Trans-Species Unlimited Records 1981–1992

Summary
Contents
Names/subjects
Using these materials
Please note that some historical materials may contain harmful content and/or descriptions. Learn how we’re addressing it.
Creator
Trans-Species Unlimited
Size
2.5 linear feet (5 archival boxes)
Call number
MC 00691

The Trans-Species Unlimited Records contains photos, flyers, leaflets, booklets, clippings, photocopies of clippings, mailings, and pins related to the activities of the Trans-Species Unlimited. This animal rights group existed in the 1980s and struggled against animal abuse using non-violent direct action and civil disobedience.

Biographical/historical note

The Trans-Species Unlimited (TSU), a grass roots animal rights group, was founded by Dr. Giorgio P. Cave and Dana Marie Stuchell in State College, Pennsylvania in 1981. With the relocation to Williamsport, Pennsylvania in 1986, the organization experienced a nationwide rise conducting both local campaigns and directing branch offices’ activities in New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

While the TSU was initially mostly focused on large scale exploitation of animals in factory farming, hunting, and trapping, its struggle touched upon the rights of pet animals as well. The TSU employed different tactics in its campaigns to achieve its goals. For example, “Fur-Free Friday,” was an annual event – with the thousands of participants – created by TSU and directed against the exploitation of the furs. “The Great Macy’s Shutdown” was another major enterprise, in which more than a hundred TSU activists blockaded all seven entrances of a Manhattan Macy’s one Sunday morning to protest Macy’s sale of fur, preventing enraged shoppers’ access to the store for several hours. In 1987, the TSU organized a major campaign against the barbiturate experiments on cats in the Cornell Medical School. In some cases, the TSU created a quasi-independent unit to address the exploitation of a specific sort of animal. For example, the TSU created The Humans against Rabbit Exploitation (H.A.R.E.), a quasi-separate organization, in 1983 that was focused entirely on the threat to rabbit.

In the wake of such protests, many of the TSU members were jailed, including the founders of the organization. However, this could not impact the increasing popularity of the group that, at its peak, had tens of thousands members, hundreds of volunteers, and annual income of several hundred thousand dollars.

The decision of the Board of Directors of the TUS to change the organization's name to Animal Rights Movement (ARM) in 1990 reflected the shift in strategies of the organization itself. Now, instead of conducting direct actions, it attempted to become an umbrella organization for grass roots groups’ activism. However, this transition was unsuccessful and the organization dissolved in 1992.

The following historical note was provided to NC State University Libraries by Dr. Giorgio P. Cave, the co-founder of Trans-Species Unlimited

Trans-Species Unlimited (TSU) was a militant animal rights group which existed during the heyday of the animal rights movement – the 1980’s. The organization uniquely combined non-violent direct action and civil disobedience in the tradition of Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi with particular attention to rigorous factual documentation of animal abuse, and a clearly articulated ideological and moral foundation for the positions it espoused and the campaigns it conducted.

TSU was co-founded in 1981 as a grass-roots animal rights organization by Dr. Giorgio P. Cave (Ph.D. in Philosophy at Bryn Mawr College 1978) and Dana Marie Stuchell (B.A. Pennsylvania State University and later J.D. Dickinson School of Law). Although created as a local organization in State College, PA, TSU’s Co-Founders had a national vision from the beginning, in large part due to attendance at the first Action for Life national animal rights conferences hosted by Dr. Alex Hershaft, President of the Farm Animal Reform Movement (F.A.R.M.) in Ocean City, MD in the summer of 1981, a gathering that drew prominent animal rights activists from throughout the country, and Mobilization for Animals conferences organized by Dr. Richard Morgan.

In 1986, TSU relocated from State College, PA to the less expensive Williamsport, PA, where a duplex building was purchased, home to the organization’s co-founders and the TSU national office. TSU then experienced a meteoric rise, with the addition of branch activist offices in New York City, headed by Director Steve Siegel; in Chicago, headed by Director Kay Sievers; in Philadelphia, headed by Director Tina Sowicz; and in Harrisburg, PA, headed by Director Silvie Pomicter. The national office in Williamsport, PA while conducting some local campaigns of its own, functioned primarily as the national administrative headquarters of the organization, providing the activist branch offices all necessary materials and logistical support, paying Directors’ salaries, and in general relieving the branch offices of all ancillary burdens so that they could devote themselves exclusively to activism.

