When reading the latest dispatch from Jeff Luers, we are
reminded that there will always be an easy excuse to denounce
direct action and pursue activism through socially-acceptable
channels. That excuse can be anything from 9/11 to government
repression to public perception to plain old fear. There will
always be an easy way out.
Whenever I have debated other activists on the merits of
liberating animals from laboratories, the typical the argument
against direct liberation has been based on fear: fear of
government repression, fear of public perception, fear of
the media and fear of the animal abusers. Fear of what their
family, friends and co-workers think of them. Fear that their
personal reputation would be tarnished. Fear of jail time.
Fear of losing their investment and retirement plans. These
have always been the root reasons behind activists not supporting
Even though 9/11 has brought unprecedented government repression
onto those who challenge unjust laws, our humanity requires
us to continue to challenge them in every way possible. The
argument against direct action has never been based on proven
results or campaign successes.
One thing is for certain: Direct action works. When I lived
in England, I saw it first hand when Consort Kennels had just
closed because of a unique and well-organized campaign that
used a variety of methods. These methods included economic
sabotage, the liberation of animals, protests and civil disobedience.
Hillgrove Cat Farm soon followed, along with Shamrock Monkey
Farm, Regal Rabbits and now, the Newchurch Guinea Pig Farm.
I support the Animal Liberation Front because it produces
results, directly saves lives, has never killed anyone and
because I hope that if I am ever imprisoned against my will
in a concentration camp or laboratory, someone will take action
to liberate me.
I have been warned time and time again by family, friends
and co-workers that animal rights activists should “lay
low” during such a volatile time in American society--
that we should be patient and wait until the political climate
from 9/11 becomes less hostile, until a new president is elected,
To that request, I ask, “When is a good time to support
direct action? When is it acceptable to support breaking the
law to liberate animals? Are campaigns to close down laboratories
supposed to go on hiatus until a president from the Green
Party is elected?”
There is never an acceptable time. It will never be easy.
It is unlikely that the fear that resides in each of us will
ever go away.
Through the years, my beliefs have been challenged, questioned
and debated. My support for the Animal Liberation Front has
never wavered. If we aren’t involved in the liberation
of animals of some sort, at the bare minimum, we should be