Interview for the magazine Accion Vegana (11/2008)

How is the animal liberation movement in the Czech Republic?

It mostly made concessions and collaborates with those who defend the abuse of animals and it justifies this as a strategy. It is tame and concerned with welfare. Full of empty words. More focused on popularity and less on content.

As far as direct actions are concerned, most is happening in the area of wearing ALF t-shirts and drivelling at concerts and in internet discussions.

In my opinion, what is missing, above all, is the awareness of the fact that in a society which has ethical norms set according to the rules of the market and perceives animals as its property, the protection of animals has to be both practical resistance as well as political struggle.

I am not talking about petitions, lobbying the powerful etc. This leads to the dilution of forces and sooner or later it becomes corrupt and makes any idea powerless. Animal protection is not a game of chess and animals are not chess pieces. It is a struggle for life. If we lose this understanding, it will become just one opinion against another. The same can be said about people we are addressing: they are not chess pieces.

I think that what can lead to an improvement is political work in the sense of creating strong social or political movements that will not play according to the rules by which life is a labour camp, a market and a slaughterhouse.

How did you form the open rescue team?

There is no open rescue team. Open rescues are done by me with the help of some groups of friends of mine who wish to remain anonymous. At one time it seemed that there will be more people doing open rescues, but then I was prosecuted for defending and promoting the ALF and they changed their minds. There is currently only one girl willing to do open rescues.

I say this with regret, but at the same time with respect to those remaining anonymous. I appreciate their work and also their support of my work. After all I myself had worked for a long time behind a mask. However, I reached the conclusion that if I step out of the shadow it will be more beneficial for the animals.

I don’t hide my face or my name, I speak and write about what I see, I take photos and make films at the farms, why I carry the animals away, I do public workshops where I teach terrain reconnaissance, how to move, communicate, how to enter buildings, how to place sentries, what equipment to use, what to pay attention to, what are the police techniques for crime scene inspection and interrogation. I try to inspire and motivate other people in the Czech Republic and Slovakia to conduct investigations and rescues. There have been some results already.

What advantages do you find in open rescue compared to ALF raids?

The animals one takes somewhere from a farm don’t care if you have a mask or not. But an open rescue means a greater chance of social change. Of course only when it is not perceived just as direct action, but also as part of an awareness campaign. It is important to do direct actions, but it is equally important to talk about why we do them. To talk about the fact that the enormous misery and suffering in which millions of animals are forced to live are not normal, but that it is normal not to leave them in such a misery and suffering.

Open rescue involves more confrontation with society which protects and supports the abuse of animals. One can see a person who doesn’t hide or run away. It is, in my opinion, a stronger act of defiance. And it is harder to demonise us.

But my open rescues are not against or outside the Animal Liberation Front.

Moreover, it is important to keep in mind that the ALF is not only about rescuing animals.

Do you support the ALF?

Not only I support the ALF. I consider myself part of the Animal Liberation Front. Last year I was prosecuted with the possibility of a prison sentence of up to one year for promoting the ALF in a TV documentary about experiments on animals. The prosecution was later dropped by the state prosecutor. informs about our fallen ones as well as about those in prisons. We translate news from Bite Back and other sources into Czech and Slovak. We also translate texts from the history and theory of the ALF. I am currently thinking about translating some chapters from the book From Dusk ‘til Dawn by Keith Mann, to whom I send my greetings and whose book I promote.

I think that it is important to confront openly the demonisation of these activities. Be it from the state, the industry, the non-profit sector, the majority or minority public opinion. We are an anti-terrorist, not a terrorist movement.

You made the first open rescue in a fox farm, can you talk about that action?

I don’t think it is important whether it was the first or not. I am not in a race. We just took six foxes from a small farm where they had been kept probably for training burrow hunting dogs and we drove them to various places where we let them free. I hope they are OK. I only regret that there appeared complications during the action itself, so we had to disappear quickly and we could not take more animals.

