While TALON co-founder Josh Harper has been in Europe finding publications for the site, he has also been speaking to audiences about his analysis of our movement’s history and future. His speech in Malmö was filmed and seems to be resonating with animal rights activists around the world. Give it a watch!
Animosity #3 (1984, Stafforshire, England)
We rarely post a single issue of a periodical to TALON, preferring instead to post an entire year or run so that readers can watch as stories develop and politics evolve within a publication. In this instance we are making an exception. For the last several years we have tried, without luck, to track down further issues of Animosity- a publication of the Keele University Animal Rights Group. Our hope is that one of our readers might help us to obtain the rest of this student-militant zine.
Animosity appears to have been written largely by anarchists with an insider’s knowledge of the animal liberation movement, and broad, anti-capitalist politics. If anyone can help us to discover the authors or more issues of this intriguing publication, please contact us HERE.
The Hunt and the Anti-Hunt (1982, London, England)
“It is not difficult to understand why animals are treated so indifferently in a society where the powerful minority holds the majority in similar contempt.” Philip Windeatt
Grounded firmly in a traditional British left-socialist critique, The Hunt and the Anti-Hunt is Philip Windeatt’s classic treatise on opposition to bloodsports. Written shortly after the author worked as a researcher on The Animals Film, each page drips with anger at both the act of sport hunting and the economic class that perpetuates it.
Anyone seeking a better understanding of the history of the animal liberation movement would do well to read this short book. Tracing bloodsports back to the domestication of canines for hunting purposes, the book continues by describing the founding of early animal welfare societies and the eventual emergence of the Hunt Saboteurs Association and Animal Liberation Front. Along the way expect a refreshing analysis of the pillaging of public lands, human alienation from wilderness, corporate governance, and many other subjects that were too often missing from the animal lib literature of the 1980s.
Bite Back – Issues 1-2 (1999, Bristol, England)
One of at least four publications to share the same moniker, this version of Bite Back came into being at the turn of the century. Glossy, full magazine sized, and free, Bite Back was a wonderful tool for reporting on the exciting campaigns of its era. Anyone interested in pressure campaigning will enjoy the brief articles, updates, and images from Hillgrove, Shamrock, Regal Rabbits, and Huntingdon Death Sciences.
We have very little information about this publication and do not know if there were subsequent issues. If you have more information please contact us HERE.
Heart of the Matter: South East Animal Liberation League (1984. London, England)
Recently the South London Flying Column YouTube channel has been posting video of old news coverage of animal rights related direct action. There are many, many gems on there, but we were particularly enamored of this piece, a 20 minute episode of the program Heart of the Matter. Besides containing never before seen footage of raids carried out by SEALL, it also contains unbelievable footage of an unmasked ALF planning session! And if you find yourself disliking the SEALL spokesperson, it’s okay. He didn’t actually turn out all that well…
TURNING POINT – Issues 7-8 (1987, Oxford, UK)
Turning Point only produced two issues in 1987 due to a delay in an NAVS report claiming (probably erroneously) that AIDS was an unintended result of vivisection. The editors of Turning Point believed (absolutely erroneously) that the report was going to be “devastating,” and “the most important campaign that the anti-vivisection movement has ever undertaken.” By 1988 the campaign had fizzled out, but sadly pseudo-science conspiracy nonsense in the world of animal rights didn’t die with it.
Fortunately, plenty of other content made it into these pages, much of it worth reading. Direct action campaigns from around the world are covered, with mentions of Earth First!, the Central Animal Liberation League, and the Animal Liberation Front. Investigations, essays, and photographs of liberated donkeys take up the rest of the real estate in this brief volume.
Flamethrower (1986. London, England)
We recently received this publication from another archivist but have very little information about its origins. Still, with a flame throwing, angry feminist on the cover how can you go wrong?
The interior pages are a pastiche of radical thoughts and images varying greatly in quality, but even in the paper’s more juvenile moments I sense the work of people sincerely concerned with creating a free society. How they thought rioting alone would get them there is another matter…
If you have any information about Flamethrower please contact us HERE.
Earth First! Journal (1987, Issue #1-8. Tucson, AZ.)
Writing about Earth First! during its 1980s heyday is a delicate matter. I want to celebrate their best tendencies without ignoring their worst. 1987 is a particularly difficult year to do the former.
After the publication of an article called “Alien Nation” called for a closing of the US border to immigrants (strictly for environmental reasons we are told, not because EF! icon Ed Abbey advocated the use of the term “wetback” and used “cultural chauvinist” to describe his particular brand of racism) anarchists challenged the authors at a gathering in late 1986. So began a years worth of letters to the editor defending the piece. More than one missive in this volume praised AIDS as a positive development for the environment, and various racist, classist, and macho arguments bleed into many of the pages. Given these facts it feels callous to point to the positives that this volume also contains, so I will leave it to our readers to discover those for themselves.
Earth First! is a complex non-organization that has gone through many incarnations, changes in direction, and has never had a political consensus on any issue during the entirety of its history. If I can point out one mitigating factor for these eight issues it is that at least some Earth First!ers fought back in print and in person against the most backwards opinions of their peers, something still needed in the movement today.
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!
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.