A year ago this week, the campaign to retire the oxen known as Bill and Lou to a sanctuary came to a crashing close as Green Mountain College announced that they had killed Lou. (Bill was given a temporary stay of execution but was required to remain at the campus where he had been worked and whipped rather than retire to any of the sanctuaries that offered him refuge, veterinary care, and the company of other cows his age. It has been some time since any of his allies in Poultney have caught a glimpse of him, so we cannot say—and will not speculate—whether or where he might be living.)
VINE came out of that wrenching experience determined to learn from it and even more convinced than ever of the importance of careful strategic thinking. And so, this week, we announce a forthcoming e-book and an online library that has just begun “construction,” both of which we hope will help the animal liberation and advocacy movements become even more effective.
“Bill and Lou Must Die”
Bill and Lou Must Die, a Real-Life Murder Mystery from the Green Mountains of Vermont soon will be published as an e-book by Lantern Books. Authored by VINE Sanctuary cofounder pattrice jones after a year of reflection, this book offers a thought-provoking and soul-searching examination of the worldwide campaign that tried and failed to bring Bill and Lou to sanctuary, coming to the conclusion that a multiplicity of factors (some of which may be surprising to you) converged to “overdetermine” Lou’s death. From this analysis, pattrice draws a number of conclusions that she thinks may be useful to activists.
“Lou Memorial Library”
Whether we have succeeded, failed, or (as usual) fallen somewhere in between, taking the time to assess and analyze activist campaigns can be useful—and is even more so if we then share what we did and what we think about what we did with other activists. We have long wished for a compendium of case studies of animal activism. Not just “we leafleted” or “we protested,” but very specific details about what was done under what circumstances and what happened as a result. We sometimes hear such stories at conferences but, sadly, more often hear one-size-fits-all prescriptions that presume the opposite of what we know to be true about how social change happens.
And so, we are inaugurating the Lou Memorial Library as an online repository for case studies in animal activism. We’ve done the easy part—setting up the website infrastructure. Now we need you to help us fill the library. You can help by telling your activist friends about the library; by encouraging activists to submit case studies; by submitting case studies of your own activism; by suggesting other resources (books, articles, or websites that include detailed information about and assessments of past campaigns); or by becoming a volunteer “librarian” to help us with the process of soliciting, compiling, and posting case studies and other resources.