Against All odds
In 1984 the animal liberation movement enjoyed widespread public support and in that year anti-vivisection groups staged mass raids on six animal research laboratories. They searched for and found evidence of horrible cruelty at research premises belonging to Surrey University, I.C.I., Unilever, the Royal College of Surgeons, Bios and Wickham Research Laboratories. On several occasions evidence obtained in these raids was shown on headline television news, and on one occasion formed the basis of a cruelty charge against a laboratory.
The raids also resulted in over 80 people facing. criminal charges, and it was
not until June 1986 that the last of these charges was dealt with in the courts. On June 27th 1986, at Leicester Crown Court twenty four people were sent to prison for a total of forty one years for their part in an anti-vivisection raid on Unilevers multi-million pound research laboratory at Bedford.
This book traces the growth of the animal liberation movement from the early seventies, discusses the controversial Putting Animals into Politics campaign and details the major court cases arising out of the 1984 campaign. Finally we look at the development of the Animal Rights Militia and show how as mass support fell away a cult of militancy arose. In March 1986 the police raided homes in Sheffield, Liverpool and London, they arrested and charged 11 people with offences relating to incendiary devices. Most did not receive bail and it is expected that should they be convicted they will receive sentences of between five and eight years imprisonment. We ask what way forward now for a movement that has lost face with the public.
This book is vital reading for anyone inside the animal rights liberation movement, more importantly it is vital for anyone who wants to see an end to vivisection, but cannot stomach the ideology of the so-called hardline animal liberationists.
This booklet is dedicated to
Sally 2 years, Lesley- 6 months, Bev 2 years, Virginia 18 months, Nancy 6 months, Debbie 2 years, Delia 2 years, Peter 2 years, Eric 18 months, David 2 years, Paul 25 years, Karl 18 months, Duncan 2 years, Jim 2 years, Nick 2 years, Nigel 2 years, Alistair 18 months, Carl 18 months, Boris 6 months, Gary 18 months, Keith 2 years, Mike 18 months, Julian 12 months, Alan 2 years, and Sally 12-months.
The Unilever 25, jailed for compassion.
AGAINST ALL ODDS
Animal Liberation 1972-1986
Copyright 1986 by J.J. Roberts
The Animal Liberation Front
its actions against vivisection.
This article traces the history of the early anti-vivisection raids and shows how throughout the seventies the Band of Mercy and later the ALF were steadily growing in strength, setting the scene for the early eighties which was to see the advent of the mass movement for animal liberation.
The Northern Animal Liberation League the theory behind the actions.
While the ALF continued into the 80s relying on small cells of activists, the NALL called for large scale invasions of laboratory sites. We examine the very different aims of the NALL to those of the ALF, and pay tribute to this group who first called for theory and policies within the direct action animal movement.
NALL on Trial twelve months of decline.
Following their April 1984 raid on ICI the NALL were faced with a trial for Unlawful Assembly. After 12 months on bail awaiting trial, and the longest trial ever held in Cheshire, eighteen of the nineteen defendants were convicted and the NALL collapsed. We look at the NALL s response both to the trial and to the ICI campaign.
The South East Animal Liberation League the fall and the fightback.
The SEALL were formed in the summer of 1983 they were to survive as an organisation for less than, two years, but their impact and most importantly their response to the most overtly political trial in the history of the animal liberation movement leaves many lessons.
The Wickham 19 court report.
Here we detail the daily events of a trial that threatened to be the most damaging the animal liberation movement has ever seen, but which resulted in the acquittal of twelve of the nineteen defendants. It gives some insight into the workings of a crown court trial which, if people s freedom did not hang in the balance, would be considered a farce.
Unilever the forgotten trial.
In stark contrast to the Wickham 19 where people were acquitted despite having raided the laboratories, in this trial 24 people were sent to prison despite the fact that in some cases they had merely waved a banner while the laboratory was raided. Unilever shows the dangers of approaching a court case in a demoralised and fatalistic manner.
The Logic of Direct Action the role of defence campaigns.
The law is not impartial, it has always denied protection to commercially abused animals and has always been used to subdue protest. This article discusses how groups can respond to the use of criminal law against animal rights campaigns.
Changes in the Law a legal discussion.
This interview covers the Police and Criminal Evidence Act and the forthcoming Public Order Bill, it shows the far-reaching ways in which the new government proposals will criminalise traditional forms of protest.
The New Public Order Proposals the effect on animal rights groups.
The new laws are designed to limit organised opposition to government policy, but local animal rights groups need to respond with an increase rather than a decrease in their scope of activities.
ALF the way we were.
A rare insight into the thinking and strategy of an ALF cell operating in the early eighties. It shows how they planned and executed their raids.
Sabotage or Terror effective action or selfdelusion.
We discuss the ideas behind the Hunt Retribution Squad and the Animal Rights Militia and ask why have a small group of people adopted the media stereotype of animal rights fanatics?
The Seven Point Program a guide for action.
The anti-vivisection movement has seen the collapse of the political campaign, the degeneration of the popular direct action campaign and the waning of public support. The program rejects the failed ideologies and calls for a realistic alternative based on the strength of animal rights groups.
Glossary and further reading includes photograph references.
The Animal Liberation Front its actions against vivisection
Right from those days in the last century when vivisection began there have been, from time to time, people who have taken direct action against it. Now and again one hears tales of the rescue of animals from laboratories by intrepid individuals many decades ago but these were isolated incidents and did not form part of a campaign. The current campaign of direct action against vivisection has its origin only as far back as the early 1970 s.
It was only in 1972 that a few people involved in the Hunt Saboteurs Association decided to embark on a campaign of direct action against vehicles and other property used by the hunt. In order to do this, a group called the Band of Mercy was formed and proceeded to carry out raids on fox hunt kennels in the South of England.
In the autumn of 1973 members of the Band of Mercy decided that their campaign should expand to include all forms of animal abuse and during November two arson attacks were carried out (causing over 45,000 damage) on a laboratory being built for the Hoechst drug company at Milton Keynes.
The Band of Mercy then decided that its next major action would be against sealhunting boats on the Wash the following June, and very little activity took place until that time. During this period of quiet the group received inside information about the whereabouts of laboratory animal suppliers and following the successful destruction of the seal hunters most important vessel an intensive campaign against these firms began.
Eight raids were carried out on the premises of lab animal suppliers between June and August 1974, mostly involving damage to property, usually vehicles. The one raid where animals were rescued had an unexpectedly successful outcome with the owner of a Wiltshire guinea pig farm deciding to close her business down (out of fear of people coming in the night) after half a dozen inmates had been taken.
The last series of raids resulted in the arrest of two activists who were caught while preparing to do damage at oxford Laboratory Animal Colonies near Bicester and with their subsequent imprisonment the activities of the Band of Mercy virtually ground to a halt.
1975 was enlivened only once by Mike Huskisson s famous rescue of two of the ICI smoking beagles. He was later charged with Burglary and then acquitted after ICI bottled out, fearful of the adverse publicity the trial would bring them.
In June 1976 the ALF was born with the remnants of the Band of Mercy and a couple of dozen new activists coming together to create the new organisation. The publicity gained through the imprisonment of the Band of Mercy members and the smoking beagles rescue had galvanised support for the direct action struggle.
The handful of veterans of the Band of Mercy blinked in surprise at this new phenomena. Up until this time there had been virtually no support for their activities from the rest of the animal protection movement and two Band of Mercy members had been thrown off the HSA committee (they were later reinstated) when it was suspected they were involved in illegal activities .
The ALF took up where the Band of Mercy left off, and carried out ten raids6 against vivisection targets in the remainder of 1976. Action was, once again, mainly against the property of animal suppliers.
The first ALF animal rescue took place when three pregnant beagles were taken from the Pfizer laboratory at Sandwich in a well planned raid in which activists crossed a river in a stolen boat to avoid security guards. Later in the year 13 beagles were rescued from a lab animal supplier in mid Wales.
In November a professionally executed break-in at the Research Defence Society s London offices yielded much information and caused a great deal of consternation amongst vivisectors who now feared that their homes would be attacked.
Over three years would pass, however, before the first raid on the home of an animal experimenter.
Early ALF members were, by and large, opposed to such activity and imposed restraints on their actions which do not exist within the ALF today. During one raid ALF members found a considerable amount of money in an office and, rather than take it to finance further raids, tore the notes in half and left them for fear of being considered common thieves.
On another occasion an activist who jumped upon a vivisection breeder s reading glasses, which were found during a break-in, was severly rebuked by his fellow raiders. Many activists at the time were only happy with damage if it was done to property directly connected with animal abuse. The idea of more general economic sabotage had not yet come into being.
In 1977 the ALF carried out 14 raids against vivisection and liberated over 200 animals from laboratory suppliers.
The hardest hitting ALF raid so far was carried out when activists broke into the Condiltox lab in North London and caused 80,000 damage. Quite soon afterwards the lab went out of business.
An American group calling themselves Undersea Railroad released two porpoises from a Hawaii research lab at about the same time.
By this time there was considerably more support for the ALF amongst other animal protection groups, especially from the HSA and the BUAV, but the National Anti-Vivisection Society continued to condemn the activists in its publications.
In late 1977 and early 1978 the authorities struck a telling blow against the ALF with the imprisonment of half a dozen of the most active members. For a while this had a crippling effect on the organisation with several other good activists being frightened off and it was not until well into 1979 that a recovery began to be made.
Even then it was action abroad rather than in England which was getting the attention. The American ALF carried out their first raid in March, posing as lab workers to rescue five animals from New York University Medical Centre, and on Christmas night the newly formed Dutch ALF rescued 12 beagles from a laboratory at Zeist.
In the meantime a French group calling themselves Commando Lynx rescued 57 dogs from a lab animal supplier in Pourrain.
The French direct action set-up was very different than that in other countries, with ad-hoc commandos being formed to carry out specific actions rather than the same organisation claiming responsibility for a number of raids. Unlike the ALF, the French commandos were opposed to damage against property. Many of their early activists were not vegetarians. Today there is a French ALF which operates seperately from the commandos and takes action against all animal abuse.
Early in the year there was a split in the ranks of the activists regarding the use of fire and ALF policy swung first against arson and then back in favour of it, a decision which was celebrated in August by a blaze at the Essex offices of lab supplier Tuck and Sons, which caused 20,000 damage.
This was the second ALF raid on the Tucks, and many more attacks on the premises were yet to come. In 1980 there were about half a dozen ALF raids against vivisection targets including the first attack on a vivisector s home when Wellcome animal torturer George Sabey had his garage daubed with paint the first of many attacks to come against Wellcome vivisectionists. It was not however the ALF, but the Northern Animal Liberation League which hit the headlines that year with their raid on the Agricultural Research Council s Animal Physiology Institute at Babraham in June.
The NALL, a regional umbrella group for animal rights activists in North West England, did comparatively little damage during this action but the fact that over 200 people were involved in the raid, and the very revealing photos taken of grotesque experiments on farm animals, ensured widespread national publicity.
The policy and tactics of the NALL were very different to those of the ALF, with the emphasis on exposing vivisection , laboratories to the public rather than causing damage. They believed in involving large numbers of activists in a raid whereas the ALF used the minimum necessary.
In July animal rights activists were suspected when a house at Tadworth, Surrey, due to be converted into a Beecham s vivisection lab, was destroyed by fire.
1981 began with a night of action against the homes of animal experimenters in various parts of the country. The ALF claimed that as many as 40 attacks, mainly with paint, had taken place on the houses and. cars of vivisectionists. A further 18 attacks on vivisection targets were due to take place before the end of the year.
These included a raid on Wickham Laboratories in March, when 11 beagles were rescued (and on which the famous picture-used on ALF leaflets-of an activist holding one of the dogs, was taken) and an action two months later at a farm near Doncaster belonging to pet stealer Ellis Fox, in which ten dogs and several other animals were taken. ALF activist Sue Merrikin was charged with robbery in connection with this raid but was finally acquitted on the direction of the trial judge.
The first ALF raid in Canada occurred when several windows at the McGill University animal lab in Montreal were broken and the Scottish ALF opened their account with attacks on Glasgow Technical College and the home of a vivisector in Bearsden. In December West German activists rescued 48 dogs from a lab in Hamburg.
Blackie, a mongrel dog rescued during a NALL raid on Sheffield University s animal holding centre the previous year, was reunited with her former owners in April, providing more evidence of pet stealing for vivisection.
There was a degree of ill-feeling between the NALL and the ALF with some NALL organisers disliking the decentralised ALF structure and the large amount of autonomy given to local ALF groups. They were opposed to the idea of six or eight individuals creeping about and intent on doing their own thing (NALL letter to BUAV May 1981). Some ALF members on the other hand, very much wanted people to do their own thing and thought that the NALL s approach was discouraging activists from organising and carrying out their own activities.
There was a further increase in anti-vivisection raids in 1982 and in many ways the year was a landmark for animal liberation action.
ALF activists decided to take a leaf out of the NALL book and to carry out
large scale raids in the daytime. The first of these occurred in February when activists smashed their way into Safepharm labs near Derby and were photographed by the press and filmed by T.V. rescuing rabbits. Several activists, identified by the police from press photos, recieved suspended sentences for their part in the raid.
The Safepharm action turned out to be a curtain-raiser for what was to follow8 just a week later. In a large scale day-light raid, codenamed Operation Valentine (the date was 14 February), dozens of activists stormed the Life Science Research labs at Stock, Essex, while a demo went on outside. A variety of animals were rescued, 76,000 damage was caused and 60 people arrested. Eight activists were later sent to prison for their part in the raid.
Operation Valentine attracted a great deal of publicity, caused considerable loss to Life Science (40 of their employees were laid off) and won many new recruits for direct action but it was to be the last large scale ALF daylight raid. In retrospect there seemed to be no advantage in carrying out such an action in daylight, the extra publicity being outweighed by the greater risk of arrest, and it was evident that, when serious damage occurred, it was much more difficult for activists to pretend that they were just part of the peaceful demonstration - indeed, in the Valentine case, several of the peaceful demonstrators ended up charged with conspiracy.
So it was back to Creeping about in the night but such creeping rescued 12 beagles from Boots Laboratories near Nottingham and closed down Leicester University Psychology Department s animal laboratory after a rescue and damage raid later in the year.
The Boots raid was followed by a leafletting campaign against the company
organised by the BUAV and other antivivisection groups. Boots made a serious mistake when they put a stop to this by means of a court injunction, for their chemist shops have been a target ever since, with dozens of them being damaged.
The national demonstration against Porton Down in April, organised by the BUAV, ended with 2,000 demonstrators invading land belonging to the MOD laboratory and crossing several fences before being finally repulsed by the police.
For a while after this many activists attempted to turn national demonstrations into direct action events ( 2,000 damage was done to the fence and alarm system at the Huntingdon Research Centre during a demo in August) but the police soon caught on to the tactic and it eventually died out. It was very sad at the time to see dozens of demonstrators hurling themselves to almost certain arrest at the massed ranks of the police surrounding laboratories when that night, or the night after, on an ALF raid they could have rescued animals or caused considerable damage to property. But more on this later.
ALF members carried out a somewhat unusual action in June when eight guinea pigs being sent for vivisection were rescued from a Bournemouth to London train.
This type of action has been repeated several times since.
Direct action against vivisection in Australia began in November with a group called Animal Freedom Fighters rescuing three dogs from a pound which was due to send them to Sydney University labs. After a few raids the AFF died out, their place being taken today by a group called Action for Animals.
1982 was also the year in which the ALF Supporters Group was formed a long awaited opportunity for the non-active to help the activists.
The following year, 1983, can be remembered for the large amount of damage done in raids on laboratories both in England and abroad. 125,000 to the Hazelton lab at Munster West Germany (one of at least five German raids carried out that year, mainly by the Autonome TierschutlerAutonomous Animal Defenders) and 100,000 to a cancer research lab being built at South Mimms in Hertfordshire took only third and fourth place in that year s damage league. The 1 million destruction of a Parke Davis lab in
Cambridge in September still remains the UK record, beaten only by 1.25 million damage done to a Utrecht lab by the Dutch ALF.
Of the 40 odd raids against vivisection that year the rescue of 15 dogs, all
obviously former pets, from Cambridge University s Laundry Farm holding centre was probably the most well publicised, the only sad aspect being the jailing, over a year later of an activist for driving the getaway van.
Early in the year the Animal Rights Militia sent letter bombs to various animal abusers, including several vivisectors. None of them exploded but the action was severely criticised by the rest of the movement.
An even more active 1984 saw a paint attack on the home of David Mellor (the junior Home Office minister responsible for animal experiments) and 50,000 damage and 40 rats rescued in a raid on the Institute of Psychology in Camberwell. The first, and so far only, raid in Switzerland took place when five mice were rescued from a Zurich laboratory in Febuary. West German activists raided a lab in Ahrensburg to take away files and 550 guinea-pigs.
In May the American ALF raided a research lab at the University of Pennsylvania, causing considerable damage and taking away videos made by the vivisectors themselves. From these films Unnecessary Fuss was made, which revealed the full horror of head injury experiments on monkeys and the callous attitude of the vivisectors. This evidence was later instrumental in causing the laboratory to close down.
The first action in Eire occurred in June when a group called Green Mole
rescued several animals from the Eastern Health Board labs in Dublin.Further actions in Eire were claimed by the ALF.
July 1984 saw the first of the controversial contamination actions when ALF activists spiked animal-tested Sunsilk shampoo with small quantities of bleach.
Considerable care was taken that no harm would come to the public but the shampoo manufacturers, Elida Gibbs, lost a great deal of money because of the removal of their products from the shelves. This was followed by the famous Mars bars hoax in November. Again very controversial, but resulting in confectionery companies no longer being prepared to fund animal research.
The Mars bars incident prompted the announcement from the Home Office that a special police squad had been formed at Scotland Yard to hunt down animal rights fanatics . They failed to catch the Mars bars maniacs but the more coordinated State response to animal liberation groups has had its successes.
Similar organisations to the NALL had been set up in several parts of England and in 1984 they became particularly active. A raid by the South East Animal Liberation League on the Royal College of Surgeons lab near Orpington led to the eventual conviction of the RCS on a charge of cruelty to a monkey, with documents from the raid being used as evidence the conviction was later overturned by the Appeal Court.
SEALL were also responsible for three co-ordinated raids on Wickham Labs and associated premises in Hampshire in late October. Nineteen activists were charged with conspiracy in connection with this action and seven of them were sent to prison in December 1985.
Conspiracy charges, against 41 people, also followed a raid by the Eastern
Animal Liberation League on the Unilever labs near Bedford in which documents were taken and 50,000 damage caused. Millions of pounds spent by Unilever on perimeter security two years earlier failed to keep out the activists who cut through the fence with a powerdriven tile cutter.
The liberation leagues were now departing somewhat from original policy and causing considerably more damage but the price was more serious charges against those arrested. The result was that 1984 saw the collapse of the Northern Eastern and South Eastern leagues, and a change of tactics by the Central and Southern leagues.
A group called the Green Brigades detonated a bomb which severely damaged the premises of a lab animal dealer at Lewarde in Northern France. The dealer suffered only slight injuries but the group were suspected of planting a bomb which severely injured a policeman when it exploded outside the home of another French animal dealer the following year. Like the French commandoes the Green Brigades are purely an anti-vivisection group and are not vegetarians.
