Peter Young Arrested After Seven Years on the Run

Animal rights extremist Peter Young, 27, was arrested on March 21 after seven years on the run. Young was indicted in 1998 in a number of break-ins at fur farms in Wisconsin.

The government alleges that Young and Justin Samuel broke in to a number of fur farms and released the animals there. In 1999, Samuels was extradited from Belgium and plead guilty to two misdemeanors arising from the fur farm break-ins. As part of a plea deal, Samuel agreed to provide law enforcement with testimony against his co-conspirators, including Young, which made Samuels persona non grata among activists.

Young was arrested at a Starbucks in San Jose, California, after he attempted to shoplift several CDs. Fortunately, an on-duty, uniformed police officer was also in the Starbucks (these activists are brilliant, eh?) and arrested Young.

Young was being held in isolation after his arrest because he refused to have a tuberculosis test because it was not vegan. He was also whining that Santa Clara County corrections wouldn’t provide him with vegan food (though they did offer him vegetarian fare).

An obvious question is where Young has been for seven years and whether or not other activists have helped him hid. As Fur Commission USA’s Teresa Platt told the Mercury News,

I’d like to know who introduce him to this, and who indoctrinated him. And who’s been hiding him? You can’t tell me that nobody knew where he was for seven years.

Samuel served two years in prison for his part in the break-ins, and is reportedly living in San Diego, California.

Young could potentially serve life in prison if he is convicted an all charges.


Activist eluded capture for years. Dana Hull, Mercury News, March 29, 2005.

Wanted animal rights activist arrested after 7 years on the run. Associated Press, March 29, 2005.

Activists Claim Geoff Kerns Is Source of Grand Jury Testimony Against Watson and Lynn

Over the past several months Allison Lance Watson and Gina Lynn have spent time in and out of jail over their testimony or refusal to provide such testimony to a Seattle grand jury. One of the questions raised by the grand jury calling them to testify is who had implicated them in a number of acts of animal rights terrorism. According to a number of animal rights web sites, animal rights activist Geoff Kerns is apparently cooperating with the grand jury, probably as part of a plea bargain.

Kerns has been arrested a number of times for animal rights related activities. According to a Fur Commission USA press release, Kerns was one of three minors arrested at a Washington state fur farm in February 1999. According to the FCUSA,

On Tuesday, when the protesters left the [Seattle Fur] Exchange [following a protest sponsored by the Coalition to Abolish the Fur Trade that led two arrests], the hapless troupe reached the fur farm where about 15 people donned masks and jumped the fence. Five were quickly arrested by on-the-spot policemen. Three out-of-state minors — Lindsey Parme, Kyle Salisbury and Geoff Kerns — and two adults — Kim Berardi and Nicole Dawn Briggs — were charged with second degree burglary and first-degree theft.

Kerns was arrested again on August 2, 2000 at an anti-circus protest at the Los Angeles Sports Arena. According to a No Compromise report on the protest,

Meanwhile, three activists, Michelle Dyrness, Pamelyn Ferdin and Geoff Kerns, staged a lockdown in front of the front doors with lockboxes. (Lockboxes are three foot, cylinder, metal tubes weighing about 25 pounds each.) The activists inserted an arm into each lockbox and locked themselves to each other.

. . .

Three of the five activists remain incarcerated ON A HUNGER STRIKE at Southwest LA Precinct and the 77th Precinct (Jerry Vlasak, trauma surgeon/physician/MD, at Southwest — Pam F. and Michelle D. at 77th).

Two of the five civil disobediencers were minors and released a few hours after they were arrested. They were ADL-LA activists Geoff Kerns and Jeff Van-Name.

When Allison Lance Watson was charged with perjury, prosecutors were required to hand over any grand jury testimony related to the perjury charge to her lawyers as part of discovery. Part of that apparently included Kerns’ testimony, which Watson and/or her attorneys passed on to other animal rights activists.

No Compromise has an edited version of Kerns’ testimony (they have removed all of the names). The grand jury is clearly focused on that 1999 incident, and provides the grand jury not only with who the driver was (who escaped arrest), but also provides the name of a person he claims could identify the others who participated in the raid. Even with the names redacted, this makes for very interesting reading (especially the item I’ve bolded near the end),

AUSA: So it’s your testimony that you don’t recall anyone involved? You don’t recall any person involved in any animal rights or anti-fur protest or activity–

GEOFF: I recall seeing a couple of people. Just people that I recognized from L.A.

