During the past year I have never said one word about ALF. I have strongly opposed the ADL attacks on Boks and LAAS during the past year. I do not believe they have the welfare of the animals in mind. I think they are more interested in chalking up wins to solidify their leadership in a social revolution rather than saving lives. I strongly oppose their associates’ sewer-level character assassination methods. I find them cowardly and sick and I do not believe they have saved any animals from being killed. Indeed, it appears that during the past year, their repeated sewer-level attacks have inhibited beneficial reform of LAAS. For not one minute though, do I oppose their picketing of “targets” except when their acts become violent.

Regarding ALF, I have mixed feelings. Why they are considered America’s number one domestic terrorist group is beyond me. Maybe Bush thinks they are going to fly a 747 into the Bank of America building killing 3,000 people—or not. Maybe animal industry lobbyists—protecting the financial interest of an industry that kills animals because the dead bodies are economically useful—has sold Congress in this climate of fear, that ALF and other anti animal abuse groups are training grounds for people who will fly a 747 into the Bank of America Building.

I can’t think of a social revolution, from the American revolution, to abolishing slavery, to the civil rights movement, to India’s freeing itself from imperialist England, that has not had associated violence. Not that I condone it, but it is a fact. Massive social change begets reactive conservatives who are the Establishment, who beget more zealous proponents of the movement’s cause. Suppression begets escalating violence.

I strongly oppose ALF’s raids where they “liberate” animals that will be killed for financial gain, and are left to fend for themselves to die by starvation or by predation. 90% of all displaced wildlife die soon after relocation, therefore, what chance does a “liberated” mink have in Iowa? Their argument that given a choice, the animals would rather live in freedom dying of starvation rather than being killed by an electric prod is totally anthropomorphic and a residual of specism.

But I do applaud ALF’s ability to bring the public’s attention to the suffering of animal industry killing. I also applaud other animal welfare leaders who have the courage to publicly oppose the animal terrorism act as has Charlotte Laws.

I also applaud those who are messengers for ALF and animal sanctity, such as Jerry Vlasak, who have faced possible death at the hands of sealers and who now face the prospect of imprisonment for propagating the doctrine that all life is sacred. I am ashamed that, out of fear, I have not voiced my support for them earlier.

As a past Buddhist priest, I have seen the failure of the faith in the-evolution-of-conscience proponents to bring about change in attitudes about animal abuse and killing. Some monks in many Asian countries eat meat and see nothing wrong with it. That the religion of peace for the past 2,500 years cannot increase compassion towards animals, does not support the methods of evolution-of-conscience theorists.

I just wish ALF would think more about the consequences before committing acts of economic or other violence that may hurt the animals more than they drive lower-level animal killers out of business. I also urge them to forswear the sewer politics and methods used by ADL; these methods rob them of the moral high ground.

I also fear that in adopting violence as a modus operandi, they will lose their own compassion and degenerate into a movement of thugs. Then again, perhaps thugs are necessary. I don’t know. Teach me. Dialogue about this. My blog is open for the expression of all viewpoints.


Anonymous said...

Man is only beginning his evolution and is still primitive. How can we expect men to respect animals when they don't respect themselves or other people? Mankind as a whole is a greedy agent who cares nothing for the environment or animals. I think it will only be when mankind is facing extinction that we will sit up and take note of our acts. Will it be too late, probably so.

Anonymous said...

Good post. You spelled Vlasak wrong. I support animal welfare, activists, rescuers, protestors...the whole lot. I just don't support people who commit physical or psychological violence against people or animals. After being on the receiving end of some human hate, I totally feel for those victims. I don't even think it's that effective. I agree that ALF needs to think about what's best for the animals when they "liberate" them. Find them a good home. I would prefer it if ALF did acts which weren't illegal which could still raise the social consciousness about the plight of animals. How about guerilla art, performance art, songs, articles, books, movies, positive events, vegan festivals, positive media stunts like skydiving off a building with a banner that says "I love animals," doing a nude protest against fur... Why do they have to be so negative and hurtful?