In October, police in Great Britain reported that Animal Liberation Front extremists mailed anonymous letters to dozens of construction and decorating companies warning them of dire consequences if they participated in Oxford University’s planned construction of a new research facility.
The letter warned companies that they would participate in the construction and design of the building “at your own peril.”
Animal Liberation Front spokesman Robin Webb approved of the letters, telling The Telegraph,
If they are supplying Oxford University in any way and through that helping the progress of the proposed facility then they can be considered a target.
Police had a different view. A police spokesman told The Press Association,
It is believed the letters are part of a campaign by animal rights extremists who are trying to prevent work by Oxford University to build new laboratories. Although everyone is entitled to an opinion about this very emotive issue, it is just not acceptable to act in a way which intimidates other people and threatens their livelihood.
Animal rights group threatens builders over new Oxford labs. Rosie Murray-West, Telegraph, October 12, 2005.
Threats posted to Oxford lab contractors. Press Association, October 11, 2005.
Recently I mentioned and Irish campaign to end hare coursing in that country. Recently the Animal Liberation Front has threatened to firebomb the supporters of hare coursing events.
One of their targets is JP McManus, a millionaire currency trader who is also owns numerous race horses. McManus also sponsors hare coursing.
Robin Webb told the Irish Examiner that he had “very strong indications” that ALF had acquired incendiary devices to use against those sponsoring hare coursing. The Irish Examiner quoted Webb as saying,
ALF members will have no problem carrying out an arson attack on any of his properties.
At the beginning of January, ALF activists spread nails and tacks on a field used for hare coursing. They also placed incendiary devices around the field, but they did not detonate.
Activists threaten to firebomb hare coursing events. John Breslin, Irish Examiner, January 24, 2005.
Robin Webb, longtime animal rights extremist and UK spokesman for the Animal Liberation Front, went on record in September as saying that children are legitimate targets of animal rights extremism.
In Sept. 19 article in the Sunday Herald, Webb was quoted as dismissing criticism of animal rights extremists’ practice of targeting children and spouses of animal researchers,
Some say it is morally unacceptable but it is equally unacceptable to use animals in experiments. The children of those scientists are enjoying a lifestyle built on the blood and abuse of innocent animals. Why should they be allowed to close the door on that and sit down and watch TV and enjoy themselves when animals are suffering and dying because of the actions of the family breadwinner? They are a justifiable target for protest.
No Compromise recently ran a telling interview with Animal Liberation Front press officer Robin web about the roll of terrorism in the animal rights movement. Webb told the magazine (emphasis added),
The Animal Liberation Front, together with more radical groups such as the Animal Rights Militia and Justice Department, is the hard cutting edge of the war against abuse and exploitation of the weak and innocent, irrespective of gender, race or species.
. . .
The third policy is to take every reasonable precaution not to harm or endanger life, either human or non-human.
Anyone, so long as they follow at least a vegetarianÂ—but preferably veganÂ—lifestyle, can go out and undertake an action that falls within those policies and claim it as the Animal Liberation Front. There is no hierarchy; there are no leaders. There is just a compulsion to follow your heart in pursuit of justice. That is why the A.L.F. cannot be smashed, it cannot be effectively infiltrated, it cannot be stopped. You, each and every one of you: you are the A.L.F.
And if someone wishes to act as the Animal Rights Militia or the Justice Department? Simply put, the third policy of the A.L.F. no longer applies.
As this web site has repeatedly said, it is incorrect to think of the ALF, ARM and Justice Department as groups. Instead they are little more than brand names for specific actions that are likely taken by overlapping group of activists.
Burn down a laboratory and nobody is injured? Claim it in the name of the ALF. Want to send razor blades to the homes of medical researchers? Fine, just make sure you label it as a Justice Department action.
Instead of thinking of these groups out there organizing to carry out activities, animal rights terrorism and extremism is better conceived as, in general, small groups of extremists who pick and choose a la carte from these brands depending on the outcome of their activities. There is no ALF dedicated to not harming people as opposed to an ARM that has no problem composing assassination lists. Instead there is simply a hardcore of animal rights extremism that picks and chooses these names for their own purposes.
In fact Webb and activist David Hammond were arrested in 1994 and charged with possession of a sawed-off shotgun. Later Hammond and Webb had a falling out, and The Observer reported in 1998 that,
Earlier, ALF defector David Hammond claimed Webb was the secret force behind the pro-killing group, the Justice Department. He said the outwardly respectable ALF spokesman had even offered him a sawn-off shotgun in a Sussex lay-by and asked if he knew Colin Blakemore – an Oxford professor who is at the top of the Justice Department’s hit-list.
