Interview with an ALF
This interview with
Fullmer, co-founder of our very own
Defense League - New Jersey convicted for committing an illegal direct
action, was taken from the Support the Animal
Liberation Front Homepage. Darius continues to fight for
animal liberation with the ADL-NJ and we are extremely proud of him for
ALL of his efforts.
How long did it take you to decide to "join" the
I was actually interested in the ALF long
before I was an animal rights activist. When I first went vegan I
ordered a lot of literature from Vegan Action, and included in it
was the ALF Primer and The Power is Ours. From the minute I
started reading them I knew direct action was for me. But
unfortunately I didn't have anybody to work with. For years
it was constantly in the back of my head as I waited for my
chance. Then one rainy night I found myself pacing back and forth
restlessly in my room. I decided I had waited long enough. More
importantly, the animals had waited long enough. After a quick
read through the Diary of Actions in No
for inspiration I armed myself with nothing more than what I could find
in my room. Like most first actions it was pretty sloppy, but it got done
Why do you feel it's necessary to become an ALF
To put it simply - it's something I
feel in my heart. Turning my back on anyone as they are suffering
and dying is just not an option. The animals deserve nothing
Wouldn't legal means be a better choice?
I have nothing
against legal means of furthering animal liberation. But animals
are suffering here and now, every minute of every hour. Protests,
petitions, legislation, and education play a major part in animal liberation, but they take time. But for the animals
enslaved right now, there is no time.
What right do you have to destroy someone else's
I value life
over property. If I can save a life by destroying physical
property, I will gladly do so. People do not have the right to
torture, enslave, mutilate, or murder living creatures. If they
are doing so, I am going to use whatever means I deem is
necessary to put an end to it. If their property is a tool of
this oppression, they have no right to it.
What information did you consult before your
Various guides to direct action, such as The ALF Primer, The
Power is Ours, The
Darkness Falls, and EcoDefense provide all sorts of
information. To attempt direct action without reading them first would be
like driving blindfolded. But, as much as you can read, there is no
substitute for experience.
What were you arrested for?
I was arrested in April of 1997 in New York City for an ALF
broke most of the windows at a Kenny Rogers Roasters fried chicken
restaurant. This particular establishment had been hit numerous times
before, and had hired Guardian Angels as security guards. I would warn
people to be very wary of hitting somewhere that has already been
targeted, as this has been the cause of the majority of ALF-related
arrests. I was charged with three misdemeanors - Reckless Endangerment,
Criminal Possession of Weapon, and Menacing with a Weapon, and one felony
- Felony Criminal Mischief.
What did you use for your action? What damage
I used a semi-automatic, CO2-powered BB gun. It worked beautifully. I was able to take out every window in the row, putting a hole in each, as I
simply walked by the store. I would expect it to be really loud, but it
was actually very quiet. I highly recommend them. I think it was twelve
windows that were broken. According to the police report it would cost
$3000 to replace.
Were you prepared for the consequences?
I would not have been out there that night if I was not prepared for the
consequences. I have been prepared for the possibility of arrest, or even
worse, since that first rainy night. To go out there and not be prepared
for what might happen would be selling out myself and the animals. Having
read about security and the police in the various guides I knew just what
to expect and how to deal with it. I was interrogated by three different
groups while in holding, but I knew to just say "no comment" to
anything and everything they asked me, which is essential.
What were the results of the case?
I hired a lawyer, which cost me $1500. We wound up taking a deal in which
they dropped the three misdemeanors and lowered the felony criminal mischief to misdemeanor criminal mischief, in exchange for me pleading
guilty to that charge. My sentence consists of a $1000 fine and 30 days
Originally they demanded I pay $3000 in restitution to the restaurant. I
told them that there was no way I'd pay them a cent, and held strong to
that. They had threatened to indict me if I refused, but they eventually
decided I could do some more community service instead. So I'm paying
$1000 to the state, in exchange for doing $3000 in damage. Not a bad deal.
I'm doing the community service at my local SPCA. I love working there and
would be whether I have to because of community service or not, so I feel
I came out on top in the deal.
How should someone who was arrested for illegal
direct action handle the police? media? family? friends?
Handling the police is the easy part - just say "no comment" to anything
they ask you, outside of the information they need to fill out the report,
such as name, address, etc. It's the rest you have to worry about. The
media will inevitably make any ALF arrestee out to be a terrorist. All you
can do is grin and bear it, and try to keep the focus on the animals and
their abusers. As for family and friends, just explain it to them honestly
and openly, tell them why you feel this in your heart.
Are there any preparations that an illegal
action activist should do before doing an action?
The subject of security and preparation for direct action could fill
volumes. Read through those guides and know security inside and out. You
can't do the animals any good from behind bars, so take every security
precaution possible. Plan everything out in detail, but keep in mind that
things will never go as you expect
them, so be ready to revise your plans and improvise on a moment's
Any other points you would like to make to
considering to join illegal direct action campaigns?
Be sure to find quality people to work with - I'm sick of seeing good
activists go to jail because they got caught and their friends turned on
them. If you can't 100% trust the people you are working with, find people
you do trust or go it alone.
What would you say to someone who is against
There are basically two kinds of people who are against direct
people outside the movement, and more conservative people within the
movement. With the first, they are probably coming from speciesist
so you have to take it outside the realm of animal liberation for them to
understand. Of course slavery and the Underground Railroad is the obvious
example. At one point black people were viewed as property to be used by
their owners, not as individuals deserving respect. Animals are in the
exact same situation now. I
would remind them that there were people who followed their hearts and
were willing to break the law and take what was considered other people's
property because they knew it was right. In retrospect, just about anybody
can see that regardless of the laws of the day, or the rights of the
oppressors to their
"property" it was a just and moral act. The ALF is no different, and in
retrospect this will be clear. When it comes to the people within the
animal liberation movement who don't support the Animal Liberation Front,
there are some who are just concerned with raising money for their groups,
and feel the ALF hurts their image. I could not care less about their
image. Their image doesn't save animals, the ALF does. I think the rest
are simply misinformed. I would remind them of the effectiveness of the
ALF, not only in the financial harm caused to the target as well as the
whole targeted industry, but in their impact on the movement as all-
together. There are no better educational opportunities than ALF actions -
they generate more public interest and media than any protest or media
event ever could. The only failing point may be above ground groups'
inability to take advantage of the situation. I would also remind them that
you can protest, write letters, get petitions signed until you are blue in
the face, but if a fur store is nothing more than a pile of ashes, they
are not going to be selling any more fur, and that's the bottom line.