[The Voice of Russia]
Walter Bond is one of the most famous vegan activists fighting for
animals' rights. He renounced his 'normal' life and gave up his job and home
for his beliefs. Nevertheless, while fighting for the freedom of other
creatures - he lost his own. He is imprisoned for arson attacks on several
leather factories around the US. He is expected to be released on March 21,
2021. His motto is 'Animal Liberation, Whatever It May Take!' Walter Bond
gave an exclusive interview from behind the bars to the Voice of Russia.
The community of vegetarians, vegans and environmental activists is
getting bigger every day. There are different reactions to the declining
situation with consumer society, climate, animals' rights and nature in
general. But what do those people really stand for? Sometimes even people
who try to live in a certain way, don't realize what a great responsibility
they have to take upon themselves.
I've read the whole story
of you working at the slaughterhouses and what caused you to be Vegan. Would
you talk a little about what was happening to you after you left your job?
What were your first thoughts? What did you want to do at that moment?
I remember my first priority was to get active in a legal way. I
remember thinking that people need to know the truth of what these animals
are suffering and I wanted to educate others about the moral dimensions of
their dietary and consumer choices. I got a hold of the seminal Animal
Rights book 'Animal Liberation' by Peter Singer. In the back of that book
were all kinds of addresses for animal rights groups mainly in America and
the UK. This was before the internet so I sat down and wrote each group a
letter of concern and interest. It was easily 30 letters that I mailed out.
Over the next few weeks I began receiving responses, newsletters and
fliers from many different places. I took the ones that I felt were best
produced or told the truth about Animal abuse and made photocopies and began
distributing them. I really wanted to educate people. I remember as a new
Vegan and activist thinking the problem was simply one of education. It was
not until years later that I realized that logic and ethics only go so far,
and that unfortunately, a vast amount of people while paying lip service to
' the right thing' are never going to be swayed in their behavior towards
Animals because of interesting conversations.
What was the
first radical action you took part in?
Of course, the only
actions I have ever partaken in that were outside the scope of the law were
the 4 arsons that I have been previously and currently incarcerated for.
When You decided to give up your job, home and other social
attributes what influenced this decision of yours? How did your family
I wasn't married or romantically involved with
anyone, I have no children and all of my family in Colorado had moved away
many years before I became an ALF activist. so my family was not aware of my
outlaw lifestyle until my arrest. As far as giving up my job and home this
was not difficult either. My home was a small studio apartment with about 3
pieces of used furniture, not a serious commitment to begin with and I was
sick of work. I have had so many dead end jobs for so much of my life that
it was awesome to finally be doing what I wanted to do even if I was broke.
Besides, I gave what little I had up because I knew that I was going to walk
this path of militancy until I was killed or arrested. Having no way to go
back is an excellent way to continue forward when your in extreme
You lead this ascetic way of life, some would
say you only live once so why not enjoy it? What would be your response to
Honestly, my so called asceticism did not
start out as a choice. I was raised poor. I mean like living in a shack with
no plumbing or duplexes with all my relatives. Both my parents believed that
living simply was noble and honest and that is how I also feel, I was never
ashamed to have less material garbage than other kids. As I got older I
learned that the things you own end up owning you. I like freedom more than
I like stuff. As far as people that think you have to go out there and
consume everything imaginably congestive to have a full life. That is
hedonism, and I am not a fan of amoral and destructive behavior. Everybody
cannot do whatever the hell they want and also respect everyone else's
rights at the same time. If that was possible pornography would not be
exploitative, eating Animal flesh would not wrought the pain, torture and
environmental destruction that it does and drug and alcohol abuse would not
cause a state of apathy, degeneration and slow suicide. Many times in life
things are opposite to what they look like on the surface. Over consumption,
leads to addiction, leads to slavery. A meager existence and life of service
leads to health, sincerity and purpose.
Most typical office
workers and middle class people have major responsibilities, their family,
their life, their dog etc. I suppose most people will always find a way to
protect and justify their way of life and their comfort zone. Any thoughts
Everyone has their own issues and justifications,
it's not about that. many people would say that I justify my way of life and
love of arson with my ideals about Animal Liberation. Indeed, that's what
more than a few mainstream activists think about me. Not everyone is cut out
for the lifestyle and hardships that go along with being an ALF warrior. It
can be a difficult existence. But just because that is not a reality in the
life of most activists doesn't mean that they should do nothing! Nor does it
mean that activists should just show up every Sunday to the same location
and chant slogans and become more ritualistic than effective.
