Archive for the animal rights Category

The Big Fat Wicked Lie People Tell About Animals

Posted in animal liberation, animal rights with tags , , , , on January 9, 2011 by carmen4thepets

Excerpt from Animal Rights Human Wrongs ~by Vernon Coleman


Vivisectors, hunters, butchers and farmers excuse the cruel way they treat animals by claiming (falsely) that animals don’t have feelings.

This is a lie. A big fat wicked lie, which excuses a thousand cruelties.


The truth, as anyone who is capable of reading and observing will know, is that animals are sentient and exhibit many of those qualities which racists like to think of as being the preserve of the human race. (I think it is perfectly fair to describe those who claim that all good’ qualities are the exclusive property of the human species as racist’). One of the absurdities of the argument about hunting which has raged for recent years in Britain has been the sight of apparently intelligent people arguing about whether or not animals, which are hunted, suffer physical pain and/or mental anguish when they are being pursued. How can there possibly be any doubt about this? Those who do express doubt about this are telling us a great deal about their own innate lack of understanding and compassion and their inability to learn from simple observation. If observation is not enough there is more than enough scientific evidence to show that birds, mammals, fish, reptiles and crustaceans all have nervous systems and all suffer pain. Darwin showed that fear produces similar responses in both humans and animals. The eyes and mouth open, the heart beats rapidly, teeth chatter, muscles tremble, hairs stand on end and so on. Parrots, like human beings, turn away and cover their eyes when confronted with a sight, which overwhelms them. Young elephants who have seen their families killed by poachers wake up screaming in the night. Elephants who are suddenly separated from their social group may die suddenly of broken heart syndrome’. Apes may fall down and faint when suddenly coming across a snake. If a man shouts at a dog he will cower and back away in fear.


Animals Can Communicate


Animal abusers sometimes assume that it is only humans who can communicate with one another. And yet bees can communicate the direction, distance and value of pollen sources quite a distance away. Animal abusers generally dismiss animal noises as simply that (noises) but scientists who have taken the time and trouble to listen carefully to the extraordinary variety of noises made by whales have found that there are patterns of what can only be described as speech which are repeated from one year to another. It is generally assumed that parrots merely repeat words they have heard without understanding what they mean. This is not true. Masson and McCarthy report how when psychologist Irene Pepperberg left her parrot at the vet’s surgery for an operation the parrot, whose name was Alex, called out: Come here. I love you. I’m sorry. I want to go back.’ The parrot clearly thought that he was being punished for some crime he had committed. Another parrot, in New Jersey, US saved the life of its owner by calling for help. Murder! Help! Come quick!’ cried the parrot. When neighbors ran to the scene of the crime they found the parrot’s owner lying on the floor, unconscious, bleeding from a gash in his neck. The doctor who treated the man said that without the parrot’s cries he would have died. The same parrot woke his owner and neighbors when a fire started in the house next door. How arrogant the animal abusers are to assume that human beings are the only species capable of communicating with one another, and of formulating a formal system of language. Vivisectors frequently laugh at the animals they torture and abuse. The concentration camp guards in the Second World War laughed at their victims and called them lice and rats. The vivisectors talk about sending a mouse to college’ when they want to raise funds for experiments. We have the power to do what we will with creatures of other species. But no one has given us the right. Animals feel complex emotions. But the animal abusers claim that because animals do not satisfy our human criteria for intelligence then animals do not deserve any sympathy or understanding. It is but one step from this to arguing that unintelligent humans can be used for experiments. Human beings who have taken the time to do so have found that they have been able to communicate well with chimpanzees and numerous other animals. Primates will often strive to make the peace after a hostile encounter. And uninvolved primates may help begin and cement the reconciliation. And yet vivisectors are given legal licenses allowing them to do horrific things to these animals. Who gave human beings the right to hand out licenses to torture?



Capable Of Love


Animals, like people, are capable of loving their partner, their families, their children, their leaders, their teachers, their friends and others who are important to them. An ape will show exactly the same signs of love and affection when dealing with her baby as a human mother will when dealing with her baby. Both will look longingly, tickle and play with their baby. Both feed their young, wash them, risk their lives for them and put up with their noise and unruly behavior. Anyone who doubts that animals love their young should stand outside a farm yard when a calf has been taken away from a cow and listen to the heart breaking cries of anguish which result. Who knows what inner anguish accompanies those cries from a creature who does not normally vocalize in the same way that other animals do. Even fish will risk their lives to protect their young. In his seminal work The Universal Kinship’ (first published in 1906 and now largely forgotten) J. Howard Moore described how he put his hand into a pond near the nest of a perch. The courageous fish guarding the nest chased Moore’s hand away several times and when Moore’s hand was not removed quickly enough would nip it vigorously several times. Lewis Gompertz, who lived from 1779 to 1861 and was a potent champion of the rights of blacks, women and the poor (and, indeed, all oppressed human beings) was also a powerful champion of animals and was a founder of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. (His credibility is, I feel, dramatically enhanced by the knowledge that quite early on he was forced out of the society). In his book Moral Inquiries On the Situation Of Man And Of Brutes’ Gompertz wrote: From some birds we may learn real constancy in conjugal affection, though in most instances their contracts only last for one season, but how strict do they keep this. They have no laws, no parchments, no parsons, no fear to injuring their characters, not even their own words to break in being untrue to each other: but their virtue is their laws, their parchments, their parsons, and the reputation; their deeds are their acts, their acts – their deeds: and from their own breasts do they honestly tear down to line the beds of their legitimate offspring.’Gompertz described an incident illustrating the wisdom of blackbirds. I observed a male blackbird flying about in an extreme state of agitation,’ he wrote. And on my going to discover the cause of it, the bird retreated from me as I followed it, till it stopped at a nest containing a female bird sitting upon her eggs, near which there was a cat: in consequence of this I removed the cat, and the bird became quiet. After that, whenever the cat was about the place, the blackbird would come near my window, and would in the same manner direct me to some sport where the cat happened to be stationed.’Gompertz also wrote about a male blackbird which had attacked a cat which had caught its female partner and wrote about three true incidents which illustrated animal kindness and wisdom. The first concerned two goats, which had met one another on a narrow path between two precipices. There was no room for the two goats to turn or pass and so one of the goats lay down, allowing the other to walk over it. The second incident involved a horse who had been hurt by a nail when he had been shod. Finding it painful to walk he had gone back to the farrier and shown him his hoof. The third incident involved a sheep dog who jumped into freezing cold water and successfully rescued another dog, which had been floating on a lump of ice. I would now fain ask,’ wrote Gompertz, if all this does not show reason and virtue? ‘J. Howard Moore described how monkeys may adopt the orphans of deceased members of their tribe and how two crows fed a third crow which was wounded. The wound was several weeks old and the two crows had clearly been playing good Samaritans’ for that time. Darwin wrote about a blind pelican, which was fed with fish, which were brought to it by pelican friends who normally lived thirty miles away. Strong males in a herd of vicunas will lag behind to protect the weaker and slower members of their herd from possible predators.



Powerful Memories


Many creatures have memories, which humans might envy. Ants retrace their steps after long journeys and can recognize friends after months of separation. When a limpet has finished roaming it will return to the exact spot on the same rock where it had been settled previously. Birds fly back year after year to the same nesting spots – to within the inch. Fish, too, return to the same stretch of water to hatch their young. Horses used in delivery routes frequently know exactly where and when to stop – and for how long. Squirrels who have buried nuts months before can find them without hesitating. J. Howard Moore reported that an elephant obeyed all his old words of command on being recaptured after fifteen years of freedom in the jungle and a lion recognized its keeper after seven years of separation. A snake, which was carried a hundred miles away from home, managed to find its way back. There is plenty of evidence, too, to show that many creatures other than human beings have powerful imaginations. Spiders will hold down the edges of their webs with stones to steady them during gales, which have not yet started. Does this show an ability to predict the weather or imagination? Cats, dogs, horses, and many other creatures dream. Parrots talk in their sleep. Horses frequently stampede because they are frightened by objects (such as large rocks or posts), which are no threat to them. This must show a sense of imagination because the horse, like a child, has created a terror out of nothing. A cat playing with a ball of wool is imagining that it is playing with its prey. We always tend to think the worst of animals (and other creatures). We assume that they are stupid and our interpretation of their behavior is based upon that ill-founded prejudice. It is, for example, generally assumed that the ostrich sticks its head in the sand in the assumption that when it cannot see the rest of the world, the rest of the world cannot see it. But where is the evidence for this theory? Could it not be equally possible that the ostrich sticks its head in the sand because it cannot bear what there is to view in the world around it? When a human being covers his or her eyes to avoid looking at a horrific accident we do not say that they believe that they can’t be seen.




Before slavery was abolished black people who fell in love were regarded as enjoying simple animal lust’ as a result of animal attraction’. Who on earth (or, indeed, in heaven) gave us the right to make such judgements about black people or animals? When black people formed life long pairs this was dismissed as nothing more than a response to an instinct’. The same thing is said about animals (with just as little evidence to support it). Who gives humans the right to argue that animals do not show emotions? Animal abusers sneer and say that animals, which seem to show love, are merely acting according instinct. But who says? Where is the evidence for this claim? Why do animal abusers have the right to make statements with no evidence whatsoever in support? Why don’t the animal abusers follow a consistent line and argue that human mothers who show love for their human babies are merely following their instincts? (Of course, people change their views when it suits them. Even vivisectors and hunters, who claim that animals have no feelings, will often claim to be loved by their companion dogs and cats.)There are numerous well-authenticated stories of animals risking their lives to save their loved ones. And animals will put their own safety second to protect their friends. One herd of elephants was seen always to travel unusually slowly. Observers noted that the herd traveled slowly so as not to leave behind an elephant who had not fully recovered from a broken leg. Another herd traveled slowly to accommodate a mother who was carrying her dead calf with her. When the herd stopped to eat or drink the mother would put her dead calf down. When they started traveling she would pick up the dead calf. The rest of the herd were accommodating her in her time of grief. Gorillas too have been seen to travel slowly if one of their number is injured and unable to move quickly. Remember this unquestioning generosity next time you are trapped in the midst of a crowd of humans traveling by car, train or airplane.


