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Release Without Relief

ALF Action in Ontario

by ADAM KING

In the morning hours of Monday, August 26, Royal Oak Fur Farm in Simcoe, Ontario, located southwest of Toronto, was the target of an animal rescue operation. While the numbers are disputed, upwards of 500 animals, both mink and foxes, were released. The Animal Liberation Front has taken credit for the action, releasing a statement through the directaction.info ‘Bite Back’ online magazine the following day.

Unsurprisingly, there has been little coverage of the action in the mainstream Ontario media, what little local reportage there has been highlighting the concerns of the Canadian fur industry, which has of recent been attempting a ‘rebranding’ with such innocuous slogans as “fur is green” and “in harmony with nature.”

The owner of the farm has referred all inquires to the Canadian Fur Council, which was not hesitant to employ its own political appraisal of the animal activists. CFC spokesperson Nancy Daigneault had this to say about the action: “It’s a nuisance and an act of extremism that strikes fear into the heart of any farmer. And it’s a criminal act. It creates a lot of stress for the farmer because it’s an attack on his livelihood. It’s terrorism. They are terrorizing the farmer. That’s what they are doing.” According to Daigneault, the raising of animals for the sole purpose of slaughter for fashion is not in any way terrorizing.

The CFC, ostensibly equating animals advocates with the ilk of pesky Palestinians who refuse to roll over and die to make room for the culmination of the Zionist colonial project, are trotting out that ever-helpful signifier, ‘terrorists.’ One wonders if this is only to prove that this tired trope’s incessant reiteration and gelatinous parameters never cease to penetrate into the utterly idiotic. Or, maybe it’s to prove that even when it does, a sufficiently indoctrinated public will simply tilt its head back and swallow the nonsense like warm (soy) milk before a good night’s sleep. Either way, by any stretch of the imagination, activists ‘illegally’ freeing captive animals from a certain and brutal death is not ‘terrorism.’

Extrapolating from Daigneault’s calibration, any violation of the law in pursuance of potentially higher moral standards is, indisputably, an act of terrorism. This is a curious logic to contemplate on the fiftieth anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech at The March on Washington. The moral thing to do would have been to acquiesce in the face of Bull Connor’s fire hoses and billy clubs, or so we’re led to believe.

Daigneault further utilized the well-worn red herring of ‘domestication,’ claiming that the ALF did the animals no service, as these creatures who are ‘reliant on humans for survival’ will most likely turn up as road kill, or succumb to some other fate apparently less dignified than winding up as some moron’s over-priced jacket. One could not possibly be so foolish as to think that the ALF does not realize that ‘mass domestication’ is itself part of the issue. The ‘production’ of domesticated animals on a mass scale, whether for fur or food, creates the issue of animal dependence on humans. If one were to take the CFC’s business ‘philosophy’ seriously, the raising of animals for no other purpose but to be slaughtered in pre-adolescence for a barbaric ‘fashion’ industry is a morally superior existence to having never existed at all.

While similar direct actions are comparatively rare in Canada, the AFL ended its statement by claiming that “We won’t stop until this and all fur farms are empty.” Here’s hoping.

Adam King is a PhD student in Sociology at York University in Toronto, Ontario. He can be reached at adkking@yorku.ca