It was the year that trouble erupted between the ALF and the BUAV. The BUAV committee had been taken-over by radicals a couple of years earlier and had declared support for direct action, allowing the ALF press office to operate from part of their premises. However in the spring of 1984 members of the BUAV Executive Committee and senior staff took exception to the plans of some ALF members to support more sympathetic people for election to the BUAV committee.
A group of BUAV Executive members convened an emergency meeting and, using their objections to certain articles in the ALF Supporters Group newsletter as an excuse, ordered the immediate expulsion of the ALF press officer. The basis of the dispute was really direct action versus political campaigning and it still simmers to this day. The ALF press office is now happy to be away from the BUAV which has continued to be torn apart by internal strife.
The SEALL had pioneered the use of video to film raids, and thereby gain extra publicity, and the idea was soon taken up by the ALF, whose Merseyside group videoed many of their well planned raids in 1985. The Central Animal Liberation League also used video to illustrate their July 1985 raid on an Oxford University lab animal holding centre in which over 30 dogs were rescued.
In early 1985 ALF activists carried out co-ordinated attacks on the homes of eight individuals connected with the Wellcome vivisection labs at Beckenham. The action caused much controversy and was blown out of all proportion by the media because petrol bombs were thrown at the garages of two of the targets.
At the begining of April a group calling themselves Operation Greystoke
rescued 17 baboons from a laboratory at Gif-sur-Yvette in France. Some of the activists involved later spoke out in the French media against the ALF, whom they accused of being terrorists. Like the commandos before them the Greystoke activists were opposed to property damage and actions against the meat industry.
Later in the month a record number of animals were saved when about 1,000 animals were rescued in a raid on the University of California by the American ALF.
The Essex ALF had developed a good method of bypassing certain alarm systems by drilling and cutting through the doors and walls of buildings and this was used to good effect in yet another raid on Tuck and Sons when 10,000 damage was caused. Many useful documents were taken, including Tuck s headed notepaper which was used to write letters to his suppliers and customers, causing him untold trouble. The group used the same method to break into the Brocades laboratories near Braintree in November when damage was done and 150 animals rescued.
Very few anti-vivisection raids had previously taken place in Wales but Welsh activists did it in style when they attacked two Swansea laboratories on the same night in September, causing a total of 18,000 damage.
In September the Animal Rights Militia used explosive devices to destroy two cars belonging to vivisectionists from the BIBRA labs at Carshalton, Surrey. The Militia had resurfaced in December 1984 and have since carried out several actions including the placing of four bombs under vivisectors cars in early January 1986.
These were all defused by bomb disposal experts following warnings by the ARM, but the group have threatened to injure and kill vivisectors in their campaign.
In the 12 years since organised direct action against vivisection began nearly 6,000 animals have been rescued from laboratories and suppliers, and several million pounds worth of damage done in the 400-plus raids which have taken place. Direct action has also played a major part in forcing the closure of several vivisection establishments and has, without doubt, been influential in reducing the official figures for animal experiments in the UK these were previously on the increase all the time, but have gone down by about two million in recent years.
The price for all this has been paid by the two dozen or so activists who have been imprisoned for anti-vivisection actions and by many others who have been fined or faced other penalties. A large number of ALF people have not been brought before the courts through clever detective work but have got into trouble because of their own admisions to the police. This is becoming a serious problem and in 1986 we are seeing for the first time the appalling situation where an activist once caught is prepared to make a witness statement against their ex- colleagues.
The attitude of the national anti-vivisection societies to the activists has been fickle to say the least. The NAVS now speak out less than previously against direct action but Animal Aid are not so supportive as they used to be, seeming to dislike damage to property. The BUAV claim to support the activists, but in reality they have only courted favour with the activists in an attempt to woo them into supporting the doomed parliamentry strategy. North of the border the Scottish Anti Vivisection Society is very sympathetic, to most actions at least, but the far richer Scottish Society for the Prevention of Vivisection is much less so.
The problem with the national societies is that, in general, they will only voice support for direct action when it serves their own purposes, in other words only when it can be used as a boost to the political campaign. Real support would be shown if they were prepared to take actions which made it more likely that more people would get involved in direct action. The national societies dislike in particular the recent change in attitude of the ALF, which is becoming increasingly outspoken in its rejection of political campaigning and its belief that the movement will have to bring the vivisection industry to its knees by economic sabotage rather than lobbying parliament. Anarchist ideas about people changing things themselves, rather than by means of politicians, and the historic failure of political campaigning have both encouraged the rapid growth of this point of view.
Having fallen out with the ALF, several of the national societies in particular the BUAV have preferred to voice support for the Animal Liberation Leagues. But the day of the Leagues, or at least of the style of action they traditionally carry out, may well be over. Their more centralised method of organisation has made them greater prey to police surveillance and their daylight operations expose activists to greater chance of capture, which is now resulting in far more serious charges than ever before. The idea of just exposing places, as opposed to destroying them, and of causing only minimal damage is coming under increasing criticism from some quarters.
So what of the future? Whether or not the Animal Rights Militia will carry out their threat to kill or injure vivisectors remains to be seen. It also remains to be seen if this would harm the movement as some people claim. It is vitally important, however that the ARM do not harm innocent people in their actions as this, like the maiming of the French policeman, could prove potentially disastrous for the direct action movement.
Whatever the actions of the ARM, they are likely to remain relatively small in number and the main thrust of the movement will continue to be the economic sabotage campaign. Whether this is eventually successful will ultimately depend on the number of actions carried out, which in turn will depend on the number of activists involved and, more importantly, the number of activists prepared to get involved in organising actions.
A major problem for the movement is that too many activists are rather like a certain animal themselves the sheep. It has been relatively easy for the Animal Liberation Leagues to involve in their raids large numbers of people who have taken no part in the planning and just follow instructions. But ask those people to organise and carry out their own activities and you get a very different story. At national demonstrations people have been prepared to form a howling mob and make vain attempts to enter laboratories guarded by hundreds of police. But the mob can never be the answer. It is just a way for pseudo-activists, who are too mentally lazy to plan their own actions, to make believe they are doing something.
The direct action movement is starved of funds, mainly because these are all in the hands of the national societies and lack of money without doubt reduces the amount of effective action. But the main problem is not lack of finance, but lack of initiative. Unless there are hundreds if not thousands, of groups all over the country (and in all other countries) organising and carrying out their own activities, we will never put an end to vivisection or any other form of animal persecution.
All of the actions of the last 12 years have been organised and carried out by ordinary people with enough determination and common-sense to see the whole thing through. It is well within the means of virtually everyone in the movement to become involved in direct action. But we have to be resolute if animal torture is ever to be ended.
The Northern Animal Liberation League the theory behind its actions
The Northern Animal Liberation League was the first regional co-ordinating body for direct action in the country, organising mass actions against hunts in a way that had never before been envisaged. In 1980 they organised their first (and in retrospect probably their most successful) raid against the now notorious Babraham Agricultural Research Centre. Over 200 activists staged an occupation and gained entry to the farm units where pigs with holes in their heads, and cows with holes in their sides, were found and photographed. Arrogantly independent their structure and tactics ensured for a time that the cities of Sheffield, Manchester and Liverpool became the best organised centres for animal rights in the coun-
NALL thinking and policy was to inspire the formation of many new non-
aligned animal rights groups and spawned the Western, Eastern, Central, Southern and, most importantly, the South East Animal Liberation League.
The NALL policy was to involve as many people as possible in campaigns to expose the animal abuse to the public. The fact that their main aim was to expose vivisection to the public allowed them to portray themselves as public guardians.
Since the law prevented the RSPCA or even your elected M.P. from inspecting laboratories then it could only be through groups such as NALL that the public would have access to the facts of what really went on behind the locked doors of Britain s labs.
Factory farming was of particular interest to the NALL as it allowed them to develop the theme that they were acting in the public interest. In December 1982 they raided a turkey broiler unit in Yorkshire along with photos they also took evidence of additives mixed into the turkey feed. Within days they had produced photo sets of the cruel conditions in the broiler units and an analysis of the carcinogenic additives in the feed. In the last few days of Christmas shopping, the NALL presented up-to-the-minute evidence both of the cruelty to animals and the danger to public health resulting from factory farming of the traditional Christmas dinner.
The NALL often attempted to take an impartial view of the facts claiming that they were seeking the truth, and the more their campaign uncovered the more concerned they became. The NALL saw their role as presenting the evidence to the public, it would then be for the public to judge. The NALL always felt they had a duty to the public and presented a high profile in stark contrast to the animal abusers who conspired behind a cloak of secrecy.
A particular example of this policy was when a vivisector passed a NALL stall in Altrincham some years ago. He was challenged to a debate before the public in the busy shopping centre. He was asked to explain his work at UMIST and justify what was being done to the animals in photos on the NALL s leaflets and posters.
He said there was no point in talking to people there as they would not understand his work and he refused to allow the public to make an appointment to see him at his work. At this point the NALLers appointed a judge and prosecutor, the gathering crowd were asked to act as jury and the amazed vivisector was on trial in his own town centre. Eventually the NALL had to shepherd him away, as the increasingly angry professor enraged the crowd with his arrogant assertion that he did not have to explain himself to them.
Central to the NALL philosophy was the need to obtain and present to the
public evidence of animal abuse. The raid itself was a means to an end, not an end in itself. Once evidence had been obtained it was necessary to launch an effective street campaign with it. For this reason the NALL insisted that there was a role for everybody. This meant that petitions, jumble sales, sponsored walks, debates, stalls and public meetings were an integral part of NALL policy, after all there was little point in obtaining evidence but failing to present it to the public.
The NALL created for the first time an animal rights group which, although geared towards direct action by its nature, required more active supporters than militant activists. The NALL required support from the public both in donations on stalls and in terms of new members, this direct appeal to the public for support rather than those already involved in animal welfare or animal rights groups helped to shape NALL thinking and strategy. It .was important to take direct action only within the bounds of public support and necessary that each act of direct action should produce results which would justify it to the public. The NALL were concerned that they should not be seen as fanatics, but reasonable people whose actions were well planned, perfectly logical, and if anything remarkably restrained.
Central to the NALL concept of a raid was their rule that there was to be no more than minimum damage necessary to obtain entry, that no animal should be released or taken, and that no equipment be destroyed. This often caused confusion and at one time earned the NALL the nickname of the File Liberation League . However, the NALL must be seen in its true context, a group recruiting from the public directly into its ranks, a group that believed that its actions were geared towards mobilising opposition to vivisection and a group that did not judge itself by its militancy, but by its ability to involve as many members of the public as possible in its attempts to expose vivisection.
The rules which were imposed on NALL raids did not restrict action against vivisection, rather it made the raids possible. The majority of those attending a NALL raid, far from feeling restricted by the rules, felt secure that they were only trespassing. The lack of damage, burglary and theft charges ensured two things if no one was arrested on the day the action would not be serious enough a crime to warrant a CID team to track down those responsible, and if people were arrested on the day it was likely that the small amount of damage caused could not be attributed to a joint venture and therefore at worst Public Order charges would follow. Public Order law is generally dealt with in a magistrate s court and if there is no threat of violence it is considered a minor offence.
It was the NALL s belief that they were after the evidence that would itself
eventually force change and so they laid themselves open to the minimum level of criminality to obtain what they wanted. It was,in short, common-sense.
The reason the NALL was so relevant in the early 80s was because its ideas
matched the situation at that time. The rising number of active hunt saboteurs and the development of street campaigning initiated by Animal Aid established the concept of active groups against all forms of animal abuse These new groups were looking for something useful to do, they were unlikely to launch straight into overtly criminal actions so the NALL theories were readily adopted, though seldom understood. The NALL provided useful experience for the first-time activist and produced some spectacular results. People involved in NALL activity certainly thought their efforts were rewarded by the results obtained.
The public knowledge of animal abuse was also at the stage where a NALL type of campaign was likely to be succesful, the public were uninformed about animal abuse, therefore presenting information directly to the public received a lot of support.
Thirdly the police were at a loss as to what to do with NALL supporters. They invariably turned up too late to spot anyone doing anything, were confused as to what, if any, law had been broken and either arrested no one, or arrested people who could be convicted of no more than Public Order offences. It was also relevant that at that time any charges to follow would be decided at the level of the local police station, whereas now decisions about charges are often refered directly to the Home Office. The Home Office will also have issued guidelines as to how to deal with animal rights supporters which are designed to ensure more convictions, this was not the case when the NALL were at their most active.
The NALL policy was very suitable because it was attractive to those who were concerned about animal abuse but did not want to risk imprisonment, it gained widespread public support when it presented its evidence to the public, and finally at that time the police did not consider the NALL serious enough to need stopping.
In 1984 the Northern, Eastern and South Eastern Animal Liberation Leagues launched a wave of attacks against leading vivisection laboratories. These raids obtained large amounts of evidence but resulted in the judicial destruction of the leagues. By 1984 things had changed and the traditional NALL raid could no longer exist, labs were better protected, the police faster to respond, and the charges more serious. On top of all that the targets were the Big Ones .
The ICI and Unilever raids suffered from an uncharacteristic level of criminal damage, this was partly because the minimum damage required to gain entry was considerable. The seriousness of the raids had increased but many of the participants still believed that they would only face Public Order charges if they were caught, despite the fact that they were intent on causing criminal damage. No-one was prepared for the serious charges which followed these raids.
The problem was that both the ICI and Unilever raids were planned on the
basis of a theory of action which was simply no longer appropriate. The South East Animal Liberation League responded by organising raids on the Royal College of Surgeons, Bios and Wickham labs in a far more professional way, using highly organised teams. The SEALL developed the tactic of the raid but unfortunately no-one has yet developed the broad-based campaign strategy which. was at the heart of NALL s initial success.
NALL on trial twelve months of decline
1984 was a watershed for the animal liberation leagues in that year their policies produced a flurry of raids against major vivisection laboratories and brought quality video recordings of the conditions inside onto the national television news, bringing the plight of laboratory animals into the front room of millions of British homes. However the actions also resulted in an unprecedented number of arrests, by the end of the year over 80 league supporters were facing trial.
In April the NALL kicked off with a 400 strong nationally co-ordinated raid against the Alderly Edge research premises of ICI, where some years earlier the ALF had rescued a number of the beagles destined for experiments designed to prove that smoking was unrelated to cancer. Alderly Edge is home territory for the NALL and the raid was the pinnacle of NALL achievement, something they had worked towards since their inception some five years before. However by the spring of 1984 the NALL was a different group from that which had last launched a full scale raid against a laboratory back in 1980 when they broke into Sheffield University s Lodge Moor Laboratory. The NALL had broadened its base. It had become a larger, more organised co-ordinating group, but it had failed to maintain an active core of experienced members. A series of internal divisions, often resulting in the expulsion of active supporters, the move towards occupations of laboratory grounds rather than break-ins, the abandonment of regular hunt sabotage and a general loss of momentum meant that the NALL activists were either the remnants of an earlier more dynamic group or newly involved, young and inexperienced.
This lack of experience plus a failure to comprehend the sheer scale of the raid left many NALLers ill prepared for the day s events, shocked by the police reaction, and stunned by the reality of 12 months on bail awaiting a trial that lasted three months and which could have resulted in severe custodial sentences.
The NALL prided itself on looking after its members, but on April 24th 1984 it was almost exclusively NALL members who were arrested, while groups from outside the North West arrived, broke in and left the premises with few problems.
NALL strategy and detailed planning had ensured the undetected arrival of hundreds of raiders and the relative safety of those who had entered and left the grounds quickly and efficiently. It was the local groups playing a minor role in the days events that found themeselves in trouble. Most of those arrested came from NALL satellite groups such as Stockport Animal Aid, Merseyside Hunt Saboteurs, Preston Animal Rights Group, and the Oldham and Tameside Animal Liberation Leagues.
Inside Macclesfield police station many had a harrowing introduction to British justice. Sixteen year-old lads were stripped, subjected to intimate body searches and then slapped around by police officers before being questioned. The police offered people a choice between making a statement incriminating themselves or having one invented for them. Less than half the defendants refused to make a statement and the majority confessed all. The police were also given the names of eight people who had not been arrested on the day, two of these were arrested, charged and subsequently convicted.
When the defendants were finally released from police custody they were charged with Criminal Damage and Unlawful Assembly with intent to burgle ICI.
This charge of Unlawful Assembly was very popular at the time with the Home Office who believed the charge was capable of turning participation in a disturbance into a major criminal offence punishable by a custodial sentence. It was being used extensively against members of the National Union of Mineworkers during the year-long pit strike. The charge is part of common law and had never been enacted by parliament, it has its roots in the Middle Ages but became more defined in the 18th century. The Home Office were attempting to use the law to make it a serious criminal offence to be involved in a mass protest where the law is breached.
The government were using this archaic law in situations for which it could
never have been intended. They were at the time frightened of the possibility of growth in large scale direct action, but had not had time to draft and enact new criminal legislation. Hundreds of striking miners were charged with Unlawful Assembly and the Home Secretary issued statements warning of life sentences .
The miners were successfully defended against this sinister legal manouvering, and repeatedly the police were humiliated as the judge would have to direct the jury to acquit. Unfortunately the charges against the NALL stuck and only one person out of 18 defendants was acquitted.
The case against the defendants was that they had almost all been arrested
inside the grounds of ICI, criminal damage and burglary had been committed and although they had not been seen to commit any unlawful act, about half of them made statements which admitted participating in a planned raid on the site.
The acquittal of those who had not made a statement relied entirely on convincing the jury that their intentions on the day were distinct and different from those who had raided the laboratory and committed the criminal damage and burglary.
This defence also applied to those who had at first signed statements admitting taking part in the raid, it would require something more than a miracle for these to be acquitted.
The NALL decided to encourage all its defendants to plead not guilty. This
decision was taken largely because those who had made statements were the young inexperienced NALLers whose involvement in the action was very limited and it was felt unfair that they should be left to carry the can. The NALL also felt that since the confessions had been extracted by fear, the police behaviour should not go unchallenged.
However moral it was of the NALL to decide that they should stand or fall
together, the decision reduced the likelihood of acquittals for those defendants with a realistic chance had the trial been approached with more pragmatism. All the defendants adopted the same defence that they had been inside the grounds of ICI for the purpose of an occupation, there was nothing to distinquish between those who had made statements and those who had not. Everyone who had made a statement admitted in it that they had committed criminal offences. When the jury decided to convict those defendants that had initially made statements admitting their involvement, they must then have in conferred the contents of those statements onto the remaining defendants.
On the charge of Unlawful Assembly the prosectution had to prove that an
assembly of three or more people took place, that they had an unlawful intention and that on this occasion that intention was to burgle ICI. The events of the day almost certainly constituted an Unlawful Assembly, but the prosecution cannot rely on establishing that a crime was committed, they must prove the intent of the individual defendant. In this case the majority of that evidence came from the signed statements of the accused. Those people who had not made statements explained that their intention on the day was to occupy the grounds as a protest.
The prosecution failed to bring evidence that these individuals had committed any act that could constitute the offence, nor any evidence that they had foreknowledge of any offences. The prosecution were relying on the fact that offences had been committed to prove that those in the grounds were there for the purpose of committing those offences.
