Template:Animal liberation

The Animal Rights Militia (ARM) is an organisation that exists in name only. It is used by animal rights activists that are willing to engage in direct action that might cause direct physical harm to humans.


No guidelinesEdit

Unlike other militant animal rights activists that advocate violence, using names such as the Justice Department or Revolutionary Cells--Animal Liberation Brigade, the ARM did not appear to release a manifesto or set of guidelines upon forming. Therefore the concept of the group is merely an ideology; that the use of violence is acceptable, in the cause for animal rights.

Robin Webb has implied that ARM and Animal Liberation Front (ALF) activists, as well as violent activists naming themselves the Justice Department, may be the same people. He has said: [1]



The group formed the same leaderless-resistance model as the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) 6 years later in 1982, which consists of small, autonomous, covert cells acting independently. A cell may consist of just one person.

Professor Paul Wilkinson, former director of the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence at the University of St Andrews, has said that: "A cluster of small groups such as the Justice Department, the Animal Liberation Front (ALF), and the Animal Rights Militia, have crossed the threshold from extra-parliamentary protest and demonstrations to what can only be described as acts of terrorism." [2]

The existence of activists calling themselves the Animal Rights Militia or Justice Department, another name used by activists to inflict violence, reflects a struggle within the Animal Liberation Front and the animal rights movement in general, between those who believe violence is justified, and those who insist the movement should reject it in favor of non-violent resistance. [3]

Extensional self-defenseEdit

Steven Best has coined the term "extensional self-defense" to describe actions carried out in defense of animals by human beings acting as "proxy agents."[4] He argues that, in carrying out acts of extensional self-defense, activists have the moral right to engage in acts of sabotage or even violence.[4] Extensional self-defense is justified, he writes, because animals are "so vulnerable and oppressed they cannot fight back to attack or kill their oppressors."[5] Best argues that the principle of extensional self defense mirrors the penal code statues known as the "necessity defense," which can be invoked when a defendant believes that the illegal act was necessary to avoid imminent and great harm.[5] In testimony to the Senate in 2005, Jerry Vlasak stated that he regarded violence against Huntingdon Life Sciences as an example of extensional self-defense.[6]

Direct actionEdit

ARM first emerged in the United Kingdom (UK) in the 1980s as animal-rights activists shifted their focus away from demonstrations and more on direct action, including violence, intimidation, and the destruction of property.

The name was not heard of for 8 years afterwards following the actions in 1982, 1985 and 1986, with animal liberation supporter Peter Singer remarking in his 1986 essay "The Animal Liberation Movement: Its philosophy, its achievements and its future" that the group may not really exist. [7] This was then seen as an inaccurate statement as the ARM then claimed further attacks in 1994, 1995 and 1998, continuing into the 21st century.



The first action that became known were letter bombs sent to Margaret Thatcher, then British Prime Minister, [7] as well as other MP's signed by the Animal Rights Militia. [8]


In September, incendiary devices were placed under the cars of two animal researchers for BIBRA (British Industrial Biological Research Association) in South London, which completely wrecked both vehichles. Neither man was injured, with the ARM telling The Sutton Herald [8] that "We will go to any length to prevent these animal abusers' murderous activities, if it means killing an individual, we will not shy away from action."

ARM then claimed the contamination of Mars products, claiming it was because of their animal experiments relating to tooth decay which ARM claimed the company had no intention of ending,[9] Peta still campaign against this.[10] ARM then claimed the contamination was a hoax and they had not carried out the action. But claimed that it had caused huge financial damage which was the intention.[11][9]


Three months later in January, ARM claimed responsibility for placing incendiary devices under cars of four individuals involved in animal research at Huntingdon Life Sciences. The explosives were placed in Harrogate, South London, Staffordshire and Sussex, timed to explode an hour apart from each other. This time, also the last time according to the group, the bomb disposal team were alerted, who deactivated the devices that were confirmed to be live. The next attack the ARM claimed was intended to kill Dr Andor Sebesteny, an animal researcher for the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (ICRF). However he noticed the device that was attached under his car which saved his life, since no warning had been given. [8] ARM also claimed responsibility for sending more letter bombs to individuals involved in vivisection. [12]


