Camille Marino is the founder and Senior Editor of Negotiation is Over and is on the Advisors and Speakers Panel of the North American Animal Liberation Press Office. NIO strives to be an instrument of defiance, disruption, disobedience, subversion, creative and aggressive grassroots action, and a catalyst for revolutionary change. NIO’s belief is that “Total liberation — human animals, nonhuman animals, and the earth — will not happen by politely asking abusers to be decent.”
Camille and many of her above-ground activist allies recently made a decisive break from vegans who are content to alleviate their own guilt through personal veganism and baking vegan goodies. Several activists in NIO Florida (her local grassroots group) — as well as many national and international associates — are now targeting biomed students who are on their way to becoming animal experimenters, on the assumption that there is still hope to change them before they become entrenched in careers involving animal exploitation and prolonged animal suffering.
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NIO has also gained notoriety by advocating violence against those who are so entrenched, though Camille has remained non-violent in her approach.
Does simply eating a vegan diet and not buying animal products do anything for animals?
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In order to be an ethical and decent human being, one must be vegan. There is no gray area here. You are either vegan or you are complicit in the war on animals.
But, no, being an ethical vegan does absolutely nothing to relieve animal suffering. In the real world “free market,” when demand for meat/eggs/dairy declines, the government subsidizes a given exploitation industry and buys any excess supply of animal products, thus ensuring that the suppliers’ profits as well as the economy remain intact. The government buys the surplus and generally diverts it into schools and welfare programs or the surplus is exported to other countries to satisfy federal debt.
I believe that we are wasting enormous amounts of the vegan community’s time and energy by advocating vegan outreach. The animals are dying in exponentially greater numbers.
Why does Negotiation is Over focus on vivisection more than factory farming and the meat, diary and egg industries?
There are many activists associated with NIO who are doing everything from targeting hunters/trappers to launching creative and aggressive campaigns against slaughterhouses.
Personally, I focus on vivisection because in my community the University of Florida is a beacon of institutional animal torture. More importantly, it is where I believe I will realize my greatest impact. It’s a mistake to choose campaigns simply because they’re available. We need to direct our energies where we can realize quantifiable gains and seize victories and we need to be willing to adapt and evolve our tactics and approach. It is clear to me that animal liberation demands that we subvert and undermine the foundation upon which animal abuse rests in universities. That means biomed students need to be dealt with now before they become fully-entrenched professional sadists.
Were you immediately interested in direct action, or did you start off as a standard consumerist vegan?
I was a necrovore until the age of 43. I was looking for information on adopting a vegetarian diet to lose weight when I found an undercover video of a dairy farm. I immediately went vegan. That was January 2008. I never made a conscious decision one way or another to analyze or theorize about direct action. Those things are irrelevant to me. I saw atrocities that demand a response. I am still learning how to respond effectively and, when we’re talking about a literal and bloody war, the schools of thought that reject direct action are ludicrous.
Could you explain the term “necrovore” for people who haven’t heard it?
A necrovore is one who eats dead things.
Why have you distanced yourself from vegans who are content to avoid animal products but do not support direct action?
I think it’s fair to say that those who are pushing aggressive action are highly disturbed by our peers who are content to do nothing but bake vegan cupcakes. And I think it’s also fair to say that the vegan potluckers have little else to do except exchange recipes and discuss how aggressive actions are destroying the movement. It’s kind of like oil and water. There’s no conscious distancing; we just don’t mix. I’ve made earnest efforts to associate and work with vegan potluckers and encourage activism in the street. With a few exceptions that I can count on one hand, consumerist vegans find the idea of activism offensive.
You are currently seeking information on biomed students in an attempt to turn them against animal abuse. How successful has this campaign been so far?
I know of five vivisection students who abandoned their career aspirations when this tactic was announced a couple of months ago. Those five small victories are the foundation upon which this campaign is built.
What have you done to get the vivisectors to change and turn against animal abuse? How do you see these tactics getting more sophisticated in the future?
Vivisectors have no incentive to change their minds because they feel safe and secure. Entrenched within their institutions of torture, they are generously compensated for their crimes against animals. I don’t know how to reach into that dynamic effectively and stop them. That’s why we see anonymous activists turning to firebombs, home invasions, or any other form of retribution demanded by these war crimes.
I am under no illusions about being unable to penetrate their fortresses as an above-ground activist. What I can do, however, is shatter their sense of privacy, safety and complacency outside of their labs, by exposing them where they live, where they worship, where their kids go to school and where they gather for festive occasions. Abusers should get used to having their atrocities exposed and I will do everything in my power to shatter their peace of mind.
