15.6.08

A Sociology of Compromise.

A Late 1990s Snapshot of the British Animal Protection Movement. This small-scale investigation of the British animal movement at the end of the 20th century was written before the hunt "bans" in England, Scotland and Wales, when Hillgrove cat breeding "farm" was still operating, and before the SHAC campaign became the focus of many British grassroots campaigners' attention. It was also before the birth of the animal rights movement (2006) which followed two false starts. The first in the 1980s when Tom Regan presented his case for animal rights. His efforts were effectively neutered by corporate welfarism. The second, in the early to mid-1990s, when Gary Francione's books began to appear. His efforts were silenced also by the power elite in the US animal movement. The emergence and spread of the internet means that can no longer happen. This account has been revised slightly in 2008.

I offer it now because it says important things about the complexities and contradictions of being an animal advocate.

* Bibliography below
** Endnotes below
*** Methodological notes below


A SOCIOLOGY OF COMPROMISE.

This paper is a response to observations and criticisms of modern social movement research. Empirically, it answers the suggestion made by Rucht (1990) and takes an in-depth look at an individual social movement, the modern British "animal protection movement,"[1] investigating the subjective understandings of its members and strategists (Goldberg, 1991; Jasper and Poulsen, 1995).

Theoretically, it adopts and elaborates both Klandermans’ (1992) and Miller’s (1993) perspectives suggesting that critical theories should be used more prominently to inform the study of social movements. This study, in total, provides a snapshot of a particular social movement at a particular time: it is a critically-informed supplement to the studies carried out on the animal movement in the United States of America (Groves, 1995; Jasper and Poulsen, 1995).

Introduction

Focusing on social constructionist research, Miller and Holstein (1993: 14) argue that, in order to fully appreciate how social action is mediated by capitalist and gendered social relationships and institutions, social theories profit from the injection of feminist-critical theoretical perspectives. Writing in a similar vein about the potential benefits of including social constructionist perspectives in social movement theorising, Klandermans expresses surprise that "the idea never really caught on" (1992: 78). Pulling these strands together, I argue in this paper that critical perspectives [2] should indeed be a far more prominent feature of social movement research than has hitherto been the case.

Given its insights into politics, the mass media, and social life in general, this paper claims that critical theory provides crucial and appropriate ways with which to investigate the sociology of social movements, and in particular when describing the political, social and cultural environments in which social movements operate in modern capitalist patriarchies. For example, the theoretical concerns of both the "first and second generation" of Frankfurt School scholars, from Horkheimer, Adorno and Marcuse to Habermas, directly engage some of the most central issues related to social movement activity and the study of them. For example, considering the six themes Habermas identifies within the early work of the Frankfurt Institute for Social Research, half of them are clearly connected with major strands in social movement theorising:

the forms of integration in postliberal societies; family socialisation and ego development; mass media and mass culture; the social psychology behind the cessation of protest; the theory of art and; the critique of positivism and science (Habermas, cited in Outhwaite, 1994: 103).

However, a review of social movement research and theory (below) reveals that the field has rarely embraced critical theoretical perspectives (but see Harris, 1995). Moreover, social movement research has tended not to embrace critical theory even in an interdisciplinary sense, much less utilised its analytical strengths as a central core of the paradigm. The first section of this paper concludes that this is exactly what should occur. The substantial part of this dissertation is a detailed investigation of the British animal protection movement and responds to Rucht’s observation that,

a systematic analysis of the strategies and actions of individual movements within the New Social Movements has not yet been made. It would be very interesting to find out when and why various forms of action were introduced, or when and why they were adopted and altered by other movements (1990: 168).[3]

The conclusion of the first section is drawn upon in order to inform the rest of the paper, assessing the British animal advocacy movement, its campaigning styles, and the attitude of some of its members and activists from within a critical theoretical standpoint whenever appropriate. When Rucht (1990) refers to "new social movements" he means modern protest movements who do not generally advocate the absolute necessity of widespread social revolution to achieve their aims. Therefore, "new" or modern social movements, such as the British animal movement, are those who, by and large, devise their campaigning tactics and strategies within the established order (Kuechler and Dalton, 1990: 288).

Rucht is interested in the relationships between social movements and their "countermovements." Investigations of such relationships shows them to be important considerations in social movement mobilisation (Mottl, 1980; Lo, 1982; Zald and Useem, 1987; Yates 2007), as are the wider political, cultural and social factors which influence social movement strategising (Brand, 1990; Kuechler and Dalton, 1990; Boggs, 1995).

The sample of animal advocates interviewed in the 1990s for this paper frequently regarded their complex intra-movement relationships and the various tactical implications of campaigning within the existing sociopolitical arena as important considerations while relationships with countermovements have grown more important in subsequent years most likely due to the growth in access to the internet. This appears to have resulted in present-day British campaigners being more aware of their opponents’ views. US research on animal advocates points toward the important and primacy of a "public educator" role, meaning many animal advocates are constantly wary of factors which could potentially damage the claimed "rationality" of their arguments (Groves, 1995). This is particularly true in the case of advocates who use rights-based theories to inform their core claims about human-nonhuman relations. Therefore, some activists are found to be far more likely to cite the mass media’s representation of their movement as a greater factor of significance in terms of their tactical orientations and their evaluations of campaigning successes and failures than how countermovements view them (see Eyerman and Jamison, 1991: 99-101; Goldberg, 1991: 218-19).

In the light of these initial points, the focus turns to how they are reflected in:

* The structure of the animal protection movement: the interplay between the specialist national "animal organisations" who tend to concentrate on single animal abuse issues such as animal experimentation (vivisection) or forms of hunting, and the more generalised local campaign groups;

* The tensions created by the concepts of "animal welfare," "animal rights," and "animal liberation": what members of the animal movement mean when they use these apparently interlinked and often overlapping terms, and how these meanings have encroached on their...

* Campaigning strategies: when specific campaigning goals and tactics threaten the integrity of a movement’s overall social critique (Gelb, 1990; Rochon, 1990); and

* Campaigning environments: the constraints and limitations placed on social movement mobilisations by the general sociopolitical climate (Brand, 1990; Boggs, 1995).

By interviewing current and former members of the British animal protection movement, this dissertation investigates the movement largely as seen from "inside" by some of its activists. This "insider's" perspective responds to the argument - implicit in Rucht (1990) - that some recent social movement theories have lost sight of the "matter" of movements, namely the people in them (Goldberg, 1991: 11). This sort of point has led Jasper and Poulsen (1995: 509) to call for ways of analysing the "mental life of social movements" but without the pejorative psychology that limited early or "classical" social movement theorising.

As will be seen, this study ~ an individualistic examination of a single social movement ~ incorporating the points just made about the "insider’s" view ~ results in a far messier picture of a social movement than the portraits commonly presented - in abstract form - in most social movement theorising. Not surprisingly, and precisely to avoid such messy pictures, much social movement research shifts to the abstract and, faced with the "complexity of empirical reality," social scientists frequently resort to the guiding or heuristic device of the Weberian "ideal-type" (Rigby, 1974a: 178). While ideal-typical representations have undoubtedly proved their worth, the individualistic approach of a study such as this one serves to highlight and underline the complex and continuous constructionism involved in social movement mobilizations. Furthermore, it reminds social movement theorists that "actual existing movements" tend to be more complex and more fraught with contradictory tensions than any abstracted type. On the other hand, studies like this can furnish only a "snap-shot" of a given movement at a given historical moment. It is, of course, when the empirical and the abstracted accounts are taken together over time that the fullest picture emerges.

This particular critically-informed snap-shot suggests that explaining and understanding the modern animal protection movement amounts to a sociology of compromise. That is to say, that in advanced Western capitalist patriarchies, the campaigning aspirations of non-revolutionary "new" social movements; their internal tactical orientations and disputes; their membership recruitment and political and cultural influences, are all affected by the mediation of their philosophies and activities by the prevailing political, cultural and social environments in which they operate (Brand, 1990): in particular, they have been effected by the recent resurgence of conservative politics (Boggs, 1995); by the "filtering" of their concerns and activities by powerful mass media interests (Zald, 1992: 338); and, perhaps most significantly, because their reformist appeals are currently formulated by and addressed to a "pacified" population of citizens who collude in their own powerlessness (Marcuse, 1964; 1969; Hall et al, 1978: 243).

"New" Social Movements and their political, cultural and social environments: why the British animal protection movement is, by and large, a "new" social movement.

Although the concept "new social movements" - first introduced by West German theorists (Dalton, et al, 1990: 4) - is not universally accepted in social movement research (Tucker, 1991; Plotke, 1995) [4] the majority of social movement theorists tend to agree that modern or "new" social movements can be theoretically separated from the "old" [5] movements by characterising them as non-revolutionary mobilisations mainly orientated to bringing about reforms from within the existing political order (Brand, 1990: 25). Therefore, new movements typically concentrate on conflicts caused by fear, pain, and (physical and symbolic) destruction vs. integrity, recognition, and respect (Offe, 1990); they are seen as network-like forms of organisations who tend to rely on direct action, symbolic protest and lifestyle politics (Bagguley, 1995).

The claims and demands made by new movements are regarded as distinct from the traditional aspirations of old social movements in that they "do not crystallize into anything like a historical design, a positive utopia, or a new mode of production" (Offe, 1990: 234).[6] Writers, including Touraine (1983) and Capra and Spretnak (1984) - focusing on the recent environmental, feminist and peace organisations - say that at the centre of modern movements lies a qualitatively new "people’s politics." But what is "new" in these politics is the almost exclusive concentration on reformism within the prevailing system: "It is not a revolutionary attack against the system, but a call for democracies to change and adapt" (Dalton, et al, 1990: 3).

Touraine (1995) argues that the nineteenth century "was characterised by a great increase in power sharing" (p. 378) which helped to bring about widespread class integration in modern capitalist patriarchal societies; and therefore "it is the theme of social integration that has dealt the heaviest blows to the theme of social struggle and ["old"] social movements" (p. 375). In recent times, social conflicts have been rendered purely artificial; social actors are submissive generally and "only marginals can be aroused to revolt, as Marcuse and, a generation later, Foucault attempted" (p. 375). Marcuse (1964: 243) maintains that a social situation of "pacification" has developed in advanced industrial societies such as modern Britain meaning that any sense of "revolutionary" activity or moves towards total societal transformation are not high on contemporary political, social or cultural agendas: therefore, if new movements can be said to challenge the prevailing order at all, then again they do so only from within. Their activities, "no longer contradictory to the status quo," are a harmless negation, "and are quickly digested by the status quo as part of its healthy diet" (Marcuse, 1964: 14).

These perspectives, despite being rather pessimistic, seem to successfully capture the essence of the new reformist movements such as the modern animal protection movement, if only in general terms. However, since actual social movements are not as black and white as theoretical ideal types, there are elements of the animal protection movement which could be perceived to be both "old" and "new" by these measures. That is, that within its overall reformist structure there is a revolutionary (or at least rebellious) wing (Henshaw, 1989). It is necessary at this point to further differentiate the various mobilisations within the animal protection movement. Garner (1993) uses the term "animal protection" to describe most of the various organisations which have something to say about the relationships between human beings and other animals. However, what they say varies markedly, depending on whether they subscribe to traditional animal welfare, radical welfarism (Peter Singer-inspired animal liberation), or animal rights philosophies. For example, an illustration of a fundamental difference in philosophical approach relates to the "property status" of other animals. In law, "persons" and "things" are major categories. While there exists nonhuman legal "persons" in the shape of corporations, animals other than humans are classified as "things" (Midgley, 1985: 52-62; Francione 1995; Yates et al, 2001).

The property status of animals is not a major animal welfare issue. In fact, many animal welfare groups promote the human ownership of other animals. For animal rights campaigners, however, the concept of the property status of other animals is a means by which they claim animals are unjustly exploited and discriminated against. Thus, the social and legal changes required to satisfy rights aspirations are far greater than the traditional reforms which traditional animal welfarists seek. Consequently, nonhuman rights discourse ~ built on human rights claims ~ acknowledges that fundamental sociopolitical and attitudinal changes, ending many forms of inequality, rights violations, and discrimination of humans as well as nonhuman animals, may be necessary to bring into existence the world in which they wish to live. Thus, although generally reformist in nature, the animal movement does have its radicals who do often conceive of their struggle in terms of praxis, and who have directly advocated total societal transformation as a necessary means to their ends.[7] Perhaps the most "revolutionary" (in a Marxian or anarchistic sense) opinions found in animal movement discourse have been aired in the pages of magazines such as Arkangel and SG, favoured by those who support both direct action tactics and local group campaigning. For example, a contention often advanced through such publications argues that since animal abuse is seen to take place primarily for financial gain; and since the exploitation of animals (including humans) is deeply embedded within the prevailing oppressive money-driven patriarchal capitalist mode of production, only a (albeit ill-defined) socialist - or an anarchist - future will ensure animal liberation as part of its aims. However, many of even the more militant animal voices appear to ultimately accept the view that the transformations required to successfully liberate animals from human exploitation may possibly be provided by the existing mechanisms of the current political and economic system. Thus, tactical disputes from this viewpoint appear to centre around differing opinions about how best to "pressurise" the prevailing system. Ronnie Lee, the former national press officer of the Animal Liberation Front Supporters Group, and a respected voice within the grassroots animal liberation movement, argues that the direct action (meaning "economic sabotage") [8] campaigns for animals have two separate yet linked effects. Firstly, it directly damages the finances of "animal abuse interests": financial gain being one of the primary motivations for the routine and systematic exploitation of animals:

Most animal cruelty is caused by the profit motive. If the profit motive did not exist, the pressure for people to treat animals cruelly would be greatly reduced (Lee, quoted in Windeatt, 1985: 192).

Secondly, it supports the more mainstream conventional campaigns of the animal advocacy movement:

I don't think direct action is the opposite of parliamentary change. I think it will help it. Parliament will legislate when there is so much pressure in the country, so much trouble, that it will have to legislate (quoted in Windeatt, 1985: 191-2). [9]

Because animal advocates often conceive of animal farming and vivisection interests as "industries" and "businesses," many believe that they may respond to the pressures of "the marketplace."[10] Thus, they recommend that their supporters make use of the forces of the capitalist market by, for example, reducing or eliminating meat consumption; buying free-range rather than battery eggs; and using "cruelty-free" versions of household products and cosmetics:

The more people buy cruelty-free goods, the more become available. Soya milk is available everywhere now - in every supermarket, and now we have stuff like Cheatin’ Ham, soya ice cream, yoghurt, animal-free sweets and biscuits, as well as wholefoods. People have less and less excuse for buying animal products, and the more that buy cruelty-free, the cheaper it will get (Midlands activist).

Here, then, this "pressure" on the system is conceptualized in two ways. First, direct action tactics causes "trouble" and may encourage the animal abuse industries themselves to call for reforms which may reduce animal suffering. Second, boycotts of animal produce directly lessen the financial incentive to exploit animals, and they support alternative markets. Some animal advocates will speak the language of "societal change," "drastic readjustment," and "challenge" in revolutionary-sounding ways but, in line with the tactics just outlined, and Bagguley’s (1995) point about lifestyle politics, what they actually mean is some postmodern revolution of the self and even the transformation of shopping habits:

We don’t want a passive membership - you can’t change society that way...animal liberation gives you an enormous insight into the working of society because when people actually grasp the issue, they start to question their own motivations and values. There’s an awful lot at stake in animal lib, a drastic readjustment. People who have just joined the movement on a gut reaction will be a bit scared by that description because you are challenging an awful lot of established views, prejudices and ways of life. We are asking people to rebel basically (Kim Stallwood, campaigns officer of the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection and Labour Party activist, in Windeatt, 1985: 182).

Here, the rebellion being called for amounts, first and foremost, to individualistic acts of self-liberation from the products of animal exploitation. Since the majority of animal advocates have traditionally been comfortable, white, middle-class, left-leaning liberals (Groves, 1995; Jasper and Poulsen, 1995) the direct advocacy of total social revolution has never been the likely primary stress of the majority of their campaigning, yet successive strategists have accepted that "something revolutionary" must occur to see the end of animal abuse. In Maureen Duffy’s Men and Beasts, which is subtitled "an animal rights handbook," the author declares: "What we want and must struggle for is nothing less than the world turned upside down to the point where no animal is killed except in the act of humane euthanasia" (Duffy, 1984: 137). This short sentence effectively sums up much of the internal meanings found in some animal discourse about the aspirations of parts of the animal movement.

Here, the world must be "turned upside down." But how much social revolution or fundamental societal change must there be to fulfil these aspirations? Can these aspirations be met simply by a boycott of animal products, or is more deep-seated structural change necessary? The message one gets from animal campaigners is often confused and contradictory on this. Campaigners in interview believed that it is possible to foresee the liberation of animals within the prevailing political order, yet there was also a feeling that the values of the world would need to be changed in some unclearly-defined ways to see the cessation of nonhuman exploitation and rights violations. Clearly, many animal advocates speak the language of "revolution," but it is rarely elaborated or conceptualised in any full-scale Marxian sense. Similarly, some animal activists make much of the interconnectedness of forms of exploitation (see, for example, Gold, 1988),[11] yet when self-liberation from the products of animal exploitation is advocated, the critique is not always framed within an overall fundamental opposition to exploitative consumerism.[12] Forced to work within prevailing relations of production, animal organisations have been instrumental in creating and/or supporting consumer markets, for example, in relation to "cruelty-free" cosmetics and animal-free foodstuffs.

It may be said, summing up this section, that, in understanding the British animal protection movement, it is important to recognise that, even though radical revolutionary views are largely marginalised in the movement taken as a whole, just as the rhetorical use of "rights" is widespread, rhetorical "revolutionary language" is often commonplace. Seen expressed within general movement discourse are some generally-held perceptions that some form of "revolution" - on the individual level certainly, and possibly on a societal level - is necessary to see the end of the human exploitation of other animals as food, clothing, experimental tools and sport.

