From the first hominids who hunted woolly mammoths to today’s factory farms and bio-engineering labs, The Longest Struggle: Animal Advocacy from Pythagoras to PETA tells the story of animal exploitation and the battle for animal justice. After describing the roots of animal rights in the ancient world, author Norm Phelps follows the development of animal protection through the Enlightenment, the anti-vivisection battles of the Victorian Era, and the birth of the modern animal rights movement with the publication of Peter Singer’s Animal Liberation.
In a brisk, readable narrative, The Longest Struggle traces the campaigns of animal rights pioneers like Henry Spira, Alex Hershaft, and Ingrid Newkirk, as well as leaders who have come more recently on the scene like Heidi Prescott, Karen Davis, and Bruce Friedrich.
Always grounding his story in its historical setting, Phelps describes the counterattack that the animal abuse industries launched in the 1990s and analyzes the controversies that have roiled the movement almost from the beginning, including “national groups vs. grass roots,” “abolitionists vs. new welfarists,” and activists who favor arson and intimidation vs. those who support only peaceful, legal forms of protest. The Longest Struggle concludes with an overview of current campaigns and tactics, and an assessment of the state of the movement as we enter a new century, including the threat represented by an overzealous “war on terror.”
Thoroughly researched and annotated, The Longest Struggle reflects its author’s two decades as an animal rights activist and his access to movement leaders who have shared with him their personal stories of campaigns that made animal rights history. At once an accessible history of animal protection thought and a revealing narrative of campaigns for animal rights, The Longest Struggle is must read material for everyone who wants to understand the most radical social justice movement of our time.