Animal Protection >
THE ALF PRIMER -- page 2
A guide to direct action and the animal liberation front
third edition, about 2002
Countless publications on economic sabotage are in print. A more known one
would be George Hayduke's Get Even: The Complete Book of Dirty Tricks. Copies of the ALF
primer can be obtained from the North American Animal Liberation Front Support Group.
Sponges and Toilets
Windows are probably the easiest target available in most
situations, yet large windows can cost hundreds, making them an ideal target. Glass
etching fluid (hydrofluoric acid) is available in some larger arts and crafts stores. Be
sure to buy out of town on specialized items like this. Its a liquid or cream that eats
through the surface of glass. If you can get a hold of some, put it in some kind of
squeeze bottle, one of those plastic lemon ones for instance, and off you go. If you get
the cream it can also be applied with a paintbrush, allowing slogans to be written on the
window. Its potent stuff, so be careful not to get it on your skin. Working quickly at the
target you'll probably make somewhat of a mess with the bottle, so bring a plastic bag to
throw it in after you are done. Its a quick and relatively safe way to cause some
financial damage. A less expensive but much noisier method is simply smashing windows. It
is loud, so get ready to run. Aside from throwing a brick or rock, a popular way to do
this is with a sling shot. They are available in many sporting stores. You may have to
patronize a store that sells hunting equipment to find one, but you can always offset this
by returning at a later date and smashing their windows in turn. The advantage of a sling
shot is that you don't have to be right next to the window to break it. Sling shots can
even be effective from moving cars. Try to fire symmetrical objects such as ball bearings
or nuts. Rocks or bolts will be hard to control due to their lack of aerodynamics.
Whatever you shoot, be sure to wipe them for fingerprints first. It is always your
responsibility to be certain there is nobody in or near the store that you could injure
while firing. Shooting from totally inside the car (as in, don't hang out the side) will
make detection a whole lot harder. Air guns (a.k.a. BB guns) are another option. They
don't do as much damage to the window as a brick might, but they are very quick, can be
used easily from inside a car, and are very quiet. You can easily roll up to a store, stop
in front for a second, roll down the window, take a shot, and leave. Unless someone is
standing right there, nobody will notice a thing. Most of the time they will leave a small
hole with a spider web crack, about the size of a silver dollar. Occasionally they will
completely shatter a window though, so be ready for it. There are generally two types of
BB guns. The first look like rifles, and are powered by being manually pumped. The second
look like handguns, and are powered by CO2 cartridges. The cartridges only cost around $2
each and will give you around 150 shots. The advantage of the CO2 style is that they are
generally semi-automatic (meaning it fires one shot every time you pull the trigger).
Using such a device you could take out over a dozen windows in a couple of seconds. They
do look like real guns though, so if the police roll up, drop them immediately or risk
getting shot. The other option for breaking windows is a hammer. Tilers hammers are best
because of their pointed design; they can be found in most hardware stores. Windows,
especially shatter proof, are tougher than they seem, so use a hammer of some weight. The
best time for this is a stormy night, the lack of visibility and noise of the storm
providing excellent cover. You'll naturally think to hit windows in the center, but this
is actually the strongest part. Always go for the corners, as these are the weak spots.
Another option with windows is glass glue, which permanently sticks glass to glass.
Attaching a piece of glass with a slogan painted on the inside will require them to
replace the whole window.
People in more urban areas are probably familiar with stores
lowering metal shutters over their windows while closed. After having windows smashed, a
target store in a less urban area may do the same. If you are dealing with the kind of
shutters that are a grid, or bars, etching fluid, sling shots, or BB guns will still work
fine. Its also possible to simply lock any kind of object to the shutter, making it
impossible to open.
Sometimes they wont use all the holes for locks that are available on
the shutter. If this is the case, put your own lock on there. Make sure its fingerprint
free first. More difficult are the full shutters that don't have any holes. Hitting the
shutter with a sledgehammer may work in both damaging the shutter, and possibly breaking
the window if they are close enough together. A more subtle method of dealing with full
shutters is gluing the shutter locks, which you can see under the gluing locks section. If
they have been dumb enough to only put a shutter over the main window and left a smaller
one, like on a door, uncovered - break that one, then reach in and break the main one.
Vehicles are another easy target.
There's a great number of
ways to do damage to them. When doing a set of things to a vehicle, start with the quieter
parts. There are basically two different approaches that can be taken with vehicles,
destruction and sabotage - the difference being with destruction vehicles are visibly
damaged, and with sabotage the action is not evident until the vehicle is run and
experiences mechanical problems. There are many options with the destruction method. Tires
can be slashed. An ice pick, sharp knife, or anything of that sort will work. Tires,
especially on trucks, are tougher than they seem, so use something thick and strong that
wont break or bend. Putting a hole in the side wall will make it impossible to repair. A
pair of pillars can also be used to yank out the stem (the thing you put air in through),
which will also flatten the tire. A large screwdriver can damage a radiator by punching
holes in it through the grill. If you cant get to the engine, you can cut wires and break
various components. If you cant get to the engine, you can also cut what you can from
underneath. Bring something heavy-duty like small bolt cutters, as regular wire cutters
wont be able to handle metal cables and such. Either paint or paint stripper can do some
damage to the paint job. Windshield wipers can be broke off, headlights and windshields
smashed or painted with etching fluid, and locks glued. Windshields are made to deflect
rocks kicked up on the road, so only more direct methods of breaking them, such as a
hammer, will work.