On the other hand, as revealed below, many animal activists argue that their movement’s "whole transformative agenda" sometimes needs to be (tactically) "shelved" or "toned down" to facilitate some immediate political or cultural goal such as legislation banning hunting with dogs, or perhaps when "educating" the public not to buy "veal" meat, or furs. From this perspective, for some, revolutionary-sounding language may be seen in a negative light because it may sound extremist, fanatical or unrealistic. In practice, when sometime influential organisations such as the League Against Cruel Sports have stressed one aspect of the overall campaign against animal exploitation or cruelty, their spokespersons have regularly claimed that other kinds of animal abuse are unconnected to the kind which currently concerns them. As ever, despite organisation names and political slogans, rarely is any campaign mounted by any group within the British movement framed in terms of rights violations. The tensions created by some campaigners not wanted to be seen as "too radical" or "too extreme" have resulted in organisational fragmentation in the British animal protection movement, with some organisations being formed specifically to advance a particular limited reform. While this tactical strategy enables individual mobilisations to concentrate on a particular issue (commonly, vivisection, farming, the fur trade, hunting or "cruelty" to particular animal species such as horses, cats and dogs), this "decompartmentalisation" of issues worry some theorists and activists who want to make explicit links between what they regard as "modes of exploitation" (be it exploitation of humans or of other animals).

Both Rochon (1990) and Gelb (1990) found similar strategic dilemmas facing social movement strategists generally. They note that when social movements adopt reformist campaigns the more they run the risk of moving away from their fundamental social critiques. Consequently, when the more "revolutionary" of social movement participants conceive of the solution to their concerns in terms of widespread societal transformation, or if they remain committed to a principled future vision, any deviation from their fundamental aspirations are risky and may lead to a range of tactical and philosophical conflicts between themselves and subsequent members who join movements when they see them focus on particular reform campaigns. In this way, individual members of the same movement, even the same social movement organisation (SMO), are apparently not necessarily committed to the same programme of action, nor even do they necessarily share the same perception of "the problem(s)" they face as a group.

This is exactly what has occurred periodically in the British animal protection movement, understood by some to be a product of the specialism in its organisational structure and the style of the campaigns it has engaged in, the result of the competing philosophical views about the appropriate treatment of nonhuman animals, or how media coverage of "animal campaigns" effects the image and perception of the movement (see Francione [1996] for a similar US analysis of such points). Such concerns may be overlaid by considerations of how particular political and social environments, not least policing policies in the "decent" parts of the world engaged in a "war against terrorism," influence social movements’ tactical orientations, and impact on their resources and effectiveness. Brand (1990) investigates these sociopolitical environments using the Zeitgeist concept to illustrate "social mood," "cultural climate," and "the specific configuration of world-views, thoughts and emotions, fears and hopes, beliefs and utopias, feeling of crisis or security, of pessimism or optimism" which prevails at any given time (p. 28). He says that typical sequences of basic societal moods can be seen in virtually all Western democracies:

from the conservative 1950s with their emphasis on private and material values, to the technocratic reform enthusiasm, the optimistic cultural-revolutionary thrust and moral radicalism of the 1960s, changing to the sobering 1970s which saw a growing crisis-consciousness and the spread of pessimistic anti-modern moods, finally given way to the neo-conservative, ‘postmodern’ Zeitgeist of the 1980s (pp. 29-30).

Since Brand’s perspective appears to be significant in the overall understanding of modern social movement mobilisation, it is worthwhile describing his schema in some detail. Within it Brand charts the social changes which have effected social movements over the years. He argues that the 1950s and early 1960s witnessed times of relatively stable economic growth, with increased access to mass consumer goods such as televisions, refrigerators, washing machines and cars. Supermarkets sprang up everywhere and advertising became a prime growth sector. White-collar jobs increased with the emphasis on science and technology. The rise of the "affluent society" appeared to herald the "end of ideology" and the breaking down of class divisions. Brand argues that, politically, anti-communism and the cold war reinforced domestic complacency, whether in Eisenhower’s America, the West Germany of Adenauer or in Britain’s "Butskellism" (p. 30). What Brand calls the "shadowy side of the ‘Affluent society’" came to the fore in the 1960s as the petit-bourgeois value consensus broke up under the strain of the failure to eradicate widespread poverty, continuing racial and minority-group discrimination, and the decay of the inner cities.

Established power structures were questioned when these "scandals" were measured against the propagated ideals of Western democracy. A new social critique questioned Western militarism in foreign countries caused generational division between the young and the old, intensified by "the rise of a new hedonism and life-style orientated towards self-fulfilment, sexual freedom and spontaneity" (p. 31). Brand is all doom and gloom about the "mood darkened" 1970s: the failure of 1960s radicalism led to recrimination and division in the New Left, with some groups resorting to "terrorist tactics." More broadly, however, the impulses of the 1960s which were based on wide macro analyses of societal ills and solutions resurfaced in the 1970s but this time in modern and particularistic social movements focused more on single issue politics and individualistic recourse to various forms of therapy (p. 31). These factors, Brand claims, helps explain why the oil crisis of 1973, discussion of population growth, and the increased awareness of ecological or environmental issues all became social movement interests rather than being addressed within the broader concerns of party politics. Indeed, such issues came together under the banner of the Green Party in the late 1970s and early 1980s rather than being seriously reflected within the established political parties. However, ironically, Brand observes that much of the fundamental social critique of the social movements had lost its impetus by the 1980s precisely because mainstream political parties had taken up many of their concerns. This sort of development can be assessed in one of two ways. For example, by saying that the issues of environmental protection, disarmament, women’s equality, self-help and decentralisation have "won" for themselves a permanent slot on the mainstream political agenda (p. 23) or, more negatively, that the prevailing political structure has marginalised, deradicalised and disarmed these concerns by "partially institutionalising" them (p. 32).

Brand characterises the 1980s generally as the era of "anything goes" and "Yuppiedom." The unconcealed hunt for money and status stands side by side with continuing poverty and mass unemployment as neo-conservatism grips the political climate and the Left loses even more ground. Trade unionism is attacked while patriotism is orchestrated within a nostalgic realignment with Victorian moral values (p. 33). The prevailing political and cultural climate of the 1980s deprived social movement of much support and many underwent a period of internal disintegration. However, even if social movements must change their character, they do not disappear entirely (p. 33), and modern social movements have shown a tendency to adapt to their situation as it develops, responding to their operational environment (Kuechler and Dalton, 1990: 288). This then is a brief picture of the sociopolitical landscape over the past thirty or forty years. If the accuracy of this sketch is not questioned - and it does find support in other analyses such as Hall, et al, (1978) and Boggs (1995) - then the post-1970s animal movement was born in the general "fallout" from the radical movements of the 1960s. Therefore, in the best traditions of critical theorising, these political landscapes should be continually borne in mind when developing an understanding of both social movement theory and the tactical and philosophical developments in social movements themselves. Today’s social movement participants often feel disempowered and limited by "contextual factors" such as the late-1970s rise of the New Right and the legislation they brought forward against various forms of protest and demonstration (Boggs, 1995: 347-48; and see Hallsworth (1996) for a British perspective on such legislation). Having discussed some of the general points which have influenced both social movement activity and social movement research, it is now time to turn to the particular theoretical perspectives which have informed the field, largely following the pattern outlined above by Brand.

Social movement theories.

The Classical Tradition of the 1940s and 1950s.

Goldberg (1991: 4) explains that, for a generation of theorists, writing in the 1940s and 1950s, the dark shadows of Nazism and the cold war had cast a pall over all forms of collective behaviour and thus classical theorists tended to portray social movements as symptoms of social pathology. Like rising crime and suicide rates, the existence of social movements was interpreted as society’s "red flags of distress," with movements seen as housing the emotional, the fanatical, and the violent. These notions developed alongside the so-called "riff-raff" theories of protest and rioting (Waddington, 1994: 2), when social movement activity was thought to appeal to those segments of the population most eager to embrace "contrived symbols" and "simplistic ideologies" (Goldberg, 1991: 4). Fromm (1941: 131-32) argues from a psychoanalytical standpoint that allegiances to mass movements were attempts to escape from freedom. He claims that modern life has exacerbated feelings in individuals of their own insignificance; lost in cities and in the mechanisation of life, all they can do is fall into step like soldiers or be as workers on endless production lines. These people - Fromm likens them to pawns and Nesbit (1953: 198) dismisses them as "mere particles of social dust" – desperately grasp for the "psychic haven" of social movements (Fromm 1941: 19-23; 1955: 237).[13] Theoretically, much of the early social movement work can be regarded as functionalist orientations viewing collective activity as the result of strains in the social system (Parsons, 1964). Thematically and politically, these traditional paradigms betray a conservative pluralist view of advanced industrial social systems which, by and large, are seen to adequately meet the needs of all groups who - by keeping to the rules of the game - can legitimately achieve societal influence and/or integration. Therefore, the acceptance that governments impartially mediates between competing petitioners and decides in favour of "the public good," are important factors in understanding how social movements became seen in classical theories as "improper mobilisations," as deviant, unruly, erratic, and external to the established (and fair) power channels (Goldberg, 1991: 6). And, when emotions were initially theorised in social movement research, they were also seen as irrational and impulsive outbursts (Groves, 1995: 435).

Many of these perspectives are still employed when modern movements and their countermovements describe one another’s adherents. For example, in the field of animal advocacy, pro-hunting organisations such as the Master of Foxhounds Association and the British Field Sports Society often characterise anti-hunt mobilisations, particularly the Hunt Saboteurs Association, as "riff-raff" or "rent-a-mob" organisations, and as irrational and impulsive individuals. And, of course, when social movement activists break the law, be they suffragettes, or animal liberation raiders, they are accused first and foremost by their opponents of displaying a disgraceful disregard of pursuing their concerns via the "proper" and "democratic" channels.

The 1960s: And now for something completely different.

Although many social movement writers continued to employ Parsonian analysis of normative orientations and social control in tandem with Chicago school analyses of forms of collective behaviour (Zald, 1992: 330), traditional paradigms were challenged and transformed in the widespread changes that began in the 1950s and culminated in the radicalism of the 1960s.[14] Beginning with Thompson (1966; and see Sewell, 1980) work began toward a more sophisticated analysis of collective behaviour; one which recognized group behaviour as collective political struggle rather than individualistic irrationality (Shefner, 1995: 597). And, accordingly, the early classical theorists’ atomised and irrational social movement individuals were found to be thin on the ground by new researchers who declared that "social movement participants are at least as rational as those who study them" (Schwartz, in Ferree, 1992: 30). In this new light, protesters were angry, yes; perhaps even bitter, but now theorised as reacting to "real grievances" rather than as individual pathological victims; therefore, "unconscious psychic drives offered less explanation of their motivation than real grievances and legitimate programmes of change" (Goldberg, 1991: 7).[15]

Resource mobilisation.

The development of resource mobilisation (RM) perspectives have been traced back to Olson’s The Logic of Collective Action, which, published in 1965, elaborated on his "rational choice theory" with a focus on individual self interest (Mueller, 1992: 3; Zald, 1992: 332); and to when the full analytical weaknesses of the classical research paradigms became apparent during the rise of the civil rights, antiwar, women’s and black movements (Mayer, 1995: 172-73). This analytical shift led to the substantial formulation of "the theory of resource mobilisation" (McCarthy and Zald, 1973; Oberschall, 1973; Shorter and Tilly, 1974; Gamson, 1975; Useem, 1975; Zald and McCarthy, 1979). According to RM theory, social movements, like other organisations, collect, trade, utilise (and waste) resources in their activities. These resources may be members, money, votes, information, trust, jobs, guns, and image(s) (Goldberg, 1991: 7-8). RM theorists moved much of the attention of social movement investigators towards the rationality of social movement organisations who:

weigh the rewards and sanctions, costs and benefits, that alternative courses of action represent for them (Oberschall, 1973: 29).

Recent contributions to the resource mobilisation field have returned to a welcome emphasis on individual social movement members and, again in a further rejection of classical theory, these individuals are theorised largely as rational actors who calculate the benefits and costs of social movement membership and activism (Groves, 1995: 436). In RM analysis, social movements are no longer seen to reduce their members to mindless individuals. Furthermore, individual members no longer necessarily depend on a charismatic leader who has the ability to hold them captive in their "social deviancy." With the focus now firmly on the group and on the resources that shape its efforts, numerous theoretical perspectives related to the resource mobilisation paradigm have developed.[16] However, given its stress on organisational rationality, resource mobilisation perspectives are often criticised for concentrating on the form of social movements rather than on their content (Mueller, 1992) and for sometimes recasting movement participants as "ultrarationalistic actors devoid of feeling" (Benford and Hunt, 1995: 103).[17]

Frame alignment.

Following many of the principles in Zald and McCarthy’s (1980) "organizational theories," the "frame" or "frame alignment" theories focus more precisely on individual subjectivity within movements (Snow and Benford, 1988; Snow, et al, 1980; 1986). Within "frame" theory, a frame has been defined as:

an interpretive schemata that simplifies and condenses the ‘world out there’ by selectively punctuating and encoding objects, situations, events, experiences, and sequences of action within one’s present and past environment (Snow and Benford, 1992: 137).

A little more clearly, Goffman (1974: 21) explains that frames allow people to locate, perceive, recognise, and label events and things in their world. The concept of frame alignment have been theorised in two ways in social movement research. The first looks at how movements attempt to align their frames to already existing societal frames; whilst the second investigates how movements attempt to alter societal frames to fit theirs (Klandermans, 1992). Unsurprisingly, in terms of which of these two strategies is the "easiest," the former fits the bill. Thus, social movement strategists make great efforts to align their frames - their "politicized interpretations of events" (Snow, et al, 1986) - with the existing frames of potential recruits so that they may come together and act in the world as they mutually understand it.

In terms of common claims-making in the British animal protection movement, this sort of perspective goes a long way in terms of explaining why the language of animal welfarism is so prevalent. Animal advocates often argue that the public - their public audience - understands welfarist notions of "caring" for other animals and being "kind" to them. On the other hand, many suggest that the same public "is not ready" for the idea of animal rights. Despite the apparent widespread support for the principles of human rights, animal advocates believe that rights-talk involves using new and strange frames that people are not comfortable with. Better, then, to frame claims in welfarist terms about "not being cruel" and not causing "unnecessary suffering." It is also probably the case that most animal advocates are themselves not versed in making claims about nonhuman animals being rights bearers or saying that what routinely happens to animals are rights violations. The result has been that rights in animal rights are used rhetorically and, following Singer, used as political shorthand. The advocates in this study who did not like to be thought of as animal welfarists because that raised in them a vision of a RSPCA collection tended to use "rights" as a label, or used terms such as "animal liberation" and "animal liberationist" instead.

In social constructionist theorising, collective representations emanating from social problems claims-making become candidate structures for making sense of objects or events (Holstein and Miller, 1993: 134). Obviously, if social movements can then link their perspectives to the widely held beliefs or concerns that already prevail in society, the easier it is to gain support (Snow and Benford, 1992). With its roots in cognitive psychology, the impact of frame alignment perspectives on the study of social movements has been, according to Valocchi (1996), the integration of the importance of culture into resource mobilisation theories, thus enabling theorists to better analyse how movement leaders and participants identify grievances, devise strategies, and formulate demands (p. 116). As shown in the present study, these factors become central constituents in the conflicts that arise between animal movement organisations and personnel. One concept developed within the frame alignment perspective is that of "political opportunity structures" (Amenta, et al, 1994; Tarrow, 1994). Here, for a modern movement to be successful, the political external conditions must be "right." This means that, as movements concentrate on campaigning within the prevailing system, the system itself needs to be "open" and "democratic." Movements require access to mass communication facilities; political elites must be supportive, non-hostile, or a least neutral to a movement’s aspirations; and some sympathetic allies need to be available within the political power structure.

This is precisely the sort of social movement perspective which will benefit from an explicit infusion of critical analysis which asks to what extent can the prevailing order be regarded as open and democratic; which looks at the inequality of access to the increasingly important social agencies such as the mass media; and seeks to identify the ways and means in which political power is sought, given and conceptualised in advanced industrial society. The point can be illustrated in relation to campaigning against blood sports in the animal protection movement. The political opportunities structures concept helps explain why a political reform organisation such as the League Against Cruel Sports (LACS) has framed their opposition to hunting in very precise and particular ways. This organisation, subscribing to the belief that "to achieve success those involved in political action and lobbying must, from the outset, accept the limitations imposed on them by attempting political action" (Hollands, 1985: 173),[18] focused its attention on the subset of "bloodsports" from within all the diverse concerns open to the animal protection movement in general. Furthermore, it differentiates within this subset, campaigning against deer, fox, mink and hare hunting and hare coursing. The LACS secured political support for limited, highly specific, legislative action to abolish "hunting with dogs" after the 1997 election of the "New Labour" Government (LACS, 1997). However, political opportunities always to the fore, they declared "no official policy on angling" (LACS spokesperson on The Moral Maze, BBC Radio 4, 10: 7: 97) or on shooting. As described below in a section devoted to the LACS, this particularistic campaigning, entirely logical within the political opportunities structures concept, focused on "rectifiable abuse" (Benton and Redfearn, 1996: 51) is sometimes regarded by some campaigners as a detraction from the overall "rationality" in the philosophy of animal rights or animal liberation.

The social construction of protest.

Many of the themes discussed thus far will be familiar to social constructionist theorists whose perspectives, as mentioned at the outset, "never really caught on in social movement literature" (Klandermans, 1992: 78). However, the years after Klandermans first pointed out this anomaly (1986) have seen some work elaboratong a social constructionist approach within the paradigm. Following Spector and Kitsuse (1987, first published in 1973), Klandermans himself has developed his own perspective on the social construction of protest incorporating the concept of "multi-organisational fields." This section briefly looks at some of the main strands of this perspective and other general social constructionist themes which bear particular relevance to the present study. Klandermans (1992) argues that, even before any organisational response to a controversy, public discourse on issues divides opinion within society. People then tend to group together when they share many attitudes and principles about a subject in question. Some groups agree with a certain proposition, others oppose it, and others still remain indifferent. Thus a "multi-organisational field" can eventually arise from the various positions taken. What influences individuals in their adoption of a position is persuasive communication (and presumably non-persuasive communication in the case of the indifferent "issue by-standers"). Klandermans, fairly commonsensically, claims that attitudes are influenced and shaped by group leaders, mass and specialized media and by various spokespersons (p. 97).

