chapter  8
Animal Magic
Pages 24

For Ronnie Lee, it is impossible to taint the magical purity of animal rights. Mary Douglas provides a helpful illustration with the Lele treatment of the pangolin. The Lele respond to the pangolin's anomalous status by investing it with magical properties which particularly surround human fertility. Douglas's analysis explores the social rites which surround the pangolin. Unsurprisingly, the magic of the fetish had a spellbinding effect on the man's personal life. The Animal Liberation Front (ALF) was formed in June 1976 by Ronnie Lee and about thirty others. Lee and groups like the ALF and the Animal Rights Militia (ARM) are a vivid example of what will happen when ideas are fetishised, and their social and historical conditions of existence ignored. Ecology preserves whales for the benefit of the earth's biological systems, whereas animal rights argue with a bleak logic that the death of the last whale will be the end of the suffering of whales.