From “Autobiography of a Revolutionary” by Roberta Kalechofsky

Between the Species: A Journal of Ethics , Fall 1989, pp. 233-241.

Roberta Kalechofsky (1931-2022)

Roberta Kalechofsky

My membership in the Animal Rights Movement was unpredictable. I did not join the movement. I was catapulted into it. I did not go looking for it. I did not know it existed. I turned a page in a book, I turned a corner in the universe and was confronted with a terrible evil. But now I know, and my life has changed. An immense detour in myself, foremost as a writer, has developed. I ache for my old themes. . . .

The day before I read this passage [about a horrible experiment on devocalized dogs described in a novel] I had seen an advertisement in a newspaper about an animal rights organization, and had thrown it out with the paper. Now I went to my garbage can, found the advertisement, and called the telephone number on it. Like so many other people, I had avoided the literature on the subject. Only a week before, I had seen a copy of Dallas Pratt’s book, Alternatives to Painful Experiments on Animals, in a local library, peeped into it, and had immediately shut the book. I had said to myself, what so many others now say to me, “I can’t bear to look at that.” Now the material forced its way into my consciousness. It clutched me by the throat.

I had thought, after I had absorbed the literature on the Holocaust, I would never again have to rebuild the world I knew. Now again, everything unraveled and had to be pieced together, had to be rethought, particularly that such evils could take place a short distance from where I lived and I could be so ignorant of them. . . . – Roberta Kalechofsky, founder of Jews for Animal Rights