Ronnie Lee was an avid meat-eater up until the age of 19, when his sister`s vegetarian boyfriend convinced him that it was wrong to eat animals, because we could live perfectly healthily without doing so. Two years later Ronnie became a vegan, after learning about the suffering and slaughter involved in the production of eggs and dairy products. He also became involved in various animal protection campaigns, especially the Hunt Saboteurs Association.
Ronnie very quickly became concerned that the tactics of traditional animal protection organizations were failing to stem the tide of animal persecution, so he got together with several other like-minded people to form a group called the Band of Mercy, in order to carry out direct action against all forms of animal abuse.
The group carried out a series of attacks, involving property damage, against hunting and the vivisection industry, but in 1974 Ronnie and a fellow activist were arrested and eventually sentenced to 3 years imprisonment for arson and criminal damage.
In 1976 the Band of Mercy changed its name to the Animal Liberation Front and an influx of new activists caused the number of ALF actions to increase considerably. Ronnie became involved in these actions and in 1977 was imprisoned once again, this time for a 12 month term.
When Ronnie came out of prison, he took on the role of ALF Press Officer and, in connection with this, he was arrested, yet again, in 1986 and sentenced the following year to 10 years imprisonment for conspiracy to damage property connected with animal abuse.
Ronnie was released in 1992 and decided to devote his time to doing information stalls to persuade the public to oppose the exploitation of other animals. Then, in 1997, he became heavily involved in campaigning against the greyhound racing industry and this continued until last year, when he turned his attention to vegan outreach activities.
He is now actively involved in a number of local vegan outreach and animal protection groups and is a founder member of a recently launched network called Encouraging Vegan Education, which aims to encourage and assist the formation and effective operation of local vegan outreach groups in towns and cities where such groups don`t already exist.
From the ALF to vegan education