Timeless Myths About the Animal Liberation Front

Myth 1: The Animal Liberation Front is an organization.

Fact: The ALF is a philosophy with self-proclaimed supporters who are a subset of the leaderless animal liberation movement.

The "organization" myth is perpetuated with statements such as "The Animal Liberation Front released a statement that..." or "The Animal Liberation Front claimed credit for ....". This leaves the false impression that there is a leader or leaders who direct actions.

An ALF supporter is similar to being a vegan or a utilitarian philosopher or a human rights advocate. It would be accurate to say that "An ALF member released a statement ..." although the media often ignores the fact that the claimed action is not consistent with the ALF credo.

Media often report that an ALF member deliberately endangered the life of a sentient being. This is akin to saying that a vegan deliberately ate a ham sandwich. It ignores the definition. Like saying that Christians kill. Some Christians have killed. That defines the individual, not Christianity.

Exacerbating the myth is the fact that some activists read the media reports saying "The ALF burned a building and endangered lives", and then the activists self-proclaim to be an ALF member and take actions based on the media's definition instead of taking actions based on the ALF's philosophy.

Myth 2: The ALF guestbook and the ALF discussion forum both block opinions that refute its extremist views.

Fact: We encourage differing opinions because they stimulate thought.

We encourage intellectual attacks on the basic premises of the animal rights philosophy. We discourage repetition of the questions answered in the AR FAQs because repetition is boring. We applaud different slants and angles on the FAQs because in more than 20 years there have been very few rebuttals to the basic animal rights philosophy and ethics.

Myth 3: The website encourages violence.

Fact: It shouldn't. It emphasizes at every opportunity that no ALF action should endanger ANY sentient being, from rodents to humans.

The web site prints articles relating to animal rights issues around the world. It is essentially a library with no personal commentary. Could it encourage violent behavior? After reading about mankind's cruelty to animals it is likely to cause people to tear out their own hair in frustration (much like any other public news broadcast today).

If it is not trying to encourage violence, why does the web site show how to make bombs?

The only destructive action the ALF encourages is the destruction of property used to abuse and torture animals. There are only a few pages out of about ten thousand that show the techniques used by anarchist groups . These pages are not prominently displayed. The webmasters didn't create these pages, they are part of the history of the ALF, decades old and technically obsolete. They have disclaimers stating that the information is for entertainment only.

Doesn't it send the wrong message?

You can twist the wrong message from anything if you try to. Example: After 9/11, throughout the USA, TV programs showed how easy it was to get through airport security by doing certain specific things. And how dirty bombs and other "weapons of mass destruction" could arrive on U.S. soil via shipping cargo crates. This was relatively unknown, sensitive, up-to-date security information. One could say that the media was trying to destroy America, but of course, that was not their intent. Neither is it the intent for anyone to use the information on our pages to harm anyone.

But if a TV station were called Al Qaeda and it showed those same things, you'd think it was encouraging them, correct? So why isn't it reasonable to assume that a website called The ALF that tells how to make bombs, is encouraging that behavior?

Taken out of context, what you said is true. Just as if a website were called "cannibalism" and if you told someone that it showed how cannibals cooked people, someone might claim that it encourages eating humans. However, put back into the context that the website is an information site about cannibals with no opinions added, and that that page was one of thousands, you'd arrive at a different conclusion. The first thing anyone should read about the ALF is its credo and guidelines. Those put everything else into perspective.

What would you think if I showed you a young man who had read the ALF website and was then encouraged to take an action that later cost him his freedom?

That is a possibility, just as it is equally possible that the articles on the website about folks going to jail for taking direct action may have discouraged someone from taking any action who might have intended to do so. All sides of those realities are represented. Taking any part out of context is like the parable of the blind men and the elephant.

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