Edited & Updated Version
With corporations, the legal system, security state and police forces,
and mass media portraying those who defend or engage in direct action and
underground liberations, raids, and sabotage attacks as 'terrorists'; with
the mainstream pacifists distorting and rejecting the most dynamic and
effective activists in their own movement, in language uncritically taken
from state apparatuses and corporate media that serve and defend every facet
of the ongoing war against nonhuman animals and the earth; and with
nauseating spectacles such as the star-studded Genesis Awards that celebrate
the commodification and co-optation of a movement that is central to
resolving growing social and ecological crises, we thought it useful and
significant to build a stage for our own awards ceremony, an anti-Genesis
Awards dedicated to acknowledging the significance of direct action tactics
and the animal and earth liberation movements.
Despite fierce political blowback and state repression, especially in
hardening police states such as the US and UK, the animal and earth
liberation movements continue to grow globally. With The Earth Liberation
Front (ELF) establishing a presence in 17 countries,
the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) now active in 42,
Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) evolving globally, and ultra-militant
groups such as the Animal Rights Militia (ARM), the Justice
Department, the Revolutionary Cells emerging in response to the rapid
expansion of capitalism, exploitation, and the human empire as a whole,
militant resistance movements are growing as well. And they do so even if
this fact is impossible to discern from the silence or misrepresentations of
corporate media and counter-revolutionary mainstream and pacifist 'advocacy'
groups for a planet under increasing attack and now in crisis condition.
Despite increasingly harsh penalties for direct action tactics branded as
'terrorist,' militant forms of resistance spread with unstoppable force.
Pacifist and mainstream animal and environmental groups constantly
stigmatize the underground and MDA movements as marginalized, ineffective,
and counter-productive. Yet objective analysis will show that they are the
most dynamic, fasting-growing, and most effective forms of resistance, and
they alone advance in these movements every progressive and potent struggle
for liberation that has ever shaped human history and soaked the earth
Vail, Colorado - October 19, 1999
When something lights up in the night, we know that there are people who
have not bowed or cowered to repression and that resistance is alive.
Everyday, throughout the globe, people who understand the exploitative
dynamics of capitalism, the futility of working through the state, and the
secondary importance or irrelevance of the sanctified and empty abstraction
of 'public opinion' to which mainstream movements obsequiously pander, there
are people who take situations into their own hands, and whose primary
concern is with stopping violence and shutting exploiters down, once and for
all, as they so often do, despite the slander and lies of the impotent
pacifist. Those who take direct action against exploiters, who reject the
lies of the law to honor the truth of their convictions, and who say 'Ya
Basta! Enough!' to the pervasive violence for which other 'advocates'
have built up such a complacent tolerance, these are the men and women we
For those who will moralistically condemn the outlooks and actions
represented below as violent, extremist, or ineffective, we urge the
importance of seeing these as planned, considered, strategic, effective, and
appropriate and measured responses to growing exploitation and oppression
everywhere. Were the victims of these capitalist hell-holes and tortures
chambers human, then instead of criticizing these militant actions, people
would support or even join the resistance, just as they did in Nazi Germany.
Pacifism is nothing but a speciesism and an excuse for doing nothing and
being part of the complicit population rather than the resistance movement.
1) Outstanding Achievement:
Abusers Targeted at Higher Rate Than Anywhere in the World
The symbol of a local version of
the Animal Liberation Front was found painted near the attacks in a
residential neighborhood on the city's south side, assistant city prosecutor
Luis Genaro Vasquez told the Televisa news network. An anarchist symbol was
'They are not vandals. They're not
doing this for personal gain. They do this because they love animals,'
first reported ALF action in 2006, resistance has exploded
on the Mexican scene with an endless assault on McDonald's, fur farms, and
other institutions of animal exploitation. Mexico inspires animal activists
and liberators throughout the world, and shows that animal rights is not
only the domain of 'animal whites' activities in the 'developed Western
world' such as the US, Canada, and Europe. And while your historic actions
have yet to be properly documented and contextualized, they have hardly gone
unnoticed and we hope activists with the Mexican aboveground and underground
struggles can ally and unite with activists throughout the world.
