Interview with Jerry Vlasak of the Animal Liberation Front Press Office

By: Gregston Van Pukeston of HVEF!

1 Can you describe what the animal liberation front is?

Although many groups and individuals fight animal oppression in legal ways, the stark fact is that every year, more animals are exploited, oppressed tortured and killed than the year before. Members of the ALF and other underground organizations feel that in order to truly liberate animals, the unjust laws that allow their exploitation must be broken. The ALF and other direct-action groups have a history of effectiveness, closing many businesses that exploited animals, hurting many more economically, and freeing tens of thousands of animals, who could spend the remainder of their lives free of torture and suffering.

The ALF is one of the most active underground animal liberation groups in existence, and has historically operated under certain specified guidelines, which many other groups do not. These guidelines were developed long ago and are widely known and published, though they have changed in the past and may do so again:To liberate animals from places of abuse, i.e., laboratories, factory farms, fur farms, etc., and place them in good homes where they may live out their natural lives, free from suffering.To inflict economic damage to those who profit from the misery and exploitation of animals.To reveal the horror and atrocities committed against animals behind locked doors, by performing direct actions and liberations.To take all necessary precautions against harming any animal, human and non-human.Any group of people who are vegetarians or vegans and who carry out actions according to these guidelines have the right to regard themselves as part of the Animal Liberation Front.

From dozens of raided mink farms that never re-opened, to the Oregon horse slaughterhouse that burned to the ground and then went out of business, to the vivisectors whose laboratories were shut down after their heinous experiments were exposed, the ALF has a long history of success. Hundreds of other businesses have incurred increased costs for security and insurance, making it that much more expensive to abuse animals, and making them perhaps use fewer animals and look for other, cheaper ways to do business. In the words of those who abuse animals:

Susan Paris, president of vivisection front group Americans For Medical Progress (AMP), admits the Animal Liberation Front has had a large impact on vivisectionists. She writes, “Because of terrorist acts by animal activists like Coronado, crucial research projects have been delayed or scrapped. More and more of the scarce dollars available to research are spent on heightened security and higher insurance rates. Promising young scientists are rejecting careers in research. Top-notch researchers are getting out of the field.”The August 1993 Report to Congress on Animal Enterprise Terrorism describes the ALFs effectiveness as, “Where the direct, collateral, and indirect effects of incidents such as this are factored together, ALFs professed tactic of economic sabotage can be considered successful, and its objectives, at least towards the victimized facility, fulfilled.”

2. What is the North American Animal liberation Front press office and how is it in relation to the animal liberation front movement?

The North American Animal Liberation Press Office (NAALPO) was formed in 1994 to respond to the mainstream media’s uncritical reporting on animal liberation activities. The Press Office takes a proactive stance to communicate the actions, strategies, and philosophy of the animal liberation movement to the media and the public. Many of these actions are illegal under a current societal structure that fails to recognize the rights of non-human animals to live free of suffering, but validates and promotes the “right” of industries to do whatever they want to animals for profit or research. Within these conditions, those in the underground working for animal liberation often cannot speak out directly. Nevertheless, their actions and message is urgent and deserve to be heard and understood. No one else was performing this function in North America.

The Press Office frequently receives communiques anonymously from underground animal liberation organizations, like the ALF, and passes them along to the media with comment and explanation, but has no personal knowledge of who sends them or from where they are sent.

3.  What types of experiences   influenced you  personally , to become animals rights activist and a press officer for the NAALFPO?

I had long been active in more mainstream efforts aimed at stopping animal exploitation, but as someone who constantly evaluates success in my endeavors, I felt that the struggle for animal liberation could be most effective by utilizing tactics that are illegal. It only makes sense that the status quo will do everything in its power to continue animal exploitation, and that anything that threatens that status quo will be deemed “illegal”. By far, the most effective actions for animals are direct actions, that either directly liberate animals, or make it more costly for the abuser to exploit them.

4.What are some examples of animal cruelty preformed on animals?  who do you believe is responsible for allowing such types of animal cruelty? 