The judge refused to throw out the case against the defendants who had never admitted criminal intent. This was a wrong decision in law but one which a panel of judges later ruled did not warrant an appeal against conviction! Eventually the case came to rest on whether the jury could rely on the statements signed by defendants or whether, as the defence argued they were a combination of people saying what the police wanted to hear and police fabrication signed by the defendants after threats of physical assault. The defence failed to offer a really credible alternative to the police version of events and only partly managed to discredit the Macclesfield C.I.D. The jury may well have come to the conclusion that despite the possibility that the police had written the statements they were still the most accurate description of the days events. Even if the police were lying, the defendants could still be guilty.
In the end the jury retired for three full days, after 22 hours of deliberations
they returned guilty verdicts against all but one defendant. The one acquittal appears to have been a sympathy verdict, the lad involved having driven a van as a favour to his new girlfriend. Although he had little defence in law, the jury appear to have decided that he had innocently got himself mixed up in the whole affair.
Following the verdicts the judge remanded the defendants on bail for a further month to await social enquiry reports. The granting of bail and his instruction to the defence barristers that he expected them to offer financial compensation to ICI was a clear indication that the judge was intent on lenient sentencing. One month later two of the alleged ringleaders were sentenced to nine months in prison with six months suspended, this meant that with time off for good behaviour they would serve 8 weeks. The rest received financial penalties and long hours of community service which, as it turned out, most of them enjoyed. In the light of the Wickham and Unilever sentencing this showed the judge to be remarkably unbiased.
In the trial the police alleged two ringleaders one-a Mr Callender was arrested on a roof of ICI where no damage had been done, the other a Mr Smith had been arrested two weeks after the raid because one of the people arrested on the day said that someone with the same christian name had been the organiser, and because a senior security guard at ICI claimed to recognise him as wearing a balaclava mask on the day. The security guard claimed he kept files on animal rights campaigners and that Mr Smith s balaclava had slipped . Mr Callender was remanded without bail for a week in Macclesfield police station where he was regularly interrogated and threatened. Finally he was told by D.I. Mellor that he had a simple choice either make a statement which named Mr Smith as the organiser or be framed himself. To his credit Callender accepted the inevitable consquence of that threat, two months in prison.
Mr Smith had been in police custody several times due to opposition to animal abuse, he had previously been assaulted in police cells and prided himself on his degree of noncooperation with the police he had never made a statement while in police custody. He knew before his arrest that others had been assaulted in the Macclesfield police station and had prepared himself for a beating. In an amazing testimony to the court he described how when he first met D.I. Mellor he told him, You can beat me half to death, hang me by my toenails and poke my eyes out, I am not going to make a statement.
Mellor needed to link the statement (alleging that someone with the same first name as Smith was the organiser more directly to Smith himself. In Mellors account of the interview he alleges that Smith accepts that if someone has said he is the ringleader then it must be true. This statement inserted into the account of the interview allowed a complicated legal manoeuvre by prosecution councel to bring into court the statement against Smith that would otherwise have been considered evidence of an accomplice and ruled inadmissible as evidence. In Mr Callender s statement Mellor inserted a phrase which admits a little bit of damage, but argues that people were only after evidence.
These two instances of verbal evidence meant that both of the alleged ringleaders had to call into question the character of the police it was necessary for the defence to call Mellor a liar.
In a court of law if you call a police officer a liar then the court allows evidence of the defendant s character to be brought up to allow the jury to decide who is most likely to be telling the truth. Mellor s insertion of these two lines into his interviews with Callender and Smith meant that the prosecution would have the advantage of putting the character of these two men on trial. It meant that their previous encounters with the law, whether they had been convicted or acquitted, could be brought into court to discredit them, and that is exactly what happened.
The volume of evidence against them concerned their past involvement in anti-bloodsports groups and the fact that they knew each other a fact which was confirmed by the fact that Callender had received a Christmas card from Smith some years before. Their previous minor brushes with the law were also used to depict them as recurrent law breakers.
Smith was chosen as a ringleader by the police because he was a leading figure in the public debate about ICI s vivisection laboratories. He knew more about ICI than many shareholders, having spent months researching their history. He was often seen around Manchester handing out leaflets about the atrocities of animal experimentation. This was the reason that the police chose to frame him, it was also used as circumstantial evidence against him. Callender was just unfortunate, he had no involvement in the ICI campaign at all, he was framed because he had been an active animal rights campaigner for a long time and was an easy target.
The NALL trial took place almost exactly 12 months after the raid. During that time the ICI campaign was abandoned, other animal rights and liberation groups were asked to lay off ICI until after the trial and the NALL went into terminal decline. NALL policy was to consolidate after a raid, the group would concentrate on fund raising. This policy of winding down would have been appropriate if the raid had been successful and no serious arrests had been made. In this case the policy was inappropriate and clearly encouraged laziness and apathy in the face of a serious political trial.
The arrests, treatment and charges against the NALL defendants was a shock to animal rights campaigners throughout the North West. At a time when groups and individuals were becoming frightened and isolated the NALL rather than attempt to rally the animal rights movement around a defence campaign, discouraged its members and supporters from getting involved in any campaigns during that 12 months. The NALL never seriously took up the challenge of organising a defence campaign and its membership dwindled. After 12 months of concentrating on fund raising the defence fund had just 200, one of the reasons was that the NALL
committee was shaken by the aftermath of the raid, and they feared that should they continue to organise then the police would come back and finish them off.
Following the convictions an ad-hoc ICI action group was established which20 was as funded by local animal rights groups. It produced a broadsheet on behalf of the NALL within two days of the verdicts and contacted supporters both locally and nationally. The action group mailed out to supporters in the North West asking them to attend a NALL general meeting to be held two weeks before the sentencing. At that packed meeting the NALL committee refused to discuss an ICI campaign, the defence fund or even the trial, and merely endorsed the call for a packed court house on the day of sentencing. Undetered by this wasted opportunity the action group continued to produce leaflets and to organise door to door distribution throughout Macclesfield, Knutsford and Alderly Edge, 10,000 leaflets
were distributed and there can be no doubt that the majority of ICI s Alderly Park workforce would have received a leaflet through their own front door. The action group began to expand its campaign and produced leaflets for distribution at ICI plants outside the North West. Extensive fly-posting was also begun and there were plans to stage public meetings.
At this time the ruling clique on the BUAV committee who claimed that they support the activists , were under pressure following their damaging action against the ALF press office. This internal BUAV power struggle was dressed up as a debate between BUAV committee members who claimed to support the liberation leagues and those who claimed to support the Animal Liberation Front. Despite the fact that few-if-any of these people understood the groups they claimed to support, they went out of their way to convince their adopted liberation group how much they needed the BUAV. The political campaigners knew that the liberation groups had great influence in the movement and they were desperate to drag them into the BUAV s internal squabbles. One side in this dispute promised that should they win they would give 50,000 to fund a joint campaign with the NALL against ICI this side won control of the BUAV.
The BUAV s support for the leagues was based on two assumptions, that vocal support for the leagues would gain votes at AGM s and that the existence of strong leagues would gain valuable publicity for the BUAV s Mobilisation campaign.
Their support was not fundamental and as time was to show they had cynically manipulated a rift between the leagues and the ALF to allow themselves the privilege of supporting the moderate activists, i.e. those who do not criticise the parliamentary campaign.
With the new BUAV committee and its promises of support the NALL felt confident enough to attempt to assert its authority over the ICI campaign which had been going on around it and which up till then it had tried to ignore. On top of this the BUAV indicated that as some prominent members of the ICI Action Group were outspoken critics of political campaigning, the NALL would have to ensure these people were not involved in the campaign. The NALL responded by banning action group members from its general meetings, instructing its own members from going out leafleting, and even abandoning its own fortnightly meetings. The action group had never challenged the NALL s authority and after these attacks it collapsed.
The NALL had shown to the BUAV that it was a responsible organisation, but it had shown to what was left of its dwindling membership that it was now doing more harm thar good and when the BUAV failed to fulfil its repeated promise of launching an ICI campaign the NALL finally collapsed. In the last 18 months of its life it had failed to offer anything more than moral support to the defendants and could not even manace to provide a hardship fund for those who had to pay fines and compensation to the court. It had abandoned its own ICI campaign and prevented the formation of another. All this from a group that had the resources, support and experience to launch a major campaign. In the end it was only the
leniency of the judge which prevented the young defendants lives being shattered by long custodial sentences.
The radical BUAV committee that so supported the animal liberation leagues seemed unconcerned if not unaware that the most established league, with five years unique experience of organization and direct action, was about to disappear.
They never bothered sending representatives up North after their power was consolidated at the 1985 AGM, and they never spent a penny on the promised ICI campaign.
The South East Animal Liberation League the fall and fight back
Since its inception in 1980 the NALL had shunned individual support from members of animal rights groups in the South of England. They insisted that they were a regional group and the best way people could support them was by the establishment of their own leagues. From the very early days of the NALL there was an Eastern Animal Liberation League and in 1982 a Western Animal Liberation League emerged, but it was not until the summer of 1983 that the South East Animal Liberation League came into being.
The Essex Animal Liberation group had previously used NALL tactics to stage occupations of laboratories and factory farms, but it was a minor demonstration at Barrodales chicken factory farm-that led to the formation of the SEALL.
The SEALL s first major action was against Wellcome laboratories at Dartford in September 83. This massive research complex was invaded and the rooftop occupied while other activists broke in to offices taking files and photographic evidence. It was the most successful league raid since Babraham, but in retrospect it exposed stark contradictions in the Leagues already dated theory.
Wellcome claimed that they lost over a quarter of a million pounds due to
disruption caused by the raid. However none of the research papers ever surfaced to be used against the laboratory in a campaign. Seventy people were arrested at Wellcome, some of them actually inside the laboratory buildings, most due to their involvement in the rooftop protest. It was nothing short of a miracle that rather than prepare serious criminal charges the police merely applied for the defendants to be bound over to keep the peace. There is no clear reason why the police should behave in this way. It may have been that the Home Office was still assessing the results of the trial arising from the 1982 ALF raid at Life Science Research, which had only just finished. The trial cost over a million pounds to stage and yet most people were acquitted and only eight people received prison sentences out of the 60 people originally arrested, only one serving more than three months inside.
Following the Wellcome Raid the SEALL attracted widespread support amongst animal rights groups in the South East and consolidated its position by adopting a hard hitting campaign against Shamrock Farms, a vivisection laboratory which was also the major breeder and importer of laboratory primates for Britain.
During this campaign the SEALL s support and influence grew and it became the unofficial leadership of the direct action struggle in the South of England. The Shamrock campaign was not particularly radical in its content, but rather in its intensity, combining vigil s at the labs, public meetings, marches, picketing of vivisectors houses and the building up of a relationship with the local press. This culminated in a hectic week of action which resulted in the shipping firm who arranged the importation of primates withdrawing their contract with Shamrock Farms.
Following the week of action the SEALL moved on and imported the mass protest campaigns against fox-hunting which had been so successfully developed in the North of England. SEALL satellite groups organised across-the-board activities from public meetings to picketing butchers shops.
In March 1984 the SEALL raided Surrey University. Once again those people who were occupying the roof were arrested and charged with Breach of the Peace, this time they were acquitted, except for one woman who was convicted of Assault and theft after she drove her car through a security gate with a laboratory dog on the back seat.
The SEALL was now the undisputed co-ordinating group for direct action in the South of England, its influence spread from Portsmouth to Brighton, from the Midlands to the South Coast, and it had shown how co-ordination and good planning across a wide spectrum of animal rights activity could produce effective results. They had also developed a keen understanding of the press, consistently achieving good media coverage for their actions.
During Easter the SEALL raided Storrington Priory, a monastery where the monks made a living from rearing veal calves in appalling factory farm conditions.
However, the SEALL was already begining to doubt the value of these raids and began to discuss how to develop its tactics against vivisection laboratories. Up until this point the SEALL had adopted its organizational structure and campaign tactics from groups operating in the North of England the mass protests at hunts, the ongoing low level campaign against a laboratory and the use of NALL-type raids the SEALL had re-worked all the known campaign tactics. During the summer of 1984 the SEALL began to develop and extend its own tactics.
The SEALL decided that it needed a more professional approach to laboratory raids. It decided to choose a fairly easy target, decide exactly what it wanted to achieve, and then plan a raid to precision using the minimum number of determined and well equipped activists. The SEALL also decided to use top quality video film to record its raids. The now famous Royal College of Surgeons raid was undertaken with the specific intention of obtaining documentary evidence of the conditions of primates in a British research laboratory. There was to be no rooftop occupations, no banner wavers and no selected press. Instead of the traditional jemmy or crow-bar they decided to use sledgehammers to gain entry. This new approach was a welcome change from previous League raids where there was only a vague aim of obtaining evidence and an over-emphasis on the protest involved in
the mass trespass.
The SEALL drew these tactical conclusions as a result of its own experiences and because it was determined to make each raid better than the last. The aftermath of the NALL s raid at ICI in April merely confirmed the SEALL s decision to move away from the chaos of mass action. The Unilever raid just one week before the planned RCS action caused the SEALL to become even more acutely aware of the need to gain entry, get what evidence they could, and get away quickly without the police being able to obtain descriptions of their vehicles. The RCS raid was very successful, the SEALL obtained national TV news coverage, with extensive showing of the video film they obtained during the raid.
The cruel treatment of laboratory primates was exposed on News at Ten and files taken during the raid led the SEALL to link the RCS to a pet stealing ring operating in the Hampshire area, the incident book kept in the primate unit provided evidence of extensive suffering due to sheer neglect even before they were subjected to experiments.
The BUAV attempted to prosecute the RCS for cruelty due to the conditions the monkeys were kept in. The case was long and drawn out, the RCS were convicted in the magistrates court, the conviction was upheld at the appeal court, but was eventually overturned by a judicial review. The case was based around the way the monkeys were treated before the experiments began, it being perfectly legal to treat them as cruelly as you want for the purpose of an experiment. At the time that the BUAV took up the prosecution the SEALL were very pleased at the assistance offered. They were even happier when the BUAV gave them money in ex-change for the copyright on the video recordings.
The BUAV s contribution did little more than spread confusion amoungst
SEALL supporters, they initiated a Free Mone campaign when the RCS were originally convicted of mistreating a monkey called Mone. The BUAV did not widely publicise the evidence of experiments on dogs and monkeys, but rather publicised its own ability to do something that the direct action movement could not do. When the conviction was overturned by the judicial review, the BUAV abandoned the campaign against RCS altogether. Inherent in the Free Mone campaign was the acceptance that there is somehow a difference between lawful and unlawful cruelty it being lawful to carry out cruel experiments in the laboratory but unlawful to mistreat the animal before experimentation. The decision to use part of the evidence obtained to attempt to gain a conviction and to neglect to present all the evidence of cruelty directly to the public was an attempt by the BUAV to tie the direct action movement to the democratic institutions. They were
attempting to show that the animal rights movement could use the courts to challenge the State, in the same way that the State uses the courts to restrain its opponents. They believed that a conviction in the courtroom meant that you did not need to canvass public support, the case was proved and politicians would have to listen.
Following the raid the SEALL produced photograph boards showing the dogs in the kennels at the RCS laboratory. They took these displays around town centres throughout the South East and so exposed the RCS as using dogs which were clearly not purpose-bred and very probably stolen pets. The SEALL were hoping that someone who had lost their pet would come forward and identify one of the dogs as their own, as had happened when the NALL had taken Blackie from Sheffield Lodge Moor laboratories.
The SEALL were convinced that the dogs were stolen in the Hampshire area and dealt by APT Consultancy via Cottage Patch kennels in Southampton. The SEALL began to work on the most ambitious project ever undertaken by the antivivisection movement, they intended to raid Cottage Patch kennels, the offices of APT Consultancy and the related Wickham Research Laboratories.
In the meantime the SEALL raided Bios laboratory and rescued 13 beagle dogs just five weeks after the RCS raid. The video film of this raid depicted dreadful conditions in the beagle unit and showed the SEALLers picking up and taking away the obviously sick dogs. This video was first item on the national televison news throughout that Sunday night.
Not surprisingly the police were by now determined to put an end to the
SEALL, they put a watch on prominent SEALL supporters, they may well have planted an informer inside one of the SEALL satellite groups, they had a photograph of one of the SEALL organisers photographing the layout of Wickham Research Laboratories, and we know that loose talk from at least one SEALL activist aided the police.
When the Wickham raids took place on the 28th October 1984 the Hampshire police had spent all night in a major stakeout and at least one group of raiders movements had been followed from London the previous night. The efficient work done by Scotland Yard s animal squad was however wasted by the Hampshire Constabulary, who believed that the raid would take place on the Saturday night by the Sunday morning most of the stake-out had been withdrawn.
The directors of the research premises and the staff at the kennels had been
warned to expect trouble. When the raids took place the raiders were faced with two shot guns, one was stuck in the chest of a SEALL member by the director of APT Consultancy, David Walker in the scuffle that followed Walker received a blow to the head. Walker was not seriously injured and considering his use of the shotgun the SEALL claim they used no more than the minimum force necessary to protect themselves. The police managed to arrest only a handful of the raiders despite their stake-out of all three sites, their credibility was in tatters. Scotland Yard were furious at the incompetence of the Hampshire police force.
The information leading to the raid was the first fruits of a more co-ordinated and better funded police response to the animal liberation movement. Those arrested were charged with not one but four and in some cases five different charges. The police opposed bail and the defendants were originally remanded in custody but were later released after a second application for bail was granted. In his annual report the Chief Constable made direct reference to the case in what was obviously a prejudicial manner. He described the raiders as carrying offensive weapons, a charge which was to be dismissed by the judge. The Chief Constable s remarks were reprinted as fact in the local papers before the case began. On June 12th 1985 as the trial was about to begin, the Judge was forced to dismiss the jury when it was revealed that 25 of the 58 potential jurors had been aproached in a prejudicial manner by the police when they reported for jury service. At the end of the reconvened trial the jury acquitted 12 of the 19 defendants and convicted the remaining seven on one charge. The defence campaign that was built around the Wickham 19 is important because for the first time in an animal rights trial the police were behaving in an overtly political way. The evidence against the majority of defendants was that they had been involved in a joint venture to burgle one of three sites and possibly been involved in a conspiracy to burgle all three. Burglary is the act of breaking into someone else s property with intent to either steal from them or cause damage. The defendants were not charged with individual offences, but with charges of Conspiracy to Rob all three sites, Conspiracy to Burgle all
three sites, Conspiracy to Commit Criminal Damage at all three sites and Conspiracy to Assault.
The police were determined to make this into a show trial, the Chief Constable told the press that should any of the laboratory staff die within a year of injuries sustained during the raid then Murder charges would follow . There was absolutely no evidence that the limited physical confrontation that did occur during the raids was pre-planned or conspired, and the Chief Constable must have known that people do not die from abrasions. If the police had assessed the evidence and brought realistic charges they could have expected to convict the majority of defendants on individual burglary charges which would have carried sentences varying from six months to three years. The police, either on Home Office instruction or with Home Office approval attempted to provide proof that animal rights campaigners were dangerous criminals, and brought serious charges for which there was no evidence.
There can be no doubt that the junior Home Office minister responsible for guiding the governments new vivisection law through parliament at that time, David Mellor MP had been briefed on the case. He constantly used the seriousness of the robbery charge, which the judge was to rule had no substance, as an example of the type of thugs who opposed his attempts to update the legislation on vivisection. In interview after interview he depicted the animal rights movement as violent and fanatical. The only opposition to the government s attempts to expand the scope of the vivisection industry was the direct action movement, and the SEALL had done more in 18 months to present the issue to the public than had ever been achieved before.