2) Best ALF Action: September 15,
2009, 2000 Mink Released, Italy
We entered inside the mink farm
called Valle Salice, located in Castel di Sangros, on the highway 652, under
the viaduct II/Valle Salice.
At first we cut a large part of
the fence and then we opened the worn cage situated in the four sheds of the
farm containing 2000 minks (not only 130 as reported by the media). All
these living beings are tortured waiting to become another consumer good.
Our untameable desire for freedom
is what drove us. This action represents for us the destruction of an
anthropocentric and speciesist point of view, which considers other animals
as objects to be exploited and not like
At last we damaged tools,
machinery and feed located in a small warehouse.
As this communiqu' shows,
militant direct activists are motivated not by a thirst for violence and
destruction, but rather by compassion, boundless principles of justice, and
the desire to rescue victims from victimizers. We chose this action because
it counters the distortions of the propaganda machines in the corporate
sector and pacifist mainstream alike, and helps us to see that in militant
liberation movements one finds the connecting threads with the history of
human rebellion, and where elsewhere it is snuffed out, here the spirit of
resistance and autonomy glows with the pulse of life.
3) Best ELF Action: November 23, 2009, Santiago, Chile
ELF Torches Slaughterhouse
On Monday, November 23, at 11:50
pm, we installed an incendiary device in a slaughterhouse (located in the
immediate vicinity of Juan Crist'bal, comuna de Recoleta) activated by an
easily operated timer. The objective was not to burn the place completely,
but to cause damage to a freezer soiled with death and torture.
We believe that direct action is
largely the way to propagate an idea in a practical way, and with an
increase of attacks on capital in all its expressions; the state, prison,
laboratories, cages, and no end of targets.
Because of this we decided to
carry out this action, during the international week of agitation for
prisoners, given that we identify authority and the exploitation of the land
and its beings as the great common enemy of all the battles of
Capitalists have proven that
they will continue to rape the planet, torture animals, and exploit any
available resource until it becomes unprofitable. The ELF defends the earth
that sustains every single one of us.
4) Most Relentless Campaign: Win Animal Rights (W.A.R)
We vow that in this age of
governmental repression and harassment of dissidents, we will remain firm
and steadfastly defend our rights to exercise our civil liberties to speak
up for those who cannot speak for themselves and to defend and liberate
those that are unjustly enslaved.
In view of the aforementioned
tenets, W.A.R. is devoted to the campaign to stop the killing at Huntingdon
Life Sciences, a notorious international animal testing laboratory,
responsible for the torture, mutilation and death of 500 animals every day.
We believe in using every legal tool, tactic or strategy available to us to
bring about this closure. We are resolved to continue this fight until
Huntingdon Life Sciences is closed or until the killing there stops, once
and for all.
W.A.R.'s ultimate goal is total
Founded by Greg Kelly and
NAALPO Press Officer, Camille Hankins, these above-ground
activists prove that fearless militants are the abusers' worst nightmare.
W.A.R. does not stand on corners waving signs at cars. They educate, taking
their campaigns to the abusers, at home and work, and understanding that an
exploiter is only one part of a network. By identifying and campaigning
against HLS investors, they have played a key role in HLS losing many
financial backers. Perhaps not coincidentally, HLS (traded publicly as LSR)
was recently forced to go private.
5) Outstanding New Grassroots Network: Bite Club K.C.
Bite Club of KC
is an independent, zero-profit animal rights and liberation activism group.
Founded on 7/5/09, Bite Club's mission is to amplify the efforts of
individual animal rights activists in the Kansas City area by bringing them
together, to educate the public about veganism and animal liberation in an
attempt to gain their support and participation, and to wage campaigns to
defend nonhuman animals who are under attack. Campaign tactics will include
educating the exploiters, negotiating with the exploiters, speaking out for
the victimized nonhuman animals through the media, demonstrating against the
exploiters, informing the exploiters' neighbors of their barbaric
activities, and potentially engaging in civil disobedience.
