The Animal Liberation group I work with on campus, Stop Putting Chemicals in Bunnies’ Eyes (yea, we are gonna change the name) arranged for Peter Young to come talk tonight on animal liberation and his experiences with fur farms and getting arrested etc.
DISCLAIMER: The content of this post/notes represents a combinatin of things Peter said, things other people said and asked and things I thought and things I heard on the street and things I don’t remember the origins of. This is for entertainment/intellectual purposes only. The views and ideas herein do not necessarily represent the thoughts or opinions of myself or anyone else for that matter and this document is not intended for viewing by police, government officials, corporations, security organizations or similary party of evil intent. Cool kids only club, sorry guys.
This is the description of the event the group posted on facebook:
Peter Young is ananimal liberationist from Los Angeles, California who has recently finished a two year prison sentence for his part in raids on six fur farms. He will be speaking in the Main Lecture Hall on his experience in the animal liberation movement, how he evaded the FBI for seven years and how he dealt with his imprisonment.
This was Peter’s closing statement at his sentencing:
“This is the customary time when the defendant expresses regret for the crimes they committed, so let me do that because I am not without my regrets. I am here today to be sentenced for my participation in releasing mink from six fur farms. I regret it was only six. I’m also here today to be sentenced for my participation in the freeing of 8,000 mink from those farms. I regret it was only 8,000. It is my understanding of those six farms, only two of them have since shut down. I regret it was only two.
More than anything, I regret my restraint, because whatever damage we did to those businesses, if those farms were left standing, and if one animal was left behind, then it wasn’t enough.
I don’t wish to validate this proceeding by begging for mercy or appealing to the conscience of the court, because I know if this system had a conscience I would not be here, and in my place would be all the butchers, vivisectors, and fur farmers of the world.
Just as I will remain unbowed before this court, who would see me imprisoned for an act of conscience, I will also deny the fur farmers in the room the pleasure of seeing me bow down before them. To those people here whose sheds I may have visited in 1997, let me tell you directly for the first time, it was a pleasure to raid your farms, and to free those animals you held captive. It is to those animals I answer to, not you or this court. I will forever mark those nights on your property as the most rewarding experience of my life.
And to those farmers or other savages who may read my words in the future and smile at my fate, just remember: we have put more of you in bankruptcy than you have put liberators in prison. Don’t forget that.
Let me thank everyone in the courtroom who came to support me today. It is my last wish before prison that each of you drive to a nearby fur farm tonight, tear down its fence and open every cage.
I really enjoyed that statement.
I took notes during his talk, and I am going to type them up here and will likely include further response tommorrow.
Peter described his views as going from the abstract to real when he and friends discovered a chicken slaughterhouse in downtown Seattle. Injustice in your own neighborhood is no longer an abstraction that can be ignored or left in the back of your mind.
Guerilla investigation tactics to find out more about the way animals in their area were being treated- just to see what was going on- looking through dumpsters and trashcans, also, the Freedom of Information Act
To see things in the real world, in 3d realm, is the only way to get a real solution. This reminded me of anarchist stuff, where the idea is that the means MUST fit with the ends. You cannot have a non-hierarchical ends but try to get that through a hierarchical organization.
Activists often have an illusion of being effective. But activism should not function as a pressure release, it should actually solve a problem. You have to be tactically effective. Reassess yourself and your actions to see how this is going. Not fucking crutches!
In activism think about the risk to yield ratio before you act. For him he says mink farms made sense. Oct. 1997 is when there was a wave of mink releases.
Secrecy of vivesection and fur industries etc. to hide buildings and presence b/c the public would not want to be exposed to it. Some science buildings are even built to conceal the areas where animals are kept- out of sight out of mind?
Agricultural survey maps, fur farm magazines, ‘fur farm road’ etc.
1st Animal Enterprise Terrorism charge against Peter, was a misdemeanor. Coupled with an Extortion charge- which was originially a law designed for prosectuting the mafia.
Peter spent 7 years on the lam, but was arrested in a Starfucks.
Peter talked about the differences between a politcal case and a criminal case. The government will want you to talk, about your friends, about the movement- because really they are not just targeting you, but targeting the entire movement. You are a gateway to the movement in their eyes. The will try to get you to snitch. When they want to harass you or get vindictive, other small things, like a Fake ID will get turned into trumped up big deals in order to persecute you and put pressure on you to talk. Another reason why drugs are a liability.
Also the term terrorism becomes significant in its power- all of a sudden this label gets you treated like a dangerous hardened criminal. You might get put in solitary confinement, maximum security etc.
Knowledge bears a responsibility- sometimes just knowing about injustice means you don’t really have a choice. But this does not mean you should act hastily- lots of thought should still be put into your actions and whether or not you can handle any potential jail time or other consequences. Particularly with jail be honest with yourself about whether or not you can handle it.
Do your goddamned research. How much time would you serve to save a life?
In jail pressure is placed on you, questioning your identity, beliefs, diet etc. Stand strong, and be ready for this struggle. Your integrity will be challenged. Don’t Narc! Snitches get Stitches! Don’t tell them shit- that is a non negotiable rule. Loose Lips Sink Ships! Once you know you can take the worst they can dish out you loose fear.
Prisoner support os great for the prisoners, and is also great for the animals as it can get more people involved as they hear stories of political prisoners.
Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act- over 500$ is a federal not state issue, heavy implications for free speech, causing adverse economic effects to businesses now qualifies as terrorism. But don’t get spooked. As a movement we need to call them on their bluff, hold our ground, don’t fold, and keep up the fight.
Aboveground or mainstream activism can capitalize on underground movements and actions in many ways in order to build up the movement overall. Capitalizing on illegal actions that get media attention is one way that could use improvement. Instead of shying away we should use the spotlight to talk about the animals. Direct action, even if we don’t agree with it can create a medium and opportunity for broader discussion and awareness of issues we do agree with. Take initiative and contact the media if something comes up which touches on the subject- give them your point of view.
Individual activism should not be discounted. You don’t need numbers to do good things, and certainly should not let lack of numbers make you lose initiative and motivation. You can work alone. Sometimes it is safer. At the end of the day you only have yourself.
Every life you save is a victory.
Direct action is the antithesis of symbolic action, even though certain symbolic actions are often passed off as direct action. Direct action solves an immediate problem. We do need theory and education so that our direct action is effective and we don’t make mistakes, but we should not let theory drag us down or pull us out of the arena.
No such thing as a single issue- they are all connected. Every idea that is ahead of its time is alienating. But with this how can an activist with these ideas avoid alienation/depression- coffee, inner strength- Recognizing that you don’t need external validation is a great anti-depressant. Sometimes people are best suited to work in one particular field or subject- that does not make them single issue. You cannot expect people to get spread super thin just to be multi-issue- this would be ineffective.
The ripple effect- everything we do makes an impact, affects someone, helps change the world. Yea, positive thinking!
The earth is being killed and the people who are killing it have names and addresses.
Actions should be valid in and of themselves, any media attention is a side affect, but not the main point.
No one talks, everyone walks.
Cooperating with the government causes more jailtime for others. Everything you say is incriminating- no such thing as benign information, and don’t lie you’ll get fucked.