Altruistic Behavior


Animals don’t just show love; they frequently exhibit behavior that can only be described as altruistic. Old lionesses that have lost their teeth and can no longer bear young are, theoretically, of no value to the rest of the pride. But the younger lions will share their kills with them. Young, agile chimpanzees will climb trees to fetch fruit for their older relatives. Foxes have been observed bringing food to adult, injured foxes. When one fox was injured by a mowing machine and taken to a vet by a human observer the fox’s sister took food to the spot where the injured fox had lain. The good Samaritan sister fox made the whimpering sound that foxes use when summoning cubs to eat (even though she had no cubs).Animals have been known to give food to hungry humans. Koko, the gorilla who learned to communicate with humans through sign language, gave medical advice to a human woman who complained of indigestion. Koko told the woman to drink orange juice. When the human revisited ten days later and offered Koko a drink of orange juice Koko would not accept the drink until assured that the woman felt better. Whales have been observed to ask for and receive help from other whales. J. Howard Moore describes how crabs struggled for some time to turn over another crustacean, which had fallen onto its back. When the crabs couldn’t manage by themselves they went and fetched two other crabs to help them. A gander who acted as a guardian to his blind partner would take her neck gently in his mouth and lead her to the water when she wanted to swim. Afterwards he would lead her home in the same manner. When goslings were hatched the gander, realizing that the mother would not be able to cope, looked after them himself. Pigs will rush to defend one of their numbers who is being attacked. When wild geese are feeding one will act as sentinel – never taking a grain of corn while on duty. When the sentinel goose has been on watch for a while it pecks at a nearby goose and hands over the responsibility for guarding the group. When swans dive there is usually one, which stays above the water to watch out for danger. Time and time again dogs have pined and died on being separated from their masters or mistresses. Animals can suffer, they can communicate and they can care. A Border collie woke a young mother from a deep sleep and led her to her baby’s cot. The baby was choking on mucus and had stopped breathing. What is any of this but compassion? How can animal abusers regard themselves as sentient when they mistreat animals who can feel this way? Konrad Lorenz described the behavior of a gander called Ado when a fox killed his mate Susanne-Elisabeth. Ado stood by Susanne-Elisabeth’s body in mourning. He hung his head and his body was hunched. He didn’t bother to defend himself when attacked by strange geese. How would the animal abusers describe such behavior other than as sorrow born of love? There is no survival value in mourning. It can only be a manifestation of a clear emotional response – love. A badger was seen to drag another badger, which had been killed by a car off the road, along a hedge, through a gap and into a burial spot in nearby woods. Coyotes form pairs before they become sexually active – and then stay together. One observer watched a female coyote licking her partner’s face after they had made love. They then curled up and went to sleep. Geese, swans and mandarin ducks have all been described as enjoying long-term relationships.


Vanity And Self Consciousness


Animals have also been known to show vanity, self-consciousness, embarrassment and other allegedly exclusively human emotions. Masson and McCarthy reported that chimpanzees have been observed using a TV video monitor to watch themselves make faces – the chimpanzees were able to distinguish between a live image and taped image by testing to see if their actions were duplicated on the screen. Chimpanzees have even managed to use a video monitor to apply make-up to themselves (this is a difficult trick to learn for humans). One chimpanzee has been reported to use a video camera and monitor to look down his throat – using a flashlight to help the process. As for vanity, males (baboons) with worn or broken teeth yawn less than male baboons with teeth in good condition – unless there are no other males around in which case they yawn just as often,’ wrote Masson and McCarthy. One gorilla who had a number of toy dolls used sign language to send kisses to her favorite puppets and dolls. But every time she realized that she was being watched she stopped playing. When a bottlenose porpoise accidentally bit her trainer’s hand she became hideously embarrassed’, went to the bottom of her tank, with her snout in a corner, and wouldn’t come out until the trainer made it clear that she wasn’t cross. Jane Goodall has reported that wild chimpanzees can show embarrassment and shame and may, also, show off to other animals whom they want to impress. (One chimpanzee who fell while showing off was clearly embarrassed). Many people who live with cats will have noticed that if the cat falls off a piece of furniture it will appear embarrassed – often beginning to wash itself as though making it clear that the embarrassing incident didn’t really happen at all. Elephant keepers report that when elephants are laughed at they will respond by filling their trunks with water and spraying the mockers. And many dog owners have reported that their animals have made it clear that they know that they have done wrong. For example a dog which feels it has done something wrong may go into a submissive position before the owner knows that the animal has done something bad’.


Artistic Animals


There are many myths about animals and the animal abusers tell many lies in an attempt to belittle the skills that animals have. It is, for example, sometimes said by animal abusers that animals cannot see in color. This is a nonsense. Four sheep who lived with me, who were accustomed to being fed from an orange bucket would come running across a field if they saw the orange bucket. When I tried using a blue bucket they showed absolutely no interest. The color was the only significant difference between the buckets. A chimpanzee has been observed staring at a beautiful sunset for fifteen minutes. Monkeys prefer looking at pictures of monkeys to pictures of people and prefer looking at animated cartoons rather than at still pictures. Gerald Durrell wrote about a pigeon who listened quietly to most music but who would stamp backwards and forwards when marches were being played and would twist and bow, cooing softly, when waltzes were played. Dogs will alter their howling according to the other sounds they hear. One gorilla enjoyed the singing of Luciano Pavarotti so much that he would refuse to go out of doors when a Pavarotti concert was being shown on television. Animal abusers have for years dismissed bird song as merely mating calls. Who can say that birds do not sing to give themselves and others pleasure? An Indian elephant in a zoo used to split an apple into two and then rub the two halves onto the hay to flavor it. Numerous apes have painted or drawn identifiable objects while in captivity. And when a young Indian elephant was reported to have made numerous drawings (which were highly commended by artists who did not know that the artist was an animal) other zookeepers reported that their elephants often scribbled on the ground with sticks or stones. When one Asian elephant got extra attention because of her paintings nearby African elephants used the ends of logs to draw on the walls of their enclosure. The animal abusers invariably try to think the worst when considering animal behavior. When a bird takes bright objects to decorate its nest the animal abusers will claim that the bird doesn’t really know what it is doing. When a human being collects bird feathers to decorate a room they are said to be showing artistic tendencies. Vivisectors, and others who abuse animals, are blind to all this because they want to be blind to it. Animal abuse is driven by economic need and there is no place for sentiment and compassion when money is at stake. Vivisectors tear animals away from their partners, their friends and their relatives with no regard for their feelings – or for the feelings of the animals they have left behind. When animals are born in zoos the keepers and jailers claim that this is evidence that the animals are happy. Would they also claim that the fact that babies were born in concentration camps is evidence that concentration camp inmates were happy? What trickery the animal abusers use in their sordid attempts to excuse their brutality. Animals in captivity often die far younger than they would die if they were allowed to roam free. At one oceanarium a famous pilot whale was actually thirteen different pilot whales.


Smarter, Kinder, Better


Many other species – from families as varied as ants and dolphins – are smarter, kinder and better at creating societies, which work than are human beings. A survey showed that almost half of all the women in one US city had been raped or subjected to attempted rape at least once in their lives. Just think of the torture performed by humans on other humans. Animal abusers will leap on every example they can find of apparent bad behaviour’ by animals and use that example to draw far-reaching conclusions about all animals. They ignore the fact that the bad behavior’ to which they refer may well have been triggered by human aggression. Do the animal abusers who leap upon one example of bad animal behavior as significant also suggest that because one human murders, tortures or rapes we must all be judged by that individual? Are all human beings to be judged to be as barbaric and evil as vivisectors? As I have described in my book Why Animal Experiments Must Stop experimenters have deliberately planned and executed experiments designed to make animals feel depressed. When they have succeeded in making animals depressed they have written up their experiments as though proud of themselves for having succeeded in their evil aims. What possible purpose can there be in creating depression when there is already so much of it in the world? (And, incidentally, does not the ability of the experimental scientists to make’ animals feel depressed provide yet more proof that animals are sentient creatures?)


Enjoying The Suffering


No animal, other than the human animal, has ever deliberately performed experiments on another. No one animal, other than the human animal, has ever deliberately tortured another being. Human beings are the only species who abuse one another (and members of other species) for pleasure. Human beings are the only species who torture. Only human beings chase and attack living creatures for fun – and for the pleasure of watching the suffering. Contrary to myth, cats do not play’ with animals for fun – it is part of their learning and training process. Cats like to chase, to catch and then to kill. They kill so that they can eat and they need to practice their chasing skills. It is, however, important to remember that a cat or a kitten will be just as happy chasing a ball of paper or a piece of string (particularly if it is manipulated in an effective and lifelike manner). This shows that the cat doesn’t chase and catch because it enjoys the suffering which is produced – how much fun’ could there possibly be in torturing’ a ball of paper or a piece of string? Foxes are often criticized (by those who hunt them) on the grounds that they sometimes kill large numbers of hens. The implication is that the fox kills for pleasure. The truth, however, is that, like other predators who may kill more than they can eat when they have the opportunity, foxes store the food they have killed.


Animals As Carers


In their excellent book When Elephants Weep Jeffrey Masson and Susan McCarthy report how a man called John Teal, who was working with endangered musk oxen, was at first alarmed when some dogs approached and the musk oxen snorted, stamped and thundered towards him. Before Mr Teal could move to escape, the oxen formed a defensive ring around him and lowered their horns at the dogs. It turned out that the musk oxen were protecting their new human friend in exactly the same way that they would protect their calves from predators. Animals have even been reported to have pets of their own. A chimpanzee who was thought to be lonely was given a kitten as a companion. The chimpanzee groomed the kitten, carried it about with her and protected it from harm. A gorilla called Koko had a kitten companion, which she herself named All Ball. An elephant was seen to routinely put aside some grain for a mouse to eat. Race horses who have had goat companions have failed to run as expected when separated from their friends.


A Sense Of Fun


Human beings are not the only animals to have a sense of humor and fun and to enjoy playing. Masson and McCarthy, in When Elephants Weep, report that foxes will tease hyenas by going close to them and then running away. Ravens tease peregrine falcons by flying close and closer to them. Grebes tweak the tails of dignified swans and then dive to escape. I have watched lambs play their own version of King of the Castle’ (and many other games customarily played by children). A monkey has been seen to pass his hand behind a second monkey so that he could tweak the tail of a third monkey. When the third monkey remonstrated with the second monkey the first monkey, the practical joker, was clearly enjoying himself. When scientists examined the dung of lions the lions dug up the latrine the humans had been using – and inspected the contents. Ants, fish, birds, cats, dogs, sheep, horses, monkeys, porpoises and many other creatures play.


The Barbaric Abuse Of Sensitive Creatures


Animals frequently make friends across the species barriers. There is much evidence showing that animals have helped animals belonging to a different species. Why do we have to be the only species to abuse all other creatures? Is our cruelty to other creatures really to be regarded as a sign of our wisdom, superiority and civilization? What arrogance we show in the way we treat animals. Where is our humility and sense of respect? Animals have passionate relationships with one another, they exhibit clear signs of love, they develop social lives which are every bit as complex as our own. By what right do we treat them with such contempt? Those who torture and kill animals have to claim that animals have no feelings – otherwise they would be admitting that they themselves have acted cruelly. But how they can continue to do this when there is so much scientific evidence to prove that they are utterly wrong? Those who torture and kill insist on being allowed to continue to torture and kill because they know that if they stop they will have to admit that they have spent their lives in the barbaric abuse of sensitive creatures. No one with any intelligence or sensitivity of their own can possibly doubt that animals are capable of suffering. Animal experimenters and abattoir workers degrade us all and diminish our worth as a species.


Better Than Animals?


