Roger Yates

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Roger Yates
Roger Yates, June 2009.jpg
Born (1957-08-07) 7 August 1957 (age 60)
Education PhD in sociology
Alma mater University of Wales, Bangor
Occupation Lecturer
Employer University College Dublin
University of Wales
Known for Animal rights advocacy
Website Human-Nonhuman Relations
Animal Rights Violations.

Roger Yates (born 7 August 1957) is an English lecturer in sociology at University College Dublin and the University of Wales, specialising in animal rights. He is a former executive committee member of the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV), a former Animal Liberation Front (ALF) press officer, and a co-founder of the Fur Action Group.

Yates was sentenced to four years' imprisonment in 1987 for conspiracy to commit criminal damage on behalf of the ALF. He absconded during the trial, and was on the run for two years before being apprehended and serving his sentence.[1] After his release in 1990, he began an academic study of animal protectionism and social movements, obtaining his PhD in 2005 on the subject of human/non-human relations. His current work focuses on the social transmission of speciesism.


BUAV, Merseyside Animal Rights[edit]

Yates became involved in the British animal rights movement in 1979, following a false start two years earlier when he joined the Hunt Saboteurs Association (HSA), but failed to find fellow "sabs" near Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire. By 1979 he had moved to Essex and had become active as a vegan animal rights advocate.

He was one of a group of activists associated with the Animal Liberation Front Supporters Group (ALF SG), who tried in the early 1980s to gain control of the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection, a group founded in 1898. Yates became a member of the BUAV's executive committee in 1982, along with Dave McColl, a director of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, and they used the position to radicalise the organisation, which meant that significant campaigning funds became available to activists for the first time. He co-founded the Fur Action Group with others from the BUAV, and created the largest data bank on fur-bearing animals in the country, later handed over to the Lynx anti-fur organisation.[2] Kim Stallwood, BUAV's national organiser from 1981–1986, writes that the ALF activists who wanted to take over the BUAV believed all political action to be a waste of time, and wanted the group to devote its resources to direct action. The BUAV had been supportive of the ALF, and had allowed the ALF SG to use free office space in the BUAV's London offices, but in 1984 the board reluctantly voted to expel the ALF SG and to withdraw its political support from the ALF.[3]

Yates moved to Liverpool to become a main organiser of the Merseyside Animal Rights Committee, along with Hunt Saboteur Association co-ordinators Dave and Fiona Callender. He helped with the HSA's annual campaigns against the Waterloo Cup hare coursing event and the Northern grouse shoot sabotages, and joined the Merseyside Sea Shepherd's campaigns against seal killing in the Orkney Islands. He also devised the "fur pledge" campaign targeting Manchester-based furrier, Edelson Furs, which had a number of franchises in large department stores; the pledge involved members of the public vowing to boycott entire stores while they had fur departments. He initiated public showings of videos such as Victor Schonfeld's The Animals Film, and opened and ran the first "Animal Rights Shop" in Liverpool City centre, selling merchandise from a range of national animal protection organisations. Throughout this period, Merseyside activists were active members of the Northern Animal Liberation League (NALL), culminating in a daylight raid on ICI in Alderley Park, Cheshire, involving 300 activists.[4]

ALF press officer[edit]

In 1983 Ronnie Lee, the co-founder and national press liaison officer of the ALF SG, asked Yates to act as the organisation's northern press officer.[5] This coincided with a dramatic change in ALF activity from direct rescue of animals to committing acts of economic sabotage, and in the government and police response to direct action. During this period, homes for animals rescued by animal liberationists were drying up, so Yates founded the Rescued Animals Sanctuary Fund.

In February 1987, he was one of 12 defendants convicted at Sheffield Crown Court, including three ALF SG press officers, after police raided a house in which they found evidence that incendiary devices were being created from fire lighters, batteries, and broken light bulbs. Similar devices hidden inside cigarette packets had been used in fur stores and department stores selling fur throughout England and Scotland, with the intention of setting off the sprinkler systems.[6] Yates was sentenced to four years' imprisonment for conspiracy to cause criminal damage, while Ronnie Lee received a ten-year term.[7] Lee's sentence coincided with the jailing for six and seven years of two defendants in the Ealing Vicarage rape case—where two men raped a woman in front of her boyfriend and father, who were badly beaten—prompting Conservative MP Steven Norris to declare in 1987 that, "sentencing at the moment seems to suggest that a woman's body is less valuable than property or the right of experimenters and mink farmers to live in peace."[8]

