Striking at the Roots

Striking at the Roots: A Practical Guide to Animal Activism is a non-fiction book by Mark Hawthorne that examines a number of strategies for animal activism in countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The book was published by O Books in the UK in 2007 as a 282-page paperback. An expanded, 10th-anniversary edition was released as a 416-page paperback in November 2018.

Mark Hawthorne at Cow-Con, Berkeley, September 2016

Striking at the Roots: A Practical Guide to Animal Activism
AuthorMark Hawthorne
SubjectAnimal activism
PublisherO Books
Publication date
Pages282 / 416
ISBN978-1846940910 re-issue: ISBN 978-1785358821
Followed byBleating Hearts: The Hidden World of Animal Suffering


More than 100 animal activists—including Carol J. Adams, Gene Baur, Alka Chandna, Karen Davis, Joyce D'Silva, Adam Durand, Juliet Gellatley, Bruce Friedrich, pattrice jones, Erik Marcus, Jack Norris, Glenys Oogjes, Lauren Ornelas, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, Nathan Runkle, and Joyce Tischler—discuss the models of activism that work best for advancing animal rights and animal welfare.

Contents include discussions of leafleting, writing, tabling, protesting, corporate campaigning, legislation, lobbying, multimedia, direct action, and using vegan food as outreach.

Hawthorne says he wrote the book because when he first got into animal activism, he could not find a book like it: "one resource that you could easily carry with you" that covers the broad range of activist models.[1][2] The book is written for people who are already concerned about abuse of animals and need to learn how to take effective action.[3]

The title is derived from Walden, in which Henry David Thoreau writes: "There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root."[4] Thoreau's phrase "striking at the root" may be an allusion to Matthew 3:10 -- "And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire."[5]

Hawthorne's second book, Bleating Hearts: The Hidden World of Animal Suffering, was published in 2013.[6]

His third book, A Vegan Ethic: Embracing a Life of Compassion Toward All, was published on July 29, 2016.[7]


  1. "COK Talks with Mark Hawthorne". Compassionate Action. Washington, D.C.: Compassion Over Killing. Spring 2008. Archived from the original on December 27, 2010. Retrieved July 22, 2014. Mark's book examines a variety of advocacy strategies, offers the tools and resources needed to increase effectiveness, and motivates readers to start making a difference for animals today.
  2. Hawthorne, Mark (June–August 2008). "Finding His Religion" (PDF). Vegan Voice magazine (Interview) (34). Interviewed by Sienna Miller. Archived (PDF) from the original on May 19, 2014. Retrieved July 22, 2014.
  3. Julian, Barbara (February 22, 2008). "Striking At the Roots: a Great Guide For Animal Advocates". Animal Literature (book review). Victoria, British Columbia. Archived from the original on May 18, 2014. Retrieved July 30, 2014. For those already concerned about abuse of factory-farmed, circus, fur industry and laboratory animals, this book provides detailed campaign suggestions.
  4. Thoreau, Henry David (July 11, 2004). Cramer, Jeffrey S. (ed.). Walden: A Fully Annotated Edition. Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0300104660.
  5. Long, Larry R. "The Bible and the Composition of 'Walden' ", an essay in Myerson, Joel, ed. (1979). Studies in the American Renaissance. Farmington Hills, Michigan: Twayne Publishers. pp. 309–353. ISBN 978-0-8057-9011-5.
  6. Hawthorne, Mark (November 7, 2013). Bleating Hearts: The Hidden World of Animal Suffering. Alresford, England: Changemakers Books. ISBN 978-1780998510.
  7. Hawthorne, Mark (November 7, 2013). A Vegan Ethic: Embracing A Life Of Compassion Toward All. Alresford, England: Changemakers Books. ISBN 978-1785354021.
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