animinal rights

Tales of Abused Animals

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Our local news site, CannonWire, broke this animal abuse story here and here and here. The Nashville media has picked it up and made it a feature for tonight. Thanks to them. These stories need to be told.

I’m going to speculate that this case was a symptom of the current economic situation. In my travels over the last couple of years in the middle Tennessee deep rural areas I’ve seen the same thing. People are poor, they can’t sell the horses at any price and the animals slowly starve for lack of alternatives.

The mistreatment of animals gets attention when it’s about the poor horses or dogs but the abuse and slaughter every day in factory farms so we can gorge ourselves with cheap meat is rarely mentioned. The media is silent when the abuse is ‘acceptable,’ traditional and sanctioned.

My comment to the wire on this…..

I’m encouraged by the concern and number of comments on this animal abuse story. It’s truly something that should not happen.

But I’m wondering how many would feel the concern if the story was about the 10 billion animals slaughtered each year in this country, 99% of them in factory farms where every single animal is abused.


Hatchery abuse…

Horrors of a turkey farm…Happy Thanksgiving

Downer cattle

inside the horse slaughter house

I could go on and on but I hear a $1 value burger at McDonald’s calling. yum


Cannon Courier article and photos here.

"When met with resistance from the state, violence becomes inevitable"

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The above words are from Jason Miller of Thomas Paine’s Corner as quoted by Fox News.

The mainstream media is stoking the fires of ‘domestic terrorism.’ For years the media’s spin threats of ‘terrorism’ were almost exclusively aimed at foreigners. Now they and the FBI have a new focus, mostly white American activists. It’s not too far removed from the demonization of the militia movement in the 90’s. We remember the resulting crimes and abuses the government carried out then.

Look for a continuation of the media hype. We the people are the new found enemies of the state.

Animal Rights Terrorism on the Rise in U.S.

It was 4 o’clock in the morning when David Jentsch, a neuroscience professor at UCLA, awoke to a loud bang and the sound of his car alarm. He hurried to his bedroom window and saw the orange glow of his new Volvo luxury sedan burning in his yard.

He suspected immediately that it was the work of animal rights activists.

“Enough of my colleagues had been attacked that I had a feeling they were responsible,” Jentsch said about the March 7 torching of his car. “Two days later the Animal Liberation Brigade took credit for it. The irony of the whole situation is that no one had ever approached me about my research before, not one harassing e-mail or phone call.”

Click here to see photos.

Jentsch, who experiments on monkeys and rodents in his studies on mental disorders like drug addiction and psychosis, is one of a growing number of victims in a renewed and intensified campaign by animal rights activists. In what law enforcement officials are calling a wave of militancy, groups like the Animal Liberation Front and another called The Justice Department are going after scientists personally, both at work and at home, and threatening the safety of their families.

“There is an upswing,” said Laura Eimiller, a FBI spokeswoman in Los Angeles. “What’s really concerning is the tactics that are being used. Previously it was non-violent, mostly harassment or vandalism. Now we’re seeing the increased use of incendiary devices to target individuals.”

Over the past 18 months, there have been at least 39 criminal actions undertaken in the name of animal rights, according to data compiled by the Foundation for Biomedical Research, an advocacy group for researchers. That represents a significant rise from 2006 and 2007, when there were only 25 incidents.

Much of the recent activity has been focused in California, which has seen labs destroyed, scientists’ cars firebombed, public officials’ cars vandalized and animals kidnapped and then released into the wild. Activists have claimed to have sabotaged the cars of UCLA football players, and six masked activists burst into the home of a researcher at the University of California-Santa Cruz.

“A lot of activists are frustrated. They’ve exhausted the legal means, and they’ve decided to take it to the next level,” said Jason Miller, a press officer with the North American Animal Liberation Front, which acts as a mouthpiece for the militant animal liberation movement but claims no direct affiliation with the groups themselves.

“As with any social justice movement, when met with resistance from the state, violence becomes inevitable. There is nothing unique about this movement.”

In 2006, President Bush signed the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, which expanded federal jurisdiction over crimes against animal testing facilities to include attacks on persons and institutions that facilitate but are not directly involved in animal research, a group including financers and the suppliers of scientific equipment.

“If (an animal liberation group) saw a plumbing truck going into a research facility, they’d firebomb the plumbing company,” said Frankie Trull, president of the Foundation for Biomedical Research. “If they’re going to go after the banks and the insurance companies, we’re worried this will mean less resources for research.”

Trull can run off a laundry list of medical developments made possible by animal testing. But activists, both mainstream and underground, maintain such research is not only unethical, but unreliable.

“The animals are not similar enough to humans to provide accurate results,” said Miller. “I do not believe animals are here for us to use and exploit. When you’re talking about drug addiction (research), I find that abhorrent that we’d take non-human animals roaming the wild and subject them to what I would consider torture.”

In southern California, militant animal rights groups are already seeing some “success” in their efforts to stop research.

Dario Ringach, a neurology professor at UCLA who is developing a device to restore vision to the blind, suspended his research on monkeys in 2006 after what he said were repeated harassment of his family and an attack on a colleague’s home. “They will go after people working with mice or even fruit flies,” he said.

