Alfred Common was born in Millfield, Tyne and Wear on 25th May, 1880. He played local football for South Hylton and Jarrow before joining Sunderland in 1900.
In the 1900-01 season Sunderland finished 2nd to Liverpool in the First Division championship. Common scored 5 goals in 20 appearances that year. However, he was considered one of the best young goalscorers in England and Sheffield United paid Sunderland £350 for his services. He repaid the investment by scoring the only goal in Sheffield's 1902 FA Cup Final win.
On 29th February, 1904, Common obtained his first international cap when he played for England against Wales. Common scored in the 2-2 draw. He also hit the target in the 3-1 victory over Ireland in March, 1904.
Alf Common continued to do well for Sheffield United (23 goals in 63 league matches) and in the summer of 1904, Sunderland bought him back for a new record transfer fee of £520. However, he only played in 21 games before he was on the move again.
In February, 1905, Middlesbrough, who were in danger of being relegated from the First Division, purchased Common from Sunderland for another record breaking fee of £1,000. One journalist described the transfer of Common as "flesh and blood for sale". Another sports writer wrote: "We are tempted to wonder whether Association football players will eventually rival thoroughbred yearling racehorses in the market."
Once again the transfer of Alf Common had the desired impact on the fortunes of the club. On 25th February, Common scored the only goal of the game against Sheffield United. It was Middlesbrough's first away victory for over two years. Common helped to save Middlesbrough from relegation and the following season was the club's top scorer with 24 goals.
Common developed a good partnership with Steve Bloomer. Common was made captain of the side but this honour was withdrawn after he was charged with drunkenness and violent behaviour. During his time with Middlesbrough, Common scored 58 goals in 168 league games. However, despite these goals, Middlesbrough were unable to challenge for any major honours. Common also lost his place in the international side.
In 1910, the 30 year old Common signed for Arsenal. The previous season Arsenal had finished in 18th place and only just survived being relegated to the Second Division. With Common in the side, Arsenal finished 10th in the next two seasons. During this period he scored 23 goals for the club. However, he was less successful in the first-half of the 1912-13 season and was sold to Preston North End for £250. Common scored 7 goals in 21 games and helped Preston win the Second Division title.
Common scored against Sunderland on the opening day of the 1913-14 season. He was now 33 years old and only played in 13 more games before retiring from football.
Alf Common, who ran a public house in Darlington, died on 3rd April, 1946.
While at Plumstead, the slide still continued, despite an attempt to boost the gates with the import of one or two famous players like Alf Common and L. R. "Dick" Roose. Unfortunately they were already past their prime. Common was the first £1,000 fee man, the sum being paid by Middlesbrough to Sunderland for him in 1905. The public astonishment at such a "fantastic" fee is matched by that when Tommy Lawton's move from Chelsea to Notts County in 1947 made the ceiling £20,000. Common had been capped three times for England and was equally at home at centre or inside-forward. A natural humorist and most loquacious, Common had a jovial, ruddy face that was straight out of a Christmas pantomime, as were the practical jokes he was always playing. He was troubled by weight difficulties and in road walks, conscientious Joe Shaw would lead the way home while Common invariably brought up the rear. He used to return in the afternoon for wrestling and shadow boxing in further efforts to reduce his weight.
Alf Common another early hero of Arsenal
Alf Common was mentioned in the last piece – the prelude to the Sunderland game. Here’s the full story on one of the men who helped stave off relegation for Woolwich Arsenal.
Alf Common played for South Hylton and Jarrow before joining Sunderland in 1900. He got a runners up medal in 1901 and then moved to Sheffield United for £325. He duly won the Cup with United and scored the first goal in the Final.
He then won three caps for England. But in 1904 he refused to re-sign for Sheffield U stating that he needed to go back to Sunderland to look after his “business interests”. By this time his fee was £500 plus a goalkeeper.
Six months after this he was on the move again, this time to Middlesbrough, and by now the fee was an amazing £1000 – as Boro tried to avoid relegation. Alf scored in his first game. He scored 58 goals in 168 games.
So why did players move so often? It wasn’t just Alf Common, there were many like him who would get up and move from club to club.
The most obvious reason is that officially each club could only pay their players the same fixed maximum wage. But, clubs were able to help out in other ways, and this is what the players were looking for. There might be funding to help launch a business, there could be support with the running of that business, and there could be underhand payments. All were illegal of course, but they certainly happened all over the place.
Of course I make no allegation against Alf Common at all – I have read nothing to suggest that he took any backhanders. My comment is simply that for some players a move might include a better house, or some other side benefit.
Anyway back to the story. At 30, Alf Common was ready to move again – and this time it was a strange one, to Woolwich Arsenal, who as we have been seeing were having a really tough time of it in 1910. He joined ready for the start of the 1910/11 season for a fee of about £300, and played 80 games scoring 23 goals.
Common was vital to Arsenal’s survival over these years, and it was only as his powers faded in in the 1912-13 campaign that Arsenal stumbled towards their one and only relegation. We sold him to Preston in that season for £250. He finished playing in 1914 and died in 1946 aged 65.
ELSEWHERE, IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Vote now for the biggest prat in English football. The polls are still open.
Arsenal win the league: the start of the new golden era.
Preparing for Arsenal v Sunderland one hundred years ago
The England captain we signed from Kettering Town.
Why did Arsenal move to Highbury, and not somewhere else?
Arsenal in 1910 – the first edition of this book has almost sold out. We will be publishing a second edition shortly, but if you want one of the First Edition copies, you should order now. It is Arsenal in 1910, the complete story as a novel.
Alf Common – an unexpected signing
Continuing the series that covers all eleven players who played for Woolwich Arsenal in the first match of the season 1910/11.
Alfred Common joined Woolwich Arsenal for the 1910 season, aged 30. The official list shows that he played for South Hylton, Jarrow, Sunderland (joined in 1900), Sheffield United (joined 1901 – transfer fee £325 – he went on to score in their Cup Final win), Sunderland again and Middlesbrough, before doing three years at Woolwich. Even when he left in 1913 he hadn’t finished as he went on to Preston.
Common was one of the players whose activities beyond football can in part be seen through their football. Born in 1880, the son of a riviter, he got the first of his three caps while at Sheffield United aged 24, but then, at the height of his career he refused to re-sign for Sheffield, because, as the books and web pages now put it, “he wished to return to Sunderland where he had business interests”.
In those days of the maximum wage “business interests” among players were common – they were in fact the way around the maximum wage. With the player only working at the club in training sessions in the morning, these could be legitimate, such as running a tobacconists shop of an afternoon. But they could also be slightly further removed from reality. They might have a “share” in a business owned by the club, which paid a regular dividend. A job might have been found for a relative – and that job might exist, or might not.
Whatever the state of play with Alf Common despite his huge success at Sheffield he want back to Sunderland who paid £500 for both him and the goalkeeper A Lewis.
What makes the business interests seem slightly askew is that within six months he was off to Middlesbrough for £1000 – the first ever £1000 transfer which was an absolute sensation at the time. It was such a leap in price, and so unexpected (£350 was the going rate for a top player at the time) that there was even an investigation into the dealings, although there was nothing wrong.
What made the whole thing even more bizarre is that Middlesbrough had only been in the league five years and there was a lot of talk about underhand dealings at every level in the club.
Of course Sunderland and Boro are not that far apart – about 35 miles in fact – but that was hardly a commuting journey after training in the days before cars and tarmac roads. So the business interests seems to have been a ploy.
However Middlesbrough was shortly after convicted by the FA of paying illegal bonuses for wins in the FA Cup to players during 1904 and 1905. None of the players was found guilty but eleven out of the twelve directors were thrown out of football.
With the maximum wage clearly in disarray as far as the top players were concerned the FA also tried to regain the power that they had seen slipping from them ever since Woolwich Arsenal went professional. They argued that ‘buying and selling players is unsportsmanlike and most objectionable’ and following Alf Common’s transfer they constructed a new rule to take place on 1 January 1908, that transfer fees were to be limited to £350. The clubs however had no interest in following the rule and just ignored it, and eventually it was withdrawn.
Whatever the background however the transfer in footballing terms was a success, as Middlesbrough avoid relegation that had looked certain, and he went on to score 58 goals in 168 games.
Business was not overtly stated when Alf Common came to Woolwich Arsenal, but he may have wanted to set something up in London. He played either at number 8 or 10 (the two inside forward positions) but in January 1912 he switched to centre forward (number 9) following the long term injury of J Chalmers who had been occupying the position. The move to centre forward was unusual, given that Common was 5 feet 8 inches tall – (the same as Arshavin). Worse he was also getting quite tubby. Even 100 years ago centre forwards tended to be a little taller and a little leaner.
His demise came in the relegation year of 1912-13 when he failed to score in his 12 games and was sold to Preston. He retired from football in 1914 and moved on to being a publican in the Darlington area, dying in 1946 aged 65.
From Alf Common to Kaka: The world’s biggest transfers
If Manchester City pay AC Milan £100million for Kaka it will be the 27th time the world transfer record has been broken since 1905.
That was the year Middlesbrough stunned the game by paying north-east rivals Sunderland £1,000 for England international Alf Common – British football’s first four-figure transfer.
Spanish reign: Cruyff cost Barca a few quid, but went on to manage them
The record stayed in Britain until 1932, when Argentina’s River Plate paid Tigre BA £23,000 for the excellently-named Bernabe Ferreyra, a player whose nickname – ‘the Mortar of Rufino’ – was even better.
Expensive mistake: Diego Maradona was a flop in Barcelona, but shone in Italy
Hans Jeppson’s £52,000 move from Atalanta to Napoli took the world transfer record to Italy in 1952 and – save for two years when Barcelona’s Johann Cruyff was the world’s most expensive player – it stayed in Serie A until 1982, when Barca shelled out £3million for Diego Maradona.
Ten years later Milan made Marseille’s France striker Jean-Pierre Papin the world’s first eight-figure footballer in a £10m deal before the record finally returned to England in 1996, when Newcastle handed Blackburn £15m for Alan Shearer.
Earning his stripes: Newcastle spent big to bring Alan Shearer home
Ronaldo, Denilson, Christian Vieri and Hernan Crespo all held the honour before Real Madrid paid deadly rivals Barcelona a massive £37m for Luis Figo in 2000.
Twelve months later Real were at it again, shelling out an eye-watering £46m for Juventus talisman Zinedine Zidane – small beer for Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour.
Big-name signing: Zinedine Zidane made history in Madrid
Since Shearer joined Newcastle the world record fee has been held outside the UK, but the British record fee has continued to rise with Manchester United the main spenders.
The European champions spent £28m on Juan Sebastian Veron (2001) and £29m on Rio Ferdinand (2002) before paying £30.75m for Dimitar Berbatov last summer – a fee eclipsed hours later by Manchester City’s £32.5m move for Robinho.
Making the short move from Sunderland, Common's switch to Boro was widely condemned as almost immoral and the issue was raised in Parliament.
A clinical forward, Common's goals helped Boro stave off relegation with his record-breaking transfer paying dividends.
Common yielded 65 goals during his five-year stay with Boro, and was top scorer in his first full season with us, forging a great partnership with Steve Bloomer.
His form for Boro prompted for England against Wales in 1906 having previously earned just two caps for the national side.
Becoming the first Boro player to represent the Football League, Common eventually lost his place in the side due to the emergence of George Elliot.
Common then move on to Woolwich Arsenal before his career concluded with Preston.
He passed away in April 1946, and was selected as one of the 100 Football League Legends in 1998.
There is no proven therapy for ALF and hence understanding the progression of ALF, from loss of hepatocyte function to the development of multiorgan failure, helps in disease management. Diagnosis of ALF may be delayed in certain situations such as in patients presenting with altered mental status with minimal jaundice and absence of other features of ALF. A high index of suspicion is necessary in these cases as early intervention is imperative to decrease morbidity and mortality.
Broadly, the management of ALF should involve
- Identification of the etiology of ALF whenever possible and initiation of specific treatment
- Supportive and symptomatic management of ALF, with timely transfer to the critical care unit
- Early discussion with liver transplant specialists and safe transfer of patients to a liver transplant center when required.
