David Agranoff's Other Arrests and Admiration of Terrorists

As I noted previously, David Agranoff had his home raided by law enforcement officials in August as part of their investigation into a $50 million August 1 arson in San Diego. Agranoff and other activists complain that Agranoff is being needlessly harassed by law enforcement officials.

Well, Agranoff certainly should understand needless harassment. As he told Mark Gabrish Conlan in an interview posted on Indymedia, Agranoff has quite a history of harassing those he disagrees with,

Zenger?s: How did you first get into trouble with the law?

Agranoff: My first arrest was at Sims Poultry, a poultry producing plant in my hometown. I was caught in the act of spray-painting the trucks, in an act of economic sabotage — not a very effective one. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. It’s not that I don’t support people doing those kinds of actions, but there’s a lot of things people need to understand before they choose to take an underground action like that. I didn’t understand what it involved, and that’s why I got caught. I was just acting on emotion and anger that I felt towards the industries that harm animals.

Agranoff here is referring to his 1993 arrest and conviction for vandalizing Sims Poultry. He plead guilty to criminal mischief and resisting arrest, and was given a one year suspended sentence. Agranoff says in his interview that he has been arrested 15-20 times since while protesting various businesses.

Agranoff emphasizes that after his first arrest he decided not to participate in such acts anymore, but nonetheless admires the “heroism” of those who do,

However, when someone says, “What do you think of the ELF”, then I have to say that if somebody felt compelled to risk their freedom and their life — since, if they’re caught in the act of doing this, it’s very possible that they could be shot at — to do actions like that, as far as I’m concerned, that is true heroism. By putting their life on the line to defend the environment, they’re putting the earth and all life forms on it before themselves. They are trying to defend the planet and willing to risk their own lives for that. That is a true act of bravery, and it puts me in a position where I have to defend the people who make those kinds of decisions.


David Agranoff:
Activist Victim of FBI, Corporate Harassment
. Mark Gabrish Conlan, August 2003.

ALF claims responsibility for Sims arson. Steven Hinnfield, Herald Times (Indiana), May 15, 2002.

Animal Rights Activist's Home Raided in San Diego Fire Case

Law enforcement officials investigating a San Diego fire that destroyed a five-story apartment complex on August 1 raided the home of animal rights activists David Agranoff and Cari Beltane on August 14.

Agranoff and Beltane run an animal rights group called Compassion for Farm Animals. In May 2003, Agranoff was forced to submit hair, saliva and fingerprints to a Indiana grand jury investigating an arson at an Indiana poultry case.

Agranoff and Beltane later led a protest attended by about 30 activists complaining of the “harassment” they faced from police. Agranoff said at the protest,

We are not guilty of anything. Neither was Martin Luther King when he was targeted by the FBI. People have the right to an opinion without being subject to criminal investigation.

Most news outlets, however, failed to note that Agranoff has faced legal troubles before this related to his animal rights activism. In 1996, Agranoff, then 22, was sentenced to 6 months in jail and fined $1,000 after being convicted of resisting arrest and unlawful assembly during a protest at a New York fur store. At the same trial, Nicole Rogers, 19, was sentenced to two months in jail and a $500 fine, and Christopher Tarbell, 20, to one month in jail and a $500 fine for trespassing and unlawful assembly.

Agranoff’s sentence was thrown out on appeal to the New York State Supreme Court, but Rogers and Tarbell’s sentences were affirmed.

Oddly enough at trial, lawyers for the trio complained that they were being unfairly associated with Anima Liberation Front-style actions, so it was a bit surprising to see that among other things that apparently drew the attention of law enforcement to Agranoff is his role in arranging an appearance of Rodney Coronado to speak in San Diego the day of the arson.


Judge Sentences Fur Protesters To Jail Three Animal-Rights Activists Were Convicted Of Misdemeanors For Their Actions During A Demonstration At Georgio’s Furs. The Post-Standard (Syracuse, New York), August 2, 1996.

Animal Rights Activist Sentenced To 7 Months Convictions Of Two Other Members Of The Group In Separate Incident Upheld. Jim O’Hara, The Post-Standard (Syracuse, New York), March 1, 1997.

Agents raid activists’ home in arson probe. San Diego Union-Tribune, August 2, 2003.

They call search by agents harassment. Ray Hubbard, San Diego Union-Tribune, August 24, 2003.