UCLA has seen 11 attacks on its facilities and faculty since 2006, with the home of one psychiatry professor flooded with a garden hose and then nearly set on fire by an incendiary device five months later.

The university has beefed up security, in some cases providing professors with 24-hour protection. Last week the school won a judgment from a Los Angeles County superior court judge prohibiting animal rights activists from coming with 50 feet of researchers’ property during the day and 150 feet at night.

But drawing a distinction between legal protesters and the groups’ violent members can be difficult.

Jentsch, who outraged animal rights activists when he led a rally in support of the scientists last month, said that most of the protesters outside his home on Sunday afternoon were were wearing masks and chanting slogans like “rot in hell.” Such events have become so routine that he has drawn a chalk line on the street to mark the court-ordered boundary.

“I’m a little more sensible about looking over my shoulder now, but I’m not [going to] quit,” he said.

“I’m not going to be a helpless victim. The work we do is critical research that society asks us to do, and there’s this tiny group of people who decide they’re going to set the agenda.”

In recent years the FBI has increased its attention on animal rights activists and environmental groups, which they estimate have caused over $110 million in damage since 1979. While agents have achieved some success, with indictments against 30 individuals from 2005 to 2008, halting the attacks is a near impossible task.

“It’s one of our biggest problems in terms of domestic terrorism. It’s not just California, its everywhere,” said Rick Kolko, an FBI spokesman. “Our best defense is to disrupt them, getting into these groups before these crimes occur.”

Made up of independent cells spread across the United States and Europe with no centralized leadership, groups like the Animal Liberation Front are both deeply committed to their cause and difficult to trace, Miller said.

“There’s no real leadership. Decisions are made by the group, which tend to be very loosely organized,” he said. “Nobody really knows who else is in the organization.” {source}

Thanks to News From the West for the link.

Also see Steve Lendman’s Obama Administration Targets Environmental and Animal Rights Activists As Eco-Terrorists

SHAC Ferociously Hammered by the Ruthless Corporate-State Complex

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The dissenter in this example is an animal activist. The message being sent is that the state is more than willing to make an example of individuals who speak out, stand up and take action in their commitments.

Truth is always under attack. Those who dare speak it risk their liberty the same as an endangered species faces extinction in a world not of their making.

From Thomas Paine’s Corner


Brief background description and history of SHAC (excerpted from Averting the China Syndrome at

SHAC arose in England in 1999, evolving from a pre-history of amazingly successful direct action campaigns designed to close down animal breeders and to disrupt the supply chain to the pharmaceutical industries.[12] In rapid succession, from 1996-1999, militant activists and diverse communities of people in England closed down Consort Beagle breeders, Hillgrove Cat Farm, and Shamrock Primate Farm. Once HLS was exposed for particularly heinous forms of animal torture, and it became clear the government had no intention of enforcing its own welfare laws, SHAC founders Greg Avery, Heather Nicholson, and Natasha Dellemagne Avery went into action.

These brilliant activists formed SHAC with the novel intent to target one major drug and chemical testing company, Huntington Life Sciences (HLS). The goal was to rock the foundations of the entire pharmaceutical industry by bringing down a giant, chasing HLS it to all corners of the world with an unprecedented global campaign. And true to their militant spirit and intent, SHAC has had a devastating effect on HLS. They drove them to incorporate in the US so that they could hide the identity of their shareholders and lenders, caused them to be delisted from both the New York and London Stock Exchanges, and have forced numerous lenders, customers, and vendors to cease doing business with HLS. On the verge of collapse from such effective new tactics, HLS would have folded altogether if not for financial bailouts from both the UK and US, and it continues to stagger due to persistent SHAC attacks, even while the founders and other leading members of SHAC have been imprisoned across the Atlantic and here at home. SHAC paid a price, true, but so did HLS, and the war continues. SHAC’s innovative tactics proved so successful that other political groups have adopted them for their cause……In fact SHAC is one of the most intelligent, shrewd, and cunning campaigns ever developed in any social movement. Striking a primary target by attacking secondary and supporting companies, innovative use of websites and the Internet to coordinate campaigns, novel types of pressure tactics such as home demos and public shaming, chasing HLS all the way from England to the NYSE and beyond are just some of the elements that characterize the SHAC campaign as a brilliant tactical breakthrough and potential historic watershed in the struggle for human, nonhuman animal, and Earth liberation.


An Open from Heather Nicholson (Heather is pictured above and you can reach her by mail at Heather Nicholson VM 4859-2B-21, HMP Bronzefield, Woodthorpe Road, Ashford, Middlesex, TW15 3JZ, England), the SHAC activist receiving the longest prison sentence:

Dear Friends,

I am very grateful for your support. Words can never adequately express what it means to me and how much you have helped me. Your support for me means that you support the animals and that brings me some comfort.

I spoke up for the animals in court while I was being questioned for nearly 4 whole days. It was frustrating though & I came out feeling as if I had said about 1% of what I had intended to say. I am heartbroken as always for the animals still suffering at the hands of the cowards at HLS. It makes me cry to think that they (the animals) have no idea that anyone cares. It is frightening that they have so many powerful enemies.

