Keith Mann is a British animal rights campaigner and writer, alleged by police in 2005 to be at the top of the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) movement. He is the author of From Dusk 'til Dawn (2007), and acted as a spokesman for the ALF.
In 1994, Mann was sentenced to 14 years' imprisonment as the result of a 1991 arrest for conspiracy to set meat lorries on fire. After an escape from custody, he was found by police working in an animal sanctuary run by the Celia Hammond Animal Trust, which had employed him unaware of who he was.
He has since turned his attention to mainstream politics, and stood unsuccessfully for parliament in the Oxford West and Abingdon constituency for the Animal Protection Party in the May 2010 general election.
Mann was raised in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, by his father, who worked as a caretaker, and his mother, Doreen, whom he describes as having done "everything else".
He writes in From Dusk 'Til Dawn that his lasting memory of his first job, on a dairy farm, is the cows crying out all day searching for the calves that had been removed from them. He first came into contact with animal rights activists in 1982, when local hunt saboteurs were handing out leaflets in the street. His first removal of an animal from captivity was when he took a rabbit from a hutch that he used to walk past every day, after having asked the owner for weeks to do something about the rabbit's situation. He writes that this incident changed his view of theft forever, and that he thereafter viewed himself as a "proud ALF activist." His next removal was of a tub of goldfish from a fairground, resulting in him having 53 goldfish in his bath for weeks until he found good ponds for them.
Mann was first arrested on 15 October 1991 after being accused of planning to set a number of meat lorries on fire, to protest the treatment of chickens in factory farms.
On 13 December 2003 Mann and another activist who remains unidentified entered Wickham Laboratories and removed 695 mice being used to test botulinum toxin, sold commercially as Botox and Dysport. He was arrested at his home and the mice were returned to the laboratory. He argued that the tests were illegal because the product was being tested for cosmetic purposes, which is banned in Britain. The Southern Animal Rights Coalition also received paperwork which they say demonstrates cosmetic Botox was being tested on animals. A court rejected Mann's defence, ruling that the tests were in compliance with UK regulations, because Botox is also used for therapeutic purposes to prevent muscle spasm. In April 2005 he was found guilty of burglary and given 230 hours community service. On leaving the court, he threatened a director of the company, telling him: "Your trouble has only just started, you will need to look under your bed", which led to a charge of contempt of court and six months in custody, which he served in Winchester Prison.
In 2007 Mann was involved in Gateway to Hell, a campaign aimed at airports, ports and freight firms importing animals for experimentation. The National Extremism Tactical Co-ordination Unit believed the group was linked to Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC), an international campaign to close down Huntingdon Life Sciences, a contract animal-testing facility. The homes of five air transport executives were attacked within days of the Gateway campaign beginning. Mann said, "Once we have stopped the airports, which we will do before too long, it is going to be difficult for them to find other ways of bringing animals in."
Mann's first book was published in May 2007. From Dusk 'til Dawn, with a foreword by British poet Benjamin Zephaniah and featuring Britches on its cover, offers a behind-the-scenes account of the animal liberation movement.
In January 2008 SPEAK Political—since renamed The Animal Protection Party— announced that Mann would stand as an electoral candidate. Mann stood in Oxford West and Abingdon against Liberal Democrat MP Evan Harris in the 2010 general election. The area was the focus of protests due to the establishment of Oxford University's Biomedical Sciences Building. Mann received 143 votes (0.3 percent) and Harris lost the seat to Nicola Blackwood of the Conservative Party.