If sufficient numbers come together from the onset of a given controversy - enough to immediately fulfil a movement’s goals - then there is no need for groups to attempt to reach beyond their initial resources.[19] To date, there has never been any issue in the orbit of animal advocacy which has benefited from sufficient support to very quickly fulfil a particular goal, not even with regard to the early Victorian bans on bullbaiting (which took 35 years of campaigning to abolish - Duffy, 1984: 111), cockfighting and the protection of horses, cattle, sheep and dogs (Hollands, 1985: 168).[20] If, in the multi-organisational field, social movements and their countermovements stand in opposition to each other, and an "us-them" dynamic develops, this becomes another feature of the social construction of protest (Klandermans, 1992: 97). This often results in opposing movements demonising each other as "evil incarnate" (Mansbridge, 1986: 179). In discourse about other animals, spokespersons might, in fairly soft terms, evoke the frames "innocents" and "non-innocents" to differentiate between nonhuman victims and "animal abusers." The militant animal liberation newsletter, SG, on the other hand, leaves little to the imagination and simply calls anyone involved in the exploitation of nonhuman animals "scum" (Henshaw, 1989).

In a similar vein, the medical historian and antivivisectionist Hans Ruesch, deliberately challenges and attempts to denigrate the status of those who use animals in biomedical research. For example, in his classic scientific antivivisection book Slaughter of the Innocent (again, note the "innocent" frame), Ruesch castigates animal experimenters as "monkey head jugglers" and labelled Claude Bernard "the principle apostle of vivisection," in answer to the Encyclopedia Britannica calling him "a genius" (Ruesch, 1979: 358). Such slurs, as when hunt saboteurs and hunt stewards are called "rent-a-mob," are (slightly childish) tactics in the multi-organisational battles which occur as groups struggle to construct meaning and promote their version of issues and events in the hope that the any "sectors of indifference" will shrink as individuals take up and support one view over others (Klandermans, 1992: 97). Therefore, when social problems are constructed, claims are made and framed in relation to the "ownership" (Gusfield, 1989) of the "problem" or issue in a hierarchy of credibility. Such issues may be fought over by a great variety of different interests:

protest groups or moral crusaders who make demands and complaints; the officials or agencies to whom the complaints are directed; members of the media who publicise and disseminate news about such activities (as well as participate in them); commission of inquiry; legislative bodies and executive or administrative agencies that respond to claims-making constituents...and sometimes, social scientists who contribute to the definition and development of social problems (Spector and Kitsuse, 1987: 79).

A critical social constructionism and social movement research?

Social constructionist perspectives have been attacked for their lack of critical analysis (Hester and Eglin, 1992: 51-2; Rafter, 1992), although some work has attempted to address this question (see Miller and Holstein, 1993). Much of this valid criticism can equally be directed at the majority of social movement theorising (and see Benford and Hunt, 1995). In a chapter on "deposits of power," Stan Cohen neatly sums up much of how social constructionist (and social movement) theorists have traditionally described the motivations, aspirations and perspectives of social claims-makers:

(1)the notion of progress is always presented in the sense that things can obviously be better;
(2)organisations which try to implement each new good idea start with (and then generate more of) their own demands;
(3)whatever these demands, we will tell stories (ideologies) to justify and rationalise what we are doing;
(4)these ideologies will justify action in such a way as to give a privileged position to their tellers and to safeguard their interests;
(5)these stories and interests exist and must be located in a particular social structure or political economy (Cohen, 1985: 89, emphasis added).

In point five, Cohen identifies a missing critical component when related to the majority of social constructionist and social movement research, arguing that stories and interests must be conceptualised in relation to structural and political economic constraints. As such, Cohen’s approach is an elaboration of Brand’s (1990), discussed above. As previously mentioned, Miller and Holstein, adopting a similar political viewpoint in a review of social constructionist theory, point out that critical-feminist theorists will conceptualise understandings and orientations as social constructions that take place:

within gendered and/or capitalist social institutions and relationships. Thus, contemporary criticisms [of social constructionist theory] are not organised as outright rejections of the constructionist perspective, but as attempts to relocate social constructionists’ concerns and studies within perspectives that the critics argue are more comprehensive (1993: 14).

Comack (1895) and Carlen (1976) also point to the lack of a structural analysis as a failing in the constructionist paradigm. Comack states that social constructionism or labelling theory "lacks any in-depth analysis of broad structural - i.e. political, economic, and class - variables" (Comack, 1985: 71). Similarly, although in unnecessarily difficult language, Carlen declares that "the normative assumptions that the phenomenological dream of ontological pluralism and egalitarianism is, in a capitalist society, socially transcended by a material reality of social inequality and coercion" (Carlen, 1976: 98).

However, it is not necessary to follow Comack’s hard-line Marxist stance to make the point. For example, it is possible to utilise Pareto’s albeit dated observation in his "circle of elites" theory that concentrations of power in the hands of the few can be seen as an inevitable fact of history and social life. Thus, according to Whitley (1976), power and influence is not evenly distributed throughout society. It revolves around and is mainly distributed between Pareto’s "lions and foxes;" that is, it ends up being concentrated in the hands of a relatively few powerful social actors. The work of Worsley (1976) is similarly useful. He maintains that power does not exist "in itself;" again, rather it flows between people, and all people have some of it. This initially sounds similar to a Foucauldian conception of power, however Worsley concludes: "But some people have overwhelming and decisive power. Power is not randomly distributed, but institutionalised" (p. 373). Foucault himself rejects many traditional formulations of societal power, such as the tendency of treating of power always as a negative and repressive force, and he argues that power mechanisms can create resistance and struggles - such as social movement activity itself (Plotke, 1995: 116) - bringing about new forms of knowledge (Smart, 1989: 7). But Foucault also acknowledges that power is located in the dominant discourses of the day, and thus he accepted at least in part that the greatest amount of power is concentrated with those who utilise those discourses best: those who are "artful" in their use (Miller, 1993: 165).[21]

Thinking of social movement activity, this immediately raises questions relating to the power in setting agendas; and the power relations within discourse settings. As Ibarra and Kitsuse (1993) point out, "settings structure the ways in which claims can be formulated, delivered and conceived" (p. 49) and, as Marcuse states, "the established universe of discourse bears throughout the marks of the specific modes of domination, organisation, and manipulation to which the members of a society are subjected" (1964: 193). Some of these perspectives will appeal more than others no doubt, but they all lead toward the conclusion, to paraphrase Steven Box’s (1989) Power, Crime and Mystification thesis, that "the more powerful one is, the best deal one gets." Therefore, the above arguments, and Miller and Holstein’s (1993) advocacy of the inclusion of critical theoretical perspectives in social constructionist theorising, further strengthens the argument for the incorporation of those "more comprehensive" critical theories in social movement research. A useful first step is to recognise as a problematic the frequent implications of equality in much social movement theory. The impression often given is that of new social movements, their opponents, and other claims-makers, playing a dialectical role with equal access to important institutions such as the mass media, the law and to government corridors; notions which do not stand up well to empirical scrutiny. Thus, much modern social movement research continues to be framed within a structural consensus view of society.

As with the proposed radical input into social constructionism, a more critical analysis in social movement theory would seek to ask overtly political questions of such views. For example, when Ferree (1992: 44) looks at the rational choice and resource mobilisation theories with regard to their political context, he concludes that theory should explicitly acknowledge that there may be structural constraints on choices, just as there are political contexts within which social movements operate. Therefore, resource mobilisation theorists are quite mistaken if they conceptualise the struggles between social movements and countermovements as contests between equal parties with equal access to the necessary or desired resources needed for successful mobilisation. Similarly, frame alignment theorists should explicitly acknowledge these inequalities when they investigate how social movement strategists identify grievances, devise strategies and formulate demands. These points can be explored by looking at examples from campaigning for nonhuman protection. For example, both Hans Ruesch and Tony Page are prominent scientific anti-vivisectionist critics of modern medical practice and take the line that animal experimentation is misleading and invalid due to species differences. In other words, they claim that nonhuman test results cannot be meaningfully extrapolated to the human being. Their grievances are predicated on frames such as "poor science" and "unnecessary suffering" of both human beings and other animals. These factors represent the starting point of their claims-making about "the problem" of animal experimentation. Their strategy is to expose these arguments, "educating" the public and the polity about their point of view, while "alternative methods" organisations such as FRAME (the Fund for the Replacement of Animals in Medical Experiments), the Dr. Hadwen Trust and the Lord Dowding Foundation have sponsored non-animal methods designed to replace existing vivisection practices. Ruesch’s and Page’s demands are that the medical regulatory bodies should take heed of the "overwhelming evidence," as they see it, of the futility of animal experimentation and, therefore, end the cruel and unscientific practice for the sake of human health as much as animal welfare. Over many years, in several scientific antivivisection books, their grievances have been identified; and their strategies and demands have been formulated. However, they claim that for all this time they have never been given the same hearing as the powerful advocates of the vivisectionist’s method whose multinational multimillion pound resources and political influences vastly outweigh theirs (Ruesch, 1979; 1982; Page, 1997).

Vivisection experiments, they claim, are not carried out in dusty laboratories by eager but penniless researchers: on the contrary, experimentation on nonhuman "models" is a huge and profitable industry in its own right with vested interests to protect, largely unrelated to arguments about the validity of testing methods. Furthermore, with his characteristic rudeness, Ruesch argues that anyone can "cut animals up" and therefore perform vivisection experiments, whereas genuine technical competence is required to utilise the far more sophisticated (and more valid) alternative methods such as computer modelling. Consequently, he suggests that the "real" defence of animal experimentation is not based on scientific credibility but on the most basic of financial considerations: "to renege the vivisectionist method in medical research would mean putting tens of thousands of honest torturers out of work" (Ruesch, 1979: 391). Moreover, he complains that the vivisection industry can manufacture positive pro-animal experimentation media coverage with ease with yet another announcement that a "cure" for this or that (usually various forms of cancer, but now frequently AIDS) is "just around the corner": all that is needed is just a little more time and a lot more money. Furthermore, the vivisection industry’s influence extends into the polity and the worldwide regulatory bodies such as the Committee on the Safety of Medicines and the US Food and Drugs Administration, largely following the political and legal fallout from the global thalidomide tragedy.[22]

Anti-bloodsports campaigners have also complained over the years of the lack of "a level playing field" in their attempts to abolish hunting, as a former animal activist from Newport, South Wales told me:

we have won all the arguments about hunting and all the opinion polls show big support for bans on fox and deer hunting and especially hare coursing. And yet the House of Lords go and block legislation on hare coursing that got through the Commons in the nineteen seventies: so much for democracy. Farmers and hunters have a lot of influence in parliament, and never mind what might be right, or what we want, or what the public wants even; they will serve their interests first.

Another activist, this time from North Wales, made similar points about inequalities of resources in relation to the pro-hunting rally in Hyde Park in July 1997, deploring, for example, that the press made much of the huge turnout of foxhunt supporters:

the Daily Telegraph emphasised the supposed significance of the estimated 110,000 people who turned up, but I heard a radio report that said that many landowners gave these people time off to attend the rally, not to mention laying on buses, trains and even a plane to get them there. The rally organisers also said that the rally as a one-off event as far as they were concerned, but you can attend an animal rights event every day of the week if you want to. Any comparisons in numbers are false; all they measure is differences in money, not commitment.

Vegan writer on diet and health, John Robbins (1987, parts 2 & 3 passim), makes the claim that the meat and dairy industries have for years used their political muscle and large advertising budgets to "impede the growing medical understanding regarding diet and...disease" (p. 242). He argues that "there are powerful interests today who are profiting from the web of repression about modern farming. It is to their advantage that we [do] not know too much, or be too interested in what goes on in factory farms and slaughterhouses" (p. 125). In another example, Schleifer (1985) claims that American meat producers were sufficiently influential enough to succeed in changing the wording in a government report on nutrition from the financially damaging recommendation to "decrease consumption of meat" to the more equivocal "choose meats, poultry and fish which will reduce saturated fat intake" (p. 67). At the same time, McDonald’s multinational hamburger chain, one of the major producers of children’s TV commercials, tell children that hamburgers grow in "hamburger patches," while Mayer’s Meats have children in their commercials signing, "Oh, I wish I was an Oscar Mayer wiener, for that is what I’d really like to be" (p. 66; and see Robbins, 1987: 129). Animal advocates compare these multimillion pound advertising campaigns of the animal abuse industries with the limited attempts by animal groups to put their messages over.[23] They also make the point that large corporations will use their huge financial resources to sue organisations and/or individuals who oppose their business interests. Although this back-fired with regard to McDonald’s libel action against two London Greenpeace activists (McLibel Support Campaign, 1997), the trend continued as British Petroleum have recently threatened Greenpeace International with court action.

Social Movements and the Media

Most activists spoken to for this project frequently referred to media coverage as probably the most important influence on the perceived success or otherwise of their campaigns. Furthermore, some of the general structural conflict in the animal protection movement can be traced to how activists constantly attempt to "second guess" what "the media" will make of this or that campaign or tactic; and how mass media coverage impacts on their claims-making and public image. These concerns will be detailed below: for now the paper turns to the general research on social movements and the media that is pertinent to the present study, stressing the need for a critically-informed study of the media.

Goldberg (1991; chap 10) charts the changing relationships between the media and social movements who become involved in what he calls a high-risk "media dance" (p. 226). He says that in the nineteenth century journalistic attention was focused on the coverage of politics, diplomacy, war, crime, and social events. During this period, protests movements were not particularly regarded as "news," so they responded by buying their own printing presses in order to put their messages out before the public. However, what is regarded as "news" changes, the result being that from the early years of the twentieth century the interests of social movements and the media gradually becoming more and more "entwined" (pp. 225-26). Many studies have pointed to the political and cultural "power" of the mass media (e.g. Cohen & Young, 1973; Glasgow Media Group, 1976, 1980; Beharrell & Philo, 1977; McQuail, 1987; Box, 1989). Such studies show that media coverage does not merely happen - rather it is carefully constructed (Aldridge, 1995); it is a socially manufactured product (Glasgow Media Group, 1976, 1980; Hall, et al, 1978; Golding and Elliott, 1979), with a "certain natural bias" towards the status quo and the creation of the appearance of consensus (Briggs, 1961: 366). This "natural bias," according to Garnham (1973), is a "continuing reality" (p. 25). With humorous irony, Hood argues that, in practice, this continuing reality "...is the expression of a middle-class consensus politics, which continues that tradition of impartiality on the side of the establishment" (Hood, 1975: 418).

Gamson, one of the principal investigators the relationship between the media and social movements, acknowledges many of the points above, and notes:

much of what adherents of a movement see, hear, and read is beyond the control of any movement organisation (Gamson, 1992: 71).

Moreover, Zald (1992), acknowledging inequalities in terms of media access, argues that social movement theorists should be wary of the assumption that activists and authorities are simply able to "play to the media." Unlike their predecessors, new social movements cannot provide themselves with adequate alternatives to the modern mass media and so they have no choice but to reach the public and/or the polity via the existing information outlets - but "media messages" are controlled not by social movements, but by the "media communication industries" (Molotch, 1979; Gitlin, 1980) who "filter" the activities of movements (Zald, 1992: 338).[24] Of course, attention has turned to whether the emergence and spread of the World Wide Web and media such as Indymedia provides an adequate alternative to mass media outlets.

Therefore, social movement strategists accept that media discourse is central in framing the issues that come to public attention, and appreciate that the media has become an important site in which "various groups, institutions, and ideologies struggle over the definition and construction of social reality" (Gurevitch and Levy, quoted in Gamson, 1992). Active social movement strategists are well aware, contrary to the implication in much social movement theorising, that equality of access to the media, especially the less regulated press, is a myth. As journalist Will Hutton points out, there is:

the growing conviction that an honest hearing in the press is the exception rather than the rule unless what is being said chimes with the transient preoccupations of editors and proprietors (Hutton, 1996: 9).

It may be added that editorial and proprietorial interests - commercial or otherwise, and not necessarily transient - can also influence who gets a hearing and who does not. Miliband provides a subtle rejoinder to the above and argues that media interests or biases can effect coverage, not only by blocking access, but by dismissing and downgrading what does eventually appear:

The mass media cannot assure complete conservative attunement - nothing can. But they can and do contribute to the fostering of a climate of conformity - not by total suppression of dissent, but by the presentation of news which falls outside the consensus as curious heresies, or even more effectively, by treating them as irrelevant eccentricities which serious people may dismiss as of no consequence (1969: 238).

As Miliband suggests here, the media are neither "mass manipulators" nor "giving the public what it wants" (Cohen & Taylor, 1973). The latter is the media’s favoured image rather than its reality. Their ability to affect the social construction of consensus invests them with a relatively powerful ability to declare who is "normal," who is "abnormal" and "deviant," and those who present problems to the prevailing value system are "presented as inhabiting a territory beyond the boundaries of society" (p. 341).

Hall, et al, (1978: 58; and see Beckett, 1996: 72-73) follow Becker’s concept of a "hierarchy of credibility" and claim that those in powerful or high status societal positions are the most likely to be listened to and given space to expound their views on the media - for contemporary evidence of this one need look no further than those who most regularly feature as newspaper columnists and/or contributors to Radio 4’s "intellectual output:" Start the Week, Any Questions, and TV’s Question Time, The Midnight Hour, et al. This argument may be challenged by pointing out that audiences are not "dopes" (cultural or otherwise) and they should not be seen as readily available to be led by the nose by the media. People will seriously question the views that are presented to them, thoroughly interrogating the quality and integrity of the messages they receive; and will "read between the lines." Therefore, if the public take against a particular viewpoint, merely repeating it again and again, mantra-like, will only have the effect of reinforcing their opposition to it.[25] However, to accept this criticism assumes that all, most, or many media consumers are constantly alert to the possibilities that what they hear and see requires a careful and critical evaluation.

