the leading activists did so themselves, in a book called In
Defense of
Animals, which I edited not long ago. But one issue of importance to the
movement needs to be raised in a prominent place in this book, and I do
it here. That issue is violence.
Activists have practiced a variety of means for advancing toward the
goal of Animal Liberation. Some seek to educate the public by distributing
leaflets and writing letters to newspapers. Others lobby government
officials and their elected representatives in Parliament or Congress.
Activist organizations hold demonstrations and protest outside places
where animals are being made to suffer to serve trivial human objectives.
But many become impatient with the slow progress made by such means
and want to take more direct action to stop the suffering now.
No one who understands just what animals are enduring can be critical
of such impatience. In the face of a continuing atrocity it is scarcely
enough to sit back and write letters. The need is to help the animals now.
But how? The usual legitimate channels for political protest are slow and
uncertain. Should one break in and free the animals? That is illegal, but
the obligation to obey the law is not absolute. It was justifiably broken by
those who helped runaway slaves in the American South, to mention
only one possible parallel. A more serious problem is that the literal
liberation of animals from laboratories and factory farms can only be
a token gesture, for the researchers will simply order another batch of
animals, and who can find homes for a thousand factory farm pigs or
100,000 hens? Raids by Animal Liberation Front groups in several countries
have been more effective when they have obtained evidence of
animal abuse that could not otherwise have come to light. In the case
of the raid on Dr. Thomas Gennarelli's laboratory at the University of
Pennsylvania, for example, stolen videotapes provided the evidence that
finally convinced even the secretary for health and human services that
the experiments must stop. It is hard to imagine