gandhi’s belief that :
? Three-fourth of the miseries and misunderstandings in the world will
disappear, if we step into the shoes of our adversaries and understand their
standpoint. We will then agree with our adversaries quickly or think of them
charitably. ? In other words, empathy will bring understanding and peace.
To be this ideal person, full of love and forgiveness, is
to be a Satyagrahi, a practitioner of Satyagraha. This type of person is the
Eastern equivalent of Christ. ? He has to almost, if not entirely, be a
perfect man. ? Gandhi did not think of himself or his followers as real
This is what it takes to be a
Satyagrahi, a true passive resistor. Gandhi made the following rules : (I quote)
1. A Satyagrahi, i.e., a civil resister will harbour no anger.
Those were Gandhi’s words. I have not
2. He will suffer the anger of the opponent.
3. In so doing he will
put up with assaults from the opponent, never retaliate ; but he will not
submit, out of fear of punishment or the like, to any order given in anger.
4. When any person in authority seeks to arrest a civil resister, he will
voluntarily submit to the arrest, and he will not resist the attachment
or removal of his own property, if any,
when it is sought to be confiscated by the authorities.
a civil resister has any property in his possession as a trustee, he will
refuse to surrender it, even though in defending it he might lose his life. He
will however, never retaliate.
6. Non-retaliation excludes swearing and
7. Therefore, a civil resister will never insult his opponent,
and therefore also not take part in many of the newly coined cries which are
contrary to the spirit of ahimsa.
8. A civil resister will not salute the
Union Jack, nor will he insult it or officials, English or Indian.
the course of the struggle if any one insults an official or commits an
assault upon him, a civil resister will protect such official or officials
from the insult or attack even at the risk of his
What may seem strange was Gandhi’s
insistence that non-violence resistance is only possible when those resisting
are absolutely loyal to the State. Gandhi got this idea from Thoreau, who
coined the term civil disobedience. It is the belief that a man of honor,
who normally obeys moral laws, has a right to disobey immoral laws. As Gandhi
said : ? The privilege of resisting or disobeying a particular law or order
accrues only to him who gives willing and unswerving obedience to the laws laid
down for him. ?
Unless all moral laws are obeyed
scrupulously, the resister is ineffective. This is because public opinion is
tremendously important in this non-resistance approach. ? Experience has
shown that mere appeal to the reason produces no effect upon those who have
settled convictions. The eyes of their understanding are opened not by argument
but by the suffering of the Satyagrahi. The Satyagrahi strives to reach reason
through the heart. The method of reaching the heart is to awaken public opinion.
Public opinion for which one cares is a mightier force than that of gunpowder.
? If the Satyagrahi was not pure of mind, spirit, and action, if he was not
a model human being, then it would weaken the pity that the public would feel at
Liberators hold that whenever a theory
seems too naive to stand on its own, you can bet God isn’t far behind. Na?et?
in theory becomes faith in God. Gandhi’s theory is no exception.
He believed that a faith in God is essential for
non-violent resistance. ? A Satyagrahi has nothing to do with victory. He
is sure of it, but he has also to know that it comes from God. His is but to
When asked whether Socialists or Communists
could be Satyagrahis, Gandhi explained : ? I’m afraid not. For a Satyagrahi
has no other stay but God, and he who has any other stay or depends on any other
help cannot offer Satyagraha... I am talking of those who are prepared in the
name of God to stake their all for the sake of their principle... To bear all
kinds of tortures without a murmur of resentment is impossible for a human being
without the strength that comes from God. Only in His strength we are strong.
And only those who can cast their cares and their fears on that immeasurable
Power have faith in God. ?
Suffering and dying make
sense if there is a God to pass judgment on it all. Haven’t Christians heard
that message before ? The writer of Ecclesiates was correct : there is nothing
new under the sun.
