Combat #2

08.28.14 | Permalink

Combat #2 (1992, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada)

A full three years and one month after the posting of Combat #1, we have finally found a copy of the second issue. Rumored to have been almost completely confiscated by RCMP officers the day it came back from the printers, Combat #2 is one of the rarest publications on our site. Our thanks go out to everyone who helped us track it down.

While this issue is far less ambitious than the first issue of Combat, its real problems are the actions that it is covering. Both cover stories were public relations disasters for the animal liberation underground at a time when direct action was already in decline, and one was a disaster for the non-humans it sought to save.

The Cold Buster contamination hoax, like all contamination hoaxes before and after, was mostly successful in convincing the world that animal liberationists were willing to target the public and risk killing random consumers. These hoaxes do generally cause large amounts of financial damage- but none of them has ever stopped a product from being animal tested and it is difficult to believe that the benefits outweigh the costs. When the Animal Rights Militia announced a week after the initial scare that the contamination was a hoax, the media barely paid attention.

The Billingsgate Fish Market action was even more tragic. The action itself involved economic sabotage and arson, both defensible acts against the capture, confinement, and killing of non-humans, except that in this instance fire was set to trucks which were parked directly against the building itself. The flames caused a short circuit to the building’s electrical systems, halting pumps to crab and lobster tanks inside. More than a dozen were killed. While it is true that those animals were already slated for death, it is still unconscionable that their lives were cut short by animal liberators.

This isn’t to say that there is nothing redeeming about this second and final issue of Combat. One of the original messages from the Western Wildlife Unit is presented here unedited, and there are also rare accounts of some of the last major hunt sabotage actions in the United States.

We are happy to have saved this publication from obscurity and to make it available once again here on TALON.

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Black Beast #1

08.18.14 | Permalink

BLACK BEAST – Issue 1 (1985, Oxford, UK)

Black Beast (A nod to the French term “bête noire,”) ran for three issues before becoming Turning Point in late 1986. The first issue differed from the rest of the series by containing some attempted humor and by naming the editors, a practice that ended with issue #2. Articles leaned heavily towards the direct action oriented grassroots, but also contained a defense of traditional campaigning methods.

There are some very good bits of movement history in this magazine, but my favorite might be the advertisement for Green Anarchist magazine on the back cover. Good stuff all around…

The other two issues of Black Beast are available HERE.

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TALON Conspirator #5: Vancouver Animal Defense League

08.06.14 | Permalink
Editors note: Since this site’s inception, the volunteers at TALON have felt that our purpose  is not to catalog the past, but to inform the present. We do not exist as activist nostalgia, but to guide new generations by sharing information about the errors and victories of those who came before them. Our hope was always that modern campaigns would be built with these lessons, and that we could share their own errors and victories as a long term effort to refine our movement’s tactics and strategies.
The TALON Conspirator posts will highlight our favorite organizations and the facets of our shared history that inspire them. Our fifth post in this series is written by volunteers from the Vancouver Animal Defense League.

VADL members lockdown at the Calgary Stampede. Click to enlarge.
Since 2008, the Vancouver Animal Defense League (VADL) has been undertaking ongoing grassroots campaigns that, in our view, are advancing the cause of animal liberation. I’d like to share updates on three particular recent campaigns, and how we believe they advocate for animals effectively.

Canada Goose

In the interest of fashion, the outdoors-wear company Canada Goose has activated trappers to torture and slaughter millions of coyotes over time, so that canine skins can decorate the tragically iconic Canada Goose jacket. The coyotes are seized in leghold traps, whose steel jaws crush down upon the animals’ limbs, slicing through flesh and clamping on bone. Coyotes desperate to escape this agony will often try to wrench or chew off their foot. If they do not “succeed” in self-amputating, the animals languish for hours or days, until trappers shoot, beat or stomp the coyotes to death.

