Behind The Mask: The Story of The People Who Risk Everything to Save Animals
Behind the Mask, a film documentary written, directed and produced by animal rights attorney Shannon Keith, thoughtfully and candidly exposes the real people behind the animal liberation front movement who speak up for and are willing to break the law for animals—and shows the real-life footage of cruelty done to animals in research laboratories, industrial factory farms, fur farms, slaughterhouses, and inside animal shelters. Through undercover footage Keith reveals the extent to which these individuals will go to save the lives of animals and stop their suffering.
Winner of numerous awards, the film explores the history of the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) through interviews with ALF activists who reveal why they are so passionate about liberating animals by carrying out direct action against animal abuse. To gain a broader perspective, Keith also interviews media reporters, journalists, medical doctors, laboratory researchers, moralists and ethicists, laboratory technicians, undercover investigators, a rock star, and even a trauma surgeon—people from all walks of life and vocations that advocate against the deliberate pain, abuse and suffering forced onto animals in businesses that profit from their suffering.
The shocking irony, as Keith points out, is none of these individual people or groups have ever hurt a person or animal, yet the people that are torturing, maiming, exploiting and killing animals by shocking numbers everyday—somehow have the law on their side and make every effort to persecute, punish and imprison animal rights activists only trying to stop animal suffering.
Length of Film: 70 minutes
Film Premiered: 2006
Watch The Film
Rent or Buy on Amazon
More about the Animal Liberation Front
Interview with Shannon Keith on Striking at the Roots
Interview with Shannon Keith on Animal Liberation Front
Video of Shannon Keith Talking about Activism and Filmmaking
What You Can Do
- Educate Yourself – about the issues involved, and take personal action – become a vegan, shop cruelty-free products only, don’t buy anything that comes from an animal, invest with a conscience, don’t attend entertainment that uses animals, etc.
- Spread the Word – Get vocal and speak out against all or any forms of animal cruelty by voicing it publicly – talk to friends and family; write letters to lawmakers and newspapers; write articles; take videos and expose them; lead a boycott or publicly boycott a company/product; do leafleting or tabling; picket, demonstrate and protest companies.
- Volunteer Your Time – to an animal rights related organization, and get active.
- Found an Animal Rights Organization, Website, Activist Group
- Get Involved in Politics or the Law – Become an animal rights advocate/activist by running for political office or become an animal rights attorney.
- Civil Disobedience – Assert the rights of animals through direct action, sit-ins, occupations, and more.
Animal Liberation Front Guidelines
- Liberate Animals from places of abuse
- Inflict economic damage on those who profit from the exploitation of Animals
- Reveal atrocities committed against Animals
- Take all precautions against harming any animal, human and non-human Animal
Quotes from the Film
“Change comes about through radical factions.” ~ Animal Activist
“There are very few laws in place that protects animals in these places.” ~ Animal Activist
“The FBI calls the Animal Liberation Front the #1 Domestic Terrorist Organization.”
“They call us terrorists. But no one in our movement has ever hurt a living thing. I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t try to change things. I’ve spent half my life feeling such pain for the animals, and the other half such hate, that people can make money out of the extreme suffering of animals that are innocent creatures and have done nothing to them. And we have a government that is so uncivilized saying we’re the enemy.” ~ Animal Activist
“I completely support what the ALF does. The ALF are my heroes; these people are risking their own freedom to save lives. It’s about saving lives, and this is what I believe in.” ~ Rock singer, John Feldmann
“ALF is not an organization, it’s anyone willing that takes action to help animals, despite that action being classified as illegal at this time. It’s the modern day underground railroad for animals. The ALF gets animals out of labs, they literally put them through the underground railway, to get them needed veterinary care and find safe homes for them. And they take no personal credit for it.” ~ Kevin Jonas
“The animal abuses that are taking place inside the industrial farms, the laboratories, the slaughterhouses—I was so offended by the cruelty, that’s not how I was brought up. We all desperately want to change the world legally, but that’s not how it’s run. We could write to the business and ask them to change, but it’s just not going to happen. We want to end animal cruelty. It’s about taking some personal action to make a difference.” ~ Keith Mann
“Human beings aren’t the only individuals experiencing pain and suffering, the more I knew about our relationship with animals, and what we’re doing to them, the more distressing it became to realize that no one is addressing the pain and suffering they’re being subjected to, because pain and suffering is pain and suffering, no matter what organism you’re talking about.” ~ Dr. Rich McLellan, Emergency Medical Physician