Animal exploitation and cruelty are so imbedded in our culture, its everywhere you look. From animal torture and executions in medical laboratories, to imprisonment of innocent animals in zoos and circuses, killing and skinning millions for their skins to make a fashion statement in the fur industry. Of course, the largest number of animals are exploited and murdered in order to sell and eat their flesh and secretions; billions of animals are killed annually in the meat and dairy industry, in the process destroying the environment and harming human health.

Those who profit from animal abuse are too numerous to mention, but let it be known that they are just persons, persons with home addresses, work places, phone numbers and families. As the saying goes, [the animals] “are not dying, they are being killed, and those killing them have names and faces”, or something like that. These people should and will be held responsible, and should be stopped from committing their heinous crimes against nature, using whatever means are necessary.

5. Here in the Hudson Valley of ny, there has been several times local ” Environmental” agencies have introduced animals in to the local eco system, one such animal is the beaver. Originally labeled endangered in the hudson valley, years later, are labeled a ” nuisance” animal ,  do to over population. Beaver are now allowed to be trapped and killed, in many inhumane ways.  How do you feel about gov agencies such as the D.E.C., Forest Service,  and the B.L.M. taking actions , like the above mentioned example,  and how they effect the local eco system and bio region?

Its human over-population that is the problem, stealing the wild habitat of the indigenous animals. Think about it- animals did just fine for millions of years before humans came along and started infringing on their home. There has never been, and still is not, a need to “cull” animals, that is kill them because they are a nuisance. Humans are a nuisance, why don’t we cull them? Any government agency advocating the killing of animals for human convenience is just another example of human arrogance and imperialism.

6.What is the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, and how does it effect people of the alf and  other animal rights activists?

In 1992 Congress passed the Animal Enterprise Protection Act. It got hardly any attention except from the industry groups that pushed it, like the National Association for Biomedical Research. The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act was then enacted in November 2006. It was opposed by at least 160 organizations nationwide. In 2009, four individuals in California were the first ones indicted under the act, indicted for protesting, chanting, conducting research on the Internet, and leafleting. The indictment was dismissed because it failed to state any facts to substantiate prosecution, which potentially violated the defendants’ 5th Amendment right to due process.  (The case is U.S. v. Buddenburg.)

There is a lot more information on AETA at The Equal Justice Alliance:

About AETA
equaljusticealliance.wordpress.com

Suffice it to say, the animals need our help, and no new or old laws threatening to lock us up for a few years should deter us from helping them escape imprisonment, torture and death at the hands of greedy humans.

7.  What types of direct actions Are taken by the  a.l.f. ?

Members of the ALF and other underground organizations feel that in order to truly liberate animals, the unjust laws that allow their exploitation must be broken. The ALF and other direct-action groups have a history of effectiveness, closing many businesses that exploited animals, hurting many more economically, and freeing tens of thousands of animals, who could spend the remainder of their lives free of torture and suffering.

Arson is one of many tactics utilized by the ALF, one that hurts the animal oppressor financially, and prevents him/her from continuing to do business as usual, profiting off the suffering on non-human animals.Violence against property, as opposed to animals, human or non-human, is viewed by many as justifiable in light of the atrocities being committed against innocent animals. The ALF has historically been opposed to violence against any living being, though other groups and activists do not observe this limitation.

When possible, liberating animals is a preferred tactic, but finding suitable homes or habitat for the animals can be tough. Vivisection laboratories are now so heavily fortified that breaking into them is very difficult. The last large laboratory liberation in the US was in 2004 at the University of Iowa, where 401 animals were liberated.

8. Is it true that no human or non human life was ever harmed durring an a.l.f. and earth liberation front action?

Probably not true. with the use of the very effective tactic of arson, there are almost certainly non-human animals such as insects and even rodents that could be harmed. That said, every effective liberation struggle has had innocent casualties; that is no reason to continue to allow billions of innocents to be exploited, tortured and killed by oppressive humans.

