On April 30, 2010 at 3:30 am I burned the Sheepskin Factory in Denver, Colorado to the ground. I did so strictly following Animal Liberation Front (ALF) guidelines to harm no life while at the same time maximizing damage to a business of Animal exploitation. I used the nickname "Lone Wolf" in my communications to the media, even though I knew that using such a moniker made my actions easier for the authorities to link together. I did it for a specific reason that I will get to a little later in this article, but for now, let me back up and explain how and why I came to join the Animal Liberation Front.
My start in Animal Rights began about 14 years ago. I would order pamphlets about vivisection, Veganism, factory farms, and other forms of Animal abuse and put them on windshields in parking lots and on community bulletin boards. I was very zealous in wanting to educate people. Having worked building slaughterhouses, I was certain that if everyone knew what I knew they would all become Vegan. After about a year of such flyering, I ended up having my activism interrupted with a prison sentence for arson (that crime was not Animal Rights-related, but also harmed no living being). During the 4 years of my incarceration, I studied Animal Rights, biocentrism, philosophy, world history, evolution, religion, mythology, law, social justice movements, politics, sociology; anything I could get my hands on that was non-fiction. Some people go to Penn State, I got my education at the State Pen.
In any event, upon my release from prison and completion of parole, I moved back to Denver, Colorado, the city where I had spent my teenage years. I had a couple of close friends still kicking around the north suburbs, and also had an aunt and some cousins there. By this time, it was 2003. I had by now surmised that it wasn't a lack of education that allowed cruelty to Animals to continue, because Animal Rights activists had uncovered and publicized so much video evidence of profound evil in vivisection labs, slaughterhouses, and entertainment over the last three decades that the gore would gag a maggot. Nor was it a problem of disseminating this information; with the meteoric rise of the internet, anyone who wanted to know what happened to their "meal" could find out at the push of a button and click of the mouse.
I had talked with enough people by this point to see that deep down inside not everyone is a caring Vegan. Lots of people don't care at all for Animals, they just have cat and dog fetishes, or they care right up to the point where you ask them to stop eating the dead carcasses of murdered Animals. I found many people far more outraged at the fact that I was bringing the issues up than at the issues themselves. Apparently, if you support death and slavery three times a day, that's not a problem, but if I point that fact out, then I'm the asshole. I decided to turn my attention to the Animals themselves.
Much of that period of time I cannot detail, since saving Animals from death and torture is considered terrorism by the United States government. But I will say this: when you take the risk to save an Animal from a horrible death and look into their eyes and see the gratitude and love, it changes you. On that day you become a better person and you once again know right from wrong with child-like simplicity.
Eventually, being a social person, I began mingling with the local Vegan community. I was invited to a local meet-up, where I immediately felt out of place. The local Denver Vegan community had about as much diversity in it as a Ku Klux Klan rally. I had been working part-time with an Abolition Animal Rights organization whose main focus were the promotion of Veganism and speaking out for farm animals, especially so-called "free range" and "cage free." As the night wore on, many of the trust fund-afarian and hippie-crits started to let their high and mighty opinions fly, due to the ridiculous amounts of that beer they were ingesting. What ensued next was akin to some creepy form of speed-dating where everyone went around in a circle and very briefly introduced themselves, named their occupation, and told what they did for Animals. Never before or since have I witnessed such intellectual egoism.
When it was my turn, I mentioned my stand against "free range," I was met instantly with eye rolls and rationalizations about it being "a step in the right direction" and "Rome wasn't built in a day," even, "I'm Vegan but I am so glad that meat-eaters now have a humane and cruelty-free alternative!" My response was, "I can't believe I am listening to a group of Vegans promoting animal use!" After this, a huge argument ensued and I left that meet-up determined to expose "free range" and once again educate everyone I could. Only this time with more zeal and vigor than ever.
