It appears that the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) has struck again. The target: a fox farm owned by Kerry Littig. The "direct action:" releasing the animals. The message: We'll return until you close your farm down. Here's the ALF "communiqué", complete with a threat, a statement of solidarity with Peter Daniel Young and a rousing call to arms . . .:
To all those who refuse to give in,
In the early morning hours of April 1st, our small band of do-gooders made our way through muddy fields and grassy mounds to decend upon a fox factory farm owned by Kerry Littig (1774 Eagle Run Rd, Bluffs, IL 62621). She is the top breeder of silver foxes in the U.S.
Until now she probably thought that she was pretty safe since her address has never been made public. We found you Kerry, and more importantly, we found the foxes you imprison, force to suffer, and finally mutilate all for your own profit and the vanity of others.
Only the breeding animals were on the farm, so we knew this wouldnt take very long. After removing the majority of the surrounding fence, we entered the shed, removed all of the breeding information and finally opened every single cage, releasing dozens of foxes into the surrounding countryside. We hope with all our hearts that some make it!
Kerry better believe that we will come back, time and time again, until this hellhole is closed once and for all.
This action was done in absolute solidarity with all of those forced to flee in order to escape the state's repression, and most of all FOR PETER, who made it seven years. You inspire us immensely and are with us in every passing moment.
Strong Hearts Forward!
the Animal Liberation Front"
I'm struck by how very personal the spite of our ALF heros is, and how self-righteous and smug they are.
I'm also intrigued by how little concern they evidently have for the animals they released: they hope with all their hearts "that some make it."
I guess that means, screw those that don't. That's not exactly the attitude I would expect from people whose self-professed overriding passion is to protect animals . . . Nor do I see any concern for what effects the release of those foxes might have on local habitat, and again I'm forced to ask if they filed the appropriate Environmental Impact paperwork before doing their thing.
Or, is their concern for the habitat limited to hoping with all their heart that the sudden influx of foxes doesn't have a negative impact . . .
My own guess is that our bold activists were simply too lazy to see to the protection of the animals they released — that their goal was totally symbolic, and that the symbolism of their act trumped the well-being of the animals who were the living, sentient, caring, capable-of-suffering objects of their symbolism.
Who would ever guess that our ALF heros would place a mere symbol above the well-being of animals, those released, and those wild animals who would be potentially impacted by their release?
Bovey, Minnesota: Early in the morning of April 1, 2005, trespassers entered the Littig Fox Ranch in Bluffs, Illinois and opened 58 pens of foxes, all females nursing litters of young pups or about to deliver within the next 10 days.
So if the press release is to be believed, the ALF heros freed animals that were either unusually vulnerable themselves, or animals whose offspring would be deprived of their mothers! There seems to be a disconnect between the compassion Animal Rights people trumpet so frequently and the "direct actions" of our bold ALF operatives.
This strikes me as being a totally symbolic act, taken with reckless disregard for the consequences to the animals or the habitat into which they were released.
The Animal Liberation Front issued a press release claiming guilt for this crime and threatening to attack the farm again.
Kerry Littig, owner of the farm explained, "Many of the nursing females stayed with their pups but others, frightened, abandoned their young and several aborted or delivered early. We've recovered them all and got them all back into their pens but one of the females has died from stress and we're now hand-feeding her young. The rest, of course, are traumatized."
Yeah . . . well . . . whatcha gonna do?
I mean, if a clear conscience counts more than the consequences of a liberationist action, then the symbolism of the "liberation" can easily trump the well-being of the animals who were "liberated." All that's necessary for moral symbolism to triumph over practical consequences is for you to embrace the hope (with all your heart!) "that some make it." And to ignore the consequences to the habitat into which the foxes were released. If the bar were any lower, it'd be in the molten core of Mother Earth!
Littig went on to explain that it is a challenge for the farmer to match up foxes with the correct pups. A mistake can result in death of all the pups.
While property damage to the farm is minor, the extent of the damage done to the livestock will not be known for several weeks.
"Right now it is all dependent on the skill of the farmer," added Lou Baumel of the North Central Fox Producers' Association, which represents fox farmers throughout the region. "Kerry Littig has earned a solid reputation for the quality of his foxes, raising award-winning animals for over 23 years so I am confident he's doing his best."
I suspect that Littig will put far greater effort into rehabilitating the foxes than our ALF heros were willing to do to ensure that they survived their release.
Still, I'm sure the liberationists would fault Littig for impure motives: Littig's sin is that he wishes to profit from their fur, and for ALF operatives, profit is an impure motive. The fact that Littig feeds them, protects them and assures them a quick and minimally painless death is trumped by the fact that he stands to profit from their fur by selling it for fashion. (Parenthetically, the Fur Commission makes a reasonable case for wearing leather and fur. If you're not familiar with their arguments, you might like to inform yourself of what they have to say.)
By contrast, our ALF heros acted out of pure motives, meaning they aren't interested in profit. So releasing the foxes and knowingly condemning many of them to a death that is neither quick nor painless, and subjecting the local habitat to their sudden onslaught, is acceptable — indeed, it is to be preferred.
Again — how curious that our ALF heros saw fit to abandon those who became their responsibility to a fate that they themselves believe will prove fatal to many!
The press release from the Animal Liberation Front stated that the crime was done in "solidarity" for recently-captured fugitive Peter Young. Young, a fugitive for seven years, was arrested while shoplifting in California and is implicated in a multi-state crime spree relating to attacks on farms ten years ago.
"Farmers and researchers in the Midwest should double check their security and Neighborhood Watch programs and report suspicious activity to local law enforcement and the FBI," recommended Lou Baumel.
I'm sorry, but it's just really hard for me to find anything appealing about the ALF, their illegal "direct actions," their smugness, their self-righteousness, their arrogance and their cavalier regard for the animals they released. Indeed, to me, when they decided to remove the animals from the fox farm, they assumed the moral burden of seeing to the welfare of the animals and the habitat into which they released them. Our heros did neither — they merely hoped with all their hearts that some — some — of the foxes "will make it" in the wilds . . .
Clearly, our ALF heros are willing to sacrifice animal lives in the name of a greater good. So if protecting the lives of animals isn't a moral absolute, why can't others — like fur farmers, beef ranchers, scientists and hunters — sacrifice animal lives for what they perceive to be a greater good?