Gandhi’s plan of using Satyagraha in
dealing with oppression was starkly stated in his discussion of the German Jews’
struggle with Nazi Germany. ? Can the Jews resist this organized and
shameless persecution ? Is there a way to preserve their self-respect, and not
to feel helpless, neglected and forlorn ? I submit there is. No person who
has faith in a living God need feel helpless or forlorn... As the Jews attribute
personality to God and believe that He rules every action of theirs, they ought
not to feel helpless. If I were a Jew and were born in Germany and earned my
livelihood there, I would claim Germany as my home even as the tallest gentile
German may, and challenge him to shoot me or cast me in the dungeon : I would
refuse to be expelled or to submit to discriminating treatment... If the Jewish
mind could be prepared for voluntary suffering, even the massacre I have
imagined could be turned into a day of thanksgiving and joy that Jehovah
had wrought deliverance of the race even at the hands of the tyrant. For the
God-fearing, death has no terror. It is a joyful sleep to be followed by a
waking that would be all the more refreshing for the long sleep. ?
Liberators doubt whether the multitudes of activists who
speak in favor of Gandhi’s approach and its application to the animal movement
have ever read his writings. Let’s examine some of the details of non-violent
resistance and, given the liberator perspective, see its inappropriateness for
freeing animals from human oppression.
approach demanded a purity and perfection of soul that even highly spiritual
people, such as Gandhi’s followers, had not even achieved. It required that
one give up all worldly possessions, too. ? The use of Satyagraha requires
the adoption of poverty, in the sense that we must be indifferent whether we
have the wherewithal to feed or clothe ourselves. ?
Does this mean that activists must give up their jobs, cars, and homes, and live
simply by their faith that God would provide ? Gandhi expected his civil
resisters to do so. ? No civil resister is to expect maintenance for his
dependents. It would be an accident if any such provision is made. A civil
resister entrusts his dependents to the care of God. ? But don’t worry. Gandhi
continued : ? It is the universal experience that in such times hardly anybody
is left to starve. ?
Civil resisters do not pay
taxes that support the evil system. They all practice non-cooperation, which
is the mildest form of Satyagraha. This entails the withdrawal from society.
Gandhi outlined some basic steps to be taken as the first stage of
non-cooperation : (I quote)
1. Surrender of all tittles of honor and honorary offices.
While some of these prescriptions for non-cooperation were designed for the
Indian problem, their intent was clear. Thoreau, in his essay, On the
duty of Civil Disobedience, a work which highly influenced Gandhi, said : ? I
do not hesitate to say, that those who call themselves abolitionists should at
once effectually withdraw their support, both in person and property, from the
government of Massachusetts, and not wait till they constitute a majority of
one, before they suffer the right to prevail through them. ?
Non-participation in Government loans.
3. Suspension by lawyers of
practice and settlement of civil disputes by private arbitration.
Boycott of Government schools by parents.
5. Non-participation in
Government parties, and such other function.
also quoted Confucius, who said : ? If a State is governed by
the principles of reason, poverty and misery are subjects of shame; if the State
is not governed by the principles of reason, riches and honors are the subjects
of shame. ?
Indeed, nothing is new under the
sun ! From Confucius, to Thoreau, to Gandhi the message has been that
participation in an unjust system must stop for
those who want to change that system 5.
What does that mean for those wanting to free the animals ?
It means that you can’t afford the plane tickets to the
next march in Washington, DC. If you think about it, you were welcome business
for airlines, hotels, taxicabs, and other tourist services. How many thousands
of dollars of taxes were raised through animal activist purchases, from airline
tickets to soft drinks ? What abuses of animals do you think that money will go
The typical person concerned about animals is
white, middle class, and not about to give up property, titles, or wealth. Even
the animal rights groups are deeply entrenched in the system. Many national
animal organizations have millions of dollars, which they invest in stocks,
bonds, or real estate. This isn’t non-participation with society.
Professions capitalize on their credentials to gain
public respect, as when ? MD’s ? speak out against animal research. This
isn’t exactly surrendering all titles of honor or honorary offices !
The fact is, no one in this society who proclaims a
belief in non-violent resistance practices anything like true Satyagraha. Does
it make a difference ? It does if they are supporting Gandian tactics.
Liberators believe that so long as people participate in the society which
they condemn, they are nothing more than hypocrites.