I began flyering all over Denver about "free range" – thousands of windshields all throughout downtown. I would flyer until my thumb and fingers were blistered from lifting windshield wipers. I tabled at events and talked with hundreds of people. I went to punk and hardcore concerts and tried to recruit the youth. I began laying the groundwork for a group I called V.F.L. (Vegan For Life); in short, I did everything in my power to motivate and promote Animal Liberation, even at work. I was a bulk foods manager for a local health food store. I got "VEGAN" tattooed across my throat and talked with any customer that would approach me about it, which was a lot of people in and of itself.
For a while, I had a blog where I wrote articles and sought to revive and revise the Vegan Hardline philosophy. However, the more I did, the more my frustration grew. People that I talked to at tabling events would listen to all I had to say about dairy cows being raped for their milk, their calves being turned into veal, then the cows themselves being turned into burgers and leather. People would stare back at me blankly and respond, "Man, I couldn't give up cheese, dude. Cheese is so good." I would go back to areas I had flyered, only to find half the flyers on the ground.
All the punk rock kids thought it was okay to eat meat as long as it was out of a dumpster, and the hardcore and Straight Edge kids were more into practicing dance moves and playing video games than putting their back into their beliefs. I became burnt out.
The few friends I had liked to talk about how righteous we were for being Vegan and how wrong the rest of the world was, blah, blah, blah. I became as annoyed with pretentious Vegans as I was with anyone else. For a few months, all I did was work. I was depressed because I felt marginalized and ineffective; I began daydreaming at work about what I would do if I had no fear, nothing to lose. I would be a member of that clandestine underground, I would be an Animal Liberation Front operative. The more I thought about it, the happier I became. Then one day while stalking the potato chip isle at work, it hit me: there's no time like the present. I quit my job and left my normal life in isle seven of a health food store.
The first thing I knew was that I would work alone. I had known and been around many different local activists and there was not one of them I would have considered up to the challenge. The next thing I knew was that I wanted to go big. With the current government crackdown on any kind of effective Animal Rights campaign, I might as well go for it. If they're gonna try to catch me and call me a terrorist for breaking a McDonald's window, I might as well think much bigger.
I picked the Sheepskin Factory in Denver for two reasons. Primarily because they make a lot of money selling pelts and fur, Animals suffer and die so that people can have a fuzzy steering wheel or a soft cushion on a motorcycle seat. In my opinion, they are no better than the Nazis that made hobbycraft items out of Jews. Secondly, the place just looked flammable. I will never divulge how I did it because it’s not important; where there's a will, there's a way.
After it was all said and done, I felt great! I had destroyed an Animal exploitation facility and I had cost the Animal industry over half a million dollars. I used the name "ALF Lone Wolf" in the media to convey to my ALF brothers and sisters worldwide (whoever they are) the power of acting alone. I wanted anyone that cares to know that one person can accomplish a lot. Unfortunately, I was apprehended because of an informant; my deepest regret is that I confided in this one person. But still the principle stands; all I was tricked into doing was telling on myself and my entire 3-month campaign cost me 150 bucks, and cost Animal abusers three-quarters of a million dollars.
On February 11, 2011 I will be sentenced. Whatever sentence is imposed will only be a third of my tribulations; I still have to face charges in Utah. The US Attorneys want people to think that the Animal Liberation Front, and me in particular, are terrorists. I am not a terrorist, and the ALF is not a terrorist organization; actually, it’s not even an organization. The ALF is any Vegan or vegetarian that harms no life and decides by illegal means to liberate Animals and/or cause economic damage to those that profit from Animal use and abuse. Since our inception in 1976, no Animal or human has been harmed; quite the opposite. Thousands of lives have been saved and thousands of Animal abusers have been stopped. A terrorist is a person or group that targets and kills innocent beings to create panic and control by fear.
On April 30th, 3:30 in the morning, my life changed. I got sick of seeing industries of death continue unchallenged and I decided to do something drastic about it. I am proud that I had the courage to act on behalf of those that cannot defend themselves. I can look deep into my heart know that I did not fail them and I did all that I could; and believe me, when you live in a cage that's all you wish for someone to do.