With the more subtle sabotage method, it is important to leave no signs
you were there, so the vehicle is run and the damage is done. If dealing with trucks, look
for levers on the side of the hood to release it and open it forward. The stereotypical
sabotage technique is sugar in the gas tank. This will merely block the filter, and do
little damage. More effective fuel tank additives are sand or 10 to 15 mothballs. Be sure
not to use sand from near home, as it can be traced. The best sabotage target is the
lubricating system. If incapacitated, it will cause the engine to overheat, bind, and
generally destroy itself. Karo syrup in the oil filler hole is another classic that, in
reality, only effects the filter. One option for major damage is to carefully remove the
oil, either by punching a hole in the oil pan, or removing the drain plug. Adding water to
the oil is more effective, since it will not lubricate, but will keep the oil pressure up,
keeping a warning light from coming on. Better than water is diesel or gasoline, as it
will also break down existing oil. For maximum effect, look to adding abrasives to the
lubricating system. The oil filler hole is not the only option here. All moving parts need
lubrication, such as transmissions, differentials, and wheel hubs. Many lubrication points
will have screw on caps that can be removed with an adjustable wrench. Sand can be used
for this as well. However, the top of the line abrasive is the kind used to polish stones
in tumblers, available in hobby and lapidary supply shops. A very fine powder grit mixed
with a slightly more coarse fine sand grit will have the best chance of getting throughout
the whole engine and wrecking everything. A 400 and 600 grit size mix works well. A mere
half pint of this will completely destroy an engine. Pouring sand or grit can be
difficult, especially at night, so here are a few ways to make it easier. Attach a couple
feet of flexible plastic tubing to a funnel for increased and easier reach. Or get a
grease gun, available at auto parts stores, remove half the grease, mix in grit, and apply
with the gun. Another option is to put the grit in a condom, tie it off, and simply drop
it in the oil filler hole. After running for 30-50 minutes the condom will dissolve and
release the grit. Other options for sabotage include dropping plaster of paris or a
handful of BB's into the carburetor. A box of quick rice in the radiator will expand as
the vehicle runs and clog the works. A pound of salt or some Drano will eat away the
copper tubing of a radiator.
Gluing locks is one of the quickest, easiest, and safest forms
of direct action, and one of the most commonly used. The idea of gluing locks is that time
is money, and if you can keep an abusers business closed, even for a short time, that's
money lost and animals saved. Properly glued locks will require a locksmith to fix, and
they aren't cheap either. In order to glue a lock, get a tube of glue, ideally the kind
with the long, sharp tip, or the kind in the syringe. Approach your target, be it store or
vehicle, and put a small piece of wire or similar object, less than a fingernails length,
into the lock. Insert the glue tube into the lock, and fill the lock with glue.
Once the glue dries it will be practically impossible to open. Some
glues are effective, some aren't. Get some cheap locks and test some out for yourself
until you find what works. In order for a glue to work well it must be thick enough as to
not run out of the lock, and dry solid, not rubbery. Also consider drying time. Hardware
stores have a wide selection of various glues, so try to find something with both these
properties. An easier way to effectively glue locks may be to take a glue tube with a wide
enough opening, squeeze some glue out, fill the tube with BBs and mix them in with the
glue. This way your solid material will simply squeeze out with the glue.
Paint is often a good way to get your message across and do
some damage. Vehicles, billboards, and buildings are all paintable. Spray paint is one
option. Splashing paint out of a container of some sort is another. Plastic soda bottles
will work well there. To get more range you can put a hole in the top and screw it back
on, then spray through it. Paint-bombs can be constructed by simply filling Christmas
ornaments or light-bulbs with paint. Light-bulbs take some work, but are easier to come
by. Cut off the bottom part of the metal, below the glass. Very carefully break out the
bottom part of the glass, by the filament, inside the remaining metal ring. Fill and
carefully seal. You can use a screwdriver for that. The advantage of such paint bombs is
that they are surprisingly quiet. Be positive they are print-free first though. Always
transport them in sealed plastic bags, in case one ruptures. Balloons can be used too, but
they tend to not work as well. Paint can be inserted into soda bottles, ornaments, or
bulbs using, ironically, a turkey baster. Always mix paint about 50/50 with water or paint
thinner so it splatters better. Paint on glass is easy to get off, getting it on wood,
metal, or stone exteriors is a lot more effective. Large markers can also work.