Ideally, this would be the case, and as such would resemble what Habermas has called an "ideal speech situation;" that is, a situation "characterised by equality and reciprocity of participation, is an immanent goal of communication, and makes possible a critique of inequalities of social power which is not simply based on personal value-commitments" (Dews, 1991, citing Habermas’ The Theory of Communicative Action). However, the sociological research cited above suggests that Habermas’ aspirations neither accurately describes how media products are currently manufactured, nor how they are presently reacted to; and while it is not being argued that media messages necessarily have crude instrumental effects, it is suggested that they act pervasively in the longer term as institutional channels of "social knowledge" because "most people, reading the newspaper or watching a TV news broadcast, expect that they will obtain a picture of what significant events are occurring in the world, of 'what’s happening'" (Bilton, et al, 1981: 548). Thus, while it may be a valid observation when the majority of people declare that they "do not believe everything written in the papers," some media are believed; and many people seemingly accept the propagated notion that TV and radio coverage in particular is basically neutral, and therefore the question is once again transformed into one of access and control:

There is...a matrix of social power according to which society classes, collective actors and other social categories have the greater chance in shaping and reshaping political reality, and of opening and closing the political agenda. Access to and control over the means of production, the means of organisation and the means of communication are unevenly distributed within the social structure (Offe, 1982: 82).

Given that the mass media is based on a particular set of priorities: stories of drama, conflict, emotion, human interest (Hilgartner and Bosk, 1988); and that there is little or no influence over how the media uses the information it receives (Molotch, 1979; Gitlin, 1980) ~ along with the question of access and control just discussed ~ Rochon’s (1990) investigation of the "cost" social movements pay for media attention should be examined. For example, looking at the peace movement, Rochon puts its failure to mobilise the full compliment of its potential support down to "the way it was portrayed in the mass media" (p. 108). Therefore, movements’ protests may be covered, but with no real elaboration of their substantive arguments:

Demonstrations are described as large or small, well-behaved or unruly, a cross-section of the populace or composed of fringe elements. But the issues that brought the protestors together are presented in terms of one-line slogans, if at all...Size, novelty, and militancy are the chief elements of newsworthiness (p. 108).[26]

Again, Rochon stresses that the media’s "exacting criteria" becomes the chief determinant of coverage (p. 108). Media coverage, predicated as we have seen on variables such as size, novelty and militancy, helps to explain why events such as the presentation of petitions are generally not regarded as newsworthy unless they are large, or connected with some other, more media-attracting, aspect, such as being presented by a celebrity. For example, the "farm animal" welfare group, Compassion in World Farming, have attempted to satisfy some of the demands of the media by having their parliamentary petitions delivered by such luminaries as Joanna Lumley and the late Spike Milligan.

The tactical dilemma facing campaign group strategists who wish to present their view to the public via the mass media is intriguing. As noted, Rochon claims that the presentation of petitions and legal, peaceful, demonstrations are not particularly interesting to the media, yet a 5-nation study of "unconventional political action" by Barnes et al (1979) found that the circulation of petitions and legal demonstrations were the very activities which achieved the most public approval (85% and 67% respectively). This compares to product boycotts (37%) and rent strikes, occupying buildings, blocking traffic, unofficial strikes, painting slogans, personal violence and damaging property which all achieved approval ratings below 20% (Barnes, et al, 1979: 544-46). These data, although somewhat dated, suggest that the activities that the mass media find most newsworthy are those with the least public support, while those forms of actions most favoured by the public are those least likely to interest the media. Gaining mass media attention is fraught with problems and risks, as the sexist exploits of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and the activities of Fathers for Justice suggest.

Social movement organisations in general attempt to gain some measure of control in their media relationships by appointing or employing staff to specifically deal with the media (Eyerman and Jamison, 1991). Eyerman and Jamison claim that this influx of professional skills is made necessary by the needs and interests - the "cognitive praxis" - of social movements (p. 100), who must reach out and communicate with a large and "faceless" mass via the media and through the skills of their "movement communicator" (p. 101). However, the animal protection movement tend to resolve these needs, not by employing professionals, but by appointing people who are committed to the animal rights philosophy and then subsequently training them in the skills they require. For example, staff working for the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection have at times been required to be at least vegetarian and preferably vegan while on the organisation’s premises, and to be opposed to all animal experiments (one of their 1980s campaign slogans).

The media and the British animal protection movement

Over the years, in the field of animal campaigning, activists and advocates have been labelled in the mass media as everything from "animal lovers" and "animal freedom fighters" to "animal nutters" and (increasingly) "animal terrorists." Coverage of "animal issues" often has a dismissive air about it. Campaigners may be portrayed as slightly dotty and strange, perhaps caring more about nonhuman animals than human beings - eccentric characters who bang on about animals in a world full of human suffering. Animal advocates have expressed concern about how media coverage has affected their public image and thus their all-important aspiration to educate people about animal exploitation (Groves, 1995). Their general impressions appear to be based on beliefs that media coverage continues to fluctuate from positive to negative and, as Gamson (1992) points out, in ways that are wholly out of their control, despite employing or appointing press officers and spokespersons to deal with the media.

A small number of grassroots activists in this study spoke of their frustration with the common tactical separation of the various concerns of the overall "animal rights" campaign into its "component parts," the latter being a notion they were critical of. Some advocate that, even when specific campaigns are focused on a particular single issue or about, say, a particular establishment, they should nevertheless be framed and presented to the media within the explication of the overall philosophy of animal liberation, based on frames (often found in book titles) such as "the extended circle" of compassion and/or animal rights; and beliefs that animal activism is intrinsically connected to global human concerns such as "Third World starvation" and environmentalism (Gold, 1988). An activist from the South of England said:

We make a big mistake by splitting issues up. Vivisection, factory farming, bloodsports, fur trade are all the same thing: animal exploitation. We make a big mistake not to approach all of these as one thing. It means that people can go on the [media] and take part in a programme about one of these issues, but they can go on there and appear as animal rights campaigners against all animal exploitation.

It was those interviewees with direct experience of the media, usually as spokespersons for a particular local or national group or campaign, who appeared to have the most cynical view of Goldberg’s "media dance." For example, talking about the difficulty in presenting the general animal liberation message on typical TV shows, a former local animal group representative said:

I mainly got on those regional ‘Kilroy-type’ programmes which are usually debating one particular issue, such as banning hunting or the rights and wrongs of battery farming. You end up sat among a group of farmers and hunters and you know for a fact that you will get one chance - two if you’re lucky - to say your piece. However much you might want to, its no good doing a Peter Singer [philosopher author of Animal Liberation] and trying to give a full-blown lecture on the philosophical niceties of animal rights in general. For a start, you never have the time and you would get cut off by the presenter or shouted down by the hunters. Instead you are forced to deliver your virtually pre-prepared sound bite on the particular subject of the show.

It is also those animal activists who have had direct experience of organising campaigns who place their connections with the mass media in the context of Offe’s matrix of power relationships in which they feel like "small fry" in the struggle to win and influence media coverage. For example, some activists believe their campaigns have suffered due to the closeness of their local media to the very interests they are fighting against, such as commercial animal agriculture.

An organiser for the Hunt Saboteurs Association (HSA) in North Wales until 1991 claims that his local papers were never much interesting in the sabs’ side of the hunting debate. He says that the Welsh group eventually gave up on the media, leaving the task of liaison with the press ~ if it happened at all ~ to the bigger city groups in England. His local rural papers, he still believes almost ten years later, are "in the pockets of farmers" and no matter what information the sabs supplied them with in the past, "they wrote what they wanted anyway." This informant spoke of a time in 1988 when the Welsh group took two full minibuses (about 30 people) to join with the Manchester and Liverpool HSA groups’ attempt to "sab" the Sir Watkin William Wynns Hunt in the Cheshire borders. If a hunt cannot be located at their "meet," when hunters congregate before starting the actual pursuit (and when the stereotypical handing around of the stirrup cup takes place), it can be extremely difficult to subsequently detect them even though the general area of hunting on any particular day is known to the saboteurs. On this particular occasion, none of the three groups found the hunt at any time during the hunting day (11am to dusk). Nevertheless, local radio stations reported that evening that hunt saboteurs had been involved in "violent clashes" with the hunt and the police. This informant claims this case illustrates that "animal abusers" can effectively plant stories in the media to discredit their opponents.

More generally, respondents said that they remember a good deal of what was widely regarded in the movement as "positive media coverage" in the late 1970s and early 1980s. This was a period of intense interest in the burgeoning new animal liberation movement; a key event being the showing of Victor Schonfeld’s powerful documentary The Animals Film in the first week of Channel 4 broadcasting (Beardsworth & Keil, 1992). A London-based campaigner, an activist in those early years, told me how media coverage changed over time:

One of the biggest demos I first went on was at Life Science Research in Essex. The place got smashed up and some animals were liberated - and this was a daytime demo. The press coverage was really brilliant. The tabloids were really good too: ‘Animal Freedom Fighters’ on the front pages, that kind of thing. Mind you, one of the stories - Daily Star I think - was next to a picture of Suzi Quatro’s bum, the ‘rear of the year’ apparently! Within two years, when the NALL and SEALL [Northern and South Eastern Animal Liberation Leagues] were doing the same things, we had become ‘nutters’, ‘vandals’ and ‘animal terrorists’. And, of course, when the [Animal Liberation Front] started concentrating on damage instead of rescuing, these names stuck.

A former activist for the Essex Hunt Saboteurs, locates a shift in "animal rights" media coverage from mainly "positive" to "negative" in the mid-1980s:

We once took reporters to do the Essex [Hunt]. A woman reporter and a photographer who only looked about fourteen, shaking like a leaf. Anyway, the hunt thought they were sabs and abused them accordingly. The two-page spread they did was wonderful - we photocopied it and handed it around to the hunt, including the Master. After that they were far less violent towards us. Later on, it was hard to get good press coverage, except maybe Boxing Day when the League [Against Cruel Sports] did their once-a-year demo. And then it was often as not the ‘sabs roll marbles under horses’ type stuff.

An activist in the Manchester area, reflecting on the perceived increase in negative press coverage, sees "bad press" as an important factor in the conflicts that arose between the various national animal organisations:

Avoiding bad press is very difficult sometimes - and whoever said that any press is good press was wrong. The animal liberation campaign was at its strongest when it appeared to be unified. The ‘moderate’ groups would be happy to find boxes of documents on their doorsteps which came from illegal raids and, in the most part, they didn’t slag off the raiders. Things went sour once the press started calling us ‘terrorists’ - let’s face it, it’s a hell of a label for moderate groups to be linked with. And so some national groups also started calling us terrorists. I suppose with hindsight it was a tactical thing for them: you know [Animal Aid] had their membership to think of and the LACS had to keep the MPs happy.

As related above, some activists claim that "animal abuse interests" are able to adversely affect the media coverage of the animal movement (for a North American view on this, see Guither 1998; Regan 2004). Some also advance the opinion that their poor media image has been the result of a concerted campaign by their opponents who they allege have perpetrated some of the more extreme acts that have occurred in the name of the animal movement. An example involves the director of the British Hunting Exhibition, Alan Newberry-Street, who was imprisoned for nine months in 1990 for planting a "nail bomb" on his own Landrover, causing the partial evacuation of a rural village in Herefordshire. Mr. Newberry-Street phoned the police to claim responsibility for planting the bomb in the name of "the British Animal Rights Society" (which did not exist). At his trial the prosecution said he admitted planting the bomb "to discredit the animal rights and hunt saboteurs associations" and he asked for other "similar offences to be taken into account" (LACS, 1991: 5).

Brass Tacks reporter David Henshaw has written what he claims to be "the story of the Animal Liberation Front" (Henshaw, 1989) and specifically investigated the growing militancy of the animal movement. He notes that "no one had ever heard" of the "Animal Defence League" who claimed in 1988 to have planted a car bomb in the name of animal rights (p. 202). Similarly, he reports that "no one had heard of the Animal Abuse Society either, when at the end of February in the new year a spokesman rang the Daily Mirror to warn that a bomb had been placed in the Senate House at Bristol University" (p. 202). Henshaw also writes that when a group calling itself the "Animal Rights Militia" sent four letter bombs to the political party leaders in 1982, "Scotland Yard’s anti-terrorist squad simply did not believe that this was the work of animal rights supporters" (p. 173). This event appears to have puzzled animal campaigners, especially since one of the recipients of a letter bomb was the then MP for Yeovil, Paddy Ashdown, who was supported in the 1982 election by the political campaign group Animal Protection Alliance, recommending to their Labour voting supporters that they should tactically switch to Liberal due to Ashdown’s support for animal protection causes (Windeatt, 1985: 188). Other "animal rights raids" have occurred in equally strange circumstances. For example, I was told personally in 1990 by an officer from the anti-terrorist squad that they were quite convinced that an alleged daylight "animal lib raid" on a London fur retailer was "an insurance job." Thousands of pounds worth of damage had been caused to "unfashionable and virtually unsaleable" fur coats in a raid supposedly involving one raider pinning the elderly shop owners against the wall with a sawn-off shotgun. The police concluded that this was a fraud rather than an "animal rights" matter. Significantly, however, the fur trade have used this example of "animal rights terrorism" in their propaganda ever since.

Henshaw also claims (1989: 175-6) that when the police formed the "ALF Squad" in 1985 - later called the "National Index of Animal Rights Extremists" and then "Animal Rights National Index" - they found more law-breaking activity occurring than the Animal Liberation Front Supporters Group itself was claiming: "The vast majority of liberationist activity was low level, but the volume was enormous - half a dozen raids a night, every night, all over the country. And on top of that, there were the large-scale acts of economic sabotage" (p. 176). One informant argued that this mismatch between claims and actual activities could be explained by the chaotic nature of the organisation of the Animal Liberation Front at the time, but there still remains a conviction in some sections of the animal movement that the most extreme and potentially fatal actions which have occurred in Britain in recent years have not been perpetrated by "genuine" animal activists.

Fundamentalism and Pragmatism, "animal welfare," "animal rights" and the structure of the British animal protection movement.

Kuechler and Dalton (1990: 286-89) investigate how social movements deal with "the predicament arising from pursuing fundamentally different goals within an established order, the related strategic and tactical choices new movements face" (p. 287). Due to the reformist aims of modern social movements, they are placed in competition with established societal powers in the prevailing system.

The mainstream animal organisations are not advocators of revolution: they, like all new social movements, attempt alterations and transformations of the present society from the inside, utilising, in different ways, the given resources of existing society (p. 287). As noted above, in early social movement research, the stress was on the isolation of social movement members and organisations, and then more recent theories focus on their social and political integration (Gelb, 1990; Klandermans, 1990; Rochon, 1990). Therefore, some "new social movements might advocate a new social paradigm, but they are not totally isolated from other organised interests in advanced industrial societies" (Kuechler and Dalton, 1990: 287), such as political parties, trade unions and religious groups. Similarly, the actions of modern movements are now theorised as more conventional than was originally thought. Rochon (1990), looking at CND, shows that the "dramatic event" - although most likely to receive media coverage - represent only a small part of their campaigning activity; the bulk being educational meetings, showing films, and conferences etc (pp. 109-10).

Rucht (1990) - revisiting the "old/new" debate - argues that contemporary movements, unlike their predecessors, are flexible users of both conventional and unconventional forms of political action. Drawing many of these thoughts together, and utilising some aspects of the "political opportunity structures" concept, Kuechler and Dalton (1990) conclude that modern social movements’ links with established interests; their use of conventional political campaigning, does not mean they are totally integrated within the establishment; what it does mean is that they are pragmatically responding to their (non-revolutionary) environment (p. 288). Boggs (1995) makes a similar point but more negatively, arguing that new movements may not be completely integrated but they have "run up against the immense power of the national and international economic and political institutions; power that has restricted their autonomy" (p. 352). In many cases, Boggs goes on, contemporary movements can be variously absorbed, isolated or marginalized by the established powers (p. 352). How social movements recognise and deal with established power structures become major elements in the social construction of modern protest, as yet inadequately theorised in social movement research (Benford and Hunt, 1995).

It has been shown how new social movements struggle in a "media-saturated world" (Grodin and Lindlof, 1996), facing an "insoluble predicament" of being pragmatically successful (in terms of expanding their popular base and reaching modest goals) at the risk of damaging their fundamental beliefs (Kuechler and Dalton, 1990: 288). Rochon (1990), for example, argues that the peace movement’s fundamental criticism of militarism became overshadowed when it concentrated on opposing particular nuclear missiles in particular locations. Similarly, the anti-nuclear movement succeeded in generating broad support when it opposed particular nuclear sites yet it failed in respect of developing a global critique of nuclear power (Kuechler and Dalton, 1990) and, finally, Gelb (1990) argues that women’s groups have focused on particular legislation at the expense of developing the wider social-consciousness goals of the feminist movement.

Understanding how the animal movement deals with these fundamentally important campaigning predicaments requires a complex analysis of the interrelatedness of several factors, perhaps the most important being the impact of the movement’s organisational structure and the implications of the separate yet overlapping concerns and philosophies of animal "welfare" and animal "rights" organisations and supporters.

This latter point will be investigated first. It is essential in any research on the animal liberation movement that theorists get some grip on the meanings attached to the various, often contradictory and complex ways in which the terms "animal welfare" and "animal rights" are differentiated or intertwined. "Welfare" and "rights" talk are frequent features in animal campaigners’ discourse; sometimes expressed organisationally: "oh, that’s an animal welfare group," sometimes individually: "s/he is an animal rights person," and philosophically (see below). To understand the expressions of those who campaign against the use and abuse of other animals, researchers need to appreciate how these two terms are interwoven, overlapped, or distinguished and separated in animal movement discourse.

It has been noted that many nonhuman advocates appear to be very sensitive about media coverage of their campaigns and, similarly, this study suggests that virtually every position that respondents took, and every opinion that they expressed, could in some way be traced to their constant acknowledgement of the tensions and contradictions of their orientations to the welfare and rights perspectives, and the frequent blurring of the two in both movement debate and media reportage.[27] In the preface to his book Animal Liberation, utilitarian philosopher Peter Singer provides an initial illustration of the problem, which is worth repeating at length:

Soon after I began work on this book my wife and I were invited to tea - we were living in England at the time - by a lady who had heard that I was planning to write a book about animals. She herself was very interested in animals, she said, and she had a friend who had already written a book about animals and would be so keen to meet us. When we arrived our hostess’s friend was already there, and she certainly was keen to talk about animals. ‘I do love animals,’ she began, ‘I have a dog and two cats, and do you know they get on together wonderfully well. Do you know Mrs. Scott? She runs a little hospital for sick pets...’ and she was off.