Bite Club welcomes all animal
defenders who want to engage in activism on behalf of nonhuman animals. With
respect to tactics, strategies, actions, and campaigns, we are willing to
entertain any ideas, provided they are above-ground and legal. Whether you
want to be the most vocal protestor at the demos or stay behind the scenes
making signs and leaflets, whether you can work a few hours a month or seven
days a week'if you want to stand up for other animals, we need you.
Bite Club K.C.,
founded by Jason Miller (
NAALPO Press Officer & Publisher of
Thomas Paine's Corner), provides further proof that militant,
fearless, determined aboveground
activists create movements. And since Jason decided to defend a deer
population in his Kansas City area that had been given a death sentence, he
founded Bite Club to mobilize activists, and has shown everyone that one
person can make a huge difference. The group of activists campaigned
relentlessly-in parks, streets, town halls and online-employing
innovative and provocative strategies, and building alliances with veteran
activists. The fight for the Shawnee Park deer, which they renamed 'Death
Park,' earned national media attention and became one of the hottest
grassroots campaigns of 2009. We are proud that Jason is NIO's Wildlife
Liaison and, along with some other activists, he is now waging this war
through a newly-formed
Global Anti-Hunting Coalition, which promises to be the
campaign to watch in 2010.
6) Best Vegan Radio Show: GoVeganRadio with Bob Linden
Bob Linden is a New York City
native and graduate of Queens College of the City University of New York who
has led a double life-as a professional broadcaster and animal rights
GO VEGAN WITH BOB LINDEN,
celebrating 4 years on-air as of January 05, is heard in Los Angeles on
KTYM-AM-1460 and in San Diego on KCEO-AM-1000. This show represents the
successful marriage of Bob's two lives.
GO VEGAN WITH BOB LINDEN covers
everything from slashed-food to cookie recipes, animal rights, diet, health,
environment, world hunger, morality, justice, peace.. The weekly hour-long
show also features exceptional guests. GO VEGAN WITH BOB LINDEN was the
subject of a full-page article in ANIMALS AGENDA written by Pulitzer-Prize
winning LA TIMES media critic HOWARD ROSENBERG and was featured as RADIO
SHOW OF THE WEEK in the LA DAILY NEWS.
Each week Linden takes a look at
any number of current events and makes the connection to veganism and animal
rights. GoVeganRadio airs on commercial airways with each show available to
a mainstream audience. In a media overwhelmingly sponsored by Burger King,
McDonald's, and assorted capitalist exploiters, Bob is putting veganism into
the competition. He has a unique wit and his programs are entertaining, but
he is very serious about exposing animal exploiters-whether he's taking on
the HSUS for promoting agribusiness and rehabilitating Michael Vick or
featuring controversial guest that other shows-including vegan forums-
would not touch. When he is not educating people on the radio, he is
involved in any number or animal rights issues, and he was even arrested at
a fur protest recently for exercising free speech.
7 ) Best Blog on State Repression: 'GreenIsTheNewRed' by Will Potter
is an award-winning independent journalist based in Washington, D.C., who
has become a leading authority on 'eco-terrorism,' the environmental and
animal rights movements, and civil liberties post 9/11.
He has tracked how lawmakers and
corporations have labeled animal rights and environmental activists as
'eco-terrorists.' And he has closely followed
the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, the Earth Liberation
Front arrests in
'Operation Backfire,' and the landmark First Amendment case
While the Bush/Cheney
administration was shredding our Bill of Rights and industrial abusers
worked with Congress to pass broad and arbitrary legislation, Will Potter
was among the first to understand that repressive laws like the 1991 Animal
Enterprise Protection Act (revised in 2006 as the Animal Enterprise
Terrorism Act) and the 2001 USA Patriot Act, with clauses dealing with
sweeping definitions of 'domestic terrorism' were new weapons in the war and
dissent and dangerous moves to criminalize protest movements, animal and
environmental movements first and foremost. Fortunately for us, Potter
responded with GreenIsTheNewRed,
dissecting the new McCarthyism, the 'Green Scare,' and Orwellian discourse
of 'terrorism' in nuanced, rigorous, and rich analyses that provide an
invaluable contribution to liberation movements and freedom and democracy
8 ) Best Animal Liberation Blog:
'Voice of the Voiceless by Peter Young'
Voice of the
Voiceless founded by Peter Young 'to
effectively arm those fighting for the liberation of all life.'
