Heart of the Matter: South East Animal Liberation League

01.23.15 | Permalink

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…

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Campaign newsletters

Action for Animals #1

12.17.14 | Permalink

Action For Animals # 1 – (1989, Essex, England)

While there isn’t much stand-alone importance to this particular publication, the critical role played by grassroots newsletters in the 1980s in undeniable. Prior to the popular use of the internet local groups were run by a small core of organizers who communicated with their own membership and the broader public using these cheaply produced zines. Ideology, protest dates, campaign information, news from other organizations, fundraising efforts, and prisoner support were all shared, and with results that often dwarf what we see from Facebook based organizing.

Action for Animals produced a newsletter very typical of its era and geography. Those of you who take the time to look closer at this publication will notice excerpts from the London Greenpeace leaflet (co-written, as it turns out, by an undercover cop) that lead to the McLibel case. Also of note are AFA’s anti-capitalism sentiment, and the diversity of actions embraced by their group- from Christmas carolling to support for underground direct action.

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Turning Point #7-8

11.30.14 | Permalink

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.


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One-off publications


11.12.14 | Permalink

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.

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Earth First! Journal, Periodicals

Earth First! Journal 1987

11.03.14 | Permalink

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.


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Wild Rockies Review Vol. 2 #1-2

10.24.14 | Permalink

Earth First! Wild Rockies Review – Vol.2 # 1- 2 ( 1989 – Missoula, MT)

While we are in the process of digitizing the complete Earth First! Journal, we also want to spend some time highlighting a few of the other publications that came out of Earth First! back in the 80s. Many local chapters had their own newsletters, some EF! projects and encampments put out zines, and here and there EF!ers produced something a little more professional like the Wild Rockies Review.

WRR went through varying degrees of militancy during its anonymously produced run, but the covers tended to focus on support for direct action and sabotage. The interior pages were much like the Journal- spirited, controversial, and with plenty of shit talking in the letters section.

The second volume was released during a time where wildlife campaigns were front and center in the Rockies region, and as such are of particular relevance as campaigns for wolves heat up once again.

TALON is seeking more issues of Wild Rockies Review, along with any other radical environmental publications missing from our archive. If you can help us obtain any of these rarities, please contact us HERE.



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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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