statements are those of the author,
wolf, and not those of the
maintainer of the web site. This book is presented for informational purpose
only, we discourage all people to commit illegal activities.
A DECLARATION OF WAR
Killing People To Save Animals And The
This book is dedicated to the animals who have been killed
by human greed, selfishness, and bloodlust. In
their names, and in the names of current and future generations of innocent beings who will suffer and die as a result of
human brutality, the liberators are striking
back. Our fellow creatures who have been mutilated, slaughtered, burned, poisoned, strangled, gassed, shot,
electrocuted, microwaved, run over, skinned,
eaten, enslaved, and domesticated are now being
defended. Humans, beware !
- Screaming Wolf
Preface from the original editors
A MESSAGE FROM THE
My husband and I are animal rights activists. For the past
ten years we have been in trenches fighting for the animals. But we have always
fought legally. We have used the system to its fullest, coordinating various
educational, legislative, and litigious campaigns.
would have asked us how we felt about our work, we would have told you that our
struggle for animal rights and a more humane world was finally becoming
mainstream and acceptable. We really believed that our message was beginning to
However, on the morning of January 18, 1991,
our lives were turned upside down.
Included in our mail
was a small package with no return address. Inside was a computer disk. There
was no explanation of what this disk was for, or who had sent it to us. We
looked at the postmark on the envelope, but it was faint and illegible. With no
clues as to its contents, we decided to put it in our computer and see what was
The disk had one file
on it called, A Declaration of War . We opened the file,
and the following message appeared.
� This manuscript explains the philosophy of a group of
individuals throughout the world who call themselves, ‘Liberators’. They believe
in a revolution to liberate animals and, if necessary, to kill their oppressors.
They say such extreme action is needed to stop the horrible human caused
suffering of animals and the destruction of the world. They believe that nothing
short of a total overthrow of this system will free our brothers and sisters.
Please see that this 'Declaration of War’ is published for the world to read and
Signed - Screaming Wolf �
Our curiosity kept us glued to the computer for
the next four hours, as we read this bold manuscript. When we finished, we were
extremely disturbed. What kind of person could be responsible for this, we
wondered. At first, we couldn’t understand why we were chosen as the recipients
of this ‘Declaration of War’. After thinking it through, we assumed it was
because of some similarities in our personal philosophies. We, too, see humans
as the destructive force in the world. We feel that this planet was not put here
for humans to exploit, and that nature and other animals, not humans, are at the
center of our moral thinking.
But what was this talk of
killing oppressors ? We never promoted or defended violence. Why did Screaming
Wolf decide to contact us ? The answer to that question is still a mystery, But
the reason for our selection is a moot point. We have been selected and must now
deal with this terrifying manuscript.
explains the reason why ‘Liberators’ feel that they must declare war on society.
We expect that many activists in the animal rights and environmental movements
agree with much of what the ‘Liberators’ have to say, but would seldom admit
these deep and frightening thoughts, even to themselves. Feelings of
frustration, feelings of alienation, feelings of love and hate and anger and
fear, all of these, and more, are common to all of us working within the system
However, the ‘Liberators’ go beyond these
feelings, and describe real or proposed actions : actions which the public will
immediately decry as terrorism, actions which the ‘Liberators’ defend as
heroism. According to Screaming Wolf, who apparently is a spokesperson for these
‘Liberators’, these terrorists are a branch of the A.L.F. (Animal Liberation
Front). This group has claimed responsibility for breaking into laboratories and
factory farms, rescuing animals and damaging equipment. However, the A.L.F. has
maintained a commitment of nonviolence towards all living beings, including
humans. Liberators, according to Screaming Wolf, have decided to end their
commitment of non-violence towards human life. These people actually feel that
violence against humans is the only way to make a real difference for the
After reading this manuscript, our anxiety and
fear almost prompted us to toss it in trash. We were looking for any excuse to
forget what we had just read. However, we concluded that Screaming Wolf’s
message is too important to simply dismiss. People must know what ‘Liberator’
believe, and can come to their own conclusions about what it means, how they
feel about it, and what they want to do about it.
that publishing a book like this is risky, despite the alleged First Amendment
rights of freedom of press. People in this country are allowed to purchase and
bear arms, but not to announce a call to arms. We expect some people to construe
our publication of this book as an endorsement of violence, despite our
disclaimers to the contrary. We looked into the laws regarding publication of
literature concerning terrorism and realized at once that the risk in publishing
this book is real. We expect to be slapped with dozens of lawsuits, and probably
death threats as well. As one lawyer put it, our publishing this book may be
totally legally defensible, but we will most likely have to repeatedly prove
that fact over the next decade, costing us a fortune in legal fees, and draining
our energy and time as we deal with the legal system.
situation, as we see it, is that we have been the recipients of a manuscript
that describes a terrorist group of people declaring war on humans to save
animals and the environment. If we ignore the manuscript, the public will not
know of this threat to its safety. People need to know that ‘Liberators’ exist.
We also feel that everyone who believes in working within the system needs to
engage in open and honest dialogue about all ways of seeing a problem and its
possible solutions, including the solution offered by the ‘Liberators’. This
applies to activists and those invested in the status quo. The message of
‘Liberators’ affects all of these people.
therefore, that we must accept the responsibility of publishing this manuscript.
In the name of truth and honesty, people must hear this message of the
In an attempt to protect ourselves from
criminal prosecution, we, the publishers, would like to make the following
direct disclaimer. We do not endorse or support any of the illegal, terrorist
activities described by Screaming Wolf or the ‘Liberators’. We present this book
for informational purposes only.
manuscript of Screaming Wolf could have been printed with quotation marks from
the first word to the last, since all that follows this preface are the words of
that individual and his or her presentation of the ‘Liberator’ position. We have
excluded such quotation marks for the purpose of clarity.
This is a glimpse
into the world of animal liberation terrorism. We suspect that the life and
message of a ‘Liberator’ will be a difficult one for most people to understand.
But we feel that the public has a right to have this information. After all, if
the ‘Liberators’ continue to carry out their tactics, it may be a matter of life
by Screaming Wolf
This book describes the opinions and feelings of a group
of people who were once members of the Animal Liberation Front.
They have broken off from the Animal Liberation Front and
now support the use of violence against humans to save animals. It is my,
Screaming Wolf’s, understanding that the law considers animals to be property,
not persons. Only persons are protected under the law. Killing people to save
animals, then, would be completely unacceptable and unjustifiable under the laws
of this land. I have been told that it is illegal to support terrorism against
humans in the name of freeing animals.
I, Screaming Wolf,
would never commit an illegal act or encourage others to do so.
The discerning reader may find places where I clearly
agree with liberators, particularly concerning human nature and the nature of
societies. However, all statements that even remotely sound terrorist are the
liberators’, not my own.
Who are the liberators ? What events have transformed
these compassionate animal defenders into terrorists ?
My reason for writing this book is to let the public know
why groups like the Animal Liberation Front, or A.L.F., and eco-saboteurs exist.
What possibly possesses people to become so extreme that they are willing to
engage in terrorist activities for the cause of saving animals and the planet on
which they live ?
Animal abusers have already felt the
effect of actions directed against property. A.L.F. raids are notorious for
their success in freeing animals, destroying property used in animal abuse,
while maintaining a position of non-violence to all life, including humans. A
fire at University of California at Davis destroyed an unfinished animal
research building, causing almost $5 million in damage.
However, extremists are extending such activities, from destroying property
used in the murder and torture of animals, to attacking the real causes of the
abuse : people.
This issue is clearly important,
given the recent car bombing in England of an animal researcher’s vehicle. These
activities have begun in the United States with the attempted assassination
of the president of U.S. Surgical Corporation, a business that
demonstrates surgical staples on dogs. And some eco-saboteurs do equally extreme
acts to end what they regard as the raping of the planet by logging companies,
mining companies, and other � natural resource � exploiters.
I must explain what this book is not about. This is not
an attempt to convince you why animals should have their freedom respected.
Liberators don’t believe anyone can use words to convince others of moral
principles, as explained later. You either believe that we are all animals with
an equal claim to life and that human animals must respect those claims, or you
believe that humans are non-animals, special beings who have every right to use
others as they wish.
Liberators believe that a human
has a no greater claim to life than a mole or a sea bass. They feel that humans
are the lowest form of life, and that the world would be a much better, more
peaceful place without them. If you agree with this position, then you will love
If you believe that humans are the chosen
species or the highest point of biological evolution, and that this somehow
gives them a right to abuse other creatures, then this book is important to you,
too. It will let you know that you are a target for animal liberators. Every
time you abuse another creature, look over your shoulder. Through liberators,
the animals are now fighting back.
