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Striking at the Roots: A Practical Guide to Animal Activism [Paperback]

Mark Hawthorne , John Hunt
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

25 Jan 2008
Animal protection is one of the most passionately debated issues of our day. In light of recent legislation and intensified pressure put on activists around the world, those advocates fighting for animal liberation or even animal welfare need a single resource covering the major, and some minor, models of animal activism. While the majority of people know nothing about animal oppression, which is well hidden from public view, there is a growing network of compassionate individuals who believe that all animals - human and non-human - have the right to live free from abuse and exploitation. From the clothing they wear to the food they eat, these animal activists speak up for animals in countless ways, seeking to reduce the cruelty suffered by other sentient beings."Striking at the Roots: A Practical Guide to Animal Activism" brings together the most effective tactics for speaking out for animals and gives voice to activists from around the globe, who explain why their chosen models of activism have been successful - and how others can get involved.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: O Books (25 Jan 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846940915
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846940910
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 13.7 x 21.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 435,456 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


A must-read. It ranks with the best guides to animal advocacy that have ever been written. -- Norm Phelps, author of The Longest Struggle: Animal Advocacy from Pythagoras to PETA and The Great Compassion: Buddhism and Animal Rights

Brilliant, easy to read, full of real-life experiences and practical examples. -- Ingrid Newkirk, president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

His message is that the task we face is immense but ... we have what it takes to change the world.
-- Andrew Tyler, director of Animal Aid

If you are serious about helping animals, then you should seriously read this book. -- Captain Paul Watson, founder and president of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

This book motivates and informs, puts the passion into compassion and will save lives. -- Juliet Gellatley, founder and director of Viva!

About the Author

Mark Hawthorne is a committed animal activist who has engaged in nearly every model of activism, from leafleting to direct action. He is a contributing writer for Satya magazine, and his articles, book reviews, essays and opinion pieces have also appeared in VegNews, Vegan Voice, Hinduism Today, and many daily newspapers across the U.S. Mark serves on the Outreach Advisory Council for Animal Place, a vegan education center and sanctuary for farmed animals in the Bay Area. Much of his writing can be viewed on

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Striking at the Roots - It Strikes Hot! 14 Mar 2008
This is a fantastic guide for anyone new to campaigning, and even people who have been campaigning for a while. Focusing on animal rights and vegan campaigning, it will also appeal to those involved in any type of campaign. This is a must read for anyone who wants to be more effective at getting their message across.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.8 out of 5 stars  31 reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Animal Activism A to Z (and everything in between!) 14 Feb 2008
By Kelly Garbato - Published on
"Every successful social-change movement has involved a multiplicity of people using a multiplicity of tactics to approach a problem from a multiplicity of angles. Some people push against the bad things that need to be changed while others pull for the good alternatives. Some people work to undermine destructive systems from within while others are knocking down the walls from without. We all need to recognize that and find our place within a multifaceted struggle, being sure to be generous and appreciative of those who are working toward the same goal using different tactics." - pattrice jones

Whether you're new to the world of animal advocacy, a longtime vegan, or traveling somewhere between these points in your life's journey, STRIKING AT THE ROOTS: A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO ANIMAL ACTIVISM is one book you'll want to read. Activists from all walks of life can glean new tips, tricks, strategies, and perhaps even some much-needed motivation from author/activist Mark Hawthorne's introductory guide to acting on behalf of animals.

STRIKING AT THE ROOTS offers an overview of the many types of "animal activism" that advocates may engage in. These range from traditional to high-tech, visible to behind-the-scenes, and dramatic to low-key - as is exemplified by pattrice jones (author of AFTERSHOCK and a founder of Eastern Shore Sanctuary) in the above quote. No matter your personality, interests, and talents, you're sure to find an action you can take to help your fellow earthlings RIGHT NOW.

For example, STRIKING AT THE ROOTS covers eleven general areas of activism, including leafleting; writing (e.g., articles, op-eds, letters to the editor, etc.); tabling; engaging in protests and demonstrations; cooking for and feeding your friends, family, co-workers, and the masses ("food as outreach"); campaigning corporations; volunteering for animal sanctuaries, shelters, and rescue centers, using multimedia (e.g., blogs, web sites, videos, podcasting, etc.) to spread your message; engaging in direction action (including open rescues); working within the legal system; and - perhaps most importantly - taking care of the emotional and psychological needs of oneself and one's comrades as well. Each chapter serves as a general introduction to the topic, with a list of resources for follow-up.