She paused while refreshments were served, took a ham sandwich, and asked us what pets we had. We told her we didn’t own any pets. She looked a little surprised, and took a bite of her sandwich. Our hostess, who had now finished serving the sandwiches, joined us and took up the conversation: ‘But you are interested in animals, aren’t you, Mr. Singer?’

We tried to explain that we were interested in the prevention of suffering and misery; that we were opposed to arbitrary discrimination; that we thought it wrong to inflict needless suffering on another being, even if that being were not a member of our own species; and that we believed animals were ruthlessly and cruelly exploited by humans, and we wanted this changed. Otherwise, we said, we were not especially ‘interested in’ animals. Neither of us had ever been inordinately fond of dogs, cats, or horses in the way that many people are. We didn’t ‘love’ animals. We simply wanted them treated as the independent sentient beings that they are, and not as a means to human ends - as the pig whose flesh was now in our hostess’s sandwich had been treated (1983: vii-viii).

Singer’s host is an example of traditional animal welfarism, often focused on the welfare of pet animals, on rescue centres and cruelty cases. Singer’s utilitarian welfarism is much more progressive. And, in terms of animal rights theory, North American animal rights philosopher Tom Regan explains:

I regard myself as an advocate of animal rights - as part of the animal rights movement. That movement, as I conceive it, is committed to a number of goals, including:

* the total abolition of the use of animals in science;
* the total dissolution of commercial animal agriculture;
* the total elimination of commercial and sport hunting and trapping.

There are, I know, people who profess to believe in animal rights but do not avow these goals. Factory farming, they say, is wrong - it violates animals’ rights - but traditional animal agriculture is all right. Toxicity tests of cosmetics on animals violates their rights, but important medical research - cancer research, for example - does not. The clubbing of baby seals is abhorrent, but not the harvesting of adult seals. I used to think I understood this reasoning. Not any more. You don’t change unjust institutions by tidying them up. What’s wrong - fundamentally wrong - with the way animals are treated isn’t the details that vary from case to case. It’s the whole system (1985: 13).

In theoretical terms, and especially in the light of Regan’s quote just cited, it seems that it should be relatively straightforward to divide traditional animal welfarists and animal rightists into two distinct and separate movements, each with its own separate philosophy regarding the relationships between humans and other animals. It should also be possible to differentiate traditional and progressive animal welfarists. However, this is far from being the case. It should also be noted that there are yet more animal advocates inspired by further principles, such as ecofeminism and some anarchic themes: however, these tend to use the language if not the theory of progressive, or new (Francione 1996) animal welfarism.

In his research on the US animal protection movement, Groves (1995; and see Jasper and Poulsen, 1995: 505-06) found that "animal rights" campaigners tended to stress the rationality of their arguments over the emotionality of the appeal of animals, which they associate with welfare campaigns and campaigners. For example, animal rightists would explicitly refer to the works of the "animal rights philosophers" to show (although this in itself is often confused) that the modern utilitarian and liberal rights positions on the exploitation of animals are supported by sound logical argument rather than mere sentimentality. Some of the British campaigners spoken to cited Peter Singer’s Animal Liberation (described as "the Bible of the new animal rights movement" by Jean Pink, founder of the national campaign group Animal Aid) in this way. Singer employs a non-rights utilitarian extentionist framework, tracing how the concept of concern for others has extended over time to include more and more groups.[28] As the quote from Pink indicates, the philosophical position of Singer is often mistaken as an animal rights theory. Singer was by far the most well known philosopher to the sample in this study. Tom Regan’s name was also known, although few had read his The Case for Animal Rights. However, not one person in the sample of animal advocates was familiar with the name or theoretical position of Gary Francione. Groves (1995), on the other hand, claims that several of the twenty US activists he interviewed referred him most often to Tom Regan’s rights-based writings.

These particular activists were also involved in the civil rights and women’s movements and regarded Regan’s work as very scholarly, dispassionate and philosophical. They were especially impressed because, they believed, the first 100 pages of his The Case for Animal Rights does not mention nonhumans at all, but is an analysis of rights in general (p. 448). Like some activists featured in this work, Groves’ respondents will take the "rights" frames, which are common features of general political discourse about human beings, and attempt to persuade their audiences of the logic of extending some rights to nonhuman animals. However, the British advocates seemed to have less of a grip on what rights-based advocacy means than Groves’ respondents. Groves also notes how animal rights activists may stress their rationality by appearing to be dispassionate about nonhumans. For example, one activist declared at an antivivisection rally:

I’m not an animal lover. Some animals I like, others I don’t like. To say I’m an animal lover is the same as saying I’m a nigger lover (p. 448).

The majority (but not all) of informants for this paper tended to agree with this particular sentiment. Like most of Groves’ interviewees, most thought this approach was appropriate, believing that it damages the "animal rights movement" to be thought of as part of the "soppy animal loving dog and cat brigade" (i.e. the orthodox animal welfare movement) because it detracts from the logical rationality of the movement’s arguments. From the British study, then, philosophical differences were most often recognised when advocates were considering the stance of traditional animal welfarists ("RSPCA-types") compared to their own position they self-labelled interchangeably "animal rights" and "animal liberation."

From what has been learnt thus far, it does seem quite impossible to conceive of "animal rights" and traditional animal welfare advocates coming together to form anything more substantial than a loose alliance of groups who happen to campaign in roughly the same area of concern. Looking at the philosophical basis of animal rights campaigning and how many who label themselves animal rights campaigners appeal to the rationality of their arguments, it is hard to envisage how conventional animal welfarists, who will often happily conceive of themselves as "animal lovers," could be regarded as part of the very same mobilisation. However, this is exactly what actually occurs: Groves found that "animal rights campaigners" (not forgetting that his US sample appeared to have a greater knowledge of animal rights philosophy) identified three types of "other": the antagonistic other, the interested other, and the emotional other (1995: 450-56). In Groves’ typology, the latter type, "the emotional other," refers to orthodox animal welfarists, the "cat and dog people" who have "some way to go" along the road to an "animal rights" understanding. However, although these people are commonly viewed as a fundamental threat to the rationality of the rights position:

most activists were prepared to tolerate the ‘emotional other’ in the organisation, believing that they might one day broaden their horizons to include issues other than household pets (Groves, 1995: 454).

Groves (and Jasper and Poulsen, 1995) show that this tolerance is based on the notion that even traditional animal welfare organisations and their members are seen by "animal rights" advocates to be "partly along the road" towards the full adoption of the nonhuman rights message. Rights activists frequently use the "partly along the road" concept to explain the position of people such as Peter Singer visited while writing Animal Liberation: thus, such "animal lovers" are potential "animal rights recruits" - who are already "animal people" - but clearly in need of a horizon-broadening education in animal rights philosophy in order to further travel along the right road (Groves, 1995: 453).[29] Lacking this "animal rights education," it is understandable to many who saw themselves as rights-based campaigners why such people join the moderate, pet-orientated animal welfare organisations. Therefore, a task they set for themselves in relation to traditional animal welfarists is to transport them along the road which leads towards a "more complete" and therefore a "more rational" regard for other animals. Subsequently, it is evident that many animal activists perceive of their "educational" role in two ways: persuading the general public (Groves’ "interested others") that animal rights issues are important, and further educating "animal welfare people" as part of the general reflexive development of animal rights philosophy generally within the animal advocacy movement.

Many rights campaigners, then, will see their movement in terms of a wide spectrum of diverse opinions, all of which, to some degree - and dialectically - are concerned with the ways animals are exploited by human beings. Tim Jordan (1995) adopts this strategy in his study of the unity of social movements. He says, as an example, that "feminism" is constituted from a wide range of collective actions, from consciousness-raising groups to various forms of demonstrations and direct actions; and includes a broad range of opinions on the nature of women’s oppression, but:

if it has any unity that is because all actions somehow address the oppression of women (Jordan, 1995: 582).

Similarly, the black liberation movement:

contains a plurality of beliefs, actors and formal organisations all of which must, in some way, address the oppression of black people. In both cases an experience of oppression and/or a project of liberation provides a core around which individuals, networks and organisations coalesce into a movement (p. 582, emphasis added).[30]

Therefore, abandoning the earlier two separate animal movements notion and adopting this "broad church" approach means that some advocates claim that organisations such as the moderate Animal Aid and the militant Animal Liberation Front are part of "the same movement" despite being vociferous critics of each others’ campaigning tactics. At least, philosophically, such groups are thought to reject a traditional animal welfare stance on human-nonhuman relations. Also present for some, however, are other organisations, such as the RSPCA, the Canine Defence League and the Cats’ Protection League; undoubtedly to be regarded as "partly along the road" animal welfare groups since non would subscribe to Regan’s goals schema and are mostly concerned with specific companion animals like Peter Singer’s ham-eating host.

However, these latter groups would concur with Animal Aid’s strong advocacy of peaceful campaign tactics but not their claimed equally strong philosophical stance on the rights of nonhuman animals: and they would oppose virtually everything about the Animal Liberation Front’s militant tactics and anarchist philosophy. In the field of the opposition to bloodsports, the Hunt Saboteurs Association, concerned with taking "direct action" against hunting, generally appears regarded by this study’s respondents as having an "animal rights" philosophical orientation, while the League Against Cruel Sports and the National Anti-Hunt Campaign - both of which primarily aim their campaigns at legislative reform - are regarded as animal welfare organisations. The latter may be seen as "anti-hunting" single-issue mobilisations, whereas the HSA is seen more generally because animal advocates, certainly into the 1980s, were seen to bring their opposition to animal abuse through opposing hunting before their interests widened to other fields such as antivivisectionism. The League Against Cruel Sports have regularly opposed the tactics of the hunt saboteurs [31] (and even those of the National Anti-Hunt Campaign [32]) accusing them of "rocking the boat" especially at times when their sensitive political campaigning looked like bearing fruit (see the section on the League Against Cruel Sports below).

As for organisations which oppose animal experimentation, although regarded by most respondents to be part of the British "animal rights movement," the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection and National Anti-Vivisection Society are in reality scientific anti-vivisection mobilisations who do not generally frame their opposition to nonhuman experiments on rights violations. Each has supported militant direct action tactics at times. For some respondents, support for or opposition to militancy were decisive factors when labeling organisations "welfare" or "rights." Advocates for Animals, at least when they were named the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Vivisection, opposed the use of the label "animal rights" but not all of its philosophical goals (Hollands, 1985). However, they have opposed direct action tactics in the main, and anything that "detracts" from political lobbying; and they advocate slow, piecemeal reforms - in the area of "experimental animal pain" for example - which the other national antivivisection organisations have found intolerable. To muddy the waters even more, there is the CIVITAS organisation founded by medical historian and scientific anti-vivisectionist Hans Ruesch. Even though this group is often regarded as part of the animal movement and has featured in many articles in "animal rights" magazines, its founder, like Peter Singer, does not believe in the concept of animal rights at all. Indeed, Ruesch attacked the whole notion of animal rights and opposed all animal experiments on the grounds that not one single nonhuman test has ever benefited human health.

Confused thus far?

Unfortunately, as soon as one speaks to the individual members and workers in the animal movement(s), matters become decidedly more complicated. For example, some people, when they talk about their own allegiances and campaigning for nonhuman animals, may use the terms "animal welfare," "animal liberation," and "animal rights" interchangeably. While some animal liberationists often speak a language of revolution when no large-scale revolution is meant, others are apt to speak the language of animal rights rhetorically, but – following Singer - are opposed to using rights formulations as the main bases of claims-making. Frequently, they tactically prefer to speak of "animal protection" and/or "animal concern" instead (Hollands, 1985).

Some individual campaigners see complicated overlaps between various welfare and rights issues, yet are wary of using any label other than "animal rights" because they are the type of activist, like Groves’ respondents, who fear the loss of what they regard to be the logical rationality of their arguments compared to the "wishy-washy" conventional animal welfare stance. However, although there is sometimes an insistence on using the name "animal rights," there is still no consistency of claims-making or real commitment to adhering to a rights-based philosophy. One informant claimed that all the apparent contradictions of being "animal rights" or being "animal welfare," or supporting various welfare and rights organisations, or individual campaigns, were resolved in his head; but he would have "no idea about how to write it down." He says campaigning paradoxes and contradictions are "just there" as resources in the constant debates that go on about tactics and philosophy (see Duffy, 1984, chaps 7 & 8). Whilst exploring this dichotomy between animal welfare and animal rights, reference was made to the existence of "animal rights animal welfare sanctuaries." This strange phrase relates to a small number of animal sanctuaries which are staffed by known "animal rights" people. The philosophical differences between animal welfare (here expressed organisationally) and "animal rights" (in terms of individual belief) seemingly challenges these activists each and every day in their practical work for other animals. However, "being practical" is giving a great deal of weight in the animal protection movement. For example, in such sanctuaries it is possible to find people who are philosophically opposed to pet ownership (following an argument about the property status of other animals propounded in the 1980s by wildlife expert John Bryant [undated]) looking after and rehoming abandoned pets. Such advocates talk about “companion animals.” "Animal rights animal welfare sanctuaries" are often run by hard-line vegan activists who nevertheless, and sometimes reluctantly, feed meat to domesticated animals even though they will themselves argue that the meat industry would likely collapse if its by-products, such as low-grade meats for pet foods, could not be successfully commodified. It is also possible to find people who call themselves animal rights campaigners facing a general public who frustratingly think of them as "just another branch of the RSPCA."

Two animal rights supporters who run an animal sanctuary in the North West of England explained that they do not entirely trust long-term "animal welfare people" who for years and years have restricted their concern to the welfare of cats, dogs and perhaps horses but who, again like Peter Singer’s host, resist extending their ethical concern for animals to other, perhaps less aesthetically pleasing, species. In the experience of these activists, there is absolutely no reason to assume that "already animal people" will eventually extend their moral circle to include animals other than pet animals. In a way, they believe that the very existence of animal welfarism, along with the prestigious image of animal welfare organisations such as the RSPCA, stand in the way of the "progress" towards an "animal rights" orientation which they would like to see in animal welfarists. The existence of such welfare groups, they believe, means that well-meaning people are misled about what actually constitutes respect for other animals. If people accept that they are genuinely ‘helping’ animals by promoting the ownership of other animals as property, they may reject alternative arguments as unnecessarily radical: after all, they are already significantly "caring for animals" through their traditional form of animal welfarism. Since these respondents’ animal sanctuary and charity shops are ostensibly seen as traditional animal welfare establishments, and since the people who come forward to help them as volunteer helpers are usually the very meat-eating animal welfarists whom they distrust, they seem to be acutely aware that the mix of their "animal welfare work" and "animal rights philosophy" constantly produces profound difficulties for them to deal with on a daily basis. They explained, as examples, that they have been offered real fur coats and crocodile leather shoes to sell in their charity shop;[33] that one or two of their charity shop volunteers wanted to cook and eat meat products on their premises and another helper declared himself to be pro-hunting after working for them for several weeks.

There is little doubt that the detail in the above section leaves something of an uncomfortable fudge in terms of the philosophies and orientations within the British animal protection movement. Clearly the notion of separating the animal protection movement into neat welfare, progressive welfare and rights analytical categories is logical yet extremely problematic. Given the apparent orientation to both welfare-talk and rights-talk in animal movement discourse, separating concepts seem to some unwise as well as virtually impossible. On the other hand, one may feel equally uneasy about accepting that all these various strands of opinion and organisational strategies successful gel into what can be justifiably conceptualised as a single unified social movement.

As unsatisfactory as anyone may feel about such a situation, it does nevertheless appear to accurately reflect the subjective feelings of some of the activist members of the British animal movement. However, the fact that the result is an unclear picture goes some way to make explicable the empirical reality of the British animal movement toward the end of the twentieth century. It may help observers to understand why nonhuman animal advocates have a tradition of breaking away from established mobilisations to form new organisations, and why sometimes these various groups come together in campaigning coalitions at various times and for particular reasons. Furthermore, it may be appreciated ethnomethodologically that the often competing constituents of such a fudge are important and continuing resources that people use to understand many of the often contradictory standpoints and conflicts that occur between individuals and organisations reminding us, as Benford and Hunt (1995: 102) do, that social movements are not, and have seldom been, static mobilisations, but are continuously in a state of flux on several different analytical levels.

The structure of the British animal protection movement

Many aspects of the dichotomous situation described above is reflected in the very organisational structure of the British animal movement. The movement is comprised of many national, regional and local organisations (Garner, 1993). The national groups typically have full-time paid staff and their own central offices, and have been theorised by McCarthy and Zald (1973: 3) as being a part of a "bureaucratisation of social discontent" which has grown since the 1960s. These authors argue that, in this bureaucratisation, modern social movement organisations (such as Greenpeace International) rely on direct-mail contact with their due-paying members whose subscriptions pay a team of professional staff to act in their name. Membership of such organisations might mean there are no activities to undertake or meetings to attend, apart from perhaps an annual general meeting.

In the animal protection movement, many national organisations could be characterised in this way, although many of the more "rights" or liberation oriented organisations have tended to encourage membership activity through their "local contacts" who, typically, are members who form their own localised campaigning groups and/or operate within their local or regional animal protection, or environmental concerns, group. The most active members of the animal protection movement are often those connected in some way to these non-particularistic local campaign groups, estimated to number more than six hundred in Britain by the late 1980s (Henshaw, 1989: 37-8). Typically in these groups in the late 1970s, the 1980s and the early 1990s, it was possible to find hunt saboteurs, paid-up members and "contacts" of one or more of the national organisations, and people who have directly joined their local group and have little or no national organisation affiliations whatsoever. Apart from Animal Aid and the British branch of the North American group, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which both claim to be general "animal rights" organisations campaigning against all forms of animal exploitation, the other national groups tend to specialise in their opposition to particular forms of animal abuse. In recent years, a number of specialist anti-vivisection organisations in England and Scotland have altered their remits to campaign more generally. Some national group contacts who form their own group may restrict their activities in line with the national group to which they are connected. For example, they may do this by operating as a local anti-vivisection or anti-factory farming group as representatives of the NAVS or CIWF. Some local groups, then, function mainly to raise funds for national ones. However, it has been common for advocates to participate in the activities of their generalistic local groups, who frequently adopt their town, city or region in their generic name, for example, "Manchester Animal Rights Group," "Devon Action for Animals," and so on.