From the beginning, TSU’s focus was not on individual instances of cruelty to pet animals, in the manner of a humane society, but instead a concerted campaign against large scale, endemic, institutionalized exploitation of animals in factory farming, laboratory experimentation, hunting, trapping, and the fur industry. TSU was quick to disassociate itself from the traditional animal welfare movement which endeavored to “improve” conditions for animals and mitigate abuses, calling instead for the outright abolition of animal exploitation in large-scale institutionalized systems, and contending that animals had not only the right to freedom from cruelty, but an intrinsic right to live their own lives, unimpeded by human beings.

Even forms of interaction with animals widely viewed as benign came into criticism from TSU. The organization outraged many traditional animal welfarists by calling explicitly for the phasing out of pet ownership by universal spaying and a ban on breeding, arguing that this less egregious mode of interaction with other species was nonetheless a form of benevolent enslavement of these “artificially bred” species.

TSU was also one of the few organizations to call out large, more traditional animal welfare organizations for their refusal to endorse abolitionism or advocate vegetarianism, for their unethical fund-raising practices and exorbitant salaries, and for their exploitation of grass-roots groups’ campaigns for their own selfish fund-raising purposes. TSU coined the phrase “Animal Welfare Fraud” to describe what it saw as these groups’ lack of commitment to animal rights and its unethical practices, and published and distributed a brash educational leaflet about the matter, provoking considerable controversy and furor within the animal rights movement.

In accordance with its uncompromising, abolitionst stance, TSU frequently employed militant, confrontational, but non-violent tactics and civil disobedience in its campaigns, including such notable events as:

• “The Great Macy’s Shutdown” in which more than a hundred TSU activists blockaded all seven entrances of a Manhattan Macy’s one Sunday morning to protest Macy’s sale of fur, preventing enraged shoppers’ access to the store for several hours. • “Fur-Free Friday,” an annual event created by TSU which involved simultaneous, coordinated protests throughout the country against fur with particular focus on a march with more than 5000 people down NYC’s Fifth Avenue, twice featuring guest celebrity and animal rights advocate Bob Barker, former host of The Price Is Right TV quiz show.

• Blockade of the Cornell University Medical School to launch the “Cornell’s Cats” campaign, a protest against horrific barbiturate withdrawal experiments conducted on cats, resulting in the first-ever occurrence of an animal researcher funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) voluntarily declining renewal of her grant for the research, and terminating her experiments.

• A dangerous confrontation with hundreds of shooters armed with shotguns at an annual pigeon shoot in Hegins, PA, where shooters lined up to blast hundreds of tame pigeons released from cages while protesters only feet away from the armed shooters attempted to distract them in order to allow the birds to escape.

The outcome of such direct action and civil disobedience protests was often voluntary arrest and incarceration. TSU co-founders Cave and Stuchell were arrested and carted off to jail more than a dozen times over the course of TSU’s history, as were many other TSU branch office directors and supporters. At its peak, TSU reached a national membership of 30,000 members with five offices, 10 full-time employees, hundreds of volunteers and an annual income of over $750,000. One subsidiary division of Trans-Species Unlimited is worthy of note. In 1983, due to the determined industry effort to make rabbits the next mainstream food source to be exploited in factory farm conditions, TSU created H.A.R.E. – Humans Against Rabbit Exploitation, which functioned as a quasi-separate organization focused entirely on the threat to rabbits. TSU thereby brought national attention to a little known threat to another whole species of hitherto unmolested animals and conducted dozens of protests at rabbit breeding conferences and breeding centers. As it turned out, the agricultural industry effort to make rabbit meat mainstream for American consumers never gained any real traction, arguably due, in part, to H.A.R.E.’s relentless campaign against rabbit exploitation.

In 1990, Trans-Species Unlimited’s Board of Directors made the decision to change the organization’s name to ARM – Animal Rights Mobilization, reflecting a shift in approach from a primary focus on conducting direct action campaigns itself to attempting to become an umbrella support organization for grass-roots groups’ activism. This transition, sadly, was occasioned, in no small measure, by burnout, after almost a decade, of the senior TSU staff. The long history of confrontational struggle had taken its toll. An effort was made to transition the National Office to Denver under new leadership in the hope that the organization would survive, but this effort ultimately proved unsuccessful. Within less than two years, the once-vibrant, former TSU would expire and be formally dissolved.

TSU is best remembered in the activist community for its militant direct action and commitment to civil disobedience tactics, for the often-recognized rigor, depth, and creativity of its educational materials, and for its explicitly articulated ideological defense of animal rights principles and explict application of these principles to specific campaigns. This unique combination of militant direct action with intellectual rigor that characterized TSU was, unquestionably, without parallel in the animal rights movement.