I predicted that there would be no justice & that the media would be vile & untruthful * I was right. Any attack on us is an attack on the animals. I don’t mind if the truth is reported as long as it is relevant but the news has been massively distorted, to say the least, ( especially calling me “mastermind”!) The press were only in court at the start & very end of the three-month trial so what they reported was fed to them by the police plus what they made up (see Daily Mail!!!).

Claims of impartiality are nonsense & the police & the press were practically snogging each other every time the jury left the courtroom. In over 4000 pages of covert audio surveillance, not once did I say anything that amounted to blackmail or committing an illegal act. there was no evidence that I had ever made an “unwarranted demand with menaces” because I haven’t. The judge agreed with me & said that I was quite right when I said that I hadn’t sent nasty things through the post, damaged anyone’s property, threatened anyone etc – nor was I accused of doing so. The crazy thing is that you don’t have to do anything to be convicted of conspiracy but the sentences are long (even longer for us!!!). I have just been sentenced to 11 years in prison. It is just insane – even if I had been guilty. The guards at court were angry & bemused by the ‘guilty’ verdicts & sentences. I could give you hundreds of examples of horrific crimes that have received lesser sentences than mine (and I have never hurt anyone in my life!). Here is just a small selection:

(i) a woman held down two children to be raped – 8yrs.
(ii) Two men got drunk & punched a random passerby to death – 3 yrs
(iii) Three men raped a 14 yr old girl & filmed it – then they poured caustic soda over her – 9yrs, 7yrs, 5yrs
(iv) Anyone who tortures and kills an animal or is cruel in any way will never get more than 6 months
(v) People who kill others in a hit & run sometimes get as little as 4 months
(vi) A woman killed her baby – 5 yrs
(vii) A man stamped on another man’s head & left him in a wheelchair for life – 7 yrs

I don’t regret going to trial because my words are recorded forever by the court, so if someone in 50 years time does some research they will see that that what we said in court bears little resemblance to what was reported. The media have shamelessly deceived the public. My biggest concern though was that the worst photo that has ever been taken of me was on television all night long!!! I looked like something out of Silent Witness!

SHAC is a phenomenal ground-breaking campaign that has shaken the vivisection industry to the core by totally legitimate means. I am not saying that unjust laws should not be broken – after all it is the ‘law’ that allows such suffering of animals. And that law is wrong. A few years ago Tony Blair had a secret meeting with GSK, Novartis & others who told him that unless he sorted out the animal rights activists they (the drug companies) would leave the UK. (Now that’s BLACKMAIL!!) It was no coincidence that we were raided in May 2007 a matter of weeks before Tony Blair quit.

My conscience is more than clear & I am extremely proud of everything that I have helped to achieve over the years. I am proud that I didn’t sit back & cry in my armchair about how awful animal cruelty is but actually tried to change things & I made a stand against cruelty & oppression. I said in court to the jury that in time people would look back in horror at this trial & say “was it really legal to do that to animals & did they really put people in prison for trying to stop it?

We were very unlucky to have such a cold, heartless, callous jury who clearly didn’t care about people or animals. Some were seen giggling & sniggering with the police while barristers were making their closing speeches. I will never understand how they could sit and watch puppies being punched in the face and then find any of us guilty.

When I gave evidence I asked the jury if they would object, complain or intervene if someone dragged a dog into court & started punching her and, if they would, then perhaps they should be stood in the dock with me! I wonder if they are all happy now in the knowledge that WE are in jail and not a single person in the courtroom (part from us and some supporters in the public gallery) would ever speak out or take action to stop the atrocities occurring inside HLS. Clearly no-one on the jury would have lifted a finger to help any animal (or person) in danger. Watching the New york airplane’s emergency landing in the Hudson river, I thought it was wonderful to see the ferries rushing to help save the passengers, throwing life jackets – and then hearing the survivors speaking so emotionally about their frightening experience and expressing their deep gratitude to the brave pilot and the people who didn’t hesitate to help them. We all hope, pray and sometimes expect to be save when we are in danger.

It breaks my heart that so many people in the world and billions of animals can scream and struggle and plead, and no-one comes to their rescue. I can’t bear it. To rescue is at the heart of my being and that is all that I have ever wanted to do. It is my motivation for campaigning against cruelty. All of you who have carried on the SHAC campaign (and others) – you have my utmost respect and admiration . Thank you.

The support for all of us in here from other prisoners and officers continues to be amazing. They too are bemused and angry at the verdict. They express to us their feelings of outrage at the injustice of the convictions and the sentences. I always said that I would not be devastated if found guilty (I’m not) and wouldn’t be celebrating if found not guilty. The only losers are the animals at HLS and they are still suffering. The sentences passed down to us were a victory for sadism, greed and cowardice. The compassionate and brave have lost their freedom ……..for now.!!!

I am enormously proud and in awe of the activists that I stood side by side with in court – Gregg, Natasha, Gavin, Dan Amos, Dan Wadham and Gerrah. They are all exceptional, selfless people and have all conducted themselves with great courage and dignity throughout this whole circus. I will never forget Gavin and Dan Wadham’s evidence in the witness box. They were superb.

