summer, I went for a walk in a woodland owned by the Forestry Commission. It was
a lovely walk. First, I went along the bottom on the valley, following this river
up stream. I then made the one-half hour trek up to the top of the valley and
walked back along the "hunter's path," looking down upon the woodland
below. It was a wonderful walk. Everything was so alive. I could hear birds singing.
I could see the visible signs of British woodland animals' tracks, droppings,
burrows, etc. A squirrel rushed out in front of me, looking at me with as much
interest as I had in her, before racing off into the undergrowth. Insects darted
here, there and everywhere. My senses were alive and I felt alive. Everything
was beautiful. Everything so peaceful. Then I heard the noise...
it was a slight irritating buzz. A distant sound. But then as I walked along the
top of the valley the noise became clearer. It was the sound of a chainsaw. The
wood was being attacked.
A few moments after I reached the top of the valley,
I very quickly spotted the area of woodland being "harvested." A huge
area of trees was being cleared. Nothing in that area was allowed to be left standing.
the animal liberation movement we often think about overt animal abuse. Vivisection,
blood sports, factory farms, circuses, zoos, the fur trade, etc. Sometimes we
can forget the animal victims of the covert abuse.
The destruction of wilderness
inevitably leads to animal suffering. Wilderness is the animals' homes. From the
ice-caps to the deserts, animals live in these areas. Any sort of human interference
that happens in a "wild area," such as the woodland I described above,
will inevitably lead to animal suffering. When all the trees are gone, where will
the animals (who are) dependent on that habitat go? Ecology does not just involve
plants. Animals are as much a part of any given ecological system as are the plant
species. What is the point in an anti-blood-sports activist going out and saving
an animal from the hunter, just to allow that same animal to die at the hands
of a contractor?
Often I hear animal liberation activists talking about
"green issues" as if they have no relevance to animals. Yet the destruction
of the planet will affect non-human animals just as much as it affects the multitude
of plant species and the human species. If animal liberation activists want to
stop ALL animal suffering, then they must get involved more actively with ecodefense.
The defense of ecology. The defense of the animals in that ecological system.
ecodefense activists need to stop allowing animal abusers to distance the green
movement from their natural allies in the animal liberation movement. Because,
without animal liberation, the ideals of Deep Ecology can never be achieved.
have never met a wilderness protection activist who thinks we have enough wilderness.
All ecodefenders recognize that we need to allow the recreation of lost wilderness
areas - areas where species (both animal and plant) can live, unhindered by human
intervention. Yet, let us think of what such a world would be like if animal liberation
is not achieved. Let us imagine, for example, that Earth Liberation has been achieved
but meat farming still occurs.
Well, first off, all the animals on the farms
will need food, the farmed animal being regarded by the farmer as a bio-machine
to turn cheap plant food into expensive meat. To grow this food, vast areas of
land need to be "cultivated" to grow crops to be fed to animals. From
the most optimistic view land that could be allowed to return to wilderness will
forever remain captive by humans, growing plants to feed to animals. However,
from a more realistic point of view, wilderness areas will continue to be destroyed
to create pasture.
Even after the destruction of the wilderness has been
completed, the attack on wildlife does not stop. In "livestock areas,"
farmers, etc., protect their stocks by killing off animal species that may either
prey on their animals or compete with their animals for food and water. In North
America you have cowboys setting traps for coyotes, mountain lions, bobcats and
bears - traps, which, of course, are indiscriminate as to which animals they actually
In Britain, poison is a favorite tool of the farmers - legal poison
in the form of pesticides (which then will off everyone in a "food web")
or illegal poison bait, which again kills anyone who eats the bait. To sustain
our modern world with meat, all other species must suffer, both animal and plant.
Wilderness is destroyed, wild animals are killed, and the land is poisoned. For
the sake of the environment, all Eco-Warriors should be at least vegetarian if
In reference to North America, author Dr. Cox wrote: "Soon,
there will be little else left in the lonely rangelands - no coyotes, no wolves,
no foxes, no eagles, no hawks, no owls, no badgers...nothing but the ever-present
cow" (Source: Cox, Peter, 1992)
If you would like some more information
about any issue raised in this article please contact me via Eco-Vegan, BM HEAL,
London, WCLN 3XX, England.