BOOKS: The Animal Rights Movement In The United States, 1975-1990

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, Jan/Feb 1995:

The Animal Rights Movement
In The United States, 1975-1990:
An Annotated Bibliography, by Bettina Manzo. Scarecrow Press (POB
4167, Metuchen, NJ 08840), 1994. 306 pages, $39.50 hardcover.
The evolution of mass movements
is defined by bibliography. By organizing
the literature of a cause over a specified
timespan, bibliographers create landmarks:
works included become a canon, while
works overlooked tend to elude historical

There are now three major bibli-
ographies of the animal rights movement,
the first of which was A Bibliography On
Animal Rights And Related Matters, edited
by Charles Magel and published by the
University Press of America in 1981. From
today’s perspective, it should more properly
be called a bibliography of antecedents to
the animal rights movement, as some items
included are more than 2,000 years old. It
belongs to what sociologist Bill Moyer
describes as the “grievance” phase of a
movement, when the cause is represented
by a small but dedicated cadre.
Magel updated his 1981 volume in
1989 with Keyguide To Information Sources
on Animal Rights. This documents the tran-
sition stage of the movement, when the
cadre begins to capture public attention.
The Animal Rights Movement In
The United States, 1975-1990, chronologi-
cally overlaps the Magel works, but the
actual overlap is slight. Where Magel
focused on origins and philosophy, Bettina
Manzo emphasizes activism and response,
ending her compilation more-or-less coinci-
dental with the 1990 “March for the
Animals” in Washington D.C. The march
did not mark the end of either street-level
activism or the movement itself, but does
seem to have marked the point at which
enough movement objectives had become
accepted by most of the general public that
protest activities passed the peak of their
usefulness, while consolidation of gains
became the imperative.
As sociologist Bill Moyer predict-
ed at the 1989 Movement Strategy Planning
Workshop, hosted by Friends of Animals
president Priscilla Feral and A N I M A L
P E O P L E publisher Kim Bartlett, the ani-
mal rights movement had run its course as a
galvanizing and motivating theme for an
aggrieved minority, while animal rights
considerations began to become a routine
consideration––if not always sympathetical-
ly received––in public discourse and policy-
making. Animal rights ideas have growing
influence five years later precisely because
they have become recognized by many of
the powerholders; and while the more radi-
cal concepts are still rejected, others such
as not wearing fur, not hunting, and neuter-
ing pets are now broadly accepted social
Another bibliography should com-
plete the record of the animal rights move-
ment as a theme within the larger, older,
and ongoing humane movement. This one
would cover the past five years, during
which time the movement, once relatively
unified within a few organizations, has
fragmented into many specialized groups
with specific regional or topical missions.
This too––the mop-up––is a phase
universal to the history of mass movements,
predicted by Moyer and arriving on sched-
ule. In time, some of these presently small-
er causes may kindle into a new movement,
with its own motif and identity.
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