AUSA: Who did you see?

GEOFF: I saw [BLANK7]. S/he was at the protest. And I don’t remember specifically seeing them there but I would imagine [BLANK8] was there.

AUSA: Who is that?


AUSA: Who else did you see that you knew?

GEOFF: I believe maybe [BLANK]. I think s/he might have been there.

… AUSA: Ready to resume?

GEOFF: Actually, some of the questions that you have asked, as of now, have brought some things up that I didn’t recall at first…

GEOFF: Yeah. See, at the hotel, there’s one other activist I can remember specifically. And that
would be [BLANK9].

AUSA: What do you remember about [BLANK9]?

GEOFF: I just remember that s/he was there, actually with [BLANK10].

GEOFF: If you could go over some of those questions again.

AUSA: Let’s focus on, anyone else that you recall being involved in the fur exchange protest?

GEOFF: [BLANK11]. S/he’s also from Los Angeles.

AUSA: Anyone else?

GEOFF: [BLANK11], [BLANK7], again, [BLANK8], and [BLANK1].

AUSA: Do you remember any of them driving up to the mink release with you?

GEOFF: I believe [BLANK1] might have been in the car with me.

AUSA: You said you were in the back?


AUSA: Where was [BLANK1]?

GEOFF: If it was her/him, it was next to me.

AUSA: You knew her/him from Los Angeles, right?

GEOFF: I had met her/him a few times. S/he was kind of a not friend.

AUSA: What did you talk to her/him about on the way up to the protest?

GEOFF: Everybody was kind of silent. There was music on in the car, I think.

AUSA: Do you recall that s/he was the [person] next to you?

GEOFF: Not clearly. It might have been her/him. I could say with a decent amount of certainty that it was her/him, but I wouldn’t want to bank a perjury charge on it.

… GEOFF: Look, I am trying to remember these things. A lot of them are things that I intentionally try to block out. I am trying to be honest here, clear all this up, and move on with my life. I am not involved with any animal rights group right now. I am working for a medical company trying to improve my life. I am giving you guys names, telling you, I mean.

JUROR: It just seems like you are protecting these people. You are protecting certain individuals that you shouldn’t be. You are too bright for that.

GEOFF: I am telling you who was in the car with me.

..GEOFF: And, I mean, I donÂ’t do well in jail. You know, IÂ’m not the kind of person that can go in there and deal with the fights and the bigotry and all that. ItÂ’s not easy on me. IÂ’m oh, God. And, I mean, I am claustrophobic. It scares the shit out of me.

GEOFF: I have a belief about government in general. I have a lot of beliefs. Believe me, I am not talking to you guys because I want to see these people go to prison. I am not talking to you because– I am not talking to you because I like you. I am not talking to you because I trust you. I am not talking to you for any other reason than if I donÂ’t, I could go to prison.

AUSA: …Is it because youÂ’ve seen them at a lot of meetings, therefore you trust them or–

GEOFF: Can they handle going to jail, have they been to jail before, have they done a considerable amount of time, are they willing to do something like that again. Most people are going to rat people out, because they donÂ’t want to go to jail. Can they handle it.

AUSA: Is that why you want to get out? You canÂ’t handle it when things get tough?

GEOFF: I canÂ’t handle jail. I can handle being questioned. I canÂ’t handle jail.

… GEOFF: I don’t remember how other people were dressed. I don’t remember if anybody had a mask. Like I said, I remember that [BLANK1] was in the car, and that is it. I am trying to think about conversations I had with [BLANK2].

JUROR: There was a protest going on as well as the mink release?

GEOFF: Right.

JUROR: Do you know how many people were involved in the mink release part?

GEOFF: I would estimate 15 or 20.

… GEOFF: … [BLANK2] told me that s/he had driven to pick those people up that had all run into the woods and later caller her/him. So, I mean, if s/he had gotten away with the rest of them, s/he I mean, I don’t think s/he would have done that. I mean.

