BUAV Liberator, Most Popular

BUAV Liberator 1986

10.15.14 | Permalink

BUAV Liberator (1986. London, England)

“Although the BUAV as a limited company can only organize legal activity, we aim to complement and support direct action whenever possible.” BUAV editorial, April-May 1986

Frequent readers of the site will be aware that TALON’s volunteers are big fans of the BUAV Liberator. Not only do its old pulp pages bleed with animal lib history, but the politics represented by BUAV at that time were among the most progressive (and occasionally radical) of any major national non-profit working for non-humans.

During this era the British Union to Abolish Vivisection supported any direct action which did not include pre-meditated violence towards a human, and proudly advocated a broad array of strategies and tactics. From letter writing to sabotage, legislation to arson, the BUAV gave coverage to nearly all of the activism in England at the time- and that is only a small part of what makes these papers so great.

Year after year, each volume of the Liberator gives us clues as to the mood within the movement. In 1986 for example, we see a somber tone set over the movement as the Liberation League’s began to fold, the government passed legislation expanding vivisection, and dozens of activists began prison sentences over lab raids. This blow to activist morale in 1986 was perhaps most visible in the actions of Robert Blackman, a young man who entered the Colchester cattle market and self immolated to protest the sell of living beings. His mother later said that “He gave his life because he thought the cruelty would never stop.”

Interestingly, 1986 was also a year filled with inspiring actions for animals. Issue after issue details labs shut down, vivisectors ending their careers, a dramatic rise in veganism and vegetarianism among the general public, and non-humans having their first taste of freedom. It is only within the context of the meteoric rise of animal rights in the earlier part of the 1980s could this year be seen as any kind of a failure. Indeed, if the level of activism in these issues were to occur today morale would sky rocket and great breakthroughs could be made- and all of us should take that as a challenge!




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N.A.L.L. Newsletter #7-8

10.10.14 | Permalink

N.A.L.L. Newsletters – Issues 7-8 (1983, Manchester, England)

In the history of our movement there is no group that inspires me more than the Northern Animal Liberation League. They had broad politics, bold tactics, a unique take on direct action, and an appreciation for solidarity with other revolutionary groups that was ahead of their time.

Their newsletter, unfortunately, wasn’t on par quality wise with the rest of their organization. Constrained by time and money, this photocopied mail out is unattractive and devoid of the analysis that made NALL so great. That isn’t to say that it isn’t an absolute joy for fans of animal liberation history though! While I would love to see more of NALL’s radical socialist and anti-authoritarian roots in these pages, I can not deny the simple pleasures of reading about daylight raids, hunt sabotage, and the wholesale ruining of vivisectors lives in England’s north. Even NALL’s hokey and ill-informed embrace of pseudo-science bunk like homeopathy has a certain charm and helps to flesh out the group’s character for those of us who missed the glory days.

TALON is always on the lookout for anything related to the Animal Liberation Leagues. If you have other newsletters, copies of TARGET, leaflets, or anything put out by the Leagues please contact us HERE.



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Turning Point #5-6

10.01.14 | Permalink

TURNING POINT – Issues 5-6 (1986-1987, Oxford, UK)

After a brief run as “Black Beast,” Turning Point emerged as England’s foremost animal rights publication in 1986. Featuring first hand accounts of direct action, a decent analysis of systemic animal abuse, and a willingness to be controversial, Turning Point documented all of the major animal liberation events of its era.

Issues #5 and #6 give coverage to mainstream media distortions of AR activism, CALL’s brilliant raids of Park Farm, ALF strikes across England (Including the liberation of three otters!) and so much more. There is even a brief mention of the Farm Freedom Fighters, the first group to raid a factory farm in the United States. Interestingly, their media relations were handled by none other than Farm Sanctuary.

These two volumes are markedly better than the Black Beast issues that preceded them, and all of us at TALON are excited to finally preserve them in our archive.



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09.18.14 | Permalink

SEAL (Straight Edge Animal Liberation) Issue # 3 (1996, Apple Valley, MN)

Well, let’s see here: collegiate lettering, gratuitous X’s, Earth Crisis worship, and “True Till Death.” This cover hit’s every checklist point for a straight edge vegan publication in the 90’s. It then continues with exactly what you’d expect on the inside: moral peacockery, anti-abortion bullshit, and an unwillingness to confront any of the failings of “The New Ethic’s” tendencies towards unethical behavior. Anti-gay bigots are given space to distribute literature, Hardline bands are reviewed, all sans criticism for their abhorrent political leanings.

That said, this isn’t a complete waste of ink. There is a long interview with Freeman Wicklund before his split with militancy that details three years of exciting activity in Minneapolis, activity which led to the publication of No Compromise and the escalation of direct action amongst the animal lib grassroots. Anyone seeking to understand the movement’s mid-90’s shift would do well to read Wicklund’s words. There are also interesting nostalgic tid-bits for those of us who were around during this time, like advertisements for Amy from NJ ADL’s well known zine Anxiety Closet.