You usually do open rescues in egg farms? Why do you choose this type of farms?

The choice of animals and at the same time their numbers are determined by the capacity to provide a new home for them and what possibilities of transport we have.

How do you avoid getting arrested?

I am not trying to avoid it. I am not looking forward to it. I am not afraid. I won’t chicken out.

You had an accident in a chicken rescue, can you tell us what happened?

It was in Austria during an investigation in a two storey hall, from where I hoped that we would also take some hens. I had a difficult week, several hours of driving, the previous day we were in approximately five buildings and this was the second building that night. What happened was a consequence of my carelessness and perhaps also due to my overall tiredness. I just couldn’t stop, I slept little and worked a lot.

I was securing the ladder to the two people who went before me and then I went up an unsecured ladder. When I was on the last step and was about to get into the building, the ladder slipped down, collapsed to the ground and I went with it. I fell with my back against the ground and my feet got between the steps. From a height of about 4 metres and landing on a concrete surface.

The result is a triple comminuted fracture of the heel and the collapse of the foot arch. In the hospital they put my foot on ice for five days and after this I went for an operation. They wired bits of bones together, put nine screws into my foot, which will remain there forever, they took a bit of my pelvis with which they filled a hole in my heel and because it was not enough they filled the rest with ceramics. I had another operation the next day because one of the wires got badly between the bones. The doctors told me that I’ll have problems with that foot from now on.

Now I am back from hospital, but I spend most of the time lying down with my foot up, because in any other position it gets swollen quite quickly and it gets a kind of happy and healthy looking violet colour. Unfortunately, after the operations there were further problems: part of the foot (the instep and three fingers) are affected by osteoporosis.

I think that considering the height, the type of fall and the surface on which I fell, I was incredibly lucky. The years of training martial arts were certainly very useful, because I learned quick reactions and techniques of falling. Now I’ll be going through physiotherapy and later I’ll return to the investigations and rescues. I am not worried about the injury, but rather about it distracting me from work.

My colleague and friend took in her arms one chicken from the first building we entered that night, and couple of days after the accident my friends from SaboTiere went to the poultry farm were the accident had happened and rescued two hens and in another farm they took 13 of them. I therefore have a lot of reasons to smile.

Do you want to add anything?

Somebody has asked me recently if I can sum up what I talk about in few sentences. I said that one shot sentence is enough: I don’t hurt when I don’t have to. This philosophy leaves me with the possibility to choose and responsibility, and at the same time it teaches me to think in certainties as well as uncertainties. And the same goes for anybody else. It is not authoritative. It does not enforce its timocratic, oligarchic, democratic or tyrannical will.

Most people in the movement for the protection of animals are not addressing people as capable free beings, but rather the show business, governments, laws, media, celebrities. In a naive hope for a perestroika and in themselves as some kind of positive viruses, they consider it a success if they can become part of the system which they oppose. If more people tune into their programme, because a sackful of hope is more important for them that a handful of truth. Because they want to keep those who people tuned in, they broadcast in such a way so that nobody changes programmes. And they conceal the real face and reasons for the abuse of non-human beings more and more as piercing on a nun’s clitoris.

They become part of the game, the system’s folklore, which gives them a certain weight in society in exchange for helping to maintain the trust in its principles, its order and the ways it offers for change. They distract by creating illusions about a possible better future instead of changing the present. They degenerate into a mere advertising for a good feeling without confrontation with the economic and political reasons of their abuse. They consider and declare themselves as apolitical, and at the same time they are trying to have an influence on legislation, they lobby in the parliament, senate, government, they initiate petitions and waste their votes in elections.

They believe that one day they will reach the horizon, because they believe that the Earth is flat.

I am convinced that even those aspects that were successfully pushed through within the system are due to the work of those who rebel against it, not those who allow themselves to be masticated by the system.

My cognition has led me to feel, subtly speaking, that I would be inconsistent and illogical if I were a vegan without being an anarchist at the same time.

For the good of animals.

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