… GEOFF: … And it was the police or the FBI that ended up arresting me. Seriously, there were a lot of things I can’t recall about it. I do know [BLANK2] told me later on that s/he drove to pick them up. S/he knows who they are.

… JUROR: Had you ever heard [BLANK2]’s name before coming up here?

GEOFF: I think I heard her/his name. I think [BLANK3] were friends of hers/his.

…JUROR: Are you active with animal rights right now?


JUROR: You are not associated at all?

GEOFF: I have completely disassociated myself from it. The only contact I have had with people regarding or who are involved in the animal rights movement has been through an arrest last July. It was for an old warrant. And pertaining to this. And after some of the questions, as I said, I was able to go back and clarify things.

…JUROR: And you said you disassociated yourself with the whole animal rights. WhatÂ’s the reason for that?

GEOFF: ThereÂ’s a number of reasons. I was finding myself getting in a lot of trouble. That was one thing. I didnÂ’t want to destroy my life. I didnÂ’t want to do all this stuff, even though my ideals were so strong. And, you know, I didnÂ’t want to keep going through that. A lot of the people I had met were not the kind of people I liked associating with. On top of that, I burned a few bridges. I stole things from an activist house in Utah. They trusted me to be there, and I stole things from them. I was still– I had stopped doing drugs and started drinking and falling into a crowd that glamorized theft from the rich. And I betrayed someone who was a good friend of mine. And I couldnÂ’t stand the torment of those people continually confronting me about that. And I totally fucked that up.

AUSA: How do you justify breaking into another activistÂ’s home and stealing from them for the cause?

GEOFF: I donÂ’t justify it. I donÂ’t justify it. I donÂ’t pretend to. Breaking into an activistÂ’s home, that wasnÂ’t related to the cause. That was because I was fucked up. That was because I was going through a lot of things and learning about you know, new philosophies on how wonderful it is to shoplift and steal from the rich. And I went and did it. I was an idiot. I screwed up and betrayed people. ThereÂ’s no justifying that. At the time, I justified it by thinking, these people are rich. ItÂ’s okay to take from them. I donÂ’t have money. They do.

… GEOFF: … As I said, wanted to really start living my life and not just living unquestioning the way that everyone taught me to. We were taught to spout off statistics that we didn’t know were true. We were taught to, you know, embellish things to make things look more tragic than they already were.

JUROR: And when you are saying that you were taught things, who was teaching you? Who was giving you the statistics and telling you what to say?

GEOFF: I mean, just everybody. Mainstream animal rights groups, they don’t say where they get their statistics or anything like that. And, you know, people just say, you know, if you make things seem more extreme than they are, people aren’t going to research it. They are going to believe it. And I don’t know. It’s– the whole thing. I mean, you’ve got to understand, I have had all this stuff drilled into my head all the time about, you know, don’t snitch, don’t name names, don’t say things. And you have to understand that the vagueness and all that comes from a deep sense that I am betraying people that I loved. This is so hard for me.

JUROR: That is the believable Geoffrey. That is what we wanted to hear.

… GEOFF: … I really don’t remember her/ him driving up there. The only person I remember was [BLANK1], and s/he was sitting next to me…

AUSA: Do you want a minute before we go on? I have put a stack of pictures in front of you. And they are labeled Grand Jury exhibits GK 1 through 13. Can you take a look at each one? If you know who the person is, tell us the name.

GEOFF: This one looks familiar. I don’t know who s/he is.

AUSA: Is that GK1?


GEOFF: This is the only one that looks familiar, I don’t know where I’ve seen him before. It was probably at the protest. This one looks familiar. I might have seen him in Salt Lake. GK5–

… AUSA: Do you know [BLANK3]?

GEOFF: No, I don’t, not personally.

AUSA: Okay.


AUSA: That’s the next one that looks familiar after GK5?

GEOFF: Yeah. GK10 is [BLANK1]. GK11, I think, is [BLANK5]. GK12 I don’t know. So these are the only ones that look familiar.

AUSA: Let me hand you three more exhibits… Can you take a look at each set of pictures and tell us if you recognize the person in that?

GEOFF: It could be [BLANK5]. I don’t know though.