The animal abusers will frequently argue that since human beings can speak foreign languages and do algebraic equations they are inevitably better’ than animals. What nonsense this is. Does this mean that humans who cannot speak foreign languages or do algebraic equations are not entitled to be treated with respect? And who decides which are the skills deserving of respect? If we decide that the ability to fly, run at 30 mph, see in the dark or swim under water for long distances are the skills worthy of respect there wouldn’t be many human beings qualifying for respect. Cats can find their way home without map or compass when abandoned hundreds of miles away in strange territory. How many human beings could do the same? How many humans could spin a web or build a honeycomb? We owe it to animals to treat them with respect and, at the very least, to leave them alone to live their lives on this earth free from our harm. Darwin wrote that there is no fundamental difference between man and the higher mammals in their mental faculties’. He also argued that the senses and intuition, the various emotions and faculties, such as love, memory, attention, curiosity, imitation, reason etc of which man boasts, may be found in an incipient, or sometimes even well-developed condition in the lower’ animals.’ Turtles have been observed learning a route from one place to another. To begin with they make lots of mistakes, go down cul de sacs and miss short cuts. But after a while they can reduce their journey time dramatically. Birds, which might normally be alarmed by the slightest noise, learn to ignore the noise of trains and cars when they build their nests near to railway lines or busy roads. Even oysters are capable of learning. Oysters, which live in the deep sea, know that they can open and shut their shells at any time without risk. But oysters, which live in a tidal area, learn to keep their shells closed when the tide is out – so that they don’t dry out and die. This might not quite rank alongside writing a classic novel but how many human beings can write classic novels? Animals use reason and experience to help them survive and they exhibit all of the skills, which the animal abusers like to think of as being exclusively human. All animals accumulate information, which helps them to survive and live more comfortably. Moreover, they do it just as man does – by discriminating between useful and useless information and by memorizing information, which is of value. A puppy who has been burnt on a hot stove will keep away from it just as surely as a child who has suffered a similarly unpleasant experience. Older fish learn to be wary of lures – and become far more difficult to catch than young ones. Rats learn how to avoid traps, and birds learn where telephone wires are strung (so that they don’t fly into them). Arctic seals used to live on inner ice floes to avoid the polar bears but after man arrived and proved to be a worse enemy they started living on the outer ice floes. Many animals know that they can be followed by their scent and act accordingly. A hunted deer or hare will run round in circles, double back on its own tracks, go through water and leap into the air in order to lose its pursuers. Flocks of parrots will send an advance scouting party ahead to check out that all is well.


Animals As Teachers


There is no doubt, too, that animals actively teach their young in order to pass on skills which the animal abusers generally regard as being nothing more than instinct’. I have watched an adult cat giving lessons to orphan kittens for which he had taken responsibility. The adult cat, teaching the art of stalking, would edge forwards and then stop and look over his shoulder to see if the kittens were following in the correct style. After the lesson had gone on for some time the kittens started playing behind the adult cat’s back. They got away with it for a couple of times but on the third occasion the adult cat saw them. He reached back and gave them both a clip with an outstretched paw. The kittens weren’t hurt but they paid attention again.


We tend to ignore the actions of other creatures because we don’t have the time to watch what they do. But even the seemingly lowly ant has a complex and sophisticated life style. Ants can communicate with one another and recognize their friends. They will clean one another, they play, they bury their dead, they store grain, they even clear land, manure it, sow grain and harvest the grass, which they have grown.


When animal abusers hear about this sort of behavior they dismiss it as nothing more than instinct. But is it? If a Martian looked down on earth and watched us rushing about on our routine daily work would he perhaps be tempted to describe us as incapable of original thought and responding only to instinct? We may not like it but many races of non human beings have a much greater influence on their environment than we have. There are still tribes of men who live almost naked in very crude huts and whose social structures are relatively primitive when compared to, say, the beavers who cut down trees, transport them long distances, dam rivers, construct substantial homes and dig artificial waterways. Ants plant crops and build roads and tunnels. Birds build astonishingly beautiful nests from the simplest of materials.


Animal abusers claim that man is the only animal to use tools. But this simply isn’t true. Even insects use tools – using small stones to pack the dirt firmly over and around their nests. Spiders use stones to keep their webs steady when the weather is stormy. Orangutans and baboons use sticks and stones as weapons. Monkeys use stones to help them crack nuts. In one zoo a monkey who had poor teeth kept (and guarded) a stone hidden in its straw for nut cracking. That monkey had a tool, which it regarded as its own property. Chimpanzees drum on hollow logs with sticks. Monkeys know how to use sticks as levers. The Indian elephant will break off a leafy branch and use it to sweep away the flies. Ants know how to keep grain in a warm, moist atmosphere without the grain sprouting. The honeycomb and the bird’s nest are wonders of architecture. Insect communities practice true and decent socialism.


The wonders are unending.

  • Animals are often curious and determined and hard working; loving and loyal and faithful. (But they do not harm themselves with tobacco and alcohol.)
  • We do not understand how a cat, which has been taken a hundred miles away from, its home (in a closed bag) can find its way back again.
  • But animal abusers will sew up the cat’s eyes, plant electrodes into its head and subject it to unimaginable pain and suffering in their search for personal glory.
  • The eagle and the vulture have eyes as powerful as a telescope. The swallow will travel thousands of miles every spring, only to be trapped and shot by a Maltese hunter when it dares to land for water.
  • Many animals, birds and insects can predict the coming of storms far more effectively than our allegedly scientific weather forecasters.
  • Weight for weight the tomtit has more brain capacity than a human being.
  • The animal abusers claim that animals cannot reason. But it is clear that it is the animal abusers who find reason a difficult concept.
  • The facts are abundantly clear: animals are sentient creatures. As J.Howard Moore put it: The human species constitutes but one branch in the gigantic arbour of life.’
  • How cruel and vicious a species we must look to lobsters who are boiled alive, to donkeys who are beaten beyond their endurance and to all farm animals. Not all men are humane.
  • Man is the most drunken, selfish, bloodthirsty, miserly, greedy, hypocritical being on the planet. And yet we think ourselves so damned superior. Man is the only being on the planet to kill for the sake of killing; to dress up and turn killing into a social pastime.
  • The animal abusers sneer at hyenas but they do not kill for fun.
  • Only man gloats over the accumulation of material goods, which he does not truly need. No creature is as immoral as the animal abuser. Only man needs an army of lawyers to fight over what is right and wrong. Only man has forgotten the meaning of natural justice.
  • We have created a hell on this earth for other creatures. Our abuse of animals is the final savagery, the final outrage of mankind in a long history of savagery and outrage. We have colonized other species in the same way that White Northern Europeans colonized other parts of the world. Instead of learning from other animals, instead of attempting to communicate with them, we simply thrash around wickedly, abusing, torturing, tormenting and killing. We destroy the relationships of animals with one another, with their environment and with our own race. We diminish ourselves in a hundred different ways through our cruelty and our ignorance and our thoughtlessness. Man’s inhumanity to man makes countless thousands mourn and his inhumanity to not-men makes the planet a ball of pain and terror,’ wrote J.Howard Moore.
  • If man were truly the master of the universe he would use his wisdom and his power to increase the comfort and happiness of all other sentient creatures. Sadly, tragically, man has used his wisdom and his power to increase the misery of other sentient creatures. Animal abusers imprison millions of animals in cruel and heartbreaking conditions and ignore their cries of pain and distress on the grounds that animals are not sentient creatures’. What self-delusional nonsense this is.
  • Sheep and cattle are left out in huge fields in cold, wet weather. They shiver and search in vain for shelter because all the trees and hedgerows have been removed to make the farm more efficient. The animal abusing farmer cares not one jot for animals: he cares only for his profits.
  • It is quite simply just as immoral to regard animals as existing for the glorification of man as it is to regard black men or women as existing to serve white men.

Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things,’ wrote Albert Schweizer, man will not himself find peace.’ The merciful man is kind to all creatures.




[animallibpress] X To Whom it may Concern X, By Walter Bond

Posted in animal liberation, animal rights, veganism with tags , , , , , , on December 12, 2010 by carmen4thepets





X To Whom it may Concern X
By Walter Bond



From Golden, Colorado jail
December 10, 2010

I was raised in a household of drug and alcohol abuse. My biological father, Mark Zuehlke, was a Vietnam vet that came back from the war and got heavy into cocaine, amphetamines and outlaw biker gangs. My mother Minerva Marie Montanzo Domench was raised in Ford Apache, Bronx and born in Puerto Rico. Their marriage produced three children, me being the youngest. My biological parents divorced when I was 12 months old. Some years later, Mark was sent to federal prison for his involvement in one of the largest cocaine/meth busts in Iowa history. I met him for the first time with I was a young man. I traveled to Yankton, South Dakota to the federal prison and visited Mark there. It is my opinion to this day that he was a deadbeat dad, a liar and a scumbag.

My two full blooded brothers, Guthrie and Trapper, were raised by our biological father and I was raised by our biological mother. It has always been unclear to me why they split us up this way, as it was arranged by my parents out of court. In any event, my mother remarried the man who became my adopted father. James Bond married my mother in 1984 at which time he adopted me and my last name was legally changed to Bond. I was in diapers when they began dating and he has been the only father I’ve ever known.

He, unlike Mark, was a good man. But he was a good man with a bad problem. My father (James Bond) was terribly addicted to alcohol. My parents soon divorced when I was ten years old and my mother and I moved to Denver, Colorado to be near her family. By the ripe old age of 12, I was smoking weed with my mother and doing drugs with my “friends”. Although I have my G.E.D. (which I received the last time I was in prison), I never made it past the 8th grade. Going to class was far less interesting than getting wasted. I met other kids like me. Friends with broken homes and druggie parents. Biker kids. Punk rock kids. Nerds, geeks and the throwaways.

It was the late 80’s and bands like Agnostic Front and Sick of it All were carving out a new style of music called “Crossover”. It was a combo of punk and metal. I fell in love! The aggression and angst were all accompanied with a message. A message I could relate to.

Then I heard straight-edge music and I was hooked (on the music, and drugs). Here was music that was even tighter, the hooks were more rhythmic and it professed ethics I just knew deep down were right. Bands such as Gorilla Biscuits, Youth of Today and Uniform Choice not only changed my life, they saved my life. By the age of 18, my mom had remarried. While I had an affinity for straight-edge and the drug-free lifestyle, I refused to go to school or do much of anything – besides play drums for my band “Defiance of Authority” and play hacky sack with my friends. My mother’s answer to my behavior was to move away to the Pacific Northwest with husband number 3. At that time, we lived in the mountains of Woodland Park, Colorado. I came home from spending the night at a friend’s house to find nothing but furniture marks on the floor. I did not see my mother again for 7 years.

At 18 years old without an education or job, I went back to Iowa to stay with my father. In Iowa I learned to work and work hard. Not only because my father does not tolerate laziness but also because socially, in Iowa, if you are not a hard worker than you are looked down upon. To excel at your work in the Midwest is part of the fabric of your everyday life.