Identification and Treatment of underlying etiology
A history of ingestion of acetaminophen and elevated serum acetaminophen levels indicate acetaminophen hepatotoxicity. The AASLD recommends obtaining acetaminophen levels in all patients with ALF, irrespective of the history of acetaminophen ingestion. This is mainly due to the fact that acetaminophen hepatotoxicity is the most prevalent cause of ALF in the U.S., and there is an effective antidote available for the treatment of acetaminophen toxicity. Acetaminophen levels in the blood vary with the time from consumption, and thus a low acetaminophen level does not exclude acetaminophen-induced hepatotoxicity. Additionally, as the time of ingestion may be remote or unknown or occurring over several days, measuring acetaminophen levels in patients with liver tests suggesting liver failure may not yield meaningful information. However it is still recommended to check levels in all patients with ALF.
Hepatotoxicity is not typically seen soon after acetaminophen ingestion and the treatment of patients with acetaminophen toxicity differs from the treatment of patients with ALF. The Rumack-Mathew nomogram helps predict the development of hepatotoxicity in patients with acetaminophen toxicity. The administration of activated charcoal is useful early (1 to 4 hours) after ingestion. Activated charcoal at a dose of 1gram/ kilogram body weight orally is most effective when given within 1 hour of ingestion and acts by decontamination of the GI tract. More important than GI decontamination is the early administration of N-acetylcysteine (NAC), the antidote for acetaminophen toxicity. It should be given as soon as the diagnosis of acetaminophen toxicity is suspected. In confirmed cases of acetaminophen toxicity, acetaminophen levels should be plotted on the nomogram to determine the risk of development of hepatotoxicity. If the risk is high, then NAC should be promptly started. NAC is most efficacious when given within 8 hours of ingestion. It may still be efficacious when given beyond 48 hours of ingestion. NAC has very few side effects and they are usually benign (predominately nausea and vomiting rash, urticarial, and bronchospasm rarely occur). Hence NAC should be administered in all patients with suspected or confirmed acetaminophen toxicity even if they present beyond 8 hours of presentation.
Administration of activated charcoal prior to NAC does not decrease the efficacy of NAC. Hence it is recommended to give activated charcoal prior to NAC if acetaminophen ingestion is within 4 hours of presentation. NAC can be administered either orally or intravenously. The intravenous dosing regimen as recommended by AASLD is NAC at a loading dose of 150 mg/kg in 5% dextrose solution over 15 minutes, followed by a maintenance dose of 50 mg/kg given over 4 hours, followed by 100 mg/kg administered over 16 hours. The oral dosing regimen of NAC is 140 mg/kg by mouth or as a 5% diluted solution through nasogastric tube, followed by 70 mg/kg every 4 hours for a total of 17 doses. Studies have shown that the oral NAC is as effective as intravenous NAC. In addition, the cost of oral NAC is substantially lower than the cost of intravenous NAC. However, intravenous NAC is more commonly used in clinical settings as a majority of patients with acetaminophen-induced hepatotoxicity have significant nausea, vomiting or altered mental status which makes use of oral NAC impractical. In patients with acetaminophen toxicity who have ALF, in addition to NAC, the general principles of supportive and symptomatic treatment of ALF in a critical care setting remains the mainstay of treatment. These are described later in the chapter.
Drug-induced hepatotoxicity is a diagnosis of exclusion. As noted earlier, a detailed medication history must be obtained. Any drug identified as the likely etiology of ALF has to be stopped immediately. In addition, all medications except for those that are absolutely essential should be discontinued. The efficacy of NAC has not clearly defined in drug-induced ALF as compared with acetaminophen-induced liver injury. One prospective double-blind controlled trial showed that intravenous NAC improved transplant-free survival in patients with early stage nonacetaminophen-related ALF. However in this study, patients with advanced coma grades did not show a benefit from NAC and required emergency liver transplantation. However NAC is recommended in all cases of drug-induced ALF. Further controlled studies are needed to clearly determine the efficacy of NAC in drug-induced liver injury.
The diagnosis of mushroom poisoning induced ALF is made clinically and there is no available blood test to confirm the diagnosis. Activated charcoal and gastric lavage via nasogastric tube may be useful during initial hours after ingestion of mushroom. Supportive care and medical treatment should be instituted promptly in an attempt to decrease the need for liver transplantation. Three drugs have been proposed to be efficacious and have been used in mushroom poisoning: penicillin G, silibinin (silymarin or milk thistle), and NAC. Intravenous penicillin G in doses of 300,000 units to 1 million units/kg/day is used for mushroom induced ALF in the U.S. In Europe, silibinin at doses of 30 to 40 mg/kg/day either intravenously or orally for a period of 3 to 4 days has been used. Silibinin is not routinely available in the U.S. NAC at the same dosage as for acetaminophen-induced hepatotoxicity may be administered in mushroom poisoning. However despite the presence of medical therapy, mushroom poisoning induced ALF has a high mortality rate without liver transplantation so these patients should be listed for transplantation at the earliest.
All patients presenting with ALF should have acute hepatitis serology testing performed, even if another etiological agent has been identified. Hepatitis A- and hepatitis E-induced ALF have no specific treatment and should receive supportive care. Acute hepatitis B-induced ALF patients may benefit from antiviral agents and their use is recommended by the AASLD. If patients with acute hepatitis B-induced ALF undergo liver transplant, treatment with antiviral agent should be continued post-transplant to prevent recurrence. Patients, who are carriers of hepatitis B or have chronic hepatitis B infection and are to receive immunosuppression or chemotherapy, should receive prophylaxis with antiviral agents. Antiviral therapy should be continued for 6 months after completion of immunosuppressive therapy to prevent hepatitis B reactivation-induced ALF. Patients with ALF, who have documented or suspected herpes virus or varicella zoster virus infection, should be considered for treatment with intravenous acyclovir at a dose of 5 to 10 mg/kg every 8 hours for at least 7 days. These patients may also be listed for liver transplantation.
Supportive and symptomatic management of ALF
Management of neurological dysfunction&mdashhepatic encephalopathy
Treatment of hepatic encephalopathy depends on the grade of hepatic encephalopathy. Grade 1 hepatic encephalopathy can be managed in the medical floor with skilled nursing however, beyond grade 1, all patients should be managed in an intensive care unit. As patients progress to grade 3 and 4 hepatic encephalopathy, intubation and mechanical ventilation, with elevation of the head of the bed, are necessary.
The general steps involved in the management of hepatic encephalopathy include
- providing a peaceful environment to avoid agitation
- performing frequent neurological checks
- avoiding sedatives or using only short-acting benzodiazepines to control severe agitation
- consideration for liver transplantation and transfer to a transplant facility.
The goals in the treatment of hepatic encephalopathy are to prevent the onset of encephalopathy if possible, decrease the progression to severe grades of encephalopathy, and to minimize the development of cerebral edema and ICH, which can lead to cerebral herniation and death. A computed tomography scan of the head is performed in most cases to rule out other causes of agitation or neurological decline.
Role of lactulose. As discussed earlier, serum hyperammonemia plays an important role in the pathogenesis of hepatic encephalopathy and cerebral edema. Lactulose, when administered orally, decreases the enteral absorption of ammonia and has been used to treat and prevent hepatic encephalopathy in patients with cirrhosis. In patients with ALF, lactulose has not been shown to improve mortality. Though it may be useful in decreasing blood ammonia levels and may have a beneficial effect on cerebral edema, one should watch for the development of gaseous distention of the bowel during its use and modify the dosage accordingly. Similarly, use of antibiotics such as neomycin and rifaximin, have no clear benefit to treat hepatic encephalopathy in ALF and are not routinely recommended.
Prevention and treatment of cerebral edema and intracranial hypertension
The development of cerebral edema and ICH depends on the severity of hepatic encephalopathy. Cerebral edema is rarely seen in grade 1 and grade 2 hepatic encephalopathy, but has been reported to be seen in 25% to 35% in grade 3 and 65% to 75% in grade 4 hepatic encephalopathy. In addition to high grade encephalopathy, other important high risk factors for the development of cerebral edema and ICH include high serum ammonia levels, acute renal failure, and those needing vasopressor support.
Intracranial hypertension needs aggressive management. Cerebral perfusion pressure (CPP) is defined as the difference between the mean arterial pressure (MAP) and ICP. The goal in the management of ICH is to lower the ICP to less than 20 to 25 mm Hg and maintain the cerebral perfusion pressure above 50 to 60 mm Hg. This is mainly performed by both increasing the MAP and decreasing the ICP by methods mentioned below.
Achieving hemodynamic stability. Maintaining cerebral perfusion is a key component in the treatment of hepatic encephalopathy as it lowers the development of ICH. Fluid resuscitation, intravascular volume repletion, and occasionally vasopressors may be needed to maintain MAP, which in turn helps to maintain cerebral perfusion. However, large volume infusions of hypotonic fluids should however be avoided as they result in hyponatremia and cerebral edema. In addition, electrolyte abnormalities and acid base imbalances should be promptly identified and corrected as that may contribute to altered mental status.
ICP monitoring. Clinical features of elevated ICP such as bradycardia, systemic hypertension, abnormal breathing pattern, and papillary changes may not be seen in all patients with raised ICP, especially in the early stages. Hence ICP monitors are inserted for the assessment of CPP, early identification of elevated ICP, and prompt treatment. However placement of ICP monitors has its own risks and complications. Though infrequent, they may lead to severe intracranial hemorrhage and death. In addition there is a risk of introducing infections with the procedure. Hence the use of ICP monitors has varied from institution to institution. The AASLD recommends ICP monitoring in patient with ALF with high grade hepatic encephalopathy, who are awaiting or undergoing liver transplantation, and in centers with expertise in ICP monitoring.
Mannitol. Osmotic agents such as mannitol are the first-line therapy of ICH in patients with ALF. Mannitol given intravenously at a dose of 0.5 to 1.0 g/kg is effective in decreasing cerebral edema and may also decrease mortality. However their ability to decrease cerebral edema is transient. The dose may be repeated, provided the serum osmolality is below 320 mOsm/L. The adverse effects of mannitol include volume overload, hypernatremia, and hyperosmolality. Currently, there is no role for the prophylactic administration of mannitol in patients with ALF.
Hyperventilation. Patients with ALF hyperventilate spontaneously. Hyperventilation decreases the partial pressure of carbon dioxide of arterial blood, which results in cerebral vasoconstriction and decreased ICP. Thus, spontaneous hyperventilation in ALF should not be inhibited. This effect of hyperventilation on restoring cerebral autoregulation is however transient and studies have not shown survival benefit for hyperventilation in ALF. Hyperventilation is only recommended in life threatening ICH and when all other therapies have failed. There is no known benefit of hyperventilation prophylactically in ALF.
Seizure control. Phenytoin is effective in controlling seizures. Patients refractory to phenytoin can be treated with short-acting benzodiazepines. Currently there is no role of prophylactic anti-seizure medication in ALF as it has not shown to improve survival.
Role of hypothermia. Hypothermia has been proposed in ALF to prevent and manage refractory ICH. Hypothermia, by slowing the total body metabolism, may decrease the production of ammonia, and its cerebral uptake. Observational studies have shown that hypothermia to 32º to 34º C may decrease cerebral edema and be used in patients with ICH as a bridge to liver transplantation.
Role of hypertonic saline. Studies have shown that prophylactic use of hypertonic saline to induce hypernatremia to 145 to 155 mEq/L in patients with ALF with high grade encephalopathy has delayed the development of ICH. Hence hypertonic saline is recommended prophylactically to prevent ICH in patients at high risk of hepatic encephalopathy. Hypertonic saline may be used to treat ICH in cases where mannitol has failed, though its benefit in established cases of ICH is not clear.
Miscellaneous treatment . Short acting barbiturates decrease ICP and are used in patients with refractory ICH who have not responded to mannitol or other osmotic agents. Intravenous indomethacin has also been proposed for use in refractory ICH. However, corticosteroids have not shown a benefit in patients with ALF and should not be used.
Management of coagulopathy
Routine correction of thrombocytopenia or elevated INR by plasma infusion, in the absence of bleeding, is not indicated in ALF. The reasoning behind this recommendation is the low incidence of bleeding manifestations in ALF and the risk of volume expansion with plasma replacement. In addition, INR being an important prognostic indicator in ALF, correction of coagulopathy would alter the INR and interfere in the assessment of prognosis.
