Skip to comments.Did animal activists cross the line?
Posted on 02/24/2006 9:53:04 PM PST by Coleus
One woman said she received an e-mail threatening to cut her 7-year-old son open and stuff him with poison. A man said he was showered with glass as people smashed all the windows of his home and overturned his wife's car. Many others said they were besieged by screaming protesters outside their homes at all hours, deluged by threatening phone calls, and sent pornographic magazines they had not ordered.
The trauma that employees of Huntingdon Life Sciences and other companies say they experienced at the hands of radical animal rights advocates is on display during the federal court trial of a Philadelphia-based group and six of its members on domestic terrorism charges. The trial continues in Trenton this week. Many targets testified that the harassment made them look over their shoulders when walking or driving, change their phone numbers or even move, keep their kids from playing outdoors, and prompted several to buy guns.
Sally Dillenback said her young son would often crouch by the door brandishing a 5-inch kitchen knife when the doorbell rang, promising to protect his mommy. "He told me not to worry," she testified last week. "He said he was going to get the animal people. Once I found him at the garage door with a knife. That was his state of mind. He was a 7-year-old boy." Dillenback broke into tears as she recounted an anonymous e-mail that threatened her son.
"The person asked how I would feel if they cut open my son, Brad, and filled him with poison the way Huntingdon does with the animals," she said, breaking into tears. "That was devastating for me to see something like that." Huntingdon Life Sciences is a laboratory in Franklin Township, Somerset County, that tests drugs and consumer products on animals. A group called Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty has waged a five-year campaign to shut it down, extending its pressure tactics beyond the lab to companies that insured it, traded its stock, lent it money, provided security for it and conducted other business with it, according to prosecution testimony.
The tactics worked in many instances as firms, including the insurer Marsh USA, dropped Huntingdon as a client after being targeted, the lab's lawyer said. The group notes that its members are not charged with carrying out any of the illegal acts described in court, and denies inciting anyone to break the law. It says its activities were all legal and protected by the First Amendment. Postings on the Web site recounting acts of harassment or vandalism at the homes and offices of targets are no different from news reports by mainstream media organizations, the group asserts.
Like almost all the others targeted by the group, Dillenback, a Marsh executive in Dallas, saw intensely private information about her family posted on the group's Web site. It listed their names, address, home phone number, where their children went to school, and even the name of her son's teacher and the fact that he sings in the choir. Prosecutors say the postings were designed to terrorize the targets, and incite others to commit violence against them. The defendants are charged with animal-enterprise terrorism, conspiracy and interstate stalking.
The trial of Kevin Kjonaas, Lauren Gazzola, Jacob Conroy, Joshua Harper, Andrew Stepanian and Darius Fullmer will likely hinge on whether prosecutors can prove the group did more than simply publish information online. There has been no testimony that the group directed anyone to break the law. Some Huntingdon workers in New Jersey also say they were targeted. Henning Jonassen, the lab's necropsy director, testified he was watching TV at home in Somerville when someone smashed all his ground-floor windows, and turned his wife's car over. Toxicologist Carol Auletta said she saw her face on "Wanted" posters all over downtown Princeton, calling her a mentally ill murderer.
|Friday, February 24, 2006|
TRENTON -- A former child star who was the voice of Lucy in the "Peanuts" movies testified that federal prosecutors are targeting her animal rights group as part of a crackdown on freedom of speech. Pamelyn Ferdin, who also starred as Felix Unger's daughter Edna on "The Odd Couple" TV show, said her group, Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty, is guilty of nothing more than publishing information on the Web. Prosecutors have charged the Philadelphia-based group and six of its members with animal enterprise terrorism, stalking and other offenses as part of its five-year campaign to close down Huntingdon Life Sciences. The company, which has laboratories in Franklin Township, Somerset County, as well as in England, uses animals to test drugs and consumer products.