AUSA: There’s four pictures. So take a look at the four.


AUSA: I believe you told us earlier that you recognized her/his build.

GEOFF: Definitely her/his build. I can’t recognize the face though.

AUSA: Which exhibit is it that you are talking about?

GEOFF: It’s GK14.

AUSA: What about GK15 and 16?
GEOFF: 15, I don’t really remember. Is that [BLANK6], actually?

AUSA: Who is [BLANK6]?

GEOFF: My old friend, [full name].

… AUSA: Would you look back at GK14 for a minute. That’s the one I think you thought was [BLANK5].

GEOFF: Could have been, yeah.

AUSA: Could you take a look and tell us if you think it is?

GEOFF: I think so, based on the build, but the face is really blurry.

AUSA: You believe it’s [BLANK5] based on what you can see?

GEOFF: Yeah. I think [BLANK5] wears glasses. And based on the build, the lack of any fashion sense. That’s serious.

… AUSA: Are these people expecting to hear from you as far as what you have said here to the Grand Jury?

GEOFF: [BLANK1] told me to talk to her/him about it. I have not talked to her/him in the past couple of weeks, but–

AUSA: But s/he asked you to tell her/him what happened here. Are you planning to do that?

GEOFF: No. I was thinking about that last week.

… GEOFF: Which organization?

AUSA: The animal rights organization that you were involved in.

GEOFF: I was involved in a number of them. But in general, with activism movements such as that, if you do something like what I am doing now, this is the general rules, snitches get stitches.

AUSA: Then there are consequences for you?

GEOFF: If anybody finds out, yeah.

AUSA: For example.

GEOFF: I don’t know. Get beaten. Get hurt really bad.

AUSA: Had you heard that before, had somebody said if you do that, this is what’s going to happen?

GEOFF: I mean, not specifically, not relating to this. But in general, that like I said, snitches get
stitches. I mean, shit, I kicked this kid in the face for doing the same thing in Long Island.

AUSA: So you do have some fear for your safety because of what’s happened here at the grand jury?

GEOFF: If anybody finds out, I don’t know what happens. If they do, yeah.

AUSA: If it’s any consolation to you, you haven’t snitched on anyone.

GEOFF: I have talked about [BLANK5].

AUSA: No, you haven’t. People showed you pictures of [BLANK5]. And you said, yeah, that’s [BLANK5]. And you said you heard s/he had picked up some people after the mink release. We already had that information.

GEOFF: It’s still snitching. The thing you got to understand, you don’t help them put people in jail. And if they didn’t have a use for it, for me coming up here and doing that, then they wouldn’t be bringing me up here.

… GEOFF: Right, but I picked her/him from that. I am not trying to protect her/him. If s/he was driving the car, why would I say s/he was not driving the car but pick her/him out there?”


Geoff Kerns snitches to grand jury. San Diego IndyMedia, August 28, 2004.

Geoffrey Kerns talks. No Compromise, September 18, 2004.

6 Arrested, 2 Hurt at LA Sports Arena Circus Protest. No Compromise, August 2, 2000.

Quick Arrest for bungling terrorists. Press Release, Fur Commission USA, February 23, 1999.

2002 U.S. Fur Sales Close to Record Levels

Fur Commission USA had an interesting item in September about fur sales — preliminary figures from the Fur Information Council of America suggest that retails sales of furs hit about $1.7 billion in 2002. That would put retail sales just shy of the 1986-87 record high of $1.8 billion.

Animal rights activists have often taken credit for the huge decline in fur that saw sales drop from about $1.8 billion in 1987 to just $1 billion in 1990. Others blamed the decline on the 1987 stock market collapse and other economic factors.

Regardless of which explanation you prefer, it doesn’t appear that the drop in fur sales reflected any fundamental shift in consumer attitudes toward fur.


Preliminary results: US fur retail sales continue to surge. Fur Commission USA, September 3, 2003.