Patients with ALF have been known to have vitamin K deficiency and hence the AASLD recommends routine administration of vitamin K (5 to10 mg subcutaneously) in ALF. The indications for plasma or clotting factor replacement therapy in ALF include clinically significant bleeding or the need for a procedure with a high bleeding risk such as ICP monitor insertion. Plasma infusion is the first step in correcting INR. If the INR is markedly high, plasma infusion alone may not correct the INR or high volumes of plasma infusion may be needed, which increases the risk of volume overload. Hence in these cases, recombinant activated factor VII may be used to correct coagulopathy. It is important to note that in addition to its high cost, recombinant activated factor VII is associated with increased risk of thromboembolic complications such as myocardial infarction and portal venous thrombosis. Plasmapheresis may be considered as an alternative to correct coagulopathy.
Patients with thrombocytopenia with platelet count less than 50,000 cells/mm and who have clinically significant bleeding should receive platelet transfusions. In the absence of bleeding there is no need to initiate platelet transfusion. Though the consensus seems to be to initiate transfusion with a platelet count less than 10,000 to 20,000 cells/mm, more studies are needed in patients with ALF to ascertain this aspect. In patients with ALF who require invasive procedures, the need for platelet transfusion depends on the degree of thrombocytopenia and the bleeding risk of the invasive procedure. Platelet transfusion may be initiated at platelet counts below 30,000 cells/mm for low-risk invasive procedures. For high- risk invasive procedures it is reasonable to restore the platelet count to above 50,000 cells/mm to minimize bleeding.
Treatment of Infections
Infections complicate the course of ALF and can worsen the severity of hepatic encephalopathy and can preclude liver transplantation. Fever may also worsen ICH. Though studies have not shown a survival benefit of prophylactic antibiotics in all patients with ALF, patients with severe grades of encephalopathy may benefit from prophylactic antibiotics. In patients with low grade encephalopathy, routine surveillance cultures for bacterial and fungal infections with a low threshold to start antibacterial or antifungal therapy at the earliest sign of infection are appropriate. In patients with severe hepatic encephalopathy, prophylactic antibiotics and anti-fungal agents may be started. Gram-positive cocci (staphylococci, streptococci) and enteric gram-negative bacteria are the most common organisms isolated in critically ill patients with ALF. Fungal infections, predominantly candidiasis, have also been frequently reported in patients with ALF. Hence broad spectrum antibiotics such as a third generation cephalosporin and vancomycin would be appropriate for prophylaxis in critically ill patient with ALF. It is also reasonable to start fluconazole for antifungal prophylaxis in a critically ill patient with ALF. If an organism has been isolated during surveillance cultures, antibiotic therapy can be tailored based on culture and sensitivity. Fever when present should be promptly controlled to prevent worsening of ICH.
Management of renal dysfunction
Acute renal failure (ARF) is a high risk feature of ALF and has a poor prognosis. Correction of ARF begins with identifying the etiology, though this may not be possible due to the multifactorial nature of renal failure in ALF. Prerenal failure is managed by correcting hypovolemia, maintaining hemodynamic stability, and use of vasopressors when needed. Avoiding the use of nephrotoxic agents, including antibiotics such as aminoglycosides and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents should be considered. Acetaminophen, an analogue of phenacetin (a nephrotoxic analgesic) may cause renal injury when taken in high dose. Intravenous contrast agents should be avoided or used with caution as they may result in contrast-induced nephropathy and worsen renal function. Infections may result in acute tubular necrosis and should be promptly identified and treated. Acute renal failure from hepatorenal syndrome usually only improves with improvement in liver function or liver transplantation. Initiation of dialysis should be considered promptly when indicated. Continuous mode of dialysis is preferred over intermittent hemodialysis as studies have shown that continuous renal replacement therapy results in improved cardiovascular, hemodynamic, and intracranial parameters as compared with intermittent hemodialysis.
Prophylaxis for gastrointestinal bleeding
Randomized placebo-controlled trials have demonstrated marked reduction in upper GI bleeding in the setting of ALF in those given acid-suppressive medication. Patients with ALF should receive prophylaxis with proton-pump inhibitors or H2 blockers to prevent upper GI bleeding from stress ulcers. Sucralfate has also been used as a second-line agent as it has shown to be as effective as H2 blockers in preventing upper GI bleed and may be associated with a lower risk of nosocomial pneumonia. In addition, presence of thrombocytopenia may limit the use of proton-pump inhibitors and H2 blockers, and sucralfate may be used in these patients.
Correction of metabolic abnormalities and providing nutritional support
Frequent monitoring of blood glucose is essential as hepatic encephalopathy will mask the symptoms of hypoglycemia. Intravenous glucose should be provided for the prophylaxis and treatment of hypoglycemia. Electrolyte abnormalities should be promptly identified and corrected urgently.
Acute liver failure is associated with severe catabolism and high expenditure of energy. Enteral feeding is recommended and should be started at the earliest in patients who are unlikely to resume oral nutrition within 5 days. There is very little data to strongly support a particular nutritional recommendation. The European society for clinical nutrition in ALF recommends providing energy 1.3 times the resting energy expenditure. Severe protein restriction should be avoided. Amino acids at 0.8 to 1.2 gram/kg/day are recommended in critically ill patients with ALF. Serum ammonia levels should be monitored and if found to be rising the protein load be lowered accordingly. Parenteral feeding should be considered when enteral feeding cannot be instituted or is contraindicated, though parenteral feeding is associated with increased risk of infections. Both enteral and parenteral feeding has shown to reduce stress related gastric ulcers in ALF patients.
An early decision should be made about whether or not the patient is a candidate for liver transplantation (LT). If the patient is a candidate, early transfer to a transplant center is recommended to initiate simultaneous LT evaluation and ALF management. Liver transplantation has improved survival in ALF. The 1- year post-LT survival in ALF in less than that of elective LT performed for chronic liver disease. This is primarily due to increased ICH and sepsis resulting in increased mortality in the first 3 months following LT in ALF. Beyond the first year, ALF patients have better long-term survival.
Both whole organ deceased donor and living donor LT have been performed in ALF with great success. Another type of LT is auxiliary transplantation in which the recipient liver is left in place and a partial left or right lobe from the donor is transplanted, thus providing hepatic function until the native liver regenerates. Good survival rates of 60% to 65% have been reported with this procedure and immunosuppression can be withdrawn in 65% to 85% of patients at the end of 1-year post-LT.
The contempt that dripped from Jerry’s voice on "Seinfeld" every time he encountered unctuous neighbor Newman (Wayne Knight) turned this simple pleasantry into an expression of deep hatred.
Earthy waitress Flo (Polly Holliday) wasn’t interested in taking any grief from customers or co-workers, and especially not from her boss Mel, owner of Mel’s Diner. She’d tell him off with this colorful phrase whenever he got out of line.
History of Animal Liberation Front
Since the 1970s, the Animal Liberation Front has been at the forefront of exposing animal exploitation and cruelty around the world. To understand the motivation of the Animal Liberation Front, it’s important to understand where the ALF came from and the people who set it on the path of direct action in the name of animal rights.
We take a look at some of the key milestones in the history of the Animal Liberation Front:
- The seeds of the Animal Liberation Front movement were sown back in 1963, when a British journalist was assigned to cover a stag hunt. After watching the hunters chase and kill a pregnant deer, he felt compelled to set up the Hunt Saboteurs Association (HSA) in protest of what he had seen.
- HSA groups started to spring up around the country, including one in Luton, formed by a law student called Ronnie Lee in 1972. Lee, and another activist, Cliff Goodman, felt that more militant direct action tactics were needed, so formed their own group, The Bands of Mercy.
- Between 1973 and 1974, the Bands of Mercy embarked on a series of attacks on several animal testing research laboratories before completing its first act of animal liberation, taking guinea pigs from a Wiltshire farm.
- In August 1974, Lee and Goodman went on trial for a raid on an Oxfordshire laboratory and given a prison sentence. On Lee’s release in 1976, he was more focused than ever and renamed the Bands of Mercy as the Animal Liberation Front.
- From the beginning, the ALF believed that animals should not be viewed as property and that science or industry had no right to assume ownership of animals in order to exploit them. As well as liberating animals from the research and factory farming industries, the activists also believed that sabotage by destroying property would seriously damage the companies financially and eventually lead to alternatives to the use of animals or see them close down.
- With around 30 activists, the newly formed ALF went on to carry out 10 direct action campaigns against vivisectionists (companies and organizations involved in animal experimentation) in its first year. The Animal Liberation Front had arrived.
- It was towards the end of the 1970s that the Animal Liberation Front started to spread overseas, with the first documented ALF-action in the US taking place in 1982 with a raid on an animal laboratory at Howard University. However, the FBI had been tracking ALF activity in the US as early as 1977.
- It’s also important to note that the 1970s saw a transformation in the philosophy of animal welfare. This included the publication of Peter Singer’s influential book, Animal Liberation, which argued against the idea of ‘speciesism’, defined as discrimination against animals based on their non-human status. This period saw a shift from animal welfare to the concept of animal rights and the arrival of other key animal activism groups, including PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) in 1982.
- This shift also reinforced the ALF’s belief that all animals had rights and that through their direct action campaigns, they were liberating animals, not stealing them, as they were not ‘owned’ in the first place.
- In 1984, ALF activists broke into a laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania and stole 60 hours of videotape footage from their head injury research program. The footage was handed over to PETA for editing into a film ‘Unnecessary Fuss’, which featured shocking footage of experiments on primates, and which ultimately led to the closure of the lab.
- Throughout the 1980s, the Animal Liberation Front remained active on both sides of the Atlantic, but as the decade progressed, the ALF’s firm grip on non-violent action started to slip, and not all its activists seemed to adhere to its guiding principle.
- In 1984, the first food scare arrived, with the ALF claiming it had contaminated Mars Bars in UK stores in protest against tooth decay tests on monkeys. It later proved to be a hoax.
- During the 1990s, the ALF continued with a host of high-profile direct actions, including a fire attack on a Michigan State University laboratory, attacks on the fur industry and the well-publicized releases of minks from fur farms in Oregon and Washington. The ALF also claimed responsibility for smashing the windows of the Bank of New York, in protest of its business with Huntingdon Life Sciences.
- The 90s saw the Animal Liberation Front get involved in Stop Huntington Animal Cruelty, a high-profile campaign to close Huntingdon Life Sciences in Cambridge, Europe’s largest animal testing laboratory. One ALF activist was subsequently jailed for 12 years for planting homemade bombs on the doorsteps of businessmen linked to the laboratory.
- In the UK, the ALF repeatedly vandalized and destroyed the construction site of an intended research lab for Oxford University, leading to the build being halted in 2004. Then, in 2006, ALF activists claimed responsibility for a firebomb attack on a home owned by a UCLA researcher. The bomb failed to ignite.
- In its early years, where they limited their activity to removing animals, damaging property and exposing cruelty, the Animal Liberation Front had garnered sympathy and support from the public, largely due to their non-violent stance. But as their actions became more militant and individual members started to choose more violent ways to achieve its objectives, the ALF started to become more isolated.
- In 1984, the Animal Liberation Front had been expelled from the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisectionists (BUAV). And, by 2005, the Animal Liberation Front was on the watchlist of Homeland Security, having already been identified as a potential terrorist threat by the FBI.
PFAS are made by combining carbons and fluorine atoms to form one of the strongest bonds in organic chemistry. Fluorine is one of the most abundant elements on earth but naturally occurring organic fluorine is exceedingly rare — produced only by a few poisonous plants in the Amazon and Australia. Therefore, any amount of organofluorine detected in the environment is sure to be human made.
PFAS compounds found in the environment come in two forms: a precursor form and a terminal form. Most of the monitored PFAS compounds, including PFOS and PFOA, are terminal compounds, meaning they will not degrade under normal environmental conditions. But precursor compounds, which often make up the majority of PFAS chemicals in a sample, can be transformed through biological or environmental processes into terminal forms. So, while the EPA or state agencies may monitor PFAS concentrations, they still are not detecting much of the huge pool of PFAS precursors.
That’s where this new method comes in.
The researchers first measure all the organofluorine in a sample. Then, using another technique, they oxidize the precursors in that sample and transform them into their terminal forms, which they can then measure. From there, the team developed a method of statistical analysis to reconstruct the original precursors, fingerprint their manufacturing origin, and measure their concentration within the sample.
“We’re essentially doing chemical forensics,” said Sunderland.