Best of all, a number of prominent animal activists weigh in on their respective areas of expertise: Patty Mark tells of her first open rescue, in which she exposed the cruelty of an Australian battery farm; Mercy for Animals' Nathan Runkle describes his own epiphany, resulting from a chance encounter at the age of eleven with an animal rights leafleter; and Colleen Patrick-Goudreau shares her recipe for deliciously decadent vegan outreach. (Mmmm, vegan chili!)

A running theme of STRIKING AT THE ROOTS is the awesome potential for impact possessed by each and every individual. Just by going vegetarian (or, better yet, vegan), you can save the lives of 100 animals per year. That's one hundred living, sentient beings, spared from miserable lives and excruciating deaths. Now, if you inspire one other individual - just one! - to adopt a veg*n lifestyle, then you've essentially doubled your impact. And if your new veg*n friend can encourage another concerned citizen to eschew animal products...well, you get the idea! Like Merilees's theoretical Brazilian butterfly, whose wing-flapping can be felt throughout the world, one good deed can amplify and inspire many more. Your "activism" can be as simple as living a moral life and serving as an example to others - or as involved as gainful employment with a large animal rights organization. It's your choice. Just do something.

The important lesson to take away from STRIKING AT THE ROOTS is that we all have a part to play in this struggle - and that we must all work together, pooling our complementary skills and insights, if justice and compassion are to prevail.

Yes, Bruce, activism IS the meaning of life!
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Opened my eyes, changed my diet 30 Jan 2008
By Timothy Ward - Published on
I was not an animal activist when I started to read this book, not even a vegetarian. It literally opened my eyes to a world of suffering and mistreatment I did not know. by the time I put the book down, I knew there were certain things I could no longer buy at the grocery store, nor order in a restaurant. No more meat. Eggs, only from free-range hens. Dairy - that's a hard one, realizing that drinking milk directly supports the veal industry. So I still drink it, but choose the most humane producers as carefully as I can. I doubt I would meet the personal standards most animal rights activists hold themselves to, but this book has changed my behavior. It made me aware of the consequences of my food choices - and I tell others about it.

Striking at the Roots also helped to shift my perception of animal rights activists from "fringe" radicals to compassionate citizens dedicated to putting an end to cruelty and abuse. Thus I would say this is not a book only for activists - but also for their friends, families, and neighbors. So activists, please share this book with others in your life. You might find the book itself is a valuable way to change hearts and minds.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great tool for helping animals 18 Jan 2008
By J. Camp - Published on
Striking at the Roots is a great introduction for those interested in creating tangible change for animals. It is far-reaching, offering a wide array of different tactics to consider, yet is succinct and easy to read. Hawthorne's level-headed, results-based approach should be of great service to those trying to figure out how they can best serve animals. Highly recommended.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Want to make the world a kinder place? Read this book! 26 Feb 2008
By Bronx Rose - Published on
This is a really good book and I am grateful that Mark Hawthorne has written it. It is such a useful tool for anyone who wants to help animals. Each chapter thoroughly covers a different form of activism such as letterwriting, leafleting and protesting, and goes over the what, how, where, when and why for each type of activity. The book contains input, advice and stories from I think around 100 experienced activists, so the reader can benefit from their experience as well as be inspired.

Mark Hawthorne conveys that there are so many ways to take action from writing a letter to a company and praising them for not testing on animals to direct action and rescuing animals. Even if you only have one hour a month you can make a difference.

Something I found helpful was the chapter about dealing with our emotions in the face of such cruelty and immeasurable suffering. This is a really important topic and I haven't come across much of this in my reading.

The best part of the book is that it is positive and hopeful. It shows how our actions do make a difference and bring results. Stories in the book provide examples of this. Even a letter to the editor that doesn't get published is a force for positive change.

This book will give you ideas, motivate you and aid you in doing great things for animals.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent resource for all animal activists 10 Jan 2008
By J. Dillard - Published on
After reading a review copy of Striking at the Roots, I had the urge to buy it for all my animal activist friends. This book is a very practical, much needed guide to animal activism. Drawing from interviews with dozens of activists, Hawthorne compiles advice, real-life stories, and other resources into one big bundle of helpful and entertaining information. Striking at the Roots would be useful for the newcomer to animal activism, the veteran activist, and anyone in between. Highly recommended!
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