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Animal Liberation Front

The Animal Liberation Front (ALF) is a radical animal rights group.

Table of contents
1 Overview and origins
2 International
3 Attacks
4 Violence and the ALF
5 External links

Overview and origins

The ALF were originally formed in the UK during the 1970s by animal rights activist Ronny Lee, who had previously been involved with a group called The Band of Mercy as well as the Hunt Saboteurs Association.

The ALF claim not to have a 'structure' or 'organisation' in the sense of most campaigning groups, rather they encourage individuals to take 'direct action' against what they see as manifestations of animal abuse, such as the meat, dairy or vivisection industries. One does not 'join' the ALF in the usual manner (ie, by filling in a form and sending it to a central office), rather one becomes an ALF member when one takes such direct action. However, a separate membership (in the more conventional sense) organisation, the Animal Liberation Front Supporters Group (ALFSG), exists in order to raise funds for ALF activities and to support animal rights prisoners (both financially and encouraging members to write to them). The ALFSG also publishes a regular newsletter that details 'actions' that have taken place against 'animal abusers'. The ALF also has a 'Press Office' that serves to co-ordinate news of various ALF actions, as well as issuing statements to the press. The current ALF 'Press Officer' is Robin Webb.


The ALF now has groups in a number of other countries besides the UK.

The US branch of the ALF has a relationship with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and has provided them with video tapes of animal experiments stolen from laboratories.


According to the U.S. Department of Justice, between 1979 and 1993 there were over 313 incidents of break-ins, vandalism, arson and thefts committed in the name of animal rights in the U.S Attacks have been carried out at

The Earth Liberation Front (ELF), a separate but related group, took responsibility for an arson attack on a mink research lab in Anthony Hall on the campus of Michigan State University on New Year's Eve (December) of 1999.

Violence and the ALF

Early ALF actions tended to centre around the removing (or 'liberating', in ALF terminology) of animals from vivisection laboratories, and the ALF had an explicit policy of non-violence. However in more recent years their activities have extended to vandalism, arson and threatened and actual physical attacks on individuals. A breakaway group from the ALF naming itself the Justice Department was believed to have been responsible for the sending of a number of letter bombs to individuals involved in fox hunting, the fur trade or who had carried out experiments on animals. Of another ALF breakaway group, the Animal Rights Militia, Robin Webb has said the following; "The only difference between ALF and the more radical ones is that ALF basically take every precaution not to endanger life at any time. The Animal Rights Militia Department are prepared to twist the arm of animal abusers". However there has been conjecture within the animal rights movement that the ARM and Justice Department are actually state sponsored agents provocateurs set up to discredit the ALF. Whether this is the case or not, it seems clear that from the mid 1980s the ALF has no longer followed a path of non-violence. The first incident that indicated a change in direction was probably their 1984 Mars Bar campaign, wherin the ALF issued statements claiming that bars of chocolate for sale in supermarkets had been contaminated with bleach in protest against the Mars corporation's funding of dental research using monkeys. The incident was later revealed to have been a hoax, but led to widespread criticism of the ALF, and a split with the pacifist magazine Peace News, who had previously allowed the ALF to use their Nottingham address as a PO Box.

See also: Barry Horne, GANDALF trial

External links