Using this method, Sunderland and her team tested six watersheds on Cape Cod as part of a collaboration with the United States Geological Survey and a research center funded by the National Institutes of Health and led by the University of Rhode Island that focuses on the sources, transport, exposure and effects of PFAS.
The team focused on identifying PFAS from the use of fire-retardant foams. These foams, which are used extensively at military bases, civilian airports, and local fire departments, are a major source of PFAS and have contaminated hundreds of public water supplies across the US.
The research team applied their forensic methods to samples collected between August 2017 and July 2019 from the Childs, Quashnet, Mill Creek, Marstons Mills, Mashpee, and Santuit watersheds on Cape Cod. During the collection process, the team members had to be careful what they wore, since waterproof gear is treated with PFAS. The team ended up in decades-old waders to prevent contamination.
The sampling sites in the Childs, Quashnet and Mill Creek watersheds are downstream from a source of PFAS from fire retardant foams — the Quashnet and Childs from The Joint Base Cape Cod military facility and Mill Creek from Barnstable County Fire Training Academy.
Current tests can only identify about 50 percent of PFAS from historical foams — products that were discontinued in 2001 due to high levels of PFOS and PFOA — and less than 1 percent of PFAS from modern foams.
Using their new method, Sunderland and her team were able to identify 100 percent of all PFAS compounds in the types of fire-retardant foams that were used for decades at Joint Base Cape Cod and Barnstable County Fire Training Academy.
“Our testing method was able to find these missing compounds that have been used by the chemical industry for more than 40 years,” said Sunderland.
Ecoterrorism: Extremism in the Animal Rights and Environmentalist Movements
During the past two decades, radical environmental and animal rights groups have claimed responsibility for hundreds of crimes and acts of terrorism, including arson, bombings, vandalism and harassment, causing more than $100 million in damage. While some activists have been captured, ecoterror cells - small and loosely affiliated - are extremely difficult to identify and most attacks remain unsolved. Although it has been overshadowed by Islamic terrorist threats since September 11, ecoterrorism remains one of the country's most active terrorist movements.
- Origins: 1970s
- Prominent Groups: Animal Liberation Front (ALF), Earth Liberation Front (ELF), Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC)
- Influential Personalities: Craig Rosebraugh, Kevin Kjonaas, Rod Coronado, Robin Webb, Leslie James Pickering, Josh Harper, David Barbarash, Dave Foreman, Ronnie Lee
- Aim: To end the exploitation of animals and the destruction of the environment, typically by causing damage to the operations of companies in related industries or terrorizing executives and employees of these and associated companies.
- Media: No Compromise, Earth First! Journal, Green Anarchy, Bite Back Magazine, many Web sites
- Influences: Mainstream animal and environmental welfare groups, anarchists
- Criminal Activity: Arson, bombing, harassment, vandalism, animal release
In recent years, an increasing amount of terrorist activity in the United States has been carried out in the name of animal and environmental protection. Automobile dealerships, housing developments, forestry companies, corporate and university-based medical research laboratories, restaurants, fur farms and other industries are targeted across the country. Although no one has yet been injured in a domestic ecoterror attack, the increasingly violent nature of attacks suggests that someone will be hurt before long.
Since the 1970s, hundreds of groups in the United States have advocated for stricter legal protection for animals and the environment. Change has been incremental. Some activists on the fringes of these causes, frustrated by the pace of legislation, have become violent, creating an underground terrorist movement to combat companies and practices they consider abusive and immoral. During the past two decades, extreme animal rights and environmental activists, or ecoterrorists, have committed hundreds of arsons, bombings and acts of vandalism and harassment, causing more than $100 million in damage.
In recent years, fast-food restaurants have been firebombed and car dealerships and housing developments burned to the ground in the name of "ecology" and "animal rights." Increasingly, people that work for companies perceived as harming animals or destroying the environment are targeted as well.
Influenced to varying degrees by their English predecessors and by segments of the anarchist movement, ecoterrorists operate through autonomous cells, are unconstrained by geographic boundaries and are very difficult to infiltrate and stop. Unlike racial hate groups with established hierarchies and membership requirements, for example, an activist can become a member of the ecoterror movement simply by carrying out an illegal action on its behalf.
While post-September 11 discussions of terrorism tend to focus on Islamic threats, ecoterrorist attacks continue to occur around the country and pose significant problems for law enforcement officials. It is unlikely that this movement will disappear any time soon.
The Animal Liberation Front
The Animal Liberation Front (ALF) is the nation's most active extreme animal rights movement. Composed of anonymous underground cells that oppose any form of animal experimentation and perceived mistreatment, it aims to rescue animals from "places of abuse" and to "inflict economic damage to those who profit from the misery and exploitation of animals [sic]". ALF cells have claimed responsibility for hundreds of "direct actions," a euphemism for crimes that include freeing animals from their owners and property destruction.
ALF's origins trace back to a group of English activists in the late 1960s known as the Hunt Saboteurs Association. The Hunt Saboteurs disrupted fox hunts by blocking roads, protesting hunters with bull horns and confusing hunting dogs by spraying chemicals that eliminated the scent left by foxes. In 1972, according to the anonymously published ALF Primer, "after effectively ending a number of traditional hunting events across England, members of the Hunt Saboteurs decided more militant action was needed, and thus began the Band of Mercy."
Band of Mercy activists were willing to act more radically to protect animals. Two of its founding members, Ronnie Lee and Cliff Goodman, were jailed for firebombing a vivisection research center in England in 1974. Following the attack, Lee issued a statement saying that the firebombing was intended to "prevent the torture and murder of our animal brothers and sisters." Upon Lee's release from prison in 1976, the core followers of Band of Mercy re-formed as the Animal Liberation Front.1
While ALF took shape in England, several mainstream animal welfare groups in the U.S. emerged from the social movements of the 1960s to lobby for stricter laws protecting animals. A number of books addressing animal welfare issues also brought attention to the treatment of animals and helped shape a broader understanding of animal rights. Perhaps the most influential was Animal Liberation, written in 1975 by Australian philosopher Peter Singer. Although Singer did not advocate violence, he suggested that animals deserve the same rights as humans.
It is difficult to identify exactly when ALF first acted domestically a very early incident in 1979 involved vandals breaking into the New York University Medical School and releasing five animals. From this modest start hundreds of so-called liberations followed throughout the country on a larger scale. In a 1993 report to congress from the Departments of Justice and Agriculture on the "effects of terrorism on enterprises which use animals," investigators called ALF the most significant "radical fringe" animal rights group and reported more than 313 incidents of break-ins, vandalism, arson and thefts committed in the name of animal rights between 1979 and 1993.
ALF's crimes during that period included a 1987 arson at a University of California-Davis veterinary laboratory, causing damages of $3.5 million, and a 1992 firebombing at an animal research laboratory at Michigan State University. Rod Coronado, a veteran animal rights advocate, was convicted for his role in the firebombing and served a three and a half year prison sentence. Coronado was previously active in the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, a Vancouver-based group founded to protect marine mammals through various direct actions, including sinking whaling ships.
Coronado's violent act and prison stint solidified his reputation within the movement as a hard-core activist, and after his release he became one of ALF's public representatives. He has lectured dozens of times around the country on behalf of ALF and other radical animal rights and environmentalist groups. In an interview with a Michigan State University newspaper, Coronado defended his past activity. "I wish I could do it again," he said. "I have absolutely no regrets, and I hope the same thing continues to happen at MSU and every other college campus that does animal research."
Although ALF has no official membership and operates under the "leaderless resistance" model of activism, several supporters - like Coronado - have volunteered to speak publicly for the movement. These representatives perform the essential tasks of publicizing communiqués from anonymous cells claiming responsibility for illegal actions and recruiting.
Before it established a press office in the U.S., ALF activities were frequently publicized by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), a Norfolk, Virginia-based animal rights organization whose controversial advertisement campaigns have generated substantial publicity since the group's founding in 1980. PETA has openly supported ALF: in 1995, the organization gave $45,200 to the legal defense of Rod Coronado, while co-founder Ingrid Newkirk applauds ALF's efforts in two of her books.
ALF began to handle its own publicity in the U.S. by the mid 1990s after activist Katie Fedor founded its North American press office in Osseo, Minnesota (a British office had been established in 1991). The office publicized the details of direct actions, which it received from anonymous cells via mail, fax and e-mail. In the summer of 1999, another well-known ALF supporter, David Barbarash, took over for Fedor and moved the office to Vancouver.
Barbarash was an established figure on the extremist scene. He served four months in prison for releasing cats from a University of Alberta laboratory in 1992 in 1998, he and Canada-based activist Darren Thurston were charged in Vancouver with sending letters filled with razor blades to 22 hunting trip guides. The charges were later dropped because the prosecution did not want to jeopardize other investigations, according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, but the incident helped establish Barbarash's bona fides in the ALF subculture.
In a 2000 interview with the San Francisco-based magazine No Compromise, Barbarash characterized his role as providing an "aboveground network of support for the ALF." He maintained that his only contact with ALF cells was "one-way" and that ALF "is not a group or a club you can join, but a concept which is only realized when an action takes place under that name."
Under Barbarash's direction, the press office released a 46-page "Direct Action Report" for 2001, containing a list of "illegal direct actions for animal, as well as earth liberations." The report described 137 actions and listed businesses targeted during the year and statistics on liberations and property damage.
In August 2002, Canadian law enforcement officials seized video tapes and computer files from Barbarash's home as part of an investigation into ALF. Four months later, the veteran activist resigned, claiming that "my position is not necessary for the furtherance of animal liberation." Before leaving, however, he encouraged others "to organize and garner public support" for future ALF actions. The press office continues to publicize direct actions on its Web site, but the role of spokesperson remains vacant at present.
By 2002, several ecoterrorist groups in addition to ALF were active in the U.S. and the total number of direct actions had reached about 1,000, including more than 600 criminal acts since 1996. This rise in activity was matched by the growing sophistication and severity of the attacks.
The Earth Liberation Front
By 2004, ALF's environmental counterpart, the Earth Liberation Front (ELF), was setting new records for property damage. Modeled after ALF, ELF consists of "autonomous groups of people" who are "anonymous not only to the public but also to one another," according to its Web site. The movement aims to "inflict economic damage on those profiting from the destruction and exploitation of the natural environment" and "to reveal and educate the public on the atrocities committed against the earth and all species that populate it." Acts of property destruction are considered by ELF to be non-violent because no human being or animals are targeted.
ELF evolved out of Earth First!, an ardent environmentalist group founded, in its own words, "in response to a lethargic, compromising, and increasingly corporate environmental community." Dave Foreman, a former lobbyist for the Wilderness Society, and several other activists influenced by more militant organizations, founded Earth First! around 1980.
The group combined environmental protection with a form of spirituality called "deep ecology," popularized by a Norwegian philosopher and mountain climber, Arne Naess. Members regarded their activities as not merely political but also spiritual. During the 1980s, Earth First! activists performed direct actions ranging from tree-sitting to tree spiking - hammering a long nail that can create shrapnel injuries when cut by logging tools such as a chainsaw.
In his 1985 book Ecodefense: A Field Guide to Monkeywrenching, Earth First! founder Foreman provided detailed instructions on how to perform various methods of sabotage - from disabling equipment to properly spiking a tree. The term "Monkeywrenching" was borrowed from Edward Abbey's 1975 novel The Monkey Wrench Gang, which romanticized the efforts of four characters who destroy machinery and burn billboards across the southwest, and who unsuccessfully plan to blow up the Glen Canyon Dam. (Abbey, an outspoken critic of the development of public lands in the U.S., later contributed an introduction to Foreman's book.) In 1989, Foreman and three other members of Earth First! were arrested by the FBI on charges of conspiracy to sabotage nuclear facilities. Foreman pleaded guilty to reduced charges and did not serve any jail time. He left the group in 1990.
The methods of Earth First! proved too moderate for some of its members, and in 1992 a small group met in England to form the Earth Liberation Front. Today, Earth First! continues to sponsor gatherings but operates mainly through its publication, the Earth First! Journal, which publicizes and recruits for ELF and ALF (convicted activist Rod Coronado is a member of Earth First! in Arizona and has contributed writings to the Journal). Although Earth First! remains radical, ELF now attracts activists who prefer more violent direct action.
