BUAV Liberator (1983. London, England)
The British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection was first established in 1898 by the Irish feminist Frances Power Cobbe. In its long history it has rarely been effective as a fighting force for non-humans, but every so often the organization has a flash of brilliance. In the 1980s, sparked to greater militancy by an explosion of youth activism against vivisection, one of these “flashes” became a conflagration that lasted more than five years.
After shedding their corporate image for something with a little more edge, the BUAV’s publication, “Liberator” became the most important publication during England’s rise of animal lib militancy. While the legislative and educational work of the Union continued, they also incorporated support for direct action. The results were spectacular. Mainstream acceptance of the underground increased, protests grew in size, more people began directly saving non-humans from places of abuse, the grassroots expanded, and unity across the tactical spectrum meant less infighting and more progress for all parties involved.
As always, marriages between moderates and radicals are unstable, and like many others this one ended in a bitter divorce. The BUAV kicked Ronnie Lee’s ALF Press Office out of their building, the SG denounced BUAV as do-nothing liberals, and direct action became harder to support as groups like ARM started sending postal bombs. Still, it was a productive relationship while it lasted, and these newspapers provide an interesting look into just what a national organization for animals can accomplish.
Declaration of War: Killing People to Save Animals and the Environment. (1991, Sacramento, CA, USA.)
We’d like to state right from the beginning of this post: this book is poorly written and argued and we do not agree with its primary premise. Throughout the book, it is claimed that the majority of humans will never voluntarily embrace animal liberation, and thus terrorism utilized by a vegan minority will scare the masses into not enslaving other creatures. This belief is farcical on its face and abandons billions of animals to desperate lives of confinement, abuse and slaughter. No militant movement without a large base of support has ever succeeded in overthrowing the dominant order of society. A movement made up of the “liberators” mentioned in this book would be quickly suppressed and the following repression would hinder, maybe permanently, other hopeful forms of saving animals.
However, when Declaration was initially published in the 1990s, it caused quite a stir in a movement that was already tripping over itself to prove how moderate it could be after the radicalism of the eighties. Advertisements for the book were pulled from publications like Animals Voice, and terse editorials were directed at the publishers. Many campaigners at the time rejected the message, but seemed to delight in how it upset the struggle’s status quo.
For some reason, this book has survived with a large cult following on the internet despite never having been taken seriously by even the most radicalized liberationists. Perhaps its appeal lays in its ability to give voice to a fantasy of retribution. Many of us have raged at the harm done to non-humans by our species and dreamed, however briefly, of harming those responsible. The vicarious release given to people by reading this book may then be its only redeeming quality.