Would you consider Martin Luther King Jr. a terrorist? How about Mohandas Gandhi? Maybe the Suffragettes or those who participated in the Boston Tea Party? Those Salvation Army workers always seemed like a
bunch of no-good terrorists to me.
Obviously, I’m being facetious but the point is very simple. Why does our society praise non-violent direct
action in history but continually attack those who take matters into their own hands in the present?
As part of the youngest generation of adults, I believe it’s all about apathy. For most my age, life has been too easy. Everything has been handed to us and now we crave the easy way out.Easy has become equivalent with right. If what I’m doing is wrong, then why is it so easy and available?
We like to fight for things that are easily attainable and can’t stand to feel defeated.
Don’t get me wrong; I understand that the people listed in my opening paragraph faced a fair amount of trouble from the law and their peers back then too. However, the fact that we have allowed something like that Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act pass in our country is mind-blowing to me, and a perfect representation of apathy. No one did any research. Everyone has been conditioned to say, “Well, we don’t want terrorists so let’s support anything that is anti-terrorist without even looking to see WHO these “terrorists” are.
Through my many discussions with peers or even family and friends about animal rights issues, anytime AETA has been properly explained to the uninformed, they immediately understand the dangerous precedent that has
been set, not just to those in the animal rights movement, but to anyone who voices dissent towards the government agenda.
This is why it is more important than ever for anyone in our movement to speak up in support of those who put their freedom on the line in support of those who cannot fight for themselves. Risking being labeled a terrorist is a scary thing for anyone to do and we should always make sure that their efforts were not in vain.
Whether you take direct action yourself or use above ground methods to take a stand, we are all one in this movement. We all have a common goal and it is time to end apathy, educate ourselves and unite. In solidarity,
Embracing Your Inner (Lone) Wolf
Wolves are bold and daring creatures.
Walter Bond has become somewhat of a larger than life personality inside our movement. First, Walter made headlines for doing whatever it took to keep his brother and his city from being harmed by the ills of drugs. Later, Bond was imprisoned and charged with the A.L.F. “Lone Wolf” arsons. Time and time again, Bond has put himself in harms way to protect animals from suffering, abuse and death.
To me, Walter Bond is someone who has shown the kind of strength that more members of our movement need to find within themselves. My belief is that the world today is far too apathetic. Many choose to ignore reality because it is too harsh or painful to look at. Many would rather avoid the tragedies that are happening in favor of anything more lighthearted.
However, one of the things that we can learn from the actions of Walter Bond is that he brought real results. First, animal abusers were hit where they feel it most – in their wallets. Secondly, such bold actions lead to real thought and discussion on why these actions were taken. Third, and most importantly, Walter sent a much needed reminder that we cannot simply sit around, write letters and wait for change. The animals cannot wait around for a letter writing campaign to be effective.
Not only that, but Walter adequately represented the ideas of the ALF. He did not wait to be invited. He made a decision about what he felt was right and he went out and did it himself. Walter Bond should be an example to all of us. Whether you take direct action yourself, or join the movement to provide an above ground voice for the actions of those who must remain underground, find your spot and get involved. The time for animal liberation is now and we must do whatever it takes to achieve our common goal of total liberation.
No matter what your role is inside the movement, embrace it with your whole heart and mind. Find your inner wolf. Be bold. Be daring. Make change.
A War You Cannot Win
“If you make peaceful revolution impossible, you make violent revolution inevitable.”
One of the major stories in the animal rights scene this past week was that of Taylor Radig, the young woman who went undercover at Quanah Cattle Company to document animal welfare abuses for the animal rights group Compassion Over Killing. Like many before her, Radig worked at the company and documented the horrific abuse of dairy calves. However, unlike any of those before her, the Weld County Sheriff’s Office charged Radig with Animal Cruelty herself and plastered her picture across over 100 media outlets, even posting her image and the details of the charges on their own Facebook page – which contains no other such profiles on recent arrests.
Luckily for Radig, after public outrage – including nearly 200,000 petition signatures – the Weld County District Attorney’s Office in Colorado announced the charge were being dropped. This is one of the highest profile “Ag-Gag” prosecutions to date, however it is not the only one. In April 2013, Amy Meyer filmed a slaughterhouse from a public street in Draper City, UT – similarly she was prosecuted under the state’s new “Ag-Gag” law. Similarly, charges were dropped amongst public outrage.
So, what is an “Ag-Gag” law? Simply put, they are a new plot by Big Agriculture to keep their abuse and criminal activity secret. Activists can be charged for a variety of things, most notably “entering an animal or research facility to take pictures, videos or other footage with the intent to defame the facility or owner”. This is an unprecedented attack on the legal rights of whistleblowers and, when brought to the mainstream through cases like the above, has universally been panned as such.
This is just the beginning as recent reports coming out of Australia show that a number of pig farmers in the country have banned together to offer a $10,000 bounty for the conviction of activists who carry out investigations on their farm.
While focusing on trumped up legal charges and reward money, Big Ag is forgetting a very important piece of the puzzle: they are battling against a group of people who aren’t for sale. Social activists are a rare breed, they don’t fight for change in order to make money or to gain fame. This is about equal rights for all.
Looking back at the formation of the Animal Liberation Front, it is easy to see that when above ground and legal forms of activism failed, activists began to go underground and force the change they were looking for. Big Ag is, in effect, forcing the hand of many by attempting to silence whistleblowers. Another very important thing to remember about social activists is that they don’t just give up when times get tough. No social change was made overnight and no activist expects that. Animal Rights activists seek real change and a day when no animal has to be exploited, tortured or murdered. We will always be here to speak out against the injustice and we will always be here to defend those who cannot defend themselves.
As more “Ag-Gag” legislation makes its way through state governments, make sure that you educate yourself and the public on what these laws encompass. Stay diligent in the fight for Animal Liberation and continue to be a voice for the voiceless.
Together, Animal Liberation is possible. Never stop fighting the good fight!
[Josh Eldridge is a Marketing Strategist who attended Virginia Tech and currently resides in Chicago, IL. Growing up heavily influenced by the lyrics (and politics) of bands such as Earth Crisis, Propagandhi, Goldfinger and many more; Josh became determined to cause real change in his lifetime. Outside of work, he spends his time volunteering at animal sanctuaries, spreading the word about veganism and animal rights, and promoting health and wellness through Mixed Martial Arts training and a plant-based diet.
Josh believes that the key to total liberation is ending apathy and fighting for change every day. He lives by a quote from Charles Darwin that states “the love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man,” and he aims to spread this message and end animal suffering by any means necessary.
Josh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org]