ALF Action – July 1989 – Texas Tech University
The FBI classified the ALF as a domestic terrorism group in 1989. If that was meant to slow liberation actions down, it didn’t. On July fourth of that year, four activists launched a daring raid on the Texas Tech laboratories of physiologist John Orem in Lubbock. It was the first ALF action in Texas.
The raid was an attempt to disrupt the sadistic experiments on cats conducted by “Gore ’em” Orem. The activists damaged equipment and spray-painted “Don’t mess with Texas animals” in three-foot-high letters on the wall. Most importantly, they liberated five cats. Damage was estimated at $ 700, 000.
After the raid, Orem whined to a local paper (and anyone else who would listen), “I don’t know why they chose me…I have to defend myself against the absurd things they say. They call me an animal Nazi. The fact that I have to defend myself is absurd. I’m the victim.”
Actually, “Nazi” was an understatement. “Gore-‘em” Orem’s thing was sleep deprivation experiments, and he had devised ingenious ways to keep his cat-subjects awake: by placing cats on a tiny wooden plank inside a water-filled drum, where falling asleep meant plummeting into the water (aka the “flowerpot method”); by lowering the temperature in the cats’ room to below freezing; and by forcing them to keep running hour after hour on a treadmill that would not stop.
The sleep-deprived cats were then locked into a stereotaxic device (which involved bolting their heads into a steel clamp and putting metal rods into their ears and mouths so they couldn’t move their heads) and connected to a brain monitor. The cats were punished if they failed to learn to hold their breath whenever a tone sounded. Their punishment came from a blast of ammonium hydroxide, which made them salivate and burned their eyes. Eventually the cats were killed and their brains were dissected.
In addition to the five lucky cats, the ALF activists removed the preserved brains of dozens of cats. These were buried in a field full of Texas wild flowers, a poignant tribute to a sad existence.
Watch the 12- minute PETA-produced expose on Orem here:
No Gravy for the Cat: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUQdF0OKWpQ
Photo 1 – A cat in Orem’s lab photographed by the ALF during a reconnaissance visit. Unfortunately the cat was killed before s/he could be liberated.
Photo 2 – A gloomy post raid Orem ponders where his funding will come from.