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Animal rights
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Notable activists
Greg Avery · David Barbarash
Mel Broughton · Rod Coronado
Barry Horne · Ronnie Lee
Keith Mann · Ingrid Newkirk
Heather Nicholson · Jill Phipps
Henry Spira · Andrew Tyler
Jerry Vlasak · Paul Watson · Robin Webb

Notable writers
Carol Adams · Jeremy Bentham
Steven Best · Stephen Clark
Gary Francione · Gill Langley
Mary Midgley · Tom Regan
Bernard Rollin · Richard Ryder
Henry Salt · Peter Singer ·
Steven Wise · Roger Yates

Notable groups/campaigns
List of animal rights groups
Animal Aid · ALDF · ALF · BUAV
GAP · Hunt Saboteurs · PETA · PCRM
Sea Shepherd · SPEAK · SHAC

Animal liberation movement
Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act
Animal law · Animal testing
Bile bear · Blood sport
Covance · Draize test
Factory farming · Fur trade
Great Ape research ban · HLS
Lab animal sources · LD50
Meat · Nafovanny · Open rescue
Operation Backfire · Primate trade
Seal hunting · Speciesism

Britches · Brown Dog affair
Cambridge · Pit of despair
Silver Spring monkeys
Unnecessary Fuss

Animal rights films
Behind the Mask · Earthlings
The Animals Film
Peaceable Kingdom · Unnecessary Fuss

Books and magazines
Animal rights books
Animal rights magazines
Animal Liberation
Arkangel · Bite Back
No Compromise

Related categories
ALF · Animal testing
Animal law · Animal rights
AR movement
Livestock · Meat

Related templates
Agriculture · Animal testing

The Justice Department (JD) was founded in the United Kingdom by animal rights activists who declared they were willing to use violence against their opponents. Initially calling for "abusers to have but a taste of the fear and anguish their victims suffer on a daily basis", activists established a separate idea from adhering to the Animal Liberation Front's (ALF) guidelines of non-violent resistance, similar to that of the Animal Rights Militia (ARM).[1]

The first recorded action took place during Christmas 1993, when pipe bombs in poster tubes were sent to Shamrock Farm, a supplier of primates for animal experimentation. The group had formed the same leaderless-resistance model as the ALF, which consists of small, autonomous, covert cells acting independently.[2]

The name has also been used in the United States with activists claiming hundreds of attacks in the UK against animal testing companies, their suppliers, animal researchers, hunters (including the Royal Family), and even the British National Party HQ.[2][3][4][5][6] By sending explosive devices and razor blades in the post, and leaving incendiary devices on shelves, The Independent labeled the political violence "the most sustained and sophisticated bombing campaign in mainland Britain since the IRA was at its height."[7]





"The Animal Liberation Front achieved what other methods have not while adhering to nonviolence. A separate idea was established that decided animal abusers had been warned long enough. ... The time has come for abusers to have but a taste of the fear and anguish their victims suffer on a daily basis."[1][6]


The group formed the same leaderless-resistance model as the ALF, which consists of small, autonomous, covert cells acting independently. A cell may consist of just one person.

In The Independent newspaper it was claimed that the Justice Department is regarded as the "terrorist wing" of the Animal Liberation Front (ALF). Some ALF activists reject the association, telling the newspaper: "You cannot be in favour of animal rights and at the same time attack people because at the end of the day people are animals, too."[7]

The existence of activists calling themselves the Justice Department or Animal Rights Militia (ARM), another name used to inflict violence, reflects a struggle within the Animal Liberation Front and the animal rights movement in general, between those who believe violence is justified, and those who insist the movement should reject it in favour of nonviolent resistance.[8]

Robin Webb has implied that Justice Department and ALF activists, as well as the ARM, may be the same people noting that:[9]

If someone wishes to act as the Animal Rights Militia or the Justice Department, simply put, the third policy of the ALF, to take all reasonable precautions not to endanger life, no longer applies.

Extensional self-defense

Steven Best has coined the term "extensional self-defense" to describe actions carried out in defense of animals by human beings acting as "proxy agents."[10] He argues that, in carrying out acts of extensional self-defense, activists have the moral right to engage in acts of sabotage or even violence.[10] Extensional self-defense is justified, he writes, because animals are "so vulnerable and oppressed they cannot fight back to attack or kill their oppressors."[11] Best argues that the principle of extensional self defense mirrors the penal code statues known as the "necessity defense," which can be invoked when a defendant believes that the illegal act was necessary to avoid imminent and great harm.[11] In testimony to the Senate in 2005, Jerry Vlasak stated that he regarded violence against Huntingdon Life Sciences as an example of extensional self-defense.[12]

