Highlights from Peter Schnell Interview

Animal rights terrorist Peter Schnell recently gave an interview to a UK-based support group for Earth Liberation Front prisoners. Schnell, you might remember, is the genius who was arrested before he and accomplice Matthew Whyte could firebomb dairy trucks in California. They plead guilty after a police officer cruising by notice them under a lamppost putting holes into several gallon jugs of gasoline. Schnell and White plead guilty receiving 24 month and 14 month sentences respectively.

Schnell’s interview is a hodge podge of poorly thought out ideas and regular contradiction. This, for example, is what Schnell says of how the animal rights movement must succeed,

To create any type of change we need the power of the masses, thus its important to try and appeal to the masses as best we can, or at least make sure [sic] tat the invitation is always there.

Right, and torching a bunch of dairy truck was certainly going to accomplish that goal. Of course for many of these extremists, including Schnell, it’s really all about him (emphasis added),

Question: What [sic] lead you to take a more direct approach to animal liberation?

Schnell: I guess the escalation of my rage and passion got to the point where I realized that I wasn’t doing enough until I at least attempted to take such a direct approach to creating change. Granted, I guess some are not in the position to take the risk that go along with taking such a direct approach, whatever the circumstances are of their particular situation. I just realized that the temporary imprisonment that I may endure if captured, however long or short, isn’t much compared to the lifetime of suffering that the animals must endure.

Ah, cry me a river — clearly Schnell gets off on seeing himself as some sort of martyr figure, giving up everything if needs be for his pathetic cause. Not surprisingly, then, Schnell encourages others to break the law,

Amongst the other puzzle pieces that I’ve neglected to mention as necessary pieces in order for the proper connections to be made that will bring about change and bring this movement to success is directly acting on behalf of the animals or yes, breaking the law. We need those out there breaking the law to bring immediate attention to an extreme situation. We need to present that the extreme situation that the animals are in, does call for extreme measures to be taken on their behalf. I feel that breaking the law should not be looked at as inappropriate even thought it may be seen as such by the vast majority. Those willing to take a stand as the voice for the voiceless, those who value life over property, should look at the concept of breaking the law as secondary to the action itself. What can be accomplished and the necessary aspect of the action itself is what is primary. The fat that a law enacted by the state will be broken posing possible consequences should merely serve as the risk involved when taking such actions.

Peter Schnell — bring arson to the fireless.

Schnell adds that he doesn’t regret his actions, even though it landed him in prison,

Question: Do you have any regrets?

Schnell: No, I don’t have any regrets. I’ve played the night in question over in my head so many times, realizing there are things we could’ve done differently in preparing for such a night, to decrease the likelihood of our possible arrest. Although this is just the process of living your life and then learning from the mistakes you may make along your way through the course of your life, even though this is a rather extreme way of doing so. I’ve really learned so much from this experience, stemming much further than how to make such a night successful. I find myself almost thankful even, rather that regretful. Thankful, not because I’m here in prison, learning what I have and am through revelations and realizations, but because I’ve let this situation bring me to such clarity and that I’ve come to conclusions given the circumstances of the situation.

When you think about it, that was a pretty good deal that evening. Schnell didn’t actually have a chance to destroy anything and in exchange he received a nice gift-wrapped 24 month sentence. More animal rights extremists should be encouraged to find themselves in that situation.

According to Schnell, he expects to be released in late August 2003 at which time he will begin three years of supervised release.


Interview with Peter Schnell. Earth Liberation Prisoners, 2003.

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