To suggest that Mellor attempted to manipulate public opinion by the cynical use of criminal law and the media is not as far fetched as it may at first sound, the Home Secretary at the time, Leon Brittan, was later forced to resign from the cabinet after he had misled the House and attempted to discredit a cabinet colleague.
The SEALLers spent 10 days in custody before they received bail, they had been extensively interrogated by the police, who had told them that the robbery charge would ensure they all got ten years. In the police station, some SEALLers made statements incriminating not only themselves but other defendants. They were divided by their social and economic background, by the wide range of areas they came from, and by how well or badly they had behaved in the police station. The SEALL had been the last of the great leagues to be smashed inside 6 months, they had also been the most successful, now they faced the most serious of charges.
With the police making it plain that they would go to great lengths to obtain convictions, including interfering with potential jurors, there was a danger that the defendants would behave in a demoralised and fatalistic way. This would have been disastrous.
The SEALL itself decided to wind up, police surveillance and intelligence had been extensive and they had detailed knowledge of the actions, contacts and involvement of leading SEALL members and supporters.
SEALLers were asked to help form a Wickham Defence Campaign they produced badges, posters, and t-shirts, held leafleting sessions in Winchester, Southampton and Basingstoke. They organised letter writing and phone-in campaigns to the Chief Constable and David Mellor, a pop record was released by Tracy Young, 19 the Wickham remix , which entered the charts and was played on local radio stations. In the run up to the trial the SEALL organised 7 public meetings, they also dug out the photo boards and resurrected the campaign to expose the pet stealing racket operating in conjunction with Cottage Patch kennels. The strategy of the defence campaign was simple enough they attempted to do everything that could show the establishment the support which existed for the Wickham 19.
Despite the simplicity of this approach, many local animal rights groups did support the campaign and by the time of the trial very little had been left undone.
The SEALL promoted the campaign as being, Broad based, educational and high profile . They did ensure that the behaviour of the judge, prosecutor and police was well documented and reported both inside and outside of the animal rights movement. The effect of the campaign on the morale of the defendants, particularly after the June 12 postponement of the trial was to galvanise them into a determined group who approached the trial well prepared to fight the charges against them. The effect of that well prepared and hard fought defence was the acquittal on all charges of 12 defendants.
The defence solicitors and barristers in the case must also receive praise as in general their behaviour was of a high standard, with little sign of the sectional attitude common in trials where one lawyer will attempt to pass the blame onto defendants that he does not represent. The enthusiasm and hard work of the lawyers complemented the determination and commitment of the defendants. The Wickham 19 could not have gone to court better prepared and this was due in no small part to the role of the defence campaign. The Wickham 19 campaign is a starting point for defence campaigns of the future. The police and Home Office misbehaviour was unsophisticated and reasonably easy to expose and challenge. If our actions threaten the state then we must expect to face far more judicial corruption and political bias in the future. To counter that defence campaigns will have to take on a political perspective that enables them to challenge the criminalisation of protest and most importantly allows them to win public support for the direct action struggle against the vivisection industry.
The Wickham19 Court report
Following the false start on 12 June, when Hampshire police were caught in an attempt to influence the Wickham trial eventually commenced on Monday 30th September, at Winchester Crown Court, before Judge Lewis McCreery Q.C.
18 Defendants were represented by 7 defence barristers, plus two noting briefs.
Mike Nunn, denied legal aid, defended himself. Mike Huskisson was represented by Bernard Phelvin John Quirke and Philip Holston by Richard Lissack Tony Winter, Malcolm Eames, and Christopher French by Neil Bellis Robert Lynch, Jill Johnson, Kevin Williams and Sue Baker by Robert Grey John Curtin and Sally Miller by Tony Jennings Alan Davies, Joy Thomas and John Hegley by Chris Stoppa, and Gordon Briant, Paul Robinson and Gary Notley by Trevor Burke.
David Owen Thomas Q.C. appeared for the Crown with a junior, David Jenkins, to assist.
The prospective jurors were ushered in. Numbering about 100, they took every available seat and filled the aisles. McCreery asked whether any were associated with Wickham, A.P.T. Consultancy, Cottagepatch Kennels or Animed or any prohunt group or with an anti-vivisection or anti-hunt group. One man admitted a hunt association and was barred. The jurors were called and after some 30 challenges by the defence, 12 were selected 9 women and 3 men. 19 defendants, each allowed three challenges, gave the defence the capacity to remove 57 jurors before giving a reason. Recent media attention has suggested that such challenging is harmful to the State, in allowing the defence to in some way rig the jury. What is
seldom highlighted is that the State has an unlimited right to challenge, the method being known as asking a juror to stand by with the prosecution acting on evidence of the jurors backgrounds supplied by the police. Also overlooked is that it is the State that summons the jury panel, which must be open to some manipulation.
Jury selection took the morning. At lunch, bail was denied to all defendants, an inconvenience that continued throughout the following ten weeks. Owen Thomas opened the afternoon by reading the SEALL press release describing the triple raids on October 28th 1984. He then categorised the defendants into planners, drivers, cameramen, attackers and couriers, confirming the military view of the raid taken by the State. At the early bail hearings the prosecuting solicitor had referred to generals, sergeants and foot-soldiers.
The Wickham raid was described by Owen-Thomas and then at 3 20 p.m. the SEALL video shot at the laboratories was shown twice to the hushed court. The raid at Cottagepatch was described and that video likewise shown twice. Finally came the description of the raid on Coach House flat, home of Dr. David Walker, and lair of APT Consultancy. It was at this site that many of the defendants were arrested.
As for the much-heralded violence, Owen-Thomas himself described the injuries suffered by Mr Worley at Cottagepatch as not serious injuries (Mr Worley was tied up by the raiders after he attempted to attack them), and Dr. Walkers injuries weren t substantial , (Dr. Walker had brandished a shotgun at the raiders which was wrenched out of his hands). A far cry from the earlier claims from the Hamppolice that people had been gravely injured and should they die within a year there would be murder charges!
Day one ended at 4 15 p.m. with McCreery infuriated. The reason at lunch the jury had left first, passing between the two rows of defendants, and one juror had complained of hearing someone say that this evidence is all lies , McCreery decreed that the defendants should leave first and be held in the cells downstairs for 15 minutes each evening to allow the jurors to leave the court premises unmolested.
Tuesday 1st October opened with Owen-Thomas giving his opinion as to the role that each defendant played. The evidence for the prosecution started the following morning with a succession of police officers, including senior ones from New Scotland Yard involved in observation on the Saturday, the day before the raids. They had followed John Quirke from London to Wickham, then to Fareham and then to Portsmouth.
Val and Mike Perryment were called by the prosecution and gave evidence that people stayed at their home in Portsmouth on the Saturday night, and then at 3.00 p.m. Cartmell junior appeared. He did little more than maintain that he saw pickaxe handles carried in the Wickham raid even after being shown the Wickham video in which no such items were to be seen!
Thursday 3rd October started with Neil Bellis complaining that press coverage described his client as having a pickaxe handle when he was plainly photographed with a sledge hammer. McCreery agreed but said he could do nothing about press inaccuracy.
With the start delayed to noon due to a late juror, defence barristers complained about the state s use of the initials A.L.F. in labelling exhibits. It was not only blatant prejudice, but also inaccurate. McCreery was hostile to the complaint, seeing nothing sinister, but he did accede to the labelling being concealed.
A succession of eyewitnesses, mostly Wickham residents, then appeared. Effectively they destroyed the police charge that Tony Winter had an offensive weapon, namely the sledgehammer found near him, Kenneth Edwards, who punched Tony, said The unarmed person, I tackled him and his mother Irene confirmed He (Tony) did not have a sledgehammer . Many wondered just how thoroughly D.C.I.
Hearne and his Fareham C.I.D. had questioned their own witnesses!
The first week ended on a high for the defence when prosecution witness Faith Raven, an employee of Wickham at the time, described Cottagepatch Kennels as known for the dreadful way they keep their animals , Monday 7th October was spent in requests from the defence barristers to ask
prosecution witnesses about the work carried out at Wickham and the type and source of animals used. This was with a view to substantiating that the defendants acted reasonably and without dishonesty. McCreery saw that if he were not careful it would be Wickham and the State on trial, not the 19, so with a few minor exceptions he characteristically blocked all requests.
Tuesday opened with more Wickham eyewitnesses but the most noteworthy event was a challenge by the defence as to the value of the damage caused.
Wickham claimed some 37,000, high presumably for insurance purposes, including secretarial work that they valued at 12 an hour. To the defence that there was no gratuitous damage but only that necessary to gain access, this figure was clearly harmful and McCreery later agreed that the true figure for structural damage was only 3,500.
That afternoon William Cartmell made his long awaited appearance. Asked to describe a location, he studied the map and then utteredthe telling phrase You will see a dogs leg in the road... another victim of the Cottagepatch regime? Sadly there was only black humour, nothing incisive, as McCreery blocked any potentially embarrassing questions regarding his business or indeed about his rumoured criminal convictions.
Wednesday included the medical evidence of the Worleys injuries. The prosecution were embarrassed when the photograph of the graze on Mr Worley was shown to Dr. Elmsley who was surprised I haven t documented the graze to the right arm and don t recall it . So when, and by whom, was the injury inflicted?
The Worleys then proceeded to the witness box and ably demonstrated that
their ages exceed their I.Q. s. The only notable feature of their evidence was their reluctance to discuss their business relationship with notorious dog thief and violent thug, Terry Simmonds. The latter in his statement boasted of punching and hitting numerous animal rights people, and it was he who was seen by another prosecution witness carrying a shotgun. Not surprisingly the prosecution declined to call him.
The following day, Thursday 10th October Dr Walker (owner of A.P.T. Consultancy) gave evidence. Sadly, he too was well protected from harmful and embarrassing questions. The highlight of the morning was when Bernard Phelvin complained that a representative of Wickham laboratories was sitting in the area reserved for defence solicitors, listening to conversations. In a put-on display of anger, to demonstrate to the jury his concern for defence interests, McCreery ordered her back to the public gallery and thereby concealed the fact that his own clerk had authorised her to sit there.
Friday was the first of many days off and the next Monday was largely police evidence who arrested whom, what was said, and what was found where. Perhaps the highlight was when D.C.I. Hearne, under pressure, conceded that after receiving a complaint about A.P.T. Consultancy on 11th October 1984 he did not arrange to interview Dr Walker until 27th November 1984.
Tuesday was concerned with forensic evidence, which linked paint found on Alan Davies s clothing with that from a door at Wickham, and furthermore linked bolt croppers found in Huskisson s possession with marks on the chain that was cut from the Wickham gates. In the afternoon and throughout most of the next day, Melvyn Dallas was in the box and was lengthily cross-examined by Mike Nunn.
Wednesday afternoon was interrupted when a juror said she recognised Gordon Briant and Chris French as having stood outside her employers, Weller Cosmetics, in Basingstoke. The defence asked both for her to be dismissed and the whole jury as she must have spoken to the others. McCreery acceded to the first request, but declined the second, hence reducing the jury to 11.
Thursday 17th October started with McCreery fuming. Apparently some jurors had been spoken to by animal rights supporters leaving the public gallery the previous evening. (Anything that could happen certainly seemed to in this case).
That day and the whole of the next was spent on police evidence.
The following Monday, 21st October, the start of the fourth week was illuminating. Two detectives gave evidence, one after the other, each swore a solemn oath and one told a pack of lies. Sadly this occurred in the absence of the jury in a debate as to whether a statement from Paul Robinson was admissible. With the police exposed as liars, and with it obvious that they had used undue pressure to obtain the statement, McCreery had to throw it out and thereby lost virtually all the evidence against Paul who, at the conclusion of the prosecution case, had all charges against him formally withdrawn by the judge.
Tuesday 22nd October opened with Mike Nunn applying for legal aid for a barrister (Mike knew this had been wrongly denied). McCreery was no help I can t give you legal aid at this stage, the trial would have to stop . Interesting how a trial could be aborted following police indiscretion (remember 12 June) yet not delayed for a few days in the interests of justice, particularly considering that McCreery was to grant so many free days anyway.
Tuesday and early Wednesday morning was consumed with police evidence, but at 11.05 a.m. on the Wednesday, the 17th day of the trial, Owen-Thomas declared, That s the case for the prosecution .
Legal submissions then followed. Owen-Thomas conceded that the charge
against Tony Winter of possessing an offensive weapon should be withdrawn. The defence then sought to have all the charges of conspiracy quashed as there was no evidence of the total conspiracy, i.e. no evidence that individual defendants were party to a conspiracy to raid all three premises. Furthermore with no evidence that any defendant intended to use violence, the submission was that the charges of conspiracy to rob and to assault should be withdrawn. Finally it was submitted that with no evidence that any defendant sought to act dishonestly, or to permanently deprive owners of material or cause criminal damage, the other charges
should also be withdrawn.
These submissions continued until the next day and ended with McCreery
agreeing to withdraw the charges of conspiracy to assault and to dismiss all
charges against Paul Robinson. The Wickham 20 were now the Wickham 18, (the charges against one defendant were dismissed at committal stage). The charge against Malcolm Eames of possessing an offensive weapon (a sledgehammer) was also withdrawn there was no evidence that it was intended to be used to threaten or injure people as was the same charge against Tony Winter, whom there was no evidence that he had a sledgehammer at all.
Monday 28th October (first anniversary of the raids) opened with the jury
recording verdicts of not guilty as directed leaving only the conspiracy to burgle and commit criminal damage counts left on the indictment. Then at 12.45 p.m., Mike Nunn went to the witness box to begin his defence. Mike was in the Monday afternoon, Tuesday and Wednesday.
With Thursday and Friday missed as a juror was ill, Mike continued his evidence the following Monday, 4th November, the start of the sixth week. Briefly, Mike sought to establish that there were two sides to SEALL, open and secret, and that his only involvement was with the open side publication of Target , marches, vigils, etc. Owen-Thomas disagreed and maintained that Mike Nunn was the driving force behind all aspects of SEALL, and the General with respect to these raids.
On Monday afternoon Mike called Margaret Manzoni in his defence, who
proved to be an excellent witness. OwenThomas sought to vilify her by reference to her previous record for animal rights activity. Next morning Mike called Dr. Walker (humane version local animal rights supporter) and then later Mike Huskisson went into the witness box. He remained there for the rest of Tuesday and Wednesday. His defence was that he was, as planned, at the League Against Cruel Sports premises on the Sunday, doing LACS business (he worked for them at the time). He knew that people might turn up with photographs of stolen pets (he believed from the previous SEALL raid against the Royal College of Surgeons) and that when people arrived, albeit with material from Wickham, he gave them
every assistance. However as that was after the raids he was not party to any conspiracy.
On the morning of Thursday, 7th November, Dave Wetton (former secretary of the HSA) gave evidence in support of Mike Huskisson and he too was vilified by Owen-Thomas as to his previous animal rights record.
John Quirke did not give evidence so Neil Bellis then called Tony Winter. Tony gave a graphic account of the Wickham raid. He explained why he had taken part, namely that he believed the laboratories were trading in stolen pets. He maintained that he knew only of the Wickham raid, not of A.P.T. or Cottagepatch that there was no intention to permanently retain the documents (otherwise the experiments would only be repeated, causing more suffering) and that there was no intention to cause wanton damage were that to happen Wickham would simply claim new equipment from their insurers. Finally Tony was adamant that he had done nothing criminal and that were the public to know everything about Wickham they would agree with his actions. He was to resolve that he had acted reasonably,
without dishonesty, and try as he might Owen-Thomas could not shake his view.
With no hearing on the Friday, Robert Lynch s defence commenced the following Monday, 11th November. His barrister, Robert Grey, sought to show the jury a bundle of R.C.S. documents detailing brutal and ameteurish experiments on apparently pet dogs supplied by A.P.T. but McCreery refused saying he was not going to have a trial of the R.C.S. The legal wrangles continued for nearly two hours, and then at noon, Robert Lynch went into the witness box. He too gave a dramatic account of his involvement at Wickham. He claimed a similar motivation to Tony Winter, maintained a similar defence, and he too could not be shaken by cross-
The following morning saw Malcolm Eames in the box. He too acquitted
himself well. Poor old Owen-Thomas was too exhausted to cross-examine for a while so the task was left to his junior Jenkins (the butt of many a jibe from McCreery for his earlier incompetence).
Malcolm finished at 1.00 p.m. and then Alan Davies, Joy Thomas, Gordon
Briant, Chris French, Philip Hotston, John Curtin and Gary Notley all declined to give evidence. The next in was John Hegley after lunch on Tuesday 12th November. He gave a graphic account of the raid on the Coach House flat, his motivation for taking part, and claimed a similar defence to those involved at Wickham. He said he knew only about the A.P.T. raid.
John gave evidence until soon after noon the following day when Sally Miller was called. She gave an excellent account of herself. Questioned as to the lawfulness of the raid she said I don t think it can be against the law to try and save a life and the next day in re-examination she refuted the suggestion from State prosecutor Owen-Thomas that the R.C.S. might be a good home with her own assessment that the nearest comparison she could make with the R.C.S. was Belsen .
Sally finished her evidence at 12.10 p.m. on Thursday 14th November. There followed three brief character witnesses and with Jill Johnson, Kevin Williams and Sue Baker declining to give evidence the case for the defence ended, the 29th day of the trial.
The jury was then sent home and there were further submissions from the
defence barristers to have the remaining two charges withdrawn. McCreery agreed that the evidence showed the object of the raids was to go in and take property, using whatever force necessary, but nothing of a separate conspiracy to cause further criminal damage.
He therefore agreed to withdraw the criminal damage conspiracy, leaving only the one charge, that of conspiracy to burgle all three premises. Furthermore he agreed with the defence to direct the jury firstly that they should be, sure that there was a general conspiracy to raid all three premises, and secondly that if there was such a conspiracy that each accused joined it knowing that it involved all three premises if they were not sure of any aspect they should acquit.
After Thursday 14th November, the case did not resume until the following
Tuesday, 19th November. The video of the raids was shown again and then Owen-33 Thomas made his closing speech complaining of the reluctance of defendants to talk he said It is easier to prise pearls from an oyster than to get information from these people , and of the raids You may think that this was a highly organised operation Owen-Thomas continued to late the following afternoon when it was Mike Nunn s turn.
Mike was followed in quick succession by the defence barristers, all of whose speeches were interesting and some of which were electrifying. The point was made that defendants did not know of all three raids, that individuals only knew of those raids which they participated in, and that participants were not dishonest and did not steal as there was no intention to permanently deprive Wickham of their documents which were to be photocopied and returned. There was little attempt to appeal to emotions though Richard Lussack did say You cannot look at those photographs of those miserable little animals in their cages without being moved . Defence speeches continued throughout Friday to the following Monday, 25th November.
