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Animal Protection > AR Interviews

ALF QUESTIONS

These are several questions, but you can ignore any that you don't feel comfortable or feel the need to answer. I appreciate you taking the time for this important film. If there's anything else that you'd like to state that's perfectly fine.

Can you describe the mission of the ALF?

The mission of the animal liberation movement is to end the present speciesist bias against taking seriously the interests of nonhuman animals. This bias can be observed, every day throughout the world, when someone treats an animal with feelings and emotions as they would treat a piece of property, or garbage.
            To achieve the mission, ALF members follow the ALF guidelines and the ALF mission statement.

The ALF guidelines are:

1. TO liberate animals from places of abuse, i.e. laboratories, factory farms, fur farms, etc, and place them in good homes where they may live out their natural lives, free from suffering.

2. TO inflict economic damage to those who profit from the misery and exploitation of animals.

3. TO reveal the horror and atrocities committed against animals behind locked doors, by performing non-violent direct actions and liberations.

4. TO take all necessary precautions against harming any animal, human and non-human.

To analyze the ramifications of any proposed direct action, and never to apply generalizations when specific information is available.

The last guideline was added 10 years ago to assist members in avoiding disasters when liberating animals. It suggests that �inside information� is required, and that it needs reliable confirmation.
  Some other ramifications to consider are:
            The cost (Can another animal be saved utilizing fewer resources?).
            The quality of life for the rescued animals (Is it ensured?).
            The risk to unseen animals (e.g. rodents) (note: this makes arson problematic).

The ALF Mission Statement is:
 'To effectively allocate resources (time and money) to reduce animal suffering.'
            Today, there is more animal suffering in the world than there are available resources to stop it. Therefore, careful choices must be made.

Why spend resources for animals when there are needy humans?

Many of the consequences of carrying out the AR agenda are highly beneficial to humans. For example, stopping the production and consumption of animal products would result in a significant improvement of the general health of the human population, and destruction of the environment would be greatly reduced.
            Fostering compassion for animals is likely to pay dividends in terms of a general increase of compassion in human affairs. Professor Tom Regan puts it this way: ...the animal rights movement is a part of, not antagonistic to, the human rights movement. The theory that rationally grounds the rights of animals also grounds the rights of humans. Thus those involved in the animal rights movement are partners in the struggle to secure respect for human rights--the rights of women, for example, or minorities, or workers. The animal rights movement is cut from the same moral cloth as these.
            Finally, the behavior asked for by the AR agenda involves little expenditure of energy. We are asking people to NOT do things: don't eat meat, don't exploit animals for entertainment, and don't wear furs. These actions don't interfere with our ability to care for humans.

Has the original mission grown as the movement has gained more prevalence in the media?

There is no tactical change with growth. This is because, by definition, 'the Animal Liberation Front consists of small autonomous groups of people all over the world who carry out direct action according to the ALF guidelines. Any group of people who are vegetarians and who carry out actions according to ALF guidelines have the right to regard themselves as part of the ALF.' We discourage contact between groups
            The ALF has no central organization, therefore the credo and mission statements can not change because there is no leader or membership with the authority to do so. In many languages it's remained essentially the same since its creation.

What accomplishment(s) is the ALF most happy with in the animal liberation movement?

Individually, nothing compares to the joy one feels when an animal they have observed being abused is freed from torture. Reading about the liberations of others is grand, but I'd guess that each member's greatest accomplishment is very personal.

Overall, we're most happy to see the public become aware of the nature of modern factory farming. Here are just a few of the thousands of changes:

In Britain a House of Commons Agriculture Committee had the small cages for laying hens phased out. Switzerland passed legislation which got rid of the battery hen cages. A West German court pronounced the cage system contrary to the country's anti-cruelty legislation and added the phrase "animal rights" to its constitution. Italy made mandatory the walking of dogs.

One positive step forward for British farm animals was in the "white veal trade". Veal calves were kept in darkness for 22 hours a day, in individual stalls too small for them to turn around. They had no straw to lie on and were fed on a diet deliberately made deficient in iron, so that the flesh would remain pale. After British consumer's boycotted veal, Britain's largest veal producer conceded the need for change, and moved its calves out of their bare, wooded, five feet by two feet, stalls into group pens with room to move and straw for bedding.

What else does the ALF feel is needed in the animal liberation movement?

More people seeing what goes on behind the closed doors of laboratories and factory farms. After they see, they won't forget. Then action will follow. Also, we need more people taking direct action to stop animal abuse, especially in their own neighborhood.

Does the ALF feel that the animal liberation movement will be slowed down with all the recent governmental intervention?

We feel it will speed up the movement. We believe success depends on more people being made aware of animal suffering. The more "conflict" that is created, the more the public will pay attention. Arrests and intervention dramatize issues and place them before the public when they otherwise would be ignored in the media. Historically, government intervention has been a sign that a civil movement can no longer be ignored.

Why has the government felt a need to try and force the ALF underground?

Verbatim from the fbi web site: In recent years, the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) -- an extremist animal rights movement -- has become one of the most active extremist elements in the United States. Despite the destructive aspects of ALF's operations, its operational philosophy discourages acts that harm "any animal, human and nonhuman." Animal rights groups in the United States, including ALF, have generally adhered to this mandate.

The ALF has always been underground.

How long do you think it will take for the movement to feel that its job is done?

At the rate of awareness for the need for animal rights is growing, the public will have all the knowledge of what goes on behind closed doors within 5-10 years. Laws will then change rapidly. Development of a synthetic meat may also be an important factor.

So, I'd guess that the majority of our work will be done in 15 years in Europe and Australia, 5 years longer in the US, and 10 years longer in Asia. However, there will always be a need for people to take direct action to protect abused animals, just like all other forms of domestic violence.

Thank you again for taking the time to look over the questions.

Curt Johnson

214.315.9321

My pleasure. I'll happily field any follow-up questions or clarify what I've written.

Sincerely, Ann Berlin

For Curt

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