The point here is that Gandian non-violent resistance demands that resisters
behave in a self-sacrificial, self-denying manner. People in Western society
just don’t behave that way. Gandhi found that they don’t necessarily behave that
way in Eastern society, either. This is one reason why liberators believe
non-violent resistance is inappropriate as a model.
second reason they believe Gandhi’s approach is inappropriate for the animal
liberation movement has to do with his appraisal of human nature, which is
central to his philosophy and approach. He believed that humans are basically
good. If you show them you are suffering because of their actions, then they
will feel pity and change their ways. He also believed that oppressors lose all
pleasure in their actions when the victim betrays no resistance. ? The
wrong-doer wearies of wrong doing in the absence of resistance. ?
You might agree with Gandhi’s assessment of human nature.
You might even, like Gandhi, make stealing easy for the thief, so as to reform
him. But the success of that approach depends on the ability of victimizers
to empathize with their victims. Perhaps in a small village, with mostly
well intentioned people, such an approach could work. But liberators remind
us to get back to reality - late 20th Century, animal abusing reality.
People see animals as exploitable objects. They eat them,
something that the British didn’t do to the Indians. (at least not in public.)
The level of respect for animal life is so low, as outlined in the previous
chapter, that a reliance on human empathy for non-humans is more than naive - it
is destructive to animals. Furthermore, over the millennia during which
animals have been butchered by people for one reason or another, their
oppressors have never grown weary of their deeds of terror, despite animal
non-resistance. If anything, domestication has led to strains of animals
which are more easily manipulated than older ones, making the slaughter even
simpler for humans to perform.6
Gandhi was dealing with the sensibilities of humans
towards humans. Guilt, or pity, only work when there is a connection between
oppressor and oppressed. Gandhi gambled that even the most blind oppressor would
eventually stop his aggression when he met unselfish, pure, non-violent
Liberators ask who is a better
non-violent resistor than a dog about to be experimented on, sitting helplessly
in a cage at a laboratory, or a cow anxiously waiting in a feed lot to be
slaughtered ? Animals are the ultimate Satyagrahis ! They have no
possessions, they do not participate in the system, and, despite their abuses,
they still have the capacity to love humans. Some, like dogs, can even love
those who abuse them. Kick them and they will apologize for hurting your foot.
Gandhi would have been proud of such self-suffering creatures.
Despite their cries, blood, and dead bodies, people are
unmoved. Liberators are not surprised by this. As explained earlier, they
believe that empathy is essential for pity to work, and animals receive
little empathy from humans.
Liberators feel that
people who support non-violence are confusing the objects of oppression with the
agents of liberation. Gandhi’s Satyagrahis were both the oppressed and the
liberators. When it comes to animals, humans can merely act as the agents of
liberation. Humans can vicariously suffer for animals. The oppressors will
see this human suffering as vicarious. But if oppressors have no respect for
animals, will their hearts be melted into compassion by seeing other humans
suffering for them ? Of course not, say the liberators !
When people have no empathy for animals, they see humans who have empathy for
animals as lunatics. Telling a vivisector that you love rats is like telling
him you love rocks. If you fasted and engaged in all sorts of self-suffering to
demonstrate the truth that you hold about animals needing to be free, then the
oppressors will pity you - as mad !
This, then, is one
problem the animal movement has that Gandhi’s civil rights movement did not
have. The liberators are not the same as the liberated. Humans have sympathy and
pity for other humans (sometimes), but they will not necessarily extend that
sympathy and pity to rats, mice, goats, pigs and dogs. Remember, it is important
that the ones towards whom you apply self-suffering have a conscience. Unless
people have a conscience about the way they deal with animals, which most people
do not have, human self-suffering will never get the job done of raising
There is another problem which occurs when
a human acts as an agent for the animals. According to liberators, there is a
different responsibility being an agent for someone else, than merely acting as
one’s own agent. If it is your own life under fire, you can use non-violent
tactics if you wish. You have a right to attend your own funeral ! But what if
it isn’t your own life for which you are responsible ?
People practice non-violence for personal reasons. It is a way of life, a
strategy for dealing with the world. When acting as an agent for others,
however, a dogmatic adherence to non-violence can work against the best
interests of the individuals being protected. Liberators assert that a good
agent must do whatever is necessary to protect his wards. This means that one’s
personal preferences regarding non-violence may have to be overridden if the
circumstances demand it.