By this time it was well into the 90’s and two polar extremes were very apparent in my life. On one hand the straight-edge scene was huge. A new sound had hit and hit hard. Bands like Earth Crisis, Strife, and Snapcase were leading the way and it was an amazing time to wear an ‘X’ on your hand. Back then, straight-edge was more than just a “personal choice”. It was seriously attempting to stand against drug culture. On the other hand, I had recently met and started getting to know my brother, Trapper. He was hooked on meth. I had never had a brother before and I loved him with all my heart. I loved him blindly. He would steal from me and I would ignore it. He would lie straight into my face and I would excuse it. My brother was always a master and genius at sensing a person’s emotional vulnerability and using it to his maximum advantage. Along with Trapper, nearly everyone I had known from Elementary School was either hooked on meth, dealing it, or both. I was fed up. At this point in my life I had been through so much because of other people’s (and my own) drug use that I took drastic measures and attacked the source of all this insanity. The dealers themselves. As most know, I attacked with fire the biggest meth dealer in my town.

The four years I spent in prison was without any support from the straight-edge scene or anyone else. For purposes on self-preservation, most people that truly did know me distanced themselves, as expected, not wanting to become a target of persecution as well. I worked in the prison laundry room for $1.10 a day. That was the extent of my funds. I was also vegan at that time and had been for year before my arrest. Luckily the prison system was just beginning to offer a vegan diet albeit reluctantly. I got X’s and V’s tattooed on my hands while incarcerated to pledge myself to the drug free lifestyle forever. As a prisoner, they can take everything from you except what’s in your heart and your tattoos.

When I got out of prison I found that the 90’s were over. The edge kids from the 90’s that I knew had given it up. Everybody was ‘really concerned’ about me and ‘just about to write a letter’. Suffice it to say, I was pissed off. I distanced myself from the people and the music. For years I was bitter. To me, straight-edge was very personal, life-changing and serious. Fighting against drug dealers had landed me in prison with a permanent felony record, not to mention more than one fist fight.

As the years went by, veganism and animal liberation became the focus of my life. I tried reconnecting with the younger generation of straight-edge and teach them the importance of veganism and standing up against drug culture. But with most, apathy is king. Apparently, the bulk of the straight-edge scene is about collecting records and keeping it to yourself. That and politics, politics, politics. Instead of the primary focus being on animal liberation or drug-free living, it seems that half of straight-edge is about being a Christian, Right-wing American Patriot that resemble a bunch of clean-cut cops with tattoos. Bullying people at hardcore shows and staying dedicated to the “boys only” mentality. While the other half are wanna-be Beatnik, Bohemian anarchists that go ten steps out of their way to be offended about everything, but won’t do anything except philosophize and try to squeeze the words “patriarchal” and “heteronormative” into as many conversations as possible.

I would prefer to not be so divisive as to demand that everyone adhere to my checklist of political views and believe me, I have them. But idealism and reality are not always going to meet. For instance, I have already met people in county jail whose company I enjoy. People that make me laugh. People with dynamic personalities. I am not going to deny their camaraderie just because we differ. Just like how most vegans or straight-edge people are not going to disown their parents for drinking milk or smoking cigarettes.

Presently, I am facing the trials of my life, quite literally. This time I am happy to say that many people from around the world write me often, which brings more joy to my heart than I can express. It’s awesome to know that I am not alone. But once again, I feel nothing but scrutiny and unresponsiveness from the straight-edge community. However, this time I am not in the mood. I will live my life drug-free for the rest of my life and will not ‘break edge’ as they say. But I am through with “the scene” because it has become a fashion show and politically pretentious joke. My people, my family, my sphere of concern outside of our Mother Earth and her Animal Nations is primarily for those that are moved by animal liberation and biocentrism. I have sacrificed my freedom every bit as much for the straight-edge as I have for animal rights. Outside of the best band on the planet (Earth Crisis) making a video about me (which isn’t a community supporting me, but the vanguards of it) I have received nothing but bullshit from straight-edge people, then and now.

I regret fighting so hard for a group of posers and pretentious gossip hounds, my trust isn’t free anymore. I will always have respect for those within straight-edge that use it as a foundation for militant and positive change. The rest of you mean nothing to me.

P.S. My father has been a recovering alcoholic and sober for a decade now and my mom lives in the Alaskan wilderness and is as feral and free as she ever was.


Write Bond letters of prisoner support at:

Walter Bond  # P01051760
PO Box 16700
Golden, CO 80402-6700

Walter Bond is facing federal arson charges for his alleged role as an ALF operative known as “Lone Wolf”. “Lone Wolf” took credit for three different arsons throughout the Spring and Summer of 2010 in Denver and Salt Lake City: The Skeepskin Factory, a store selling furs and pelts; Tandy Leather Store; and Tiburon, a restaurant serving foie gras.

Walter’s brother alerted the FBI and the ATF about his suspicions that his brother, Walter, was behind the attacks. While Walter was visiting Denver in July 2010, his brother helped participate in a sting operation, allegedly wearing a wire and helping procure audio evidence against Walter. Walter was arrested in Denver and is now being held in the Jefferson County Jail in Golden, Colorado awaiting trial.

Walter has been a dedicated animal rights activist and anarchist for several decades and has struggled for animal liberation and against a deadly and genocidal culture of drug abuse in the United States. Walter was the subject of a song by the vegan straight edge band Earth Crisis. The band’s song “To Ashes” was inspired by Bond’s 1998 prison sentence for arson. Bond was convicted of burning down a meth lab owned by a drug dealer who was selling to his brother.

Contact: (818) 227-5022
Animal Liberation Press Office
6320 Canoga Avenue #1500
Woodland Hills, CA 91367

If Pigs Could Speak

Posted in animal rights, holocaust, speciesism, veganism with tags , , , , , , , , on December 1, 2010 by carmen4thepets

by Andrew Kirschner

I am a pig.

I am a happy and affectionate animal by nature.

I like to play in the grass and nurture my young.

In the wild, I eat leaves, roots, grass, flowers, and fruits.

I have a terrific sense of smell and I am highly intelligent.

I am a pig.

I can learn tasks as quickly as chimpanzees and faster than dogs.

I wallow in mud to cool down

but I am a very clean animal

and don’t excrete anywhere near where I live.

I speak my own language that you cannot understand.

I am often loved as a house mate.

I like being in groups and live a long natural life in the wild or a safe home.

I enjoy interacting with people and I am very gentle.

I wish I could do and be all of those things

but I was born on a factory farm like billions of other pigs

and so I experience none of them.

I am a pig.

If I could speak

I would tell you that I spend my life

in a crowded and filthy warehouse

in a tiny metal crate.

The owners call it a farm so you won’t feel bad for me.

It’s not a farm.

My life is miserable from the day I’m born until the day I die.

In many cases, I live my entire life in a gestation crate

where I can’t even turn around.

I try to escape but can’t.

I suffer severe emotional and physical ailments

as a result of my confinement.

I have bruises all over my head and face

from trying to get out of my cage.

I bang my head against the bars.

It is analogous to living in a coffin.

I am a pig.

If I could speak I would tell you that

I don’t ever feel the warmth of another pig.

I only feel the cold metal bars of my cage

and the feces that I am forced to sleep in.

I don’t see daylight until a trucker drives me to a slaughterhouse.

I am a pig.

I am beaten often by ruthless factory farmers

who take pleasure in hearing me squeal.

I am constantly impregnated

and do not have any interaction with my piglets.

My feet are tied together so I am forced to stand all day.

When I was born, I was separated from my mother.

In the wild, I would have stayed with her for five months.

Now I am forced to have 25 piglets a year through artificial insemination

as opposed to six per year I would have in the wild.

Overcrowding and the smell of being covered in raw sewage

causes many of us to go insane

and bite each other through our cages.

Sometimes we kill each other.

It’s not our nature.

My home smells of ammonia.

I sleep on concrete.

I am tied up so I can’t even roll over.

My food is loaded with fat and antibiotics

so my owners can make more money off my size.

I am never able to forage for food as I do by instinct in the wild.

I am a pig.

I am bored and have nothing to do

so I bite my tail and the tails of others

so the factory farmers cut off our tails

without any pain killers.

It is excruciating and causes infection.

When it is time for us to be killed,

We are supposed to be stunned to death with a bolt gun

until we can’t feel pain

but often the gun is not properly charged or the stunner misses,

or we’re too big and strong for it

and it fails to work properly.

Sometimes we go through the slaughter process

sticking, skinning, dismembering, and eviscerating — alive, conscious, and kicking.

I would show you pictures

but they’re too graphic.

I am a pig.

If I could speak

I would tell you we suffer horribly.

Our death is slow and violent torture.

It can last as long as 20 minutes.

If you saw it happen,

you would probably never eat an animal like me

ever again.

That’s why what happens inside factory farms

is the best kept secret

in the world.

I am a pig.

You can dismiss me as a worthless animal.

Call me filthy even though I am clean by nature.

Say I don’t matter because I taste good to eat.

Be indifferent to my suffering.

But now you know,

I feel pain, sadness, and fear.

I suffer.

Watch videos of me squealing on the slaughter line.

See factory farmers beat me for the sake of it.

Even though I will be killed

and deprived of a humane and natural life

You now know it is wrong

and if you continue eating animals like me

when you don’t need to eat them to survive

it will be on your conscience

and you bare responsibility for the cruelty

because you’re funding it by purchasing meat

99% of which comes from factory farms


you make a decision

to live a cruelty-free life

and go vegan.

It’s much easier than you think

and it is a very fulfilling lifestyle —

healthier for you,

better for the environment,

and most of all,

does not contribute to the abuse of animals.

Please give it some thought.


I am no more meant to be eaten by you

than you are meant to be eaten by me.

The idea of eating me is a human creation for profit

not a divine one

or one born of necessity but rather choice.

If you could choose not to abuse an animal, would you?

If the choice of ending animal cruelty

meant making some simple changes in your life,

would you make them?

Forget about cultural norms.

Do what you know is right.

Align your compassionate heart and mind

with your actions.


Please stop eating pork, ham, bacon, sausage

and buying other products made from pig body parts such as leather.

I am a pig.

I’m begging you to develop the same respect for me

that you have for your dog or cat.

During the time it took you to read this message,

approximately 26,000 pigs were brutally slaughtered on factory farms.

Simply because you didn’t see it happen

doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

It did.

I am a pig.

I had only one life on this earth.

It’s too late for me

but it is not too late for you to make a change

like millions of other people

and save other animals from the life I lived.

I hope animals’ lives will begin to mean more to you now —

now that you know.

I was a pig.


Fuck With Vivisectors From Home – A Mini-Guide

Posted in animal rights, holocaust, speciesism, vivisection on September 26, 2010 by carmen4thepets

by Anonymous

Dear animal rights supporter,

Since most of us don’t want to get involved in potentially incriminating activities, the following mini-guide will teach you -if you think you still haven’t paid your share of activism- how to screw a researcher’s life without ever having to leave the comfort of your home. You will learn how to disturb them; render their mailbox and email useless; possibly freeze their web accounts; and cease their blog’s income if applicable — all done anonymously. In one attack type, within a short period of time you will be able to automate the process against a number of targets, and sit back to watch as their business crumbles due to communication failure.

Note that any of the attacks could be applied to both individuals and organizations. Try to avoid insignificant targets (Kentucky cashiers) and head for top ones (a head of some lab or university department) who’ll whine to the media about how difficult their life is becoming, thus actually helping us. Defiant activists are not only bothering, but even scaring the savages:

Interested? Good. Read on.