Do you have other issues of SEAL? We would love to obtain and preserve them. Please contact us HERE if you can help.

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Combat #2

08.28.14 | Permalink

Combat #2 (1992, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada)

A full three years and one month after the posting of Combat #1, we have finally found a copy of the second issue. Rumored to have been almost completely confiscated by RCMP officers the day it came back from the printers, Combat #2 is one of the rarest publications on our site. Our thanks go out to everyone who helped us track it down.

While this issue is far less ambitious than the first issue of Combat, its real problems are the actions that it is covering. Both cover stories were public relations disasters for the animal liberation underground at a time when direct action was already in decline, and one was a disaster for the non-humans it sought to save.

The Cold Buster contamination hoax, like all contamination hoaxes before and after, was mostly successful in convincing the world that animal liberationists were willing to target the public and risk killing random consumers. These hoaxes do generally cause large amounts of financial damage- but none of them has ever stopped a product from being animal tested and it is difficult to believe that the benefits outweigh the costs. When the Animal Rights Militia announced a week after the initial scare that the contamination was a hoax, the media barely paid attention.

The Billingsgate Fish Market action was even more tragic. The action itself involved economic sabotage and arson, both defensible acts against the capture, confinement, and killing of non-humans, except that in this instance fire was set to trucks which were parked directly against the building itself. The flames caused a short circuit to the building’s electrical systems, halting pumps to crab and lobster tanks inside. More than a dozen were killed. While it is true that those animals were already slated for death, it is still unconscionable that their lives were cut short by animal liberators.

This isn’t to say that there is nothing redeeming about this second and final issue of Combat. One of the original messages from the Western Wildlife Unit is presented here unedited, and there are also rare accounts of some of the last major hunt sabotage actions in the United States.

We are happy to have saved this publication from obscurity and to make it available once again here on TALON.

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Black Beast #1

08.18.14 | Permalink

BLACK BEAST – Issue 1 (1985, Oxford, UK)

Black Beast (A nod to the French term “bête noire,”) ran for three issues before becoming Turning Point in late 1986. The first issue differed from the rest of the series by containing some attempted humor and by naming the editors, a practice that ended with issue #2. Articles leaned heavily towards the direct action oriented grassroots, but also contained a defense of traditional campaigning methods.

There are some very good bits of movement history in this magazine, but my favorite might be the advertisement for Green Anarchist magazine on the back cover. Good stuff all around…

The other two issues of Black Beast are available HERE.

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TALON Conspirator #5: Vancouver Animal Defense League

08.06.14 | Permalink
Editors note: Since this site’s inception, the volunteers at TALON have felt that our purpose  is not to catalog the past, but to inform the present. We do not exist as activist nostalgia, but to guide new generations by sharing information about the errors and victories of those who came before them. Our hope was always that modern campaigns would be built with these lessons, and that we could share their own errors and victories as a long term effort to refine our movement’s tactics and strategies.
The TALON Conspirator posts will highlight our favorite organizations and the facets of our shared history that inspire them. Our fifth post in this series is written by volunteers from the Vancouver Animal Defense League.

VADL members lockdown at the Calgary Stampede. Click to enlarge.
Since 2008, the Vancouver Animal Defense League (VADL) has been undertaking ongoing grassroots campaigns that, in our view, are advancing the cause of animal liberation. I’d like to share updates on three particular recent campaigns, and how we believe they advocate for animals effectively.

Canada Goose

In the interest of fashion, the outdoors-wear company Canada Goose has activated trappers to torture and slaughter millions of coyotes over time, so that canine skins can decorate the tragically iconic Canada Goose jacket. The coyotes are seized in leghold traps, whose steel jaws crush down upon the animals’ limbs, slicing through flesh and clamping on bone. Coyotes desperate to escape this agony will often try to wrench or chew off their foot. If they do not “succeed” in self-amputating, the animals languish for hours or days, until trappers shoot, beat or stomp the coyotes to death.

This is why in 2013 the VADL launched a campaign to pressure 14 known Canada Goose retailers in Vancouver to drop Canada Goose fur-trimmed jackets and accessories. Typically, our campaigns employ two fundamental tactics: weekly or greater frequency, and high-volume chanting (without use of megaphones). We also employ email and phone saturation campaigns, and leveraging stores via lobbying their landlords, among other tactics. Broadly, our strategy is to leverage every victory toward influencing ensuing targets.

To date, 2 of the 14–Hills of Kerrisdale and Grouse Mountain Outfitters–have terminated retailing of Canada Goose fur products following VADL campaigning. These were the first two stores in Canada to drop Canada Goose following animal rights campaigning.

