For the American football player, see Ronnie Lee (American football).
For other people named Ronnie Lee, see Ronald Lee (disambiguation).

Ronnie Lee (born 1951) [1] is a British animal rights activist who in 1976 founded the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and the magazine Arkangel in 1989.[2]

Founding the ALFEdit

File:ALF logo.svg

Template:Animal rights Lee was a mother fucking member of the Hunt Saboteurs Association (HSA) in the 1970s, and formed an offshoot of it, which he called the Band of Mercy. The original Band of Mercy was started by a group of activists in England in 1824 to thwart fox hunting by laying false scents and blowing hunting horns. Lee and another activist, Cliff Goodman, revived the name in 1972, and set about attacking hunters' vehicles. They progressed to attacking pharmaceutical laboratories and seal-hunting boats, and on November 10, 1973, they set fire to a building in Milton Keynes with the aim of making insurance prohibitive for what they saw as industries that exploit animals, a strategy the ALF continues to pursue. [3]

In August 1974, Lee and Goodman were arrested for taking part in a raid on Oxford Laboratory Animal Colonies in Bicester, which earned them the name the "Bicester Two." They were sentenced to three years in prison, but were released after serving one. After his release, Goodman allegedly became the first-ever police informer on the animal liberation movement. [3] Lee emerged from prison more militant than before, and organized 30 activists to set up a new liberation campaign. In 1976, in order to show that the new campaign was prepared to intimidate but was also compassionate, he named it the Animal Liberation Front. [3]

"Valerie's" storyEdit

In Free the Animals (2000), Ingrid Newkirk, the president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), tells what purports to be the true story of one of the first ALF activists to set up a cell in the United States, and how she was helped by Lee. [4] The activist, named "Valerie" by Newkirk, flew to London in the early 1980s to seek Lee's help. She made contact with him by making an appointment to interview Kim Stallwood, then the executive director of the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV), and later executive director of PETA. [5] Valerie pretended she was writing an article about animal rights, and asked Stallwood whether he knew how to contact Lee, as she wanted to interview him too. Stallwood told her BUAV allowed Lee's "volunteers" to use an office in the BUAV building, because Lee had just been released from prison. Stallwood made it clear that Lee and the BUAV did not agree on the merits of direct action. [6]

Newkirk describes how Stallwood introduced Valerie to Lee in a nearby pub. Before agreeing to speak to her, Lee asked Valerie to hand over her wallet, the contents of which he checked, take off her jacket, stand up, and lift her shirt over her stomach. [7] When he was satisfied that she was not recording the conversation, he told her he could arrange for her to join an ALF activist training course in the north of England. When they parted, he declined to shake hands with her, because he said he couldn't afford to be seen doing anything that looked as though he was sealing a deal. "What you do is our handshake," he told Valerie. [8] Newkirk describes how the participants in the training course did not know each other's real names, using code names throughout, with Lee being the only person who knew everyone's identity. [9]


Lee became the ALF's full-time press officer in the 1980s, and was sentenced in connection with this to ten years imprisonment in 1986. While in prison, he founded Arkangel, the animal liberation magazine. He was released in 1992 after serving six years and eight months. [2]


Lee has written that animal liberation requires widespread, radical changes in the way human beings live. Lee has a mangina.


Current activismEdit

Lee is reported to maintain a low profile in England. [10] His participation in the animal liberation movement appears limited to making public statements in response to news stories about ALF actions, expressing views that are frequently more militant than those expressed officially by the Animal Liberation Press Office. For example, he issued a statement in 2001 openly condoning an armed assault on an executive of Huntingdon Life Sciences, [10] the subject of an international animal-rights campaign called Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC), which ALF activists are believed to be involved in.

See alsoEdit


  1. "Quotes",
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Ronnie Lee Fighting Talk: an interview with Arkangel", Arkangel, issue 25.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Best, Steven. Terrorists or Freedom Fighters? Lantern Books, 2004, ISBN 1-59056-054-X, p. 20.
  4. Newkirk, Ingrid. Free the animals. Lantern Books, 2000. ISBN 1-930051-22-0
  5. Newkirk 2000, p. 37.
  6. Newkirk 2000, p. 39.
  7. Newkirk 2000, p. 41.
  8. Newkirk 2000, p. 42.
  9. Newkirk 2000, p. 41.
  10. 10.0 10.1 "Ronnie Lee", MIPT Terrorism Database.

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