Two days later, on Wednesday 27th November, the ninth week, McCreery
commenced his summing up. Of the raids he said All these operations were meticulously planned and timed and of the violence Do you think that the suggestion that the SEALL is non-violent is a lot of humbug .However he reserved some of his most outrageous comments for Mike Nunn s evidence. Regarding Mike s reference to SEALL demonstrations against McDonalds, McCreery commented I am glad they are not against fish fingers, because what would our children have to eat? , and as to Mike s explanation for his actions on the Saturday, McCreery said if you can believe that you can believe anything . McCreery continued throughout
Thursday and on to mid-morning on Friday, 29th November, cleverly outlining the nature of the three alternative defences to minimise chances of appeals, whilst effectively acting as a second prosecution summing up speech.
At 10.20 a.m. on Monday, 2nd December, the jury were sent out to deliberate. All defendants were remanded to the cells below court to await their fates. At 4.30 p.m. everyone was recalled to the court. Amid an atmosphere that could be cut with a knife, McCreery said, with great solemnity, that if there was any noise from the packed public gallery he would clear it, and if any from the accused he would send them down and bring them up one by one.
Mike Nunn, John Quirke, Gordon Briant, and Sally Miller were found guilty, no verdict being agreed on the others and everyone was remanded in custody, to Winchester and Holloway prisons.
The next morning, Tuesday 3rd December, all were returned to the court cells. At 12.40 p.m. everyone was summoned back to court. McCreery repeated his warning and the jury found John Curtin, Kevin Williams, and Sue Baker guilty, and Jill Johnson not guilty.
McCreery then stated he would accept a majority verdict of 10-1 (one juror
having been discharged earlier). At 2.25 p.m. everyone was recalled, the warning as to silence repeated and the jury acquitted the remaining defendants. Sentencing was delayed until the following morning, Wednesday 4th December. McCreery made clear his view that this was not the usual type of conspiracy to burgle, that it was not for individual gain, and that he accepted that the purpose of the raids was to gain information for a prosecution.
He then dished out the following sentences coupled with a fair measure of
abuse against individuals
Mike Nunn 3 years
John Quirke 18 months (9 months suspended)34
Gordon Briant 21 months (9 months suspended)
John Curtin 9 months (3 months suspended)
Sally Miller 18 months (6 months suspended)
Kevin Williams 6 months (3 months suspended)
Sue Baker 9 months (4 months suspended)
Only one made any comment following sentence, Sally Miller said Thank you your honour .
With that, seven good people, of all ages and from all walks of life, whose
honesty before the higher court of morality had never been challenged, were led away to taste for a while the predicament of the millions of animals for whom the sentence is bounded only by death.
The police had little to cheer about aside from their inept bungles on the day of the raids, they had initially charged 20 people with 82 offences and billed the trial as the one that would smash the animal rights movement. Yet, after one person was discharged at committal, they had seen just seven people convicted of just one offence each, with a staggering 71 other counts on the indictment failing to result in convictions.
Unilever the forgotten trial
In August 1984 the Eastern Animal Liberation League coordinated an action involving over 300 people at Unilever s multi-million pound research complex near Bedford. Just three years before, Unilever had spent several million pounds on a computerised security system, each external door and window was alarmed and video cameras covered the grounds.
The first line of defence was a perimeter fence similar to those used at top
security prisons, made of tempered steel it was widely believed to be uncuttable.
The EALL brought a commercial petrol-driven stone cutter with them, capable of cutting through paving stones, this hand held machine made light work of the fence.
The security measures were designed to prevent a group of raiders from breaking into the laboratories undetected, they provided almost no protection against a mass raid where crow-bars and sledgehammers gave easy access to the labs and offices while the computerised security system merely flashed lights, sounded alarm bells and produced an itemised account of the break-in. Part of the evidence in the court case was a computer printout which detailed the time to the second and location by reference number of each door and window that was forced. The one impressive feature of this raid was the way the EALL gained almost unlimited access to Unilever s laboratories which were amongst the most secure non-military laboratories in the country.
Apart from that there is little good to be said about the raid. It suffered from a confused ideology, over-enthusiastic and under-briefed participants and a lack of clear objective. What did the EALL hope to achieve? Was the objective to obtain evidence or to protest at vivisection? If the raid had been to protest at vivisection and instead of sledgehammering down the doors they had occupied the roof, the protest would have been made and there would have been no prison sentences. If the aim was to gain evidence by the use of a break-in, which by the very nature of Unilever s security would involve a lot of damage, why hold a banner demonstration at the front gate? That banner demonstration could in no way assist the break-in or the efficient removal of the files, however, the people arrested on the gate would eventually go to prison for waving their banners.
It is clear that the principle aim was to breach the massive security of Unilever and gain access to files and photographic evidence of their experiments however there was no co-ordination in the locating of targets within the compound, and more importantly no attempt to impress upon the participants the danger of a prison sentence should they be arrested.
When the police searched the grounds they found over a hundred tools that could have been used for forcing an entry jemmy bars, bolt-croppers, hammers etc., and they were only the tools discarded by the fleeing activists. It is now almost impossible to believe that a group of people 300 strong went tooled-up to break into Unilever, take file smash down doors, and so on, and expected that, should they be arrested, the police would not be able to pin anything on them individually, as it would be impossible to tell who had done what.
To believe that the British legal system, that has in its long history been used to deal with insurrections of peasants and workers at home, and national liberation struggles abroad, would find itself flummoxed because it did not have eyewitness evidence, was a misconception almost beyond comprehension, but one almost universally accepted at the time.
This major flaw in the planning was unchallenged by the participants, who
appear to have had a relaxed attitude to what they saw as a legitimate demonstration. Many appear to have turned up in van-loads with everybody holding their own tool, most with no idea of how to use it and most we can be certain, with no understanding of the planning and tactics of a league raid. The vast majority of the raiders were completely ignorant of the risks they were running.
Once the impregnable fence was so impressively cut down the raiders entered on mass. Those activists who understood league strategy sprinted the 800 yards to the laboratory complex, broke down the doors and began to search for evidence, those who did not understand so well the need for speed either trotted or strolled.
Fundamental to a leaguestyle raid is the need to be quick, having dispensed with any attempt to enter undetected you use the sheer volume of numbers to render the site security incapable of preventing a break-in and speed alone ensures you have gone before the police arrive. At Unilever some activists were in the grounds one hour after the raid had started, this could not possibly have happened if they had believed that getting caught would mean a two-year prison sentence.
During the raid entry was gained to extensive areas of the laboratory complex, and also to offices, in their excitement a small proportion of the activists broke league policy and damaged the equipment used by the vivisectors a computer which was used to moniter and record the many thousands of toxicity and irritancy tests was damaged. Since the raid no documents or photographs have surfaced although, as in the ICI case, we know that sack-fulls of files were removed.
The biggest flaw in the organisation on the day appears to be the failure to clear the site in the normal ten or fifteen minute period. This in part must have been due to the sheer size of the complex which meant that it took a long time to reach the buildings from the perimeter fence, time to find a suitable break-in point, and time to get back to the perimeter and away.
The planners of the raid expected the police to behave in an uncoordinated and haphazard way but by 1984 in the middle of the year-long miners strike the police no longer behaved like country bumpkins. Fire brigade policing was the key word amongst police tacticians, that meant they relied on highly mobile riot-trained units to descend on any outbreak of public disorder. The advent of fire brigade policing seriously challenges the concepts of league raids as the police policy is to respond very heavily to any incident, arrest as many people as possible and sort it out in the police station later. The days of the lone copper arriving at a lab raid and scratching his head in amazement were long gone.
The second development and one which is less publicly discussed is the development of pre-emptive planing by police forces. There are increasingly cases of the police having pre-arranged plans for incidents of public disorder. This has been seen during the miners dispute, where the police set up a national co-ordinating centre to prevent striking miners from crossing county borders, and in the Wapping print dispute where it has been suggested that the police were actually consulted about the design of the factory so as to make it picket proof . When in the summer of 1986 the police launched their operation to prevent the so-called hippy convoy from holding a free festival at Stonehenge, it became clear that they had been planning the operation for some time. Wiltshire County Council had
been asked to allocate half a million pounds in its annual budget to finance the operation several months in advance.
In 1985 in London after the Broadwater Farm riot it was admitted that the police had drawn up a plan six months in advance to seal off the estate and take control of the walkways in the event of a disturbance.
When we recognise this trend in policing towards preplanning and aggressive responses to public order situations, then we must consider the possibility that the police could have consulted with Unilever about what type of security system to install and how the police would respond to a raid on the premises. When the first squad car arrived at Unilever it did not stop to investigate, it toured the roads around the complex reporting back to the police station. When the police support units arrived they knew which direction people were leaving the site and which way vehicles were heading. With the advantage of this knowledge the police were able to trap several van-loads of raiders.
The police made 42 arrests on the day, three of these were in the grounds, some in the surrounding fields, but most in transit vans on the country lanes in the surrounding area. It appears that many of those arrested were from hunt saboteur type groups who had been inspired by the apparent success of daylight raids where, if people had been caught, they had only faced Breach of the Peace charges.
We must remember that at this time no one had ever been sent to prison for a league raid and the charges arising from the NALL raid on ICI were considered exceptional and many believed that they would be thrown out at court. The only lesson that people seem to have drawn from ICI was the need not to make a statement. The Bedford police were remarkably civilised and of 42 defendants not one made a statement. When they were taken to court the defendants were charged with Conspiracy to Burgle, that is that they planned to break into the premises and take files and other evidence away. The defendants came from as far apart as Bristol, London, Northampton, Sheffield, Huddersfield and Manchester.
All received bail On the face of it there was little evidence against the defendants and if they had fought the case well then almost all had a good chance of acquittal.
The evidence against those not caught in the grounds was that they were animal rights people in the area, some of them had glass cuttings in their shoes one van had the hire agreement that related to the stone cutter that had cut through the fence. From the beginning many of the defendants mistakenly believed that there was not enough evidence for a jury to convict on. At the committal, feeling was reenforced by the magistrate ruling no case to answer against eight of the defendants.
The group that constituted the Unilever defendants were from all over the
country and, as in the ICI case, they represented the least experienced activist but unlike ICI they had no experienced figures to pull a defence committee together and arrange even the basics of a united defence. There was not a Unilever Defence Campaign, neither was there a meeting of defendants to discuss the implications of the evidence and to explore lines of defence.
The EALL as a co-ordinating body ceased to exist after the raid and provided no support for the defendants. In fact some of the defendants actually walked the streets at night during their trial because they had nowhere to stay and could not afford bed and breakfast accommodation.
The inexperienced defendants were out of their depth, none of them were
confident enough to take on the role of coordinating the defendants and the animal rights movement chose to forget them, first because of the spectacular success of the SEALL and later because of the serious court case which was facing that group. Without reports, letters and actions in support of the Unilever 42 they became the forgotten defendants in a forgotten trial.
Following the acquittal of the majority of the SEALL defendants in November 85 the Home Office stepped in and reindicted the eight defendants in the case who had not been committed for trial at the magistrates court. This legal manouvere requires the direct intervention of the Department of Public Prosecution to overrule the magistrate. The timing of the manouvere, just three months before the trial and days after the acquittal of 12 of the Wickham 19, certainly implies a desperate attempt to ensure the imprisonment of animal liberation campaigners. At this stage after two major league trials the state had seen only nine prison sentences out of
over forty defendants. For the leagues to be totally smashed the Unilever trial would need to set an example that would not easily be forgotten. With just three months before the trial the defendants, who had still not had a joint meeting were facing a trial that was begining to take on a political slant, and they had no idea how to respond. Meanwhile the rest of the animal rights movement continued to ignore the impending disaster.
The court case was split into three trials for the convenience of the crown. In the first trial there were thirteen defendants still clinging to the belief that the most important aspect of the case was that no-one had made a statement to the police, and so the majority decided not to go into the witness box. They believed that to do so would merely give a more complete picture of the day s events, they would, as it were, fill in the gaps. The jury heard from the prosecution that Unilever had been smashed up, that the defendants had been caught either in the grounds or on the road nearby, many had fresh glass cuttings in their shoes, and none had given an explanation of their behaviour. After a three-week trial the jury found eleven of
the thirteen guilty.
The following week the second trial began. In a remarkable about-turn, this
time the majority of defendants gave evidence despite the fact that a weekend is not really long enough to prepare a defence case, the jury in the second trial acquitted eleven and convicted only three. In the third trial defendants again elected to give evidence but between the second and third trial the prosecution introduced more evidence. This evidence was introduced in a desperate attempt to ensure extra convictions. The extra evidence probably had only a marginal impact on the case but the jury convicted thirteen defendants and acquitted only one.
After each trial the judge remanded those convicted in custody and at the end of the third trial he ordered social enquiry reports to be prepared. Those convicted in the first trial had already spent three months inside by the time they were taken to Leicester Crown Court for sentencing. The mitigation and sentencing lasted three days. Of the 27 defendants two walked free with two-year suspended prison sentences, three received six month sentences, two received twelve months, six received eighteen months and thirteen were sentenced to two years, one lad was sentenced to two and a half years.
Many animal rights campaigners believe that the Unilever trial proved that the daylight raid was a redundant tactic. Nothing could be further from the truth, the case proved that ill-conceived plans carried out in a haphazard manner, which result in court cases which nobody takes seriously, will result in perfect opportunities for the State to take its revenge and make examples of its half-hearted opponents. There was nothing inevitable about the convictions in this case. On the whole there is no discernable evidence against those who were acquitted in the second trial and the majority of those convicted in the first and third trials. The jury in the second trial were obviously less inclined to convict than the juries in the first and third trial, but even in the other trials the juries acquitted one or two people against whom there was almost exactly the same degree of evidence as those who were convicted.
In all three trials the case could have gone either way. If the defendants had been as organised in this case as they were in the Wickham 19 trial then could have reasonably hoped for over 35 acquittals. There was no evidence in the case that any of the defendants had foreknowledge of the days events, no evidence that many of them had even reached the research premises and no evidence that they had been party to any break-in.
Those defendants who gave evidence to the jury all adopted the defence that they had gone to the laboratory to protest and they were quite happy to occupy the grounds as part of that protest as they understood that trespass was not a criminal offence. They claimed that they knew nothing of a planned break-in and would not have joined the protest if they had known of such a plan. The jury in the first and third trial simply did not believe them.
The tragedy is that in some cases it was the truth.
At Unilever people were involved in an action which went very badly wrong, those people who were arrested on the whole were the least experienced activists who had little experience of dealing with the law and no knowledge of what needed to be done to organise a good fight at the trial. They simply did not know what they should do. The result was that for eighteen months they did nothing except wait for the trial to take its course. The State on the other hand, was working hard to make sure that at the end of this series of trials the animal liberation movement never dared to organise such large scale actions again. The animal liberation movement abandoned these people as large scale raids went out of fashion and the cult of militant cells became dominant.
In the future the Unilever raid may be viewed as the turning point where the animal liberation movement temporarily abandoned the attempt to build a mass movement and turned towards the militancy of the few.
The Logic of Direct Action The role of defence campaigns
To defend its power and influence the British State has many tactics, developed over hundreds of years. Its opponants are urged to participate in endless rounds of parliamentary campaigns and to operate within a self-regulated boundary of ineffective and tiresome protest. In the animal rights movement we have consistently been urged to play the parliamentary game, gearing our campaigns towards the next election. However no serious political party has ever had a manifesto commitment to abolishvivisection and so each successive parliament is another disaster for animals in laboratories. This wait and see policy, building up hopes only to see them dashed again is often enough to see the energy of a campaign worn down.
The traditional anti-vivisection societies responded to the emergence of the
animal rights movement, born as it was out of the direct action of the Hunt Saboteurs and the Animal Liberation Front, by creating new, radical versions of their old, failed, campaign tactics. Putting Animals into Politics , the General Election Co-ordinating Committee on Animal Protection and Mobilisation for Laboratory Animals were all formed and rapidly funded by reformist anti-vivisection groups as a direct response to the growing support for militancy amongst the grass roots of local animal rights groups.
The new radical stance of groups such as the BUAV was designed to harness the energy which at that time was being afforded to direct action and draw it into the political campaign. The new radical political campaigners spent more time arguing against the logic of direct action and in support of the need to change things with parliamentary approval as they did raising the issues with politicians.
In fact the Mobilisation for Laboratory Animals concept of a political campaign amounted to nothing more than lobbying of M.P.s. In reality the much heralded radical new approach represented no change in the attitude of the sponsor groups. It was a response not to the parliamentary situation but to the growing animal rights movement.
Despite the fact that the Government was committed to expanding the scope of the vivisection industry, the Mobilisations sponsor groups chose to demand the loyalty of the animal rights movement to a parliamentary approach, at a time when we were achieving successes by the use of direct action.
The parliamentary campaign is doomed to failure because, despite our democratic traditions, we live in a political system where M.P.s have a greater allegiance to their social class than to the wishes of the electorate they have to face once every four years.
If vivisection was against the interests of the ruling class they could abolish it very quickly, either by the use of their legislative powers, or more simply by decisions made at Board meetings. Commercial forms of animal abuse such as vivisection and factory farming are in the financial interests of the ruling class, and bloodsports are an essential part of their social fabric. The parliamentary campaign is in fact asking us to petition the ruling class to act against their own best interest.
We do not take direct action out of choice, we do so out of the realisation that if it were possible for parliamentary campaigns to bring about the end of vivisection they would have done so by now.
Those who abandon the legitimate forms of protest are branded as extreme by the State which has failed to respond to those legitimate protests. An ideological war is waged against direct action by the press, by the police, animal abusers and their P.R. companies and by concerned M.P. s. Even reformist animal welfare societies allow their commitment to political campaigning to over-ride the immediate interests of the animal liberation movement, in the hope that their loyalty will be rewarded by sympathetic legislation which would not otherwise be forthcoming.
The activists, because of the illegality of their actions, are not usually in a
position to publicly defend their campaign. The benefits of this ideological war to those who abuse animals is if it can successfully drive a wedge between the animal liberation activists and those people who have exactly the same views on the need to end animal abuse, but who have not as yet recognised the necessity for direct action.
Should the direct action movement establish itself, and appear to be acquiring the organizational capability and the numerical support to have a realistic chance of toppling vivisection, then the State will decide to destroy that organization. In the animal liberation movement we have already seen the ability of police special squads, infiltration and surveillance techniques to gain results. Police action against the NALL, FALL and SEALL resulted in those organisations winding up and members going to prison. In Sheffield the use of surveillance and the bugging of suspects houses resulted in the arrest of 12 people including the two ALF press
While C.I.D. officers try to solve a crime from the evidence available following an incident, special police squads work in the exact opposite way. They begin with a group of suspects chosen by the special branch and concentrate on collecting evidence on those targetted suspects, their contacts and their organizations.
The aim of a special squad is to have a show trial which will put the target
suspects, their organizations, and their ideas on trial and ensure not only convictions on a charge serious enough to warrant a deterrent prison sentence, but also provide an opportunity to mobilise public opinion against the criminal elements within the protest movement. The special squad would consider themselves successful if they had nobbled a few leading activists, had put direct action on trial and seen it discredited, destroyed the militant organizations and put the fear of Big Brother policing into the hearts of any would be activists.
To achieve this degree of success the squad will not necessarily make their
arrests at the point in an investigation where an ordinary force would, choosing to wait for more evidence to convict on a more serious charge. When they are successful, they are devastating however they do rely on being able to deliver one resounding blow a sort of knock-out punch against a small, elite and inflexible organization.
In response to these attacks we must launch effective defence campaigns, resulting in more public awareness of the issues of vivisection, and which vindicate in the public eye the logic of direct action and lay the foundations for a popular movement against vivisection.