The government claims the group, which goes by the acronym SHAC, uses its Web site to incite violence against people and institutions it identifies as targets because of their affiliation with the animal testing lab. The defense rested Thursday after only one day of testimony. The jury is expected to begin deliberations on Tuesday. "For the government to say you can't say this and you can't say that is going down a very scary path of going toward fascism," testified Ferdin, who took over leadership of the group in 2004 after its former president, Kevin Kjonaas, and others were indicted. Ferdin is not charged in the case. "I believe that's what the government here is trying to do with this Web site and other Web sites," Ferdin said.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles McKenna repeatedly interrupted Ferdin as she tried to talk about the suffering of animals in testing labs. She said she could not answer with a "yes" or "no" when asked if it is OK to throw rocks through someone's window in furtherance of the group's aims. "If my mother was being tortured and strapped down and electrodes put in her anus?" she asked, drawing a parallel with what animal activists maintain is done to animals at testing labs or fur farms. Earlier in the day, one of the six defendants, Joshua Harper, testified that he opposes injuring any life form, including human beings. But he also said it is all right to throw rocks through someone's window as long as the person isn't home.
A cornerstone of the group's campaign against Huntingdon is posting intensely personal information about its employees and those of firms that do business with Huntingdon on the Web. Many of those targeted have had their homes vandalized, and received threats against them or their families. But Harper testified he uses an encryption program on his own computer. "I wanted to keep my own personal information private," said the 31-year-old Seattle resident. "I wanted to make sure I'm the only one that has access to it."
Harper testified that despite giving speeches at college campuses calling for "direct action" against targets, he does not support everything that has happened to them. He said he became upset during one demonstration outside the home of an employee of Chiron, a California pharmaceutical company that contracted with Huntingdon, when the target's husband and children drove up to the house, and protesters started screaming at the children. Harper also said he was distressed by the bombing of Chiron's Emeryville, Calif., plant on Aug. 28, 2003. The group is not accused of participating in the bombing.
These people are sick. Really, really sick.
Whip out RICO. They wouldn't hesitate on anti-abortion folks, what's the hold up here?
here is a link about these creeps http://www.animalscam.com/peta_7things.cfm
I say give these animal "rights" activists a taste of their own medicine. But keep it legal. Eventually they will provide us with legal clearance to mow them down (which is what they all deserve for terrorism).
All terrorists have a tendency to claim the right of free speech while intimidating others who use that right. Visit CAIR's website and read their news archives and action alerts. Intimidation takes many forms. For instance, if someone called you "Islamophobic," how would you respond? Leftists, whether they be PETA members, followers of Jesse Jackson, liberals in general, Muslims, global socialists, fans of Kofi or Solana, etc. use the politics of intimidation, which range from "simple" exclusion to actual violence. Free speech for them, but no free speech for anyone who denounces them.
Ok, thanks ...
RICO is **so** badly written that it wouldn't be much, if any, of a stretch for some ambitious prosecutor to attempt to bust a VFW lodge whose members were out on a rented bus on some excursion, doubtless having a beer or two, offering a beer or two (naughty, naughty, of course) to the driver.
Y'see, that's the only condition for triggering the ''pattern of behavior'' clause in RICO: once, who cares, twice, it's a ''pattern''.
The real problem is that many US Attorneys have attempted, and continue to attempt, to place RICO above the First Amendment right to ''petition for the redress of grievances''.
RICO is a problem, no matter WHO is wielding it in the name of ''justice''.
FReegards to you!
While I'm not exactly proud of it now, we had a very staunch PETA woman living a few doors down from us where I grew up. She'd lecture us on this or that if she got the chance and made a habit of yelling at local farmers.
So, of course, being teenagers, we snuck out at night and would hang pieces of meat from her clothesline. (I can't believe I'm writing this...) At the time, it was hilarious.
From Pamelyn Ferdin's website:
No, she doesn't have any children. On this issue, Pamelyn once said, "We have no children as I feel that until every child has a home (just like every companion animal), people should not breed!"
I have nothing to add (except it's good she's stopping her nutty gene right here).
I remember Pamala Ferdin. A shame she's grown up into a nut. I hope she ends up with a nice jail stint.
I wish we would start going after these people like the terrorists they are.
These terrorists should be treated as such. They should be questioned about links to foreign terrorists, in foreign nations.
Granted, their most vocal opponents are rationally inconsistent. (A group that was staunchly pro-life and opposed to the brutal treatment of animals would defy all praise.) But being "kooky" or "flakey" doesn't mean they're wrong.
There are respectable scientists who maintain that these experiments are needless. God made us stewards of our animal companions. That does not mean we can torture them to death.
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