Sometimes I feel like I am living on the wrong plane because for me it is natural to run to the aid of others and to speak out when something is wrong and here i am imprisoned for 11 years. It is ingrained in me to be kind. It always has been and always will be and it is baffling to me that others can be so cruel. I will never understand it as long as i live. All I can do is to try to stop it.

The prison sniffer dogs have just been around and have totally made my day. I sat on the floor cuddling Sam (who looks like my Laddie) and tears were pouring down my face. Those dogs filled me with such energy and strength and warmth and love.


The machinations of state repression in a “liberal democracy”:

Corporate Watch on the SHAC sentencing: Activists receive indefinite ASBOs


How the State Protects Corporations From Dissent
Jailed SHAC activists Receive Indefinite ASBOs

On Wednesday 21st January 2009 the police’s National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit issued a press release celebrating the jailing of seven animal rights campaigners for “over fifty years”. In their press release NETCU are at pains to point out that the sentences have “nothing to do with freedom of expression” and that those jailed are “extremists”.

NETCU, a shady, unaccountable branch of the UK’s expanding political police, have thrown the weight of their press department behind a campaign to present the seven defendants, all active in the Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) campaign, as extremists. The mainstream media has swallowed NETCU’s spin unquestioningly without seeing the affair for what it is – a political trial with serious ramifications for the right of individuals to voice their dissent against corporate power.

On December 23rd, 4 out of 5 activists on trial at Winchester Crown Court were found guilty of ‘Conspiracy to Blackmail’ at Winchester Crown Court after a 3 and a half month long trial. Natasha and Greg Avery and Dan Amos had plead guilty during Summer 2008. During the trial much had been made about how each defendant fitted in to what the prosecution described as the ‘hierarchy’ of the SHAC campaign. At the three day long sentencing in January, Judge Butterfield sentenced the defendants according to how he saw them in this ‘hierarchy’, not according to the evidence against them. Accordingly Greg and Natasha Avery were given the heaviest sentences possible, but were given credit for their guilty pleas and were sentenced to serve nine years each. Heather Nicholson, who plead not-guilty, received the longest actual sentence, eleven years. Gavin Medd Hall was sentenced to eight years, Daniel Wadham got five years, and Daniel Amos and Gerrah Selby were each sentenced to four years.

One thing that was not reported at all by the mainstream media was the imposition of indefinite anti social behaviour orders (ASBOs) on four of the defendants preventing them from protesting against animal experimentation. These ASBOs make otherwise lawful protest activity into a crime, punishable by up to five years in prison. The use of indefinite ASBOs against protesters is, as far as Corporate Watch knows, a completely new development. The terms of the orders could prevent these four people, all dedicated campaigners against vivisection, from ever voicing their political views again. The orders could even be interpreted as preventing the defendants from speaking or writing against vivisection.

By giving the maximum possible sentences, the Judge was effectively saying that this case represented the most serious form of blackmail. However, the allegations against those convicted would not fit in at all with a layman’s definition of blackmail

As Corporate Watch wrote last month, the charges related to over four years of concerted campaigning against Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS). The essence of the blackmail charge is that SHAC called for companies to cease trading with HLS and wrote polite letters to that effect. SHAC also encouraged their supporters to write to and protest against companies working with HLS. In some cases, direct action occurred, but this was never called for by SHAC. Letters were sent to company employees falsely accusing them of paedophilia, threats were received in the post and cars were paintstrippered. Evidence was presented that suggested that some of the defendants may have had knowledge of, or been involved in, some of these activities. However, many defendants were convicted because of what they said on demonstrations against HLS and their suppliers or because of the length of their involvement with SHAC.

Let us look at the case of Heather Nicholson, the defendant who received the most severe sentence, eleven years. Heather is a committed, long-term campaigner for animal rights and had been involved with SHAC since the beginning. She had lived and worked at the SHAC office and been involved with communicating, politely, with companies doing business with HLS. Only the most tenuous of circumstantial evidence linked Heather to any of the activities parroted in the press as attributed to her. Heather was convicted because of her long involvement with SHAC and given the most severe sentence because of Judge Butterfield’s perception of her importance to the campaign.

In the case of the defendants who were newer to SHAC, their convictions stemmed largely from words spoken on demonstrations. These convictions are extremely worrying as threatening words should normally be dealt with, at most, by charges under the Public Order Act. Again, the catch-all charge of ‘conspiracy to blackmail’ meant that the defendants could be dealt with more severely because of their association with others.

Judge Butterfield was not content with the harsh sentence doled out to the SHAC 7. In his sentencing he invited the Department of Public Prosecutions to consider “indefinite detention” in blackmail cases. Surely Judge Butterfield had seen the potential for the state to use this charge in the future as a bludgeon to silence political dissent.

Despite the repression of the SHAC 7, resistance against HLS, Europe’s biggest animal testing laboratory, continues. Protests against financiers of HLS, and in solidarity with the SHAC 7, have taken place across the UK, Europe and the US while a protest against the Bank of England, who have provided HLS with banking facilities since their regular bankers dropped them, was planned for 27th February. (see )

For more on the state repression of anti-corporate dissent see:

Animal Rights Activists Convicted of Conspiracy to Blackmail

Whose Agenda do Reports of Eco-Terrorism Serve?

