Each day we butcher millions of other sentient beings because we like the taste of their flesh. The functional development and intensity of suffering of our victims tend to match the capacities of human infants and toddlers. The contrast in our attitude and behaviour toward them could scarcely be greater.
Imagine the anguish caused by an oxyacetylene torch applied, if only to a few seconds, to your child's face. Unspeakably appalling? Yet each day we pay - by our choice in food purchases - to have other living creatures treated no less abominably.
An over-statement? Sensationalist? Surely factory-farming and the apparatus of mechanised killing, even in their worst excesses, are rarely that bad? No, in a sense the reality is worse. What it feels like for our victims is more terrible than we can typically imagine. In fact, on the few occasions in life when pain that's even relatively severe strikes us down personally, we are shocked. The casual use of the word "pain" evokes only a pale shadow of the frightfulness of the experience that lies behind it. Severe pain really is uniquely awful. Only the state-dependence of memory helps us forget just how bad pain can be. The problem is not that our everyday language is emotive. It's that we can't use it to be emotive enough.
Jewish writer Hanna Arendt once wrote of the "banality of evil". For most of the Nazi bureaucrats who actually organised the human Holocaust were not sadistic psychopaths in the usual sense of the term. Many were devoted husbands, loving fathers and cultivated family men. They were motivated by a distorted sense of duty rather than a relish for bloodshed or suffering for its own sake. Somehow it seems the "dissociation of sensibility" between their feelings and the effects of their actions was complete. The same is true of most of our own vivisectors, abattoir managers and the bureaucrats in charge of the mass-killing apparatus. So they shouldn't be demonised. But they must still be stopped.
Would global veganism ensure a cruelty-free world? No, not by itself. Life in a state of Nature is often little kinder than a life of barbarous abuse by Man. Should we respect the ways of Nature simply because they are "natural"? Or is homage to the pain-ridden products of selfish genes as harmful a superstition as any? In one sense, after all, animals no more need liberating than babies and toddlers need liberating: they need looking after. Thus The Hedonistic Imperative argues that there is only one long-term way to abolish the ghastliness of suffering on a planetary scale. Such a strategy entails eradicating its biological roots. This can be done only by using genetic-engineering and nanotechnology. This major transition in the evolution of life will replace the DNA-driven pain and malaise of our evolutionary past. The molecular architecture of the old Darwinian Era will be succeeded by modes of consciousness that are more beautiful than anything we can currently imagine. Counter-intuitively, the world's last unpleasant experience - probably some (relatively) minor pain in some (to us) obscure marine invertebrate - will be a well-defined event. It will be as precisely dateable as any other historical milestone; and far more important. For it will mark the end of the ugliest chapter in the history of life on earth.
Some people who care deeply about animals are still shocked at the implications of such an ambitious species-project. Many animal-lovers would oppose the loss, for instance, of the symbolically-charged big predators in their traditional guise - in spite of the cruelty and suffering inflicted on the weak, the old and the vulnerable that their present carnivorous habits entail. Indeed to anyone of a humanistic or spirituo-religious disposition, the blueprint to put an end to the primeval DNA regime might seem the vision of a soulless technocrat. Likewise, the prospect of eating genetically-engineered vatfood rather than intact animal flesh currently sounds disturbing. Yet there's nothing soulful about rampant, pointless and utterly out-of-control suffering. The much-advertised "Death of God" shouldn't spell the loss of paradise, too; and there is only one scientifically literate way its promise is ever going to be realised.
So what can be done right now? Fighting the ideology that sustains the vast apparatus of oppression is indeed vital; but shutting down the apparatus itself is what counts. Here, without addition or alteration, are the Animal Rights FAQ and the ALF FAQ. Their presence on this site should in no way be taken to sanction or condone any of my views.
Animal Liberation by Peter Singer (rev.ed. 1995) ISBN: 07126744446
Animal Liberation Front (A.L.F.)
Frequently Asked Questions
by the North American A.L.F. Supporters Group
What is the Animal Liberation Front?
The Animal Liberation Front (A.L.F.) carries out direct action against animal abuse in the form of rescuing animals and causing financial loss to animal exploiters, usually through the damage and destruction of property.
The A.L.F.'s short-term aim is to save as many animals as possible and directly disrupt the practice of animal abuse. Their long term aim is to end all animal suffering by forcing animal abuse companies out of business.
