Open Vs Masked Rescue

This post should not be taken as inciting any form of illegal action, it is merely supposed to inspire debate about different activism tactics.


An Open Rescue is when activists rescue animals from places of violence, while not hiding their faces or identities. It is different from liberations carried out by groups like the Animal Liberation Front, in that those activists hide their faces and their identities. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. Open Rescues may make activists more relatable, and less likely to be labeled as radicals and terrorists by the public, and able to talk openly about what they saw in these places,  and make people

more sympathetic to the animals, but there are some things the ALF does that they cant. Open rescues generally don’t involve property damage, except maybe breaking a window or lock to access the animals. The ALF believes property damage makes animal abuse more expensive and therefore less desirable. Both forms of activism are called terrorism by the corporations that profit from the abuse of animals, even though both take a stance against physical violence against any human or non-human life. Open Rescues are usually carried out at factory farms, with a few exceptions. Masked rescues have taken place at fur farms, factory farms, laboratories and slaughterhouses, although this form of rescue has been around for longer.

Some Examples:

In April 2013, six activists from The Dutch Affiliate of the Anti-Vivisection Coalition liberated six beagles from a laboratory animal supplier in an open rescue.

In May 1984, the Animal Liberation Front removed hours of video tapes from the University of Pennsylvania , shot by the experimenters themselves, depicting horrific animal abuse. One person even commented “You better hope the anti-vivisection people don’t get a hold of this film.” As the lead experimenter had previously said in an interview that inviting the media into his lab would create ‘unnecessary fuss’, after the ALF sent the video to PETA, they cheekily named the video ‘Unnecessary Fuss’. The resulting outcry prompted the severing of NIH funds to the lab, and the experiments on baboons ended, though were started again years later on rodents and pigs.


Animal Equality rescued six hens from a ‘free range’ farm.

In 2004, the Animal Liberation Front liberated 401 mice and rats from the University of Iowa:

On August 3, 2015, The animal rights group Tomma Burar (Empty Cages) conducted the first open rescue of pigs in Sweden:

June 30 2015- the ALF liberates 120 hens from a farm in England. This was the anonymous communique: “120 battery hens liberated from a farm unit in norfolk, england, all hens have now been rehomed to caring homes where they can live out the rest of their lives free from fear and abuse. until all are free”

In January 2015, Direct Action Everywhere Rescues, Mei Hua, a chicken from a so called ‘humane’ farm.

In November 2015, Direct Action Everywhere rescues a few turkeys from another ‘humane’ farm:

Recommended reading/viewing:

  1. (Documentary) Behind the Mask-The Story of People Who Risk Everything to Save Animals,
  2. (Documentary) Angels of Mercy,
  3. (Documentary) the Ghosts in Our Machine, (trailer)
  4. (Book) Until Every Animal is Free by Saryta Rodriguez( can be found on Amazon)
  5. (Book) From Dusk ’til Dawn: An Insider’s View of the Growth of the Animal Liberation Movement By Keith Mann (available on amazon)
  6. (Book) Free the Animals by Ingrid Newkirk (available at online peta store at or amazon)
  7. ( Book) Striking at the Roots: A Practical Guide to Animal Activism by Mark Hawthorne (available on amazon)
  8. (Book) Until All Are Free: The Story of the Swedish Animal Liberation Front,
  9. (Book)Terrorists or Freedom Fighters? Reflections on the Liberation of Animals by Anthony J. Nocella II and Steven Best Ph.D. (amazon)
  10. (Book) Green is the New Red: An Insider’s Account of a Social Movement Under Siege  By Will Potter (Amazon)


















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