Target 3 is Brooklyn Clothing, a high-end menswear boutique in Vancouver’s affluent Yaletown neighbourhood. We began weekly protesting in November 2013, and during busier retailing periods have escalated to twice weekly. Store owner Jason Overbo is fighting back, including an obnoxious “anti-bullying” campaign that strives to cast the store as victim and we as villains. We remain oblivious to any public sentiment that buys into this manipulation, and persist in full-throttle chanting that has elicited hundreds of complaints and a media blitz that largely sympathized with the store and neglected any mention of animal suffering. Ironically, we believe this villainizing of the VADL only empowers our work for animals, as ensuing targets will be more fully aware of our disruptive tactics and so may be more swiftly leveraged.

This fall we will escalate our campaign at Brooklyn via secondary targets. The VADL is committed to continuing its campaign until Jason Overbo announces termination of fur retailing.

VADL members protest the selling of animal skins. Click to enlarge.

Vancouver Aquarium

The Vancouver Aquarium (VanAqua) imprisons a range of marine animals, including dolphins and beluga whales. But unlike other marine prisons, VanAqua is situated on municipal park property, and so the Vancouver Park Board holds their lease and regulates whether VanAqua continues breeding and importing cetaceans.

Intervention by the Board on the cetaceans’ behalf is presently vital, as VanAqua is only months away from starting a multi-million dollar expansion of their whale and dolphin pools, which would enable them to incarcerate more belugas and dolphins. This is why numerous local organizations, including the VADL, have coalesced to pressure the Park Board and aquarium. The VADL strategy within this campaign focuses, in significant part, on striving to generate media coverage with protest actions that are designed to be timely and captivating. One example is our staggered unfurling of posters by activists posing as patrons inside the facility. The coalition’s overall campaign has garnered international, animal-sympathetic media attention, consequently increasing pressure on the Board.

After months of campaigning, on July 31, 2014 the Board took historical measures to combat animal abuse at VanAqua. They voted unanimously to:

“ … prohibit the breeding of captive cetaceans in Vancouver parks unless, in each particular instance, the captive cetacean is a threatened species and the Oversight Committee, the Board and the Society agree that captive breeding is necessary for the survival of such threatened species.”

“ … establish an Oversight Committee, consisting of animal welfare experts with the mandate to provide public oversight to ensure the well-being of all cetaceans owned by the Society. This Oversight Committee will prepare a bi-annual report to the Park Board on the status and well-being of all the cetaceans owned by the aquarium.”

Depending on who forms the Oversight Committee and whether they are given the authority to refuse the importation of cetaceans from other facilities, this transformation could result in a phase-out of cetacean captivity at the Vancouver Aquarium without referring to it as such. Meanwhile, the coalition’s campaign continues.
VADL volunteers disupt a dolphin show at the Vancouver Aquarium. Click to enlarge.

Calgary Stampede Lockdown

The Calgary Stampede is one of North America’s largest rodeos, attracting over a million tourists to Calgary annually. Within this vast animal-abuse-fest, the chuckwagon races (“invented” at the Stampede almost a century ago) are the deadliest for animals. In this sordid spectacle, each race comprises several wagons pulled by four thoroughbred racehorses apiece in front of several mostly inebriated spectators, racing at breakneck speed. In the past 28 years, this madness has led to 63 horses being killed, including horses every year for the last decade. The horses usually die from shattered limbs or hemorrhaged blood vessels in the lungs, kidneys or heart, as a result of spectacular crashes and cardiovascular stress. As result of this widely publicized carnage, the races have suffered declining public support and are thus a vulnerable target for activism.

On July 4, 2014, two VADL activists locked down on the inside railing of the chuckwagon track before the inaugural race was set to begin. Marley Daviduk and Samantha Baskerville infiltrated the track 30 minutes before the races, and locked their necks to the railing using kryptonite u-locks. It took authorities an hour to remove Marley and Sam, and by that point the lockdown had already made headlines due to the coordinated action of the VADL support crew, which was immediately forwarding pictures and video to media. By the next morning, the event had garnered national media coverage, with VADL spokespeople hammering home the high horse-mortality numbers and calling for termination of this annual bloodbath.

Following this action, the VADL has initiated a pressure campaign vs. GMC Canada, sponsor of the chuckwagon races. Initially we are undertaking a telephone pressure effort, and are developing further tactics.

Marley and Sam were taken into custody, questioned and released, on a promise to appear in court on August 20.

The Vancouver Animal Defense League will continue defending animals via campaigns that are sustained and pressuring, which we consider a proven formula to advance animal liberation and liberate animals.

Thank you for taking time to know more about our efforts, and we hope you’ll join our Facebook page and community. And thank you so much, TALON, for this opportunity and forum.

