Petrol-bombing Oxford University and targeting of student residences? “The end justifies the means” in the fight for animal liberty, says Laura Broxson, spokesperson for the National Animal Rights Association. NARA has stepped up its campaign against Trinity College in the past week, offering students a “reward” for any photographs of animal experimentation. So far, NARA has had no luck.
The association’s website champions twelve sentence-serving “Vegan Animal Rights Prisoners”, each imprisoned for their part in the extremist Animal Liberation Front’s ‘New Wave’ of violent activity. The ALF has been named the “most serious domestic terrorist threat within the United Kingdom” by the former director of the University of St Andrews’ Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence.
During the 80’s they sent a string of letterbombs to high-profile targets such as then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Of ALF convicts, NARA says that “the only thing these people are guilty of is having the courage to speak up for animals, and for being brave enough to stand up against the cruelty that is inflicted upon them. They are not criminals, they are freedom fighters.”
Amongst NARA’s listed heroes is the “Animal Liberation Front’s top bomber” Donald Currie. Currie was arrested after he rigged a car to explode, throwing another bomb into a nearby family garden during his flight from the police. NARA encourages visitors to their website to send Currie cheques, postal orders and messages of support.
Another prisoner being supplied with cash by NARA is Mel Broughton, arrested for the 2007 planting of petrol bombs in Oxford University. Broughton was the spokesperson for the SPEAK campaign, which had been leading an animal rights campaign in protest against the university’s lab testing. Oxford had won an injunction against the protesters a year before attacks became violent, claiming that vandalism had increased and that the entire town of Oxford was “living under constant threat”. ALF head Robin Webb told the media that student accommodation was a legitimate target.
Yet another of NARA’s heroes is Johnny Ablewhite, currently serving 15 years for blackmailing the Hall family, then owners of a guinea pig farm in Staffordshire. He offered the return of their deceased mother-in-law’s remains, which recently had been exhumed.
It’s not just the website that has links to the ALF. So too does Laura Broxson, NARA’s spokesperson, a Trinity News investigation has revealed. Broxson has been behind the release of communiqués she claims were passed on to NARA from the Animal Liberation Front. One such press release claimed responsibility for the attempted release of 200 mink from a farm in Laois. The farm had been picketed for a number of months by the Coalition Against the Fur Trade Ireland, whose spokesperson is also Laura Broxson. The message is typical of the tone of the ALF, stating “Una and Michael Heffernan are responsible for murdering over 45,000 Mink on this death camp every year. It’s time to make them pay for this. The ALF will be back, Una and Michael”.
While picketing outside the Arts Building, NARA handed out leaflets headlined “Wanted: verifiable, usabel, releveant photos/footage of animal experimentation at Trinity College. Let’s expose Trinity College’s hidden shame”. When asked whether any volunteers have come forward with videos, NARA replied that so far they have not received any replies despite offering a reward.
“NARA will not stop its campaign against Trinity until animal testing is abandoned”, Broxson told Trinity News. Confronted about the violent methods condoned on the NARA website, she responded “We‘re not going to distance ourselves from those methods. I would say the end justifies the means. A car is an inanimate object, it doesn’t harm anyone if it’s bombed.” When asked whether Trinity College should step up its security, Broxson laughed.