“There is no good justification to believe that we are superior to animals. Now it’s true that they can’t design a spaceship, but we can’t run like the wind either. When we take that next qualitative leap in our own moral evolution, then we will see that we have evolved as people.” ~ Steven Best, PhD in Philosophy
“The ALF is a compassionate movement; it’s made up of people who really care and are very willing to put their lives and freedom on the line to save animals. Unfortunately, those people that are torturing animals and are fighting for laws that keep animals being exploited—are very violent people. And we’ve seen that, when they have hurt and killed human beings in the movement.” ~ Shannon Keith, Filmmaker
“If we don’t take action, no one will hear the cries of these animals, no one will see the destruction of the Earth, no one will hear about what is really happening.” ~ Rod Coronado, Started Operation Bite Back
“The media owes it to the American citizens to show them what is really going on in the laboratories, if there’s nothing wrong with it, why is it so hard and impossible to get the images on camera or show the images on mainstream TV? What are they hiding?” ~ Jane Velez-Mitchell, TV Journalist
“In this capitalist society, all a lab has to do is call Charles River Labs and they will have more lab animals next week, so we needed to resort to arson.” ~ Animal Activist
“My title was an associate technician when I was hired. Soon I was holding the animal for dosing, and restraining them for some of the more painful experiments. Testing methods are confined to well-known methods including: Oral gavage where a tube is shoved down their throat; or a tube is pushed up the nose; there’s dermal abrasion when the chemical is applied to the skin; substances can be put into their eyes; substances can be injected into the rectum or vagina; substances are intravenously injected into their body; and substances are inhaled. ~ Michele Rokke, Undercover Investigator
“If I could have saved anyone, I wish I could have saved James. He was a primate that came from China through a broker in North Carolina. He was different, he was so connected to me. The other primates were completely terrified and freaked out, scared, they had been experimented on and would run to the back of the cage. But James was new and he was accustomed to people. But I saw him change so radically when the testing started, he became much more submissive, I had compromised his trust – like everyone else who did terrible things to him. While there were so many animals I wish, I could have gotten out (James) … crying.” ~ Michele Rokke, Undercover Investigator
“As a physician in trauma, I see a lot of suffering every day. It makes me more acutely aware of an animal’s suffering. I did a year of lab research that was completely wasted, it’s not useful because the physiology is so different from human beings. The research just doesn’t apply. We always asked, why are we studying animals? It doesn’t tell us anything about human beings. No matter how many rats, mice, dogs, or primates the research was done on—we know that we can’t extrapolate the results done on animals—to humans. It’s ridiculous to think we’re depending on animal research, and applying it to a human being is ridiculous.” ~ Dr. Jerry Vlasak, Trauma Surgeon in LA
“When the mainstream media refuses to show the images that expose what is going on in factory farms and laboratories—it creates a social force that could lead some people to extreme behavior.” ~ Jane Velez-Mitchell
“Every year a billion animals die so we can eat their dead bodies; so we can skin them and wear them; let us entertain us; and all we need to do is be polite and patient, and practice politics and change will come—well change has never, ever happened. No social justice movement has changed this way.” ~ Animal Activist
“In the history of the world, what all social movements have in common, is that they face government and community repression, including arrest, imprisonment, and FBI and CIA investigations.” ~ Shannon Keith
“Stop the suffering of these animals. These animals are suffering horrible deaths as their bodies are mutilated, their limbs are severed, their skin is burned, they’re poisoned to death with awful substances—and I think it’s incumbent upon us to say this is enough—enough is enough. This is not helping humans and it’s causing horrific suffering to animals.” ~ Dr. Jerry Vlasak
“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible, will make violent revolution inevitable.” ~ John F. Kennedy
“One person can make a difference. Definitely can make a difference. With more people doing it, we can make a real difference for the animals.” ~ Captain Paul Watson, the Sea Shepard
“Do something, don’t just be upset about it—get active, make it change—because it will change eventually. The only question is when.” ~ Ingrid Newkirk
“We can all achieve animal liberation in our living rooms and in our kitchen, just by taking the money away from these companies that are abusing these animals.” ~
“Go out, fight, stop it – we’ve got to stop it!” ~ Animal Activist
- Directed, Written and Produced by Shannon Keith
- Edited by Sandra Mohr
- Co-Produced by Ramy Hassan
- Additional Editing by John Curtin
By Uncaged Films, Copyright 2006 – All Rights Reserved
- Melanie Arnold
- Steven Best, PhD.
- Mel Broughton
- Rod Coronado
- John Curtin
- Chris DeRose
- John Feldmann
- Kevin Jonas
- Ronnie Lee
- Keith Mann
- Rich McLellan, M.D.
- Ingrid Newkirk
- Nancy Phipps
- Michele Rokke
- Jane Velez-Mitchell
- Jerry Vlasak, M.D.
- Captain Paul Watson