This is why in 2013 the VADL launched a campaign to pressure 14 known Canada Goose retailers in Vancouver to drop Canada Goose fur-trimmed jackets and accessories. Typically, our campaigns employ two fundamental tactics: weekly or greater frequency, and high-volume chanting (without use of megaphones). We also employ email and phone saturation campaigns, and leveraging stores via lobbying their landlords, among other tactics. Broadly, our strategy is to leverage every victory toward influencing ensuing targets.

To date, 2 of the 14–Hills of Kerrisdale and Grouse Mountain Outfitters–have terminated retailing of Canada Goose fur products following VADL campaigning. These were the first two stores in Canada to drop Canada Goose following animal rights campaigning.

Target 3 is Brooklyn Clothing, a high-end menswear boutique in Vancouver’s affluent Yaletown neighbourhood. We began weekly protesting in November 2013, and during busier retailing periods have escalated to twice weekly. Store owner Jason Overbo is fighting back, including an obnoxious “anti-bullying” campaign that strives to cast the store as victim and we as villains. We remain oblivious to any public sentiment that buys into this manipulation, and persist in full-throttle chanting that has elicited hundreds of complaints and a media blitz that largely sympathized with the store and neglected any mention of animal suffering. Ironically, we believe this villainizing of the VADL only empowers our work for animals, as ensuing targets will be more fully aware of our disruptive tactics and so may be more swiftly leveraged.

This fall we will escalate our campaign at Brooklyn via secondary targets. The VADL is committed to continuing its campaign until Jason Overbo announces termination of fur retailing.

VADL members protest the selling of animal skins. Click to enlarge.

Vancouver Aquarium

The Vancouver Aquarium (VanAqua) imprisons a range of marine animals, including dolphins and beluga whales. But unlike other marine prisons, VanAqua is situated on municipal park property, and so the Vancouver Park Board holds their lease and regulates whether VanAqua continues breeding and importing cetaceans.

Intervention by the Board on the cetaceans’ behalf is presently vital, as VanAqua is only months away from starting a multi-million dollar expansion of their whale and dolphin pools, which would enable them to incarcerate more belugas and dolphins. This is why numerous local organizations, including the VADL, have coalesced to pressure the Park Board and aquarium. The VADL strategy within this campaign focuses, in significant part, on striving to generate media coverage with protest actions that are designed to be timely and captivating. One example is our staggered unfurling of posters by activists posing as patrons inside the facility. The coalition’s overall campaign has garnered international, animal-sympathetic media attention, consequently increasing pressure on the Board.

After months of campaigning, on July 31, 2014 the Board took historical measures to combat animal abuse at VanAqua. They voted unanimously to:

“ … prohibit the breeding of captive cetaceans in Vancouver parks unless, in each particular instance, the captive cetacean is a threatened species and the Oversight Committee, the Board and the Society agree that captive breeding is necessary for the survival of such threatened species.”

“ … establish an Oversight Committee, consisting of animal welfare experts with the mandate to provide public oversight to ensure the well-being of all cetaceans owned by the Society. This Oversight Committee will prepare a bi-annual report to the Park Board on the status and well-being of all the cetaceans owned by the aquarium.”

Depending on who forms the Oversight Committee and whether they are given the authority to refuse the importation of cetaceans from other facilities, this transformation could result in a phase-out of cetacean captivity at the Vancouver Aquarium without referring to it as such. Meanwhile, the coalition’s campaign continues.
VADL volunteers disupt a dolphin show at the Vancouver Aquarium. Click to enlarge.

Calgary Stampede Lockdown

The Calgary Stampede is one of North America’s largest rodeos, attracting over a million tourists to Calgary annually. Within this vast animal-abuse-fest, the chuckwagon races (“invented” at the Stampede almost a century ago) are the deadliest for animals. In this sordid spectacle, each race comprises several wagons pulled by four thoroughbred racehorses apiece in front of several mostly inebriated spectators, racing at breakneck speed. In the past 28 years, this madness has led to 63 horses being killed, including horses every year for the last decade. The horses usually die from shattered limbs or hemorrhaged blood vessels in the lungs, kidneys or heart, as a result of spectacular crashes and cardiovascular stress. As result of this widely publicized carnage, the races have suffered declining public support and are thus a vulnerable target for activism.