ELF first claimed sole responsibility for an attack in the U.S. in 1997, when activists burned down a Bureau of Land Management horse corral in Oregon (previous attacks had been claimed in conjunction with ALF). The group made national headlines the following year when it claimed responsibility for the arson of a ski resort in Vail, Colorado, causing $12 million in damages - the costliest act of ecoterrorism in American history at the time. The attack included seven separate fires, which destroyed three buildings and damaged four chairlifts. In its communiqué, ELF said, "putting profits ahead of Colorado's wildlife will not be tolerated….We will be back if this greedy corporation continues to trespass into wild and unroaded [sic] areas."
Since the Vail arson, hundreds of crimes have been committed in the name of environmental protection nationwide. The most damaging occurred on August 1, 2003, when arsonists burned down a housing complex under construction in San Diego, destroying a five-story building and 100-foot-high crane losses were estimated at $50 million. A 12-foot banner reading "If you build it, we will burn it," along with the ELF acronym, was found at the scene. (Six weeks later, ELF set fire to three other homes under construction in the area.)
These arsons typified, in an especially destructive way, ELF's ongoing battle against "urban sprawl," which it views as a wasteful and unnecessary encroachment on natural habitats. Direct actions targeting urban sprawl have occurred in different parts of the country (sometimes in clusters that suggest copycat cells), including Long Island, New York Chico, California and locations in Michigan.
Car dealerships and sport utility vehicles are also common targets for ELF. On August 22, 2003, approximately 40 Hummers and SUVs were destroyed or damaged in a fire at a West Covina, California, dealership, causing about $2 million in damages. "Fat Lazy Americans" and "ELF" were among slogans painted on the vehicles. The movement has taken credit for vandalizing SUVs in dozens of other cities. At an auto dealership in Erie, Pennsylvania, for instance, jugs of gasoline were ignited under three vehicles, engulfing them and a nearby car in flames. ELF said the dealership was targeted "to remove the profit motive from the killing of the natural environment."
ELF's ideological direction in recent years has been shaped by Portland area native Craig Rosebraugh. Rosebraugh became involved in the movement in the early 1990s as a member of a local animal rights group in Oregon. Also active in opposing the first Gulf war, Rosebraugh said he came to believe that "animal rights issues, environmental issues, social justice, are all related."
In 1996 he and another activist, Leslie James Pickering, formed the Liberation Collective in Portland, which linked ELF's struggle to other social justice problems - all caused, Rosebraugh said, "by our main ideological structure in the country, which we continue to operate under, and in my view that is capitalism." More than any other activist, Rosebraugh was able to infuse the ecoterror movement with a strong anti-capitalist and anti-government bent, which had the effect of broadening its potential targets as well as recruits.
Rosebraugh became the movement's spokesperson in late 1997 and would go on to handle ELF messages taking credit for acts of sabotage resulting in millions of dollars in damages. Additionally, it was not uncommon for him - and other spokespersons - to receive communiqués from both ELF and ALF the two movements declared solidarity in 1993 and members who affiliate with either movement often carry out acts on behalf of both.
In 2000, Rosebraugh and Pickering established the North American Earth Liberation Front press office in Oregon. The office operated like ALF's, receiving and posting or otherwise distributing messages from cells and handling media inquiries. According to Pickering, who served as co-spokesperson, the press office is the "public face ideologically in support of the ELF and similar acts of economic sabotage." ELF's Web site was then launched to "educate both the general public and the media on the ELF and actions that the group has taken in defense of the earth" (ELF's Web site is currently registered to ALF activist Darren Thurston in Vancouver).
"In light of the events on September 11, my country has told me that I should not cooperate with terrorists. I therefore am refusing to cooperate with members of Congress who are some of the most extreme terrorists in history."
In April 2001 Rosebraugh's home was raided by agents from the FBI, ATF and Oregon State Police he was also served with a subpoena relating to a fire that destroyed over 30 new SUVs at a car dealership in the Portland area. Although he was not charged in the investigation, the increased scrutiny may have led Rosebraugh and Pickering to resign their ELF positions in September 2001.
Later that year, Rosebraugh was subpoenaed by the House Resources Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health to testify at a hearing on ecoterrorism in February 2002. During his testimony, Rosebraugh invoked the Fifth Amendment in response to all but a few questions. In a written explanation, he said that "in light of the events on September 11, my country has told me that I should not cooperate with terrorists. I therefore am refusing to cooperate with members of Congress who are some of the most extreme terrorists in history."
Arissa Web Site
Although no longer ELF's official publicist, Rosebraugh remained influential in the movement and continued to give lectures and presentations at colleges and universities. On March 17, 2003, he issued a message addressing antiwar activists that was posted on a number of left-wing Web sites. Rosebraugh said that "the only possibility of stopping this current military action is to engage in strategies and tactics which severely disrupt the war machine, the U.S. economy, and the overall functioning of U.S. society." He recommended large scale urban riots and attacking financial and media centers, as well as U.S. military establishments.
On March 28, 2003, shortly after Rosebraugh issued this manifesto, five cars and a van at the Navy recruiting headquarters in Montgomery, Alabama, were spray-painted with anti-war slogans and a two-ton truck was set on fire. All the graffiti was signed "ELF." A few days after the attack, ELF issued a communiqué claiming responsibility for the incident, saying, "This is the first specifically anti-war action carried out by the ELF in North America."
In April 2003, Rosebraugh and Pickering launched a new organization, Arissa, aimed at linking other social movements, especially the antiwar movement, to environmentalism. In addition to serving as a forum for Rosebraugh and Pickering's anti-war proclamations, Arissa sells their books on its Web Site. Titles include Rosebraugh's The Logic of Political Violence, which says that "revolution in the United States must be comprised of a variety of strategies" and that "it cannot be successful without the implementation of violence."
Rosebraugh's credibility was slightly undermined after he opened a natural food restaurant in Portland in January 2004 and fired workers who threatened to go on strike. Nevertheless, his influence in the movement remains high and ELF likely will continue to bundle other social concerns with its environmentalist mission. In a March 2004 television interview, Pickering underscored this ideological expansion: "Violence is a necessary element of an oppressive struggle…to overthrow an oppressive government…[ELF is] only part of a larger building revolutionary movement that won't stop until it has a successful overthrow of this country."
Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty
In 1998, the BBC broadcast a graphic documentary alleging mistreatment of animals by Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS), a British-based research firm. In response, outraged animal rights activists in Britain began to pressure financial institutions associated with HLS to drop their support of the company and thereby force HLS to discontinue using animals in its tests. The campaign, which borrowed from the ideology and tactics of ALF and ELF, named itself Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC). SHAC quickly become a transatlantic cause among radical animal rights activists, with chapters in Germany, Italy, Portugal and the United States. To date, its activists have claimed responsibility for several bombings and dozens of acts of vandalism and harassment in both the U.S. and Europe.
Activists in the U.S. became involved with SHAC after HLS was sold to Life Sciences Inc., a New Jersey-based holding company, and its headquarters moved to New Jersey. Stephens Inc., an investment company based in Little Rock, Arkansas, bought HLS's bank loan and became its senior lender. In response to Stephens' purchase, SHAC started a Web site called StephensKills that was dedicated to informing activists "of the cruelty that Stephens Inc. invests in as shareholders" in HLS. Several months later, activists traveled to Little Rock and staged a protest against Stephens that resulted in 26 arrests. In the following months, the company's employees were harassed and its e-mail and faxes jammed. In 2002, Stephens sold its investment in HLS at a loss, while denying that pressure from SHAC influenced its decision.
By this time Kevin Kjonaas had become SHAC's spokesperson in the U.S. Kjonaas had been introduced to animal rights while studying political science at the University of Minnesota and he briefly served as an ALF spokesman when, in 1999, activists liberated 166 animals from the university and damaged and vandalized equipment, causing $700,000 of damage.
In May 1999, as part of a federal investigation into the crime, FBI agents searched Kjonaas's apartment, and the U.S. Attorney in Minneapolis brought him before a grand jury. To avoid appearing at a second grand jury, he subsequently went to England and became active with SHAC there. Returning two years later, he established SHAC's American headquarters - first in Philadelphia, then in New Brunswick, New Jersey, closer to HLS offices. He has been the group's public face since, despite a 2003 raid of his home by the FBI, and he has organized several anti-HLS demonstrations and appeared at other animal welfare conferences. In 2004, Kjonaas was arrested on various charges relating to his activity with SHAC, but he continues to appear at various animal rights events. See "Recent Arrests" below.
Campaigns: From Marsh to Chiron
After the Stephens campaign, SHAC began targeting other U.S. companies that did business with HLS. "Rather than protesting [HLS] itself," the group said on its Web site, "the SHAC campaign targets secondary targets - those companies that HLS needs so desperately to operate, but that don't need HLS or the pressure that comes with doing business with them."
SHAC next took aim at Marsh Inc., the company that insured HLS at the time. In February 2002, organizers sent an e-mail to the group's supporters noting that British activists had aggressively targeted Marsh. "Let's show them that the US is no different and let Marsh know that…we are about to raise the premium on pain," they continued. The e-mail included a list of Marsh offices, phone and fax numbers, and e-mail and home addresses of employees. SHAC posted to its Web site maps with the locations of Marsh's 60 domestic offices and a statement announcing that by "hitting" Marsh the group hoped to "attack HLS in a way they could never have predicted nor defend themselves against."
SHAC soon began targeting Marsh offices and employees. One executive received a letter saying, "You have been targeted for terrorist attack." The home of another executive was doused with red paint. "Puppy Killer" and "We'll Be Back" were painted on another's home. In April 2002, the address and telephone number of a Marsh employee in Boston were posted online with a note that said, "Let [X] know that it does not end until Marsh USA severs its ties with HLS." A dozen activists protested at [X's] home, chanting through a megaphone: "what comes around goes around…burn his house to the ground." A communiqué on SHAC's Web site referred to [X], his wife and his 2-year-old son as "scum." Twelve protesters were arrested (39 charges against them, including extortion, stalking, threatening and conspiracy, were dismissed in 2004).
In July 2002, activists released smoke bombs in two Seattle high-rises that housed Marsh offices, forcing hundreds of office workers into the streets.
At the end of the year, Marsh announced that it would no longer insure HLS. A victory statement on the SHAC site credited "those who smashed windows" as well as "those who held vocal protests outside Marsh offices and homes of executives."
"No lawsuit, private investigator, or criminal prosecution prevented this victory," said an activist quoted in the release. "Until HLS is closed we will not apologize, we will not compromise, and we will not relent."
Several other companies have stopped doing business with HLS after enduring sustained pressure by SHAC activists, including Citibank, Merrill Lynch, HSBC and Deloitte & Touche. The group's success seems to have emboldened its members, which has led to an increasing level of violence and threats.
SHAC's campaign against the biotechnology company Chiron demonstrates this heightened militancy. Activists began protesting at the homes of the company's employees in April 2003. On June 11, 2003, SHAC posted an anonymous message on its Web site containing information allegedly provided by a Chiron employee. The message listed the names and social security numbers of company staff, as well as information on "how to bypass security at a Chiron office." Addressing Chiron, the message said, "Send a fax to SHAC saying you will never use HLS again, and you can avoid paying for lawyers, security, and broken windows."
Two months later, activists calling themselves the "Animal Liberation Brigade" and "Revolutionary Cells" took responsibility for setting off two pipe bombs at the Chiron office in Emeryville, California. The bombs caused relatively minor damage, but a communiqué posted to one of SHAC's Web sites stated, "You might be able to protect your buildings, but can you protect the homes of every employee?"
Ecoterror and Violence: Targeting Humans
In September 2003, the "Animal Liberation Brigade" and "Revolutionary Cells" took responsibility for another bombing, this time at the offices of Shaklee Inc. in Pleasanton, California. Shaklee was targeted because its parent company, Yamanouchi Pharmaceutical, does business with HLS (ironically, Shaklee is listed as a "Caring Consumer" on PETA's Web site). In December 2003, the FBI announced a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of fugitive Daniel Andreas San Diego, a 25 year-old Sonoma man who is the prime suspect in the Chiron and Shaklee bombings.
An anonymous e-mail claiming responsibility for the incident said that activists had used a 10-pound ammonium nitrate bomb "strapped with nails." Although the building sustained minimal damage, the e-mail warned that "we will now be doubling the size of every device we make" and that "customers and their families are considered legitimate targets."