There are some of
you who locate yourselves between these extreme positions. You believe that
animals should be treated well, but you still place humans on a throne.
Conflicted by your empathy for other creatures and your need for control, you
play the moderate. You try cooling down extremist animal defenders, calling for
non-violence and dialogue, and you try increasing the sensitivity of animal
abusers, calling for larger cages and � humane slaughter �. You will find this
book disturbing. According to liberators, there is no room for moderation and
compromise when it comes to moral principles concerning life and death. And
liberators are concerned with life and death.
you an idea of who these liberators are as people, I will trace the development
of an average person into a liberator.
There was a time
in the lives of liberators when they would have killed an animal to save a
human. And they would have thought nothing about loggers cutting roads into
At one time, they weren’t even aware
that the food on their plates was once an animal. They gave no thought to
wearing fur or leather, and enjoyed seeing animals behind bars in zoos. While
they always loved animals, they still regarded human life as more valuable and
worthy than non-human life.
Yet, despite their socially
programmed bias for human animals, liberators found themselves more comfortable
in the company of squirrels and birds than people. Like most people, they lived
the contradiction of abusing other beings while at the same time loving them.
Liberators, after all, are human. Humans have a great
capacity for fooling themselves. We feel one way, but think another. We feel
that animals should be free to live their own lives, but we think that such
freedom would unreasonably conflict with our lifestyles. We like drugs, and
meat, and other products of animal exploitation, but we feel sick when we learn
exactly what happens to the animals during the production of such products.
That’s why slaughter houses are out of public view, and research lab doors
are kept closed. It helps people keep their heads in the sand, closing their
eyes to all the cruelty around them.
Some people turn off
their feelings to suffering animals, and fabricate ideas to justify their acts
of animal abuse. Society supports this, since it values thoughts over feelings.
These people learn to suppress what they really feel when they see animals
suffering. Separating thoughts from feelings is a part of the process of
alienation that plagues humankind.
Because if this
alienation, most people have no sense of where they belong in the world, or who
they themselves really are. Pop psychology and self-help books overflow on
the shelves of bookstores, as these confused, frightened, and lonely people seek
help from pieces of paper, hoping to put some meaning and love in their lives.
But it takes more than words to change people’s lives and re-integrate alienated
humans into a balanced, natural world. Despite the encouraging writings
of self-appointed gurus, their abuse of animals, and of
themselves, continues. These people never become liberators.
The people who do become liberators examine personal
feelings and thoughts, and discard ideas that don’t fit the world in which they
want to live. They realize that ideas are no more than justifications of
feelings. Getting in touch with their feelings helps them avoid the
alienation that leads to so much human pain and suffering. As they keep in touch
with our feelings, they abandon animal abuse,
and transform their way
of life into a more
They then join support groups. They
join out of a sense of helplessness and a growing need to do something, to
change the world. They sometimes fight with old friends who still support animal
research or hunting, while trying to find new friends. Meanwhile, they adopt a
vegetarian lifestyle, since they don’t believe in eating their non-human
friends. This makes them social pariahs, and even their families can’t wait
until they get through this new � phase � that they are in.
After a few years, the � phase � is considered an
unhealthy obsession. They are taking this animal issue to extremes, they are
told. Nobody likes extremists. Extremists take their beliefs seriously
and practice them consistently. Most people are frightened by consistency. It
takes too much work. As a result, friends are not as easy to locate as
before. The problem is that they begin to feel comfortable only with other
animal � extremists �, and such people tend to like animals more than they like
There is a reason why people who become
liberators turn to animals for affection. There is an honesty about
non-humans. They don’t play games. They are direct. And they are never
Eventually, they grow frustrated
as their efforts for saving animals seem impotent in making a big difference.
They get donation pitches in the mail each week from animal welfare and animal
rights organizations, telling them how much the organizations have done for the
animals, how much still needs to be done, how the opposition is mounting a
counter-offensive, and how little money there is to fight back and preserve
whatever advances have been made. They ask themselves whether these
organizations, some with millions of dollars in investments and executive
directors earning six figure incomes, have become permanent institutions in our
cruel society, more invested in maintaining the status quo than in freeing
They start questioning whether animal abuse
will ever stop given current approaches. Basic beliefs come under scrutiny, as
they examine whether humans can ever be the agents for liberating animals.
Questions like, � Can we ever change the system from within ? � pop into
their minds. And for the first time, they do not answer automatically in the
affirmative. They reflect on their feelings about people, society, animals, and
the way things have been done in the past. They begin to even wonder if the
concept of animal � rights � is what the animals really need.
These increasingly frustrated individuals examine their
assumption that educating the public about what is really happening to the
animals will somehow lead to the termination of the cruelty. That assumption
demands a faith in the fairness and compassion of human nature that these people
no longer take on face value. They begin to question whether showing people
movies and photos of monkeys with electrodes in their heads, or wolves caught by
steel-jaw leghold traps, or calves immobilized in dark, claustrophobic veal
crates, or chickens crowded and stressed by factory farm conditions, will
motivate the common person to change their consumption patterns and other
At one time, the common person
would hunt, slaughter, skin, and beat animals as a regular part of life. It is
an illusion of contemporary society that people today are more compassionate
than in that cruel past. Actually, the general public has simply become
unaccustomed to killing animals themselves. The dirty work is left to �
specialists �, like butchers, trappers, animal researchers, and animal shelter
History has shown, however, that humans have
an enormous capacity to revert to barbaric behavior at the first sign of
potential personal gain. The same insensitivity that allows � specialists �
to kill would allow the average person to kill, as well. At the current time,
this insensitivity allows people to be comfortable in the knowledge that others
are doing the killing for them. If people today are sensitive to pictures of
animal abuse, then the interest people have in the products of that abuse will
simply cause them to turn away from the pictures, or to accept that such acts
against animals are � a necessary evil �.
developing liberators conclude that, in the long run, showing the public
pictures of animal abuse will only further desensitize people to animal
suffering. Humans can adapt to all assaults to their sensibilities,
especially when they are committed to certain behaviors.
They then try to
appeal to the public, legislators, product
manufacturers, and others in power, through letter writing, boycotts, rallies,
demonstrations, and marches. But their efforts get them nowhere. Every small
victory is challenged. Despite years of lobbying and writing to Congressmen, the
only major legislation passed in recent history for animal protection was the
Federal Animal Welfare Act, designed primarily to protect animals exploited in
research. Yet, before the ink could dry on the new legislation, animal abusers
clamored to water down its already compromised and weakened impact.
As a result of lobbying by animal abusers, farm animals
are exempt from the act, as are rodents. When you consider that about 90% of
animal research is done on rodents, it’s easy to see that the effect of the Act
on animal suffering is minimal. Further, any acts of terror can be committed
against any and all animals in the name of research, so long as it is deemed �
necessary � for the research project. Since farm animals are exempt from the
Act, many researchers now target pigs and sheep as totally unprotected subjects.
It’s hard to keep a cruel researcher down !
increasingly angry animal defenders passionately hold onto their dubious
victories to convince themselves that those victories are substantial and
meaningful. They demand to legislators that the Act is enforced, a difficult
task since the Department of Agriculture, which is responsible for its
enforcement, has too few inspectors, and too little interest, in doing its job.
This leads these soon-to-be liberators to the sad realization that laws
are only as good as the intent to obey them.
Recognizing these failures, they look to other signs of success to bolster their
optimism. We see that vegetarianism is more acceptable than before, with more
vegetarians in this country than in the past. Further examination reveals that
many so called � vegetarians � eat fish and poultry. Almost all of these �
vegetarians � eat dairy and/or eggs, which is merely exchanging solid flesh for
At most, only 3% of the population say they
are � vegetarians �. When we consider a population of 270.000.000 people, 3%
seems a great amount of vegetarians, surely enough to generate a market for
special products and magazines. But there are still 262.000.000 people eating
animal flesh, and the numbers of animals killed for food continues to increase.
Put differently, 97 out of every 100 babies born in this country are being
raised as flesh eaters.
They turn their attention to the
fur issue, an area where they can feel certain success. After all fur is no
longer a fashionable commodity. Unfortunately, they discover that fur stores
have opened up in Asian countries, so that the industry has simply generated new
markets to replace the old ones it has lost. They also learn that fur is
unfashionable primarily in the United States and England, but is still popular
in some European countries. And knowing how fashions come and go, these people,
increasingly anxious about making a difference for the animals, develop a
uneasiness over the current fur taboo, wondering when fur will again become a
turn their attention to cosmetic
and household product testing on animals. Feeling certain that the general
public will never sanction such blatant animal abuse, they boycott the companies
selling these products of death. When some of the companies agree to stop animal
testing, the animal lovers rejoice at the news. They feel vindicated in their
approach of working within the system and fighting with their pocketbooks.