On July 4, 2014, two VADL activists locked down on the inside railing of the chuckwagon track before the inaugural race was set to begin. Marley Daviduk and Samantha Baskerville infiltrated the track 30 minutes before the races, and locked their necks to the railing using kryptonite u-locks. It took authorities an hour to remove Marley and Sam, and by that point the lockdown had already made headlines due to the coordinated action of the VADL support crew, which was immediately forwarding pictures and video to media. By the next morning, the event had garnered national media coverage, with VADL spokespeople hammering home the high horse-mortality numbers and calling for termination of this annual bloodbath.

Following this action, the VADL has initiated a pressure campaign vs. GMC Canada, sponsor of the chuckwagon races. Initially we are undertaking a telephone pressure effort, and are developing further tactics.

Marley and Sam were taken into custody, questioned and released, on a promise to appear in court on August 20.

The Vancouver Animal Defense League will continue defending animals via campaigns that are sustained and pressuring, which we consider a proven formula to advance animal liberation and liberate animals.

Thank you for taking time to know more about our efforts, and we hope you’ll join our Facebook page and community. And thank you so much, TALON, for this opportunity and forum.

Earth First! Journal, Periodicals

Earth First! Journal 1980-1981

07.17.14 | Permalink

Earth First! Journal Volume 1, Issue #1-8 (1980-1981)

“Like Pallas Athena springing fully armed from the brow of Zeus, EARTH FIRST enters the wilderness fray…”
Earth First Journal. Vol.1 #1.

For all of its many flaws, I love Earth First! and most of the many projects that it has inspired, and I say that as someone fully aware of all the mistakes that have been made along the way. Those errors- everything from alliances with open racists like Ed Abbey to articles cheerleading famine in Africa- are ultimately what makes the history of Earth First! such a valuable roadmap for modern revolutionaries. Earth First!’s fuck-ups are at times so glaring that my hope is, after examining them, there is no way they could be made again.

But every analysis of EF! these days talks about the mistakes- so much so that we miss the things that they got right: a structure that rejected hierarchy and encouraged horizontal organizing, a critique of civilization and industrialism that still left room for broad participation from more conservative and liberal elements, and a shockingly warm pluralism that encouraged a love for all kinds of “wilderfreaks” including the vegetarians and “witches” that Foreman so famously dislikes. For all of the machismo in those early years, I was surprised to see hints of eco-feminism creeping into these issues, including a giant pull-quote from Woman and Nature by Susan Griffin. Words from figures like Russel Means abound, and for every cringe inducing moment in these pages I think you’ll also find plenty to make you smile. I mean, how cool is it that the return address on issue #1 is Dave Foreman’s house, or that requests for new volunteers ran alongside Susan Morgan’s home phone number? This was as grassroots as it gets, yet somehow the movement spread across oceans and artificial borders, and to this day people are shouting “No Compromise In Defense of Mother Earth!” Understanding how that happened might be the key to expanding our current efforts.

TALON will be posting every single issue of the Earth First! Journal over the next few years. This project isn’t cheap or easy! If you would like to make a donation of either time, back issues, or money, please contact us HERE. Also, don’t forget that this important publication is still running and needs your support! Subscribe HERE!


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Campaign newsletters

Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty USA #1

07.09.14 | Permalink

SHAC USA – Vol. 1*, Issue #1 (2001, Philadelphia, PA)

Editor’s note: Several of our upcoming posts were shared with us courtesy of the University of Victoria’s Special Collections Library. Our thanks go out to everyone who has helped make these little pieces of our movement’s history widely available again.

