Green Hell: Breeding Suffering and Death for Profit
On April 28, in Montichiari Italy, at 16: 15, in broad daylight, amidst a crowd of over 1,000 protestors, the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) of Italy broke into the compound of Green Hill laboratory animal breeders and liberated 27 beagles. It was a bold, brazen, defiant, act; but it was also risky and dangerous. And while some (animal) prisoners were freed, other (human) prisoners were taken. To understand their motivation, one must understand the banality of evil that unfolds day after day, hidden from sight, in the grim buildings of Green Hill.
Green Hill breeders is owned by an American firm, Marshall BioResources. Marshall is the largest breeder of dogs for the vivisection industry in the world, and one of its standard “products” is the “Marshall beagle” Not known for compassion or mercy for the innocent and defenseless, beagles are singled out for sadistic violence by the vivisection industry precisely because they are so loving, kind, and docile. with the purchase of Green Hill as the European headquarters and the construction of a huge farm in China, Marshall is pursuing a plan of expansion and market monopoly.
Green Hill is a facility that breeds dogs and other animals as the raw materials for vivisection laboratories to experiment on, to torture, and then to kill once their purposes have been served. Like every other breeder and supplier, Green Hill therefore prospers from misery and thrives on death. It exploits mothers to breed babies, which it then take away to torture and kill. Green Hill is the largest beagle breeding facility in Europe, and is currently estimated to have at least 2,500 adult dogs and countless litters of puppies-5,000 dog on site. The prisoners of Green Hill live in cages, row upon row, all enclosed in buildings devoid of open space, fresh air, and natural light. This is but a purgatory for the hell of laboratories awaiting them.
Each month more than 250 dogs are shipped to clients that include universities, pharmaceutical companies, and chemical testing giants including the notorious Huntingdon Life Sciences, one of the largest laboratory torture centers in Europe. As a special service to its customers, Green Hill will cut or remove the vocal cords of dogs so that vivisectors never have to hear the cries of their victims.
Blitz Green Hill!
On April 28, a 1000 people from across northern Italy converged on Green Hill, entering the compound after evading a cordon of police. Some activists had been there before, when, on October 14, 2011, a small group of Italian activists occupied the roof of the beagle delivery unit at Green Hill.
Dozens of protesters broke through or climbed over a steel fence, entered the property, infiltrated one of the breeding kennels, and grabbed 1 adult female beagle and about 30 puppies. The dogs were handed over the fence to the loving hands of waiting comrades, to be taken to loving volunteer homes, creating one of the most remarkable pictures of resistance in some time. Some protesters stated, however, that “all the animals had a strong smell of urine, and one puppy about 8 months old, has an incision that runs the full length of his abdomen,” an obvious sign it had already been experimented on.
While the dogs were rushed away, police broke through the barricade of protesters and arrested 12 activists. On April 30, the Green Hill 12 were released, as they await trial for “robbery” and whatever charges the vivisection industry and state throws at them. For now, they have only been ordered to stay out of Montichiari for two years.
Police also recaptured 3 puppies, brought them to various stations, and called Green Hill to arrange their return to the hell from which they enjoyed only a brief reprieve. Green Hill, however, responded that they had no use for the animals, given possible contamination once removed from their isolation in sterile laboratory cages. It appears, however, that they did take the animals, who for all intents and purposes are again targeted for torture and death.
While speciesist institutions and the law may define animals as nothing but property and resources to exploit for any purposes, clearly the more than two dozen dogs shuttled out of Green Hill were liberated, not stolen, as they were no one’s to own in the first place. The only thieves in this scenario own, operate, and labor for the vivisection-industrial complex. This nefarious institution initiates life only to end it in death, it steals babies from mothers, it takes away every pleasure or satisfaction that is animals’ inherent right to enjoy.
A Watershed Action
Despite the arrest of a dozen activists, and return of 7 or so dogs to death row, it would be absurd to criticize the action of April 28, 2012 as a “failure, “counter-productive,” or even as “violent” (!) — as “animal advocate” victims of the Stockholm Syndrome and pacifists who speak in the voice of the State superego would argue (see for instance, the ignorance paraded on the HSUS Genesis Awards forum: (http://genesisawards.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=48&t=7833). Tell 27 dogs who will never again be tortured and will now come to know joy rather than misery, freedom rather than slavery, that the action was a “failure” or error. Tell it to the Green Hill 12, all of whom knew the risks they were taking and will now assume the responsibility, as they have also earned world respect and merit full and constant support.
No, the April 28 raid on Green Hill was a clear victory and qualitatively advanced the Italian direct action tradition a giant leap forward. More generally, along with amazing Chinese activists who repeatedly have stopped trucks carrying hundreds of dogs to the slaughterhouse in order to liberate their captives, they have inspired countless thousands of people throughout the world. All those involved in this action have put the resistance and fighting spirit back into the meaning of animal rights, which means those who advocate for animals have a solemn DUTY to actively LIBERATE them by any means necessary.
Italian liberationists have awoken a pacified movement which has lost its nerve and cowers in fear of state repression for advancing the general cause of freedom and the struggle for moral progress. They have shed a critical light on the vivisection industry and no doubt have raised consciousness of the horrors and fraud of animal experimentation to a worldwide audience of people blissfully ignorant of the suffering and death that goes into every product, noxious chemical, and drug tested for market sales. They have reminded us what it is to be bold, they have breathed life back into a moribund movement that the planet and all its life forms cannot survive without.
5 of the lucky puppies freed in the Green Hill rescue
Resources and Information
View media video here.
For excellent coverage and updates, see the Occupy for Animals site.
For a partial list of animal advocacy groups and the recent history of animal rights/liberation actions in Italy, see here.
Actions and Events
International Day of Action to Close Down Green Hill (Tuesday, May 8)