To maintain their feeling of success, however, they try
to ignore the fact that many of the companies, who say they no longer use animal
tests, are farming out the tests to other companies, or are buying animal tested
ingredients from suppliers to use in their allegedly cruelty free product line.
Eventually, they begin to realize that fighting for the
animals is like trying to put out thousands of brush fires. Tremendous effort
and time is spent focusing on one fire, which may or may not be extinguished,
while ten others are being started. It is a never ending battle fighting this
way. And it is a losing proposition.
animal extremists step back from the smoky field, and reflect on the causes of
the fires. If they can eliminate some of the causes, they conclude, then they
wouldn’t have to fight so many flames.
these people move towards greater and greater extremism as they find all their
efforts to help the animals frustrated by the abusive system with which they are
fighting. They examine and question all their assumptions and approaches, and
for once they feel that they are really beginning to get in touch with the depth
of the problem, and with possible solutions. Finally, they come up with bold,
revolutionary ideas. In fact, they conclude that a revolution is essential
for freeing the animals.
Let me summarize this
conclusion of people who have come to call themselves animal liberators. It will
be direct, challenging, uncompromising, and frightening to all animal abuser and
others invested in the system.
in killing humans to save animals !
an animal researcher said : � It’s a
dog or a child, � a liberator will defend the dog every time. A
liberator also believes that disposing of a few researchers will save even more
dogs from their cruelty.
Liberators have come to one
unavoidable conclusion : HUMANS WILL NEVER MAKE PEACE WITH ANIMALS ! It is
not in their natures or in the natures of the societies they have created. In
fact, liberators believe that if people really want to save the animals, they
must stop wasting their time trying to improve the human race and its societies.
They must declare war against humans. They must join in this revolution !
Liberators believe this is the only logical, consistent,
and morally correct conclusion stemming from a true belief that animals should
be free to live their lives unshackled from human exploitation. They believe
that the nature of human society and its laws are implicitly and irrevocably
immoral. Liberators are people of conscience who feel morally obligated to break
those laws and revolt against this oppressive regime.
But this revolution by liberators will not be like any other in the history of
Normally, revolutions seek to gain privileges
within society for a disenfranchised group of people. The civil rights movement,
for example, was dedicated to gaining protection and enforcement of those rights
blacks were assured in the Constitution since the Civil War. It was a
movement for inclusion in society. The same thing goes for the gay rights
movement, or the feminist movement.
movement to end animal exploitation is nothing like these others, as the
liberators see it. And according to them, this difference has made the struggle
for freedom for animals, as it has been practiced to this day, to be nothing
more than an impotent whimper in the face of gross inhumanity.
Liberators feel this movement demands a different
approach because human groups fight for inclusion. The movement to free animals
must fight for exclusion. Oppressed people want to be accepted as equals into
society. Oppressed animals want to be left alone by society
This difference, according to liberators, dictates
different strategies for the animal rights activist than for any other social
reformer. For one thing, it makes non-violent tactics, as modeled by Gandhi or
Liberators believe that only
physical harm will dissuade people from abusing animals.
Their message is not simply that we should shoot hunters,
kill vivisectors, trap trappers, and butcher butchers in order to free the
animals. They believe we are morally justified in doing these things, and that
we must do it to free some animals. But liberators do not believe that it will
change the world and result in the freedom of all animals.
Liberators hold that nothing will result in the freedom
of all animals, short of the extinction of human species. People will abuse
other creatures so long as the human species exists. This is an observation
liberators base on human nature, and they believe human nature is not about to
Liberators are not simply pessimists in making
this statement. To them, it is a realistic appraisal of the history of human
blood lust and speciesism. It is their bold acceptance of what they feel many
people really know deep in their hearts. But liberators expect few people will
acknowledge what they feel in their hearts. Who wants to accept the fact that
their efforts and hopes are useless ?
feel it’s time for animal defenders, and those concerned about the environment,
to open their eyes and admit that they shall never overcome.
In short, the liberators believe that history has
shown that working within the cruel system and winning small battles for the
animals will soon prove irrelevant. The carnage against animals continues. The
opposition is stronger, better financed, and more numerous than animal
defenders. Gains made are easily reversed. Animal abuse will go on until mankind
becomes extinct, or the planet is destroyed.
According to this extremist position, it follows that people who want to help
the animals must not use their energy trying to change the system - that’s
impossible. They must focus their efforts on rescuing as many animals as they
can and give animal abusers as much trouble as possible - they must be
liberators of animals ! The purpose of this revolution would not be to discard
the old powers and put in the new. According to the liberator philosophy, no
human system will ever treat animals with respect. The animals simply need a
continuous revolution to consistently, repeatedly, and uncompromisingly liberate
them from human oppression. They need a revolution against human society because
it is intrinsically oppressive. So long as there are people, animals will
need this revolution.
Liberators believe a technique
called militant interventionism is a necessary measure for animal
liberation, given the natures of society and people. Liberators believe that
working within the system will never work for the animals, and that non-violent
resistance is completely inappropriate for the animal liberation movement. In
this book, I will explain their reasons for these conclusions.
I will also give some examples of how they might try to
monkeywrench the system. And I will explain how these individuals, dedicated to
this revolution, committed to sabotage, believe that they can still find love
and peace in their lives.
1 According to Liberators, the need for
exclusion from human society applies to all animals exploited by humans,
including wild life and animals raised for food, research, entertainment, or any
other human defined purpose. It also includes domesticated household animals,
such as dogs and cats, who have had their spirits genetically broken, since they
have been bred to be dependent on humans. They live on human terms, in human
communities, and are trained to suppress any remnants of their natural
instincts. They are slaves who have become dependent on their slavery. See page
80 for a further discussion of the � pet � problem.
THIS WORLD IS MEANT
To make clear their position regarding animals, liberators
make the following statement :
� ALL BEINGS ARE
EQUAL ! HUMANS DESERVE NO SPECIAL PRIVILEGES OR CONSIDERATION, IN FACT, HUMANS
ARE THE ONLY CREATURES WITH THE CAPACITY FOR EVIL �.
Non-human animals are living, feeling beings entitled to
enjoy their own lives as they see fit, free from human interference. Non-humans
are sentient, which means they are conscious of their interests and needs and
whether or not they are fulfilled. Humans have no right to interfere with other
creatures as they try to fulfill their needs, just as we expect to be free to
fulfill our own.
Liberators believe that environmental issues
are connected to animal issues. They feel this connection should be obvious. If
you respect animals, then you must respect their homes. Cutting down a tree
destroys part of the living space of other creatures. In some cases, it is the
home of many other beings, such as birds, small mammals, and insects. Of course,
liberators know that there is a reason why people cut down trees. They believe
it is because people see the world as a � natural resource �, as a means to
As a liberator sees it, the world has been
defined by man to be for man. Placing man at the center of the world is called
anthropocentrism. It allows humans to regard animals as � natural
resources �, objects for human use and consumption. These self-serving notions
are even glorified in religious writings, such as the Bible, imbuing these
violent practices with alleged divine acceptance, and insulating them from
reflection by erecting impenetrable walls of faith. Bloodthirsty humans need
little justification for their massacre of nature, but armed with faith they are
a non-stoppable, self-promoting holocaust.
anthropocentric view of the world has also resulted in environmental
destruction. Mountains, rivers, and even entire rainforests are nothing more
than objects to satisfy man’s hunger for control and material possessions. And
this subjugation of the world and its inhabitants to human desires has not
exempted people from slaughtering one another, as well. This is because the
connection between non-humans and humans is irrefutable. We are all animals. If
non-human animals are exploitable and expendable, then so are human animals.
Anthropocentrism is similar to egocentrism. When someone
behaves as though he or she is the only person whose interests and needs
mattered, we call that person self-centered, or egocentric. Such a person thinks
nothing about the needs of others. The world and all its inhabitants are there
for his or her amusement and use. Analogously, when people think of humans as
the only beings who matter, we can call those people human-centered, or
anthropocentric. Both egocentrism and anthropocentrism result in abuse of
others, since they are self-serving perspectives. In fact, all egocentric
people are also anthropocentric. To them, the world is for their use. These
egocentric people, who see themselves as the center of the human world, will see
humans as the center of the natural world.