It is in these local and/or regional groups, and in the relations between the local and the national organisations, that the complex nature of the animal protection movement’s structure is revealed; and local groups also provide an important site were many of the complicated interactions related to the welfare/rights dichotomy are played out. For example, activists may be paid-up members of Animal Aid, who have regularly publicly criticised the activities of the Animal Liberation Front, whilst at the same time supporting the Animal Liberation Front Supporters Group, whose SG magazine has often included attacks on "wimpy" groups, especially choosing to label Animal Aid in this way. It is possible to find people in local groups who are members of both the League Against Cruel Sports and the Hunt Saboteurs Association who, nationally and via the media, have traditionally had an uneasy relationship with each other. When the BBC’s Brass Tacks TV programme investigated the animal movement, their reporters were evidently surprised to discover the complexity of individual animal advocates’ affiliations:

[One activist] was both a BUAV and a NAVS contact; he ran Croydon Animal Aid (which he had founded), organised the Croydon branch of the Hunt Saboteurs’ Association, was a member of the RSPCA - for whom he worked as an ambulance driver - and was an active member of SLAM, the South London Animal Movement...He was by no means an exaggerated example. Indeed [he] was more than matched by another BUAV committee member...who managed to notch up a combined membership of BUAV, NAVS, Animal Aid, the ALF SG, Hunt Saboteurs Association, Greenpeace, the League Against Cruel Sports, Compassion in World Farming and Zoo Check, in addition to the Bishop’s Stortford Animal Rights Group (Henshaw, 1989: 166).

This situation resembles Meyer and Whittier’s finding that, although "social movements are often explicitly identified with only one issue or set of issues, activists rarely are" (1994: 291). While Meyer and Whittier are illustrating the spill-over between movements, it can be seen that there is also an apparent comparable "leakage" within movements too (especially within a "broad church" characterisation). It appears that this is a significant finding, again underlining the fact that "actual existing" social movements are often messy affairs, but also suggesting that social movement spokespersons and officials should be wary of assuming that "their" membership is entirely "on message" with regards to their organisational orientation.

Indeed, most interviewees cited in this paper acknowledged that their personal membership affiliations often amounted to blatant contradictions if account was given to the differing philosophies of the organisations they supported financially or otherwise. Some admitted, for instance, to organising or attended local group activities, such as fund raising stalls, even though many of the leaflets, posters and other propaganda material on display were produced by organisations they were implacably opposed to. When asked to explain this apparent paradox, respondents again utilised the "partly along the road" frame but in two distinct ways. On an individualistic level, it was argued by some that any initial route into the animal protection movement was a positive one. The issue of the opposition to hunting was raised frequently in relation to this point. Some campaigners, especially the older ones, said in interview that they were first motivated to participate in animal advocacy through a "gut reaction" to hunting and then, through exposure to the wider literature of the movement, extended their concern to other aspects of animal neglect and abuse.

Some of the younger activists, on the other hand, signaling a generational aspect in terms of understanding the British animal protection movement, often joined "the movement" as antivivisectionists, or because they had given up eating meat, or perhaps become opposed to a particular animal product such as "veal," before they had adopted the more general "animal rights" opposition to all forms of animal use. Most of these respondents said they also knew many other activists who had began their "animal rights careers" in these gradualistic fashions. These findings broadly correspond with Jasper and Poulsen’s (1995) analysis of recruitment in the North American animal protection movement. The second usage of the "partly along the road" frame relates not to the individual members of animal organisations but to "the movement’s" organisations themselves. Hence, whole collectives could be regarded as "partly along the road" to a "proper" appreciation of "animal rights" or "animal liberation." Members of local groups might collaborate with an orthodox national welfare organisation or in a particular welfare initiative partly because they believe such contacts serve to radicalise the more moderate group.[34] Some activists express these relationships in terms of dialectics and reflexivity. As such, in line with theorising about fundamentalism versus pragmatism in social movements, clearly a radical group can moderate as much as moderate groups can become more radical. Therefore a number of animal advocates are apparently fearful that the activities and media pronouncements of animal welfare organisations may damage or hinder "the progress of animal rights rationality" while they patiently wait for welfarists to adopt what they regard as a more "rational" stance.

As noted above, a particular conflict arises in animal advocacy when group officials assume that those who join specific organisations do so in complete agreement with the organisation’s philosophy and campaigning strategies. One person said, for example, that the generalist nature of the majority of local and regional groups, and the specialist nature of most of the national animal protection organisations, can create deep tensions in the animal movement:

National groups have the habit, obvious I suppose, of thinking that the people who join them agree with ever dot and comma of what they have to say. I’m a local grassroots campaigner first and foremost, campaigning against all kinds of exploitation, human, animal, environmental: the lot. I can’t divide these things up easily. And okay I might be a member of a couple of the national groups - I want to get their mags and keep up with the news,[35] and I might put their leaflets and sales goods on the stall, but that doesn’t mean I agree if they criticise some other group or some tactic. We locals are public educators rather than lobbyers. We do our stall to reach the public not to influence some... MP.

Another activist, waiting to stand trial in relation to "some bother" at a hunt meet, said:

I’m a member of the BUAV [British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection] but I don’t think animal experimentation is the worst form of animal exploitation. I’m also an active sab, but not a member of the HSA [Hunt Saboteurs Association]; but I don’t think hunting is the worst form of animal exploitation either. The worst is factory farming. In numbers [factory farming] is far the most serious problem, and the plight of battery chickens, sows and dairy cows is as bad as all but the most extreme vivisection practices. Having said that, I’m not a paid-up member of any anti-factory farming group. My work for farm animals takes place on the street, taking to people, explaining veganism as a non-violent diet, challenging people to think. And I’m not begging any parliamentarian for legislation - they could not possibly outlaw animal farming - my job is to educate the public.

This latter statement was made by a relatively recent recruit to the animal protection movement, and was one of the activists spoken to in a group meeting organised by grassroots campaigner Neil Lea. Given that the group identified a number of what they regarded as structural problems in the existing movement, it was suggested to them that they might imagine that they were attending the very first ever genuine animal rights meeting; and that they were going to begin the task of setting some campaigning and organisational priorities for this brand new movement, suggesting some campaigning strategies and so on.

An ideal-typical animal movement.

A consensus was quickly established in the group, agreeing that an "abolitionist stance" would be adopted, and that "animal agriculture" was the largest and therefore the worst form of animal exploitation. This was closely followed by concerns about the use of other animals in various forms of experiments. Some believed the suffering of vivisected animals was more severe than that of "farm animals," although there was far less animals involved in this category (officially less than 3 million per annum compared to hundreds of millions in the meat and dairy trades). Fur-bearing animals were identified as a major concern and, although these are also "farmed" animals (furs from trapped animals being the minority of those used), the group apparently separated the animals commonly used in the fur trade (fox, mink, rabbit and coypu) into a category apart from "general farm animals."

At this point the general consensus broke down as different categories of animal abuse were proposed as major concerns in the group’s "league table of animal exploitation," with the plight of circus animals, hunted animals, wildlife issues and the concept of pet ownership, or at least the treatment of pets, vying for representation. The group turned to campaigning strategies and, in keeping with the more experienced campaigners and with findings in other US studies (Groves, 1995; Jasper and Poulsen, 1995), they speculated that mass media coverage would prove to be an important problematic in "getting the message across." While some voiced suggestions that animal campaigners can adequately function without contacting the media at all, concentrating on damaging the economics of animal abuse industries, others argued that public education, and therefore some contact with the mass media, is a vital part of animal advocacy. This public education strategy, married to direct action tactics in relation to hunted animals in particular, was given priority over other forms of campaigning such as political lobbying.

Given the agreement to propose the total abolition of forms of animal abuse, it was generally felt that focusing attention on political campaigning [36] as a main campaigning method would not be particularly productive. A public education strategy was seen as superior to the notion of "political campaigning," strengthened by thoughts about "directly getting the job done" and not relying on other people. The majority felt that campaigns against what they conceived as their "lesser concerns" would be incorporated within their general "animal rights" mobilisation which would be clearly expressed as a campaign against every form of animal exploitation. Therefore, issues such as the opposition to circuses and hunting would be expressed in terms of the movement’s overall vision to see a non-violent world of non-speciesist, non-hierarchical, non-sexist and non-racist human beings.

It was clear throughout this process that the group utilised their existing experiences of campaigning for nonhumans and proposed their ideal type in ways which addressed and attempted to resolve many of the problems which they feel they face in the prevailing movement.[37] For example, a main reason put forward for avoiding political campaigning strategies was the perception that a great deal of effort and financial resources had been devoted to this form of campaign in the existing movement with little positive outcome, although some were hopeful that the current legislative measures to end hunting and "fur farming" would be successful. The majority in the group saw many illogical examples of "campaigning overlaps" in the current movement with several national organisations of largely similar persuasion apparently duplicating each other’s work (such as all of them publishing individual newsletters, magazines and leaflets) and thus "wasting resources" [this point has arguably been largely negated by the widespread use of the internet by social movement organisations]. Many in the group felt in that the existing "welfare/rights" dichotomy would be mitigated in their ideal type.

New recruits of this envisaged movement would be immediately exposed to the overall fundamental arguments of the overt "animal rights/liberation movement," and any campaigns which focused on any particular issue, or which was designed to respond to a particular event, would be overtly conceptualised as just one single element of the interlinked whole. Moreover, many of the younger recruits apparently saw few advantages in the separation of the "differents bits" of the movement’s concerns. One reason for this, it seems, flows from younger activists’ perception what "what they are fighting against." For example, many take an active role in several movements,[38] frequently making direct conceptual and philosophical connections between their concerns, often regarding one type or style of campaigning to be supportive of all the others - thus, for them, "animal rights campaigning" is "feminist campaigning" as it is "environmentalism" and "anti-capitalist" also.

As previously mentioned, it was rare in the 1980s and early 1990s for any conversation about the tactical or philosophical conflicts in the animal movement to occur without the position of the League Against Cruel Sports being raised. Within animal discourse in general, it became clear that this particular organisation was regarded by some activists, perhaps especially the older ones, as "a special case." There appears to be a fairly widespread sensitivity in the animal movement to the "plight," as some see it, faced by "the League" or "LACS" in the furtherance of their political anti-hunting campaign.[39]

The League Against Cruel Sports.

Many animal advocates believe that the persecution of hunted animals will be the first form of contemporary animal abuse to end in Britain, and this orientation helps to explain how some animal activists take a great interest in the activities of the League Against Cruel Sports. One informant, formerly a hunt saboteur, one who argued that a stress on the priority of political campaigning can force a social movement to present itself in illogical ways, nevertheless argued that the League’s stance on hunting (particularly the concentration on those bloodsports involving packs of hounds) is "politically understandable," even though it involves the loss of the "philosophical integrity" of the overall "animal rights" argument:

To keep the support of [members of parliament], the LACS must put its case in moderate terms. We all know that the issues raised by the animal rights movement are not at the top of political lists of priorities: animals don’t vote and most humans vote on the basis of personal finances. The LACS have separated the anti-hunting argument from animal rights positions, and separated hunting with hounds from shooting and angling as well. They have to claim that there is some difference between the suffering of hunted animals and those who are farmed or experimented on, so they don’t have advocate being veggie or to oppose all exploitation. They also have to say that there is some difference between hunting with hounds and shooting and fishing.

There was an apparent frustration in some advocates that they cannot seem able to be unconcerned about what League spokespersons say about bloodsports. Since LACS’ representatives are frequently set up as the "animal rights voice" in the hunting debate, many felt unable to casually ignore what they say.

Therefore, in animal movement discourse, the LACS’s campaigning strategy has been a common exemplar of the tactical and philosophical dilemmas that can arise in animal campaigning.[40] It was the older activists who, albeit reluctantly, seemed to most clearly see the League’s "pragmatic" campaigning stance in terms of "the necessities of political campaigning." Moreover, even some hunt saboteurs accepted that political lobbying campaign organisations like the League will attack their own direct action activities because political campaigning "forces" such tactical condemnations. Their discourse is full of phrases such as "having to keep MPs happy" and "having to be moderate." The animal rights magazine Arcnews recently reported that the League had opposed a march and rally organised by another anti-bloodsports organisation in August 1997, just after "the pro-hunting rally" in London. The League’s rationale was that, at a time when a crucial parliamentary bill against hunting with hounds was proposed, "a march would be confrontational...when delicate negotiations with politicians were needed" (Arcnews, 1997: 1).

Some activists reverted over and over again to the opinion the League had "no choice" but to adopt its campaigning and philosophical stance and, in turn, they felt that many in the general animal protection movement was forced against the very rationality of its philosophy to compromise its fully-elaborated "animal rights position" to accommodate the League’s piecemeal political campaign. It was noted by some respondents, with some disagreement as to whether this was a good thing, that HSA spokespersons who appeared on the media immediately following the Hyde Park Countryside Rally seemed to have toned down their usual opposition to fishing, again "because no-one wants to rock the League’s boat whilst there’s a possibility of a anti-hunting bill going through Parliament":

fishing is a bloodsport - the RSPCA commissioned research which found that fish feel pain years ago.[41] But now it looks like we are not supposed to say anything about fishing, or shooting for that matter (Midlands activist).

Some respondents, again mainly the older ones, have regarded the League Against Cruel Sports’ staff as genuine "animal rights" campaigners who, running an animal welfare organisation primarily involved in conventional political lobbying, adopted their moderate campaigning stance as purely a tactical measure because they have to "trade" with unreliable politicians in general, and with "New" Labour in particular. A number of respondents cited as proof the case of the League’s (then) Chief Officer, John Bryant, the author in the early 1980s of a strongly pro-"animal rights" book, Fettered Kingdoms. In the book Bryant advocates an end to all forms of animal exploitation including the abolition of pet keeping, which he compares to human slavery (Bryant, undated).[42] It was the younger interviewees in the sample and, significantly, those who had not entered the animal protection movement due to an initial opposition to hunting, who had the most difficulty accepting these justifications of the nature of the League’s "illogical" campaign.

Some respondents argued that the dangers of pursuing a particularistic campaign was reflected in the press coverage following the Hyde Park "Countryside" march. One activist complained in particular that "it was left to journalists to make the point that all forms of animal exploitation are connected."[43] He went on to argue that the League’s campaign was itself speciesist and, of course, this represents a problematic in the "partly along the road" concept often employed by animal liberationists. Arguing in similar terms to Gelb (1990), Kuechler & Dalton (1990) and Rochon (1990), this activist believed that, if large numbers of animal welfare-minded people fail to move towards an "animal rights" philosophical stance, they act like a dragging anchor, slowing the development of the overall movement, propounding contradictory and antagonistic arguments better suited to stimulate internecine fighting about appropriate tactics and strategies rather than promoting the liberation of animals.

Another argument put forward again relates to the importance attached to how the mass media represents the animal movement. For example, it was noted by some respondents that the media typically seem unable to adequately discriminate between welfarist and rightist positions, labelling welfarist matters as animal rights issues and vice-versa.[44] Therefore, activists claim that "rights" organisations cannot easily simply disengage from any issue because to do so would leave animal welfarist representatives with a clear field to "misrepresent" the arguments against animal abuse. Touching on these points, a London-based activist told me:

we are stuck in a confusion. I don’t immediately see a way out of. We can’t expect the media to be aware of all the different positions inside the movement is the first point. And as an animal rights speaker, I am not going to trust your average RSPCA rep. to explain the animal rights case: they will always get it wrong. It is hard enough trying to prevent the media distorting the arguments in the first place, without allowing someone from the League, maybe, having the only say about why people are against bloodsports.

A Midlands activist added:

You see on the telly, or on the radio, there’s a report coming on, an animal rights report coming on, and all you get is some RSPCA type going wobbly over the poor cute bunnies or something. Come off it, animal rights needs to be represented by animal rights people.

These points are predicated on a lack of trust akin to the arguments put forward by the "animal rights animal welfare sanctuary" workers; that is, "animal rights" advocates wonder how they can "trust" traditional welfarists to "say the right things." A former Welsh campaigner made a similar point specifically in relation to the Hyde Park pro-hunting rally in July 1997. He felt that since the debates that occurred on radio and TV were closely linked with the League Against Cruel Sports’ position on advocating only a partial ban on sports that kill animals, the genuine "animal rights" case was rarely heard:

You ask why animal rights people don’t just leave this ‘animal welfare’ issue to the LACS. The problem is that the TV, radio and the papers kept banging on about this ‘animal rights issue’ but there was no-one to take the animal rights line. Like, everyone accepted that foxes ‘need culling’ and then they all argued about how it should be done. The Labour MP on The Midnight Hour [who supported the anti-bloodsports ban on the 10:7:97 show] was totally useless; she didn’t know anything. It looked like another League stitch-up, hand picking participants, and the result is the peddling of illogical positions and the debate ends up as a farce.

To some extent, these views sum up the tension created when, for example, representatives of the Hunt Saboteurs are perceived to have tactically moderated their usual hard-line rightist stance in aid of the League’s current political opportunity. Such tactics are always accompanied by worries that such a moderated position is a perilous calculation which ultimately risks damaging the "animal rights" case. A local group press officer made a related point that media coverage of animal rights issues are relatively infrequent, therefore campaigners must maximise the occasions when they can advance the "authentic animal rights" case:

Purely on a practical basis, I would say that because animal rights issues are not front page news everyday, that animal rights campaigners have the responsibility to put forward the real animal rights arguments when given the chance. If that steps on the toes of animal welfare campaigns, then sorry but tough. I would think long and hard before giving up the chance of speaking up for animal rights and leaving it to others.

The whole notion of the appropriateness of conventional political campaigning for "animal rights" has traditionally been one of the main causes of conflict in the animal movement, prompting bitter disputes and factionalism even between the supporters of parliamentary lobbying (Hollands, 1985). Indeed, serious ideological splits occurred in the modern animal movement in Britain followed two costly general election "Putting Animals into Politics" campaigns in 1979 and 1983. The ensuing debates about the fundamentals and pragmatics of the animal protection campaign split the movement into antagonistic moderate and militant camps who both had their own perspective on both the failure of these campaigns and on the ramifications of the election of an unsympathetic Conservative government.

