Radical Animal Studies

Beyond Respectability Politics, Opportunism, and Cooptation

by Anthony J. Nocella II (Volume editor) Kim Socha (Volume editor)
©2022 Textbook XX, 104 Pages


Radial Animal Studies: Beyond Respectability Politics, Opportunism, and Cooptation is a scholar-activist book emerging out of the field of Critical Animal Studies (CAS). Radical Animal Studies (RAS) edited by Anthony J. Nocella II and Kim Socha recognizes and values the goal of total liberation and the importance of underground revolutionary direct action. RAS is a complement to, not in conflict with, CAS. Indeed, RAS is dedicated to two of the ten CAS principles: seven (total liberation) and nine (radical politics and strategies). This book is an essential read for social justice community organizers, animal liberation activists, and intersectional total liberation scholars.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Advance Praise
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the editors
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Table of Contents
  • Acknowledgements
  • Foreword: Burn, Baby(lon), Burn (David Naguib Pellow)
  • Preface: Radicals Help Make It Practical (Aaron Zellhoefer)
  • Introduction: Outside the Realm of Negotiation: From Underground to Battleground (Kim Socha and Anthony J. Nocella II)
  • 1. Make-Believe Revolutions Make Make-Believe Revolutionaries (Kim Socha)
  • 2. Listening to and Learning from Leftist Critiques of Animal Liberation (Will Boisseau)
  • 3. Bringing Down the Animal Abuse Industry by Any Means Necessary: State-corporate-media Alliance and the Fear of Counter-cultural Intervention (Erika Cudworth and Richard J. White)
  • 4. Radicalizing Animal Theology: Moving toward a Revolutionary Praxis (Kyle Ramsey-Sumner and Piper Ramsey-Sumner)
  • 5. Days of War, Knights of Tempeh: Anarchism, Animal Liberation & Social War (Michael Loadenthal)
  • Contributors
  • Index
  • Series index

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We would like to thank the publisher Peter Lang Publishing, contributors—David Pellow, Will Boisseau, Erika Cudworth, Richard J. White, Kyle Ramsey-Sumner and Piper Ramsey-Sumner, Jess Ison, and Michael Loadenthal, and those that wrote blurbs for the book—Dr. Johnny Lupinacci, Dr. Jason Del Gandio, S. Marek Muller, Lucas Alan, Jason Bayless, Alisha Page, Marisol Burgueno, and Arash Daneshzadeh. We would love to thank our many organizations we are involved with such as—Institute for Critical Animal Studies, Academy for Peace Education, Utah Reintegration Project, Save the Kids, Wisdom Behind the Walls, Peace Studies Journal, Transformative Justice Journal, Arissa Media Group, Salt Lake Peace and Justice, Poetry Behind the Walls, Eco-Ability Collective, and Utah Alternatives to Violence Project. We most importantly like to thank our friends and family whose love is essential to our being.

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Burn, Baby(lon), Burn

David Naguib Pellow

In November 1997, activists with the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) undertook a joint action involving arson at a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) horse corral near Burns, Oregon. Before burning the facility to the ground, the activists released more than five hundred wild horses and burros into the wild. The joint public statement read, in part:

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) claims they are removing non-native species from public lands (aren’t white Europeans also non-native) but then they turn around and subsidize the cattle industry and place thousands of non-native domestic cattle on these same lands. . . . [This action was taken] to help halt the BLM’s illegal and immoral business of rounding up wild horses from public lands and funneling them to slaughter. This hypocrisy and genocide against the horse nation will not go unchallenged!”– Animal Liberation Front, Earth Liberation Front.

At a recent national animal rights conference, an activist who had served prison time for his role in releasing thousands of minks from fur farms in the midwestern U.S., discussed the merits of arson in animal liberation: “The first ALF arson action in 1987 was at UC Davis, in the Animal Diagnostic Building. That cost them $4 million. Since then, we’ve seen 106 arsons by ALF. Arson can be very effective. It’s fire, it gets the job done. It’s fast and requires minimal people.”

In November 2007, animal liberation activist Jonathan Paul pled guilty to one count of conspiracy and one count of arson for his role in the 1997 burning of the Cavel West horsemeat slaughterhouse in Redmond, Oregon, which destroyed the plant and led to its permanent closure. Even though no one was injured in the fire, federal prosecutors described it as a “classic ←xi | xii→case of terrorism.” Paul was arrested as part of the FBI’s 2005 Operation Backfire. He began serving a fifty-one-month sentence at FCI Phoenix in October 2007.

The kind of activism that animal liberationists like ALF members have engaged in for many years often gets labeled as “violence.” But property destruction—particularly the destruction of property that has been used in the service of killing on an industrial scale—pales by comparison to the mass atrocities perpetrated by corporations and states against non-human species on a daily basis. There simply is no comparison and certainly no equivalence, particularly when one act is aimed at preventing further harm while the other is part of a casual, largely unquestioned sequence of otherwise unending and unnecessary pain and suffering.

Radical Animal Studies is a book that is sorely needed in this age of mass violence and mass distraction from that violence. This collection of authors, activist-scholars, and revolutionaries is refreshing in its brazen defense of freedom from all forms of oppression, by any means necessary. This group of radical intellectuals and visionaries speaks powerful and empowering truths by setting aside the pretensions and the cold “objectivity” of the neoliberal academy and saying out loud (and in broad daylight) that they insist on and expect nothing less than total liberation from all systems of domination. Radical Animal Studies (as a book and a new field of inquiry and action) is also a breath of fresh air in that it embraces humor and humility. As the editors note, this book is “not the final word on what it means to engage in RAS” and they invite a wide spectrum of thinkers, activists, anarchists, deviants, and miscreants to join them in joyful revelry and revolution. I am delighted and honored to count myself among this honorable community.


XX, 104
ISBN (Hardcover)
ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2022 (January)
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Oxford, Wien, 2022. XX, 104 pp.

Biographical notes

Anthony J. Nocella II (Volume editor) Kim Socha (Volume editor)

Anthony J. Nocella II, Ph.D., international total liberation scholar-activist, is Assistant Professor of Criminology at Salt Lake Community College, Director of Save the Kids, and Executive Director of the Institute for Critical Animal Studies. He had published over forty books and co-founded six journals and five book series. Kim Socha, Ph.D., is author of Animal Liberation and Atheism: Dismantling the Procrustean Bed and is employed as a social emergency response worker for those facing family violence, housing instability, addiction, and mental health crises.


Title: Radical Animal Studies