To rebuild the strength of the direct action movement, we must ensure that a new generation of activists who are largely unknown to the police are fully supported by those who have previously played an active part in the struggles and who can now argue publicly the case for direct action and organise support for it.
The use of retired activists, in conjunction with local animals rights groups, to organise defence campaigns, public meetings, leafleting sessions etc., will maximize the effect of any direct action taken and help ensure that the majority of infomation reaching the special branch files relates to people who are not the local activists.
Most animal liberationists when arrested are charged with offences relating to Theft or Criminal Damage, which are laws dealing with property and ownership, and not particularly designed to protect animal abuse. However when we compare the common understanding of these words and their legal definition, we recognise a distinct bias in favour of the owner and a definite disregard for the welfare of the animal.
A laboratory animal is generally viewed by the public as a victim suffering in the name of science, yet to the vivisector the animal is just a research tool, and that is exactly the legal definition. In law a lab animal has the same standing as a chair or a table.
Although we may accept that it is wrong to smash other people s property, that general principle has little relevence to the situation where someone destroys a piece of machinery used to torture animals. In court the vivisector will not be asked to justify the use of the equipment, and the jury will be instructed that in law the successful prevention of animal. suffering is totally irrelevent, their only concern should be the injury to the machine.
Although these instances could appear to be an oversight, the law has managed to legislate on almost every form of commercial animal abuse, in favour of the owner and against the interests of the animal.
The 1876 Cruelty to Animals Act was passed with the sole intention of giving immunity from prosecution to the medical community to perform experiments on animals which, without the Act, would have resulted in serious criminal charges.
The advent of the battery cage was only possible because poultry (chickens) are specifically excluded from the provisions of the Protection of Birds Act, (1954).
Hunting with hounds, shooting and fishing are only legal because legislation concerning cruelty to animals was deliberately restricted to exclude wild animals.
Despite the fact that the animal liberation movement breaks some laws which are not particularly designed or interpreted to protect vivisectors, we must recognise that the historical role of the legislature is to design laws which specifically deny legal protection to abused animals.
In many cases activists are not charged with a specific offence, such as breaking a piece of equipment, or taking an animal, they are instead faced with a charge of conspiracy. This ancient law alleges that you have plotted to commit a criminal offence, and almost invariably carries a stiffer sentence than that applicable for the offence itself.
Charges of Theft and Criminal Damage appear before the courts regularly and so promote a predictable pattern of sentencing, depending on the value of the property stolen or damaged, and the character of the defendant. The sentences for these offences within a straightforward criminal framework would be much less than are likely under a conspiracy charge, where the value of the property is considered less important than the plot itself.
The rules of evidence are also much looser in a conspiracy trial, for example in a conspiracy trial your political views can and very often are used as evidence against you, or the fact that you are a friend or acquaintance of a codefendant.
Often in a conspiracy trial the prosecution will produce evidence that a crime has been committed, evidence that the defendants are the type of people who would commit the crime, tenuous links between the defendants and the crime, and then mere innuendo of a conspiracy. The result is to blacken the defendants names and leave their characters on trial. The statement by a leading judge that conspiracy can be effected by a nod or a wink, without a word being spoken , shows what little hard evidence is required to obtain a conviction.
The police, with Home Office consent, often adopt a conspiracy charge aginst animal liberationists because of the seriousness of the charge, and because they often cannot really prove a specific criminal act against a particular person. The use of this highly emotive charge ensures a greater number of convictions, of a more serious nature, with less evidence than had a normal criminal charge been brought.
When we approach the issue of defence campaigns we must realise that the
British State uses the courts to criminalise those opponents it has failed to subdue by the concept of parliamentary reform. The legislature passes laws which disregard the interests of animals and promote the interests of animal abusers. The police special squad set up by the Home Office has been instructed to use the law as a means of smashing the widespread resistance to animal abuse. Judges who come from the highest levels of the British ruling class are there to define the law and if necessary, redefine it to protect their class interests from anything which they feel threatens them, in this case ordinary people taking what action is necessary to stop animal abuse.
When the State attempts to use judicial procedure to criminalise and imprison its opponents it risks discrediting the impartiality of the legal system in the eyes of the public. It is the role of a defence campaign to ensure that the State pays a high price in terms of its credibility for the privilege of successfully nobbling a few activists.
The defence campaign should attack the role of the State in defending animal abuse, while building support for the logic of direct action. The campaign also ensures that the defendants have the financial resources to research their defence properly. It ensures that the bias of the police, prosecutor and Judge are open to public scrutiny. It also ensures that people involved in similar actions to the defendants understand the way the charge has been brought, and so presumably help them avoid similar legal attack. It will if it effectively challenges the role of the legal system, almost incite the jury to acquit in spite of the evidence before them. It should also build public interest in the case to such a level that the judge may wish to avoid the public outcry of a particularly harsh sentence.
Peter Hain, in his book Political Trials in Britain concludes. Defence campaigns have been most effective when they have attacked either the charge itself or the motives for bringing it rather than the pros and cons of the evidence in question.
Leafleting outside the court, organizing public meetings beforehand, producing background material, staging demonstrations, winning support from political groups and trade unions all these have a role to play. For such activity has almost never been counterproductive. On the contrary, it has helped expose the reality of a trial that is political. Ultimately, if the State wishes to up the stakes by bringing political trials to quell political opposition or to deal with a political problem, then defendants need to respond in kind. There cannot be one law for the judges and prosecutors and another for defendants. If the former are prepared to carry their politics into the courtroom as they clearly are then so should the accused.
Changes in the law a legal discussion
Would you like to outline the main effect of the Public Order Bill?
The main effects are that there will be much greater restrictions on the right to protest and to demonstrate. What the Bill will do, if passed, is to repeal a large section of the law relating to Order, and replace it by powers which before the police never had. The main change which will affect demonstrators, protestors and pickets is the new offence of Disorderly Conduct . In the past you can only be guilty of an offence under section five of the Public Order Act, if your behaviour is threatening, abusive, or insulting. Now Disorderly Conduct would mean that you could be arrested by the police for say, standing outside the chip shop telling jokes to your friends because the police could say that you were annoying people who were passers by. So the main change is to extend the powers of the police to arrest people in situations where there is no violence, or threat of violence, and in fact where people are doing nothing except talking in the street, or congregating as a group, for example after they have been to the pub to have a chat. If the police take offence to that they will be able to arrest the group and then they will probably be convicted at court.
The Bill extends the powers the police and the courts have in relation to the new offence of Riot. The Bill extends the powers of sentencing.
It effectively makes peaceful protest illegal. It will mean that those who organise pickets and demonstrations will have to first of all get the permission of the police.
The police will have the power to restrict the numbers on a demonstration, they will have much greater power to decide where that demonstration goes. They could prevent it from taking place at all.
If those who demonstrate do not get the permission of the police, or there are more people on the demonstration than the police say there should be, then those people on the demonstration, or those who organise the demonstration, can be arrested.
So it effectively gives the powers to the police to decide who can, and under
what circumstances, demonstrate, protest or picket.
Could you explain the necessary process that a person would have to go through in order to make their protest legal?
The new legislation would prevent spontaneous protest from taking place. It will make it illegal for a spontaneous protest, something that arose at that time e.g. a group of workers who have one of their workmates sacked on the spot and then come out on strike and congregate in numbers outside the gates of the factory to picket would be committing an offence because they have not had prior permission from the police to demonstrate. Or if a group wanted to have a protest outside a shop who started selling furs or other products like that they would first of all have to get the permission of the police and inform them that they are going to have a demo. If they had a spontaneous demo and just went outside the shop, they
would probably be arrested by the police and they would probably be contravening these laws because they didn t have prior permission.
If a group of say eight people were having a leafleting session outside MacDonalds or Boots, could that be construes as an Unlawful Assembly ?
No not normally, that would not be considered Unlawful Assembly . As I understand it the offence of Unlawful Assembly as it stands now is to be repealed.
But with the new powers could they be arrested for leafleting?
They could be arrested for leafleting as they are now, without any changes in the law, for Obstructing the High way or, if the police ask them to move on the basis that their presence may cause a Breach of the Peace and they refuse they could be charged with Obstructing the Police, and as they are now, could be charged with Breach of the Peace itself. None of these powers have changed and they will still remain.
However if the law is passed, the Public Order Bill, it will give the police greater powers because that group of people (if they didn t have prior permission to demonstrate outside Boots or MacDonalds) could be arrested by the police for not having that prior permission. Therefore any demonstration even if it were peaceful and not upsetting anybody could in itself be illegal. On top of that they could be arrested for the new offence of Disorderly Behaviour which is much easier to prove. If this Bill becomes law any demonstrators leafleting could be arrested for seven or eight different things.
If a group such as the BUAV organised a national march and had received prior permission from the police as to the numbers allowed, direction of the march, etc. and while the march was taking place 40 to 50 people had a spontaneous sit down protest, with what could they be charged, and how would it effect the organisers and the other people on the march?
If the march had prior permission from the police and was on the face of it lawful, then anybody on the march would be guilty of nothing, unless they committed another offence If 40 or 50 people sat down and refused to move and thereby were Obstructing the Highway and at the same time Obstructing the Police because they didn t comply with reasonable orders from the police to move on, then those people would be guilty of Obstructing the Highway, or Obstructing the Police.
The rest of the people who took no part in that situation would not be guilty of any offence, even under the new law. The organisers of the march could be guilty of an offence if the march did not comply with the restrictions laid down by the police.
It is accepted that those who organise the march are responsible for the actions of the people who take part, and that the march organisers must be able to exercise some discipline over the marchers so if the 50 marchers refused to move and blocked the highway, thereby having broken any conditions that were imposed on the march (and normally one of the conditions would be that marchers would not block the highway) the organisers could be arrested. The people, who were not involved and were not organisers would not be liable to any criminal proceedings.
If a group of hunt saboteurs, after long negotiations with the police obtain permission to hold a protest near to a hunt meet, become aware on the day of the demo that the hunt, having been advised of their plans had moved to another meet some 20 miles away. What would happen if the hunt saboteurs went to the new meet and prevented any killing by using footpaths to approach the hunt from where they blew horns and laid false trails ?
Well, all the demonstrators would leave themselves open to be arrested unless they had prior permission for their new demonstration at a different place, even though the reason for that was because the hunt had moved.They would still need prior permission from the police, but at that time it would be too late because normally they would have to have seven days notice. Anybody who held a demonstration without police permission would make themselves liable to arrest.
If we imagine a situation where a local animal rights group has had a long running and lawful campaign against a particular laboratory and after long negotiations with the police obtain permission to hold a march and rally in a nearby town. One week before the march an animal liberation group break into the labs and obtain documentary and film evidence of cruel experiments which obtains national news coverage. Following a public outcry the organisers of the march use the publicity to appeal for a large public turnout for the march. If at this point the police decided they were unhappy about the possibility of a large turnout and withdrew their permission, but the organisers publicly annouced that the march would go ahead, could the police
a) Use the media to declare that the march was illegal and that anyone who
participated would be liable to arrest
b) Arrest the organisers and known local activists on the morning of the march, even before they arrive at the assembly point
c) Set up roadblocks on all the main roads into the town and turn back coaches on the motorway
d) Attack the march and, in an attempt to disperse those present, charge horses and even drive transit vans at high speed through the middle of the marchers
e) Use the highly trained riot squads, SPG and short shield units to drive people off the streets and arrest anyone who did not run fast enough?
The answer to all those questions is yes.
Can you comment on the possibility that a peaceful march could lead to a violent confrontation because of the police attempting to disperse that march when the marchers did not want to be dispersed. Would you accept that this is a danger with the new law?
Yes, that was what happened in some circumstances during the miners strike, where you had large pickets which were in themselves quite peaceful and which only became violent as a result of the action, or over-reaction, of the police.
The danger now is that because they will have greater powers than they did
during the miners strike, that they will use those new powers to the ultimate and criminalise people for peaceful protest and that if we use the experience of the miners strike as an example, is exactly what happened. We know from experience that the police in some circumstances actualy provoke violence on the picket line so that they can arrest people for alleged violent and disorderly behaviour and they could, if there is violence, charge those on the demonstration not just with the less serious offences but charges of Riot and Violent Disorder which carry prison sentences five years for Violent Disorder and ten years for Riot .
Do these offences of Riot and Violent Disorder also carry fines?
Yes the maximum sentence is ten years in prison plus a fine for Riot, and for Violent Disorder, five years plus a fine.
Have any of the Chief Constables, or representatives of the Police Federation, made any statements which would lead us to have an understanding of how the police intend to use these the proposed new powers?
No I am not aware of any, they wouldn t really make comments like that before the law came into effect. The only way we can understand how they would use it is by looking at the experience of the last few years of Public Order situations and the miners strike is the best example, in the way the police used their existing powers to the utmost if necessary.
One of the reasons that they want to change the law is that the vast majority of people charged with Riot or Unlawful Assembly were found not guilty. The police were made to look like fools in court. Now they want to change the law to make it easier to get convictions on serious offences like that. Many of these new offences are much easier to prove.
Can you give us an outline of the new police powers in the Police and Criminal Evidence Act which came into effect in January 1986?
The police have greater powers of arrest than under the old law. They can arrest people for more offences than they could previously. They can even arrest somebody now for failing to give their name and address.
The second change is at the police station. They have the power to keep people in the police station before they are charged for a longer period of time than under the old law. They have to have reviews, but in practice we can see that those that are arrested are kept longer in the police station where they are interrogated by the police, and where there is more likelihood of abuses taking place by the police.
The third difference is that they have much greater powers to search and seize people s property than they did before. Fourthly they have much greater powers to put up road blocks than they did before.
The fifth change they have brought about, to give the suspect more rights is a greater access to lawyers than they had previously, but that change has not been implemented in many areas. There are now provisions for a 24-hour duty solicitor scheme, whereby anyone arrested can have access to a solicitor at any time of the day or night.
This law really makes it clearer what powers the police have from the time they suspect somebody to the time they are brought before the courts or released. It determines what the police are allowed to do at each stage, but in effect it gives the police much greater powers, and there is very little protection under the law to give the suspect rights. I think the changes are adverse and certainly give the police much greater powers than they should have or need to investigate crime.
Does the new law affect the suspect s traditional right to remain silent?
No, the law still maintains the suspects right to remain silent.
What access will the police have to confidential files on suspects held by for example their doctor or solicitor?
They have limited access to confidential files and only where permision is granted by a high court judge. They cannot seize the contents of the file or other confidential documents, they would have to apply to the high court to get a special order.
Would the solicitor have the right to argue in the courts that the files should not be released to the police?
Do you think that there is a danger that those solicitors that operate the 24-hour duty solicitor scheme will develop too close a working relationship with the police and begin to operate against the best interests of their clients?
I don t think there is any greater danger now that duty solicitors would be affected by the police. There are solicitors now that are police-minded, some who are corrupt, that situation will remain the same. I don t think there is a greater danger under the new system.
The problem is that in the legal profession there are those who are more concerned with how much money they make than with the people they represent. The 24-hour duty solicitor scheme certainly gives those bent solicitors greater access to clients.
They could, within the scheme, operate in favour of the police and contrary to the wishes of the suspect but I don t think it will be any worse there has always been a proportion of solicitors who at the moment don t represent people properly.
The New Public Order Proposals
the effect on animal rights groups
Once the new Public Order proposals become law, local animal rights groups will no longer have the option of organising sit-down protests in fur shops, vigils outside MacDonalds, or be able to picket centres of animal abuse, and the concept of hunt sabotage as we know it could be finished.
Groups will be forced into a position of working with the police, or with the police working against them. Those groups that do work with the police will not be allowed to do anything more than they are presently allowed by law, while those groups that do not work with them will find that the discretionary use of the new police powers will allow them to harass groups that they don t like. In areas where there is little or no direct action against animal abuse the police will take little or no interest in the local animal rights group, but once that interest is aroused by the emergence of an animal liberation group then the police may well expect co-operation from the local animal rights group, for example having an educated guess as to who is involved in the animal liberation group, or by asking the animal rights group to condemn the militants . The police may hint that a failure to co-operate may result in your group not being granted permission for stalls, marches, demonstrations etc in the future.
Local animal rights groups have been the backbone of the movement for some years, drawing new people in and, through organising street campaigns, they have provided the roots from which much else has grown. It is essential that these groups do not allow the new laws to prevent them from fulfilling this role.
It is vital that local animal rights groups recognise the reality of the struggle. There are those who abuse animals, particularly factory farmers and vivisectors, whose industries are controlled by multinational companies and whose combined spending power is far greater than that of many nations. Then there are those who oppose that abuse, who rely entirely on direct appeals to the public for their funding. Finaly there is the British State itsel which. far from legislating against animal cruelty, is criminalising those areas of protest which are currently legal, and intensifying its attempts to track down those who defy the law in order to directly challenge animal abuse. The constant question for the local animal rights groups must be are their campaigns relevent to this struggle?
The first point, of course, is that it is relevant that an animal rights group exists in an area, it is at least a rallying point for those opposed to animal abuse while the level of direct action often ebbs and flows, it is important to have a constant animal rights group continually raising the issue of animal abuse.
The idea of a local campaigning group operating as effectively as possible
within the law should develop campaign strategies that bypass the new laws. The development of animal rights shops, the holding of public meetings, the production of well-produced local leaflets, door to door leafleting campaigns, speaking tours to other groups in the area, fly posting and regular vegetarian evenings, where the newly interested can sample the best of vegetarian/vegan cooking and the best of animal rights literature, videos and speakers are all useful to draw people into the movement.
However efficient an animal rights group is, and however much it has harnessed public opinion and however much it has exposed animal abuse, it must realise the limitations of a broad-based campaign operating within the law. The most obvious example of that limitation is the campaign against hare coursing and stag hunting, both of which totally outrage the public. In opinion polls on the subject, they consistently and overwhelmingly call for a government ban. Despite that clear mandate no ban has ever been imposed. The attitude of the public is almost unanimous in its assertion that rather than paying to store food mountains, we should qive the food to the starving of Africa, however that does not happen either. It is
very naive to believe that if public opinion favoured an end to commercial forms of animal abuse then that is what would happen.
The government did not hold a referendum before introducing the 1876 Act which protected vivisectors from prosecution for cruelty to animals. It never had a referendum on bringing Cruise missiles into this country and it never held a referendum on whether 1000 young men should be butchered in the so-called Falklands Conflict .
Local animal rights groups must build a broad base of support within the community and the easiest way to do that is if the group operates largely within the legal restraints. However, unless it challenges the role of the State in defending animal abuse and unless it supports the direct action struggle it will have little lasting relevance.
Local groups must adopt a principled position of opposition to all animal abuse and attempt to destroy the myth that commercial forms of animal abuse have remained legal because of an oversight by successive governments. On the contrary they have remained legal because they are commercial and in fact the only manifesto commitment from the Labour Party was the claim that had they been elected at the last election they would have considered banning hunting with hounds.
The role of the State has been increasingly to throw its weight against the animal rights movement. In 1984 the Lancashire police refused to intervene when hare coursing officials attacked hunt saboteurs at the Altcar coursing event, the result was a hunt saboteur had to undergo emergency brain surgery. This was the culmination of a year in which the bloodsports fraternity had been invited to the Home Office to discuss how the police could best protect hunts from the perfectly legal campaign of the hunt saboteurs.
