This book review seeks to introduce the major issues raised by the authors of the essays in "Terrorists or Freedom Fighters?" and to commend Best and Nocella for their valuable contribution to the body of animal rights theory and practice.
From the article:
In Terrorists or Freedom Fighters? Steven Best refers to this upsurge in the legal crackdown on animal rights direct action as "the escalating battle between activists and the corporate-state complex." His new anthology, co-edited with Anthony Nocella, is a long overdue foray into the ethical and tactical issues surrounding the "direct action" wing of the animal liberation movement, including the Animal Liberation Front (ALF), SHAC activists, and the open rescues of groups like Compassion Over Killing and Mercy for Animals.
If this clash expands, as it almost certainly will, the role of lawyers, lobbyists, and animal rights professionals will grow in importance. The field of animal law should be ready to grapple with the thorny legal, ethical, and strategic questions that Best and Nocella’s anthology raises. This collection of essays from over 25 activists and academics represents the first major inquiry into the theoretical questions surrounding direct action.
Attorneys, judges, legal academics, law students, and other legal professionals are, for obvious reasons, considered a world away from this aspect of animal liberation. Nevertheless, if the philosophical and tactical arguments in favor of the ALF and other groups are sound, we owe it to the animals and to our profession to ensure that legal barriers to effective and moral animal rights activism are vigorously contested. If, on the other hand, we conclude that these actions are not in the best interests of the animals or our movement, we at least owe it to our animal rights colleagues to honestly evaluate and consider their arguments, and to avoid the simplistic stereotypes that splinter the animal rights movement.
This review seeks to introduce the major issues raised by the authors of the essays in Terrorists or Freedom Fighters? and to commend Best and Nocella for their valuable contribution to the body of animal rights theory and practice.