21/09/18 | By Tim Ward

by Mark Hawthorne

Striking at the Roots: A Practical Guide to Animal Activism is intended for the person who agrees with the premise that animals are mistreated in our society, believes that the public has a moral obligation to speak out against this cruelty, and who wants to be directly involved in opposing animal exploitation in its many forms. By “striking at the roots,” activists are challenging speciesism—the belief that some species (especially humans) are superior to others—and advocating ethical veganism. As such, this is a guide to the most pragmatic opportunities available for speaking and acting on behalf of animals. We will examine tried and-true models of activism and explore some modern tactics that are gaining traction among advocates with a talent for using technology.

While revising this edition, a number of activists and organizations have been removed. Generally, this was because the group mentioned no longer exists or the suggestion offered by an activist has been replaced with more current advice.

Moreover, the changes that have occurred since the first edition of this book include employment. Bruce Friedrich, for example, left PETA, went to work for Farm Sanctuary, and has since cofounded his own nonprofit, the Good Food Institute, and Jon Camp left Vegan Outreach in 2016 to work for The Humane League. In most cases throughout this book, if someone is no longer at the same position they were in 2008, but the advice they offer is still relevant, I’ve kept it as is. Their job affiliation— assuming they were on staff with an animal rights group—is not as important as their experience.

Being an advocate for animals is not always a popular activity, but that should not dissuade you from doing what is right. Every social movement that had any impact—whether it’s the abolition of slavery, the suffrage movement, civil rights, the child-protection movement, or reforms for farm workers—was initially backed by a person or a group thought to represent the minority opinion, and those opposed to them tried to provoke the fear that overturning the status quo would lead to chaos: the end of slavery would result in economic ruin, granting women the right to vote or banning child labor would weaken national strength, passing laws against child abuse would dissolve families, and so on. Animal rights activists are now hearing the same sort of nonsense from those who profit by abusing animals. According to animal exploiters, the only way to feed the world, cure diseases, or advance scientific knowledge is by using animals. To them, animals are not sentient individuals with their own interests, but commodities to be used for human profit, amusement, convenience, or taste.

This new edition of Striking at the Roots will guide you through the fundamentals of grassroots activism. We will begin with what I and many other animal advocates consider one of the easiest models of activism, and then we’ll progress, chapter by chapter, through the more involved tactics and meet some of the activists who find them successful. Appendices will cover milestones activists have won for animals, animal rights groups worldwide, recommended books, your civil rights, a cruelty-free shopping guide, suggested actions you can take today to help animals, and other relevant material.

What animals experience in slaughterhouses, factory farms, research labs, marine parks, zoos, fur farms, rodeos, and the like is unspeakable. Most people don’t want to know. Yet we must speak about it. We must share the truth of what happens in these animal enterprises. Only when our friends, our family, and the public are awakened to the reality will hearts and minds be changed.

Striking at the Roots: A Practical Guide to Animal Activism - 10th Anniversary Edition - New Tactics, New Technology

by Mark Hawthorne

A major revision of the animal rights bible, referencing changes from the last 10 years including the rise of social media.


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