"We gave all the customers the chance, the choice, to withdraw their business from HLS," the e-mail said. "Now you all will have to reap what you have sown….You never know when your house, your car even, might go boom….Or maybe it will be a shot in the dark."
Threats of violence like these have become a troubling trend in the ecoterror movement. Although no one has yet been injured in a domestic attack, the language of movement activists suggests that harming those perceived as responsible for animal or environmental abuse may be seen as justifiable.
In England, ecoterrorists have already committed several acts of violence. These include:
- During the 1990s, offshoots of ALF like the "Justice Department" and the "Animal Rights Militia" injured several people using letter-bombs.
- In 1998, the "Animal Rights Militia" threatened to kill 10 scientists if Barry Horne, who was sentenced to 18 years in prison for waging a 1994 firebombing campaign that caused £3 million in damage to stores in England, died while on a hunger strike. Horne eventually discontinued the strike after 68 days. In November 2001, he died of liver failure in prison at the age of 49.
- In a 1999 attack, a British reporter who had infiltrated ALF the year before with a hidden camera - capturing footage of ALF UK spokesperson Robin Webb supplying a bomb-making manual and suggesting a target to activists - was abducted by a number of men. They branded the letters ALF on his back.
- In February, 2001, SHAC activist David Blenkinsop and two other masked assailants severely beat HLS's managing director Brian Cass with bats in England a passer-by who interceded was sprayed in the face with tear gas. Kevin Kjonaas responded to the incident by saying, "I don't shed any tears for Brian Cass. He is responsible for 500 animals agonizing and dying every day at Huntingdon."
In the U.S., threats of physical violence against humans have not yet been realized, though they increasingly accompany radical activism:
- In an intended act of violence in 1999, 80 university researchers received threatening letters booby-trapped with razor blades. One of the letters, sent to a Harvard researcher, said, "You have until autumn 2000 to release all your primate captives and get out of the vivisection industry. If you do not heed our warning, your violence will be turned back upon you." The "Justice Department" claimed responsibility for the mailing.
- In 2002, after ELF claimed responsibility for an arson attack on a U.S. Forest Service research facility in Irvine, Pennsylvania (causing more than $700,000 in damage), it issued a communiqué suggesting a willingness to take action:
Given the loose structure of ecoterrorist groups, there is little to restrain an anonymous cell, or activist, from committing an act of physical violence against another person.
Ecoterrorism and the Internet
In February 2001, two teenagers pleaded guilty to burning down housing under construction on Long Island, New York. One of the teenagers, Matthew Rammelkamp, testified that he "obtained and received information from the ELF Web site and used that information in furtherance of that conspiracy. I and others then reported, by press release, those acts."
Rammelkamp's testimony demonstrates the link between the increasing levels of ecoterrorism in recent years and the growth of the Internet. Electronic message boards, list services and chat rooms link virtual communities of like-minded ecoterrorists regardless of location. Dozens of ecoterror-related Web sites supply information on how to make bombs and implement attacks, and also offer ideological support and motivation. Activist cells report their actions to these sites, and news of these acts circulates widely. Some of the sites also provide activists with encryption keys so that e-mails cannot be traced.
No ecoterrorist group has used the Internet more effectively than SHAC, which provides activists with specific targets - HLS investors or "puppy killers" (a person or company associated with HLS whom SHAC singles out for targeting). Along with names and addresses, the group has posted spouses' names, social security numbers and bank account information.
Once the information is relayed electronically, SHAC activists protest outside the homes of targeted employees. In May 2003, for example, Los Angeles protestors gathered at 3:00 a.m. in the neighborhood of a manager of a company that sold software to HLS the group yelled through bullhorns, set off sirens and leafleted the neighborhood. Afterward, on its Web site, SHAC warned "we'll be back" and "we know where you live, we know where you work, and we'll make your life hell until you pull out of HLS."
The bombings against Chiron and Shaklee at the end of 2003 coincided with the launching of a new SHAC site providing a list of companies tied to HLS that can be sorted by company or state. SHAC's main site also has a "targets" section, which the group hopes will inspire visitors "to get out and smash HLS in any way you can - no matter where you are." Another SHAC site offers tips on how to gather and leak personal information about customers of HLS.
Online Guides and Information
Publications like the ALF Primer provide operational instructions and advice and are available for download on several Web sites. The Primer advises activists, for instance, that if "you are using tools such as crowbars or bolt cutters (this is mostly for liberations), sharpen or file them after every action, since slight markings on the tool can leave traceable markings on what is opened." The Primer also offers instructions on gluing locks damaging vehicles, telephone lines and security cameras conducting surveillance arson and creating timers for incendiary devices.
Another manual, ARSON-Around with Auntie ALF, provides step-by-step instructions and diagrams for preparing various igniters and incendiary devices, as well as home-made napalm. "Arson is not always used by ALF in the course of an action, but when it is, it can be devastatingly effective," the guide notes.
Devices described in ARSON-Around have been used in a number of actual attacks. In one instance, the destruction of an Oregon slaughterhouse in 1997, an ALF communiqué taking responsibility described how activists drilled holes in the walls, poured in 35 gallons of homemade napalm and then set three electrically timed incendiary devices to "halt what countless protests and letter-writing campaigns could never stop."
A guide published by ELF and posted on its Web site, Setting Fires With Electrical Timers: An Earth Liberation Front Guide, claims that "nothing on the following pages is beyond the talent of any activist." While allowing sympathetic groups and bookstores to copy and distribute the manual, the book's authors warn that public officials are "expressly forbidden" to do so on pain of "prosecution or retribution. "
Another guide available online is The Final Nail: Destroying the Fur Industry - A Guided Tour: it lists addresses for fur farms, which are common targets. In August 2003, for instance, ALF activists released approximately 10,000 mink from their pens on a farm in Sultan, Washington. An ALF communiqué claiming credit for the incident, which caused an estimated $500,000 in damage, warned that "all institutions of animal exploitation - regardless of any attempts to conceal their bloody operations - will be located and the animals liberated." The mink release was the area's third in three years.
ALF and ELF propaganda is also circulated on the Frontline Information Service (FIS), an e-mail-based initiative created in 1994 that offers an "uncensored clearing house for information and news about animal liberation activities and activists." In September 2003, it was renamed Direct Action Frontline Information Service to reflect the "wide-range of actions that we support through publishing information on it." Posts increasingly included anti-capitalist and anti-war themes.
ALF Targets McDonalds
The cover of ARSON-Around with Auntie ALF includes a cartoon of a McDonald's burnt to the ground. It is no surprise that McDonald's has been one of ALF's main targets. For example, on September 8, 2001, an arson attack against a McDonald's in Tucson caused $500,000 in damages. In a statement released by ALF and ELF claiming credit for the blaze, the groups said the fire was meant as a warning to corporations worldwide.
In another incident involving McDonald's and incendiary devices on March 3, 2003, two explosives designed to spread fire quickly once ignited were found at a McDonald's in Chico, California. The phrases "meat is murder" and "species equality" were spray-painted in red, as was "Animal Liberation Front." A note connecting ALF to the crime was found in a nearby phone booth. Although the two incendiary devices failed to ignite, a week later a different McDonald's in Chico was damaged by another device. "Liberation" and "ALF" were also spray-painted on the walls.
The Internet also helps eco-activists support associates imprisoned for animal or environmental direct actions. Earth Liberation Prisoners (ELP), which produces the online newsletter The Spirit of Freedom, provides information about convicts (described as "political prisoners") and attempts to mobilize support and aid for them. "Make no mistake," ELP warns its followers, "a war is being waged on the Earth and all its creatures…Failure to support our prisoners is tantamount to sanctioning repression by the state."
Jeffrey "Free" Luers and Craig "Critter" Marshall, perhaps the two most well-known ecoterrorists in jail, are among those listed by ELP as political prisoners. The men were sentenced to 22 and 5 ½ years, respectively, for their role in a 2000 arson attack that destroyed 36 SUVs in Eugene, Oregon. Since their sentencing, many from the environmentalist, animal rights and anarchist movements have solicited financial support for them, created Web sites to generate publicity and organized concerts on their behalf to raise both awareness and funds.
Green Anarchy, a Eugene, Oregon-based newspaper also includes a list of "prisoners of war" organized by movement (anarchist, anti-imperialist, animal liberation, etc.) and prisoner contact information. The Earth First! Journal has a political prisoners section that provides contact information for anarchists, "ecological resistance," anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist convicts.
Because they often operate anonymously in small cells, ecoterrorists have been difficult to apprehend. However, during the past two years law enforcement authorities have made a number of significant arrests and several ecoterrorists have been charged for their criminal activity and sentenced to prison terms.
- March 2005: Peter Daniel Young, an animal rights activist wanted for allegedly releasing thousand of animals from Wisconsin fur farms in 1997, was arrested in California. Young, 27, had been a fugitive for over seven years when he was arrested in San Jose for shoplifting at a Starbucks. Authorities say Young broke into three Wisconsin fur farms, releasing thousands of animals and causing more than $200,000 in damages. The Animal Liberation Front claimed responsibility for the releases.
- March 2005: Jeremiah Colcleasure, 24, Eva Rose Holland, 25, and Lili Marie Holland, 20, all from Newcastle, California, were arrested on conspiracy charges related to an attempted firebombing at a housing development in Lincoln for which the Earth Liberation Front claimed responsibility. Eva Holland was also charged with assisting a similar attempt in Auburn.
- March 2005: Justus A. Ireland was sentenced to seven years in federal prison. He earlier pleaded guilty to starting a fire at a lumberyard in West Jordan, Utah, in June 2004. The arson caused $1.5 million in damage, destroying a building and some forklifts. Ireland sent a fax to news media claiming responsibility on behalf of the Earth Liberation Front.
- March 2005: Jason Hall was charged with a misdemeanor for his alleged role in setting fires last year at Brigham Young University's Ellsworth Farm that burned two tractors and more than 3,000 pounds of cardboard. He is accused by federal prosecutors of aiding and abetting animal enterprise terrorism. Two other men, Harrison David Burrows and Joshua Demmitt, are already serving sentences of 2 1/2 years for their part in the fires, which were claimed on behalf of the Animal Liberation Front.
- February 2005: Christopher McIntosh, a 22-year-old New Jersey man, was charged in U.S. District Court with setting a fire on the roof of a McDonald's near the Space Needle in Seattle in January 2003. The FBI apprehended McIntosh after identifying his fingerprints on a spray-paint can left at the scene. McIntosh also allegedly left a message on a Seattle arson hot-line, saying, "There was an ELF ALF hit at McDonald's across from the Space Needle."
- February 2005: Twenty-one-year-old Ryan Daniel Lewis, of Newcastle, California, was arrested on arson-related charges for his alleged role in planting five incendiary devices at an office building under construction in Auburn. All five devices failed to ignite. Lewis admitted transporting "components of the incendiary devices knowing that they would be used to commit arson," according to the criminal complaint. ELF claimed responsibility for the attempted arson in Auburn, as well as in Lincoln, in a letter sent to several area newspapers. Lewis also faces charges in the Lincoln case and in an arson at a Sutter Creek apartment complex on February 7 that caused $50,000 in damages.
- January 2005: Harrison David Burrows was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison for his role in an arson at Ellsworth Farms, an animal husbandry building on the campus of Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. Burrows, 18, pleaded guilty to destruction of property by fire. Burrows and co-defendant Joshua Stephen Demmitt, who earlier pleaded guilty to the same charge and received the same sentence, admitted setting the July 2004 fire on behalf of the Animal Liberation Front.
- November 2004: Rod Coronado was indicted in Arizona on a felony charge of conspiracy to impede or injure an officer. Coronado, a longtime activist and spokesperson for extreme environmentalist movements, attempted to disrupt an effort by the Arizona Game and Fish Department to capture and kill mountain lions in Sabino Canyon near Tucson in March. Matthew Crozier, who like Coronado is affiliated with the ardent environmentalist group Earth First!, faces the same felony and misdemeanors charges.
- November 2004: California graduate student William Jensen Cottrell, whose vandalism attacks on car dealerships caused more than $2 million of damage in 2003, was found guilty of arson and related crimes in a Los Angeles court. A jury convicted Cottrell, 24, on eight of nine federal counts in connection with the attacks, acquitting him of the most serious charge - attempting to use a destructive device in a crime of violence. Cottrell damaged approximately 40 Hummers and SUVs at three Southern California dealerships. Cottrell admitted to spray-painting Earth Liberation Front slogans on SUVs, but said he was unaware that two un-indicted co-conspirators, Tyler Johnson and Michie Oe, intended to throw Molotov cocktails.
