Declaration of War

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.

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