ELK is intended to be a grassroots, community-led collective promoting the radical goal of total liberation through transformative justice, with special priority given to organizing around anti-speciesism work. We promote community empowerment and interspecies social justice through anti-oppressive, intersectional responses to violence against animals, humans and the Earth.
ELK is working to build and support transformative responses to all forms of animal exploitation within our various communities. This means striving for solutions to violence against animals, or speciesist violence, in ways that account for the complex socio-political factors and institutions contributing to and profiting from this system of speciesism. Failing to acknowledge the parallels and intersections of speciesist violence, in both individual instances and wider institutionalized structures, undermines the legitimacy of campaigns for animal liberation while simultaneously undoing the solidarity and community necessary for collective social transformation. As such, we discourage responses to speciesist violence that rely upon individualized punishments and shaming because it actively neglects wider underlying cycles of oppression. We use the model of transformative justice – and its approach of community accountability and empowering solutions – as a platform for collective transformation and total liberation.
Integrating transformative justice into animal liberation (‘transformative liberation’) requires building a cross-movement, anti-oppressive approach for animal liberation. We need greater community capacity and organization to prevent future violence and to actively address underlying roots contributing to each occurrence. Therefore, this space is to be used for helping re-envision the goals and strategies for animal liberation, whereby other issues and communities are not forgotten or exploited in attempts to advance the security of animals everywhere. We plan to achieve these goals through developing resources and supporting anti-oppressive and anti-speciesist community organizing.
We were originally called ALO, when we operated on occupied territory of the Attawandaron (Neutral) peoples (the colonial name being Guelph, Ontario). Now called ELK, we are based on unceded and occupied Coast Salish territories – specifically of the Lekwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ peoples. The term Coast Salish is used to encompass a number of Indigenous peoples, including Esquimalt, Hul’qumi’num, Klahoose, Lekwungen (Songhees), MALAXEt, the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), OStlq’emeylem, Pentlatch, Scia’new (Beecher Bay), Sliammon, Shishalh, Skxwú7mesh-ulh Úxwumixw, Stó:lo, Straits, Səl̓ílwətaʔ (Tsleil-Waututh), T’Sou-ke, W̱SÁNEĆ (Pauquachin, Tsartlip, Tsawout, Tseycum), and Xwemalhkwu (the colonial name being Victoria, British Columbia) .
- E is for Earthling
Earthlings are inhabitants of our planet, Mother Earth – and in turn, every life living on this planet is an Earthling. Our goal is to empower all Earthlings, including every human and animal. We readily acknowledge that the liberation of every human is bound up in the wellbeing of each animal, and rightfully so, animal liberation cannot be achieved without human liberation and Earth liberation. As such, the strategies and priorities ELK uses should never neglect or sacrifice the value of one issue and/or community for another.
- L is for Liberation
Liberation of both bodies – those in the prisons, tanks and cages; factories and farms – and minds – learning and unlearning of oppressions; recognizing and challenging privileges; empowerment through knowledge, solidarity and allyship. ELK is not a space for simply legalizing the ‘rights’ of animals, but aspiring for total liberation. This is not about animal rights, but animal liberation.
- K is for Kollective
Kollective means groups working for a common goal. Our collectives will grow as ELK grows, learning from and supporting one another. These collectives will comprise a balance of developing theory/resources – to identify and deconstruct the problem(s) – with direct action – to act on the solutions in inspiring ways. ELK is against all hierarchies, and so will function according to a decentralized system of consensus decision-making.
Want to join ELK? We are an open collective for folks to join and contribute however they can, whenever they can, and whatever they can. Contact us if you want to get involved!