Why do laboratory liberations?
A: Laboratory liberations are essential
in the war against vivisection.
Education and economic sabotage save animals'
lives in the long run, but liberating animals from laboratories or other places
of abuse is the only way to save animals' lives now. Laboratory liberations are
among the most complex and risky actions an activist may undertake. For these
reasons, planning and preparation are the most important steps in this type of
Q: How do you select a target?
A: There are a number of
different criteria that a cell may use in selecting one target over another for
a liberation or other action. The type of experiments going on, known security
weaknesses, or homes arranged for a certain type of animal are all criteria that
may influence an activist's decision. Because local law enforcement will always
look into the local activist networks first when investigating a liberation it
is a good idea to pick labs that are not in the same area where you live (especially
if you're known in the community as an animal rights activist), or even in the
same state or province.
Q: How do you find out what kind of experiments
(and on what kind of animals) are going on inside the lab?
avenues are going to be different depending on what type of institution you are
targeting. Some general rules for information searches do apply, though you will
have to do some of your own research that is specific to your area and target.
Vivisectors themselves publish amazing amounts of information. Some places
that you might go to find some of their information include: university libraries,
published research sources such as scientific and medical journals, the world
wide web, medical school catalogs, CRISP abstracts, annual reports, USDA inspection
reports, Medline, APHIS databases, ICAR databases and media reports.
avenue for finding out information on government institutions, including universities,
is through Freedom of Information requests. Legislation on the right to access
information varies from state to state and province to province so you will have
to find out what information you have the "right" to in your area. An
important note: if you are going to use this information to plan a liberation,
do not place the request in your own name or to your own address. Records of information
requests are kept, and could be used to trace you to the action. Also be advised
that F.O.I.A. requests can take several months to be processed.
of good online resources for learning more about vivisection are:
INVESTIGATING ANIMAL RESEARCH - A brief guide
API's Useful Tools for Investigating
Q: What kind of preparation (reconnaissance) do
you need to do before the action?
A: Because laboratory liberations are
high-risk actions, the more preparation, the better.
After selecting your
target, you must become as familiar with it as possible. Watch your target for
many nights and days over a long period of time so that you can get a good idea
of security on site: patrols and police response, staff and student activity,
shift changes, other activity in the area, surrounding neighbors, and other factors.
Keeping extensive written information of all of the above will help in the planning
of the action.
It is preferable to have maps of the entire area, including
road, topographical and aerial if possible. Maps can be obtained in university
and city libraries. In addition, blueprints of the targeted building can sometimes
be obtained in city or university libraries. Over the period that you do reconnaissance
on the site, you should also draw your own maps including any features that you
think are significant to your action including escape routes.
up a detailed action plan, leave nothing to chance. Figure out every step in the
action and be certain that everyone in the cell is familiar and comfortable with
the plan beforehand.
At least once before the action, your cell should
go through a dry run that approximates the conditions you will face as closely
as possible. This means that you should try to do the "rehearsal" on
the same day of the week, at the same time that your action is planned for. This
may include going right into the lab to copy documents, check types and number
of animals, and to look for other features that may help or hinder the liberation.
Obviously, you should always have a contingency plan in place in case something
goes wrong. It should be clear to everyone what the plan of action will be should
you come into contact with security officers, police, students or staff on the
scene. Know which way you will escape, if you will act as a group or alone, and
where you will meet afterwards.
Some good online resources for planning
your action include:
MapQuest allows you to look up and print maps of the
area that your target exists in.
TerraServer has arial and sa images for most
of the USA and some other areas.
Q: How do you get into a lab?
Obviously, there are many ways to enter a building, and which method you choose
will depend upon the security of the building that you have targeted. Forcing
doors, cutting through doors, picking and drilling locks, forcing or breaking
windows, and accessing ventilation systems are all means by which you may enter
the building. Roofs, and interior or exterior walls may also be cut or drilled
through for entry.
Q: What arrangements need to be made for the care of
animals following the raid (short term and long term - vet care, safehouses, homes,
A: The most important part of a liberation is finding
loving homes for the animals. Aside from the actual entry group, another set of
people may be required for this task. NEVER liberate an animal that you have not
found a good home for. Liberated animals should be placed in homes of people not
associated with your group, and possibly not even associated with the movement
at all. Once animals are taken, police will be looking for them, so they have
to be placed somewhere police will not look, preferably well away from the area
where the laboratory is located.
After being liberated, an animal should
be completely checked over by a trusted veterinarian or other experienced animal
caregiver. Special homes may be needed for some animals considering you may be
liberating animals not normally kept as pets, or with special conditions inflicted
upon them by the abusers. The majority of large lab animals are tattooed, may
have implants, have organs or other body parts removed, or may be very ill and/or
As was said, liberations are often highly complex, requiring
a number of people and a huge amount of planning. You will need people responsible
for finding homes for animals, researching and planning the raid, lookouts, breaking
in, carriers - people to get the animals out, and drivers, as well as someone
to coordinate the whole thing.
Q: How can one ensure they do maximum damage
when destroying equipment?
A: Maximum damage to equipment and laboratory
facilities can be done by a variety of means including use of paint, brute force,
acid, water and/or fire. Your choice of method will depend on the facility itself,
how much noise you will be able to make without being heard, whether there are
animals being left behind, whether other humans in the building could be put at
risk, and your own judgment of the situation.
Slogans may be spray painted
on walls and other surfaces. Buckets of paint can be emptied anywhere inside the
Brute force may include damage done using just the physical body as
well as tools such as bolt cutters, hammers, crowbars, drills and other implements
of destruction. Not all equipment is of high value - in order to choose your targets
for maximum financial loss, familiarize yourself with equipment costs through
vivisection industry magazines like Lab Animal and laboratory supply company catalogs.
Lots of easy damage can be done using water and water sources in the building.
Running water while stopping up sinks, toilets and other drainage areas is a quick
way to do extensive water damage to a building. In larger buildings, it is best
to do this on the top floor so that damage is done to all floors below.
lot of financial damage can be done quickly to equipment and paper files with
the use of strong acid. Any strength of sulphuric acid will work (battery acid
is weak sulphuric acid), muriatic acid will also work in a pinch.
can also be an effective tool in destroying facilities. Your choice to use this
tactic will depend on many things including the presence of animal and human life
in the building, adjoining facilities that may be put at risk, environmental danger
due to fire, and the comfort level of all cell members in setting the fire.
What kind of security measures need to be taken with regards to slogans and video,
A: Obviously, you don't want to "personalize" your action
by leaving behind clues that could help investigators. When planning what to wear
to an action, make sure that your clothes can be disposed of (including your shoes),
and that hair and hands are covered throughout the action. You do not want to
leave fingerprints or DNA in the form of hair strands or other organic matter
at the scene of the liberation. When painting slogans, make sure that they are
done in straight, block letters and that paint purchases cannot be traced back
Make sure that as much of your body as possible is covered, especially
the face and hand area in case of video surveillance. Wear a balaclava and gloves
and make sure that all distinguishing marks such as tattoos are not exposed in
any way. Be aware that video footage may reveal height, weight, sex and body shape.
For further security and other tips, see NC #13's Focus Section on Direct
Action, p. 13.