Peter Young is a veteran animal
liberation activist and former political prisoner convicted for his role in
liberating thousands of animals from fur farms across the country. Emerging
from a grand jury indictment, 7 years of being wanted by the FBI, a federal
prison sentence, and nearly 15 years in the animal liberation movement;
today Peter is a
frequent lecturer at universities and events, writer on
liberation movements, and
unapologetic supporter of those who work outside the law to
achieve human, earth, and animal liberation.
Sent to prison for mink
liberation on the testimony of a comrade turned informant, Young went down
without apology, served his time with dignity, and came out swinging. Moving
from the shadows to the light, form the underground to the aboveground,
Young simply retooled his game to become an even more effective champion of
liberation through educating, lecturing, and launching a liberation website
with a unique focus on state repression and political prisoners that draws
on his deep knowledge and experience. In this new role, Young spent months
compiling intelligence identifying the fur-farm supply-side infrastructure
and in December 2009 published
The Blueprint, the most
comprehensive listing of US fur farms to date, covering 75% of the industry.
We are proud to call Peter our Senior Editor of Animal Liberation because
whether liberating minks or emancipating minds, he completely dedicated to
9) All-Around Service in Animal Liberation: Dr. Jerry Vlasak
Dr. Jerry Vlasak is known for many
things. He is a trauma surgeon in Los Angeles, a militant animal rights
activist, a former vivisector turned renowned critic of vivisection, a
scientific advisor to groups like Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) and
a co-founder and Press Officer for the North American Animal Liberation
Press Office. [Because of his uncompromising positions, he] also has a lot
of 'former' roles on his resume, such as former spokesperson for the
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and former Board Member of the
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society 'He is also a former visitor to the UK. In
summer 2004, UK Home Secretary David Blunkett, always acting in defense of
the vivisection industry so important to the British economy, saw it fit to
ban Vlasak 'from again entering the UK [deeming him, like other US activists
to follow, a 'threat to public order].
The ever-controversial, vocal,
and unapologetic defender of militant direct action, Dr. Vlasak co-founded
North American Animal Liberation Press Office in 2004 to establish a voice
not only for the 'non-violent' ALF, but also for more militant groups such
as the Animal Rights Militia, the Justice Department, the Revolutionary
Cells, and any and every form of resistance to animal exploitation. The
Press Office provides a critical and counter-hegemonic voice to industry
propaganda and corporate media forces by contextualizing animal liberation
and explaining the need for illegal action in conditions where the state
functions as a tool of capitalist interests. The Press Office also provides
critical balance to the animal advocacy mainstream (whether welfarists,
rights, or 'abolitionist' in approach) which either ignore the dynamic
actions of the underground or-using the Orwellian language of the
corporate-state-media complex-demonizes MDA as 'violent' and
'counter-productive.' In addition to running the Press Office, and incurring
the risk and repression this entails, Vlasak has waged the war of liberation
through confronting sealers on the ice, public speaking and debates
throughout the world, and even testifying before the US Senate. Using his
medical training and experience as a former vivisector to maximal advantage,
Vlasak speaks against vivisection with authority, and when 'researchers'
like David Jentsch and Dario Ringach of UCLA run from his challenges to
debate, it is evident that they fear public exposure and have something
scandalous to hide.
10) Most Dangerous Philosopher: Dr. Steven Best
Dr. Best leading one of the first
anti-vivisection rallies in Moscow, Russia.
Our Task, Dr.
The revolutionary implications of
animal liberation explain the intense resistance to it on all fronts.
Let's be clear: we are fighting
for a revolution, not for reforms, for the end of slavery, not for humane
slavemasters. Animal liberation advances the most radical idea to ever land
on human ears: animals are not our food, clothing, resources, or objects of
entertainment; they exist for their own purposes, not ours.