Scope/content

The Trans-Species Unlimited Records contains photos, flyers, leaflets, booklets, clippings, photocopies of clippings, mailings, and pins related to the activities of the Trans-Species Unlimited. More than half of the collection consists of the photocopies of news clippings. They are arranged chronologically, covering the period between 1981 and 1990. The remaining materials are original. Among the photos included in this collection, one can find those depicting the TSU campaign in Cornell University. There are also various TSU pins in the collection.

Arrangement

Arranged by type of document.

Access to the collection

Collection is open for research; access requires at least 48 hours advance notice. Because of the nature of certain archival formats, including digital and audio-visual materials, access will require additional advanced notice. Unless noted, digital media are not available online. Copies of unrestricted digital files will be provided for use in the SCRC Reading Room upon request. Access will be provided to use copies of unrestricted digital files rather than carrier media, such as CDs, DVDs, and floppy disks. Some or all electronic files may be unavailable or restricted due to privacy reasons, agreement with the donor, software is not available to interact with files, or because files cannot be retrieved from original media.

Use of these materials

The nature of the NC State University Libraries' Special Collections means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine despite reasonable efforts. The NC State University Libraries claims only physical ownership of most Special Collections materials.

The materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source.

This collection may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which North Carolina State University assumes no responsibility.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Trans-Species Unlimited Records, MC 00691, Special Collections Research Center, North Carolina State University Libraries, Raleigh, NC

Source of acquisition

Gift of Giorgio Cave, 2021.

Processing information

Processed by: Gevorg Vardanyan, 2021 May

Please note that some historical materials may contain harmful content and/or descriptions. Learn how we’re addressing it.
Early Flyers 1981-1983
Box 1, Folder 1
Leaflets 1980s
Box 1, Folder 2
Humans Against Rabbit Exploitation (H.A.R.E.) Alerts 1985-1986
Box 1, Folder 3
TSU (Trans-Species Unlimited) /ARM (Animal Rights Mobilization) Alerts 1987-1990
Box 1, Folder 4
TSU/ARM Flyers 1986-1989
Box 1, Folder 5
Fundraising Mailings (1 of 2) 1984-1990
Box 1, Folder 6
Fundraising Mailings (2 of 2) 1984-1990
Box 1, Folder 7
Promotional Materials 1987-1989
Box 1, Folder 8
TSU/ARM Ads 1986-1990
Box 2, Folder 1
Newsletters 1981-1988
Box 2, Folder 2
Newsletters 1991-1992
Box 2, Folder 3
Magazines 1989-1990
Box 2, Folder 4
TSU Booklets, Flyers 1986-1990
Box 2, Folder 5
Photos Depicting TSU Demonstrations 1980s
Box 2, Folder 6
TSU Pins 1980s
Box 2, Microfilm box 7
News Clippings 1981-1982
Box 3, Folder 1
News Clippings 1983
Box 3, Folder 2
News Clippings 1984
Box 3, Folder 3
News Clippings 1985
Box 3, Folder 4
News Clippings 1986-02-1986-08
Box 3, Folder 5
News Clippings 1986-09-1986-12
Box 4, Folder 1
News Clipping 1987
Box 4, Folder 2
News Clippings 1988-01-1988-09
Box 4, Folder 3
News Clippings 1988-10-1988-12
Box 4, Folder 4
News Clippings 1989-01-1989-04
Box 4, Folder 5
News Clippings 1989-05-1989-10
Box 5, Folder 1
News Clippings 1989-11-1989-12
Language of materials
Materials in Spanish; Japanese (Japanese syllabaries (alias for Hiragana + Katakana))
Box 5, Folder 2
News Clippings 1990-01-1990-08
Box 5, Folder 3
News Clippings 1990-09-1990-12
Box 5, Folder 4
Please note that some historical materials may contain harmful content and/or descriptions. Learn how we’re addressing it.

Access to the collection

Collection is open for research; access requires at least 48 hours advance notice. Because of the nature of certain archival formats, including digital and audio-visual materials, access will require additional advanced notice. Unless noted, digital media are not available online. Copies of unrestricted digital files will be provided for use in the SCRC Reading Room upon request. Access will be provided to use copies of unrestricted digital files rather than carrier media, such as CDs, DVDs, and floppy disks. Some or all electronic files may be unavailable or restricted due to privacy reasons, agreement with the donor, software is not available to interact with files, or because files cannot be retrieved from original media.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Trans-Species Unlimited Records, MC 00691, NC State University Libraries Special Collections Research Center

Use of these materials

The nature of the NC State University Libraries' Special Collections means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine despite reasonable efforts. The NC State University Libraries claims only physical ownership of most Special Collections materials.

The materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source.

This collection may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which North Carolina State University assumes no responsibility.