In addition, Roy Hattersley, then deputy leader of the Labour Party, publicly criticised Labour’s 1983 election strategy of aligning itself with "peripheral" issues such as the anti-bloodsports campaign (Windeatt, 1985: 189). These factors, still cited by present-day activists, apparently strengthened the hand of the direct action proponents while, at the same time, weakened the ability of the mainstream national animal organisations to moderate the activities of the militant wing: the usual appeals not to "rock the boat" hold less sway in immediate post-election periods. Militant voices called for an increase in "direct action" and a concentration on "economic sabotage" as opposed to the physical rescue of animals. The Animal Liberation Front Supporters Group split away from the mainstream animal liberation movement in the mid-1980s and launched its SG publication, resembling anarchist newspapers such as Class War and Crowbar, and leaving little to the imagination; its front pages declaring: "Devastate to Liberate" and "Factories don’t burn down by themselves - Learn to burn" (Henshaw, 1989: 130). In the meantime, the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection, radicalised in the early 1980s, moderated its support for militant tactics while Animal Aid attacked illegal action for other animals, assisting the press in the creation of the "animal rights terrorist" folk devil.

The League Against Cruel Sports itself has also suffered its own internal splits over the last decade, its profile raised again after years of stagnation only as a result of the 1997 election of a Labour Government. Perhaps catching the mood of the younger animal activists and acknowledging their continued dismissal of political campaigning, a spokesperson for the League recently declared on Radio 4’s Today programme (1:10:97) that the election of "New" Labour was a "make or break situation" for their parliamentary campaign, with (disputed) estimations that the League, the RSPCA and the International Fund for Animal Welfare have jointly funded the latest attempt to outlaw (some) bloodsports to the tune of more than £5million.

A Sociology of Compromise.

New social movements are, by and large, not a radical challenge to the existing order. This study, written in the late 1990s, revealed that the British animal protection movement’s mainstream campaign strategies pragmatically "work the system," looking for benefits in specific piecemeal reforms. Little seems to have changed, looking back at this data in 2008.

Reflecting the experience of other movements, reformist animal advocacy can be seen to risk compromising the foundational philosophical basis of the movement. However, we need to pause here to note that the philosophical base of the modern animal protection movement remains a form of animal welfarism. Since the late 1970s, the animal movement in Britain, North America and elsewhere, has been shaped by Peter Singer’s utilitarian animal welfarism, described above as "progressive welfarism." This form of animal welfarism, accompanied as it is by rights-based language but not rights-based philosophy, remains dominant in the 21st century movement. The followers of Singer’s position quickly marginalised Regan’s rights theory in the 1980s, although Groves’ study reveals its short-lived influence. We wait to see what effect the revitalized theories of Gary Francione will have.

Some animal organisations - including (rhetorical) rightist mobilisations - have pragmatically adopted precisely the same tactical concessions (ultimately risking damaging their fundamental social critique) which writers such as Rochon (1990) and Gelb (1990) have identified as serious threats to the fundamentals of the peace and women’s movements. This phenomenon was observed most clearly in 1997 in activist reaction to the case of the parliamentary anti-hunting campaign conducted by the League Against Cruel Sports, uppermost in the minds of campaigners during the study due to a new attempt to legislate against hunting with hounds. Although there is an undoubted and even pragmatically political "logic" to this organisation’s particularistic campaigns, we have discovered how their strategies can clash with the basic propositions supporting the whole notion of animal liberation as a rights, freedom or justice movement. Nevertheless, the study revealed how persuasive the promise of parliamentary action is - even to the more militant campaigners, prompting even some hunt saboteurs to tactically moderate their stance; that is, to some degree compromise their relatively hard-line position in an attempt to assist moves towards specific legislation for other animals.

The LACS’ "hunting with dogs" campaign has achieved its aims. There is now legislation against such hunting in England, Scotland and Wales. However, hunting goes on in Britain and there is some suggestion that more foxes may die now than before the "ban." In the meantime, no contemporary or future historian of the British animal protection movement will be able to claim that the anti-hunt campaign did much at all to promote progressive animal welfarism let alone animal rights thinking. Of course, no LACS representative pretended for long that it would, again calling into question why the League Against Cruel Sports was ever regarded by those who consider themselves as animal rightists as part of their movement. The answer, of course, stare out at us from the study above. That is to say, for all the talk of "animal rights," there was very little knowledge of animal rights theory informing the views of the sample of animal advocates in the study.

More generally, the argument that new social movements do little harm to the prevailing political order will be countered by their strategists who will likely respond that they must struggle to win any piecemeal benefits in the knowledge that widespread social transformation is not currently a realistic aspiration, whether such a transformation is perceived as an absolute necessity and desirable or not. And, indeed, sociologists and others have charted the recent political, cultural and social developments which support such a "pragmatic conclusion," not least the recognition of the pacifistic and celebrity-drenched nature of modern society and the largely passive demographics of new social movements including the "animal rights movement." From the perspective of social movement strategists it may be appreciated that, for them, "waiting for the revolution" amounts to a dereliction of their responsibility in respect to the benefits which can potentially be won by working within the prevailing system. However, this fails to address Francione’s recent point that the modern animal movement has never ever employed its major time, effort and finances in vegan education and support strategies. Once new social movement adherents accept the tactical logic of their current reformist campaigning, given the present non-revolutionary environment in which they must operate, the danger is that one tactical compromise may lead to the logic of others, causing real damage to fundamental beliefs. It seems to be a valid claim that this sort of process has impacted on PeTA in recent years. Once briefly influenced by animal rights theory, PeTA is more and more resembling a bloated welfarist corporation seeking treatment reforms in the fashion of new welfarism.




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**[1] This paper mainly concerns itself with British activists and advocates who often describe themselves as ‘animal rights campaigners’, although some use the term ‘animal liberationists’ instead. Some used both terms. The paper is also concerned with the concept of ‘animal welfare’. Most respondents would object to being labelled an animal welfarist, especially if that were meant in a traditionalist ‘RSPCA’ sense, others would not. Because I will be dealing with some of the conceptual and philosophical dimensions embedded in these terms, for now I am content to follow Robert Garner (1993) who, in his Animals, Politics and Morality, uses the phrase ‘Animal Protection Movement’ to incorporate the activities of the majority of animal advocates, whether liberationists, rightists or conventional welfarists. Just on ‘rights’ and ‘liberation’, although the terms ‘animal rights’ and ‘animal liberation’ are often assumed to mean the same thing – these terms were used by and large interchangeably by the animal advocates featuring in this study - both concepts are based on different philosophical foundations. Animal rights philosophy stems from the liberal rights theory embedded in Tom Regan’s The Case for Animal Rights (1985); animal liberation is based on the utilitarian framework developed by Peter Singer in his Animal Liberation (1983).

[2] Kincheloe and McLaren (1994: 139-40) provide a recent coherent explanation of critical theory and research: “We are defining a criticalist as a researcher or theorist who attempts to use her or his work as a form of social or cultural criticism and who accepts certain basic assumptions: that all thought is fundamentally mediated by power relations that are socially and historically constituted; that facts can never be isolated from the domain of values or removed from some sort of ideological inscription; that the relationship between concept and object and between signifier and signified is never stable and is often mediated by the social relations of capitalist production and consumption; that language is central to the formulation of subjectivity (conscious and unconscious awareness); that certain groups in any society are privileged over others and, although the reasons for this privileging may vary widely, the oppression that characterises contemporary societies is most forcefully reproduced when subordinates accept their social status as natural, necessary, or inevitable; that oppression has many faces and that focusing on only one at the expense of others (e.g. class oppression -v- racism) often elides the interconnections among them; and finally, that mainstream research practices are generally, although most often unwittingly, implicated in the reproduction of systems of class, race, and gender oppression”.

[3] However, in the 1970s Andrew Rigby (1974a; 1974b) wrote about the ‘commune movement’ in Britain and elsewhere as an individual social movement. I have yet to find citations of these individualistic investigations in social movement research.

[4] Some writers have asked blunt questions such as ‘What’s so ‘new’ about New Social Movements?’; and argue that ‘new social movement discourse’ overstates the novelty of modern movements (Plotke, 1995: 113).

[5] Often the ‘old’ and the ‘new’ have been distinguished in class terms (Cotgrove and Duff, 1980; Kriesi, 1989), since ‘old’ social movements are typically linked organisationally with trade unions and with communist, Labour or social democratic parties, and with the corresponding electoral and/or corporatist forms of action. Following such statements social movement writers began to use the distinctions between the ‘old’ and the ‘new’ in terms of the separation of the revolutionary from the reformist, viewed as separate entities, differentiated by their scope of objectives (Blumer, 1995: 74) and by the political and cultural environment in which they work. Hence ‘to attempt revolutionary tactics these days in terms of tactics of two centuries ago would be palpable foolish. Similarly, to seek to develop a movement in this country [USA] in terms of tactics employed in a similar movement in some different cultural setting would probably bring very discouraging results’ (Blumer, 1995: 73).

[6] Modern social movement theorists such as Escobar & Alvarez ask us not to despise the ‘minor resistances’ of social movements ‘merely because they do not lead to the fulfillment of sizable demands of important structural transformations’ (1992: 7) and indeed we see that the strategies of the main organisations in the modern animal movement are clearly a long way from any perceptions based on the necessity of ‘structural transformations’. Therefore, such mobilisations are possibly not the location to begin a Marcusean search for the agents of widespread social revolution even though, ironically, Marcuse himself did just that towards the end of his life (Magee, 1978: 71). Having turned towards the modern environment, anti-war and feminist movements in the late 1970s, he found to his disappointment that ‘the bearers of the revolutionary hopes [were] in disarray’ (Kellner, 1994: 258) being largely satisfied and contented within the comfortable democratic unfreedom of modern industrial society (Marcuse, 1964: 1). Such a view forms part of a modern critique on so-called ‘one issue’ activism.

[7] In the 1980s the ‘animal rights movement’ won support from both the New Statesman and Marxist Today: the latter “ran enthusiastic features [on the animal rights movement], a genuine mass movement which inconveniently seemed to elude any class-based analysis. Marxism Today tried to put this right by developing the theory that animal abuse was the direct consequence of capitalism. ‘It was no co-incidence...[that] under capitalism, animals are increasingly viewed as objects and commodities to be produced and sold, or as machines for the production of these commodities...This process culminates in the factory farm, unalloyed greed in material form’” (Henshaw 1989:187).

[8] The Animal Liberation Front have often used this term to denote acts which are designed to financially cripple ‘animal abuse establishments’ or the people who operate them. Thus, damage has been caused to various premises, such as fur shops, farms and laboratories. This damage has involved relatively insignificant loss to businesses through their windows being smashed or their locked glued up to more serious loss through arson attacks on buildings and vehicles.

[9] This view of ‘direct action’ is still prevalent in animal movement discourse in the 1990s: “Just think back. Butcher’s shops smashed in, doors glued up, the fur trade on its knees; and by the 1990s the sabs were beginning to fight back, sick of all the weekly beatings. Etching fluid was being used all over the country, damaging windows. Labs were being wrecked and meat lorries burnt. This is political campaigning par excellence!” Said in relation to a number of ‘show trials’ from the 1980s onwards: “The state had to do something; the state would have to react when all their vivisecting and farming mates started to jump all over them. What we didn’t need is the lack of solidarity by the likes of the BUAV and Animal Aid. The best political action doesn’t happen in parliament, it happens on the streets with the public. When the public votes with its purses and wallets, then politicians will listen”.

[10] In Animal Liberation utilitarian philosopher Peter Singer writes: ‘If the boycott of factory farm produce advocated in this book is effective, it will reduce the amount of factory farm products to be bought...The reduction will be gradual. It will make animal raising less profitable. Farmers will turn to other types of farming, and the giant corporations will invest their capital elsewhere’ (Singer, 1983: 253).

[11] Mark Gold’s (1988) Living Without Cruelty thesis does argue that human and animal abuse is intrinsically linked in the prevailing political order, but proposes solutions to global animal exploitation, starvation, pollution and environmental destruction by means of Western individuals adopting non-violent vegetarian lifestyles. There is an implicit hope (no more) that systems will adapt and respond to this ‘pressure’ with no structural analysis of how this might happen or how the future might look, socially, culturally or politically.

[12] Collard with Contrucci (1989: 76-7) note that cosmetics, toiletries and household goods are commonly subject to the LD50 (Lethal Dose) and the ‘writhing’ tests. Animal advocates stress oppositional strategies to such toxicity testing in terms of their promotion and sale of ‘cruelty-free’ alternatives, yet rarely are these strategies subject to a feminist-informed critique of capitalist/patriarchal shaping of the ‘need’ for these products. Similarly, the sexist nature of some of the media stunts organised by PeTA have created heated discussions from various feminist-inspired perspectives. Organisations such as Beauty Without Cruelty (BTW) have manufactured their own fake fur coats which come complete with badges declaring ‘Make no mistake, my fur is fake’. Producing fake furs does little to question the underlying reasons – such as the increased cultural influence of celebrities – that may explain why people are attracted to status-bearing fur coats.

[13] Similarly, Hoffer, arguing that social movements contain ‘the failures, misfits, outcasts, criminals, and all those who have lost their footing, or never had one in the ranks of respectable humanity’ (1951: 23), speaks of people’s participation in social movements in terms of their feelings of inadequacy and purposelessness (p. 39). Such anxieties are met by social movements acting as a refuge for barren, meaningless individuals, who, as a group, represent ‘a compact and fearless following [and] a homogeneous plastic mass that can be kneaded at will’ (p. 82). Other writers, such as Bulmer (1951); Kornhauser (1959); Lipset (1959); Davies (1963); Smelser (1963); Arendt (1966) and Gurr (1970) developed similar perspectives but moved away from Fromm’s and Hoffer’s concentration on the psychology of movement recruits to investigate societal deficiencies that promote the formation of mass action and movements (Goldberg, 1991: 5). However, these perspectives, variously called the ‘hearts and minds’ approach, breakdown theory, or convergence theory (Groves, 1995: 435); and based on notions such as collective behaviour, mass society and relative deprivation, continued to generally characterise social movement activists as ‘atomised’ and irrational individuals.

[14] The very fact that scholars themselves, radicalised by the changing times, joined, and in some cases helped to initiate social movements - moving first to the status of intellectual-in-movement, then to movement intellectual (Eyerman & Jamison, 1991: 113) - led them to rethink the traditional conceptions of activism, collectivities and movements. When they were personally involved in social movements, as members or as employees, perhaps Hoffer’s labels of ‘failures’, ‘misfits’, ‘outcasts’ and ‘criminals’ (or Lipset’s (1959: 178) equally unkind dismissal of activists as the ‘psychologically homeless’, ‘socially isolated’, ‘uneducated’ and ‘unsophisticated’) resonated in the ears of academics as never before!

[15] Theorists also began to interpret ‘violence’ in a different light (Halloran, et al, 1970); seeing disruption not necessarily as an act of desperation but as a tactic in social conflict. Violence was seen, moreover, as a means more often employed by established authorities in a systematic and brutal fashion than by movement members (Goldberg, 1991: 7). These new feelings are powerfully described by Marcuse in his An Essay on Liberation: ‘In the face of the scope and intensity of [officially] sanctioned aggression, the traditional distinction between legitimate and illegitimate violence becomes questionable. If legitimate violence includes, in the daily routine of ‘pacification’ and ‘liberation’, wholesale burning, poisoning, bombing, the actions of the radical opposition, no matter how illegitimate, can hardly be called by the same name: violence. Can there be any meaningful comparison, in magnitude and criminality, between the lawful acts committed by the rebels of the ghetto, on the campus, on the city streets on the one side, and the deeds perpetrated by the forces of order in Vietnam, in Bolivia, in Indonesia, in Guatemala, on the other? Can one meaningfully call it an offence when demonstrators disrupt the business of the university, the draft board, the supermarket, the flow of traffic, to protest against the far more efficient disruption of the business of life of untold numbers of human beings by the armed forces of law and order?" (1969: 76-77). Almost twenty years later, these very sentiments were being repeated by animal protection spokespersons in relation to the comparison between the ‘violence’ of imprisoned animal activists and the violence of the state and ‘animal abusers’ (Henshaw, 1989).

[16] These are variously based on ideas such as ‘the political opportunity structures’ (Eisenger, 1973; Jenkins and Perrow, 1977; McAdam, 1982), ‘grass roots mobilisation’ (Goldberg, 1991; Morris, 1984), ‘co-optable networks’ or ‘recruitment networks’ (Freeman, 1973; Snow, et al, 1980; McAdam, 1986), ‘protest outcomes’ (Gamson, 1975; Pivan and Cloward, 1971, 1977), the ‘multiorganisational field’ (Curtis and Zurcher, 1973; Rosenthal, et al, 1985; Klandermans, 1992), ‘countermovements’ (Mottl, 1980; Lo, 1982; Zald and Useem, 1987) external funding (Haines, 1984; Jenkins and Eckert, 1986), and the role of the state (Piven and Cloward, 1977; Tilly, et al, 1975; Jenkins, 1983; Barkan, 1985) (Mueller, 1992: 4).

[17] RM theories are criticised for largely ignoring the feelings and perceptions of the people who become involved in social movements (Groves, 1995: 436), and treated protest as more organised than it actually is (Piven and Cloward, 1992: 138). Waddington (1995: 8), argues that resource mobilisation theories became pushed to the limits of its logic when it was argued that, since measurable levels of grievance can be found in any society, protest can be defined and manufactured by those with enough organisational resources to do so.

[18] The then executive director of the League Against Cruel Sports, Dick Course, said in the mid-1980s: ‘We did support the Labour Party with a donation of £80,000 from League funds, £30,000 to inform people that anti-blood sports policy was in the manifesto and £50,000 to help Labour win...The 1983 Labour manifesto was the best we could have hoped for...It wasn’t totally pure, but you’ve got to bear in mind the difference between philosophy and politics’ (quoted in Windeatt, 1985: 187).

