Recently I interviewed Nicoal of the Animal Liberation Front Press Office. This is an organization I have heard a bunch of but knew very little about so decided to shine some light on them. Even if this is not my personal approach to being vegan for some it is and understanding is always helpful.
What is Animal Liberation Front?
First off, I would like to make the clear distinction between the Press Office and the underground.
The North American Animal Liberation Press Office is a legal, above-ground entity that releases and clarifies to the media communiques we receive from anonymous underground animal liberationists. We do not know who these liberationists are or when they will strike, but as a liaison to the mainstream media, our Press Office offers the historical and philosophical insight as to why actions such as these are undertaken.
The Animal Liberation Front (A.L.F) is a banner or title under which unknown individuals take direct action for animals. The A.L.F. is not an official organization rather a name that one can attach themselves to when intentionally breaking the law to liberate animals or destroy the oppressors’ property (a.k.a economic sabotage). Such a name allows for people to stay anonymous. In addition, the act of liberating animals from the confines of oppression is not about the self. The banner of the A.L.F. not only offers anonymity but does not allow for one to promote themselves over the animals. Moreover, the A.L.F. operates under specific guidelines that provide moral consistency for those wanting to take action. They are as follows:
• 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.
• To inflict economic damage to those who profit from the misery and exploitation of animals.
• To reveal the horror and atrocities committed against animals behind locked doors, by performing direct actions and liberations.
• To take all necessary precautions against harming any animal, human and non-human.
• Any group of people who are vegetarians or vegans and who carry out actions according to these guidelines have the right to regard themselves as part of the Animal Liberation Front.
How do you go about Animal rights? What makes you think that is an effective way to go about it?
As an above-ground activist, I have participated in everything from vegan outreach to neighborhood demonstrations. Such actions have influenced individuals to adopt a vegan lifestyle or forced businesses to cut their ties with animal abusers. I believe that everything and anything that promotes total animal liberation helps. However, although I do not participate in illegal direct action, I find it to be the most useful and effective way to help animals – period. Moreover, direct action is the most immediate way one can stop the oppression and one less animal tortured or killed.
What has been the best part of working with this organization?
The best part of working with the Press Office is having the opportunity to express the other side of the story. Animal liberationists are – more often than not – misrepresented by the media as so called “terrorists”. The Press Office provides viewers or readers with the motives behind animal liberationists’ actions and reminds the public that these actions are not just “random acts of vandalism”, but have political reasoning. Through our work at the Press Office, we are able to bring attention to the animals’ plight and expose the atrocities committed against sentient, intelligent beings every second of every day.
What have been the challenges?
To be honest, I cannot think of anything that is not challenging in activism. It is an everyday struggle to combat speciesism or any form of systematic oppression, but we don’t give up because there are others who rely on our persistence.
What is your favourite animal?
Although I believe all animals are equal, cats are by far superior (and yes, that is meant to be ironic).
What do you think most people can do to help animals?
There are many ways in which we can eliminate speciesism. One being the most personal: living a vegan lifestyle. Veganism is only the first step though. One can organize, protest and participate in unified days of action. However, out of all the methods and tactics concerning the liberation of animals, direct action is most effective for animals. Direct action includes but is not limited to: liberation of animals from confinement and places of exploitation, and economic sabotage which breaks down industries monetarily and deters many from continuing business as usual.
How do you respond to people being confused about animal rights?
Open communication is the best way to help people understand your opinion or perspective. I am willing to answer anyone’s questions about animal rights/liberation, as long as they are insightful, critical thoughts that do not degrade any being, human or non-human.
Who inspires you most in this movement?
The animals. Their resilience and adaptation after enduring some of the worst conditions ever known is incredible. Animals are the reason I went vegan. Animals are the reason why I continue to fight for a better society rid of oppression and hatred.
What is your take on using images of animals being abused to influence people to make changes? Do you think it helps or hinders action?
The public needs to see the animals’ everyday reality. Pictures of such abuse wakes people up to what is happening behind closed doors or block walls. I went vegan because I saw the videos of pig slaughter, chained calves and caged hens. Those are images one can never truly forget once they have been exposed to the truth.
What do you want people to know about ALF?
Don’t wait to be invited. Animals are waiting on you to take action.