*It should also be noted that there was a previous SHAC USA Newsletter that was numbered Vol.1, #1. That issue was produced by Joe Bateman prior to Kevin Jonas’ return to the US in the very early days of the campaign. We are actively seeking that rarity, if you have it please contact us HERE.

It was just under a week ago that I celebrated the two year anniversary of getting off probation in the SHAC 7 case. I spent the night eating pizza and looking through old mementoes of the campaign. It was an exciting thing to be a part of, especially in those early days when grassroots groups across the country were getting fired up to smash Huntingdon Life Sciences. Every hour seemed to bring news of more people joining the attack.

I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t disheartened that HLS is still out there killing animals after all of our work to stop them, but I would also be a liar if I said that I believed they will continue to get away with it. As the Bodhisattva once said, “Everything moves in cycles,” and from what I’ve seen of the movement lately, times are about to get a lot tougher for the abusers- just like they did back in 2001. It’s all coming ’round again.

Anyhow, this here was the first (relaunched) issue of the legendary SHAC USA newsletter. It covers the opening shots of the battle against Huntingdon in the U.S., the start of our secondary targeting against Stephens Incorporated, and coverage of the early regional demonstrations at HLS’ lab in New Jersey. It is filled with our triumphs (the legal battle over the website,) and errors (Announcing that this was the first year of what was predicted to be a 3 year campaign, showing support for the ultimately worthless Bank of New York secondary targeting,) but most importantly it has this reminder: “The Time For Action Is NOW.”


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Arkangel, Periodicals

Arkangel #10-11

07.03.14 | Permalink

Arkangel #10-11 (1993-1994. London, England.)

The early 1990s were a tumultuous time for the movement in England. Hunters began hiring professional security services to beat and harass saboteurs, the violence became so extreme that when Tom Worby was murdered by a hunt masters vehicle, the hunters nearby laughed and mocked his death. The hopefulness of the 1980s was fading away, and campaigners were becoming more hardened, which in turn led to a decline in public support as groups like the Justice Department began sending out small mail bombs. Many organizations were mired in infighting over strategy and issues of class and race. And then there was the problem of repression. Scotland Yard’s Animal Rights National Index had gathered detailed profiles on over 21,000 animal liberationists by 1990, and their spying on the movement was only set to intensify.

Through it all a dedicated core of individuals forged ahead and took animals from places of abuse, educated others about the plight of non-humans, and spread the message of compassionate action across oceans and artificial borders. Arkangel tells the story, and we are happy to continue our posting of the complete set here on TALON.



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Site news & updates

TALON Conspirator #4: Rocky Mountain Animal Defense Alliance

05.28.14 | Permalink
Editors note: Since this site’s inception, the volunteers at TALON have felt that our purpose  is not to catalog the past, but to inform the present. We do not exist as activist nostalgia, but to guide new generations by sharing information about the errors and victories of those who came before them. Our hope was always that modern campaigns would be built with these lessons, and that we could share their own errors and victories as a long term effort to refine our movement’s tactics and strategies.
The TALON Conspirator posts will highlight our favorite organizations and the facets of our shared history that inspire them. Our fourth post in this series is written by volunteers from Rocky Mountain Animal Defense Alliance.

RMADA Protests Delta during World Week. Click to enlarge.

Rocky Mountain Animal Defense Alliance (RMADA) is a Denver based organization fighting for animal and human liberation. Our primary campaign is targeted at Delta Airlines for their close relationship with Air France. Air France is one of the few remaining airlines continuing to ship primates and other animals to labs for cruel experimentation. We also aim to host prisoner letter writing nights and other events. We seek to bridge the gap between the animal liberation movement and the broader left by engaging in cooperative efforts with other organizations with a number of focuses.

RMADA Protests Delta during World Week. Click to enlarge.