[19] One might consider the movement which arose to ban handguns ‘after Dunblane’ as a recent example of this phenomenon when claims-makers succeeded in the creation of the ‘problem of handguns’ with adequate support to bring about early legislation to abolish them.

[20] As Klandermans (1992) says, in a ‘multi-organizational field’, countermovements develop, as indeed they did in relation to this early animal welfare legislation; finding expression in The Times of April 1800: ‘It should be written in letter of gold that the government cannot interfere too little with the people; that laws, even good ones, cannot be multiplied with impunity, and whatever meddles with the private personal disposition of a man's time or property - is tyranny direct’ (cited in Hollands, 1985: 169).

[21] In relation to the animal protection movement and to human-nonhuman relations in general, the dominant form of discourse is provided by various modes of animal welfarism.

[22] It has been extremely difficult to reproduce the deformities caused by thalidomide in human beings in the laboratory (Ruesch, 1982; Ryder, 1983: 32) and yet even after its manufacturer was found to be deliberately falsifying the safety data on this drug (Box, 1989: 24); and because the then British Secretary of State for Health was almost sued personally in relation to the tragedy (Sunday Times Insight Team, 1979), the allegation is that drug companies and regulatory bodies effectively collude together, advocating increased animal testing to function as protection: protection for themselves from litigation rather than the protection of the public from dangerous chemicals (Ruesch, 1982).

[23] For example, while McDonald’s holds a contract with the Walt Disney Corporation linking children's so-called ‘happy meals’ with the latest releases of new children’s films, animal activists complain that Compassion in World Farming produced a cinema advertisement about battery chickens. However, it was effectively restricted by having a ‘18’ certificate attached to it, despite the fact that it had no moving visual imagery and mainly consisted of a spoken commentary by Joanna Lumley.

[24] but see Angela McRobbie’s (1994) Folk Devils Fight Back for arguments that social movements can get an adequate hearing in the modern mass media and therefore successfully ‘challenge the voices from the top.’

[25] Thanks to Chris Powell at the University of Wales, Bangor for pointing out this argument.

[26] Halloran et al (1970, chap 4), investigating the 1960s anti-Vietnam war demonstrations, found that largely peaceful demonstrations were characterized as violent in subsequent press coverage with little or no elaboration of the aims and beliefs of the demonstrators, and little or no coverage of the speeches given at rallies.

[27] The following passage is instructive: “Although the protests against live exports [of animals] have been loosely trailed as about animal rights, they have, in fact, in their objectives - if not in their campaigning styles, and moral tone - stayed firmly within the utilitarian-welfarist tradition. One newspaper reporter gleefully played with the irony of protesters taking a break from struggling with the police to hungrily consume bacon rolls. There may be irony here, but no real contradiction. The campaign has been focused on a specific, rectifiable abuse. Many of the protesters do, of course, take a much deeper ‘rights’ position, but the limiting of the protests to identifiable ‘welfare’ targets has been crucial in maintaining the breadth of public support...A large poster draped from a Colchester pub read: “You Don’t Have To Stop Eating Meat To Care - Ban Live Exports” (Benton and Redfearn, 1996:51).

[28] On this point one informant referred to Singer’s (1983) first chapter, All Animals are Equal...or why supporters of liberation for Blacks and Women should support Animal Liberation too, in which the author points to the reaction to Mary Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of the Rights of Women to show the extentionist logic of the animal rights case. ‘When Wollstonecraft…published in 1792, her views were widely regarded as absurd, and before long an anonymous publication appeared entitled A Vindication of the Rights of Brutes. The author of this satirical work (now known to have been Thomas Taylor, a distinguished Cambridge philosopher) tried to refute Mary Wollstonecraft’s arguments by showing that they could be carried one stage further. If the argument for equality was sound when applied to women, why should it not be applied to dogs, cats and horses? The reasoning seemed to hold for these "brutes" too; yet to hold that brutes had rights was manifestly absurd; therefore the reasoning by which this conclusion had been reached must be unsound, and if unsound when applied to brutes, it must be unsound when applied to women, since the very same arguments had been used in each case’ (Singer, 1983: 1).

[29] Beardsworth and Kerr (1992) interviewed 76 adult self-defined ‘vegetarians’ and their findings can be analysed within a ‘partly along the road’ concept. For example, some recognised that they were only ‘partly along the road’ to vegetarianism because they ate fishes, and sometimes even meat if they found themselves in social situations where refusing would be embarrassing. Others thought of themselves as ‘partly along the road’ to veganism, gradually omitting various dairy products from their diet. Many of my activist respondents would be somewhat tolerant of such people, even the fishes-eating ‘vegetarians’, precisely because they are thought of as potential recruits to the ‘animal rights movement’. One hunt saboteur said: ‘We often have the less thoughtful new sabs turning up with their ham and cheese sandwiches. We will gently tell them about their ‘error’. After that they usually get the message.’ Activists may contrast these ‘trying to go vegetarian’ people with those they call ‘militant meat eaters’: those people stubbornly attached to flesh-eating no matter what, and who are thought likely to concur with Harris’ (1985) concept of ‘meat hunger’; that is, that human beings have a psychological need to consume meat.

[30] A similar perspective to this is evident in the prologue of Peter Singer’s compilation, In Defence of Animals (Singer, 1985: 1): ‘This book provides a platform for the new animal liberation movement. A diverse group of people share this platform: university philosophers, a zoologist, a lawyer, militant activists who are ready to break the law to further their cause, and respected political lobbyists who are entirely at home in parliamentary offices. Their common ground is that they are all, in their very different ways, taking part in the struggle for animal liberation’.

[31] Just prior to a televised debate on hunting in the run-up to the 1983 general election when the Labour Party had put anti-hunting measures in their manifesto, I was present when the League’s then executive director attempted to persuade the Hunt Saboteurs Association's representative to take her ‘Fishing is a Bloodsport’ badge off, on the grounds that raising the ‘difficult’ (for the League) fishing issue would be ‘unhelpful’ at that time.

[32] The National Anti-Hunt Campaign recently devoted a full page of its Campaign Report magazine (Issue 8, Autumn/Winter 1997, p12) to complain about a dirty tricks campaign waged against it by leading employees of the League Against Cruel Sports.

[33] In my own experience, collecting for Sea Shepherd Conservation in West Yorkshire, or staffing an overtly ‘animal rights’ information stall in Liverpool city centre, the public will offer fur coats and items made from the skins of exotic animals to aid the campaign, or they will casually drop a pound or two into a collection box on a stall festooned with ‘meat is murder’ and ‘fur coats are worn by beautiful animals and ugly people’ posters and t-shirts, apparently oblivious of the fact that they are wearing about their person the dead skins of other animals.

[34] See section on ‘The Radicalization of Protesters’ in Benton & Redfearn (1996).

[35] It is likely that modern advocates use the internet for such information, negating the need to join various organisations.

[36] The group defined ‘political campaigning’ as activities such as appealing to politicians and political parties to bring forward legislation to answer their demands.

[37] In Aspects of Sociology, the Frankfurt Institute for Social Research (1973: 3) say: ‘The design of an ideal society is always dependent on the existing society’.

[38] However, this does not mean that they will necessarily formally join many different campaigning organisations. It appears that the opposite is regularly the case; activists simply attend the demonstrations and meetings they are interested in. Sometimes, when a campaign is being organised, a group name will be made up on the spot, quite often only to identify itself in reports or press releases. Often, no formal allegiance to an established organisation or mobilisation is felt necessary.

[39] As noted earlier, as another explicator of why the case of the League Against Cruel Sports was raised by respondents, the majority of the fieldwork for this study was conducted during the build up to a House of Commons vote (28:11:97) on the abolition of ‘hunting with dogs’. On several occasions, therefore, interviews took place on days when this proposed legislation was debated on TV and radio or featured in detail in the national press.

[40] It is probably true to say that the activities of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PeTA) provoke most tactical discussion among present-day nonhuman advocates.

[41] The Medway (Cranbrook) Report. An Enquiry Into Shooting and Angling, (RSPCA 1980), see Gold 1988:111).

[42] Ironically, given the LACS carefully distances itself from ‘extremists’, their Chief Officer John Bryant appeared on the BBC TV programme You Decide (9:7:97), the day before the large pro-bloodsports Countryside Rally in Hyde Park, London. On the programme, a section of his book Fettered Kingdoms was used by the hunters to ‘prove’ that a ban on hunting would represent only ‘the thin end of the wedge’ in the overall ‘animal rights’ programme. Bryant denied this on the show. (Some of my respondents agree with his denial (tactically) but they also believe that a ban on hunting is indeed only the beginning of the overall ‘animal rights’ campaign!)

[43] For example, Lean, writing in the Independent on Sunday, (13:7:97, p. 9) says: ‘Given the barbarism of much of Britain’s farming, shouldn’t we all be vegetarian? But even that would not be enough for consistency, for milking cows are also treated cruelly to over-produce’. And Ryle of the Guardian (14:7:97, p. 5) writes: ‘Even as we become more tender-hearted towards animals, we are more deeply implicated in the cruelties of factory farming and the destruction of the wild. Fox hunting is a visible and unapologetic celebration of the exploitation of nature in which we are all complicit. Let the Vegans speak. For the rest of us, we are all sinners’

[44] It should be noted, however, that a number of respondents did not believe this to be a problem since welfarists and rights were, for them, ‘on the same road’.


*** Methodological note. I conducted informal open-ended interviews with 9 British individuals already known to me as ex- or current animal campaigners. I also spoke individually to 4 more animal advocates I had never met before, and to 6 other strangers in a group meeting. [Two further activists were due to be interviewed but they were arrested on the morning of the interviews during the disruption of a foxcub hunt]. All the fieldwork for this study was conducted between June and September of 1997. All 19 respondents were adults, ranging from age 17 to ‘in my 70s’, and the majority of the sample (11) were female. All of my respondents were white; most were employed, and the majority worked in the service rather than the corporate sector; and the majority classified themselves as ‘middle class’. These demographic details correspond closely with existing research on animal movement participants (Groves, 1995; Jasper and Poulsen, 1995).

The sample have been involved in various ‘animal protection’, ‘animal welfare’; ‘animal rights’; or ‘animal liberation’ (all self-defined terms) campaigns from the mid to late 1970s to the present day. Thus, the data gathered represents (1) activist or (2) organisation membership experience (differentiating between those who (a) actively campaign for organisations as opposed to simply being (b) inactive paid-up supporters) of all the major concerns of the animal movement:

‘factory’ farming (the meat and dairy industries);

vivisection (experimentation on live animals in toxicity tests, warfare experiments etc);

the fur trade (the farming or trapping of animals for their skin);

bloodsports (fox, hare, deer and mink hunting; hare coursing and, by some definitions, shooting and fishing) and;

other concerns such as animal circuses, the traffic in wildlife and pet shops.

My informants have been or are activists or members of the major nationally-based generic animal organisations: Animal Aid and the British branch of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PeTA); and the more specialist organisations such as the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV), the Hunt Saboteurs Association (HSA), Pisces: the Campaign Against Angling, the National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS), the League Against Cruel Sports LACS), the anti-fur trade group, Respect for Animals (formerly called Lynx) and the Scottish Anti-Vivisection Society (SAVS), now called Animal Concern. The above organisations have, at one time or another, been generally classified by animal activists as ‘animal rights’ groups. However, organisations and opinion about them change. For example, the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection, founded in 1898 on a radical antivivisectionist platform had become an extremely ineffectual and moderate group by the late 1970s. For a brief period in the 1980s, when committed animal advocates took over its executive committee and appointed radical campaigners as staff members, the organisation, along with Animal Aid (formed in 1977), became a major driving force of a newly invigorated movement committed to mass national demonstrations, local group campaigning and various forms of ‘direct action’.[A] The relative radicalism of the BUAV in the early 1980s can even be judged by the change in the name of its campaigning magazine, a glossy publication entitled Animal Welfare, which gave way to a newspaper tabloid called Liberator. As seen below, the League Against Cruel Sports (LACS) is often seen as a ‘welfare’ or ‘anti-hunt’ group rather than an animal rights or liberation mobilisation, yet many members of the new revitalised movement became involved in their campaigns, perhaps because the opposition to hunting has been a common beginning to many campaigner’s advocacy about other animals. It also seems to be the case with older advocates, but perhaps less so in recent years and with younger activists, that ‘the League’ has been regarded as ‘a special case’ – more of which later.

Some respondents - in a minority - had been or are members of the overtly ‘animal welfare’ national organisations such as the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA),[B] the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), the Cats’ Protection League, Sea Shepherd Conservation,[C] the Captive Animals’ Protection Society CAPS); Chickens’ Lib; the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Vivisection (now Advocates for Animals) and Compassion in World Farming (CIWF). This latter organization, CIWF, rather like the League Against Cruel Sports, is now regarded by some to inhabit a hinterland between ‘animal welfare’ and ‘animal rights’ (see discussion below), principally due to their - controversial - involvement in the 1990s ‘live export’ campaigns around various British docks which have been supported by many ‘animal rights’ and animal welfare campaigners. Some interviewees had been or are members of the national Vegan and/or Vegetarian Societies: all claimed to be vegetarian, vegan or lapsed vegans: non ate meat and most tended to avoid some types of dairy produce, commonly ‘battery’ eggs and cows milk, substituting ‘free range’ eggs and soya milk.

Some were or are members of what they describe as ‘conservation’ organisations, such as Greenpeace International, Friends of the Earth and Earth First!, the latter being generally the most respected (if not the most respectable) due to its militant activism. In fact, younger respondents tended to see themselves as campaigners and activists in a general sense, seeing connections between the concerns of a variety of mobilisations, be they earth or animal liberation, feminist groups, ‘anti-capitalist’ campaigns and ‘left wing’ or ‘green’ political parties. Some respondents had/have affiliations with completely ‘non-animal’ organisations such as Oxfam, Help the Aged, Anti-Nazi League and CND. Many of the sample have been members of many of these organisations simultaneously, despite their philosophical and tactical differences. Some previously had been activists of the Animal Liberation Front, while others have been paid-up members of the Animal Liberation Front Supporters Group. One used to be an activist in the Northern Animal Liberation League; another was involved with the Central Animal Liberation League: these latter organisations (now folded) specialised in large-scale daylight raids ~ sometimes involving hundreds of activists ~ on ‘animal abuse interests’ such as vivisection laboratories and factory farms.

As the names of the diverse organisations in which they have been involved infer, informants have been active in many different forms of campaigning. Their animal campaigning experiences ranges from being paid staff of national animal organisations, being volunteer activists or fee-paying members; from collecting petitions, working in animal sanctuaries and staffing information stalls; attending meetings and regional and national demonstrations; serving on national group committees and as their local ‘contacts’; sabotaging hunting fixtures, and taking other forms of ‘direct action’.[D] My own biographical input to the study includes being a member or volunteer in the 1980s of some of the organisations mentioned above; helping to organise various local animal rights and ‘hunt sab’ groups in Merseyside, Yorkshire, Manchester, Wales and Essex, and being involved in the Sea Shepherd ‘save the seals’ campaigns in the Orkney Islands. I co-founded the Fur Action Group with others from the BUAV, originated the “fur pledge campaign” against fur franchises in department stores and began a campaign against Hazleton (now Covance) laboratories in Harrogate, Yorkshire. I have also served on the national executive committee of the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection; acted as press officer for the Merseyside Hunt Saboteurs during their campaigns against hare coursing and grouse shooting, and for some months I was the northern press officer of the Animal Liberation Front Supporters Group. I also ran an “animal rights shop” in Liverpool. None of the above activity was paid employment.

As a slight twist to methodology in general - since I am familiar with the general philosophies of the animal movement, whereas the majority of my informants had little experience of academic research - I conducted what could best be regarded as ‘mini seminars’ (or, in the age of New Labour, ‘focus groups’) with some of the people who I could see several times. I did this because I wanted to review with them much of the extensive press, TV and radio coverage of the pro-hunting ‘Countryside Rally’,[E] held in Hyde Park, London in August 1997 and to show them academic research already done on the animal movement (Groves [1995] and Jasper and Poulsen [1995]). In this way I was able to experience their reaction to existing data on ‘their’ movement and to gain their views on the success or otherwise of these researchers in ‘getting the real feel’ of the movement, something which Rucht (1990) suggests has been lacking in social movement research.


[A] Apart from giving office space to the organisers of the Animal Liberation Front Supporters Group, the BUAV in the early 1980s also supported and publicised the activities of groups such as the Northern Animal Liberation League, the Hunt Saboteurs Association, Sea Shepherd and the Fur Action Group.

[B] Many non-traditional animal welfarists have attempted to ‘radicalise’ the RSPCA. This has involved numbers of liberationists joining the organisation (see, Garner, 1993: 54-60). Indeed, the RSPCA may feel itself to be rather beleaguered by reformers bend on change. As well as those joining to ‘radicalise’ the organisation, hunters often join in an attempt to prevent the RSPCA overtly campaigning against bloodsports.

[C] Sea Shepherd was formed when activist Paul Watson was expelled from Greenpeace International for being ‘too militant’ (he had disarmed a sealer and thrown the club down an icehole). Sea Shepherd came to prominence when it began a campaigning of sinking illegal whaling boats. The British organisation, under the leadership of prime movers such as Dave McColl and Kevin Lee, along with members of the Hunt Saboteurs Association, specialised in disrupting seal ‘culls’ in Scotland and the Republic of Ireland.
[D] The term ‘direct action’ has caused some controversy in the British animal protection movement, especially in recent years. Some of the interviewees for this project defined direct action as meaning any activity that is not aimed at petitioning parliament, or other forms of ‘asking others’ to take action for nonhuman animals. Others, however, define the term as particularly associated with specific forms of illegal activities, such as the physical liberation of animals from farms and laboratories, and the damaging of animal abuse property in acts of ‘economic sabotage’; physically intervening on the hunting and shooting field; and mass break-ins to places where animals are held to obtain photographic and documentary evidence to support the claims made by the movement about ‘animal abuse’

[E] Described as “a grotesque gathering of in-bred squires, farmers, debutantes, lords and ladies, their servants, and other village idiots” by the anarchic magazine Animal (No 2, 1997, p2): “80p, £5.00 to Professors, coppers and liberals”.

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