A British group called Save the Newchurch Guinea Pigs sent out a release in August announcing plans for a September 6 demonstration to commemorate the 1999 theft from a research facility of 600 guinea pigs by the Animal Liberation Front.
According to the press release (emphasis added),
On September the 6th we will be gathering to remember the 600 guinea pigs rescued by the ALF from those gruesome sheds; we will be remembering the 2,500 guinea pigs that Chris Hall killed with his bare hands after that victorious raid; we will be remembering Dave Blenkinsop and all those in prison for making a difference to the lives of subjugated animals and we will be remembering all the human and non human victims of the accursed vivisection industry.
Blenkinsop, of course, is the Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty extremist currently serving more than 10 years in jail for, among other things, assaulting Huntingdon Life Science’s managing director Brian Cass with a pickaxe handle.
According to the Birmingham Post, more than 150 people showed up for this protest. Despite openly celebrating Blenkinsop, a Save the Newchurch Guinea Pig representative who would only give his first name, John, whined that animal rights activists were unfairly portrayed as terrorists,
The word terrorist is bandied around too often. Demonstration and peaceful protest is part of everyday life and we are stigmatized for it. We are being branded for being compassionate. We give our lives to this campaign and some people will go to prison.
In “John’s” world, three people assaulting a man with pickaxe handles is a compassionate act for which activists are unfairly stigmatized.
It’s fitting then, that the other speaker of the event was ALF spokesman Robin Webb. Webb said,
At the very outset of this campaign we liberated 600 guinea pigs, some would say burgled, and placed them in permanent homes.
The ALF activities have also pursued acts of economic sabotage, damaged vehicles associated with the breeding of guinea pigs for vivisection.
I can’t predict what ALF activists will do, I have no prior knowledge of unlawful activities but their actions will continue so long as Darley Oaks Farm continues to breed guinea pigs for vivisection.
Of course, Webb too thinks assaulting people with wooden weapons is also perfectly appropriate. After the attack on Cass, Webb said,
This serves Brian Cass right and is totally justifiable. In fact he has got off lightly. I have no sympathy for him. I do not condemn this act. I condemn what Brian Cass does to animals. In fact, I would say I condone this. What surprises me is that this doesn’t happen more often.
Gee, it’s hard to imagine where the press gets the idea that animal rights activists are terrorists who condone violence.
Perspective: Sinister Face Of Guinea Pig Farm Protest Movement. Sarah Probert, Birmingham Post, September 8, 2003.
After previously vowing that he would not be pressured into pleading guilty to an offense he didn’t commit, Robin Webb enter a guilty plead to a charge of trespassing on the grounds of Huntingdon Life Sciences during a December 1 protest.
Webb entered the guilty plea after his lawyer failed to convince a judge to overturn the indictment against him. Webb was fined $1,000 by Superior Court Judge Edward M. Coleman.
Webb maintains he plead guilty simply to put the episode behind him,
I had absolutely no intention whatsoever of contravening a court order or any American law. I had to plead guilty for purely tactical reasons to bring this period of unwanted exile to an end.
. . .
I’ve been away from my home country, away from my family, for three months. [The court] refused to even allow me home for my birthday and the new year over a 10-day period. With that kind of vindictiveness — and it is undoubtedly vindictiveness on behalf of the court system here — I have had to succumb to what is nothing less than blackmail.
That’s pretty amusing talk coming from a spokesman for the Animal Liberation Front who has openly endorsed violence and intimidation by animal rights activists. In fact, Webb defended animal rights extremism in speeches he gave over the past couple months while his legal situation was being resolved.
In a speech given at Virginia Tech on February 20, 2003, for example, Webb defended animal rights terrorism saying,
We’re condemned to use imperfect methods in an imperfect world history will show that [animal rights activists] were right to break the law in pursuit of the ultimate liberation, animal liberation.
So in other words, Webb had no intention of violating the law while in the United States, but even if he had, the laws don’t apply to people like Webb whom only history can judge.
Webb also played nicely into PETA’s “Holocaust on a Plate” campaign, describing efforts to genetically modify animals thusly,
Genetic modification is one step toward what Hitler was trying to create in the concentration camps. To me, it’s becoming a caricature of the mad scientist.
As opposed to being a caricature of a logical argument, which much of the animal rights movement has been reduced to.