For example, consider a
situation in which ten innocent children are about to be slaughtered by an
insane killer. A non-violent woman has accepted the responsibility for
protecting the children. She does everything peaceful that she possibly can
imagine to stop the massacre. Unfortunately, her efforts are useless. While she
could stop the man with force, she rejects such intervention. He lifts a machete
and prepares to decapitate the first child, who is bound and gagged. Watching
the slaughter, she prays to God for the children’s and murderer’s deliverance. A
few moments later the children are all dead, and the murderer leaves the scene
to terrorize and destroy other lives.
In this situation,
non-violence may have made the protector feel virtuous. But it resulted in the
death of the children, whose protection was her responsibility. Liberators
believe that non-violence may be chosen as a personal way of life, but it makes
for lousy protectors.
In short, it is fine to risk
one’s own life with non-violence. But do not endanger others in need of physical
intervention by declaring yourself their savior.
Liberators say it’s animal abuse when non-violent animal supporters allow
animals to die simply because these self-appointed guardians value non-violence
over fighting for the animal’s lives and liberty.
Gandhi said that human uncertainty is a root cause for accepting a strategy of
non-violence, since we have no right to inflict our potentially erroneous
assessments on others. The purpose of non-violence, then, is to live by your own
beliefs and let others live by theirs. Hopefully, as others see you suffering
because of their oppressive behaviors, they will come around to seeing things
your way. But when you are agents of animals who are being slaughtered by the
millions daily, can you take such a live and let live attitude ?
Liberators make their point angrily. Not intervening
to protect animals is to allow crimes against our wards to take place. Indeed,
it is a live and let die attitude to accept non-violence in the struggle for
animal freedom. The animals need us to save them. Let us not inflict our
mistaken belief, the liberators say, in accepting non-violence to keep animals
from receiving our help.
arguments, some readers may still reject the use of force to stop
animal abusers. Liberators consider some people dogmatically committed to a
pacifist position when it comes to saving animals. The dilemma for these
conscientious objectors, who consider themselves protectors of the animals, is
easy to resolve, as far as liberators are concerned. If you feel it is wrong
to use force to stop animal abuse, that’s fine. Just don’t consider yourself a
protector of animals. Innocent members of our family are being abused and
killed en masse. The animals don’t need people who are afraid of
asserting, in a physically meaningful way, that such treatment of our family is
wrong and must stop.
Those readers who have studied
Gandhi may object to the implication that Satyagrahis only fought for their own
liberation. In fact, there were times when Gandhi used Satyagrahis as
instruments for other social change, acting on behalf of other disenfranchised
groups. One example was their efforts in gaining equality for the ? Untouchables
?, a caste of people not allowed near temples or on temple roads, and who
generally were treated ? like animals ?. Some people might reason that the
Satyagrahis acting on behalf of the ? Untouchables ? is the equivalent of humans
acting on behalf of the animals. Can this then justify non-violent resistance
for the animal liberation movement ?
reflections on the ? Untouchable ? liberation campaign. He thought the ?
Untouchables ? needed social reform, rather than political reform. On this
difference, he observed, ? I have long believed that social is a tougher
business than political reform. The atmosphere is ready for the latter, people
are interested in it... On the other hand, people have little interest in
social reform, the result of agitation does not appear to be striking and
there is little room for congratulations and addresses. The social reformers
will have therefore to plod on for some time, hold themselves in peace, and be
satisfied with apparently small results. ?
common feature of the ? Untouchable ? struggle with the animal liberation
struggle is that one group is acting on behalf of another. In one, Satyagrahis
acted on behalf of ? Untouchables ?, and in the other, humans act on behalf of
the other creatures. The difference is that the ? Untouchables ? are still
human. To analogize the two struggles is an error.
Despite having this human advantage, Gandhi recognized that the process will be
slow and arduous. In fact, the "Untouchables" still suffer in India.
Why was he willing to accept such small results of non-violent resistance
Partly, the liberators say, it is because God will
have the final say on justice. I will return to that in a moment. But it is also
because Gandhi expected the people who are resisting, and the group that they
are representing, to always remain a part of the society they are
fighting. That opinion is even made clear in his advice to Jews,
telling them they should not leave Germany, but should stay and accept their
nationality and convert their oppressors with love.