- May 2004: Federal agents in New York, New Jersey, California and Washington arrested seven people at their homes in connection with their SHAC activities. Spokesperson Kevin Kjonaas was apprehended in Pinole, California, as were Lauren Gazzola, whom the indictment identified as SHAC's campaign coordinator, and Jacob Conroy. Darius Fullmer and John McGee were arrested in New Jersey. Andrew Stepanian, a member of the Animal Defense League, an animal rights group that works with SHAC, was arrested at his Long Island, New York, home. In Seattle, Joshua Harper, a self-described anarchist and SHAC activist, was arrested as well. The indictment against the so-called "SHAC 7" alleges that the defendants encouraged harassment and intimidation of HLS employees and tried to force the company out of business through acts of vandalism, stalking and computer hacking as well as e-mail blitzes, telephone calls and faxes. The indictment further charged that SHAC targeted employees and shareholders, as well as companies that provided services to HLS, by posting personal information on its Web sites and encouraging followers to "operate outside the confines of the legal system."
- March 2004: Michael J. Scarpitti, (a.k.a. Tre Arrow), who had been a fugitive on the FBI's most-wanted list for more than 19 months, was arrested in Canada after allegedly trying to steal bolt cutters from a home improvement store in Vancouver. An FBI warrant for Scarpitti's arrest had been issued in August 2002 after he and three others were charged in a June 2001 logging-truck arson. Scarpitti, 30, is also suspected of being involved in an April 2001 arson of three Mack trucks belonging to a Portland mining company.
- January 2004: Three former students from Douglas S. Freeman High School in Henrico County, Virginia, pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to destroy vehicles and property used in interstate commerce. John B. Wade, 19, was sentenced to three years in prison and Aaron Labe Linas, 19, was sentenced to 3 ½ years for vandalizing and damaging new homes, SUVs, construction equipment and fast-food restaurants in Richmond. Linas, who was active in his school's Friends of the Earth club, reportedly learned of ELF through the Internet. A third defendant, Adam Virden Blackwell, 20, was expected to receive a similar federal prison term.
Many eco-activists affiliate themselves with a brand of anarchism that opposes modernization and its effects on the natural environment. Some call themselves primitivists, or green anarchists, and contend that humans were better off thousands of years ago, before the advent of farming. Based on an ideology devised by John Zerzan and centered in the Eugene, Oregon, area, primitivism "views technology and civilization as an unnecessary evil and believes humanity would be much happier and healthier outside the modern industrial world," according to the Eugene-based radical publication Green Anarchy.
Various anarchist publications and Web sites articulate the movement's ideology. For example, Green Anarchy provides ideological support for anti-capitalist and anti-authoritarian groups, as well as for the animal and earth liberation movements. A letter written by the imprisoned activist Craig "Critter" Marshall, published in Green Anarchy, illustrates the connection: "Only by hitting corporations and government establishments where they 'feel it' will they ever collapse and take this 'whole stinking order' with them." Marshall continues: "when someone picks up a bomb, instead of a pen, is when my spirits really soar."
In 2002, activists joined forces for the Green Anarchy Tour, which traveled the country in "an attempt to bridge the gap between the punk movement, the revolutionary anarchist movement, the ecological movement, and the prisoners of war that have been incarcerated for their involvement in the struggles listed above." More specifically, the tour aimed to raise awareness for the movement and to raise money for convicted ecoterrorists. According to the tour's Web site, proceeds were intended to help "West Coast anarchist and Earth Liberation Front prisoners" like Jeffrey "Free" Luers and Craig "Critter" Marshall.
A similar tour was scheduled to travel across the country in the summer of 2004. The "Total Liberation Tour," which promoted a radical social agenda and sought to gather hardcore bands and speakers representing radical animal rights and environmental groups, was scheduled to make stops in nine cities throughout the U.S. The tour was a failure, however, and the only stops that received any notable media attention were Syracuse, New York and Salt Lake City, Utah.
The tour was so disappointing that the Web site promoting it stated, "The days of Vegan Straight Edge, and hardcore music as a vibrant political force, have long since passed." The post had a militant tone and recommended that activists familiarize themselves "with modern weapons and weapon-craft, as well as combat tactics on par with or superior to those of our enemies. Every one who wishes to participate in this struggle should obtain a high-quality combat handgun and rifle of common model and caliber." The site also links to Web sites selling firearms.
Terrorism in the name of animal and environmental protection has steadily increased during the past decade in the United States. Automobile dealerships, forestry companies, corporate and university-based medical research laboratories, restaurants, medical-supply firms, fur farms and other industries continue to be targeted. Although no one has yet been injured in a domestic ecoterror attack, the increasingly violent nature of attacks suggests that someone will be hurt before long.
In a statement before the Senate Judiciary Committee in May 2004, John E. Lewis of the FBI's Counterterrorism Division noted the "upswing in violent rhetoric and tactics" among ecoterrorists and said that in recent years ALF and ELF "have become the most active criminal extremist elements in the United States."
Despite a few successes by law enforcement in capturing those responsible for ecoterror-related crimes, most acts remain unsolved. Ecoterror cells remain extremely difficult to identify and infiltrate, and it is unlikely that this rapidly growing movement will disappear soon.
Animal Rights Extremists Target the University of California
A widespread campaign of intimidation and violence by animal rights extremists against University of California (UC) scientists and researchers has been marked by numerous acts of harassment, vandalism and a series of firebombings and attempted firebombings deliberately targeting individuals.
A hoax alleging that "dangerous" packages had been sent to two UCLA scientists marks the latest action relating to the campaign against UC, which began in 2006 and has primarily targeted faculty in response to the use of animal experimentation in UC laboratories.
On May 3, 2011, two Los Angeles-based extremist cells claimed that anonymous supporters had sent letters, each containing "a dangerous present," to Edythe London and Joaquin Fuster, animal researchers who for years have been targeted by animal rights extremists who oppose their research on primates. The packages were never received, according to authorities.
Despite some legal efforts taken by the UC system and the state of California, animal rights extremists, who often operate in small and loosely affiliated cells, have continued their activity and most of the attacks remain unsolved.
Radical animal rights and environmental groups have claimed responsibility for hundreds of crimes and acts of terrorism, including arson, bombings, vandalism and harassment during the past two decades, causing more than $175 million in damage.
The Campaign Against UC
Since 2006, University of California (UC) employees involved in animal research across the state, including individuals from UCLA, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC San Francisco, UC San Diego, and UC Santa Cruz have been the targets of a widespread campaign of intimidation and violence by animal rights extremists. In addition to having their homes and cars vandalized, and in some cases firebombed, employees at these universities have been harassed and received death threats.
Incidents targeting individuals and property associated with the UC system include the following:
- On May 3, 2011, two Los Angeles-based animal rights extremist cells falsely claimed that letters, each containing "a dangerous present," had been sent the previous week to Edythe London, a UCLA scientist, and Joaquin Fuster, a retired UCLA scientist. The hoax was claimed jointly by the "Justice Department," a group that has mailed contaminated razor blades to animal researchers at other U.S. universities and injured several people using letter-bombs in the 1990s, and the Animal Liberation Brigade (ALB), which claimed responsibility for setting off pipe bombs at the offices of two companies tied to animal testing in 2003. Both are offshoots of the Animal Liberation Front (ALF), the most active extreme animal rights movement in the country.
- On November 22, 2010, the "Justice Department" claimed responsibility for sending razor blades to David Jentsch, a UCLA neuroscientist frequently targeted by animal rights extremists for his research on primates. The group warned Jenstch, "STOP YOUR SICK EXPERIMENTS OR HELL AWAITS YOU." The group's claim that the razor blades were AIDS-tainted was not confirmed, nor was its claim that it also sent "rusty razor blades tainted with AIDS-infected blood" to Stephanie Groman, a UCLA graduate student working with Jentsch. A second communiqué issued by the group the same week warned animal researchers more broadly, "Mark our words, we will destroy all who fall into our focus."
- On July 10, 2009, a home and three vehicles belonging to UC Irvine pathologist Michael Selsted were vandalized with paint and paint stripper. ALF claimed responsibility for the act, which included spray-painting "killer" on Selsted's garage door. In its communiqué, ALF noted that "We can only hope that one day someone will make you suffer as much as the animals in the laboratories you work in."
- On March 7, 2009, a car belonging to Jentsch was blown up outside his home by a homemade explosive. ALB took credit for the attack in a communiqué the following day. The statement included a message to the FBI, ostensibly in response to recent attempts by California law enforcement agencies to crack down on animal rights extremists' criminal activity. "The more legit activists you [expletive] with the more it inspires us since wer're [sic] the people whom you least suspect and when we hit we hit hard."
- On November 27, 2008, a UCLA clinic in Santa Monica was vandalized with red paint and its locks glued shut. In a communiqué, ALF claimed responsibility for targeting the facility, which it described as an "outpost of the murderous UCLA medical department."
- On November 20, 2008, a car bombing destroyed two vehicles outside a woman's home. Students and Workers for the Liberation of UCLA Primates claimed responsibility for the attack in a communiqué saying the attack was intended for UCLA researcher Goran Lacan. The actual owner of the vehicles, who was mistakenly targeted by the group, was asleep inside the house at the time of the incident. Students and Workers for the Liberation of UCLA Primates claimed responsibility for several other acts in 2008, including vandalizing three cars in the Santa Monica driveway of a UCLA researcher and stealing three UCLA vans from Riverside and Chino Hills.
- On August 2, 2008, a firebomb described by authorities as a "Molotov cocktail on steroids" was lit on the porch of David Feldheim, a UC Santa Cruz (UCSC) molecular biologist, causing a fire and a large amount of smoke to spread throughout the home. Feldheim and his family, who had been sleeping inside, managed to escape down a fire ladder. The biologist was one of 13 UCSC faculty members identified on a pamphlet found at a Santa Cruz coffee shop several days before the incident. The pamphlet provided photos and home addresses of the individuals listed, along with a warning, "Animal abusers everywhere beware we know where you live we know where you work we will never back down until you end your abuse." A second firebomb destroyed a vehicle owned by another UCSC animal researcher. A third researcher received a threatening phone message at home the day of the firebombings.
- On June 3, 2008, ALF claimed responsibility for the firebombing of a UCLA commuter van parked overnight in a park-and-ride lot in Irvine. Since then, several other vans have been vandalized and stolen by various groups targeting UCLA.
- On February 24, 2008, six masked demonstrators attempted to enter the home of a UCSC scientist during her daughter's birthday party. One of the intruders allegedly hit her husband with an unidentified object before running off with the rest of the group. Four individuals were arrested in March 2009 in connection to the incident. The suspects are also accused of harassing and intimidating UC – Berkeley researchers during demonstrations in front of the researchers' homes in October 2007 and January 2008.
- On February 3, 2008, a firebomb left at the home of Edythe London, a UCLA primate researcher, ignited and caused damage to her front door. ALF claimed responsibility for the act in a communiqué. ALF took credit for flooding London's home three months earlier. In its communiqué at that time, ALF threatened to return. "It would have been just as easy to burn your house down Edythe. As you slosh around your flooded house consider yourself fortunate this time." ALF has also threatened London and her family and claimed responsibility for sending "blood and rat poisoned covered razor blades" to her home.
- On June 24, 2007, an incendiary device was left under the car of Arthur Rosenbaum, the chief of pediatric ophthalmology at UCLA's Jules Stein Eye Institute. ALB claimed responsibility for the attempted firebombing in a communiqué, which included the doctor's address and warned: "you need to watch your back because next time you are in the operating room or walking to your office you just might be facing injections into your eyes like the primates, you sick twisted [expletive]." The communiqué also contends that activists must realize that "just demonstrating won't stop this kind of evil." Weeks later, Rosenbaum's wife received a letter with razor blades stating, "If your husband can't stop himself from his obsession to torture monkeys maybe you can. If not then tell him that we will do exactly what he does to monkeys to you."
- On June 30, 2006, an incendiary device intended for Lynn Fairbanks, the director of the Center for Primate Neuroethology at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute, was mistakenly left outside a neighbor's home. ALF claimed responsibility for the attempted attack in a communiqué, claiming that they had placed a "molotov cocktail" on Fairbanks' doorstep because of her involvement in animal experimentation. Arson investigators said the device failed to ignite, but had it functioned properly, it would have made escape difficult or impossible.