To write to the SHAC 7:

Natasha Avery NR8987 and Heather Nicholson VM 4859-2B-21, HMP Bronzefield, Woodthorpe Road, Ashford, Middlesex, TW15 3JZ, England. Dan Amos VN7818, Gregg Avery TA7450, Gavin Medd-Hall WV9475 and Dan Wadham WV9474 at HMP Winchester, Romsey Road, Winchester, SO22 5DF. England.

Thomas Paine’s Corner asks that you write letters of solidarity, support and encouragement to these courageous animal defenders who sacrificed their freedom and much more on behalf of our nonhuman animal brethren.

Heather has asked that friends of the SHAC7 consider making a donation to that org (GREEK ANIMAL RESCUE) in their names.

Source: Thomas Paine’s Corner

Pacifism or Animals: Which Do You Love More?

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By Steven Best and Jason Miller

“Our complex global economy is built upon millions of small, private acts of psychological surrender, the willingness of people to acquiesce in playing their assigned parts as cogs in the great social machine that encompasses all other machines. They must shape themselves to the prefabricated identities that make efficient coordination possible… that capacity for self-enslavement must be broken.” Theodore Roszak

Ironically, the relatively few animal defenders who carry out the struggle against the monstrous animal-industrial complex through militant direct action (MDA), such as property destruction and liberating caged animals, often find that animal exploiters are not their only opponents. In a perverse twist, a surprisingly large number of people whom the casual observer would assume to be allied with direct activists often align themselves with animal oppressors in their rush to show they “reach across the aisle,” “remain civil,” “work within the system,” and above all, “adhere to non-violence.” They become perfect puppets of the corporate-state complex.

One can stop wondering why the animal advocacy movement is losing the fight, as meat consumption skyrockets, animal exploitation increases exponentionally, the sixth great species extinction crisis rapidly accelerates, and the planetary ecosystem irrevocably comes undone. Couple Gansen’s dogmatic adherence to declawed and defanged “socially acceptable” forms of activism with her conclusion that, “the effect of some alleged ‘animal terrorists’ in recent years is that laws are now on the books that may be used against people who trespass on land to get real evidence that is needed to put someone in jail,” and it becomes apparent that Gansen is a clone of Lee Hall, the consummate smug bourgeois liberal, loathe to break the law or directly challenge capitalism.

read the entire essay: Thomas Paine’s Corner

Until there are no beings whom we still define as “other”

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Thomas Paine’s Corner – January 2nd, 2009

Norm Phelps and Steve Best exchange thoughts on their differences concerning direct action and alliance politics in the animal liberation movement


Editors’ Note:

We include the following email and thoughtful exchanges between noted authors Norm Phelps and Steven Best in the hope that the yin-yang flow and point-counterpoint arguments might interest our readers and stimulate wider debate on these issues. Rather than pretend that controversial differences – such as over direct action and alliance politics – do not divide this broad “animal advocacy movement” into separate and conflicted zones, or, worse, suppress any mention of controversial debates in a way that brings the menacing chill of the Green Scare into our conference rooms, meeting halls, and mailing lists, as if differences had to be steamrolled by dogma, conformity, and bureaucracy. This dialogue shows how topics such as direct action, violence, and social revolution can be openly and intelligently broached without acrimony and recrimination, without defaming or fear of being demonized; in the spirit of friendship rather than under a cloud of fear, stereotyping, and objectifying judgment. The exchange began in late January, when Phelps sent an appreciative but critical response to Best’s tough but nonetheless positive review of Phelps’s recent book, The Longest Struggle: Animal Advocacy from Pythagoras to PETA in the last issue of The Journal for Critical Animal Studies. Despite Phelps’ intent that his missive be for private rather than public reading, Best was sufficiently impressed by the warmth, humanity, and intelligence of his new interlocutor to want to respond, engage in a lengthy dialogue and debate, and ultimately to publish the exchanges, and Phelps graciously agreed. Despite a mutual recognition that some of their core beliefs were incommensurable, clearly their similarities outweigh their differences, such as bond them in their unwavering commitment to animal liberation. But whether in agreement or disagreement, their dialogue unfolded in a context of mutual support, respect, and stimulation. With the exception of Phelps’ initial letter, these exchanges were edited (at the expense of existential flattening) to maintain focus on philosophical, political, and tactical issues, rather than on personal matters such as health, travel, and cats (as interesting as the cat conversations were!).

The entire article is here:

The absurd persistence of domination

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Of speciesism, capitalism, and shaking their foundations

Thomas Paine’s Corner

December 28th, 2008


By Jason Miller

Even the most ardent reactionaries, deluded ‘patriots,’ and apathetic cynics, whose myopic, Panglossian perspectives ensure that they continue to reflexively genuflect to the deeply criminal enterprise of American Capitalism and rationalize the savage imperialism of US foreign policy, are beginning to concede that we are in the midst of a crisis of epic proportions.

So lack of awareness, which is usually the first obstacle to solving a problem, isn’t the real enemy here. Our chief foe is a swarm of greed-driven, self-absorbed, mean-spirited locust-like human beings who are dedicated to “reforming” and perpetuating capitalism, the very system that has led us to this woeful state of environmental, economic, social, and political affairs.