Liberators recognize this as a critical feature of non-violent resistance. It
assumes that the resistors, and the groups they represent, ultimately want to
live with the people who are now their oppressors. That is why non-violent
resistors are to obey all laws rigorously, except for the immoral ones. They are
to be model citizens, showing that it is out of loyalty to country and love for
others that they suffer. This approach considers it better to accept small moves
in the right direction, than risk alienating society in an attempt at getting
more. Remember, alienation is the opposite of identification, which is needed
for empathy. In order for non-violence to work, the oppressors need to feel
connected to their victims. In that way the victims’ suffering will cause
suffering in the oppressors.
Gandhi was trying to get
people included in the power structure of Indian society. It was a movement of
inclusion. If you get inclusion through violence, then it will always be an
uneasy relationship. True love between people can only be reached by peaceful
means. This was essentially Gandhi’s position. Liberators say Gandhi may have
been correct, as far as humans living with other humans are concerned, although
they have less faith in human nature than he. But correct or not, they feel his
point is irrelevant for the animal movement.
Liberators are not working for the inclusion of animals in society. They are
working to free animals from human interference in their lives. From the
animals’ point of view, they contend, it doesn’t matter why animals are left
alone, so long as they are. Having a loving revolution is only important if you
want to be around afterwards to love one another. Animals don’t want human love,
only freedom from human exploitation. 7
So long as humans are the agents of the animals, however,
liberators see a problem. The animals need freedom, but their human agents
are concerned about living with other humans. To put it bluntly,
humans have a conflict of interest when they help animals.
8 This is
because humans are part of the society which abuses animals. They want to get
along with other humans. Every animal supporter wishes that the world consisted
of other animal respecting humans with whom they could live peacefully, in
harmony with the other animals. Yet, the society in which humans live will never
stop abusing other creatures, and, in fact, has become invested in continuing
Liberators contend there is no way that
people will stop eating flesh, driving cars, wearing leather, hunting, and doing
all other overt and covert abuses of animals simply because a handful of ?
lunatics ? feel compassion for beasts. Even Gandhi admits that you can’t get
through to everyone. When it comes to animals, liberators say you can’t get
through to most of the people in the world.
the conscientious animal defender to do ?
liberator solution is the use of physical force. They believe force is a
necessary method for defending animal beings against their human being
oppressors. The fact that we are human need not stop us. But it does demand,
they say, that each person reassess his or her loyalties.
If you are of the family of all creatures, brother or sister to the other
animals, then you must stop cooperation with society and participating in the
slaughter, and fight for your family.
If you are of
the family of man, then don’t call yourself an agent or defender of the animals.
You have a conflict of interest, and not admitting it is doing animals more harm
than good. It can mislead people who are of the family of creatures, and who may
be willing to fight for their family.
People who are
of the family of man engage in tactics which are designed more to keep peace
with other people than to free the animals. This is why most animal
organizations are concerned more about public opinion than their effectiveness
in liberating animals.
The liberators haven’t finished
with Gandhi, yet. Let’s return to Gandhi’s other answer to the problem of facing
impossible obstacles. He believed God is there to rescue the suffering and bind
their wounds - even unto death.
Agreeing with the writer
of Ecclesiastes, Gandhi proposed that the way to deal with life’s cruel reality
is, in common parlance, to let go and let God. As with all religious positions,
there is no way to argue against this belief.
Liberators lament that the power of God is not in God itself, but in the
impenetrable wall of faith His name invokes.
They point out that a mouse about to be scalded by boiling water in the name
of science is not comforted by a human’s belief in God. To rely on divine
judgment is a cop out. If he could, maybe the mouse would ask the researcher how
he could believe in a god that would allow such cruelty to continue !
Gandhi and people in the New Age movement who are
influenced by Eastern religions, have an answer for the mouse. The purpose of
animal suffering is to provide sensitive humans with opportunities for growth.
It is all a learning experience, helping us raise our consciousness and love for
others. Gandhi even believed that life’s evils were planned by God to test us.
Can you see how human centered such thinking is, ask
the liberators ? The world’s problems are here as a test for us! Tell
the mouse that she is dying, not for science, but for a test of the moral fiber
of human beings.