Our goal is to aid in the creation of a mass movement against all forms of exploitation and oppression. We are a decidedly revolutionary organization that is actively and openly anti-speciesist, anti-racist, anti-sexist, and anti-capitalist. RMADA can be contacted via our Facebook page or at rockymountainada (at)

Do or Die, Most Popular, Periodicals

Do or Die – The Complete Set!

04.09.14 | Permalink

Do Or Die #1-10 (1993-2003, Brighton, England.)

A few years ago a friend asked me if I had a complete set of Do or Die, the British Earth First! publication that inspired and incited eco-warriors throughout the 1990s and early 2000s. At one time I did have them, but they had long since been stolen by a Joint Terrorism Task Force.

After a brief discussion, we decided that Do or Die was too important to fade into obscurity. We began tracking down each issue, and decided that while we were at it we ought to archive some other publications as well. That effort is how this web site began, and now, thanks to 56a infoshop of South London and Tim @ NEDS Northampton, we can finally share the very rare issue #2. This completes our collection, and our original mission as well.

When read as a set, Do or Die is a chronicle of people from across the globe counter-striking capitalism, ecocide, and the state. Each issue is better than the last, but more importantly, each page is a spark licking at the fuse of the bomb that is your heart. Once lit, you’ll know that these pages are not mere history, but a reminder that we can explode onto the world stage like the fighters before us have. Do or die, now is the time to rise.




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One-off publications

Animal Liberation Through Direct Action

03.28.14 | Permalink

Animal Liberation Through Direct Action – (Date of publication unknown, likely 1998. Country of origin unknown, likely England)

Animal Liberation Through Direct Action was one of the better primers available in the 1990s. Designed for activists who had never before participated in illegal actions, the pamphlet discusses the basic security, surveillance, and planning necessary to carry out liberations and economic sabotage. It also includes a brief history of the movement, a first hand account of a mink farm raid, and statements from various ALF cells.


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One-off publications

The ALF Is Watching And There’s No Place To Hide

03.07.14 | Permalink

The ALF Is Watching And There’s No Place To Hide – Zine / Album (1988 – Laguna Beach, CA)

This post was difficult to write, and several times I almost abandoned it. What was originally intended to be a short essay about the dangers of sub-culturization vs. the positives of spreading messages through music quickly became something else- a warning about bigotry and cult like behavior in the animals rights movement.

It all started when a friend told me he had tracked down a copy of the punk record that is the subject of this post, The ALF is Watching And There’s No Place To Hide. He sent over the audio tracks along with the zine insert. I knew little about the record, but something seemed familiar about label behind it: “No Masters Voice.” It didn’t take long to figure out that the imprint had been run by Sean Muttaqi, founder of the band Vegan Reich and originator of a dogmatically anti-gay, anti-abortion tendency within the animal rights movement known as Hardline.

I could write volumes about the right wing sectarian leanings that have cropped up in the movement over the years and am tempted to every time I encounter anything related to Vegan Reich. Instead, I’ll make it simple. In the 1980’s a friend of mine was being surveilled by the FBI, ATF, and private security companies. After an anarchist gathering that took place in Toronto, corporate spy group Perceptions International erroneously claimed that he had been seen attending workshops with Muttaqi. He wrote Sean a letter to give him a heads up about the situation. This is what he got in response:

“I can tell by the anarchist-pacifist-faggot symbol you signed your letter with that I will never become friends with you.”

So, in short, fuck Hardline and anyone who apologizes for it.

That said, there are some decent tracks on this record, including songs from bands like Chumbawamba, who are decidedly antithetical to the tenets of Hardline. The liner notes were written prior to Sean’s “Zen Shiite” nonsense and contain nothing about “deviant sexuality,” or a gun wielding vegan vanguard. Instead, essays about various forms of animal imprisonment and abuse are scattered among reprints from British ALF publications. Minus the link to a cult leader, this would be a decent record!

TALON is looking to occasionally archive animal liberation related themes in popular media and subcultures. If you have an obscurity along those lines, please contact us HERE.


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