The reverse is
not true, however. Many people consider themselves altruistic lovers of mankind,
willing to die on the cross as their hero, Christ, had done to atone for man’s
sinfulness. These people would not be considered egocentric. Yet, they put the
interests and needs of humans at the highest priority. They put mankind on a
pedestal over all other creatures, and consider the world to be man’s resource
base. Liberators believe that the saints of mankind are still the sinners
of the world.
Using this line of thinking,
liberators conclude that anthropocentrism alienates humans from the rest of the
natural world. Anthropocentric people consider humans separate from nature and
the environment, a reality experienced by millions of people living in asphalt
and cement cities. In most cities, nature is limited to urban landscape designs,
where an occasional tree is planted in a cement pot or in a small opening in the
sidewalk. The only feature of the natural world left untouched is the weather,
although people hide in their environmentally controlled buildings to minimize
this affect of nature on their lives.
anthropocentric people feel affection for animals or nature, their feelings are
always tainted by their human-centeredness. When they say they love animals,
they mean they like animals for what they offer people. Usually, they prefer
domestic animals. Domestication is a process whereby animals are bred for human
manipulation and control. Dogs, cats, and other � pets � are objects of
affection for people who think about animal life in relation to human needs.
When it comes to loving nature, these people see the
great outdoors as a rejuvenating getaway from urban life. They enjoy the tall
trees, clean air, and clean rivers and lakes. They value the way nature makes
them feel. They believe in saving a forest, because they like to hike in them.
They plead for saving a particular river, because they like to fish in it. They
cry for saving the rainforests, because their planet depends on it.
Rainforests, in fact, are a primary concern for
anthropocentric environmentalists for many reasons that reveal their
human-centered bias. Besides the greenhouse effect resulting from rainforest
destruction, they complain that species of plants and animals are becoming
extinct as the forests are destroyed. Why is that important ? It is because we
way lose potentially beneficial medicinal plants. Also, loss of animal species
reduces the world’s gene pool and robs humans of rich, varied biological
resources. They do not care about the lives of individual animals. All they care
about is endangered species, and the effect of such a loss on humans.
The anthropocentric perspective has led environmentalists
and animal defenders to be at odds with one another. These animal lovers care
more about cats and dogs than about redwoods, while these environmentalists care
more about keeping the wild available for human recreational use than about
animals. Such environmentalists support the practice of adding animals to
wildlife areas, as the state Fish and � Game �2
Departments do, to sustain the population at a level that will allow hunters to
have fun killing animals every season.
anthropocentric approach makes animal and environmental issues seem like two
separate issues. This is no surprise. Alienated people, who are themselves apart
from nature, see animals unconnected to their environments, as well.
Liberators see things differently. They see the
environment as an integration of beings with their surroundings. Animals are
extensions of the trees, rivers, grasses, rain, snow, earth, air, clouds, and
all of the planet. The entire planet is one system. And the whole of the
planet is greater than the sum of its animal, vegetable, and mineral parts.
To separate animals from the environment is a human mental construct. It has
nothing to do with reality.
All animals and plants
come from the earth. They all return to the earth. They are composed of the same
ingredients. They are different manifestations of the same oneness of the world.
To live by this view, liberators have adopted a
naturocentric ethic, in which they see the human place in the world from the
perspective of the entire natural world. This view sees humans, not as the
center of the planet, but only as one participant among a majority of others.
Man is not even the most important participant. Why should he be ?
Elephants, otters, sea bass, spiders, and vultures have as much a right to be on
this planet as humans.
A naturocentric view is
holistic. As such, it joins the animal and environmental movements into
one movement of liberation of the world from human tyranny and exploitation.
Liberators believe they must care for the environment, not because it has value
to humans, but because it is the home of their non-human brothers and sisters.
To liberators, having an animal movement without a
defense of the environment is absurd. Animals need a place to live, and a
destruction of the environment is actually a destruction of the animals.
To have an environmental movement without a primary
concern for animals is nothing more than human self-centeredness. To be
concerned about the environment without a concern for its animal component is to
see the environment only on human terms.
Only with a
naturocentric ethic can animal lovers and environmentalists come together to
combat human oppression of others and the destruction of the world. This
naturocentric ethic considers environmentalism a component of the animal
movement. Liberators care about the environment because it is where their
brothers and sisters live. The animals are their environment. Defending the
environment is defending the animals.
considering environmental protection an animal issue, liberators are not
suggesting that such life forms as trees don’t matter. They certainly do matter.
They believe that the more we get in touch with our natures as animals, the more
we can feel a connection to all life forms. We can stand next to a tree and feel
its life force and strength. A naturocentric ethic focuses on such connection.
When a tree is cut down, we feel part of ourselves
destroyed. Our connection has been severed. This feeling of a loss of connection
is what motivates liberators to respect trees and other aspects of the
environment of which they are a part. They defend the environment, therefore, as
they defend themselves and the other creatures connected to it.
For liberators, environmental defense is an extension
of animal defense. If no animals were connected to or affected by an
environment, it wouldn’t matter what happened to it. Environments matter
when they are the fountainheads of living beings to whom life matters.
This is another way of saying that the environmental movement is a subsidiary of
the animal movement.
A liberators’ commitment to
non-human animals is deeper than mere lip service. They have a spiritual
connection with all beings, a feeling of oneness with all of creation. What
happens to the armadillo being, or the deer being, or the dove being affects
liberators, since they are the liberators’ family and loved ones. These other
beings are the liberators’ brothers and sisters, and the liberators treat them
with respect, integrity, and loyalty. And when they say that the other beings
are their family, they mean that they will defend them as they would their
blood brothers and sisters.
Loving animals, for a liberator, is more than
getting pleasure playing with a puppy or kitten. It’s a commitment to respect
animal beings in all personal actions, and to stand by them to fight all humans
who would oppress them.
Many people proclaim a love
for animals. Hunters say they love wildlife, even as they empty their
semi-automatic weapons into anything that moves. Trappers insist they love
animals, too, and maintain that the leghold traps they use are not excessively
painful to the animals unlucky enough to be crunched by them. Even animal
researchers boast a love for animals, and insist that the tortures they submit
our brothers and sisters to are necessary for human health.
The self-serving, human centered beliefs of hunters,
trappers, and researchers should be obvious even to people disinterested in
animals. But to liberators, some alleged � animal lovers �, and even members
of � humane � organizations, are equally laughable in their view of animals.
These alleged animal defenders and lovers are hypocrites, as liberators see it.
They still consider animals objects for human exploitation. Only, please,
exploit them in a humane way, these hypocrites ask. Torturing and killing
animals in laboratories is justified if it is for � necessary � research,
provided it is done with compassion. Even eating animals is acceptable, so long
as they are � humanely slaughtered �.
who see animals as family, the concept of � humane slaughter �, for any cause,
is a perversity. It shows how confused humans are in what it means to be
humane. Humane slaughter is an oxymoron, like military intelligence.
Liberators feel that killing an innocent being, human or non-human, who does
not want to die, is never humane.
liberators use is the following. Would you ever regard the murder of your
brother or sister as humane ? What if the murderer pleaded with you that he
killed your sister lovingly, with an overdose of barbiturates, or with
electrocution ? Would you smile and agree that her murder was humane ?
Liberators believe that the real reason for calling
animal slaughter � humane � is that it makes the process easier for the killers.
Making murder easy for people is what liberators say many � humane �
organizations are all about. They point out that 15 million dogs
and cats are killed in � shelters � every year. The public doesn’t want to think
that their unwanted pets are being killed with two-by-fours crashed over their
skulls. It is more humane to people to kill the animals more
discretely, say, by injection. Never mind that the destroyed animals are
murdered for no other reason than human negligence and unwillingness to change
the system, like shutting down pet shops, making breeding illegal, and mandating
Liberators are disgusted with many animal
and environmental defense groups who have fat bank accounts, and who
willingly accept that they will probably never change the system. Some of
these organizations have existed for over 100 years. Meanwhile, animal abuse has
Do these organizations reflect on the
obvious inadequacy of their approach ? No, exclaim the liberators ! They simply
look ahead to the next 100 years of working within the system.
Liberators scoff at people who beat their chests in
defense of animal welfare, and even some who say they believe in animals rights,
but who have no problem with the killing of animals. These people oppose the
suffering of animals, not their murder. They are against factory farming, where
animals are treated as machines and are confined to dark, limited, overcrowded
spaces. Yet, they have no objection to killing animals for food if the creatures
are raised on old fashioned family farms before the slaughter. So long as the
animals are treated well while alive, there is nothing wrong with killing them.
Death is natural, after all.