Every justice struggle up to now
was has been relatively easy. Now it gets hard. Speciesism is primordial and
universal; it is arguably the first of any form of domination or hierarchy
and it has spread like a deadly virus throughout the entire planet and all
of human history. The problem is not limited to Western culture or to the
modern world, such that there is some significant utopian past or radical
alternative to recover. The problem is the human species itself, which but
for rare exceptions is violent, destructive, and imperialistic. Universally,
humans have vested interests in exploiting animals and think they have a
God-given right to do so. To change these attitudes is to change the very
nerve center of human consciousness.
That is our task-no more and no
Dr. Steven Best has been
described as 'one of the leading scholarly voices in animal rights..
That much most people know, what they don't know is the breadth and depth of
Best's work as a scholar, teacher, speaker, and activist. He is an author
and editor of ten books, two of which won 'Philosophy Book of the Year:
awards, and has published some 150 articles and reviews. Best works across
an astonishing array of topics, and his books and articles have been
translated in a dozen languages.
Best's publishing career spans
three decades, and few are aware that his political activism has equally
deep roots. Beginning in 1980, as an undergraduate at the University of
Illinois, Best was a leading campus activist, leading groups working against
US imperialism in Central American politics (which among other things
provided sanctuary for illegal refugees from El Salvador and raised money to
purchase medical supplies for Nicaraguan people) and South African
apartheid, as he put his writing and theatrical background into community
radio, performance art, and guerrilla theatre. A radical leftist, Best
became a vegetarian in 1983 (eventually going vegan) and an animal rights
activist in 1988, and thereby seeing leftism 'as a Stalinism toward
animals.' In subsequent years Best formulated an increasingly militant,
holistic, and comprehensive analysis of 'total revolution' that articulates
human, animal, and Earth liberation struggles as an inseparable unity to be
conceived of and fought for together.
In 1993, Best accepted a
tenure-track position in the Philosophy Department at the University of
Texas El Paso, and applied his radical political views his teaching.
Within his first week in town,
Best accepted the role of Vice President of the Vegetarian Society of El
Paso, he organized and led animal rights groups on campus and in the
community, he spoke about vegan ethics and animal rights to community groups
and schools at all levels, he worked with the Green Party and other
environmental and wildlife groups, he became a mainstay on TV and radio news
and interview shows, and he even launched his own radio show on the local
NPR-affiliate station. Among other things, he was arrested numerous times
for civil disobedience; he campaigned tirelessly for a new humane society
and animal shelter, he implemented a trap, neuter, and release program for
the growing population of feral cats on his campus; he freed Sissy the
elephant from her tormenters at the El Paso Zoo to live her remaining
decades at the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee, he raised awareness about
sprawl and its impact on wildlife and the 'dirty dozen' worst local
polluters, and with his philosophy of law class he successfully lobbied the
City Council to pass a measure declaring the USA Patriot Act
unconstitutional, was arrested numerous occasions for civil disobedience.
Best found that of all the
radical issues he taught, by far the most controversial was ethical veganism
and animal rights. From the start, he took fire from colleagues, department
chairs, right-wing radio hosts, local politicians, police, and even the city
Squeaking through the tenure
review process on the strength of his teaching and publications, the
situation grew considerably tenser after the publication of
Terrorists or Freedom Fighters?
Reflections on the Liberation of Animals (2004). With a steady stream
of such publications, with lectures and speaking tours throughout the world,
and with co-founding the North American Animal Liberation Press Office, Best
emerged as the only academic in
the country principled and defiant enough to openly support and defend the
ALF, knowing full well that his actions constituted professional suicide. In
a rapid succession of events that began in summer 2005, Best was banned for
life from the entire UK, pressured by Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) to
testify before Senate eco-terrorism
hearings (he refused), charged by David Martosko of the Center for
Consumer Freedom (on C-Span Live before a full Senate hearing) with being
'the leader' of the ALF who recruits his students into the underground,
deposed from his position as department chair, and ostracized from the
mainstream animal advocacy movement.
Throughout all of this, Best
remained undaunted and unrepentant.
