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Animal Liberation Front (ALF)

Updated: Oct 8, 2022

The Animal Liberation Front (ALF) is an international resistance movement which fights against animal cruelty. The ALF is decentralised and leaderless due to the group’s anarchist ideology. Moreover, the Front has conducted operations in the past to remove animals from laboratories, farms, and related facilities, and to instead place them in safe houses, veterinaries, and sanctuaries.

The ALF is active in over 40 countries around the world. Due to its leaderless and decentralised structure, ALF members around the world often operate clandestinely, between friend groups or as sole individuals (and simply affiliate their actions to the ALF). This characteristic of the ALF makes it extremely hard for global authorities to monitor and intervene.

The ALF’s activists emphasise the non-violent, pacifist nature of the movement. Even more interestingly, one of the group’s main slogans is that “everyone is part of the ALF”. Essentially, this lies on the notion that anyone who conducts an act of animal liberation — without harming human or non-human life in the process — is an ALF activist.

Despite this pacifist approach, countless critics categorise the ALF as “eco-terrorists”. On most occasions, these allegations stream from the ambiguity of who is an actual ALF member; if it is impossible to know who exactly is an activist for the group, it is also impossible to know whether an ALF activist has been involved in an act of violence. For instance in 2002, the Southern Poverty Law Center in the US made a report on the ALF’s involvement in the Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty political movement, which allegedly employer terrorist tactics. However, the SPLD later noted that no one had been killed during this campaign. Later in 2005, the US Department of Homeland Security included the ALF in its list of dangerous organisations. The UK also started monitoring the group in 2004 for accusations of domestic extremism.

The ALF’s approach to resistance — despite being proclaimed as non-violent — has involved destruction in the past. This is because many of the group’s activists who are involved in direct action support property crime. In essence, these activists esteem that simply removing animals from a laboratory will lead to their rapid replacement. The laboratory’s destruction, however, would imply heavy costs and hence a probability that alternatives to animal research will come about. In 1996, for example, an ALF activist was involved in an arson attack on the University of Arizona.

NOTE: This article will be updated soon.



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