Super-soaker type water guns filled with a paint/water mixture are effective as well. They
sometimes leak and drip, so keep them in a plastic bag before and after a hit. Its
impossible to wash all the paint out afterwards, making it good evidence if found, and
possibly clogged after a couple uses. Bearing this in mind it may be a good idea to buy
one, use it one night on a number of establishments, and dispose of it. Just remember that
paint is a messy business and has a tendency to get everywhere, including all over you.
Paint stripper is another option, especially effective on vehicles. 3M
Safest Strip, or Extra Strength, has the advantage of clinging to vertical surfaces. Dupli-Color makes ST-1000 Paint Stripper, available in auto parts stores. It comes in
spray cans, and can eat down to bare metal in 30 minutes. Brake fluid is an effective
paint stripper as well.
Sponges and Toilets
This is one of the few actions undertaken actually inside the
abusive establishment, and while they are open none the less. This can be risky for
heavily involved ALF members, but it's a great action for those looking for simple and
more low level things to do. If you are able to get access to an abusers toilet, such as
stopping in a fast food restaurant to use the bathroom, here's a quick and easy way to do
some damage. Get a sponge, the bigger the better. Big fluffy ones are better than hard
square ones. Get it wet, and then wrap it tightly in string and let it dry. Remove the
string and it will stay in its compact shape. Once in the water the sponge will expand to
its previous size. So simply drop it in, flush, and hopefully clog up the toilet. If it
gets deep into the pipes first, this can turn into a very expensive problem. Lacking a
sponge, lots of their toilet paper can clog a toilet as well. It is easier to unclog, but
still a minor nuisance.
A mixture of plaster and sawdust in a nylon stocking is another method.
Telephones lines are the most neglected way to easily cause a
business to lose money. Once you find an abusers building, locate the phone lines coming
out. Attach a weight of some kind to a strong rope, toss it over the line, grab both ends
and pull. Another option is to climb the pole it is going to and to cut it. Either way,
business rely a lot on their phones and this is an easy way to take them out of
commission. If you see any wires, phone lines or other, at ground level, just yank them
out or cut them.
Careful if it's electrical though!
Places that get hit a number of times may install security
measures, such as cameras. Don't let this deter you. As long as you are well covered, the
best they can do is give them a general height of the people involved, which
much. What they actually do for establishment is the opposite of what they are intended.
Instead of protecting them, it gives you something else to break. Security cameras are
expensive, and not all that hard to destroy. Aside from open cameras, look for boxes or
spheres, which sometimes house cameras. They are generally up high, around ten feet up.
Flood light systems are another thing you might see pop up. If you want to hit the place
again but you're not to fond of all the light, try a slingshot to take them out of
commission. Just remember that if they do install a security system, that means money out
of their pocket, which is what you wanted anyway. It also means you're being effective, so
keep it up. Just be careful not to hit the same place too often or they'll be waiting for
foul smelling agents can serve a variety of purposes and direct action.
Some ideas are dropping some through mail slots, windows after being
broken, trucks (especially if windows or doors are left open.), large
fur sales, and hunting conventions. Numerous very weak acids have
powerful and strong smells. Most well known is butyric acid, of which
two drops will clear a room and one ounce is enough for a building. A commonly available option
is the various lures used by hunters,
such as deer piss. These can be delivered using a medicine dropper or hypodermic
If you come across an abusive institution under construction,
there are many effective actions that can be carried out at this point. Firstly, however,
be positive it is in fact going to be what you think it is. During construction survey
stakes (wooden stakes with colored ribbons tied to the top) are used to mark such things
as corners, water and sewer lines, and elevation. Simply removing these stakes, and
disguising the holes will cost a few days work. When removing stakes, also look for
"hub and tacks", which are 2X2" stakes pounded flush through the ground,
with a nail driven in top, or sometimes marked by flags on wires. Also, reference points,
which include various stakes or hubs and tacks as much as 50 away must be removed or the
survey sticks can simply be replaced. More effective than removing stakes may be to move
them just slightly. Although it may seem minor, removing survey stakes is considered a
relatively major crime, so use the usual security precautions.
Salt greatly weakens concrete. If a large amount can be introduced into
cement bags or sand piles for making concrete, foundations and the like would be weakened.
Leave a note that you have damaged the cement so that people don't get hurt.
Make certain the note is received.
After the foundation is poured, connections for plumbing, especially
sewage, are exposed. There are often covered in duct tape to avoid objects being dropped
inside. If the duct tape were to be carefully removed and clogging elements such as
concrete, epoxy, or plaster were dropped down the pipes and the tape was carefully put
back in place it could cause major problems if not realized until the building is
After drywall is put up electrical wiring is put in. Once sheet-rock or
other wallboard is hung this wiring is very hard to get to. After drywall is erected,
wiring can be cut in inconspicuous places like behind studs, and then taped or glued into
position. Hopefully this will keep the cuts from being noticed until after sheet-rock is