From the US to Norway, from Sweden
to France, from Germany to Russia to South Africa, Best shows what
philosophy means in a world in crisis. And we are proud that Dr. Best,
drawing on a wealth of knowledge and experience, is our Senior Editor of
11) Best Vegan Educator: Gary Yourofsky
Deserve Absolute Protection Today and Tomorrow (ADAPTT) founded
by Gary Yourofsky
Gary Yourofsky has spoken to
thousands of students about the true meaning of animal rights. Gary's
powerful and enlightening message has been heard by more than 50,000
students in 147 middle schools, high schools and universities nationwide,
including UTEP, U. of Florida, Georgia Tech and Fresno State. Gary uses
thought-provoking prose, inspiring stories, indisputable facts, quotes from
Pythagoras, William Ralph Inge and other great thinkers, plus graphic
footage from slaughterhouses (land and sea), to ask people to be kind to
animals and, ultimately, go vegan.
Lecturing is a softer approach for
Yourofsky, who has been
arrested numerous times for random acts of kindness and
banished by five foreign countries from entering their borders.
In 1997, Gary even liberated 1,542 minks scheduled for certain death from
the Eberts Fur Farm in Blenheim, Ontario. Several attorneys, led by Donald
Perkins, Esq., tried to pass a resolution in Michigan in honor of
Yourofsky's actions. 'We recognize that throughout this nation's history,
other individuals, acting from conscience have similarly violated certain
laws and ordinances. In our own time, these same principles of nonviolent
disobedience to unjust laws have been applied by such individuals as the
Mahatma Mohandas K. Gandhi and the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,
both of whom were'as was Michigan's Gary Yourofsky'sentenced to jail for
Gary Yourofsky is one of the
most outspoken, passionate, dedicated, and effective activists and educators
in the vegan and animal rights movements. Indefatigable, unassailable, and
unstoppable, the man is a machine programmed for ceaseless action. Making an
incredible transformation from liberator to educator, Yourofsky is a one-man
revolution. The most militant opponent to speaking to the choir, Yourofsky
exclusively targets inveterate carnivores and hardened speciesists. He has
spoken in agricultural colleges, before groups of hunters, and debated (and
destroyed) Ted Nugent on radio. But his primary audience is high school,
college, and university audiences and every year he criss-crosses the
continent to address countless thousands of people who otherwise would never
hear the life-changing, revolutionary message. Using footage he shot in
slaughterhouses, scientific data, nutrition, humor, and passion without
condescension, he promises his listeners that he will remove their
'blinders.' A daunting challenge few would issue, but every time he
delivers; for when the hour is up, the illusions are gone, few cynics are
standing, and dozens or hundreds of new vegans join to spread the message.
Moralizing pacifists and bedroom bloggers need to take note. Yourofsky
accomplishes what most of us could only dream about and we all could do far
worse than to emulate his example. We are proud to say that Yourofsky is our
Editor of Vegan Education and we can think of few who so embody and define
effective vegan outreach.
12) Best All-Around Activist: Anthony Marr
Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE) founded by Anthony Marr
Anthony Marr holds a science
degree from the UBC and has worked as a field geophysicist and an
environmental technologist. In 1995, he became a full time wildlife
preservationist, which has brought him to India three times, earning him the
title of the 'Champion of the Bengal Tiger' in the Champions of the Wild TV
series aired in 20 countries. As an anti-hunting activist, he has conducted
high profile campaigns in Canada for the bears and seals, and been to Japan
twice for the whales and dolphins. He is the founder of
Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE) and the author of Omni-Science.
Whether protecting tiger
reserves in India, risking his life in undercover investigations of the
illegal trade in endangered species parts; challenging any and all forms of
hunting; hosting a radio show; writing visionary books on science,
philosophy, and cosmology; embarking on marathon coast-to-coast Compassion
for Animals Road Expeditions covering dozens of US states (launching his
seventh tour in March 2010), or mobilizing scientific research to awaken the
complacent to the immanent dangers of irreversible ecological crisis,
Anthony Marr is raising awareness, effectively campaigning, and blazing new
trails. In 2009, with Jason Miller and others, Marr launched the Global
Anti-Hunting Coalition, one that 'can bring the weight of the entire world
to bear on the local governments bullying the grassroots Activists.'