First of all, realize that you need a series of trusted proxies to perform all activities. I use and recommend Tor . But for a quick albeit less secure alternative, you can use web-based proxies:

Https (encrypted) proxies: & (good privacy policy) & (no or bad privacy policy) (you can access the Tor network from here without installing anything)

Http (unencrypted) proxies: & (good privacy policy)

Chaining https & http proxies (for example by connecting to proxyweb first, then to anonymouse through it) is also a good tactic to ensure that your ISP can’t monitor your activities and that the remote server will not see the proxy you’re directly using, but it might sometimes break java applications. Because web-proxies are less secure since you need to trust their privacy policy and can’t block your browser connecting directly to the target site during their use, you might want to consider Tor.

If you decide to use Tor, make sure to use an encrypted proxy before connecting to the final destination site since Tor’s “exit node” can read your traffic and would also have their IPs exposed. We don’t want to cause problems to Tor volunteers nor have them cause us problems. Professional proxy sites, on the other hand, are probably accustomed to abuse complaints anyway and usually earn compensation through ads or premium accounts. Combining both worlds, therefore, is a perfect solution for both etiquette and safety.

Know that there’s always a chance, though a slim one, that a vulnerability in encryption or timing attacks might put you in danger. Blocking your browser from saving history and cache; blocking your browser from connecting directly to the internet when using Tor (through a firewall); permanently erasing java and cookie remains with CCleaner or similar free programs; and having other people using the same IP or utilizing a wireless network (which you can claim got hacked by a neighbor or someone in a parked car outside) can help in these very unlikely cases.

Now without further ado, here are the methods.

Practical Issues > Things To Do > Activism > Army of 1

1. Prank calls on home; office; and cell phone:

You already know how annoying telemarketing calls can be, the ones preventing you from enjoying your food or watching a good movie without somebody ringing. Now imagine a whole lot of that, with a creative unpleasant message to hear every time. Top (or shall we say bottom?) doctors probably need to frequently answer numbers they don’t know. A couple of weeks with their phones constantly ringing and them complaining to their friends and colleagues (yes, they’ll help us a lot by spreading the word) will definitely make their career less popular, and create incentives for alternative research means.

Here are some sites which offer free calls from your browser plus extras. If you need to use a fake email for registration, you can use or sign up for a fastMail account dedicated to junk. I didn’t try them all. & (just rings the given number, no message could be delivered. Especially nice after midnight) , , , & (choose/type a message and a computer delivers it by phone. Phonetrick lets you pick the # to appear on caller ID) (you supply two numbers; have them call each other; and it records the phone call for you. This way you can offend two vivisectors with one click). could be used almost in the same way although it’s not even a prank site, you want to put one of the targets’ # as yours.

Here’s also a list of UNTESTED free-calls-from-browser sites recommended by several tech blogs. You can probably find more:

voipbuster, ooVoo, iCall, Click2Voice, dukaDial, FreeRinger, Evaphone, PokeTalk, Flaphone & jaxtr.

Now if you don’t want you to be using your own voice to deliver the thank-you note, use computer generated words. Here are some Text-to-speech sites:

If you’re a programmer, you might be able to develop a script or macro which dials a set of numbers using several sites automatically, and leave it on autopilot for a few days. I didn’t include the free SMS sites as they’re not as annoying as calls. If auto-sent in bulk, however, they will make it difficult for the victim to find their real SMS, which brings us to the next section…

2. Automated spamming for cell phone, home phone, mailbox, and email:

Tired of prank calls? Want something which goes on by itself without you having to run it every time? Here’s a recipe: Google the words “subscribe to OR now”, “newsletter”, “fill the form”, or “sign up”. Now put our dear lab or doctor’s phone #, home/work address, and email in every single brochure; offer; trial; sample request; and in short SPAM SOURCE you find. This was done to a spam king when his house address was disclosed after an interview, and the poor guy’s mail got lost in tons of junk mail which hoards of angry “fans” got him subscribed to.

There are several automated-form-filler addons for Firefox like FireForm which makes it easy to fill blanks such as “Name”, “Address”, etc without having to manually type or paste every time you fill one. In a couple of hours, our humanity-saving hero would be subscribed to tens of services ranging from gun catalogs to lingerie discounts, constantly bombarding his mail, email, and calling his home and cell phone. Good luck contacting everyone of them and asking them to stop, before they sell his information to even more companies. Hint: Keep the subscriptions’ direct URLs so you could easily share them with friends or fill them out for the next target later without having to search for them again, or simply subscribe to several targets from the first time (FireForm addon, for instance, allows for multiple profiles).

If the target is significant, consider syncing efforts with a comrade you trust. Two or three people focusing on one person or lab should have a devastating effect. Other than subscribing to PETA news letter and a couple of gay-site updates, consider posting his email on some popular forums so spam bots would find it as a bonus. Have those Nigerian scammers do something useful for a change. You could also do the same for a dummy email account you set up to get an idea about how much spam the target would be receiving and pat yourself on the back as it piles to 200+ daily messages.

If you can’t find his phone # or address through Google, try Zabasearch, Pipl, 123people, or Yoname. Essential stalker toolkit. An encrypted and privacy-conscience search engine is, which displays results from google.

3. Temporarily shutting an account:

Go to (or his webmail/social service/blog/webmaster) and try to log onto his account a dozen times or so. Some systems would detect a hacking attempt and shut the account for a few hours, displaying a message that you can’t log on anymore for X amount of time. Continuously doing this (for example every 12 hours) will prevent him from accessing that account. Note that this isn’t popular as it once used to be. If you try it with gmail for example, it will ask for a captcha instead of freezing the account. When implemented, can be extremely annoying though.

4. Shutting down his adsense account:

Although this scenario is unlikely for a prominent scientist, it is definitely effective against pro-animal abuse websites: If the blog has adsense, clicking on the ads continuously (the number of required clicks is a secret kept by Google, naturally, but perhaps around 50-100 times or so) will shut down the account for suspected fraud. To see if it worked, revisit the page a couple of days later and see whether the adsense ads are still there. The owner would most probably also lose all already earned money in his account. You don’t want to do this to your ex, by the way.

On a separate but relevant note, you can send snail mail through your browser (albeit not necessarily anonymously) to our animal-activist prisoners through this website without having to buy a stamp or print a letter. & (esnailer is apparently only for US. It seems down as I write this but might get back up)

If you think this short guide can be of use to any of your friends, you can email it anonymously using two or more services to ensure delivery. Examples include: (not encrypted but did work when tested) (remailer) (no privacy policy found, use caution. Better yet, use proxy)

Also ideal for anonymous thank-you notes for researchers.

If your friend has PGP: & encrypt PGP online (warning: No https. So at least one encrypted proxy is a must)

Other potentially useful email services: & (Requires registration) (your friend must know an agreed-upon password beforehand)

Also spreading the guide among activists, for instance by putting it on your site with “A crazy guy just sent me this. This is sooo wrong” note is highly recommended. Most supporters are activist-wannabees and providing them with the tools to do so without risk could lead to tremendous effects: One dedicated person working on a weekend could virtually ruin all communication means (phone, mail, & email) of several prominent vivisectors and/or labs. Also posting the guide on your site is the only way to make me know you liked it (if you did, that is), as you can’t reply back directly. Yeah I know, sorry.

Thanks for reading. And good luck on your whatever you’re doing.



Posted in animal rights with tags , , on March 31, 2010 by carmen4thepets

“In all the round world of Utopia there is no meat. There used to be. But now we cannot stand the thought of slaughterhouses. And, in a population that is all educated, and at about the same level of physical refinement, it is practically impossible to find anyone who will hew a dead ox or pig … I can still remember as a boy the rejoicings over the closing of the last slaughterhouse.”
— HG Wells. A Modern Utopia

“In all the round world of Utopia there is no meat. There used to be. But now we cannot stand the thought of slaughterhouses. And, in a population that is all educated, and at about the same level of physical refinement, it is practically impossible to find anyone who will hew a dead ox or pig … I can still remember as a boy the rejoicings over the closing of the last slaughterhouse.”– HG Wells. A Modern Utopia

“You have just dined, and however scrupulously the slaughterhouse is concealed in the graceful distance of miles, there is complicity.”

— Ralph Waldo Emerson, essayist

“What I think about vivisection is that if people admit that they have the right to take or endanger the life of living beings for the benefit of many, there will be no limit to their cruelty.”
— Leo Tolstoy, author
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
“To my mind, the life of a lamb is no less precious than that of a human being.”
— Mahatma Gandhi, statesman and philosopher
“Our task must be to free ourselves . . . by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.”
“Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances of survival for life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”
— Albert Einstein, physicist, Nobel 1921
“For as long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed, he who sows the seed of murder and pain cannot reap joy and love.”
— Pythagoras, mathematician
“What is it that should trace the insuperable line? …The question is not, Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?”
“The day may come when the rest of the animal creation may acquire those rights which never could have been withholden from them but by the hand of tyranny.”
— Jeremy Bentham, philosopher
“Non-violence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages.”
— Thomas Edison, inventor
“To a man whose mind is free there is something even more intolerable in the sufferings of animals than in the sufferings of man. For with the latter it is at least admitted that suffering is evil and that the man who causes it is a criminal. But thousands of animals are uselessly butchered every day without a shadow of remorse. If any man were to refer to it, he would be thought ridiculous. And that is the unpardonable crime.”
— Romain Rolland, author, Nobel 1915
“I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights. That is the way of a whole human being.”
— Abraham Lincoln, 16th U.S. President
“If a group of beings from another planet were to land on Earth — beings who considered themselves as superior to you as you feel yourself to be to other animals — would you concede them the rights over you that you assume over other animals?”
— George Bernard Shaw, playwright, Nobel 1925
“The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for white, or women created for men.”
— Alice Walker
“In their behavior toward creatures, all men are Nazis. Human beings see oppression vividly when they’re the victims. Otherwise they victimize blindly and without a thought.”
— Isaac Bashevis Singer, author, Nobel 1978
“Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages.”
— Thomas Jefferson, 3rd U.S. President


Posted in animal liberation, animal rights with tags , , on March 22, 2010 by carmen4thepets

Interviewed by Claudette Vaughan

Abolitionist: Thank you for starting the Animal Liberation Front (ALF). It forced it’s detractors to take animal liberation and animal rights seriously.

Ronnie Lee: The Animal Liberation Front was not just started by me. The reason why I am so well known as the person who started it is because I am still active within the animal rights movement.

At the very beginning there were actually six of us. I remember we had a meeting at a basement café in London. Most of us had been involved in the hunt saboteurs and we agreed that something more hard-hitting had to be done because in those days there were obviously quite a few organisations campaigning against animal persecution but they weren’t really achieving anything. Vivisection and factory farming and all the other areas of animal persecution seemed to be getting worse.