Capitalism, the systemization of greed, selfishness, subjugation, and exploitation camouflaged by the narcotic of consumerism, the irresistible illusion of equal opportunity for all, and its ostensible compatibility with liberal democracy, has seduced hundreds of millions of people into ignoring its contradictions, injustices, and malevolence.


Capitalism has inflicted deep wounds upon the Earth and is the persistent infection that must be eradicated to avert the sixth mass extinction, the ongoing torture and murder of billions of non-human animals, an acceleration of Climate Change, further economic collapse, mass starvation, severe shortages of potable water, perpetual resource wars, and a host of other catastrophic events.

While much of its foul stench emanates from the United States, the foul odor of capitalism has wafted its way into the nostrils of nearly every citizen on the globe. Capitalism’s cockroach-like apologists, propagandists, beneficiaries, enforcers, and power brokers scurry in and out of nearly every nook and cranny of the planet.

Global and dominant as it is, capitalism is the culmination and perpetuator of a number of vile social, economic, political, and cultural elements and dynamics, many of which began rearing their ugly heads with the advent of agriculture, domestication and civilization. Starting about 10,000 years ago, as humans became “civilized,” we alienated ourselves from nature, psychologically enabling us to exploit non-human animals and savagely abuse the Earth for our enrichment, amusement and comfort.

As a collective, we human animals have hubristically determined that we are the master species, endowing ourselves with the right to dominate, enslave, torture, humiliate, murder, and eat any sentient being on the planet (with the almost universal exception being the taboo of cannibalism–which is a bit perplexing considering the numerous other evils we inflict upon one another and the fact that human over-population is a tremendous problem).


Speciesism, the mental perversion that afflicts most people–causing them to view themselves as superior to all other species, is the one of the most blatantly exploitative and reprehensible of all human ideologies. Yet it remains “socially acceptable.” Inextricably linked with the bourgeois belief in the supremacy of profit and property over life, speciesism reveals the ferocity and grotesquery of savage capitalism. Animal exploiting capitalists of all stripes, including ranchers, biomedical researchers, meat processors, egg producers, fast food restaurateurs, and their ilk spend billions of dollars on agitprop each year to ensure that both the law and those who consume their products continue to view non-human animals as property, worthy of no more consideration than a lawn-mower. In fact, many people treat their Lawn Boys far better than factory farmers treat “their” sows.

Remember that human slavery, in which certain members of the human species were reduced to the status of property, was once institutionalized. The United States, the self-proclaimed land of the free (and not coincidentally the nexus of parasitic and decaying capitalism), was one of the last “advanced” nations to abolish slavery. And abolition wouldn’t have occurred had it not been for great sacrifices by many people of conscience and a civil war. Such is the pernicious and relentlessly cruel nature of capitalism.

Patriarchy and racism were once institutionalized too. Yet despite the fact that women and minorities have made significant legal, political, and social strides, the white man still wields tremendous power in this world, much of it economic in nature.


Overt and unapologetic imperialism and colonialism may be relics of the past, but conquest and subjugation still thrive under the guise of humanitarian intervention, loans to developing nations requiring corporate-friendly economic reforms, and aid to puppet regimes amenable to the rape of their country. All this to satisfy capitalism’s insatiable appetite for new markets, cheap labor, and natural resources.

Many people are concerned about the devastating and noxious impact we humans are having upon the Earth. But thanks to corporate green-washing, the globalization of the American Way of Life, and the deep allegiance many people have to capitalism (a system that is based on infinite growth on a finite planet), the rape and plunder of Mother Nature continues at an alarming rate. Relentlessly bludgeoned by the unquestioned supremacy of capitalist “ideals,” potential solutions that might interfere significantly with growth and profit are beaten to death before they can fully emerge from the womb.

Meanwhile, anti-capitalist radicals, including Marxists, socialists, anarchists, deep environmentalists, anarcho-primitivists, animal liberationists, members of indigenous movements, feminists, and many others who recognize that the problems we face are systemic in nature and that capitalism must go, remain marginalized, persecuted, ridiculed, vilified, and perhaps worst of all, divided.


An example of the agitprop the ruling elite successfully deploys (despite its obvious absurdity) to throw the true left to the margins of society. Obama is, AT BEST, center left on the political spectrum, yet the deeply indoctrinated amongst the working class–who remain faithful to their capitalist exploiters–swallow this nonsensical portrayal of him as a communist as if it was gospel….

American Capitalism’s power elite, comprised of the upper strata of the economic, corporate, political, and military hierarchies, enjoy tremendous advantages over those who oppose them. Despite their obvious economic and military might, their most powerful weapon is actually their seemingly omnipotent abilities to prevent any ideology from challenging the national religion of capitalism, to maintain the allegiance of most of the working class, and to demonize those who dare to blaspheme against their economic rape.

In a recent interview, internationally-renowned progressive political analyst Michael Parenti described the means by which the ruling class manipulates the masses into supporting such an obviously wretched system:

“Through control of the universe of discourse, including the media, the professions, the universities, the publishing industry, many of the churches, the consumer society, the job market, and even the very socialization of our children and the prefiguring of our own perceptions, the ruling interests are able to exercise a prevailing ideological control that excludes any reasoned critique of the dominant paradigm.”

