The ALF is the Original Direct Action Everywhere and Anonymous for the Voiceless

Two grass-roots organizations that are highly controversial within the animal rights movement are Direct Action Everywhere and Anonymous for the Voiceless. While a number of Direct Action Everywhere members do not know the history of the animal rights movement or about the Animal Liberation Front (ALF), they do benefit from a long history of liberation of animals and taking pictures of animals being oppressed by the ALF.

If DXE’s main goal is total animal liberation, then why do they have so many workshops about getting media attention, with little about the ALF and claiming at the same time they do direct action? One could argue that the direct action for animal liberation can be determined by how many animals one individual liberates. Let us take for example two liberations on in the U.S. and one in England both in 2018 of turkeys being liberated. Direct Action Everywhere liberated 100 turkeys near Salt Lake, Utah, USA with over 600 people flying in from all over the country, staying in hotels, flying in Ingrid Newkirk, Moby, and James Cromwell. These are all expenses that get into the tens of thousands of dollars. During that same period the ALF with no media outreach and no mass action, liberated 30 turkeys in October 2018 with very few people.

The continues debate is what is more effective open rescue, which

  1. liberates fewer animals;
  2. costs more as the media is involved;
  3. costs more overall for legal fees; and
  4. more resources used to promote the action.

Versus the Animal Liberation Front,

  1. more animals often rescued;
  2. less costs;
  3. less resources needed;
  4. more negative media as ALF is a terrorist organization; and
  5. less legal costs as they often do not get caught.

The next group that was influenced directly by the Animal Liberation Front is Anonymous for the Voiceless. Is interesting and contradictory for four reasons.

  1. They wear masks, similar to the ALF who do not want credit or recognition, but show their face all over Instagram, which is factually not proven to do anything for animals, except foster heroism.
  2. Second, the idea of them being silent, but saying that the animals are the voiceless in the name of their group, is factually false. The group leaders are paid to go around the world and speak about animal rights, which is unlike the Animal Liberation Front, which is not paid and do not speak at all. Further, animals do scream, bark, chirp, and meow for example, hence they do have a voice. 
  3. Further, videoing animals being tortured has been a long-term tactic since the beginning of the modern animal rights movement beginning in the late 1960s with the aid of the Animal Liberation Front providing footage. Showing videos of animals being oppressed have been placed on trucks, vans, and tables at music shows. 
  4. Most importantly, the movement Anonymous have been noted verbally and via social movement critiquing Anonymous for the Voiceless for not addressing the heart of the Anonymous movement – anti-government, anti-corporate, and anti-capitalism.

These two organizations Direct Action Everywhere and Anonymous for the Voiceless are two organizations that have done a great deal for animals, but this article’s purpose is to stress the importance of the ALF and that activists within the animal rights movement need to be educated about the movement that they are participating in. This will decrease the amount of conflict that regularly occurs among organizations. This will also decrease the claim that the two organizations are co-opting other social movement organizations and terms to fund their cause. ICAS also wants to point out that the leadership of both of these organizations are also paid, while Direct Action Everywhere is paid very humbly, we cannot say the say about Anonymous for the Voiceless, which are paid fairly well within the realm of activist salaries. ICAS recommends articulating how they benefit from other groups and movements hard work.