What would you say to people who refer to your tactics as terrorism?
We need to define my tactics in order to put this question in perspective. I “threaten” abusers with truth and exposure. That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less. If I publish a baker’s picture along with his name and address, and then proceed to go door-to-door and leaflet his neighbors about the variety of cupcakes he bakes, would you call me a terrorist? Then, when I take the exact same scenario and apply it to vivisectors, what is fundamentally different? Information is neutral. How people react to that information is subjective.
Those who call me a terrorist generally fall into one of two categories: (1) they are the oppressors who use the inflammatory and highly-charged term to discredit any activist that challenges the status quo or the capitalist infrastructure or (2) they are the mindless masses who mimic buzz words because it’s easier than forming a coherent thought in between TV commercials.
If I am a terrorist, what do we call a person who imprisons, tortures, mutilates and murders countless innocent begins while forcing them to live their entire miserable lives in a state of terror?
In your FAQ, you wrote: “I unequivocally support violence if it will stop the violent. Most people agree that a human child is worthy of protection. If an innocent baby were being tortured, it is perfectly justified to stop the aggressor by employing any necessary degree of force. This is simple american jurisprudence. There is no debate and anyone who rescued the child would be deemed a hero, not a violent or unstable individual. Activists who are unwilling to admit that nonhuman animals are worthy of ‘extensional self-defense’ must recognize their own latent speciesism. I understand that there are an infinite number of ramifications including consequent mainstream reactions. It is all irrelevant and I am not being simplistic or naive. If a human is worthy of protection, then so is a nonhuman. Period.” And an NIO entry once included the line, “Every time a vivisector’s car or home — and, eventually, the abuser him/herself — blows up, flames of liberation light up the sky.” Does this mean you support the killing of animal abusers?
Yes, I do.
Just so people know if they are potential targets, what defines an animal abuser? Do you mean slaughterhouse workers and vivisectors — those directly doing the killing — or does financially supporting those industries make one an animal abuser too?
Abusers are those who actively torture, murder and exploit the innocent.
Why has there not been a John Brown-like figure killing vivisectors and factory farmers in the name of the animals? If animal lives are as worthy of defense as human lives, presumably it would be worth killing some guilty humans to save many more innocent animals. Are vegans speciesists who ultimately believe it is worse to kill a human than an animal?
Apathy is apathy — let’s not confuse it with speciesism.
There’s a very famous case back in New York where a woman named Kitty Genovese was raped and murdered on the streets of Queens while her neighbors watched from their windows. No one intervened, no one defended her, and, most tellingly, not a single call was placed to 9-1-1 as she lay dying… a NOT unique example of human nature at its finest! Vegans are no different.
When one becomes vegan, the components of his/her personality remain unchanged. If one was complacent, apathetic and timid as a necrovore, then s/he brings those same traits to the vegan community. The only difference is that, given that vegans must now respond to a raging holocaust, many want to absolve themselves of responsibility by adopting an ideology of pacifism (not passive resistance) that, in their theoretical moral bubble, justifies and excuses their abhorrent inaction. They’re wrong!
The question about John Brown raises some confounding and disturbing issues for me. I believe we will see a John Brown just like the anti-abortionist movement celebrates Scott Roeder.
Thus far, this is a discussion that I have only had with my closest allies in extremely private exchanges. But the fact of the matter is that if one witnesses an animal being tortured or murdered, there is only one appropriate response — one is morally obligated to intervene and neutralize the offender by any means necessary. I believe this with every fiber of my being. Yet, when I was still finding my footing as an activist, I visited a slaughterhouse and, using falsified credentials and a phony agenda, I was granted access to film an early-morning murder spree.
I arrived with a camera. I was so unprepared that my batteries died at about the moment the first victim succumbed. I watch a young, scared cow being guided with an electric prod through the obstacle course that led to her death. She was crying. She was terrified. She was in pain. Her eyes met mine. I stood there with a camera and filmed this beautiful, innocent animal’s unimaginable torment and inevitable bloody murder. I continued to film. On that day I became complicit in the holocaust, more so than I ever was as an unenlightened meateater. My actions were not brave or courageous. They were cowardly. And this divergence between thoughts and actions continues to disturb me greatly — it continues to disturb many of us. I think it’s time we discussed it openly.
I can tell you that some activists have expressed to me a desire to end their lives because they are so overwhelmed and frustrated. My only response is that if one is going to end their own suffering, it would be an admirable act if they took as many abusers as possible with them.
It’s only a matter of time.