The Animal Liberation Front: Heroes, Terrorists, or Assholes?

We recently entered into a dialogue with the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) about some of the tactics they employ to advance their cause. Basically, we think they are misguided, especially in the use of destructive methods such as dumping acid into the environment and creating needless waste by wanton destruction of property. The ALF published our viewpoint on their website. It also appears below. We will publish any rebuttal the ALF cares to come up with.

Not Impressed With the ALF: An Opposing Viewpoint

Every now and then it serves to prick the smug and self-righteous fools who think they alone have the answer. And today we’re targeting the fools who run under the banner of the so-called Animal Liberation Front (ALF). The Animal Liberation Front claims to be a leaderless group, a “philosophy” only, and attempts to legitimize itself with references to Thoreau and the Underground Railroad.

According to the ALF “primer,” the “Members of the Animal Liberation Front act directly to stop animal suffering, at the risk of losing their own freedom. Direct action refers to illegal actions performed to bring about animal liberation. These are usually one of two things: rescuing animals from laboratories or other places of abuse, or inflicting economic damage on animal abusers. Due to the illegal nature of ALF activities, activists work anonymously, and there is no formal organization to the ALF. There is no office, no leaders, no newsletter, and no official membership. Anyone who carries out direct action according to ALF guidelines is a member of the ALF.”

Of course, this is nonsense. One visit to the ALF website serves to emphasize that the group is well organized, funded, and has structure and (secret) leadership. After all, the website and promotion doesn’t just happen: somebody is paying for it, creating it, writing it, editing it, and directing it. And the ALF has its supporters. Bite Back, the radical “direct-action” website that supports a number of radical groups, salutes the ALF in this gushing tribute: “Literally every day the brave women and men of the Animal Liberation Front are out liberating, smashing, painting and burning their way across the world for no other reason than to bring us closer to animal liberation!”

Whenever some nutcase takes “direct-action,” both the ALF and Bite Back websites publish the event. For example, this narrative is found on both sites: “In the early morning hours of July 16, 2013, anarchists in San Diego took action on behalf of the millions of fur-bearing animals who are trapped, enslaved, and killed to sustain the global fur industry. We first visited Furs By Graf at 7670 Claremont Mesa Boulevard in the Claremont neighborhood. Every single piece of plate glass on this hideous enterprise was soaked in glass etching solution. The exterior of the store was covered in red spray painted slogans. Bottles of foul smelling butyric acid were sprayed into the interior, leaving this place of commerce smelling like death; identical to the odor present on every fur farm. We hope this is a costly clean up, and serves to drive away all patronage. We then hiked to owner Ludi Graf’s home, at […] Street in Spring Valley. His home was given the same treatment. We paint stripped his luxury winnebago parked in the driveway. Slogans were painted in blood red on his garage and the winnebago. The windows of the winnebago were etched. The remainder of the etching solution was applied to the windows of his home. Concrete destroying muriatic acid was poured on his driveway. It was another short hike to manager Kimberley Graf’s home at […] in La Mesa. Her luxury pickup truck was painted red and soaked in paint stripper. All windshields and windows on the truck were smeared with etching solution. We covered her house and driveway in spray paint. Muriatic acid was dumped on the porch. These actions were taken to vocalize the cries of the millions of wild beings yearning for freedom. This is in vain unless it inspires others to liberate and sabotage. Every fur farm prisoner deserves a jail break.” This asinine narrative ended with: “In solidarity with our comrades fighting in Vancouver, Animal Liberation Front”

Disgusting. Not only did these fools see fit to dump caustic chemicals into the environment, and create needless waste by destroying things, they felt justified in violating the rights of others under the banner of freedom; in this case, the grandiose “millions of wild beings yearning for freedom.” These fatuous jerks, and the people who support them, should take a trip to the clothing store and buy brown shirts. That way they would be more easily recognized for the fascist monsters they are.

Any thinking person recognizes the tactics of these morons: the secrecy, the rallying cry of freedom and liberation (while terrorizing others), the constant attempt to link their despicable actions to past moral crusades, the chilling absolute self-righteousness, and the-end-justifies-the-means philosophy. Every hate-mongering group throughout history has used these tactics. Every genocide movement, every fanatical religious movement, every political purge: all of them. I’m sure every suicide bomber, just before walking into a crowded market full of innocents, comforted himself with the belief that his sacrifice-and the bloody mangled mayhem he was about to create-was for the good of the People; Party; God; Movement; Cause; Revolution; whatever. Those assholes who committed the acts in the above narrative almost certainly justified their actions in the same manner.