9. What advice could you give to activists who would like to support NAALFPO or the animal liberation front movement?

Historically, those wishing to participate in direct action have gotten together with others they could trust of like mind and just started doing actions. To begin learning about direct action, follow the links from here where they may take you. Only you can decide what action to take, when to get started, and how much longer the animals must wait for liberation.
http://www.animalliberationfront.com/ALFront/ALFPrime.htm
http://www.animalliberationpressoffice.org/essays/2010_guide_da.htm

If you would like to support our work here at the non-profit Press Office, you can send a donation to NAALPO 3371 Glendale Blvd. #107 Los Angeles, CA, 90039 Credit card donations can be sent via our website atwww.animalliberationpressoffice.org/donations.htm

10. NAALFPO Helps with prisoner support for animal and earth liberation prisoners ? Could you explain a little more about the type of support the press office does and how others could help as well?

After thousands of actions on behalf of animals, only a handful of activists have been caught, and even fewer imprisoned for any length of time. That said, there are currently a few animal liberationists being held captive by the state, and NAALPO seeks to assist them in any way we can. We maintain support web sites, send them money, books and other helpful items, publish their writings and try to make their time behind bars a bit easier. These folks are true heroes and deserve all of our support. Any one can write them letters and provide as much or little help as they want. Just letters are a huge boost to their lives spent waiting for the day when they too can be free. For a current list of US prisoners, see our prisoners page online at

Prisoners » North American Animal Liberation Press Office
animalliberationpressoffice.org

11. Is there other animal rights / environmental groups that NAALFPO works with or supports?

We try to support any other groups out there with similar ideology, including Earth First!, the ELF, Bite Back (directaction.org), and lots of others.

12. What type of state repression is being used on those involved with a.l.f. and the animal rights and environmental movements?

As mentioned above, the state has used AETA to try and frighten activists from participating in both above-ground and illegal actions on behalf of animals. Those working in the underground have always known they risked their freedom in helping animals, and very few of them are ever caught, so government repression has had very little effect on them. Above ground activists, who are more fearful in general anyway, have been the ones to primarily worry and fret over new laws aimed at stopping animal liberation efforts. As a theologian Andrew Lindsay said once, “You only feel the chains when you begin to move.” The only time the state comes after activists is when they become effective at disrupting the status quo of animal exploitation. I’ve always considered state repression a validation that I was doing something effective for my non-human brethren.

13. How long have you worked in the medical profession, and have you worked with animals in testing labs?  

I have been a physician for 30 years; I briefly experimented on animals when I first became a doctor, being brainwashed like everyone around me. I soon educated myself, after seeing first hand not only the suffering of the animals, but also the ineffectiveness of the research in regards to helping my patients.

14. Is there any websites, videos, or books you would recommend for people who would like to learn more about the a.l.f. or more animal rights issues?

Our website has both written and video sections regarding frequently asked-about issues. See them here at:

F A Q ‘s » North American Animal Liberation Press Office
animalliberationpressoffice.org

15. Is there anything else you would like to add or comment on?

Those who terrorize animals by imprisoning them, torturing them in laboratories, displaying them as objects in zoos and circuses, force them to fight each other, and murder them for their flesh and skins are the ones inducing terror, not compassionate activists who seek only to stop the suffering of animals. The animals need your help- what are you waiting for?

Jerry W. Vlasak, MD
Press Officer
North American Animal Liberation Press Office
www.animalliberationpressoffice.org

“When a person places the proper value on freedom, there is nothing under the sun that she will not do to acquire that freedom. Whenever you hear a person saying he wants freedom, but in the next breath she is going to tell you what she won’t do to get it, or what he doesn’t believe in doing in order to get it, he doesn’t believe in freedom. A person who believes in freedom will do anything under the sun to acquire…or preserve his freedom.”– Malcolm X

Thank you so much for your time and agreeing to this q &a segment! It is greatly appreciated!

Thank you so much Dr. Vlasack!!


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