Liberators ask whether these
people would adopt the same attitude if someone was coming after their five year
old brother to slaughter and eat him ? Would they allow him to be murdered if it
was assured that he would feel minimal pain at his moment of death ? Or would
they say he has a life to live, which nobody has a right to end. If the killers
reason that the child has had a good life, would it make his murder more
acceptable ? Of course not, the liberators exclaim !
murderers of animals justify their actions by agreeing that humans are animals,
too, and animals kill one another. Humans are simply living according to the
rule of the jungle. They do not explain why, as animals, humans choose to act
like parasites and aggressive carnivores, rather than like peaceful herbivores.
They also don’t explain how, as ruthless beasts killing and exploiting other
creatures, humans can be expected to behave humanely and respectfully towards
other humans. When challenged for an answer, they reflexively say that humans
are not the same as animals. Humans somehow deserve more respect. To liberators,
that statement reveals a prejudice, called speciesism, which involves a belief
that non-human species are inferior to humans, as racism is a belief that some
races are inferior to others.
Treating animals as
inferior and having less value than humans is a feature of even some staunch
animal rights defenders, liberators believe. As an example, they refer to the
words of the self-proclaimed guru of the American animal rights movement, Dr.
Tom Regan. In his Case for animal rights, Regan states that the life of a dog is
less rich and valuable than that of a human. Regan concludes that the death of a
dog would be a lesser harm to the dog than the death of a human would be to the
human. Liberators feel that, with friends like this, the animals need no
Humans have no business assessing how much
value or quality a dog, or any creature, has in his life. Liberators
consider such assessments to be anthropocentric. From their naturocentric ethic,
they believe that humans have no business passing judgment on the quality and
value of the life of another creature. Further, what relevance does such a
judgment make ? It makes no difference what we assume to be the value or quality
of a neighbor’s life when it comes to our respecting his right to live. And it
makes no difference whether that neighbor is a dog being, snail being, fly
being, human being, bat being, or giraffe being.
people have difficulty not putting the interests of humans before other animals.
Liberators believe that if people treated animals like loved members of a
family, then they would all be vegans (strict vegetarians who use no animal
products at all, including milk or eggs), would not drive cars, would
participate in society to the least degree possible, and would not be afraid to
showing disdain for animal abusers. They would wash their hands of all animal
exploitation, and would focus their activities on freeing animals today, rather
than trying to convince people to free them tomorrow. Most people, however, are
not willing to take these consistent steps. After all, they don’t want to be
labeled � extremists � by their animal abusing friends.
Liberators hold that the animals do not need a human
education movement. They need an animal liberation movement. They are
engaged in a war with society to defend their family from attack. They believe
that they will never win the war, but it is the only way to rescue individual
family members from human tyranny.
In defending their
position, liberators ask, what would you do if your sister was being raped each
day ? Would you have a peaceful talk with the rapists, or write your
Congressmen, who is also a rapist ? Or should you take a gun and blow the
bastards’ balls off ? Liberators know what their sister would want them to do.
For liberators, it’s time to save what
animals they can, enabling these innocent beings to live their lives as
nature, not man, intended. Liberators celebrate their good fortune of being
alive at a time when animals can still live in the wild, limited as it is. They
feel they can make a difference, and for each animal they save, they feel it’s
the difference between life and death.
2 The use of the word � Game � in
this agency’s title is testimony to the anthropocentrism
Liberators have given up on humans. For them, the goal of
converting humans into more ethical, sensitive beings, capable of respecting the
rights of animals to live, is impossible. They have two reasons for coming to
this conclusion. The first is that it is not in the nature of most people to
respect non-human life. Second, animal abuse is an intrinsic feature of our
society. In this chapter I will explain the first reason, and leave the second
for the next chapter.
When we think of the way we should
be treating animals, we are thinking about ethical principles. Ethics is usually
presented by philosophers, who appeal to people’s minds with reasoned arguments
about how people should behave. However, liberators believe that an
intellectual approach towards changing people’s ethical, or moral, beliefs is
doomed to failure. This is because ethics really has little to do with the
All the reasoning in the world will not get
through to a person invested in a particular behavior. The human mind has a
tremendous capacity to close itself off from all reasoning, and insulate
itself from moral argument.
People act from their
hearts, not their heads. Every salesperson knows this. They sell the feelings
that the purchased item will bring. Children know this technique, too. A tearful
eyed plea is much more effective than reasoning in getting parents to comply
Humans do things which feel good and
avoid things which feel bad. They merely use their minds to justify their
It’s no different for ethicists.
Philosophers, like everyone else, begin with a feeling of what is right, an
intuitive sense of what should be, and then try to develop arguments to justify
those original feelings. Non-philosophers in the general public, who care about
ethical principles regarding how to behave towards others, are attracted to
those philosophical theories and arguments which reflect and confirm what they
already feel is right.
Intellectual arguments, then,
are not effective in persuading people to treat non-humans with respect, unless
the people already feel that non-humans deserve that respect 3.
Most people don’t even respond to intellectual arguments
concerning ethics. When asked why they are eating animals, for example, they
will say, � I like the taste. � When you push them against the wall with words,
showing them that they are inconsistent in their treatment of humans and
non-humans, that they are merely being speciesists, they will say, � So I’m
speciesist. I’m inconsistent ! I’ll accept that. � Even after you show them what
is done to animals in factory farms and by slaughter houses, and even after you
explain to them that billions of animals are destroyed that way each year, they
still continue to eat flesh, perhaps averting their eyes when passing a
particularly grotesque butcher shop. Clearly, their behavior is not a matter of
ignorance. Yet your words fell on deaf ears. Why ?
Arguments don’t change people’s behaviors. Only changes in feelings can.
As a simple illustration of this truth, liberators use
the example of slaughter house workers. It’s clear that these workers know what
they are doing. Telling them the facts of animal destruction makes no sense.
They live those facts. Yet they still slaughter animals. Why do they continue to
do it ?
Liberators contend that it is because, while
they know what they are doing, they don’t feel what they are doing.
As a result, liberators hold that it is useless using
ethics to � prove � that animals should or shouldn’t be respected in their right
to live . All one can say is that one feels it is wrong to exploit
animals, or that one feels it is acceptable to use animals for human
ends. The rest of the argument is window dressing, mind games to justify that
one’s feelings are correct.
This is why liberators
conclude that we will never free the animals by talking to abusers about
At the risk of seeming philosophical
themselves, liberators have considered the question, � Why do some people
respect animals and others don’t ? � To answer this they know that they must
address the deeper question, � What makes a person ever consider the needs of
others ? �
Liberators believe a person only considers
others when it affects that person’s feelings, specifically, his or her feelings
of pain or pleasure.
If we like someone, it gives us
pleasure to be with them. Our behavior towards them is motivated by the pleasure
they give us. On the other hand, we will be motivated to avoid a person who
gives us pain.
So long as someone can please or harm
us, so long as he affects our lives, we will consider how we treat him.
If pain and pleasure are both motivations, it could be
asked which is the stronger. Liberators point out that the work of moral
development theorists like Maslow, Erikson, and others, suggest that people must
first achieve a level of safety and have basic needs met before higher levels of
personal fulfillment and happiness can be attained. This means that people need
to have their stomachs full and have warmth and shelter as prerequisites for a
happy life. Without these basic requirements being met, people will feel pain
and its associated feeling, fear. Consumed by pain and fear, people cannot truly
develop into happy, fulfilled human beings.
and fear can cause a highly morally developed person to act on the lowest
level of selfish, basic need fulfillment. The most generous, compassionate,
friendly person can turn into a murderous beast under the right conditions of
fear and pain. This, liberators conclude, is because pain is a greater
motivation than pleasure on a basic, fundamental level.
They say that personal reflection supports this point.
The example they use is that you cannot enjoy very much when you have a
headache. The pain overwhelms the pleasure. Also, when you are sick and
in pain your consideration of others melts away, revealing a basic self-interest
in getting yourself better. This makes good biological sense. Pain tells the
organism that he or she is in danger of being damaged, with the ultimate threat
of death. Pleasure becomes a luxury that an organism cannot afford until its
basic survival needs are again satisfied.
therefore, believe that pain is more powerful than pleasure in motivating
people. Fear is a component of pain, and is an extremely efficient means of
controlling people’s behaviors. Fear is a form of emotional pain. Unlike
physical pain, fear can motivate people without being accompanied by physical
contact. And fear is used all the time to keep humans under control.
For example, the fear of going to jail keeps many people
from disobeying laws. Peer groups control members through the fear of rejection.
The Internal Revenue Service controls taxpayers through the fear of an audit.
Advertisers try to create a need for a product in the minds of consumers, and
use fear when they suggest that people will suffer without fulfilling that need.