Yates absconded during his trial and spent three years on the run. He writes: "While we were getting to the end of the trial our barristers told us that Ronnie [Lee] could expect something like 16 years in jail and the 'lieutenants' in the case, such as Brendan, Vivian Smith and myself, might get 10 years each. I was the only defendant with children at the time and I realised we were talking about most of their school years...."[1] While on the run, he helped launch the Federation of Local Animal Rights Groups.[9] He was arrested in north Wales in 1989 after a bomb exploded in the Senate House bar of Bristol University, an act claimed by the "Animal Abuse Society," an unknown group. The attack was followed by a series of car bomb attacks.[10] Yates became a leading suspect in the Bristol attack. His mug shot was widely distributed and he was arrested within three weeks.[11] He appealed to activists from his prison cell in a statement to The Guardian that they take no life-threatening action, in line with ALF policy.[12] The car-bomb attacks continued, claimed by the "British Animal Rights Society," another unknown group. After a nail bomb attack on a Land Rover, the car's owner, a huntsman, was charged with having blown up his own car. He was jailed for nine months, reportedly telling the court that he had done it to discredit the animal rights movement.[13]

Vegan Ireland, Animal Education Outreach, Animal Rights Month[edit]

Yates is a co-founder and the Press Officer of Vegan Ireland: The Vegan Society of Ireland and a representative of Animal Education Outreach,[14] which gives talks about animal use and treatment to Irish schools and colleges. 2010 has been a busy media year for Vegan Ireland, with Yates taking part in numerous events, conferences, meetings and media interviews on their behalf.[15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22][23][24][25] While working on his Ph.D at the University of Wales, Yates began public events called Animal Rights Month; for example "Animal Rights November" in 2000.[26] He has continued such events in Ireland, organising "Animal Rights July" in 2009 and "Animal Rights November" in 2010. The latter features professors Gary L. Francione and Robert Garner discussing themes from their 2010 book, The Animal Rights Debate: Abolition or Regulation.[27]

The Vegan Information Project[edit]

In 2013, Yates co-founded The Vegan Information Project (VIP), which describes itself as, "Intersectional Vegan Education Unchained. Street & public events: stalls, pay-to-view, workshops and lectures. School talks. Media." In a radio interview, Yates said that he have left Vegan Ireland because he had a different vision of the future of the vegan movement.[28]

The VIP held a 16-week residency in Temple Bar, Dublin, a well-known tourist destination, which ended as World Vegan Month 2013 began in November. The group ran a "mini-course" on social movements, which featured weekly lectures, workshops, film shows, and seminars. This ran from November 2013 to the end of May 2014. A number of local and international speakers guested during the "mini-course" and it ended with a series of talks and workshops facilitated by vegan feminist and anarchist, tina cubberley (the lower-case name spelling is deliberate). A number of cubberley's talks feature on the VIP's video channel.[29] Follow-up podcasts also feature on the VIP official web site.[30]

There a several "new" features to VIP's advocacy, from its "mould breaking" stalls,[31] to its intersectional vision of veganism as an-embracing liberation struggle. Vegan intersectionality is a justice campaign that includes struggles against speciesism, racism, ableism, sexism, etc.

Academic work[edit]

Yates focuses on the social transmission of speciesism, and how and why modern human societies exploit and harm animals. He has called for a strategic audit of the animal protection movement.[32] As part of the abolitionist approach to animal rights, and inspired by the writing of Gary L. Francione, he makes a "plea for a philosophical animal rights stance."[33][34] Francione's abolitionist critique of the property status of animals is reflected in Yates's investigations in 2001 into horse maiming, or "horse ripping."[35]

A recurring theme in his work is the exploration of the so-called "movement-countermovement dialectic" involving social movements and their opponents as claims-makers. Piers Beirne and N. South write that Yates explores the "extent to which the general public, pet owners, dog show advocates, and other 'pro-use' interests, learn and recycle countermovement message(s) about the theories of change and their advocates. Do the arguments laid out by the countermovements act as 'scripts' to aid those who oppose the ideas of the pro-animal movement?"[36] Commenting on his "Rituals of Dominionism in Human-Nonhuman Relations: Bullfighting to Hunting, Circuses to Petting," Richard White writes that Yates "skilfully develops a persuasive critique which seeks to contextualise the powerful role of social rituals in shaping humans' speciesist relationships with other animals." In 2010, Yates published a paper on "Language, Power and Speciesism" which was critical of the failure, in his view, of the animal protection movement to adequately challenge "the dominant language forms of human-nonhuman relations." In 2011, Yates turned his attention to criminalisation processes, placing Ireland in a global context.[37]

His MA thesis was an examination of the British animal protection movement,[38] and his 2005 PhD dissertation, "The Social Construction of Human Beings and Other Animals in Human-Nonhuman Relations. Welfare and Rights: A Contemporary Sociological Analysis," was a work of non-speciesist zemiology. He maintains two blogs, "On Human-Nonhuman Relations," a sociological exploration of speciesism, and "On Human-Nonhuman Relations Podcasts," and, until 2012, helped administrate the global social movement network Animal Rights Zone (ARZone)[39] which encourages rational discourse within the animal advocacy movement and invites prime movers of the movement, such as Dr. Will Tuttle, Dr. Melanie Joy, Professor Gary Francione and Captain Paul Watson, for live Q&A "chats" with ARZone members which are then transcribed and published on the site.