Earth First! Journal, Periodicals

Earth First! Journal 1980-1981

07.17.14 | Permalink

Earth First! Journal Volume 1, Issue #1-8 (1980-1981)

“Like Pallas Athena springing fully armed from the brow of Zeus, EARTH FIRST enters the wilderness fray…”
Earth First Journal. Vol.1 #1.

For all of its many flaws, I love Earth First! and most of the many projects that it has inspired, and I say that as someone fully aware of all the mistakes that have been made along the way. Those errors- everything from alliances with open racists like Ed Abbey to articles cheerleading famine in Africa- are ultimately what makes the history of Earth First! such a valuable roadmap for modern revolutionaries. Earth First!’s fuck-ups are at times so glaring that my hope is, after examining them, there is no way they could be made again.

But every analysis of EF! these days talks about the mistakes- so much so that we miss the things that they got right: a structure that rejected hierarchy and encouraged horizontal organizing, a critique of civilization and industrialism that still left room for broad participation from more conservative and liberal elements, and a shockingly warm pluralism that encouraged a love for all kinds of “wilderfreaks” including the vegetarians and “witches” that Foreman so famously dislikes. For all of the machismo in those early years, I was surprised to see hints of eco-feminism creeping into these issues, including a giant pull-quote from Woman and Nature by Susan Griffin. Words from figures like Russel Means abound, and for every cringe inducing moment in these pages I think you’ll also find plenty to make you smile. I mean, how cool is it that the return address on issue #1 is Dave Foreman’s house, or that requests for new volunteers ran alongside Susan Morgan’s home phone number? This was as grassroots as it gets, yet somehow the movement spread across oceans and artificial borders, and to this day people are shouting “No Compromise In Defense of Mother Earth!” Understanding how that happened might be the key to expanding our current efforts.

TALON will be posting every single issue of the Earth First! Journal over the next few years. This project isn’t cheap or easy! If you would like to make a donation of either time, back issues, or money, please contact us HERE. Also, don’t forget that this important publication is still running and needs your support! Subscribe HERE!


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Campaign newsletters

Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty USA #1

07.09.14 | Permalink

SHAC USA – Vol. 1*, Issue #1 (2001, Philadelphia, PA)

Editor’s note: Several of our upcoming posts were shared with us courtesy of the University of Victoria’s Special Collections Library. Our thanks go out to everyone who has helped make these little pieces of our movement’s history widely available again.

*It should also be noted that there was a previous SHAC USA Newsletter that was numbered Vol.1, #1. That issue was produced by Joe Bateman prior to Kevin Jonas’ return to the US in the very early days of the campaign. We are actively seeking that rarity, if you have it please contact us HERE.

It was just under a week ago that I celebrated the two year anniversary of getting off probation in the SHAC 7 case. I spent the night eating pizza and looking through old mementoes of the campaign. It was an exciting thing to be a part of, especially in those early days when grassroots groups across the country were getting fired up to smash Huntingdon Life Sciences. Every hour seemed to bring news of more people joining the attack.

I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t disheartened that HLS is still out there killing animals after all of our work to stop them, but I would also be a liar if I said that I believed they will continue to get away with it. As the Bodhisattva once said, “Everything moves in cycles,” and from what I’ve seen of the movement lately, times are about to get a lot tougher for the abusers- just like they did back in 2001. It’s all coming ’round again.

Anyhow, this here was the first (relaunched) issue of the legendary SHAC USA newsletter. It covers the opening shots of the battle against Huntingdon in the U.S., the start of our secondary targeting against Stephens Incorporated, and coverage of the early regional demonstrations at HLS’ lab in New Jersey. It is filled with our triumphs (the legal battle over the stephenskills.com website,) and errors (Announcing that this was the first year of what was predicted to be a 3 year campaign, showing support for the ultimately worthless Bank of New York secondary targeting,) but most importantly it has this reminder: “The Time For Action Is NOW.”


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Arkangel, Periodicals

Arkangel #10-11

07.03.14 | Permalink

Arkangel #10-11 (1993-1994. London, England.)

The early 1990s were a tumultuous time for the movement in England. Hunters began hiring professional security services to beat and harass saboteurs, the violence became so extreme that when Tom Worby was murdered by a hunt masters vehicle, the hunters nearby laughed and mocked his death. The hopefulness of the 1980s was fading away, and campaigners were becoming more hardened, which in turn led to a decline in public support as groups like the Justice Department began sending out small mail bombs. Many organizations were mired in infighting over strategy and issues of class and race. And then there was the problem of repression. Scotland Yard’s Animal Rights National Index had gathered detailed profiles on over 21,000 animal liberationists by 1990, and their spying on the movement was only set to intensify.

Through it all a dedicated core of individuals forged ahead and took animals from places of abuse, educated others about the plight of non-humans, and spread the message of compassionate action across oceans and artificial borders. Arkangel tells the story, and we are happy to continue our posting of the complete set here on TALON.



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