Of course, sometimes people are pushed in opposite
directions by their fears. For example, someone may believe that eating meat
is unhealthy, and wishes to avoid meat for fear of getting ill. On the other
hand, that person may fear losing her meat eating spouse by seeming too
different and extreme. For that person, it comes down to which fear is greater.
All those interested in influencing people’s behaviors
use fear as a manipulation tool. Exploiting this observation of human nature,
liberators feel that changing people’s behaviors requires that the fear, and,
hence, the pain, of doing the undesirable activity must become greater than the
pain and fear of not doing it.
In terms of
stopping animal abuse, liberators feel it makes more sense to have people fear
what will happen to them if they continue to abuse animals, than to debate with
them over the ethical ramifications of their actions.
To liberators, then, fear and pain are the primary
motivations of people. Moving on to the weaker, but real, motivating force of
pleasure, it is clear that people get pleasure from those they like, and treat
them differently from those they dislike. What makes people like or dislike
Liberators believe it is our ability to
identify with others, which is another way of
saying our ability to empathize with them, that determines
whether we will like them or dislike them.
a feeling we get when we believe we can feel what another is feeling. It has
nothing to do with the mind, but with the heart, and is therefore real and
powerful in its effect on our behavior. It is the way we see our connection to
others, and identify with their reality.
empathy we cannot feel affection for others. It is the basis of friendship
and love. It feels good. And we need it.
liberators, love, the most pleasant form of empathy, is the second greatest
motivator of humans, second only to pain and fear.
Liberators say that the reason we need love and empathy is because we all feel
alone in the world. Humans are an alienated species, unsure of their connection
with the rest of nature. It’s a frightening world when you have no real clue how
to act, no internal instincts telling you what is healthy or harmful. If we had
such knowledge, we wouldn’t need ethics or religion to tell us how to live. Both
try to address human behavior and our place in the world. Ever since there have
been people, there have been religious and moral codes trying to make sense out
of the chaos of the human condition. This basic human existential uncertainty
makes people lonely and frightened. Friendship is welcome relief.
On the other side of this existential coin is the need to
feel control in the world. Liberators believe that power and control issues
dominate most people’s lives. If people can’t be in control over their own
lives, then they will try to be in control over the lives of others.
People fear being out of control, because being out
of control is painful. We try to feel we will be okay in the world, that
the environment is not hostile, and that our needs will be met. Seeking control
over others is one way humans achieve an illusory peace in their minds that the
world is a safe, manageable place.
Love for others
and power over others are mutually exclusive. You cannot love someone you
exploit, or exploit someone you love.
most people handle this paradox is by loving some and controlling others. And
since control is often exploitative, it requires that you feel little or no
empathy for those controlled, so you can avoid suffering along with them as you
To illustrate this point, liberators use
the example of Nazi doctors who conducted heinous experiments on Jews during the
day, while acting as loving husbands and fathers at night. Humans label a group
as � other �, using race, nationality, sex, or species as the basis for the
distinction, and consider that group unworthy of empathy and, therefore, a
reasonable target for exploitation. So long as humans have some other group with
whom they can identify and find empathy and love, they can satisfy their need
for affection. By splitting groups this way, people allow themselves the
pleasure of love with some groups, and the reduction of pain through the
exploitation of other groups.
The groups they are kind
to consist of human beings, particularly those of equal of greater power. The
ones exploited are typically powerless, unable to reciprocate aggression, which
is the case with non-human beings.
This is an
important point about the liberators’ beliefs that deserves emphasis. The
conflict between fear and pleasure, control and empathy, plays out in the
following way. If you have power over others, then you will not fear them. This
means you can treat them any way you like, whether it be exploitatively or
fairly, and they will simply have to accept it. If treated exploitatively, then
they have no recourse but to suffer. If treated fairly, then they have the
choice of reciprocating your fairness. Most likely, since you have more power,
they will always treat you fairly, or even give you more than you deserve, which
is a form of self exploitation, regardless of your treatment of them. In short,
you have all the power and you call the shots.
other hand, if the others have equal or greater power than you have, the tables
are turned. Your treatment of them is tempered by the constant awareness that
they can reciprocate kindness or aggression, and you may lose if it is
aggression. Fear of reprisals keeps you in check. Of course, if you like the
more powerful individuals and wish to treat them fairly, all the better. But you
would not treat them in anything but a fair manner, and you may even chose to
exploit yourself and give them more than they deserve as an insurance policy to
soothe your fears.
What this boils down to is that those
in power have the option of treating others as they wish, with no fear that the
others might reciprocate evil for evil. Those out of power are moved by fear to
comply with the wishes of the powerful. Another way of saying this is that
humans interact with one another according to a pecking order. What this
means is that treating others with liberty, fraternity and equality are not
natural human tendencies. For most people, it’s a peck or be pecked world.
When people chose groups to exploit, the least powerful
are the easiest target. Non-human animals have no power by themselves to respond
to human aggression and exploitation. Animals are helpless to suffer the fate
of human power over their lives.
consider animals to be objects undeserving of empathy, they do not recognize the
pain they are causing them. They have disqualified animals as feeling beings
capable of suffering and having interests of their own. These people are,
therefore, numb to their cries and pain. This numbness allows abusers to sleep
at night, and kill during the day 4.
Liberators believe that people consider the needs of
others only when it affects their pleasure or pain. Those with empathy for
animals respect the animals. They get pleasure identifying with non-human
beings, and enjoy seeing them free. People, such as liberators, respect all
beings as equal members of the family of life, entitled to their moment on the
planet. Instead of seeing animals as objects of control, they see them as
objects of love. Liberators satisfy their need for control by focusing on their
own lives, and committing themselves to a lifestyle consistent with a respect
for all creatures.
Why do some people develop empathy for
animals while others don’t ? Liberators believe it depends on who they are, what
their life experiences have been, how open their hearts are, and how seduced
they are by cruel social institutions. What makes some people racist or sexist ?
The same forces are at work in our dealings with animals.
To liberators this means that, if you don’t have
empathy for animals, at least to some degree, then you will not understand any
argument for respecting their autonomy. Further, animals are helpless and easy
prey for human control, since they can’t fight back.
Liberators believe these two factors are major obstacles to changing people’s
behaviors towards animals. The impact of these obstacles has made human history
a non-stop legacy of animal abuse and exploitation. Human brutality to
animals, and even to humans who can’t fight back, has been a fact of life since
the beginning of recorded time. It is clear to liberators that the
obstacles to humans developing a sensitivity to animals are
The lesson liberators draw
from their study of human nature is that the only way to stop oppression of
animals is by creating a fear of reprisals for such acts. Animals cannot
do this by themselves, but need liberators to act as their agents.
In other words, they believe that reasoning will not
help, since people are motivated by their hearts, not minds, to oppress others.
Reprisals are the only effective means. The fear and pain of reprisals can
offset the existential fear that control over the animals was meant to satisfy.
Only when the weak become strong will exploitative humans mind their manners.
Either animals will be respected because people
love them, or they will be respected because people are afraid of what will
happen to them if they don’t treat them with respect. That is the
rule liberators use for understanding how humans deal with others. Since animals
can’t retaliate for human aggression and exploitation by themselves, it is up to
liberator agents to do so for them.
Let me deal with
some objections to the liberator argument. One objection may be that many people
can � love � animals, yet still be willing, and eager, to kill them for food.
For example, I know a farmer who raises pigs, and � loves � the piglets all the
way to the butcher shop. She also gets calves as pets for two years, and then �
puts them in the freezer. � Can’t people � love � animals and exploit them at
the same time ?
Of course not, say the liberators !
What these abusive humans feel for animals is not love. People are
motivated by self interest as they try to maximize pleasure and minimize pain.
If letting a pig grow is pleasurable, then the pig will survive. But once eating
the pig gives someone more pleasure than letting it live, watch out pig.
This question also raises an important point about
empathy. Liberators feel that many so called � animal lovers � are not
actually identifying and empathizing with animals, but are merely projecting
onto animals their own beliefs about what the animals should be feeling.
I have a personal experience to illustrate the
liberators’ point. Some horse � lovers � were sad that a horse was being
underfed by some irresponsible people, and were angry that the police were
refusing to do anything about it. They seemed to be people sensitive to horses’
needs. Yet they surprised me when I asked : � How do you feel about the carriage
horses that are worked up and down this street giving rides to tourists ? �
They did not go into a tirade, explaining that such
treatment of horses is slavery and an abomination. Instead, they responded : �
Those horses are cared for. They are fed well and nicely groomed. And they’re
work horses. I don’t think they would be happy if they couldn’t work. �
Liberators would interpret this example as an
illustration of how humans can fool themselves into thinking that they are
feeling empathy, when all they are really doing is projecting onto others their
own feelings and assumptions of how the other should be feeling.
