A conspiracy of silence has once more been introduced by the State/Establishment in an attempt to convince people that the ALF is not as active as it was, that it is a spent force, that new activists are not taking up the struggle. Nothing could be further from the truth. To quote an ALF Supporters Group newsletter from the mid 1980s it’s still going .... still growing.
One example of ruthless censorship was a contamination of Boots products in March of this year. I was on my way to Scotland by rail when a call came on my phone that a package containing a bottle of Boots anti-dandruff shampoo, contaminated with see-through polish, had been left at the Manchester office of the Daily Mail, marked for the attention of their news desk. Other various types of Boots shampoo had been similarly contaminated and placed, unmarked, on shelves of Boots throughout the Northwest.
I called the Daily Mail’s office in London to report the call and then phoned the Press Association to give the story to a named reporter. As the PA is owned and run by the media this should have meant that the story went out - on line to all radio and TV stations together with all national and provincial newspapers. On changing trains at Edinburgh I made a couple of calls to find out how the story was being treated. It hadn’t been on the news at all! As the action was based in the Northwest I rang BBC-TV North, Granada TV, BBC Radio Greater Manchester, Piccadilly Radio and the Manchester Evening News to give each of them the story individually.... not one of them carried it.
The action had still been carried out, the products have still been removed from the shelves and both financial damage and inconvenience have been caused to the abusers. Putting a lid on the media reporting the incident can never change the fact that it has happened and that it has had an effect!
Animal liberation, as opposed to economic sabotage, saw 80 rabbits rescued from Hyline Rabbits near Lymm in Cheshire. Activists began the raid late on a Tuesday night and finally left the premises completely at about 5.00am on Wednesday morning. They had to cross a number of fields and also a small river.... rumour has it that an inflatable boat was used. Some rabbits were from the breeding unit and others were mothers with their young, all are now in good homes. Hylines breeds for the fur and vivisection industries and has been the target of the ALF a number of times over the years.
Also during May someone decided to take a friend for an early morning car ride through West Sussex and neighbouring Hampshire. It seems that the car also had a catapult as standard equipment. No less than 23 windows were damaged at tackle shops, Boots, betting shops, fishing tackle shops, MacDonalds, etc. One ARNI (Animal Rights National Index) document recently gave an estimated value of £1,000 for each window attacked with ball bearings fired from catapults as a general rule-of-thumb. Even if you halve that it’s still not a cheap nights work!
Meanwhile, every night, up and down the country, windows are being damaged, locks glued, premises painted, cars paint stripped and windows etched. Abused animals are also being rescued from lives of misery in back gardens, breeding units, farms and wherever.
All just causes have had lawful lobbying and education as part of the reasons for eventual success but, whether it be the abolition of slavery or the emancipation of women (neither of which have been completely achieved yet), without the hard cutting edge of direct action victory would not have been grasped.
ALFers, Earth First!ers and all similar activists are in the front line fighting for individuals and an environment that can’t offer any defence against human aggression and greed.
I can’t tell you what to do, that’s incitement. Your heart should be your guide. Take care and good luck.
Robin Webb (ALF Press Office)