The tactics of the existing organisations were making very little difference and we had all had experience with a form of direct action so we were thinking along the lines of expanding that and taking it further. We decided that the way to do that was through damage to property of animal abusers to actually hinder them from doing what they wanted to do to animals. We discussed this and we didn’t know where it would all go. We knew it might come to nothing. We could be all arrested and put into jail and that would be the end of it or it might help to ignite something. We didn’t know which way it would go but we knew that something had to be done.

Some of us were influenced by other things and by other movements. One of the big influences on me that was around at the time was a group called ‘The Angry Brigade’. It was a time when Franco’s regime was still in power in Spain in the late 60’s/early 70’s. They took a lot of direct action against all forms of oppression and fascism in society. E.g., they blew up a broadcasting van at the Miss World Contest and they attacked the home of the Home Secretary. None of their actions injured anybody. They were influenced by a radical group called the Situationists who were mainly based in France.

You had to do striking things to wake people up and they created what they called ‘situations.’ For instance they did a direct action in a church in Paris. They wanted to get across about how false religion was so what they did was they got into the church, they tied up the priest, one of them dressed up in his vestments and went out in front of the congregation – so all the people in there thought he was a priest – and then he started saying “God is Dead”, “There is no God”. That got loads of publicity and caused a big scandal. They believed in doing that kind of striking action. That influenced me quite a lot and I was thinking how this could this be applied to animals. Can we take these striking actions to wake people up to animal abuse and to what’s going on.

In the beginning the ALF was called the “Band of Mercy”. In the 19th Century not long after the RSPCA was formed, there was actually an RSPCA Youth Group who called themselves the “Band of Mercy.” This group of young people actually took direct action. One of the things they did was damage some guns that were used for shooting animals. That wouldn’t happen in the RSPCA today but we thought yeah, it would be good to re-ignite the spirit of that group.

We started off by going to hunt kennels and causing damage to the vehicles there. Maybe spraying a few slogans around as well. Then we tried to destroy a vivisection laboratory that was being built. We made 2 attempts by getting into the building and starting fires. It wasn’t destroyed but it did cause reasonable amount of damage. It was built in the end but our actions delayed it. We destroyed a boat that was used for seal hunting and one of the results of that direct action was the seal hunt was cancelled. It was a yearly event and it has never taken place since then. There was a big protest movement against the seal hunting and our action was the thing that tipped it over. After that the Government never gave out any more licenses. That kind of success brought seal hunting in that area to a permanent end.

A couple of us were caught, arrested and ended up being sentenced to 3 years in prison. We were only in prison for a year because we had no previous convictions. One of the things that pleased me a lot when I was in prison was there was a guy who actually broke into a ICI Laboratory and rescued some beagles. He was caught but they ended up dropping the charges against him. ICI didn’t want the adverse publicity of the court case so they refused to press charges. I was really pleased because I was worried that the fact we were put in prison would put other people off taking direct action. I didn’t really know what would happen. I was pleasantly surprised when I got out of jail to have animal rights people coming up to me saying, “I want to get involved in that”. Out of the original 6 people, when we were put in prison, a couple of them dropped out, so that number was cut down. A lot of other new people then wanted to get involved and it was at that time we changed the name to Animal Liberation Front because Band Of Mercy sounded like some sort of religious organisation. It didn’t mention animals or say what we were about so we thought Animal Liberation Front was a good name because that’s what it was all about.

I took a short break away from direct action but soon got back into it again. It was the same thing – causing damage to places and at this time people also started to rescue animals. Up until this point we hadn’t done a lot of animal rescue work but there was one particular place where we broke into a shed belonging to a company that was breeding guinea pigs for vivisection. We had gone there to cause damage to their van but for some reason the van wasn’t there, so we broke into the place and we rescued 6 guinea pigs and as a result of that the place closed down. The woman that ran the place was so worried we would return, she actually closed her place of business. That was our first success. We just took these 6 guinea pigs and ended up with the place closing down so that was great.

The name was changed to Animal Liberation Front in 1976 and we were able to rescue animals such as dogs and cats mainly from places that bred animals. The security at breeding places wasn’t as tight as at the laboratories so they were an easier target. From one place we broke into we managed to get a whole list of these breeders and then we began targeting them and because there were more of us we were able to rescue animals more often, because you need more people to manage large numbers of rescued animals. To do damage to a place you only need 2 to 3 people but if you go in to rescue cats or hens from a battery unit you need as many as a dozen people to carry in and transportation etc. It’s much more complicated. What eventually became known as economic sabotage began at this time. In the beginning, the idea was to cause damage to try and prevent them directly abusing animals. For example; damage to vehicles that were used to transport animals to laboratories and physically trying to prevent that transportation. As time went on that changed to trying to cost the company money. You didn’t necessarily have to damage something directly connected to the animal abuse. If something belonged to that company then that was equally valid. The idea became one of economic sabotage and costing them money became the main reason for causing damage. I got arrested and put in jail for another raid when we rescued some mice from a breeding establishment. I got a 12-month sentence for that and I came out from it thinking I can either take a backseat again from direct action or carry on with it. What happened was because I had been in prison and well known to the media, whenever there was a ALF action I’d get the media contacting me asking me to comment on it. I ended up becoming the ALF Press Officer – it was just something that happened because they keep contacting me and that went on for a number of years. I’d give interviews and go around and give talks to animal rights groups, interviews to journalists and that kind of thing. Also at this time, 25 years ago, the ALF Supporters Group was set up. The idea of that was to enable people who couldn’t be active to help the activists and its purpose was two-fold. One was fundraising and the other was to get people to write letters to activists in prison. In those days it was very blatant. The ALF Supporters newsletter would say give money to finance raids and there was even things like sponsor a crowbar and sponsor a balaclava. If you sponsor a crowbar, you’ll get a picture of the crowbar and information on what raid it was used on. (laughter). It was actually as blatant as that (laughter)

To be honest where the money was needed wasn’t in the causing of damage but more in animal rescue because that was the expensive thing. If we got 15 Beagles out of a place some of them went to animal rescue places and we felt obliged to give some money to these places because they were spending a lot of funds looking after these animals. A lot of the money that we raised from the Supporters Group went into the animal rescue side of it rather than into financing damage raids because really it doesn’t cost much money to break into somewhere and cause damage.

At a later stage I took over the publishing of the ALF Supporters Group newsletter as well as being the Press Officer for the ALF. I eventually got arrested in connection with that. How it happened was some people were arrested in Sheffield. A guy had invented an incendiary device to be used against the fur trade. A lot of big stores all over the country had departments for selling fur coats. The idea was that somebody would plant an incendiary device together with a timer, contained in a cigarette packet, in the department store during the day and set it to go off in the middle of the night, not to cause damage by fire, but to set off the sprinkler system, which would cause hundreds of thousands of pounds of water damage to the store. The mistake they actually made was doing it in their own city. These people put one in a department store in Sheffield and so when the police were looking for the people who did it, they eventually caught the group responsible. When this incendiary devise was invented I got invited up to meet these people. They basically wanted to explain to me what they were doing because they knew I would get the media contacting me about it and they wanted to explain what was going on. I knew about it because they wanted to tell me but they ended up getting arrested and I got arrested as well because the flat where they were having their meetings had been bugged by the police. They were having a conversation and I was mentioned by them in this conversation so the police came and arrested myself and Vivien Smith, who was the editor of the Supporters Group newsletter. Some other people, from various parts of the country, were rounded up as well. I was charged with conspiracy to incite other people to cause damage and that was mainly to do with publishing of this Supporters Group newsletter. We used to publish step-by-step guides on how to do a raid because in those early days for a long time we were able to get away with it. Nobody would dare do that today but in those days there had been less police interest in what we were doing. We’d been going like that for years. Blimey, what we got away with! The police had shown no interest and there was complacency with them so we were able to get away with blatantly encouraging people to take action and began to think that nothing was going to happen to us. In the end, it did.

In the court case they gave everybody ranks. They couldn’t, or didn’t want to, understand that people within the ALF worked autonomously. They had to give people different ranks. I was “The General” and some of the other people were “Area Commanders”. Vivien, who was working in the ALF Press/Supporters Group office with me, was classed as my “Lieutenant” and the other people who actually planted the devises were just “Foot Soldiers”. When I was sentenced I was jailed for being “The General” – a 10-year sentence. Of course it wasn’t like that at all but because they portrayed it like that, the Judge was quite happy to look at it in that way. The people that actually planted the devices got 4 years and I was never accused of actually doing anything except inciting people to do things. They maintained that if it wasn’t for me, all these actions wouldn’t have happened, which was plain nonsense but was what the Judge wanted to believe. I ended up serving 6 years and 8 months of my 10 year sentence.

I don’t know what the situation is like in Australia but over here on a long prison sentence (not a life sentence) you normally only serve 2/3rds of the sentence, unless you break prison rules, when they can make you serve longer. I didn’t get parole and had to serve the maximum 2/3rds. It didn’t deter other people from doing things. ALF actions are still going on. The way it’s focused has changed, but I think it’s more effective now than what it was in those days. When we were doing actions we really didn’t think in terms of it being part of a concentrated campaign. We just lashed out at any form of animal abuse that we could lash out at. It’s all got it’s value, but an ALF action is more effective and has more of an impact if it’s tagged onto an existing campaign. Two big campaigns over here are SHAC (against the Huntingdon Life Sciences vivisection lab) and SPEAK (against the construction of a primate lab at Oxford University). ALF actions have been carried out in support of both of these campaigns. The campaign organisers obviously try to operate within the law, but they can’t stop the ALF from supporting their campaigns in its own way and can’t deny that those ALF actions add weight to those campaigns. It’s a whole lot of different things happening with the direct action being part of it. To me that’s a more effective use of direct action than hitting out at everything. It’s not just with regard to vivisection either. For example, last year a local branch of greyhound protection group Greyhound Action were running a campaign to close the dog track at Glastonbury Stadium. This consisted of demos, leafleting, street stalls etc. Then bang, bang, bang, the ALF carried out three damage attacks on the stadium and the guy in charge there decided to close the track. To their credit, Greyhound Action didn’t condemn the ALF, like other similar “peaceful” organisations have done in the past, but accepted that there was “no doubt that the ALF actions contributed significantly” to the closure of the dog track and even went so far as to say that they were “quite sure such activists would be regarded as heroes” by greyhounds persecuted by the dog racing industry.

Let’s go back to the Situationists for a minute because many people have the misconception that you were influenced by the anarchists. The Situationists was fact were influenced by Guy DeBord’s Society of the Spectacle and you Ronnie were more influenced by Raoul Vanigem’s Revolution of Everyday Life. It’s ingenious what the Situationists were attempting to do and that was they tried to penetrate the façade of life where appearance and routine is taken as the only reality operating and animals are caught up in this false reality too. What the Situationists did, first in France and then elsewhere, was create explosions of new energy happening spontaneously into a previous stagnant arena to attempt to tear aside its reality to awaken people. These people were artists not activists, not terrorists.