How many times have you felt intense emotions after some
stirring event, and someone tells you, quite erroneously, that he knows exactly
how you feel ? That’s projection. It’s dealing with others in one’s own reality,
instead of trying to get into their reality. Most people haven’t the slightest
clue how others feel. They use their minds and assume that they know who you are
and how you should be reacting to certain situations.
empathy is not a mind trip. It is a way of communicating that takes place
without words. It is intuitive. For a society that underrates intuition and
overrates intellect, liberators feel it is no surprise that people have not
developed their empathic skills.
This is why someone can
love pigs and still say that it’s all right to kill them for their flesh. If
they feel it’s all right, and project that feeling onto the pigs, then they can
feel that the pigs somehow feel it’s all right, too. Further supporting this
illusion is the inability of the pigs to answer back verbally,
explaining that the feeling attributed to them was mistaken.
Liberators believe that true empathy with others is difficult. It takes
patience, a quiet mind, and a willingness to see reality differently, as others
see it. This task is difficult enough with other humans. We are reminded how
little we understand others whenever we come into contact with another culture.
Suddenly, our assumptions about behaviors don’t work. But dealing with other
human cultures is easy when compared to dealing with non-human cultures. The
behaviors of mice beings, bat beings, and mink beings are truly foreign to human
Liberators assert that seeing the world as a
non-human being sees it requires that we leave our anthropocentric way of
regarding other beings and things, and develop a naturocentric perspective.
Such a view would place common features among animals as a foundation for
understanding, and thereby empathizing, with them. We may not understand the
behaviors of all other creatures, but we do know that they are living on the
same planet as we are, and have the same physical reality as we have.
The more we see ourselves as animals, connected with
other creatures, as well as with plants, streams, rocks, clouds, and all of
nature, the greater our effectiveness in truly gaining insight into the feelings
of our brothers and sisters.
Liberators think that
this is a tall order for most people to fill. Liberators believe that most
people live in their own worlds, and don’t even know how to relate to other
humans. This is all a function of their alienation from nature, including
their own natures as human animals. The more alienated people are, the less they
can identify with others, be they human or non-human. That is because
identification requires self-understanding. In common parlance, you must
understand yourself before you can understand others.
make human empathy with non-humans even more improbable, people are told how
different they are from other animals. We have souls, animals don’t. We have
thoughts and feelings, animals don’t. We are made in God’s image. We have
dominion over other animals. We are the chosen creatures.
Even the distinction human/animal, which is institutionalized in the � animal
� rights movement, implies that we are different from non-humans. In effect,
humans see themselves as non-animals. How can anyone develop empathy with
others who are by definition different ? Liberators claim it’s impossible.
Liberators believe empathy is needed for moral behavior.
The obstacles to developing true empathy make moral behavior towards non-human
beings difficult for even conscientious individuals, not to mention for
Another objection might arise at
this point. If liberators say that self-alienation is at the root of human
cruelty, perhaps animal lovers should address human pain with the hope of
somehow � healing � humankind ? The result of people being healed might
eventually trickle down to help oppressed animals. Another way some people put
this is that we can’t help the animals until we first address human needs.
Liberators say that there are two false assumptions used
for this objection. One is that people are basically good. The ridiculousness of
this notion will be addressed in the � Myth of non-violence � chapter. The
second assumption is that such healing of human nature is possible, usually
through education, reasoned debate, unconditional love, and patience. We have
already discussed this fallacy.
To liberators, this
approach is anthropocentrism in disguise. Attempting to � heal � humans to save
non-humans is useless.
First, liberators consider
that the pain which causes the need for control arises from a deep human
existential crisis, something that has not been solved since recorded history.
Humans have never felt at home on this planet. Our alienation is almost
definitional of what it means to be human. We just don’t have the answers to
this existential question, and we never will. That is the cause of our
eternal anxiety, and our desire for control. It is not about to go away by
debate and education.
Second, taking the time to try
and � heal � humankind is a luxury animals cannot afford. They are suffering
today, even as you read this, not in the thousands, but in the millions and
millions. If liberators truly wish to help animals defend themselves, they
believe they must do what the animals need right now. And to the
liberators, that means liberation, not counseling and unconditional love
for their oppressors.
You may still not understand
the liberators view of the use of militant tactics to stop animal oppressors.
Let me explain their position with an example that they like to use. People
believe that the use of force, even deadly force, is acceptable when being
attacked, as a form of self-defense. People also expect an innocent bystander to
assist a victim of assault if that victim is in need of help, even if that
assistance must be the use of deadly force. In both of these cases, people allow
the use of force on the basis of self-defense, whether the force was executed by
oneself or by the agent of the victim. Liberators believe they are simply using
force in self-defense as agents for animal victims of human oppression.
To the liberators, the animals are being brutalized.
They are helpless. Liberators feel that they have every moral right to defend
them. And they believe humans will not stop abusing non-humans without militant
Some readers may disagree with the
liberators, and insist that dialogue with abusers is potentially valuable. In
response to this, liberators point out that, even if people were persuaded by
ideas instead of force, the fact is that most people care nothing about moral
issues. Fighting with words instead of force is a waste of time. People who hope
to use words to change abusers do not like to think that their efforts have been
useless. But look at the evidence.
The Meyers/Briggs Test
is a personality profile test, well recognized, respected and used by
psychologists. It has helped psychologists determine that the general population
of this country falls into the following approximate personality categories :
- 38 % of the people are action oriented, deeply committed to an
activity while they are doing it. They seek the � gusto � in life. They live
in the present, and tend to have physical occupations. Intense, active
involvement is important to them. Naturally, nobody is purely one
category or another. Overlap does occur. But in general, there is a small
section of the public, about 12 %, that even cares about the animal issues
raised in this book. Of course, 12 % of the 270 million people in this
country amounts to about 30 million people, which is a significant number That
some of these people are awakening to the fact of animal abuse has given the
animal movement a great surge of growth and support. It has been estimated that
10 million people are members of animal organizations. When you consider that
these issues were a rarity only a decade ago, the momentum of the movement seems
- 12 % are interested in their
intellectual competence. They usually get jobs in the sciences. Ideas and
rigorous thinking are important to them.
- 38 % are duty and
responsibility focused. They are concerned with their place in the society,
they respect laws and authority and they are loyal to the system. Accountants,
bankers and administrators fit into this category. Maintaining the status
quo is important to them.
- 12 % are concerned with self-actualization
and spirituality, and question the significance of life and their place in the
world. Ethical issues and interpersonal relations are important to
Liberators believe that as a result of
these newly interested people in the movement, certain businesses have become
willing to change their ways. Vegetarian food is more available than before.
(although most alleged vegetarian items have milk products or eggs.) Some
cosmetic companies have decided to stop animal testing on their premises. And
even newspaper, magazine, television and radio coverage of animal issues has
increased, reflecting a rise in awareness. Changes have certainly been made as a
result of efforts to influence and educate this 12 % of the population.
Such changes, however, are more window dressing than
substance, according to the liberators. Restaurants, cosmetic companies and the
media will adapt to consumer demand. If there is a profit in catering to the
interests of animal lovers, then some businesses will rush to fill that niche.
Before we give the non-violent approach more credit than
it deserves, liberators ask that we reflect on some actual changes.
Vegetarianism has become increasingly popular, although still to a very small
segment of the population, primarily because of its apparent health benefits to
humans. In other words, they are vegetarian for anthropocentric and egocentric
So long as people change their behaviors for
personal gain, rather than for ethical reasons, there is always the possibility
that they will change again, listening to the next salesman of health and
beauty. The meat and medical industries know this. Liberators feel that is
why these industries are fighting back to maintain animal abuse. They use the
message that lean meat is good and essential for health. They know that health
minded people will eat flesh again if told it is good for them.
And they are successful in pushing their message. Witness
how many � vegetarian � people revert to a meat based diet for fear of protein
or calcium deficiency. Most vegetarians strike a bargain, hoping to get the best
of both camps’ advice, by eating dairy products and eggs. Is this really a
victory for the animal movement, liberators ask ?
another example, consider the cruelty free shoe market. Stores like Payless Shoe
Stores offer plastic and canvas shoes. Non-violent animal lovers are quick to
claim this as a success of their approach. But, liberators ask, how many people
in the movement still wear leather and put fashion before ethics ? Is the
success of stores like Payless due to the support of animal lovers shunning
leather ? Or is it that plastic and canvas shoes are cheaper than leather ones ?
