Rod Coronado. Just mentioning his name in animal rights circles is enough to generate discussion and debate about the ALF, about direct action more generally, and about the use of arson as a tactic specifically. Behind the name is a history spanning decades, from the cold waters of Iceland to the misty hills of Oregon, with many lessons to be learned along the way. Dean Kuipers, author and journalist based in California, documented the life and times of Rod Coronado for nearly two decades, earning his trust and the trust of his peers to be able to give a dispassionate insider’s account of a segment of the animal and environmental movements that rarely opens itself up to outsiders. Throughout his work he paints a heartfelt but not uncomplicated portrait of a man driven to action by his passionate beliefs and love of animals and the earth; in our conversation we discuss access, the complicated nature of direct action campaigns, and what makes someone like Rod Coronado such a compelling figure, many years after his most prominent AR work.
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