Liberators do not object to the
belief that life’s natural disasters are opportunities for personal growth. But
are they planned for our growth ? To regard them as such is to see the world and
all its inhabitants as a resource for humans, objects placed in our way as
obstacles to be overcome in the process of personal growth. It is another
variant on the age old theme of anthropocentrism.
clear to liberators that non-violence will not work for the animal liberation
movement. Yet, people still insist on its use. Why do people hold onto
non-violence as a tactic when it is so clearly inappropriate ?
Liberators ask that you face the truth. In their
assessment, most people are cowards. They are comfortable sitting on their fat
sofas, sipping beers, and watching football games on television. If a person
likes dogs or cats, he may give twenty bucks to some animal group, particularly
one that sends pictures of dogs and cats being experimented on. It’s easy for
some people to disagree with animal research. They don’t have to change their
behaviors, like the food they eat, or the fact that they drive through the
living rooms of animals each day. Of course, they still want their prescription
drugs when they are sick, even if the drug company does test them on animals.
Complacent people like this, who constitute the majority
of people in this society, are too lazy and unthreatened in their own lives to
engage in any real struggle for the animals. The civil rights movements in India
and in this country were all by the people for the people. Indians fought for
independence from the British, women fought for equality to men, blacks fought
for the enforcement of their constitutional rights, gays fought for equality
among straights, retired citizens fought to retain their power in society. And
these struggles continue. They are struggles of people wanting power in
society. They are self-serving enterprises. And they only occur when a group of
people feels threatened and oppressed enough to rise up against their
The animal liberation movement is
entirely different, say the liberators. It takes courage and conviction to
fight for someone else’s freedom when you are free yourself. Most people
don’t have what it takes. So they hide their lack of courage and commitment
behind a trust in God, or vows of non-violence.
another difference between human civil rights movements and the animal
liberation movement. While no civil rights movement has been totally without the
loss of lives, the level of carnage suffered by the animals is infinitely
greater than anything experienced by humans. Thousands of people may die in
their cause for liberty ; but billions of animals are systematically,
thoughtlessly, and brutally exterminated every year, which translates into
millions each day ! Animals are bred for slaughter, fed for slaughter, and
led to slaughter. The level of oppression experienced by animals is greater,
more pervasive, and longer in existence than any human oppression against other
humans. For people to fight on such a bloody battlefield for their fellow
creatures takes great courage and conviction. Few humans have what it
Liberators think the animal exploiters
know this sad fact about people. That’s why so many conversations with animal
abusers end with the abusers saying : ? I’ll respect your right to live
according to your beliefs, but I expect you to respect my right to live
according to mine. ? What they are saying is that we humans are entitled to an
honest disagreement over choice of lifestyles. But let’s not get too serious
about this animal business.
Imagine how it would sound if
they said : ? I expect you to respect my right to treat your brothers
and sisters as mine to use as I wish. ? You wouldn’t merely shake hands
and agree to disagree.
But, liberators say, that is
exactly what happens each time a debate between animal abusers and animal
supporters is conducted. Be peaceful and respectful at all cost. Don’t get the
public thinking that you are a bunch of violent fanatics. You have to live with
your neighbors, even if they are animal exploiters, don’t you ?
Abusers know what choices most people will make.
People have made them in the past. Abusers know there is nothing new under the
sun. Most people will never put their lives on the line for animals. They do
want to ease their consciences concerning animal suffering, but still
participate in the cruel system.
have learned from personal experience that it’s hard living in a cruel society
as a participant, while trying to maintain a sensitivity to animals. In fact, as
Confucius knew, it is impossible for a moral person to live in an immoral
For example, how can you eat in a
restaurant as an animal supporter, when all the restaurants, except the handful
of vegan ones in this country, are serving members of your family on platters
with assorted sauces ? How can you shop in a grocery store, when an entire
department is devoted to selling body parts of your loved ones ? The more
sensitive you are to animals, the more difficult this participation becomes.
