The Internal Brakes on Violent Escalation: The Animal Liberation Movement

The Internal Brakes on Violent Escalation: The Animal Liberation Movement

This report is the third and final case study, produced out of The Internal Brakes on Violent Escalation: A Descriptive Typology project, funded by CREST.

Animal Liberation Front Cover
Click here to download this case study.

Why do some ‘extremists’ or ‘extremist groups’ choose not to engage in violence, or only in particular forms of low-level violence? Joel Busher, Donald Holbrook and Graham Macklin have developed a typology to better understand why there are often thresholds of violence that members of extremist groups rarely cross. You can read the Full Report here.

For the purpose of this third case study, the Animal Liberation Movement are considered to comprise a sub-section of the wider animal rights movement, characterised by their willingness to use illegal forms of direct action in order to advance campaigns for animal rights, including, but not necessarily limited to, trespass and property damage.

The animal liberation movement case focuses on the radical flank of the wider animal rights movement, characterised by their willingness to use illegal forms of direct action in order to advance campaigns for animal rights.

This case study provides an example of what might be termed a single-issue movement. The evolution of the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) is central to this case study, as are the campaigns carried out under other organisational banners, such as the Animal Rights Militia and the Justice Department, which entailed escalation beyond established repertoires of action.

What makes this case study interesting is the apparent ambivalence of the case. While positioning itself as a non-violent movement and exhorting activists to take all reasonable measures to avoid harm to living beings, members of the movement have still perpetrated acts of violence, including serious property damage and intimidation, which have undoubtedly caused physical and psychological harm to both human and non-human animals.

Yet escalation beyond the established tactical repertoire has been rare, even when state repression has significantly inhibited the availability of non- or less violent avenues for action

The animal liberation case study is based on secondary academic literature, journalistic accounts of the movement, contemporary media reports, television documentaries, activist memoirs, movement publications, and interviews with two former animal liberation activists (Respondents C1 and C2) and an academic expert (Respondent C3).


The Internal Brakes On Violent Escalation: A Descriptive Typology

You can download this case study here: The Internal Brakes on Violent Escalation: The Animal Liberation Movement

You can find the Executive Summary here.

You can find the Full Report here.

This report is the second empirical case study, produced out of The Internal Brakes on Violent Escalation: A Descriptive Typology project, funded by CREST.

You can read the other two case studies; The Transnational and British Jihadi Scene and The British Extreme Right, plus the full report at:  www.crestresearch.ac.uk/internal-brakes

To find out more information about this project, and to see other outputs from the team, ho to: www.crestresearch.ac.uk/projects/internal-brakes-violent-escalation/

This report is produced under a Creative Commons 4.0 BY-NC-SA licence. For more information on how you can use our content read our copyright page.