Fur Commission, USA On Survey of Animal Rights 2003 Participants

Fur Commission, USA’s Teresa Platt has a fascinating article about Animal Rights 2003 East, held earlier this summer. Platt discusses a conference workshop called “What Price Animal Liberation” where activists in attendance were given a survey to gauge their attitudes about the morality and effectiveness of various illegal tactics. Platt presents the results of the survey, which I’ve reproduced in the table below:



Civil Disobedience



Unmasked Animal Liberation (ex. open animal rescues)



Masked Animal Liberation



Unmasked Property Destruction of Equipment



Masked Property Destruction of Equipment



Property Destruction as Economic Sabotage



Threats against People as Destructive Sabotage



Threats against People as Intimidation (death threats)



Physical Assault



Political Assassination



Unfortunately, Platt doesn’t say how many people attended this session, so we don’t know exactly how big of sample this is. And, of course, it is clearly not a random, scientific sample of activists in general. Still, as Platt notes it is disturbing to see such extremely high support for property destruction, and significant support for threats and violence against people.


AR2003: Been There, Done That, Bought the T-Shirt. Teresa Platt, Fur Commission USA, August 12, 2003.

Activists Release 10,000 Mink from Washington State Farm

In late August, Animal Liberation Front extremists broke into a farm in Sultan, Washington and released approximately 10,000 mink.

The activists broke open cages at the Roesler Brothers Fur Farm causing damages estimated at more than half a million dollars.

Most of the released animals were recaptured, but not before doing significant damage at other farms in the area.

Washington farmer Jeff Weaver told the Associated Press that the released mink converged on his farm where they killed at least 25 animals, including geese, chicken and ducks. Weaver told the AP,

Over half our livestock was shredded. Murdered. Eaten alive. . . One of the mink had part of a chicken in its mouth and was headed for the creek. They’re starving. They’ll kill anything in their path.

Weaver estimated his losses at about $2,000.

But those who support such actions said that the net increase in animal well being was worth it. Andrew Knight, director of research at the Northwest Animal Rights Network, told the Associate Press,

The amount of suffering that has been prevented by releasing them [the mink] from cramped cages and freeing them from an extremely cruel death more than justifies a temporary disruption to the ecosystem.

The FBI is investigating the incident and the Fur Commission USA is offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.


Scores of freed mink feed on farm animals. Associated Press, August 30, 2003.

Animal rights group frees thousands of minks. Associated Press, August 28, 2003.

Freed minks attack farm animals. Katherine Schiffner, Daily Herald (Washington), August 29, 2003.

Freed mink attack Sultan farms. Seattle Times, August 29, 2003.

Supermodel Gisèle Harassed by PETA

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals garnered some media attention for itself by sending four people to jump on stage and harass model Gisèle during a Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.

None of the outfits on display at the show used fur, but PETA’s Dan Mathews had been threatening for weeks to make Gisèle pay for modeling furs for a mink cooperative.

Fur Commission USA had the best description and commentary on the disruption.

Of course the obvious question raised by FCUSA is why on Earth does a group like this still have a nonprofit status? Why should taxpayers still be helping to subsidize this sort of activity? And more importantly, why doesn’t the media ever focus on that angle? You can bet that if this were an anti-abortion nonprofit endorsing these kinds of actions, for example, that they would not have that status for long.

FCUSA also has a rundown on each of the PETA activists involved in this protest, with their profile of Kayla Rae Worden raising an eyebrow,

Kayla Rae Worden (who calls herself “Stripper for a Cause”) followed Gisèle all the way down the runway holding a sign, appropriately made of vinyl (plastic), which personally attacked the model. The vinyl sign was emblazoned with the PeTA corporate logo, leaving no doubt what company sponsored the attack.

PeTA employee Kayla Rae Worden started life as Kevin Worden. During a 2002 appearance on the Howard Stern Show, Kayla/Kevin stripped when he threatened to kill insects and fish if the three PeTA-phile guests didn’t show him some boob. Kayla/Kevin was quick to reveal her set and Howard complimented Kayla/Kevin on her commitment to the cause and her “nice, natural breasts”. That’s right – without surgery perfected on animals and daily hormone therapy developed on animals, Kayla/Kevin would be sporting full body fur and a moustache. Isn’t it amazing what a little animal-tested hormone therapy can do?

And working for a group that opposes AIDS research in animals.


Plastic People Fail to Fluster Super-composed Supermodel. Fur Commission USA, November 20, 2002.