Direct action


The first recorded Justice Department action took place during Christmas 1993, when two foot long poster tubes with explosive devices were sent to Shamrock Farm, a supplier of primates for animal research; the action carried claims of HIV-infected needles. Eleven more devices were intercepted by Special Branch at sorting offices with one that was not recovered. It targeted the manager of GlaxoSmithKline in Hereford, who was also a member of the RSPCA's animal experimentation advisory board and Institute of Animal Technicians council. He opened the package which exploded in his face. Days later the group targeted Boots in Cornwall, publicly stating that they had placed their products on their shelves with devices. Boots issued an alert to their eleven hundred stores after one customer bought one of the products and contacted the police who deactivated the device.[2]


Activists working as the Justice Department have sent out letter bombs and envelopes rigged with poisoned razor blades.[3] In 1994, a rat trap equipped with razor blades was sent to Prince Charles after he took his sons on their first foxhunt. Tom King, a former defence secretary, was sent an incendiary device, which failed to explode, after he defended foxhunting during a debate in parliament. Michael Howard, at the time Home Secretary, also received one.

Shortly after, the group set fire to two boats belonging to the owner of Garetmar kennels (formally known as Cottagepatch) in Hampshire and sent two videos disguised incendiary devices to the Boots store in Cambridge, which was intercepted, and another to the British National Party (BNP) HQ in South London; injuring Alfred Waite.[4] Another round of devices by the now quite violent group were claimed to be increasingly sophisticated and random yet again injured staff, this time of Stena Sealink, which were attacked in Gloucestershire, Oxford, Edinburgh and Kent, in connection with the live exports trade. This resulted in ferry companies involved in live exports pulling out because of fear for their staff and their safety.[5]


In January, the group claimed responsibility for sending envelopes with blades soaked in rat poison to 80 researchers, hunting guides, and others in the United States, and in British Columbia and Alberta, Canada. A note inside the envelopes read: "Dear animal killing scum! Hope we sliced your finger wide open and that you now die from the rat poison we smeared on the razor blade."[6] David Barbarash, a Vancouver-based activist who became North American spokesman for the Animal Liberation Front, was charged in connection with the attacks, but the case against him was dropped.[5]

Video bomber sentenced

Relating to the video diguised devices that were sent to Stena Sealink, a Coventry man, Guerjeet Aujla, was arrested by the Anti Terrorist Squad and was classified as a Category A prisoner and Justice Department bomber after clues were found in his bedroom linking him to the devices. In the case, the judge believed that he was not responsible for the other attacks, only those to the ferry company, and that his guilty plea showed genuine remorse. He was sentenced to six years imprisonment, the lowest possible sentence the judge was able to pass concerning the attacks that caused harm to individuals.[13]

See also


  1. ^ a b It's War! The Escalating Battle between Activists and the Corporate-State Complex, Best, Steven, Essays.
  2. ^ a b c Mann, Keith. From Dusk 'til Dawn: An insider's view of the growth of the Animal Liberation Movement. Puppy Pincher Press, 2007, p. 502-503.
  3. ^ a b "Animal rights, terror tactics", BBC News, 30 August, 2000.
  4. ^ a b Mann, Keith. From Dusk 'til Dawn: An insider's view of the growth of the Animal Liberation Movement. Puppy Pincher Press, 2007, p. 503.
  5. ^ a b c Mann, Keith. From Dusk 'til Dawn: An insider's view of the growth of the Animal Liberation Movement. Puppy Pincher Press, 2007, p. 503-504.
  6. ^ a b c "From push to shove", Southern Poverty Law Group Intelligence Report, Fall 2002, p.3.
  7. ^ a b "Nocturnal creatures of violence", The Independent, 1 November, 1995.
  8. ^ Lee, Ronnie. Controversial Actions, No Compromise (magazine), issue #23.
  9. ^ "Staying on Target and Going the Distance: An Interview with U.K. A.L.F. Press Officer Robin Webb". No Compromise (22). Retrieved 2006-05-23.  
  10. ^ a b Best, Steven. "Gaps in Logic, Lapses in Politics: Rights and Abolitionism in Joan Dunayer's Speciesism",
  11. ^ a b Best, Steven. "Who's Afraid of Jerry Vlasak?", Animal Liberation Press Office.
  12. ^ Miller, John J. "In the name of the animals: America faces a new kind of terrorism", National Review, July 3, 2006.
  13. ^ Mann, Keith. From Dusk 'til Dawn: An insider's view of the growth of the Animal Liberation Movement. Puppy Pincher Press, 2007, p. 504-505.

Further reading


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