See also[edit]

Selected works[edit]



  1. ^ a b Yates 2007.
  2. ^ Gold 1998, pp. 44, 158.
  3. ^ Stallwood 2004, pp. 85–87.
  4. ^ Mann 2007, pp. 81–83.
  5. ^ Henshaw 1989, p. 110.
  6. ^ Mann 2007, pp. 135–143.
  7. ^ Finsen and Finsen 1994, p. 102.
  8. ^ Mann 2007, p. 139.
  9. ^ Henshaw 1989, p. 200.
  10. ^ Baker 1993, p. 205–206.
  11. ^ Mann 2007, p. 157.
  12. ^ Baker 1993, p. 206.
  13. ^ Mann 2007, p. 158.
  14. ^ "Animal Education Outreach - Home". Retrieved 2016-01-05. 
  15. ^ "Dublin's Vegan Animal Rights Bulletin: Vegan Ireland PR: Irish Vegans Find Health and Obesity Dispute Cheesy". Retrieved 2016-01-05. 
  16. ^ "Dublin's Vegan Animal Rights Bulletin: Vegan Ireland PR: Vegan Ireland asks Matt Cooper and Joe Duffy to go Vegan". Retrieved 2016-01-05. 
  17. ^ "Time to wean ourselves off the rashers and milky tea and embrace veganism". 2012-08-02. Retrieved 2016-01-05. 
  18. ^ "Dublin's Vegan Animal Rights Bulletin: Vegan Ireland on Newstalk Radio". Retrieved 2016-01-05. 
  19. ^ "Dublin's Vegan Animal Rights Bulletin: Vegan Ireland on LMFM Radio (20/8/12)". Retrieved 2016-01-05. 
  20. ^ "Dublin's Vegan Animal Rights Bulletin: Vegan Ireland on RTE Radio One". Retrieved 2016-01-05. 
  21. ^ "Dublin's Vegan Animal Rights Bulletin: Speech at World Vegetarian Day Dublin". Retrieved 2016-01-05. 
  22. ^ "Dublin's Vegan Animal Rights Bulletin: Roger Yates talks with Harry Guinness about veganism and athiesm". Retrieved 2016-01-05. 
  23. ^ "Blogger". Retrieved 2016-01-05. 
  24. ^ "Blogger". Retrieved 2016-01-05. 
  25. ^ "Blogger". Retrieved 2016-01-05. 
  26. ^ "Theoretical Grounding and Methodology". Retrieved 2016-01-05. 
  27. ^ "UCD School of Sociology: News". Retrieved 2016-01-05. 
  28. ^ "Dublin's Vegan Animal Rights Bulletin: Vegetarian of 27-Years Goes Vegan After Vegan Interview". Retrieved 2016-01-05. 
  29. ^ Information, Vegan. "Vegan Information Project". YouTube. Retrieved 2016-01-05. 
  30. ^ Archived from the original on 8 November 2014. Retrieved 8 November 2014.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  31. ^ Archived from the original on 14 April 2014. Retrieved 8 November 2014.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  32. ^ "A Strategic Audit for Animal Rights, Uncaged, No. 21, March–May: 16–17, 1999.
  33. ^ Perlo 2007.
  34. ^ Scott 2004.
  35. ^ Powell and Yates 2001.
  36. ^ Beirne and South 2007.
  37. ^ (PDF) Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 December 2013. Retrieved 6 December 2012.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  38. ^ "Blogger". Retrieved 2016-01-05. 
  39. ^ "Animal Rights Zone - Fighting for animal liberation and an end to speciesism". Retrieved 2016-01-05. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Baker, S. (1993). Picturing the Beast: Animals, Identity and Representation. Manchester University Press.
  • Beirne, P. and South, N. (2007). "Introduction: approaching green criminology," in Beirne P. and South, N. (eds.) Issues in Green Criminology, Willan.
  • Finsen, Lawrence and Finsen, Susan (1994). The Animal Rights Movement in America. Twayne Publishers.
  • Gold, M. (1998). Animal Century: A Celebration of Changing Attitudes to Animals. Charlbury: Carpenter.
  • Henshaw, D. (1989). Animal Warfare: The Story of the Animal Liberation Front. London: Fontana.
  • Mann, Keith (2007). From Dusk ‘til Dawn: An Insider’s View of the Growth of the Animal Liberation Movement, London. Puppy Pincher Press.
  • Perlo, K. (2007). Extrinsic and Intrinsic Arguments; Strategies for Promoting Animal Rights, Journal for Critical Animal Studies, vol. 5(1).
  • Powell, Chris and Yates, Roger (2001). Panic and Pathology. A Look Back at Horse Maiming in the 1990s, first published 2001; Human-Nonhuman Relations, 29 March 2008, accessed 31 August 2009.
  • Scott, Paul (2004). Chairman defends elephant decision, North Wales Weekly, 9 September 2004.
  • Stallwood, Kim (2004). "A Personal Overview of Direct Action," in Best and Nocella (eds.). Terrorists or Freedom Fighters?. Lantern Books.
  • Yates, Roger (2007). "From Dock to Doctor", On Human-Nonhuman Relations, 31 July 2007, accessed 7 June 2010.

External links[edit]