On the 1st September, at San Jose Valley Veal & Beef, Santa Clara, California, the ARM claims responsibility for an arson which costs $10,000 in damage.[13]


Paul Scare was sentenced to one year in prison for sending razor blades to the people who he had targeted. [14]



On the 6th July, it was reported widely that the Cambridge store of Boots and also the Edinburgh Woolen Mill in the centre of the city had caught on fire. The Boots branch burnt for four hours completely destroying the building and the wool clothing store was badly damaged with the entire stock ruined. Two more devices were then found, both leather shops, one of which was in the pocket of a sheepskin coat. The ARM claimed all four devices, causing Cambridge city centre to be cordoned off whilst officers searched for two more devices that the group claimed would explode the following day at 12pm. After an extensive search, it was concluded that the additional two devices claimed were a hoax, with no further devices exploding the following day. A month later, another leather shop was destroyed and the same wool mill suffered minor damage after devices went off, with two more recovered in leather shops and one in a fur shop. [14]

ARM then set fire to shops later in the year on the Isle of Wight, causing £3 million worth of damage. Barry Horne was subsequently jailed for eighteen years for the arson attacks. Robin Webb, who runs the Animal Liberation Press Office in the UK, narrowly avoided being charged with conspiracy.[12]


Niel Hanson was sentenced to three years for sending the hoax device to GlaxoSmithKline public relations officer in Hertfordshire. He was initially charged with conspiracy to murder, which was then revised to a lesser crime and he was resentenced to serve three years, for the device that was a bag of cat litter sent via taxi. [14]


ARM further came to widespread public attention in the UK in December, during one of Horne's hunger strikes, which lasted 68 days. It was carried out in protest at the British governments refusal to order a commission of inquiry into animal testing, and ARM threatened to assassinate a number of individuals involved in vivisection should Horne die.[15]

Those threatened were Colin Blakemore,[15] later chief executive of the Medical Research Council; Clive Page of King's College London, a professor of pulmonary pharmacology and chair of the animal science group of the British Biosciences Federation; Mark Matfield of the Research Defence Society;[15] and Christopher Brown, the owner of Hillgrove Farm in Oxfordshire, who was breeding kittens for laboratories. [16]



ARM claimed responsibility for removing, in October, from a grave the body of Gladys Hammond, the mother-in-law of Christopher Hall, part-owner of Darley Oaks Farm, which bred guinea pigs for Huntingdon Life Sciences, and which had been the target of the animal rights campaign Save the Newchurch Guinea Pigs.[17] The body was removed from a churchyard in Yoxall, Staffordshire and found buried in woodland on 2 May, 2006.[18]


Four people were convicted on 11 May for their involvement in the incident, which was described in The Guardian newspaper as "a six-year hate campaign" that included letter bombs, vandalism, and grave robbing. The judge described the group's actions as "subjecting wholly innocent citizens to a campaign of terror." The campaign included hate mail signed Animal Rights Militia (ARM) and Animal Liberation Front (ALF). Those convicted were Jon Ablewhite, John Smith and Kerry Whitburn each of whom who were given twelve year sentences and Josephine Mayo who was sentenced to four years.[19]

On 14th December, the ARM claimed on the North American Animal Liberation Press Office they had poisoned 487 bottles of POM juice drinks: [20]


Spokesperson for POM replied: "If it is a hoax, it is a form of blackmail. If actual contamination has taken place, with the intention of injuring innocent people, it is an act of terrorism. Either way, the Animal Rights Militia is trying to scare and intimidate innocent people. That is criminal behaviour." It also said that the company conducted a vast amount of research involving human studies and that only a small amount of tests were animal based, which does not include; dogs, cats or primates. [21] The owners the following month then stated: ""POM Wonderful pomegranate juice has ceased all animal testing, and we have no plans to do so in the future.", this was following Whole Foods Market, the biggest grocery chain in natural stores, threatening to stop selling their products, initiated by the PETA campaign. [22]


On 30 August, ARM claimed to have deliberately contaminated 250 tubes of Novartis's widely-used antiseptic savlon in shops including Superdrug, Tesco and Boots The Chemist who all withdrew sales of the cream.[23] The group said in a communique to Bite Back: [24]




See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

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