It is imperative that those of us who recognize that electing a Democrat who is a racial minority and who talks a progressive game is a band-aid, at best, and that the real solution is to drive a stake through the heart of vampiric capitalism by uniting and by finding a means to take on the corporate media in such a way that we begin winning significant numbers of hearts and minds.

Anti-capitalist academics, writers, publishers, organizers, speakers, community leaders, politicians, and activists need effective conduits through which they can meet, communicate, educate one another, derive a sense of solidarity, and coordinate their efforts.

It is essential that we break down the perceived barrier between intellectuals and activists so that we can unify against regressive forces that thrive on inequality, injustice, environmental abuse, speciesism, and hierarchy—or in other words let’s come together and crush those loathsome bastards who prosper via the domination and abuse of the Earth and its sentient inhabitants.


Derrick Jensen has called on rational people of conscience to form a culture of resistance against the soulless insanity of a status quo that empowers and rewards those who are the most sociopathic and the most devoid of empathy. And if we are to create this culture of resistance and strive to forge an egalitarian, just, ecological, non-speciesist and democratic society, it is crucial that we expand our moral circle and bring animal liberation into the fold.

Aside from the morally indefensible fact that we enslave, torture, and murder sentient beings who feel pain and fear just as we do, consider Charles Patterson’s powerful argument he advanced in Eternal Treblinka. Patterson demonstrated that there is a frighteningly thin line between the abuse, objectification, and industrial torture we routinely inflict upon cows, for example, and that which we inflict upon other members of our own species. Many of the techniques the Nazis employed in the Holocaust came directly from the livestock and meat-packing industries.

Because our delusional notion of superiority is so deeply ingrained in our psyches, even many people of good conscience ignore the fact that non-human animals, who have no voice, no legal rights, and no viable means to defend themselves, are the ultimate victims of the ‘might makes right’ capitalist mentality. As the radical front line of a culture of resistance against a brutal social structure that thrives on abuse and exploitation, we need to attack the problem at its root. Leaving racism, sexism, classism and even Zionism in the dust, speciesism is the most enduring, savage, and widely accepted of the cultural ethos that enable capitalism to thrive, as it enables morally retarded wretches to pitilessly damn billions upon billions of innocent beings to a nightmare of Hobbesian proportions.


If we truly intend to subvert the dominant rapacious paradigm and replace it with something that will serve the greater good and heal the Earth, we must put animal liberation on our agenda.

So, how can we create a formidable culture of resistance and establish animal rights as one of the pillars of the radical agenda?

The Transformative Studies Institute (TSI) at, a radical educational entity that “fosters interdisciplinary research that will bridge multidisciplinary theory with activism in order to encourage community involvement that will attempt to alleviate social problems,” is sponsoring Thomas Paine’s Corner (TPC) at, which partners with Cyrano’s Journal Online ( to provide a media platform for radical writers, scholars, poets, playwrights, activists, and groups. No significant social movement will take place if the intelligentsia is cloistered in ivory towers, alienated from the activists who need them for education and guidance. We have an abundance of theory, but a dearth of praxis. TSI and TPC intend to get ideas into the heads of those who will translate them into action!

Both TSI and TPC will work in conjunction with the Institute for Critical Animal Studies (ICAS) at to promote “critical scholarly dialogue and research on the principles and practices of animal advocacy, animal protection, and animal-related policies in the fields of social sciences and humanities.” ICAS, TSI, and TPC will push to catalyze the inclusion of animal liberation into the broader radical agenda through critical pedagogy and again through facilitating the conversion of theory into praxis.

With noted scholars, activists, thinkers, and writers such as Steve Best, William Blum, Ward Churchill, Anthony Nocella II, Richard J. White, John Asimakopoulos, Lisa Kemmerer, Gary Corseri, Jason Bayless, Michael Parenti, Adam Engel, Ed Duvin, Gore Vidal, Richard Kahn, Joe Bageant, John Steppling, and many others behind this ambitious under-taking, the project has great potential. We desperately need ventures like this one to succeed.

As Adorno wrote in Minima Moralia, “A breed of men has secretly grown up that hungers for the compulsion and restriction imposed by the absurd persistence of domination.”

Capitalism and speciesism are woven into most of the world’s cultural and socioeconomic DNA. This ensures that the sociopathic “breed of men” to which Adorno referred enjoy the perpetual existence of the “absurd persistence of domination.” Which in turn is ensuring the rapid acceleration of widespread suffering and calamitous events.

As radical scholars or activists, we face the daunting task of exterminating capitalism and speciesism. And time grows short. Yet we can find solace in the fact that resistance is NOT futile!

Jason Miller is a tenacious anti-capitalist and vegan animal liberationist. He is also the founder and editor of Thomas Paine’s Corner, associate editor for Cyrano’s Journal Online, blog director for The Transformative Studies Institute and associate editor for the Journal for Critical Animal Studies.

TSI and ICAS do not endorse the content of TPC. TPC and CJO are independent media sources for writers to express themselves in an open democratic manner. TPC, CJO, ICAS and TSI do not intend to encourage illegal/unethical activity or behavior. The information herein is solely intended for entertainment, educational, research, academic, or other lawful purposes.