Everyone has their own skill set and strong points. Conversely, everyone has
their own weak points and inabilities. The key to being effective in the
Liberation or care of actual Animals, or successful in educating others
about their plight, or the positive effects of Veganism is being yourself
and working hard for their lives in the capacity you have chosen. I have met
activists that honestly are squeamish and frightened of actually handling
Animals but were amazing at communicating and teaching.
would help people to realize that human beings have a greater responsibility
for the Environment?
Peter Tosh once said 'You never miss
your water until your well runs dry'. This is my fear for humanity; that one
day a summer will come that gets up to a 170 degrees and as a huge chunk of
the population dies as well as Animals, we will all finally 'get it' but it
will be to late. What the general population doesn't seem to understand is
the timeline, the Earths timeline. This planet is millions of years old it's
timeline is different than ours and when the balance of nature is tipped to
far by a greedy humanity it won't be as simple as 'oh, ok, now were going to
consume less and get things right'. It will be game over! In answer to your
question I really think that It will take an actual ecological disaster on a
worldwide scale to wake humanity as a whole to the plight of environmental
destruction, not just the threat of one.
In your brief
autobiography I read about the horrible scene you witnessed in the
slaughterhouse. As the workers beat the half alive pig you turned around in
disgust and were expecting that others would do the same. Instead they were
laughing and clapping their hands. So I would like to ask you, at that
moment as your life changed radically did it happen because you realized how
much you love Animals or because of your disgust with human beings?
Wow! What a great question! I have never really thought about it until
just now, but I have to admit it was human callousness and cruelty that
pushed me over the edge. I tolerated the death of Animals all day around me
as a fact of my job. While I never enjoyed it, I tolerated it for a
paycheck. But seeing others enjoy blunt force murder of innocent life made
something inside me snap! It destroyed all my illusions and justifications
that I had about my job building these death camps, my diet and humanities
general attitude towards the whole of creation. I saw it as the murder
multiplied by the billions that it is and since that moment questions like
:'does my being vegan stop this carnage'? became secondary to never wanting
to personally engage in the process or end result of a murdered Animal. It's
curious that no one tries to justify other injustices in this reverse way.
We don't for one moment worry about if our not raping is really cutting down
on rape in the greater scheme of things. I guess our brains like to play all
kinds of logic and rhetoric tricks when we have a vested and pleasurable
interest in the oppression and murder of others.
Since that eye
opening day my love of Animals has grown. True love, not infatuation or
preoccupation. It's their well being and freedom that I desire, not their
connection to people. Once again we see that things are often different than
the surface. Example: Muslims and Jews as a general rule, find pigs to be
disgusting and believe all kinds of stereo types about them which, of
course, are not true. Pigs are sensitive and beautiful creatures. But in
their religious foreboding they will not touch a pig, eat a pig or come
physically near a pig. While many that claim to love pigs really mean that
they love to eat their murdered corpses but want to see them enjoying
themselves in a field before they are sent to slaughter. Love goes deeper
than getting the warm fuzzies inside. Love means considering an others
feelings, interests and safety as if it were your own, or sometimes even
What do you think about modern civilization?
I think that modern civilization, particularly from the industrial age
forward marks the beginning of humanities change from a cell, into a cancer
within the global community of species. Technology is based on cheating. I
can't talk to you from where I am so I need a phone. I can't travel the
globe by foot so I need automobiles and airplanes. I cant control social
interactions in real life so I socialize as much as possible online. But
there is a balance, ever so subtle, that we cannot cheat and our attempts
inevitably work against us. Global pollution, deforestation, dead zones in
the ocean. drinking water infected with anti-depressants and chemicals. For
every perceived gain their is a greater loss. In this is a lesson for the
wise and observant. That's not to say that technology doesn't do many
wonderful things because it really does, but is the pay off worth it? I
think the answer is, no. The hell and environmental destruction that is the
price off production is a scant pay off. Meanwhile the easier life gets
through our crutches, the softer and weaker humanity becomes. Mentally,
spiritually, socially, physically, morally and in nearly every other way.
This isn't even mentioning the exploitation of human over human to attain
and create a world of plastic trinkets, plastic keyboards and plastic faces.
Technologically advanced civilization is ruinous and poisonous to Life. And
anything that harms or kills innocent Life without provocation is evil.