The press have undertaken a witch hunt against the ALF, and the three year prison sentence recently meted out to an alleged organiser of the SEALL is an attempt to frighten off active resistance to animal abuse. The Fur Traders Association have already issued advice to other animal abusers claiming that the most successful way of dealing with attacks against them is to use the press to take a swipe at the activists. This most commonly takes the form of an allegation that the activists got the wrong target or that the activists have harmed their own or the animals interests.
The police often join in to protect the animal abusers claiming that the raid has not happened, or concocting a story with the owners of an animal abuse centre to release to the press that will shed bad light on the activists. This happens so regularly one might be led to believe that the police have a directive which instructs them to lie to the press. Alternatively it could show the instinctive way in which the police and press conspire to preserve commercial interests.
It is for the local group to challenge any lies in the press, to challenge the role of the police in using their powers to restrict animal rights campaigns, to challenge the use of criminal courts to suppress campaigners, and to undermine the standing in the community of multinational animal abusers.
There is a great deal of room for growth rather than retraction in the activities of local animal rights groups although it will take time to see the necessary effort and determination rewarded. The groups need to accommodate both the active supporters who have a commitment to keeping the group ticking over and a far larger number of supporters who oppose animal abuse but are not prepared to do very much about it at the moment, these are the people who are the link between the local group and the community. These groups must also address themselves to the issues of direct action. If a factory farm is raided in an area then the local group should not only support the action but should get involved by organising a anti-factory farming campaign, and so explain the issues behind the raid. Support should also be given when activists are arrested. A defence fund/campaign set up and pickets organised at court, and a campaign against the particular animal abuse centre involved in the case initiated. Should people be convicted and sentenced the campaign should not end but escalate.
ALF the way we were
This article discusses ideas that could be adopted by a local animal liberation group, it is based on personal experience of several ALF groups operating in the South of England between 1982 and 1984. We did for a while perfect a system where we could move from seeing to raiding an an animal abuse centre in a matter of 48 hours the number of animals we rescued ran into several thousands with a record of 250 on one night from a vivisection dealer. We raided everything from schools which bred animals for dissection, up to major laboratories where there was 24-hour security and intricate alarm systems, although the majority of our actions were against factory farms and vivisection breeders.
We started out as a group of 4 people with one car. At our height there were as many as 50 active members split into several sub-groups, some of these sub groups are still active, although the majority of our members have now ceased to be active the pressure of living under the continuous threat of possible arrest taking its toll on many of the more active members.
Finding people to work with is the hardest of all your tasks. At the minute we see a spate of people who have become involved in groups, who, when arrested, make statements incriminating themselves (let me mention here that no one has ever got off by making a statement) worse than this is the disturbing development of people making statements naming other activists and giving details of raids they have been involved with (in the criminal world this is known as grassing or snitching ).
In the prison cells some people make a belated and somewhat pathetic attempt to save their own skin by telling the police what they want to hear. But despite the police promises, grassing has never saved anyone s skin and when it comes to avoiding a beating in the cells, the police in general only use violence in interviews when they think it will get results. When people have been hit, and they begin to talk, the police are encouraged, while if they stay quiet Mr Nasty , is shepherded out of the interview room and Mr Nice , apologises and appeals to you personally.
Activists, after being grassed, have faced the same police officers expecting a beating and have simply not been touched, the police sensing the strength of their resistance. When deciding who to work with make sure you don t choose someone who will later grass on you.
People who believe in what they are doing and recognise the personal risks they are taking in advance of their arrest will not grass. Those people who grass cannot really believe in what they are doing, otherwise they would have the confidence and the peace of mind to recognise that in a direct action campaign some arrests are inevitable, and although they are unlucky to be arrested at that particular time, the struggle will go on. Their role once arrested is to ensure that nothing they say or do impairs the struggle. It is very important that the calibre of people is high and that you never work on a job you are not happy about. In a group you need some solid un-shakeable characters, young people without much insight are not a good idea. Look for commonsense, people not prone to showing off, no big ego s and no-one who boasts about what they ve done or are about to do. The longer you know people the better and try never to ask someone to get involved unless you are confident that they are interested.
Finding a target Your local animal rights group probably has a very good idea where the local labs, breeders, fur farms and battery units are, although unless you are already involved it is probably best to keep well clear of the local animal rights group it is after all the first place the police will come looking for information on likely activists.
National societies also give information if asked in the correct way (e.g. doing a school project). The Yellow Pages is another source of information, look under egg producers and packers , scientific supplies , pharmaceutical companies , fur farms etc. For small, easy to hit targets, one of the best ways of finding them is to drive round the countryside looking for signs saying Fresh Farm Eggs and the tell-tale wooden sheds and food hoppers. Specialist magazines are also a useful source, Poultry World , Pig Breeder , etc should be available from your local reference library.
Planning the raid Before you start, learn to read an Ordnance Survey
Landranger Series Map and get a pair of binoculars. Always study the location on the map and learn to recognise where you are in relation to roads, streams, footpaths, etc.
The first visit to a target should be during the day. Park well out of the way and aproach the target on foot. Try to get as close as possible, look for ways in and ways out, (not necessarily the same). Begin to develop your plan where will you park? Which buildings will you enter? Which route will you take in? Where will your look-out be? Where will your break-in point be? (seldom the front door).
Where is anybody likely to disturb you? Once you are back in the car, try and draw a sketch map immediately so that you remember everything.
After seeing the place close up it is a good idea to retire to a distance and study your O.S. map. Look for some ideal parking spots in rural areas these will have to be off little-used country lanes, in the town it may well be in a housing estate. You may also decide that there are some convenient footpaths running around the back of the site, walk the length of these, but don t stay around the immediate area of the site for long enough to arouse suspicion. Once you have seen all that you can during daylight, clear off and make a draft plan. Next, return at night, try out your route and find its weaknesses. Get as close to your target building as possible, ideally right up to the breakin point. Check the locks, doors and window fittings, look for signs of alarms, and general security.
In laboratories, small animals are often left overnight with a slight coloured, glowing light this can give you a good idea of where they are being housed. Try to choose the most secluded entry point although this is not always necessary or possible. Torches can be very useful for seeing into windows, but obviously they have to be used intelligently.
Having surveyed the target area, make sure that your route in and out is as
simple as possible, stick to hedges, count field boundaries, note the number of gates etc., anything that will make the route nice and easy. Try not to use wide open spaces as part of your route, hedges make you invisible in the dark. It is vital that you walk the route once at night before the job, as darkness is disorientating and places can look very different.
A good time to do a job is at new moon if you live in the city you d be sur-
prised how much light is given out by the moon. Winter is ideal with its early dusks, late dawns, and cold, rainy, windy nights no farmer is going to want to get out of bed at two in the morning just because he has heard a noise that could so easily have been the wind.
Once you are sure of the route, go there at the time and day of the week that you are planning to do the job, and do a complete walk-through. Park where you will be parking, walk the exact route and stay at the break-in point for as long as you need to be there on the night. If everything works out then you are onto the next stage.
When planning your get-away you should look for natural barriers in the landscape. For example, if your target is on one side of a motorway, the sooner you cross onto the other side the better, if you are going across fields barriers such as railway lines should be crossed, and if there is a stream it may be worth taking a length of ladder to be used as a makeshift bridge. When a natural barrier exists, in general the police will be more likely to check the near side of the barrier before they cross it and so give you extra time to escape.
Often when planning a raid there will be the late or early debate. If you do a job at 2.00 a.m. there will be very few people around to see you, but then again the police may decide you are suspicious if you are on the road at that time. You may decide to do the job at pub chuckingout time, when you will not look particularly suspicious on the road, but you may be spotted by community spirited neighbours, and if people live on site they are more likely to hear you. In many ways the compromise may be to operate as late at night as possible using one vehicle for the departure of the animals and leaving the activists to spend several hours travelling cross country to a pickup point that is a) miles away and b) when the morning traffic is about.
It cannot be stated enough that unless there are clear and obvious advantages you should not take ALF actions during the day. Darkness, and knowledge of the area around the target will ensure your escape, on foot, however many police units arrive. In 1981 anALF group was stranded in the fields surrounding a beagle breeders at Ross-on-Wye, the police had swooped on their transport and arrested their back-up driver. The group, with beagles, were at one time just the other side of a hedge from parked police vehicles the group escaped and got the beagles away by travelling as fast as possible, on foot, across country, eventually contacting a supporter who arranged transport for them to be picked up.
However wrong things go on the night, don t give up a clear head, good
planning and determination should give you the edge on the police.
Your driver should be as clean as possible, preferably someone who has never had their name taken by the police, has never had their vehicle licence number taken by the police, and who is not a member of the Hunt Saboteurs, ALF SG, BUAV, etc. If you are known to the Special Branch, then anytime your vehicle is noted by the police they will log where it is, the time and the direction it is travelling on the computer if a raid takes place they can ask the computer if any animal people have been in the area recently, and your name will come up.
Clean drivers are worth their weight in gold and they should not take part in any activity that will bring them to the attention of the police. The computer works on a simple entry system, if your name is not on the list the chances are you won t get stopped, if it is you probably will.
Once your group has got off the ground you should develop a core of people responsible for tools, planning raids, the initial break-in, the look-outs, and the organisation of people and vehicles on the night. This group should enter the target area first, set up look-outs, check the area over, and when they are satisfied, break in and locate the animals. Only then should the carriers be brought in their job is to bag or box the animals quickly and quietly and then leave. If the target has no alarms and no-one on site the advance group could conceivably go in hours in advance and prepare everything so that the carriers and their vehicles are there for as short a time as possible.
The carriers are people who come along on the night and carry animals out,
sometimes you won t need them, othertimes you may need ten or twelve. These people are at the fringe of the group and can be brought in when you need them, they may after a while set up a sub-group where they arrange their own jobs, they must have trust in the core group and respect their decisions. It is important that these people are fully aware of the risks they are taking, if arrested they will be in as much trouble as the organisers.
You must never abuse the carriers trust or place them in a position in which they are uncomfortable if you do and they are arrested, they will feel bitter and let down, and that could lead to them being susceptible to police interrogation. Carriers should also be involved in finding new targets and homes for animals. An efficient group will have a store of places to work its way through, the members of the group always finding new places.
One person should be responsible for collating all information on homes, so that when you find homes for fifty hens you do a battery unit, when it s thirty rabbits or ten dogs you do a breeder. In many ways the homing network needs to be bigger than the ALF group, ideally with 4 or 5 people who can take and disperse animals, re-homing them outside of the animal rights movement. It is this ability to disperse animals so that your homes are never used up that will permit you to become an efficient animal liberation group. In general those people involved in the homing network should not be in the ALF group as it would be a very damaging blow should those people be arrested. Only members of the core group of activists should have contact with the homing network.
Tools are a vital consideration. You will need two pairs of bolt-croppers and
two crowbars (large and small), a pair of diamond-tipped glass cutters, a walkie- talkie and a rope. Have a proper tool-bag to carry them in, never touch them without wearing gloves, even when buying them, and always clean them between jobs. The blades on your bolt-cropper should be changed regularly always after a lab job, and run a file over the end of your crowbars as they leave distinctive imprints on whatever they have jemmied open. The tools should always be kept at a safe house in between jobs. A safe house belongs to someone who is not in your group and is not going to come to the attention of the police.
When you plan a job, it is advisable to have a plan B , if things go wrong.
Work out what you are going to do if you come across a guard or if the police arrive, which could be when you are going in, in the middle of a job, or on the way out with the animals. Whatever happens don t panic, it only wastes time. You should have worked out which way to run, and who should be with you. You should know what could go wrong with your plan and have an easy solution to it when it arises. When it comes to running away it is probably best to all leave the site together heading in the same direction to a pre-arranged rendezvous point 3 or 4 fields away from then on it may be better if you split up and travel in groups of three or four in different directions.
When doing a job you must have confidence in those who you are working
with. When you appoint one or more look outs you must be sure that they know what they are doing, that they are not frightened, and that should anything go wrong they will be able to notify you of what is happening. Once you are inside a place, you should just get on with your job, looking over your shoulder only wastes time. Do not panic if the animals begin to make a lot of noise, this is not unusual. Chickens and rabbits make a lot of noise but beagles are notorious and can be heard for miles always remember that you have a look out so get on with your job and the sooner you get out of the sheds the sooner the animals will quieten down. If disturbed you should collect people and leave quickly, most people who discover you will be quite happy to frighten you off their property and then call the police. Unless you are confronted by a farmer who is literally shooting at you with his shotgun, you should not abandon anyone. Security guards are easier to deal with as the property is not theirs. Their job is not to be a hero but to
phone the police, although any sign of weakness on your part may encourage them to grab hold of a tailender, so the rule is don t panic, leave together, and leave quickly.
If you are doing a job in the countryside then it is worth considering hiring a long wheel-base landrover to use as an animal transporter as these are more common in rural areas than a transit type van.
Parking a lot of vehicles for a raid can look suspicious, one way around this is to go out several hours earlier and park the carriers cars in different streets in a nearby town or village. The whole of the carrying group can then be brought in by the vehicle which will leave with the animals, alternatively the carriers can come in from different directions to a rendezvous point near the animal abuse centre and the animal transport only arriving when the group has got its hands on the animals either arriving at a specific time, or being called up with a radio when the job is complete.
Whatever the plan always make sure that the animal van is the first away and has the safest route out of the area. It is important that if you decide to rescue animals you are prepared to face a prison sentence the animals must be protected and if that means a choice between you going to prison or the animals being taken back, then you must be prepared to face the consequences one day you will be released, for the animals there is only one way out.
Although it is good to do jobs on home territory you should consider travelling out of your area on occasions, the further you travel, the less chance of the police guessing that it was your group. It is important not to get into a routine of doing jobs on the same night of the week in the same police district. It is only when the police recognise a pattern of jobs that they will have the opportunity to start fishing for you.
Clothing is a very important consideration as police forensic science is now very advanced and can identify clothing, hairs, foot-prints, tools, paint etc. In one criminal case forensic scientists proved that a discarded shoe was responsible for a foot print at the scene of the crime, they then managed to identify fibres inside the shoe as consistant with the fibre of thirteen different pairs of the defendants socks.
The police have access to highly sophisticated techniques, in practise these will only be used once they are convinced that you are the culprit, and they can then justify the enormous expenditure which is not acceptable for routine testing.
Wearing boiler suits can be a good idea as they cover your clothes, you can wear your party clothes underneath when you reach your transport on your way home you can strip off the boiler suits, straighten your hair and look very presentable should you be stopped by the police. This works even better if you have a mixture of girls and boys in the car, then if you are randomly stopped by the police you can have a story to bluff them with, you could have been to a party, a wedding, etc. It is a good idea to have rehearsed false names, although this is complicated for your drivers if the vehicle is registered in their own name. It is a good idea to wear socks over your shoes, this prevents tell-tale foot-prints being left in soft soil, and ensures that when you get back to your car your shoes won t be covered in mud. Always wear gloves, and never believe that quick wipe with a damp cloth will remove your fingerprints.
Within a direct action campaign arrests are ultimately inevitable, either through bad luck, bad planning, good police work, a frame-up or an act of god. The fact that you have been arrested does not necessarily mean that they have enough evidence to charge you, and if you are charged you will have the opportunity in court to give your defence.
In the police station there is only one rule, Never Make A Statement . In the war soldiers were instructed that should they be taken prisoner they should tell their captors their name, rank, and serial number in the animal rights movement it is name address and date of birth, beyond that you should reply no comment .
Most solicitors that are provided by the police are absolutely useless, so do not make a statement even if advised to by the duty solicitor, they are not to be trusted.
If you have ever watched cops and robbers programmes on T.V. then you will have a good idea of police technique in interviews. There will almost certainly be two interrogators, and in some cases teams of twos. One will do the most of the questioning and the other will occasionally butt in, they will almost inevitably play Mr Nice and Mr Nasty , so if the dominant questioner starts being nasty and gets nowhere he may well get up, slap you, then walk out of the room in anger. Mr Nice will then offer you a cigarette and an apology. Mr Nice might say i know how you feel, I ve got a teenage daughter and she is mad on animals . I m an animal lover myself , I agree with your principles, but not the way you do things , Let s sort this mess out then we can all go home , you shouldn t be here, you re not the sort of person who should be mixed up with the law , I m only trying to help you .
Mr Nasty might say, Don t come in here with your right to remain silent , In this station you don t have any rights , I m going to the pub for me lunch, when I come back you had better be ready to talk , Your friends have told us everything and unless you talk you will be the one that cops the lot .
Other interrogation techniques involve asking you what you had for breakfast, how long you have been a vegetarian, who do you live with, where did you meet and who planned the raid. Refuse to answer all questions and NEVER MAKE A STATEMENT.
Other more interesting police tactics are when the police bring an item of
evidence into the cell and tell you to pick it up with the obvious result that your fingerprint will be left on it, (it is particularly important to be wary of handling match boxes if you are being interviewed for arson). It has happened in the past that the police have walked into a cell with a quantity of cannabis and explained how easy it would be to plant it on the accused so demonstrating their ability to frame you.
Sooner or later the police will inevitably try to frighten you, with their forecast of a long prison sentence if you don t help them, and eventually there will be the threat of physical attack. The physical assault rarely amounts to more than a bit of pushing around. It is designed to show you that they are losing their patience and demonstrate that they can do what they like to you. It is very unwise to attempt to retaliate against your attacker. If you are more seriously beaten in a police cell you should roll into a ball with your back to a corner and your head tucked well down into your chest. NEVER MAKE A STATEMENT.
When and if you use the press it is worth considering your policy towards
claiming actions. It is not a good idea to claim all your actions under a distinctive name, or to organise your press releases in a way which identifies the actions with one group of activists, this merely helps the police to put those actions together and start drawing a pattern about the way the group works. In general the national press are overwhelmingly hostile to animal liberation groups and so it is often a waste of time dealing with them. The nationals will rarely print an article about the rescue of some hens or rabbits, but the local free paper would almost certainly reproduce a photo and a press release. The security risks involved with dealing with the national newspapers are enormous and it is often better to pass information onto such groups as the ALF press office where they will relay the 58 details to the press and be interviewed as to the issues of animal abuse and animal liberation.
If you phone through a press release to a paper they may well record it, if you send a letter they may well give the letter to the police so always be brief. You should explain why the target of the raid was chosen, how many animals they use, what they use them for and if possible provide a photo of the conditions inside. If you do supply a photo then remember it will be sent to the police as soon as the papers have finished with it. Unless you have a member of the group who is prepared to train themselves in the use of video cameras there is little point in attempting to use them on a raid. They are cumbersome and unless you know what you are doing the results will be unusable.
It is probably unwise to build up a trusting relationship with the local press, or with a particular reporter, secondrate reporters would claim to support anyone to get a story. You should always consider the implications should this trusted reporter tell the police all they knew.
What you have read in this article is a summary of the ideas used by our group, they illustrate the way in which we worked. If nothing else we proved that with hard work, commonsense, a passion for animal rights and the initial advantage of being unknown to the police, it is possible for a relatively small group of people to launch a campaign as we did which not only saves hundreds and if you are lucky thousands of lives, but can cause serious disruption to sections of the animal abuse industries.