Liberators declare that the idea of non-violence as an
effective means of gaining freedom for animals is a myth, perpetuated by
people invested in making life in a cruel society easier for humans. The
myth is promoted by four different factions in society. One is the abusers,
invested in maintaining control over the oppressed. They prefer sign carrying,
hymn singing protesters to bomb throwing, gun shooting liberators, and for
obvious reasons. If the peaceful protesters feel their signs and songs are doing
some good, then the protest will vent their anger and hostility to animal abuse,
allowing them to blow off steam. This will keep them from engaging in more
serious, violent, and effective action.
faction promoting the myth consists of moderate animal lovers. These people
stand to lose whenever the status quo is upset, but they are uncomfortable with
all features of the existing regime. They see non-violence and compromise as the
best means for maintaining their comfortable lifestyles, while at the same time
assuaging their consciences. Cowards and insincere people always prefer
non-violence to physical intervention. Talk is always cheaper
The third group is the religious people who
believe that God will punish the sinners and reward the virtuous. They
essentially pass the buck to the big man upstairs, and speak words of love and
peace to make themselves seem pure and holy when their time comes up for
judgment. To these people, non-violence helps them get to heaven, which is more
important to them than helping other creatures get free from human bondage.
The fourth faction consists of ? New Age ? peaceniks, who
style themselves according to their Westernized, oversimplified interpretation
of Gandian non-violence. They believe that no peace can come from war, a point
which Gandhi espoused. Like the religious people who want to leave judgment to
God to keep their personal records clean, these spiritually minded people want
to leave everything to karma and maximize their personal growth. They do not
reflect on the inappropriateness of their tactics to animal liberation, because
they are too busy reflecting on their own spiritual enlightenment and
development. They may see the animal movement as a branch of their own growth in
becoming more peaceful and loving people. Their interest in animals is secondary
to their interest in becoming loving beings. When animals are being abused, they
will speak out for love and peace, but will do nothing to physically stop the
abuse. Sometimes, they are not even willing to face the destruction that exists
all around them, since they want to keep a positive outlook and ? good
vibrations ? in their lives. Of course, the animals gain nothing by this fair
weather, anthropocentric love. The animals need liberators, not people who stick
their heads in the sand, denying that the world is filled with evil, horrible
acts committed against innocent creatures.
content that every massive, successful movement was never exclusively peaceful,
even when it was designed to be. Gandhi’s movement was consistently associated
with violence, despite Gandhi’s appeals for peace. The black civil rights
movement had Martin Luther King Jr., but it also had Malcolm X. There were peace
marches, but there were also race riots and Black Panthers actions and threats.
It is popular for non-violence supporters to accept credit for gains made in
these movements. But would the gains have been made without the specter of
violence, real and threatened ? Gandhi, for example, had millions of followers
eager to fulfill his every command. Despite his message of Satyagraha, Gandhi,
and the British officials, knew that the possibility of violence breaking out
was real. How much of Gandhi’s influence was due to the officials’ fear of this
potential for violence ?
Liberators hold that the
use of militant intervention is the only way to make people conscious of the
fact that they cannot continue to exploit other creatures. One can’t
raise consciousness until there is consciousness. People are unconscious to
the pain and suffering of non-humans. They are only conscious of the pleasures
and pains that directly affect their lives.
Liberators say it’s time lovers of animals make abusers conscious of pain
when they hurt our family members.
The author of
Ecclesiastes says : ? For everything there is a season, and a time for every
matter under heaven.? Specifically, turn your attention to six such times :
? A time to kill, and a time to heal ; a time to love, and a time to hate ; a
time for war, and a time for peace.?
believe it is a time to physically stop human oppressors, and allow our brothers
and sisters, and the environment in which they live, to heal ; it is a time to
love animals with deeds and not mere words, and a time to hate humans for their
callousness, bigotry, and greed ; and it is a time for war on humankind, and a
time for peace in our hearts by freeing ourselves from this massive destruction
machine called society, whose wheels turn with the blood, sweat, and tears of
5 Liberators agree with the moral
requirement that one should not participate in an immoral system. But they do
not believe this is for the purpose of changing the system. They believe the
system cannot be changed in any significant way. Non-participation is simply to
remove oneself from the bloodshed, making sure one does not contribute to or
6 The inability to
empathize or identify with the environment will likewise prevent non-violence to
work for the environmental movement, according to the liberators. All the
arguments against non-violence for liberating animals applies to the liberation
of the environment. Only militancy directed at the agents of destruction -
people - will be effective.
See page later for a discussion of the ? pet ? situation.
8 See page later for a discussion of the
human need to be with other people