Liberators feel people today are attracted to low cost merchandise. Payless and
others stores like it appeal to budget minded people. That’s why it’s called �
Payless � and not � Cruelless �. Does that qualify the stores’ increased
popularity as a victory for the animals, liberators wonder?
On the other hand, liberators state, little has changed
in the area of animal research. If anything, things have gotten worse. The
creation of genetic engineering techniques have opened up new avenues for animal
exploitation. Strains of mice can now be produced, and are being patented
with certain genetic derangements. The biomedical carnage against animals has
continued unabated, except for some increased paperwork that vivisectors must
complete. Liberators point out that, despite the growing awareness of such
abuses, however, animal lovers still flock to physicians who are trained by
bloodthirsty vivisectors, and buy drugs which were tested on animals.
Another failure of non-violent movement raised by
liberators is the hunting situation. According to liberators, virtually nothing
significant for animals has been achieved over the past decade when it comes to
hunting. In fact, there are now hunter harassment laws preventing animal
supporters from going into the woods and interfering with the killing.
Why have vivisection and hunting been resistant to
progress, while other areas have been more flexible to change ? To liberators,
the answer is simple. Consumers have an effect on the balance sheet of consumer
oriented companies, like restaurants and cosmetic manufacturers. It is no skin
off of their noses to add a cruelty free item to their list of products, as when
Burger King sells vegeburgers along with its Whoppers.
However, the drug and medical industries know that people will consume their
products regardless of animal testing. As discussed above, when people are in
pain, their morals often go out the window. As for hunting, that is an isolated
business, unaffected by the common person’s interests and biases. Hunters buy
guns and ammunition from specialty shops, and pay licensing fees to support
government agencies overseeing their hunting grounds. The general public has
little impact on their activities.
In short, liberators
ask that animal lovers be realistic in assessing the successes of the
non-violence approach in making a difference for the animals. True, some changes
have been made. But liberators insist that people assess those changes in the
context of other societal influences, such as the economy, and consider the
fickle interests of self-centered consumers whose main concern is personal
health and longevity.
According to liberators, all
changes that have been made for the animals have been a direct result of an
appeal to human self-interest. The popularity of vegetarianism is one
example of this fact.
Many groups fighting animal
research tell the public that such research is bad for human health. Stop
vivisection because it kills humans ! Hans Reusch’s approach is purely of this
type, as he exposes the various ways in which people have been killed by animal
Legislative initiatives against trapping have
to appeal to the risk of animal traps to innocent children or people’s pets,
rather than to the wildlife they are intended to kill !
Attempts to stop pound seizures, in which pound animals are sold to research
labs, have to address whether or not using those animals in research can help
improve human health. As a result, those trying to stop pound seizures argue
that animals from pounds have poor health and uncertain medical backgrounds,
making them unsuitable for any scientifically valid, reproducible study. Groups
like the Medical Research Modernization Committee specifically attack animal
research for its ineffectiveness in helping humans.
cosmetic industry seems at first glance to be an exception to this requirement
that the animal movement appeal to self-interest to get changes. Actually, it is
no exception at all. Cosmetic products are sold for the feelings and images they
create for their users. To fight against animal testing, pictures of blinded
rabbits and other animal abuses are shown to consumers, associating cruelty with
certain cosmetic products. On the other hand, pictures of gentle, beautiful
people caressing warm, fuzzy animals are used to associate kindness and
compassion with products not tested on animals. Consumer self-interest in
looking beautiful motivates some people to buy products unassociated with animal
cruelty, since animal cruelty is clearly not beautiful.
To liberators, this need for animal groups to appeal to human
self-interest means that these groups are really working on a human-centered
movement, rather than an animal movement. Any gains for the animals
comes as a fortunate outcome of the process.
positive statement which liberators feel can be made about the non-violent
approach is that it can educate some people in the 12 % of the public who are
interested in moral issues. Some of these people will constitute a new market
for animal-friendly consumer goods and services. But in the broader picture,
this is a drop in the bucket, and there is no good reason to believe that the
trend is irreversible.
To liberators, the sad fact is
that not many people want to help the animals. Most people are happy enough
getting through the day in one piece. They don’t have the energy, or
inclination, to address social or moral issues. They constitute the majority of
humans in this country, and probably in the world. Liberators know the saints
were always fewer than the sinners.
What this means is
that moral arguments coming from proponents of various, opposing positions are
competing for the attention of that small 12 % of society who care about such
issues. Working with this target audience to generate behavioral changes is not
Liberators recognize that people hate to
change. Humans are habit forming creatures. Someone can see The Animals
Film, with its graphic display of animal slaughter, agree that the scenes
are disgusting, and still eagerly devour a veal cutlet or piece of fried
chicken. � I’ve eaten meat all my life, � they rationalize.
Psychologists explain that people have a narrow tolerance
for change. If they are pushed too far, exceeding that tolerance, they rebel and
go in the opposite direction. This is why some activists believe that we must
change people slowly, allowing their tolerance limits to adjust as they move
along in the right direction.
Forces tear at people in
every direction trying to manipulate them. Animal abusers outnumber people
concerned about animals by 100 :1, and can just as easily outspend their
opposition in advertising and propaganda. People will ultimately be pulled away
from supporting animals, as humans are brainwashed by Madison Avenue executives.
Also, people have to be willing to
change. Animal abuse is a large part of everyone’s life in
this society, as the next chapter will discuss. The inertia against change is
Finally, even if we could get people to
change a little in their behaviors, there must be some way of reinforcing that
change to prevent people from having a relapse of old behaviors. Many people say
they used to be vegetarian, or even vegan, but lost interest, or got into a
relationship with a meat eater, causing them to return to flesh as food.
Liberators believe that, with society entrenched in animal abuse, making a
cruelty free lifestyle an effort to maintain, such behavior reinforcement for
respectful treatment of animals is not forthcoming.
Liberators know that people, even the 12 % of society interested in moral
issues, are weak, stubborn, frightened, irrational, habitual, spiteful,
inconsistent, angry, vicious creatures. Dialogue may or may not have any effect
on reaching the 12 % of the population; but it is certainly a waste of time for
the other 88 %. We may be able to battle with words for the 12 %; but the
animals need liberators to battle with force to influence the other 88 %.
Liberators ask that animal lovers be realistic and
consider what must be done to save animals. They ask what you would do if your
sister or brother was imprisoned in a torture chamber, soon to be executed.
Would you talk to the prison guards and torturer about human rights ? Would you
write your Congressman ? Hell, no, they exclaim ! You’d be doing everything in
your power to rescue your family member. To liberators, talk is cheap, and when
it comes to ethics, they feel talk is bullshit !
believe the animals are helpless without them. It is up to human beings to
defend them, to truly act as their agents. Speaking on the animals’ behalf will
not suffice - it hasn’t helped oppressed human groups to just speak about their
freedom. Liberators feel we must act for the animals. We must do for them
what we believe they would do for themselves.
what do liberators believe the animals would do ? They would escape from their
captors. They would shoot back when shot at. They would destroy the cages that
confined them, so they could not be used again. They would damage roads that
made way for the destructive force of automobiles. They would burn down research
facilities, and kill animal researchers, who daily destroy their kin for profit
and amusement. They would form an underground of saboteurs to
disrupt the machinery of the vast human killing
machine called society.
If people had the courage to
live up to their commitment to be agents for the animals, then they would do all
the above, say the liberators. Indeed, liberators are already doing it !
If it is hopeless to try changing people, perhaps we can
change society ? What do the liberators say about that ? Let’s talk about that
3 Liberators recognize that there are
exceptions to this rule. Some people change their feelings regarding animals as
a result of education concerning the forms and pervasiveness of animal abuse.
Such transformations are rare, however, and are only possible for a small
percentage of the population, as discussed later in this chapter.
4 The inability of some people to relate to
animals is made clear when they ask : � Don’t plants have rights, too ? � All
animal activists have heard that question. Liberators believe such a question is
never asked by someone who is truly concerned about plants, or animals. The
point of the question is to show that animal defenders are inconsistent in
drawing a line between animals and vegetables. The questioners assume that there
is no morally relevant difference between asparagus and giraffes, so that
killing asparagus is morally equivalent to killing giraffes. Naturally, the
questioners have no doubt that humans are different in a morally significant way
from both animals and vegetables, and, therefore, deserve special consideration.
In actuality, then, their question reflects their own bias in considering
animals to be the same as vegetables. This is evidence of their deep alienation
from animals. Such people have no hope of identifying with animals, just as they
can never identify with plants (unless they themselves are vegetables !)