For anyone skeptical of what one person can do alone or in strategic
alliance with others, or what can be accomplished without the large
bankrolls such as HSUS commands (and squanders), look no further. For Marr
shows what great things can blossom from intelligence, independence,
courage, and unqualified commitment to the rights of nature, free from the
predatory violence of Homo sapiens.
The story Marr tells, and the outcome for which he fights, is not a zero-sum
tragedy that pits one element of nature against another, however, but
achieves a harmonization of life forces. 'If we win,' Marr says, 'we will
have elevated the quality of Humanity, and brought about a major quantum
leap in human social evolution.'
13) Most Tenacious Ecowarrior: Captain Paul Watson
Sea Shepherd Conservation
Society, founded by Paul Watson
'I have been honored to serve the
whales, dolphins, seals-and all the other creatures on this Earth. Their
beauty, intelligence, strength, and spirit have inspired me. These beings
have spoken to me, touched me, and I have been rewarded by friendship with
many members of different species.
If the whales survive and
flourish, if the seals continue to live and give birth, and if I can
contribute to ensuring their future prosperity, I will be forever happy.'
Terrorist to some, ecowarrior to
others, Captain Paul Watson has been a looming presence over the animal
rights and environmental movements for the last three decades, and his
battle today is as strong as ever. Although he has tracked elephant poachers
in East Africa, saved wolves in the Yukon, liberated monkeys from zoos in
Grenada, defended bison in Montana, and campaigned for the rainforests in
Brazil, Watson is best known for his dramatic efforts to halt the slaughter
of whales, dolphins, seals, and fish of the sea. After being kicked out of
Greenpeace (which he co-founded) in 1977 for the audacity to interfere with
attacks on seals, Watson formed the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, which
he describes in his book Ocean
Warriors as 'the most aggressive, no-nonsense, and determined
conservation organization in the world.'
For his numerous attacks on and
sinking of whaling ships, Watson has been branded as a vigilante,
lawbreaker, and eco-terrorist, but in fact he is an upholder and enforcer of
a 1986 international ban on whaling in countries like Russia and Japan which
routinely flout the law and massacre whales. The drama of Watson's battles
with whaling ships on the high seas became the focus of
Whale Wars, the first season of
which was the most watched program ever for Animal Planet, commanding over
one million viewers for its season finale, giving the direct action and
environmental issues the best press they've ever had.
Ask Watson if there is really a
'war' against animals, and brace yourself for an affirmative answer from
someone who has battled killers of sea animals, been attacked by a mob of
sealers, nearly drowned by whalers, and shot at (a direct hit to the heart
successfully deflected by a bulletproof vest) by Japanese whalers. However
feeble, our award recognizes Watson's 40-year service in the front lines of
battle in the 'war against nature' and let his critics try their hand to do
better in stopping brutal, high-tech killing in the freezing Arctic winds
and choppy seas.
14) Every Soldier in the Trenches
There are millions of people
across the world who give of themselves to comfort the abused and those
named above are a few who represent the whole. All of us who volunteer in
shelters, rescue the homeless, release mink from fur farms, or sabotage
exploiters are the direct activists waging grassroots campaigns. If an
animal has looked into your eyes with gratitude this week, then you are the
exact person we acknowledge and thank. We are engaged in a war and,
irrespective of philosophies, it will not be won by one camp or another.
But, while most are never recognized for their service, some activists are
labeled 'terrorists,' 'violent,' and 'criminals'-not only by the
industrial state-complex, but by our peers who have adopted the oppressors'
mentality. The only crime the activists noted share is that they are
effective-and they each prove that one person can make a difference.
Wapedia, Wiki: Earth Liberation
 'Diary of Actions,' Bite Back (http://www.directaction.info/news.htm).
 Steven Best, 'Who's Afraid of Jerry Vlasak,'
Thomas Paine's Corner, May 3,
 Smallwood, Scott., 'Speaking for the Animals,
or the Terrorists,' The Chronicle of
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