Sabotage or Terror Effective action or self-delusion
The early success of the Animal Liberation Front was in its ability to cause economic damage to centres of animal abuse whilst at the same time gaining wide-spread attention and sympathy from the media and the public. The image often given was that of a masked figure rescuing beagles from horrific experiments in laboratories, and chickens from dispicable conditions in battery cages. The activist was seen as a person who cared more about the abuse of animals than their own individual liberty.
This image began to change when it was recognised that the ALF were becoming effective, and were bent on causing as much damage to animal abuse centres as possible. The media, being as much a part of the State as the police and big business, turned against the ALF tending only to report those actions that they could portray in a bad light.
Since then some people, having seen how the media operates, have undertaken certain outrageous actions knowing the media will pick up on them. Needless to say the reporting has been highly critical if not hysterical at times. The owners of the media are not an independent group, they would like to see support for the animal rights movement dwindle and will portray activists as lunatics, or terrorists moreso if we hand them the opportunity on a plate as in 1984 when the Hunt Retribution Squad posed for the daily newspapers threatening to seriously injure a huntsman. It was believed their intention was to serve a warning to the hunt, that if they attacked a saboteur then they could receive similar attention, either physically or economically in terms of damage to hunt equipment.
Prior to the HRS, economic damage as retribution had been caused by the ALF, so this was not new, although the idea of premeditated physical violence was. It was the first time an animal rights group had advocated violence.
Since the emergence of the HRS we have not seen the level of violence towards hunt saboteurs decreasing, and there has not been a serious attempt to counter violence on hunts. There has been limited retribution in terms of economic damage to vehicles and buildings, but certainly no organised violent retribution against hunt members as the HRS claimed in their press release. In fact all their targets were property belonging to famous personalities and it can hardly be claimed that their actions would change the behaviour of the late Duke of Beaufort, whose grave was desecrated.
The Hunt Retribution Squad was entirely created for media attention, going to great lengths to be outrageous. Their first statement, which appeared on the front pages of nearly all the national newspapers and on national television, showed them brandishing pick-axe handles, clubs and chainsaws in an attempt to look menacing and threatening so as to capitalize on the media s predictable sensationalization of them. The HRS later claimed that it was their attempt to shift the middle ground of anti-hunt opposition. This middle ground was occupied by the Hunt Saboteurs Association, whose activities of weekly hunt sabotage brought them into regular conflict with the hunts and their supporters. The Hunt Retribution Squad s belief was that the hunting fraternity and the public would60 think the HSA moderate in comparison to themselves and as such give the HSA greater support and respectability. However for many years, probably since the inception of the Animal Liberation Front, the hunts have believed the HSA and the ALF were one and the same. It was unlikely that the hunts would see a distinction between the HRS and the HSA.
There were little benefits from the HRS s media hype apart from a temporary wavering of less committed hunt supporters. If it was ever the intention of the HRS to carry out violent retribution then they had ample opportunity to do so as hunts directed violence towards peaceful hunt saboteurs on weekly basis. Instead they chose to repeat their imaginative threats until even the media grew tired of them.
The idea of pre-meditated violence is abhorrent to large sections of the anti-bloodsports movement and the HRS may have alienated many sympathisers while at the same time they made no attempt to prevent hunt thugs attacking hunt saboteurs.
There are three distinct views on the use of physical violence. One is total
pacifism, the refusal to defend oneself from the repeated blows of a hunt thug the morel superiority of this position is unchallenged its effectiveness extremely doubtful. Two, the determination to use as much physical force as you possess to prevent hunt thugs cracking you over the heed with an iron bar. Thirdly, the use of pre-meditated assault intending to terrorise hunt supporters away from the hunt. This tactic despite the HRS threats, hes never been used by the animal rights movement.
In a quote about the black struggle in the southern states of the USA in the 1950 s, Martin Luther King explains the issues One must be clear that there are three different views on the subject of violence. One is the approach of pure non-violence, which cannot readily or easily attract large messes, for it requires extraordinary discipline end courage. The second is violence exercised in self defence which all societies from the most primitive to the most cultured end civilised accept as morel end legal. The principle of self defence even involving weapons and bloodshed hes never been condemned, even by Ghandi, who sanctioned it for those unable to master pure non-violence. The third is the advocacy of violence as a tool of advancement, organised as in warfare, deliberately end consciously. There are incalculable perils in this approach. The greatest danger is that it will fail to attract to a real collective struggle and will confuse the large uncommitted middle group, which as yet hes not supported either side.
The Animal Rights Militia originated in 1982 when they claimed responsibility for sending letter bombs to several prominent animal abusers, although it was widely believed at the time that they these were actions carried out by the State or animal abusers to discredit the animal rights movement in the eyes of the public. In 1986 the ARM reemerged, this time from within the movement and their actions include the planting of bombs under vivisectors cars and placing e nail bomb in the petrol tank of a hunts hound van on all occasions warnings have been given and no one as yet hes been injured.
Those people who advocate the methods used by the Militia will not be
swayed by the moral arguments against such actions, believing that those who perpetuate animal abuse deserve eveything they get. They should however, consider whether these terrorist actions can, or are likely to produce desired results.
The ARM is not indigenous to the animal rights movement. Its roots are not derived from within, they are adopted tactics from other groups like the Irish Republican Army, whose struggle is fundamentally different. The IRA has widespread support amongst the Catholics of the Six Counties who have been fighting for their independence. They have been forced into an armed struggle, a war, because of the British occupation. Even so the IRA has only an estimated 30061 active members, many 100 s imprisoned, some on trumped-up charges spending life in prison. Even after 600 members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary have been killed by the IRA since 1969 the State still manages to recruit to the security forces. In 1983 there were 300 people on remand in Northern Ireland and 63 convicted prisoners in England with sentences of 12 years or more. In one year alone the army searched 75,000 houses in nationalist areas, the equivalent of searching every Nationalist house on two or more occasions. Between 1971 end 1984 it is estimated over 40,000 people were arrested, interrogated and released without charge, the equivalent of every Catholic male between the ages of 16 and 21 on at least one occasion.
The Animal Rights Militia could not conceivably manage to support and maintain a continuous campaign of violence whereby many vivisectors and an inevitable number of innocent bystanders were killed. Over a period of years they could not sustain the number of recruits prepared to risk, and almost certainly receive, long prison sentences. A better analogy with the militia is the Angry Brigade, a group of anarchists who carried out e series of small scale bombings in the 1970s.
The Angry Brigade s targets were the Post Office Tower, the Police National Computer and a government minister s house, on each occasion warnings were given and no-one was injured. Their tactics hed been borrowed from the Spanish anarchist movement and adopted in an attempt to inspire the British working class into more aggressive class struggle.
In 1978 the Special Branch rounded up anumber of known anarchists and their associates. Eight people were charged, spending 18 months in prison before the court case. Four were eventually convicted receiving sentences of between 10 and 15 years after which the Angry Brigade ceased to exist.
Their actions failed because they had little relevance to the workers in Britain and their tactics were created in an environment which did not have the necessary base and support for their actions to be effective. The same is true of the Militia.
There are certain forms of actions which are open to copycat tactics from
pseudo-gangs, which are used by governments and individuals throughout the world to discredit and disrupt organisations by causing confusion amongst their supporters and alarm amongst the public. There is such a group in Bournemouth, believed to have been organized by a well known furrier who has connections with the local hunt. Their campaign started with the press reporting that oxalic acid had been found in a tin of Andrews Liver Salts, another note was later sent stating that Beechams products had been contaminated by deadly cadium it also said Sterling, Beechams stop animal experiments ALF AF , (Animal Liberation Front
The Bournemouth animal rights group believed the threats were from animal rights campaigners, so they went along with the tide of publicity in an attempt to expose the drug industry, but at the same time disclaiming responsibility. When Twix chocolate bars became the target the group realised that the contamination threats were not being carried out by the ALF because after the Mars bars hoax carried out by the ALF sweet manufacturers had withdrawn their dental research grants. Also a woman taped by the local radio station when she phoned to claim responsibility for the ALF Action Force was recognised as a local animal abuser.
At this point the national ALF press office was able to issue a press statement stating the action was carried out by local animal abusers. These incidents were followed by razor blades in nappies and heroin in Cadburys Cream Eggs.
Contamination scares and hoaxes are easy to imitate which is obviously why they were chosen. It is difficult for the public to see the difference between a hoax that the ALF accepts and one that it doesn t, especially when the media headlines say Animal Fanatics Poison Scare . The effect of pseudo-gangs becomes far more serious in the case of bombs as does the role of the State, the police may even ignore warnings What we all regret most of all is the death of innocent civilians.
Quite a few times this has been due to the British forces not acting on warnings, past president of Sinn Fien.
If the ARM continues, the animal rights movement as a whole needs to make sure there is a clear distinction between a campaign of economic sabotage backed up by broad based support, which will be more effective in the long term, and the militia s campaign of terrorism .
The issue of violence, which is largely a media creation, must not be allowed to become embroiled in the movement individual acts of violence will not stop animal abuse, no more than asking politely will. We have been shown that political campaigning is a waste of time, there is too much vested interest for the politician to legislate against animal abuse, and if the Public Order Bill is passed this year as it almost certainly will all traditional forms of protest will become illegal and will carry stiff sentences. Therefore we need to build a strong effective movement based on economic sabotage against large centres of animal abuse. Although small scale actions are important it is ultimately the centres of animal abuse, e.g. laboratories that have to be targets. There are few large laboratories in this country but, with carefully planned raids, many of these places could be put out of action for many months, resulting in large scale disruption and uncertainty for those who control vivisection millions of pounds of lost revenue and the saving of many thousands of animals lives.
If we are to be really effective we need to continue to increase this level of action and build a broad base of support amongst the local animal rights groups that now exist and develop widespread sympathy amongst the public. This cannot easily happen while the public view of animal rights is one which is dictated by the media. It is vital that animal rights campaigners clarify which actions they support and present the arguments for direct action to the large as yet uncommitted sections of the public which are sympathetic to the welfare of animals and who must be attracted to the real collective struggle for animal liberation.
The Seven Point Program A guide for action
In 1982 the animal rights movement began to grow rapidly. The numbers of people actively involved in campaigns against vivisection was increasing as was public support for those undertaking direct action. This wide base of support created a confidence that the fight against animal abuse could be won.
However, since 1984 the animal rights movement has seen and felt this base of support decline and in some cases become hostile. The reasons are many, but the most important is the failure of the movement s leadership to interpret, forsee, or respond to changing conditions outside of the animal rights movement.
This leadership, although one side advocates political campaigns and the other direct action, holds liberal views on the nature of society the first is of liberal democracy, based on human and animal rights theory, which believes that the democratic tradition will ensure the eventual legislative abolition of animal abuse and thus the establishment of animal rights enshrined in law the second is the libertarian anarchist tradition which advocates that of their own actions individuals should overturn the oppresion in society and even If we can create within ourselves the prophecy of victory, there is little doubt that we will see that prophecy fulfilled. (ALF SG newsletter 17). Neither of these ideologies address themselves to the behaviour of the State, the first believes that the wishes of the majority will be represented by politicians, and ignores the role of the State in protecting the interests and profits of the ruling class, the second encourages activists to pit their individual will and determination against the vast might of the State, whilst at the same time either ignoring or failing to understand its power.
The two strands of ideology have on the one hand sapped the energy of the
direct action movement by continuously trying to tie it to the role of publicity officer for the political campaigners, and on the other, left the direct action movement ill-prepared for the inevitable retaliation and backlash of the State against those small isolated groups of activists who have dared to achieve a little. The political campaigning group the BUAV, relied on other groups activities to gain support and publicity and to lend credibility to its own campaigns. Its failure to give help and support to those groups, particularly the animal liberation leagues after the mass arrests of 1984, coupled with total failure of the Putting Animals into Politics and the campaign against the Scientific Procedures Act, showed that the BUAV was merely capable of riding the tide of direct action inspired support, but incapable of influencing the course of events.
The response of the Animal Liberation Front Supporters Group during the
period of 1983 onwards was to look to the most militant sections of the animal rights movement for salvation. They isolated themselves from large sections of the movement and consequently the public, because of their growing contempt for anyone not involved in ALF actions. The supporters group urged ALF activists and supporters not to waste their time by supporting local animal rights groups as they believed that the ALF of its own strength could and would end animal abuse.
The rhetoric of the supporters group even isolated them from some traditional ALF activists.
It had always been stated by the ALF Press Officer that the ALF was Not an organisation, but a state of mind before the formation of the supporters group this was the case. Individuals would form themselves into a group to carry out actions which they would then claim under the umbrella name of the ALF . However the ALF Supporters Group was an organisation and came to be controlled by a small group who considered themselves to be the hardliners. They became the self-appointed voice for the independent ALF activists. Any criticism of the hardline, even by the activists they claimed to represent was met with such statements as There will always be the wets who get in the way, the ALF and the animals can do without them . (ALF News August 1984). As the hardline became established they began to rely on themselves more and more and consequently became out of touch not only with the ALF s traditional base of support but also with reality, The ALF is now so well established and so cleverly organised that it will never be defeated. They (animal abusers) are paying the price of not taking us seriously when our numbers were few and our critics many. Those days are now long gone. Throughout Britain the numbers of ALF activists are growing at a speed that is dazzling those who would see an end to direct action . (ALF SG Newsletter 17, December 85).
The hardliners were largely unconcerned at the possibility of large numbers of activists going to prison as they believed that ALF cells would inevitably spring up out of nowhere whenever activists were imprisoned. They claimed that they were invincible and that the large numbers of arrests had little to do with clever detective work by the police, or the setting up of a police special squad, (the effect of the squad was quite evident in the SEALL arrests of 1984). The ALF SG insisted that the large number of arrests was entirely due to a massive increase in direct action they stated The special squads and the vicious sentences represent the last desperate cries of a dying monster (ALF SG Newsletter 14, February 1985).
These statements could have been credible if the ALF had many thousands of activists, but in reality they were little more than a few hundred and the majority of those were involved in individual actions which amounted to throwing bricks through windows. The response of the ALF SG to its growing isolation was to rely on an increase in the level of militancy by a few hardliners. The attempt to substitute the militancy of a few in place of the actions of many is a recipe for disaster, and history has shown this many times.
The actions of autonomous ALF groups throughout the seventies and early
eighties was largely responsible for the inception of the animal rights movement its animal- rescue and laboratory raids inspired a whole generation of activists and public support which the ALF SG and the hardliners have left far behind.
In August 1986 the animal liberation movement is far weaker than anyone
would have predicted back in 1982, the trials, the loss of widespread public support, and the clear failure of leadership in times of crises has left the movement demoralised, divided and directionless. However the movement has not been smashed, the abuse of animals still induces outrage in the public, and the future of the movement now lies in the balance. To survive the animal rights/liberation movement has to become more tactical, more professional, and more thoughtful.
We need an ideology and clear sense of direction, not just in our actions but also in our support structures. Without that ideology we will always be caught out just as we believe the animal liberation movement is getting strong, the State and the forces of reaction deals the movement a blow it was not able to forsee.
The seven point program addresses itself to the most immediate problem, organising the base of support, without which the movement cannot sustain itself.
The Seven Point Program
1) The repeated attempts to obtain manifesto commitments from major political parties has only proven that those parties either cannot or will not challenge the65 vivisection industries. Even in opposition the Labour Party did not oppose the 1986 Animals Scientific Procedures Act. We believe that we cannot sustain campaigns based on the whims of unsympathetic politicians.
2) The animal rights movement cannot survive without small but concrete victories in the short term and a realistic possibility of achieving permanent change in the long term. The direct action campaign consistently provides those victories, be it a handful of laboratory animals rescued, be it exposing the reality of vivisection or by causing extensive damage to the machinery of animal abuse. Without the direct action campaign the animal liberation movement amounts to little more than a debating point about the morality of our treatment of animals.
3) Despite the prime importance of the direct action campaign, the strength of the movement cannot be measured by the number of actions that take place in any period, and certainly not in the militancy of a handful of activists. The strength of the movement can only be measured in the number of local animal rights groups providing organised opposition to the abuse of animals and the depth of support they receive from their communities.
4) The fundamental role of a local animal rights group is to present the arguments against animal abuse directly to the public. They must aim to hold regular public meetings where issues are debated and vegetarian/vegan buffets sampled.
5) Local animal rights groups should aim to develop as the permanent opposition to animal abuse in their area. They need to have long-term objectives and develop over several years so that they rally all the elements within society that wish to oppose vivisection and other animal abuse. It is particularly important that they stage a permanent campaign against their local laboratory. Over the years the campaign would dig the dirt on the laboratory, its leading vivisectors, suppliers and commercial interests. Each campaign against a laboratory should be able to amass enough information to produce a book exposing that particular laboratory.
It is far more important that every research lab is placed under permanent public scrutiny, than for groups to subscribe to some temporary national campaign.
6) Local animal rights groups must adopt a principled position of support for those actions which, with due regard to the risks taken, are directed at the centres of animal abuse and which rescue animals, or provide evidence of the experiments on those animals, or damage equipment used to experiment on them, and which use no more than minimum force to defend the activists against any assault upon them by security forces or owners. In these situations we must launch widespread defence campaigns should the activists face court cases as a result of their actions.
You cannot say you support the activists and then neglect to behave in the one way which has the power to stay the hand of the State by organising and directing popular support for the actions which have led to the court case.
7) We need to build a network of activists committed to an animal rights movement based on the collective strength of independent local animal rights groups.
Anyone who agrees with the basic points in the program and is prepared to work to establish such a network should write to ARC PRINT.
Glossary and Further Reading
ALF Animal Liberation Front, formed 1974. An umbrella group for cells of activists who believe in animal rescue and economic sabotage against the animal abuse industries.
ALF SG Animal Liberation Front Supporters Group. Founded in 1982 by people who were not ALF activists, it aimed to provide financial support for ALF groups, particularly those who were facing costly court cases. The ALF SG rapidly adopted the role of official voice of the ALF .
HALL Northern Animal Liberation League, formed 1979. A regional co-
ordinating group that believed in exposing vivisection to the public through the use of daylight raids on research establishments designed to obtain evidence of the conditions inside.
EALL Eastern Animal Liberation League, founded in 1980. A small and not particularly influential league based in East Anglia, its only major raid being on the Unilever premises at Bedford.
WALL Western Animal Liberation League, formed in 1982, lasted about 18 months, responsible for several small scale league raids in the Worcester area.
CALL The only surviving league, they tend to operate in the more traditional ALF style but have a good record for obtaining evidence.
SEALL South East Animal Liberation League, founded in 1983 they were the strongest and most ambitious league. They were responsible for the major upswing in actions in 1984.
BUAV Britsh Union for the Abolition of Vivisection, founded in the 1890 s. They came to prominence in the late seventies and early eighties as they attempted to present themselves as the leadership of the movement, responsible for the ill-fated Putting Animals Into Politics campaign. They have assets of over 4 million pounds and an annual operating expenditure of over 460,000 in the year ending March 1986.
Against All Odds Animal Liberation 1972-1986
In April 1984 the animal liberation movement enjoyed widespread public support and in that year anti-vivisection groups staged mass raids at six animal research laboratories. This book traces the growth of the movement and details the major court cases arising out of the 1984 campaign. We look at the development of the Animal Riglits Militia and show how, as mass support fell away, a cult of militancy arose. This book is vital reading for anyone who wants to see an end to vivisection.