The activity of animal rights extremists in the Los Angeles area in recent years extends well beyond the UC system. For example, ALF has claimed responsibility for acts of harassment vandalism aimed at Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Deputy Mayor Jimmy Blackman and their families. The city's Department of Animal Services and its former general manager, Guerdon Stuckey, have also been targeted.
On March 6, 2009, ALF claimed responsibility for vandalizing the home of Deborah Villar, the sister of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa with bottles of red paint. The communiqué issued about the attack listed Los Angeles Animal Services as the target, citing the mayor's refusal "to hire a new manager to stop the carnage of animals in our city." It warned Villaraigosa and his family, "next time we throw bottles, they'll be filled with gasoline." Villar was previously targeted in November 2007, when ALF claimed responsibility for vandalizing her home, stating, "The mayor is the person who can make the killing come to an end. This is why we covered Deborah's black SUV with tons of stripper and poured red paint all over the steps, walkway and fancy ornamental light fixtures. [Mayor] Villaraigosa deserves to be bumped off like the dogs and cats we witnessed with their eyes wide, terrified before they were bumped off. He got off way to [sic] easy."
ALF has also claimed responsibility for acts of vandalism against Deputy Mayor Blackman, including two at his home and one at the home of his parents. The group claimed to have glued locks shut and splattered red paint on the front porch of the Blackmans' home on December 30, 2008, in an effort to "bring attention to the blood being spilled because of their son Jimmy."
In response to the campaign against its faculty, the University of California's Board of Regents obtained a restraining order in early 2008, and later a preliminary injunction, prohibiting five individuals as well as ALF, ALB and the Primate Freedom Project, a group that has used its Web sites to post information about UCLA scientists, from harassing UCLA researchers.
Primate Freedom Project
The Primate Freedom Project (PFP), a group with chapters around the U.S. that describes itself as "dedicated to ending the use of nonhuman primates in biomedical and harmful behavioral experimentation," has had a key role in the campaign against the University of California.
PFP set up a Web site dedicated to ending "the use of primates in biomedical and harmful behavioral experimentation" at UCLA. The Web site included a "target" list of UCLA personnel, along with their photographs and home addresses, but also featured a disclaimer saying that "those who consider themselves part of the Primate Freedom Project UCLA chapter, do not engage in or encourage any illegal activities."
Several of the individuals listed as targets on the PFP Web site have been victimized by the Animal Liberation Front (ALF), the most active extreme animal rights movement in the country, and Animal Liberation Brigade (ALB), a moniker used by an apparent animal rights extremist cell has claimed responsibility for setting off pipe bombs at the offices of two companies with ties to animal testing in 2003.
In spite of the disclaimer stating that it does not encourage criminal activity, PFP has applauded the work of ALF and ALB targeting UCLA personnel identified on its Web site. For example, following the attempted firebombing of the home of Lynn Fairbanks, the director of the Center for Primate Neuroethology at UCLA, on June 30, 2006, a PFP spokesperson said that the director "is riding a gravy train to personal gain, nothing else, and I hope the ALF stops her in her tracks." In addition to posting Fairbanks' address and photo on its Web site prior to the incident, the PFP site had featured a flyer intended for "distribution in her neighborhood."
PFP was named in a restraining order UCLA obtained in early 2008 as a result, the group was currently prohibited from posting personal information about UCLA faculty on its Web site. The site has been taken down.
PFP's presence outside of Los Angeles includes the National Primate Research Exhibition Hall, a museum in Madison, Wisconsin, that likens the treatment of animals in research labs to that of Jews and others who suffered during the Holocaust. The museum's Web site explains, "Like a Holocaust Memorial at the Gates of Auschwitz, the National Primate Research Exhibition Hall makes the clear statement that what is occurring in these labs across the country and the world is wrong and must be stopped."
The campaign against the University of California began several months after an annual animal rights conference was held in Los Angeles. The "Animal Rights 2005 National Conference" featured representatives of the Primate Freedom Project (PFP) and Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty, a radical animal rights group known for posting on its Web site the names, addresses, phone numbers and other personal information of people who work at companies doing business with its primary target, Huntingdon Life Sciences, a British-based research firm that runs an animal testing laboratory in New Jersey.
Jerry Vlasak, a trauma surgeon in Southern California who co-founded the Woodland Hills-based North American Animal Liberation Press Office, which shares information and statements from extremist cells that commit criminal activity, was also in attendance.
As one of the primary spokespeople for the extreme animal rights movement, Vlasak frequently speaks to media in support of acts of violence and intimidation carried out against UC scientists. For example, following the March 2009 arrest of four individuals in connection with incidents of harassment and intimidation against animal researchers at UC-Berkeley and UC-Santa Cruz (UCSC), including an attempted home invasion, Vlasak praised the foursome for the alleged actions: "We applaud anybody who steps up to the plate."
Vlasak regularly advocates killing humans in order to save animals during interviews with print and broadcast media. He has referred to the notion of murdering medical researchers in order to save laboratory animals as a "morally justifiable solution," and has stated that, "if animal abusers aren't going to stop perpetrating these types of atrocities, they ought to be stopped using whatever means necessary."
The tactics and ideology promoted by Vlasak have increasingly been put into practice by animal rights extremists targeting the UC system, and Vlasak blames targeted researchers for any harm done to them.
In response to the firebombings at UCSC in August 2008, Vlasak implied that researchers knowingly jeopardize the safety of their families by testing on animals: "It's regrettable that certain scientists are willing to put their families at risk by choosing to do wasteful animal experiments in this day and age," Vlasak said in one interview.
In another interview, Vlasak said, "If their father is willing to continue risking his livelihood in order to continue chopping up animals in a laboratory, then his children are old enough to recognize the consequences…This guy knows what he is doing. He knows that every day that he goes into the laboratory and hurts animals that it is unreasonable not to expect consequences." He also stated that, "The inconvenience and the suffering of any children or any family members pales in comparison to the suffering and oppression that goes on in these animal laboratories."
Following the firebombing of a UCLA primate researcher's home in February 2008, Vlasak stated, "This recent attack should come as no surprise to [Edythe] London I wouldn't be astonished if she remains a target until she stops her heinous experiments upon these innocent and unconsenting primates."
Vlasak made some of his most incendiary comments about animal researchers during an animal rights conference in Los Angeles in 2003, when he told an audience that the assassination of scientists working in biomedical research would save millions of animals' lives. "I don't think you'd have to kill—assassinate--too many vivisectors," Vlasak continued, "before you would see a marked decrease in the amount of vivisection going on. And I think for five lives, ten lives, 15 human lives, we could save a million, two million, ten million non-human lives."
College Campuses Targeted Nationwide
The deliberate targeting of university employees involved in animal research is not a new phenomenon, nor is it limited to California. For example, a group calling itself Tucson H.A.A.N.D. ("Hooligans Attack at Night, Duh,") vandalized the home of Katalin Gothard, an animal researcher at University of Arizona's College of Medicine, on February 20, 2009.
Tucson H.A.A.N.D. claimed responsibility for the vandalism and another incident targeting a mining company employee the same morning in a communiqué issued a few days later. The group dedicated both acts to the four individuals arrested on February 20 in connection with incidents of harassment and intimidation against animal researchers at UC Berkeley and UC Santa Cruz.
Animal researchers at Wake Forest University in North Carolina were also targeted in February 2009. In a communiqué, the "Justice Department" claimed responsibility for mailing razor blades covered in rat poison to two scientists there and warned, "This is only the start…End the experiments on the primate captives or it only gets worse." The "Justice Department," an offshoot of Animal Liberation Front (ALF), the most active extreme animal rights movement in the country, injured several people using letter-bombs in the 1990s.
A sampling of other college campuses targeted by animal rights extremists, who have carried out acts of vandalism, animal release, arson and other types of property destruction, includes:
- Johns Hopkins University, December 2008: Animal Liberation Brigade (ALB) claimed responsibility for sending "special letter bombs" to two animal researchers at Johns Hopkins University. The group accused of Johns Hopkins of being one of the "top violators of the Animal Welfare Act" and promised that while the two researchers were selected at random, "All responsible for the torture and oppression of innocent beings will soon receive the same treatment." ALB is a moniker used by an apparent animal rights extremist cell that has targeted UCLA in the past and has claimed responsibility for setting off pipe bombs at the offices of two companies with ties to animal testing in 2003.
- Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), December 2007: Animal Liberation Front (ALF) claimed responsibility for vandalizing cars belonging to OHSU researcher Miles Joseph Novy outside his home in Portland. The group claimed to have taken graffiti and paint stripper to Novy's cars as a response to his reproductive research on primates, and warned that "blatant disregard for the earth, animals and it's [sic] resources shall not go unseen by the ever-watching eyes of the ALF… The only reason why people like Miles Novy sleep at night is because we let them."
- University of Utah, April 2007: ALF claimed responsibility for vandalizing a vacant home in Riverton owned by neurobiology professor Audie Gene Leventhal. The group caused thousands of dollars in damage by breaking windows, gluing locks shut, and destroying his lawn, according to the communiqué released at the time. ALF has targeted Leventhal on other occasions, including in January 2007 when individuals vandalized his house in South Jordan and destroyed six windows with acid. The communiqué assured Leventhal that "we will be back repeatedly to destroy your property until animals no longer die for your blood money… Until you leave the torture business we'll continue to turn your life upside down."
- Louisiana State University (LSU), April 2005: ALF claimed responsibility for breaking into a biology lab at LSU, where they released caged mice, glued locks shut, broke windows and aquarium glass, and spray-painted ALF slogans on walls. LSU's student newspaper received an email with a link to ALF's communiqué about the incident on the Web site for Bite Back magazine, a support publication for ALF and other groups that commit criminal acts on behalf of animal rights. ALF also claimed responsibility for a September 2003 break-in at LSU's School of Veterinary Medicine, which resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage.
- University of Iowa (UI), November 2004: ALF took credit for pouring acid on research documents, destroying computers and removing more than 400 animals. In the communiqué released afterwards, ALF described the act as "a methodical effort to cripple the UI psychology department's animal research. ALF also sent copies of the video tape of the incident to the FBI and media.
- Brigham Young University (BYU), July 2004: Fires burned two tractors and more than 3,000 pounds of cardboard at Ellsworth Farm, an animal husbandry building on the BYU campus in Provo, Utah. In March 2005, Jason Hall was charged with a misdemeanor for his alleged role in setting the fires. Two other men, Harrison David Burrows and Joshua Demmitt, were already serving sentences of 2 1/2 years for their part in the fires, which they admitted setting on behalf of ALF.
- University of Minnesota, April 1999: Activists "liberated" 166 animals from the university and damaged and vandalized equipment, causing $700,000 of damage.
- Harvard University, 1999: A letter sent to a Harvard researcher and containing razor blades read, "You have until autumn 2000 to release all your primate captives and get out of the vivisection industry. If you do not heed our warning, your violence will be turned back upon you." The "Justice Department" claimed responsibility for the mailing, which was part of an intended act of violence in which 80 researchers at different universities received threatening letters booby-trapped with razor blades.
- Cornell University, October 1997: Members of Band of Mercy, an earlier incarnation of ALF, destroyed files, ruined blood samples, confiscated paperwork and release six cows from their stalls at the university's Animal Teaching and Research Unit in Ithaca, NY.
- Michigan State University (MSU), 1992: A firebombing of an animal research laboratory at MSU destroyed years of research and caused $2.5 million in damages. The group also vandalized an MSU mink research farm nearby, damaging equipment and releasing animals from their cages.
Rodney Coronado, a longtime spokesperson for the most active extremist environmental and animal rights movements in the U.S. who was involved in the incident, served over three years in prison for aiding and abetting arson.
In an interview with an MSU newspaper in 2004, Coronado defended his activity, including the acts at MSU. "I wish I could do it again, only I wish I could take all of the animals out of the environmental fur farm… I have absolutely no regrets, and I hope the same thing continues to happen at MSU and every other college campus that does animal research."
Coronado also discussed an MSU arson carried out by environmental extremists several years after the 1992 fire. The explosion and fire at MSU's Agriculture Hall on New Year's Eve 1999 caused more than $1 million in damage.