Animal Liberation in Sweden!
from No Compromise Issue 9
 

During 1997 and '98 there has been an upswing of activities against animal abuse in Sweden. Large raids on vivisection breeders, arson attacks, mink liberations and smashing up fur shops is happening all the time. Not only has direct action seen an upswing but there is also a new movement being born, an animal liberation movement consisting of grassroots activists determined to achieve the liberation of animals. In late 1997, a new group made themselves known. They call themselves Animal Rights Militia and they seem to have picked out vivisection as their main target.

In November, they broke into a vivisection rabbit breeder in Enkoping and found 40 rabbits. They liberated 13 of them and destroyed the breeding cards for the others. They continued their excellent work in December when they carried out a raid in solidarity with English animal rights activist Barry Horne, who was recently given an 18 year sentence. They raided another breeder of rats and mice for labs owned by the Eklund Brothers. ARM liberated 48 rats and 9 mice from that hellhole and placed them all in loving and caring homes.

In '98 the successful work of ARM continued when they raided another animal breeder, BioJet Services, outside Uppsala. They went into the premises through open doors and their intention was to liberate 50 guinea-pigs but when they only found 92 guinea pigs in there, they emptied the place. According to media, the owner is thinking about closing it down. And to mark World Day for Animals in Labs, ARM raided the Eklund brothers a second time and managed to liberate 121 rats from their breeding units on April 23rd.

Also in April, a new group called the real "Djurens Befrielse Front" (ALF) (see commentary) made themselves known when they liberated a beagle named Angel from the veterinary school in Uppsala.

The new DBF carried out their second raid when they raided a battery unit in Kil and liberated 28 battery hens on May 2nd. Battery hens had been rescued before in March 1998, when 23 hens were liberated from their cages by a group calling themselves "Commando Astrid Lindgren." (Astrid Lindgren is a famous author opposed to battery hens) and the new group claimed that their acts would continue until all animal abuse was gone.

Also, in February, 2 mice decided to move from a vivisection lab in Stockholm to a new friendly person that would never harm them.

There have also been lots of fur farm raids in 1997/98. Since the beginning of 1998, a total of 35 raids have been carried out against fur farms and thousands of mink and foxes have been released, empty farms burned or trashed, breeding cards stolen and machines destroyed.

Most of those actions have been carried out by a group calling themselves "The Wild Minks" which has really had an impact on the Swedish fur industry. No one can deny that!

Unfortunately, 3 people were arrested at a fur farm in March (see separate article and interview) for raiding 2 mink farms but their arrest did not scare people - it made them even more determined to destroy the fur trade. In 3 days, a support demo with 40 people was held at the court and at the fur farm where the three were arrested and solidarity raids were carried out all over Sweden; in Ostersund, 70 foxes were freed by the ALF from a fur farm; in Forsheda, 300 minks were freed and in Stockholm, 11 fur shops lost their windows and had their locks glued... all in one night!

In April, the first national weekend for animal liberation was organised in Stockholm. It was called "April 24-26, 3 Days of Actions Against Vivisection." About 250 people from all over Sweden met up in Stockholm and had several civil disobedience actions and several large demonstrations against vivisection laboratories where windows were smashed and fences torn down.

Grassroots activists are carrying out civil disobedience actions against local fur shops all the time and more and more people in Sweden are turning vegans. There are two main groups for local activists. There is "Animal Rights Alliance," that works on all issues and there is "Eliminate the Fur Industry," a group helping local activists fighting the fur trade by assisting and giving them leaflets. "Eliminate the Fur Industry" is an organisation that will be remembered in the history for being the first group in Sweden to openly support direct actions for the animals.

The words "Animal liberation" have a new meaning. They are not just empty words anymore, it is happening... all the time, for hundreds and hundreds of animals... for them, animal liberation comes overnight in Sweden.

Swedish Fur Wars Escalate with Arrest of Three Activists on Mink Farm

KUMLA -- Early in the morning of March 8, three animal liberation activists are spotted by the fur farmer at Skyberga Mink Farm in Kumla, Sweden, after they had already released 230 mink from that farm. After being chased for eight kilometers by both the police and the farmer, the trio of activists are eventually caught and Henrik Seger, Kristofer Aberg and David Zachridsson are arrested and remanded at the police station.

Unfortunately, when the car used by the activists is searched, a map from a farm in Skara is found. Even more unfortunate for the activists, that same farm had also been raided that night, resulting in the release of 800 mink.

Immediately after the three activists' arrest, the Mink Liberators Support Campaign was set up to help the trio. After four days in custody, a court hearing was held to determine whether the three would remain incarcerated. Forty friends and supporters made their way to Kumla. Their first stop was a visit to the farm where the trio had been arrested. And, even though the police harassed and searched the activists in attempts to stop them, the forty made it to the farm and held a loud protest.

After leaving the farm, the supporters traveled to the court and managed to sit in on Kristofer Aberg's hearing. Noisy in allegiance with their comrade, they were thrown out of court. Not deterred, the support demo continued outside the courthouse for several hours. Support protests were also held in Gothenburg, Boras and Karlstad.

Additionally, in support of the three, the ALF raided a fox farm in Brunflo and released 70 foxes and the Wild Minks raided a mink farm in Forsheda and liberated approximately 300 mink. In Stockholm, a new group called the Avengers of the Fur-Bearing Animals, attacked 11 fur shops in one night, smashing many windows, spray-painting slogans and gluing locks.

After a few days, David was released. He not only admitted his involvement in the raids but also fingered Henrik and Kristofer. A few days later, Henrik began a hunger strike with two demands: the abolition of the fur trade and the release of Kristofer and himself.

Four days after announcing his hunger strike, Henrik was released with Kristofer following a few days later. Both have also confessed their part in the raids.

LATE BREAKING NEWS:

The 3 men had their trial on May 29 and were sentenced on June 5. Kristofer and David were given 4 months in jail and 16 year old Henrik will be turned over to the social authorities for "treatment". They are not in custody now and will likely be free while appealing to a higher court. We'll be sure to stay on top of this story in our "Urgent Updates" Section. For a more in-depth story, check out our Interview with Kristofer and Henrik.