What is Animal Liberation?
Animal liberation is the notion that all animals, regardless of their species, deserve freedom from exploitation and oppression. That means no cages, no owners, and no cruelty.
What is Human Liberation?
Human liberation is the notion that all humans, regardless of their sex, race, sexual preference, age, economic class, physical ability, etc., deserve freedom from exploitation and oppression. This means no slavery, no harassment, and no discrimination.
How are they Related?
When we dislike a woman, we call her a 'bitch', and when the U.S.A. fought the Japanese in World War II, they called the Japanese 'Japes' (a mixture of Jap and Ape). Why do we use the names of animals to degrade people? Is this just a coincidence?
When the Third Reich developed methods that supported the mass killing of people, they mimicked the mass-mechanized killings of the Chicago slaughterhouses. Is this just a coincidence?
A slaughterhouse worker states that “I’ve taken out my job pressure and frustration on the animals, on my wife… and on myself, with heavy drinking”.1 Is this just a coincidence?
These are not just coincidences. They show that the oppression of nonhuman animals has the same roots of oppression within dominant culture as the oppression of humans.
Why is this Important?
Understanding the connections between animal and human liberation is important for two reasons:
1) It focuses on the roots of oppression. We cannot make systemic change in society without a full analysis of power and domination. Challenging the oppression of one group requires us to understand the oppression of others, and challenge the oppression of all.
2) Individuals need to examine oppression in all of its forms. By educating ourselves on the intersections between our movements, and by building an intersectional analysis of oppression into our activism, we can simultaneously fight for the liberation of humans, nonhuman animals, and the earth, strengthening all movements.
1Eisnitz, G. A. (1997). Slaughterhouse: The shocking story of greed, neglect, and inhumane treatment inside the U.S. meat industry. Prometheus Books: Amherst, NY.
A note on the term ‘Animal Liberation’: I have chosen to use the word animal liberation rather than animal rights for two reasons. First, the term animal rights assumes a rights-based ethic, excluding those animal liberationists who have reached their philosophies through other ethics, such as utilitarianism or an ethic of care. Second, the terminology depends on the granting of rights by the state. This leads to the assumption that the attainment of animal rights will be achieved through lobbying efforts, potentially deemphasizing other aspects of social change. This also excludes anarchist animal liberationists, who believe the state to be unnecessary and/or harmful. Animal liberation is consequently a more inclusive and descriptive term.
This website is meant to be an introduction, rather than a comprehensive analysis, of these issues. Please contact us with any comments or suggestions on how to improve the site. To get active check out The Canadian Animal Liberation Movement - CALMaction.org