Absolutely! I often talk nowadays about the film the Matrix. What happens in our society is very much like that in that people live a falsehood particularly if you look at it in relation to animals. The whole of the existence of human beings is lived alongside this horrific holocaust of animals and everyone is going along their everyday life, doing their little things and being friends with each other and appearing pleasant and all of that and everything seems to be running smoothly and nicey, nicey mostly, whereas underneath it all there’s an appalling massacre that’s going on that most people aren’t aware of and don’t want to know about. There’s this horrific holocaust going on and to me it’s like people live a falsehood and they are cut off from that if you see what I mean. Of course it’s wider than that. It’s the human condition as well. It’s about living this false state of existence.

The term “speciesism” is part of the animal rights movement now but the opposite of speciesism is what’s happening within both the human and animal realm simultaneously and that’s the façade that everything is alright with the world while everybody is being slaughtered. Not only animals in vivisection and on intensive farms but specifically certain groups of people are particularly targeted in life such as Muslims, the poor and people of colour – in their multitudes. In the animal rights movement the ALF was a signal to the established order that certain people weren’t going to take it any longer. Are you happy with that interpretation?

Yeah! That was how we felt. We were going to take action and we weren’t prepared to sit back and allow people to get away with what they were doing, but it was more than just physically doing things. There was always this idea of stirring something up, making people think, making people aware where that had really never been done before.

You have been quoted as saying “Animal persecution will not be defeated by petition, peaceful posturing or the holding of hands around a slaughterhouse.” Does that still ring true today?

Yes I agree with that, I said it and it still rings true today although what I would say is it won’t just be defeated by ALF actions either. I think a wide range of different activities need to come together to actually defeat animal abuse and a hell of a lot of it will come through the use of education, because if you look at the greatest area of animal abuse it’s the rearing and slaughter of animals for food. The best way to combat that is to educate people to become vegan and that doesn’t involve direct action at all. I’m not going to criticize anyone who wants to put a brick through a butchers shop window. I’ve done that many times myself, but a more fundamental way is to educate people. An educational effort won’t change everybody, but it can make a difference with many, many people. When I first became active within the animal rights movement, when I first became a vegan, I don’t think there was a vegan for about 30 miles from where I lived. All the vegans around were like crazy people. They weren’t animal rights people, they were weird people. (laughter) because I’m an ordinary guy really, and I became aware of what happened to animals, I wanted to do something about it so I became vegetarian and then I became vegan. There were so few vegans about in those days that when a new person joined the Vegan Society, it was a huge big deal. It was like get the champagne out kind of thing. (laughter) If that happened now you’d just be permanently sozzled because so many people are becoming vegan.

I got invited to a garden party, that the Vegan Society were holding (rather like the Queen!) and I thought to myself, “Oh great! This will be a chance to meet other vegans”. It was really lucky that my vegan beliefs and principles were very strong, because if they hadn’t been I’d have not stayed a vegan because when I went to this Garden Party, many of the people there were just totally weird. There was a guy who had seven overcoats on and there was another person who was hanging upside down because he believed he had to spend a certain number of hours a day in that position. And none of them were really into campaigning against vivisection or anything like that. They were just strange vegans. I didn’t feel at home at all there and I didn’t feel at home with meat-eaters, so what was I going to do? What happened eventually was more animal rights people became vegan and they were more like me. I then became much more comfortable. We had an anti-hunting group where I lived in North London and people would join because they were against hunting and they wanted to go out and save a fox and those people would invariably be meat-eaters, but within a few weeks we had converted them all to vegan. We’d say, “Look. It’s not enough to care about foxes, what about the other animals?” So all the people that joined our group were converted to veganism and I knew this was happening with different animal rights and protection groups at the time. If there are vegans within a group then one thing leads to another, doesn’t it? Over the years more and more people became vegan so these days you are not isolated any more.

It’s so different now. I don’t think in my wildest dreams I would imagine that things would be as they are now. We still live with the holocaust of animals all around us but nevertheless, things now are so much better than what they were. When I started, 35 years ago, you couldn’t get any of the stuff that’s available now. Today soymilk can be brought everywhere. Imitation meats are available and it’s socially widespread. When I first became vegan the only liquid soymilk you could get was appalling stuff and had a green tinge to it. There was another one in powder form that floated on top of your tea, so I ended up drinking tea black. There was only one make of imitation meats, absolutely appalling stuff that was called Meatless Steak. It tasted like you would imagine shoe leather would taste you know (laughter), so I ended up more or less eating lentils, soybeans and basic things like that. When the first vegan sausage mix and textured vegetable protein came out in supermarkets, we thought we were in heaven. I don’t like supermarkets. I wish there weren’t any, but if there are going to exist, then it’s good they’re selling all of these vegan products to make them easily available to people. It’s much easier to covert people today, because if they can get imitation bacon and turkey and all these things then of course it’s going to be much easier for them to go vegan.

I would say that England embraced veganism and vegetarism because of the sheer amount of damage done to the land that mad cows disease caused over there. Enlightened, many didn’t want to go back to eating meat if it was going to kill them and that was a great boom for the animal rights movement although many thousands of cows and farm animals died horrific deaths. I would also say that the “cattle culture” of today is a very big part of keeping the capitalistic façade going, that is, that capitalism works on their terms, and that is why with specific regards to climate change, not the Greens, nor the climate change writers nor the environmentalists are prepared to attack eating meat as a serious cause of climate change by legislating that reality into manifestation, although the science concurs with what vegans have been saying all along as George Monbiot pointed out. What are your views?

The persecution of animals is fundamentally caused by what I would refer to as human supremacism. Like in the past there have been issues of white supremacism and male supremacism and the persecution of blacks or women, or where a certain group of people think they are superior to other races, like the nazis with their aryan supremacism. I think it’s a false sense of superiority to others. Human supremacism within our own species is an irrational and unjustified attitude that we are superior to other animals, which is so deeply entrenched that it even applies to people who are very radical in other ways, to anarchists, socialists, and people that are really good campaigners on other issues. Because speciesim is so deeply entrenched within us it can be very hard for people to throw off, but I think it’s something that has to be challenged at every turn because it is the underlying reason why animals are being abused. I think, for instance, that our capitalist society exacerbates the system of animal abuse, because everything is treated as a commodity, but capitalism isn’t the root cause of animal persecution. It’s caused by this false attitude that we are somehow superior to other animals. If there is ever going to a liberation of animals it’s that view we must change.

Would you please speak to SHAC US directly about the Huntingdon case as you have spent 10 years in jail – a long, long time. You wouldn’t have had a vegan support group happening back then either, would you Ronnie?

The Vegan Society were actually very good at the time with regard to getting animal rights prisoners a decent diet, but that work has now been taken over now by the Vegan Prisoners Support Group, run by a very dedicated woman called Joanne Brown. It’s wonderful all the hard work she’s done to make sure that vegans in prison get a proper diet and are properly looked after. They negotiate with the authorities to get vegan food into prisons for animal rights people. The very first time I was in prison was in 1974 and then again in 1975 and, at that time, you had no right to a vegan diet, only a vegetarian one. So what happened was I was put on a vegetarian diet, but there were a lot of things that I couldn’t, eat so I ended up more or less eating the vegetables and not being able to have the savoury because it had cheese or eggs in it. After a lot of campaigning myself really, and my Member of Parliament helped to some extent, I sent a petition to the Home Office and I managed to get some sort of a vegan diet. I remember one prison (Canterbury), where I was awaiting a court case, and every single day I had the same thing for dinner. They made a burger out of textured vegetable protein and every day I had to eat this for about 3 months. If someone was a vegan in prison in the early days they really had to fight pretty much alone to get their voice heard. Friends and family members might help, but there was no kind of established organization campaigning on behalf of vegans in prison. That eventually changed and by the 80’s proper vegan diets were being served in prisons. On my last prison sentence the vegan diet was very good. They did come up with some very nice vegan dishes. Sometimes they’d get it wrong and produce something horrible but that wasn’t very often. Things are even better now because it’s gone on from there and there’s even more recognition of the rights of vegans in prison. In the past, to get a vegan diet in prison you had to be a card carrying Vegan Society member and you had to be able to show your card to the authorities. It was good for the Vegan Society, but more complicated for vegan prisoners who weren’t members. What you got was a lot of prisoners who weren’t vegans but went on a vegan diet in prison because it was better food, so the Vegan Society got all these people joining, who weren’t really vegans, but they just wanted the card. (laughter) Now you just say you’re a vegan, and you get a vegan diet and that applies if you are a vegetarian, a Muslim or a Jew. There’s actually been that recognition, the rights of vegans.

My own attitude while in prison was just because I was incarcerated didn’t mean I ceased to be an animal liberation campaigner. You can still campaign in prison for animals. For various reasons, communication is more difficult. For a start you can’t go anywhere apart from the prison grounds, but there are always ways you can help and support. My first priority in prison was to get fit. When I was put in prison in 1986 I was a smoker (about 10 a day) and didn’t really keep myself fit, because I was so involved in doing the animal stuff and didn’t think too much about exercise. It’s very short sighted to be like that so I thought since the System had taken part of my life away, if I got fit I could get some of that back by living longer. To me, keeping fit was a large part of paying them back for what they were doing to me. A lot of people take up smoking in prison but, as you only get one chance a week to buy tobacco once a week, if you have enough willpower not to buy it and then change your mind, you have to wait another week to get it. It’s a good way to give it up because you can’t go to a shop to buy tobacco when you want. I think that helped me and I gave up and I took up running and badminton and things like that. I don’t run as much as I did while in prison but I try to do so at least several times a week and I haven’t started smoking again. If I hadn’t had that prison sentence, I might still be a smoker.

Secondly, education was another thing. You have to do some sort of work but you can do education as an alternative. A lot of prisoners don’t like to do it because it’s not that well paid and they want as much money as they can to buy as much tobacco. Of course if you don’t smoke, you don’t get caught in that trap. I thought I’d educate myself in something that would be useful in for fighting for animals. What I did was learnt different languages so I could write to people from other countries that wanted to communicate with me, but who couldn’t speak English. Computer skills are another useful thing for campaigning that you can learn in prison these days. Also there’s writing letters to people but you have to be careful because you don’t want to be saying anything illegal and end up getting into trouble yourself. The point is if you are in prison and you’re strong and you are undefeated in attitude you can give inspiration to people on the outside to carry on fighting for animal liberation.

Now that Barry Horne, Jill Phipps, Gari Allen, Tom Worby, Mike Hill and a host of others have passed away right through to the activists who walked away from the Movement, who ran away, who turned snitch, who copped out, who gave up the fight, to the one’s who had kids never to be heard of again, to the Movement heads who rode on the “animal rights” ticket as did the welfarists to made their millions from it to further sell grassroots activists out by vampirising grassroot activists’ skills, energy and stealing the thunder of their best campaigns for media and money without being answerable to no one, my question to you is this: Is it possible today to control the ideological direction the Movement will take in the future?

No one has power to control it in terms of any kind of coercive ability. You just hope that people take notice of things you say. People can have influence on the way the Movement proceeds, people can say things that others would listen to and that’s about the best any of us can hope for. If we come up with good ideas, we can hope that people will take them up. All Movements have their traitors and their spongers and it’s not just animal rights. I think we have to remember that. People have told me that Martin Luther-King bemoaned the fact that so few people turned up for protests. With the animal rights movement action is more focused on where it has the most effect now and that’s really what it’s all about, isn’t it?