It is a non-violent campaign, activists taking all precautions not to harm any animal (human or otherwise).
Because A.L.F. actions are against the law, activists work anonymously, either in small groups or individually, and do not have any centralized organization or co-ordination.
The Animal Liberation Front consists of small autonomous groups of people all over the world who carry out direct action according to the A.L.F. guidelines. Any group of people who are vegetarians or vegans and who carry out actions according to A.L.F. guidelines have the right to regard themselves as part of the A.L.F.
The A.L.F. guidelines are:
- 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 non-violent direct actions and liberations.
- TO take all necessary precautions against harming any animal, human and non-human.
PLEASE NOTE: The North American A.L.F. Supporters Group is a completely separate organization from the A.L.F. YOU CANNOT become a member of the A.L.F., or an A.L.F. activist, by supporting the North American A.L.F.S.G.
What is the Animal Liberation Front Supporters Group?
The purpose of the A.L.F. Supporters Group is to support the work of the Animal Liberation Front by all lawful means possible. This includes:
- Support of imprisoned activists,
- support and defense of the A.L.F.,
- educating the public as to the need and rationale of direct action,
- providing a communication forum through the Supporters Group newsletter,
- raising funds for all the above S.G. activities.
There are A.L.F. Supporters Groups all over the world. The North American A.L.F. Supporters Group (NA-ALFSG) is responsible for co-ordinating A.L.F. support within North America.
Our main projects right now are supporting activists who are imprisoned for alleged involvement in animal liberation activities and publishing a magazine three times a year.
The Supporters Group is for those who wish to support the A.L.F. without breaking the law. We encourage the participation of all activists -- including those who are unable to, or who do not wish to, take part in direct action.
How Do I Become a Member of the North
American A.L.F. Supporters Group?
Suggested costs for a membership to the North American ALFSG, including a year's subscription to "Underground", are on a $20-$30 sliding scale. Canadian subscribers can pay in Canadian currency; we ask that US and overseas subscribers pay in US currency (US cheques or money orders). All money, EXCEPT that going towards merchandise and distribution should be sent to the NA-ALFSG's Ontario mailing address (see below).
Cheques and money orders should be made out to: NAALFSG.
We are a 100% volunteer organization. All money raised goes directly to the work of supporting animal liberation and assisting imprisoned activists. Supporters can help raise money by: making personal contributions; promoting our magazine "Underground" and our other merchandise; organizing fund-raising events; designing merchandise; and suggesting strategies for our fund-raising efforts.
What are the Projects of the North American ALFSG?
- Letter writing: prisoners rely on letters as their link to the outside world. Letters to newspapers help inform the public about the plight of imprisoned activists.
- Publicity: articles for magazines, letters to the editor, public speaking, and other media work such as radio broadcasts help fundraise and raise awareness. Of course any press work that is done under the name of the North American ALFSG must be approved by the North American ALFSG.
- Contributions to the newsletter: articles, letters, graphics, action reports, communiques...everything helps.
- Distribution/Subscription drive: if you can help us distribute the newsletter or increase subscriptions, that helps us educate about animal liberation.
If you have any other ideas, please let us know. We welcome your feedback and participation.
How Do A.L.F. Cells Communicate Securely?
If you are a member of an active A.L.F. cell, send us any clippings, or your own report, with date, time, place, and a few details about the action. Send your reports on plain paper, using block capital letters, or a public typewriter that many people have access to. Wear gloves at all times so your fingerprints are not on the paper, envelope, or stamp. Do not give your address, and don't lick the stamp or envelope; wet it with a sponge. Remember you should expect that all of our mail and any other support groups' mail is opened and read by the authorities.
DO NOT inform us of upcoming actions BEFORE they happen. Towards animal liberation and freedom for all political prisoners,
How Can I Contact the North American ALFSG and find out about merchandise, newsletters and distribution information?Please direct all inquiries to the following address:
PO Box 69597
5845 Yonge St.
Animal Rights FAQ
The Taste of Depravity
'Game Conservancy Trust'
Animal Liberation Prisoners
A Home Page for Herbivores
Animal Rights Resource Site
The Post-Darwinian Transition
Frontline Information Service
Slaughterhouse video (mp4: 5.55Mb)
Countryside Alliance For Animal Rights