Naturally, the ALF disavows itself from “violent” activities. In one of the most blatant self-serving statements we’ve ever seen, the ALF states: “Any action involving violence is by its definition not an ALF action, and any person involved is not an ALF member.” And then, incredibly, the ALF proudly states: “In over 20 years, and thousands of actions, nobody has ever been injured or killed in an ALF action.” Wow. We guess not, since any violent action is by definition not an AFL action, and therefore cannot exist.

George Orwell might have wished he thought of that one.

Nonetheless, the ALF openly advocates the destruction of property. By publishing and publicizing narratives like the one above, the ALF, whether it wants to admit it or not, encourages a violent, confrontational approach as a means to promote its agenda. This is wrong. It is not only wrong; it is cowardly and approaches terrorism. In fact, let us restate: it is terrorism. The Animal Liberation Front, as a group, philosophy, or whatever it wants to consider itself, is a joke. It is anathema to any thinking person who values the wisdom and process of seeking effective change through discourse and persuasion, above-board and in the light of day. Heaven save us from cowardly fanatics who operate in secrecy and darkness, trying to justify their vile activities under the banners of freedom and liberation.

UPDATE: 8/82015 An arrest was made concerning these terrorist activities:

 

Animal Rights Activists Accused of Going on Cross-Country Spree

Defendants drove 40,000 miles to release thousands of mink from farms in Iowa, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Minnesota and elsewhere

For Further Information, Contact: Assistant U.S. Attorneys John Parmley (619) 546-7957 or Michael Kaplan (619) 546-7927

SAN DIEGO – Animal-rights activists Joseph Buddenberg and Nicole Kissane were arrested by the FBI today and charged with terrorizing the fur industry during cross-country road trips in which they released thousands of mink from farms around the country and vandalized various properties.

According to a federal grand jury indictment unsealed today, Buddenberg and Kissane caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage during the nationwide spree in the summer of 2013. The indictment alleges that the pair snuck onto farms and freed minks and destroyed breeding records in Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania during multiple trips, and in one case they released a bobcat from a farm in Montana.

The defendants were charged under the Conspiracy to Violate the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act. They were arrested in Oakland this morning by agents from the FBI’s San Francisco field office. The government will seek the removal of Buddenberg and Kissane to the Southern District of California to face charges.

In one instance described in the indictment, the defendants traveled from Oregon to San Diego in their 2012 Honda Fit on July 15, 2013 and used paint, paint stripper, a super glue-type substance, butyric acid, muriatic acid and glass etchant to vandalize Furs by Graf, a retail furrier located in San Diego, as well as the Spring Valley and La Mesa residences and personal property of the current and former owners of the business.

To publicize their crimes, the defendants drafted “communiqués” describing their conduct and posted them on websites associated with animal rights extremists, the indictment said.

Among some of the incidents of vandalism cited in the indictment: The defendants slashed tires of a meat distributor’s truck in San Francisco; smashed windows and glued the door locks at a furrier business in Minneapolis, Minnesota; vandalized and attempted to flood the Sun Prairie, Wisconsin home of an employee of the North American Fur Auctions.

According to the indictment, the unemployed defendants sold items on eBay and Amazon to finance their trips. To avoid detection by law enforcement, the defendants withdrew large sums of cash from their bank accounts immediately before setting off on a road trip. During the trips, they largely avoided the use of phones, used only cash for purchases and stopped logging in to known online accounts and email. Instead, they used public internet computers and encrypted email.

Once they returned from the trips, they resumed normal use of phones and computers and no longer relied solely on cash to make purchases.

“Whatever your feelings about the fur industry, there are legal ways to make your opinions known,” said U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy. “The conduct alleged here, sneaking around at night, stealing property and vandalizing homes and businesses with acid, glue, and chemicals, is a form of domestic terrorism and can’t be permitted to continue.”

“Today’s indictment represents the collective efforts of several FBI Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTF) around the country,” said Eric S. Birnbaum, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s San Diego Field Office.  “The FBI and our JTTF partners will continue to investigate and seek the prosecution of those who engage in similar criminal conduct for the purpose of advancing their own personal agenda.”

 Indictment Document  (335.58 KB)

DEFENDANTS                                 Joseph Brian Buddenberg                               Age: 31                       Oakland, CA Nicole Juanita Kissane                                    Age: 28                       Oakland, CA

SUMMARY OF CHARGES Conspiracy to Violate the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act – Title 18, U.S.C., Section 43 (a) (1), (2) (c) and (b) (3) (A) Maximum penalty: Ten years in prison and $250,000 fine

AGENCIES Federal Bureau of Investigation, San Francisco and San Diego Field Offices Joint Terrorism Task Force

*The charges and allegations contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty

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