What about the forces that are operating in the world today that were once operating covertly but now overtly. It’s easy to see how the Trade Union Movement’s back was broken and I just wonder what happens about people who want to put anything good into the world, instead of portraying animal rights people as the terrorists all of the time. Is this the sole and same formula that brings all Liberation Movements down eventually and can animal liberation be achieved “with rain but without any thunder?”

We are dealing with evil people. I don’t think we should pull any punches on that. What has actually happened in this country is there’s no socialism anymore. It’s a greedy culture that got much worse around the time of Thatcher. I don’t think anything useful will come out of the major political parties, so the Greens are probably the best bet in terms of making things better for animals and obtaining social justice for people too. We now have a political party in England called “The Party for Animals” but they are only single-issue, so, in my opinion, it’s better to support the Greens. I’m no longer an anarchist, like I was in my younger days. I’ve come to the conclusion that, as with all other animals, there’s a very strong pull within most humans to follow leaders. Rather than try to fight this reality, we need to take account of it in our battle for animal liberation. Sadly, those who advocate anarchism allow the bad guy to lead, because they say that not even the good guys should be leaders. Advocates of animal liberation need to seize political power, if we really want to have things our way.

To achieve animal liberation we need to change the way people behave and there are two ways of doing that – education and coercion. Educate those we can educate into behaving properly towards animals and force the others to do so, through legislation etc. Most people will never lift a finger to oppose animal persecution. We have to accept that. They are too busy watching soap operas or Big Brother. However, this public apathy could be advantageous once we seize power, as it would mean that most people would not resist legislation passed by a pro animal liberation government. We need to get active in the political process, in my view through the Green party, with a view to one day forming a government that will pass stringent animal protection legislation. If you succeed in educating people but, at the end of the day, there’s no-one for those people to vote for, half the potential benefit of educating those people is lost.

There is still no protection for non-human animal laboratory victims. They are frequently burned, poisoned, isolated, irradiated, traumatized, shocked and exposed to inhuman cruelties. They are forced to smoke cigarettes, they are deprived of their mother, and they are infected with HIV. They are then killed without fear or favour. Is there life on Earth?

Well, yes it’s a horrific situation but you know there’s a saying it’s better to light one small candle than curse the darkness. I am motivated much more by anger than by compassion. If I see a picture of a person torturing an animal I don’t think, “Oh my God, that poor animal”. I think “That bloody bastard. I want to stop them”. That’s probably the difference between what makes a campaigner and what makes a rescuer. We just want the animals to be left alone.

It’s about changing people’s attitudes and it’s about changing the way that people behave. People only ever change their behaviour for 2 reasons. One reason is because they want to and the other reason is because they are too frightened not to. We have to educate people, so that they want to change, but we also have to make it so they have got to, or else. I know that sounds very stark, but that is the actual reality of what we are up against. We live in the middle of a holocaust for animals. If you begin to think in terms of 1% of what happens to animals, your mind would just explode. You know it’s happening but you can’t go into it because you’d just be destroyed by it but what I think we have to do is concentrate on how to stop it, develop good strategies for stopping it and try to think in terms of what works and not waste time on things that don’t really work. Each area of animal abuse has its weakest link, where we need to exert pressure in order to bring it to an end.

A lot of the ALF’s early focus was on vivisection. At present the figures for vivisection in the UK stand at just above 3 million every year. In the mid 70’s it was 6½ million and you have to ask yourself “what’s changed?” because there haven’t been any new laws made to restrict vivisection. I think it’s the fact that many of those contemplating doing animal experiments feel scared. “I’ll have to find another way to do this experiment otherwise what is going to happen to me?”

It’s all been a voluntary thing by the people doing the experiments. There’s no laws that have compelled them not to do animal tests. That makes me wonder, what has changed? What happened at that time? What happened during that period? And what happened during that period was this radical movement arose of people willing to go in hard against vivisectors and I think that’s what made the difference.

I think what would make a difference now in cutting the figures is to have it stepped up a gear. Obviously it’s reached a plateau where you are down to the hardliners that are harder to stop, but I think personal pressure has to be put on people that carry out experiments and on companies that use animal experimentation – pressure on the company directors, who are the ultimate the decision makers. I think their personal lives should be made uncomfortable. You ask yourself why a company wants to torture animals and at the end of the day it’s because those who run the company want to make money out of it so they can have a nice life. If somebody doesn’t get a nice life out of it, then they’ll start to think “Should I really be doing that?” because the whole reason why they are doing it isn’t working. Despite the draconian legislation that’s been brought in in this country, I still think there are lawful ways of making life difficult for these people. I think people need to explore those avenues. For instance, vivisectors mostly live in secret. They don’t tell their neighbours what they are doing. Campaigners expose those vivisectors for what they are, which, in itself, will put tremendous personal pressure on them.

Obviously I’m happy with how effective the ALF has been, but, if I were back again now at the beginning, I would do things differently. In terms of my input into the ALF there are three things I would do differently today.

This is what I would do personally if I had my time again, not what I would encourage others to do now. I wouldn’t encourage people to do anything now that I wouldn’t do myself. I don’t do direct action anymore because, for personal and tactical reasons, I’m no longer in a position to break the law. Therefore, I don’t advocate that other campaigners should break the law, because I don’t regard it as right to encourage others to take personal risks that I’m not in a position to take myself.

Firstly, if I were back at the beginning now I wouldn’t go to any laboratory, I wouldn’t go to any research place. Where I would go is the homes of the animal abusers and the campaign would be focused on the animal abusers personally, because at the end of the day that is what it comes down to. All these companies are run by people and if I had my time again I would go for those people personally. I’m not talking about killing them, but I wouldn’t rule out a certain level of violence against them. I would use various methods to make their personal lives a misery. Their comfortable home lives are paid for by what they get from vivisection earnings.

So, secondly, the whole non-violent thing associated with the ALF – that would be out of the window. Most animal rights and animal liberation activity needs to be educational, and therefore non-violent, but I don’t see anything morally wrong in using violence against animal abusers.

Thirdly, by and large, I would not take animals out of laboratories. The reason for that is you don’t actually reduce animal suffering unless you do the rescue in a way that causes the laboratory to close down. All that happens is the rescued animals get replaced by others. In addition, those animals you find homes or places in rescue centres for take up spaces that could have gone to other “unwanted” animals. Therefore, by rescuing one animal, you have condemned two others. Also, animal rescue doesn’t normally put anywhere near the financial pressure on these places that is caused by raids that cause property damage.

I have a little bit of a problem with animal rescue anyway. I think it’s praiseworthy in itself and I’m not saying it’s a bad thing (my wife and I have 4 rescued dogs and 10 cats), but it’s got nothing to do with animal liberation. Animal liberation is about changing the way people behave. It’s primarily about people, not animals. What upsets me is when good animal protection campaigners get caught up in rescue and lots of their energy gets taken up by that. Rescue should be left to those who aren’t cut out for campaigning. To make an analogy: Being a heart-surgeon is a useful job and so is being a postal worker. But if a skilled heart surgeon spent all or most of their time delivering mail instead of on heart surgery, we would regard that as a waste of their talents. That’s how I feel about good campaigners who get too much involved in rescue.

The problem with not supporting animal rescue no-kill efforts totally is it gives people like Ingrid Newkirk an open invitation to install a state-of-the-art incinerator and freezer on their property, which they have done so, while still maintaining the illusion to the public and campaigners that they are promoting “animal rights”.

I think that by getting involved in animal rescue, PETA have damaged their ability to campaign effectively. Animal liberation is about campaigning to change the way people behave. Why PETA went into the rescue area is anybody’s guess. It’s appalling that there’s that whole issue about dozens of animals found in a dumpster, which does tremendous harm to any campaigns that are working for animal rights and liberation. It wipes out years and years of campaigning work because people remember things like that. Campaigners should be putting pressure on governments and local authorities to neuter and spay animals, rather than involving themselves in rescue.

In addition, where you have big organisations like PETA having to pay wages, rent for big offices etc., there can be a huge problem in that their priorities change from “what is the most effective way of campaigning” to “how to raise more money” and those two things are not the same. To win an animal liberation campaign you often have to stick at it for a very long period. Some of the campaigns that have been won over here in Britain, like the Newchurch Guinea Pig Farm closing, involved activists working away at it for years. However what brings the most money into organisations is new campaigns. You start a new campaign and let everyone know “This is a new campaign. Give us money”. So what many of the large organisations tend to do is constantly start new campaigns while ending those that have been running for a certain amount of time, even if those original campaigns haven’t achieved their objectives. This is because the main aim isn’t to win campaigns, but to get money. It’s a huge problem, which involves many of the larger national organisations, even some of the better, more radical ones. I’m not fundamentally opposed to people taking wages for animal protection work, but there is a problem with big organisations which have so many staff that they begin to operate like companies.

Finally, though, I would like to state quite firmly that this is a war we are definitely winning. More and more people are becoming vegetarian and vegan, the fur trade has been decimated in the UK and the same is starting to happen in other countries, vivisection is a lot less than it once was, we have a ban on hunting with hounds in Britain (not very effective, but it’s a start), industries that abuse animals for entertainment (in particular, circuses and greyhound racing) are dying, concern about the destruction of the environment is rapidly increasing. We still have a long way to go, but if we are strong, positive, persistent, determined, we will get there in the end.


“Animal rights folks were right about UW”

Posted in animal rights with tags , , , on January 12, 2010 by carmen4thepets

Plain Talk: Animal rights folks were right about UW
Dave Zweifel | Capital Times editor emeritus | January 11, 2010

For years now, the UW-Madison has tried to portray a cadre of local folks who complain about its animal experiments as wackos.

Well it turns out that the local Alliance for Animals and other people who have been doing the complaining have been right about a lot of things.

Toward the end of 2009, inspectors from the U.S. Department of Agriculture pulled a surprise visit to UW’s research labs and discovered at least 20 oversight violations. The list included depressed and vomiting dogs, expired medications, a dirty operating room, and slippery and unclean floors where pigs would routinely fall down.

The feds told the UW to fix the problems immediately or risk losing more than $200 million in animal research funding that the Department of Agriculture sends the school.

An embarrassed Eric Sandgren, the UW’s head of animal research oversight who has frequently debated the animal rights advocates, said the university is working to fix the violations and make sure they don’t happen again.

One of Alliance for Animals’ main gripes is that the UW uses animals for experiments when it isn’t necessary.

And indeed, one of the USDA’s surprise inspection findings was that in at least five studies, the UW researchers did not show that they attempted to find an alternative to painful experiments on animals.

“Even if you believe animal research is worthwhile, I think most people believe it should be done in the most humane way possible,” the alliance’s co-director, Rick Bogle, commented.

Bogle is absolutely right. There have been too many incidents, dating back to research conducted on monkeys at the UW’s celebrated primate center, that raise questions about the animal experiments on campus.

The federal inspection has opened some eyes. The UW needs to open its eyes too.

Dave Zweifel is editor emeritus of The Capital Times.