We must decrease animal populations

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Thomas Paine’s Corner



So-called “no-kill” policies at the local shelter may make euthanasia numbers look good, but they put animals in grave danger when needy dogs and cats for whom there is no room are turned away, condemning them to unknown and often-terrible fates away (“overburdened with cats, shelter makes plea, “The Daily Star, Nov. 4).

Animals who are rejected from shelters that are already a last resort for people faced with re-homing their companions are often dumped on the streets where they starve, contract diseases and are hit by cars; remain with people who don’t want them and keep them chained or locked in cages; or worse. And animals who are accepted into “no-kill” shelters may be caged indefinitely, becoming depressed, withdrawn or aggressive, and even less adoptable. PETA’s office routinely receives heartbreaking complaints about massive warehouses filled with unadoptable animals who sit hopelessly for years on end, in cages and runs meant to house them for just a few transitional days.

“Free to a good home” ads are also a frequent torture and death sentence. Many unscrupulous individuals obtain animals through ads and sell them to laboratories, use them as “bait” for dogfights or torture them.

Giving animals away and slamming the door in their faces when there is no more room aren’t solutions to the overpopulation crisis. Spaying and neutering are. Please, help reach the day when there is a loving home for every animal by boycotting breeders and pet shops and adopting animals from shelters, and always spaying and neutering. To learn more, visit

Daphna Nachminovitch
Norfolk, VA

Nachminovitch is vice president of the cruelty investigations Department for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.


Dear Daphna Nachminovitch:

I read your letter to the editor today posted in yesterdays Oneonta Daily Star. While I agree with the litany of wrongs to animals you list, I mostly disagree with your conclusions and have written a letter in rebuttal to the editor.

Let me tell you a little about myself in respect to PETA. I was an avid supporter of PETA for several years. I wrote many letters on behalf of animals in causes brought to light by PETA. I learned much from PETA and eventually wrote letters on behalf of PETA and PETA’s “Ask Carla” column. In a Christmas universal note to friends, almost none of whom were animal rights advocates, I wrote that Ingrid Newkirk should be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

My disagreement with your letter has a personal aspect to it. About four years or so ago I got involved as a volunteer for a local shelter. It wasn’t long before I learned it was a kill-shelter and that they were unnecessarily euthanizing (killing) cats. I waged a terrific battle against this shelter and statistically proved that my accusations were true. About this time I began getting hints that PETA would not have backed me up and would not have been on my side if I had needed to call on PETA to ask for help in fighting this shelter. Not long after that I learned about PETA’s euthanasia program which I found repugnant and repulsive.


While I continue to admire the work that PETA does, the only way that I could register my opposition PETA’s euthanasia program was to drop out of PETA and stop supporting it. That is what I have done.

Because your letter criticizes no-kill-shelters and by inference supports kill-shelters it is especially important for me to present my disagreement with your position. There are far too many kill-shelters around and the last thing this area needs is the kind of support your letter represents.


I am attaching my letter below to the Oneonta Daily Star for your information in the event you have not read it.

Yours truly,

David Irving


I greatly admire PETA’s many accomplishments for animals. However, PETA’s Daphna Nachminovitch’s letter criticizing no-kill shelters in the Nov. 29th Daily Star is limited in its perspective. Granted, the world can pose many dangers and much suffering for animals. The same may be said of human beings in places like Iraq, Dafur, Kenya, and also in the United States. Shall we kill human beings to save them too? Einstein said our task must be to widen our circle of compassion to include all living creatures if we are to break the bonds of isolation that imprison us. Serious animal rights advocates who do recognize the close bond and affinity between all species must ask by what authority one presumes to make a life and death decision over another living creature without its consent.

Unfortunately, the solution for the perils and suffering animals face as well as for humans is available only to the extent to which human beings agree to create a solution. The answer to the exploitation, abuse, and cruelty that lands many animals in shelters, however, must not be to kill the victims. That runs contrary to the ideals from which better solutions need to be found. While certain conditions exist in which death can only be a welcome relief for animals and humans both, to otherwise put oneself in the position of judging who lives or dies is an enormous ego conceit the type of which human beings embrace far too easily without really exploring the depths of the issues.

Besides these concerns, many people take stray animals into their homes. Trap, neuter and release and other programs also help. Many of these wonderful animals would be killed if kill-shelters had their way. No-kill shelters represent a much more circumspect and hopeful direction for the future.

David Irving is an animal rights activist who has written numerous essays defending our non-human brethren. His novel in progress, ‘In the Shadow of the Innocents,’ focuses on vivisection. He has written short stories, fairy tales, and just completed a novel about the 14th century mystic Meister Eckhart. David is also an accomplished musician and composer who has played French horn with ensembles like the Oakland Symphony and San Francisco Ballet. His compositions have been performed in the US and Europe. For further information see Irving is Cyrano’s Journal Special Contributing Writer for Animal Rights, Speciesisim and Human Tyranny over Nature.

To further your sociopolitical education, strengthen your connection with the radical community, and deepen your participation in forming an egalitarian, just, ecological, non-speciesist and democratic society, visit the Transformative Studies Institute at and the Institute for Critical Animal Studies at