Kevin Kjonaas: It’s The End of the World As We Know It

Writing under the alias Kevin Jonas, Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty’s Kevin Kjonaas wrote an article that appeared in the March 2005 issue of Satya magazine warning that the world is on the edge of collapse and chastising animal rights activists for not caring.

According to Kjonaas,

By 2050 it is estimated that the human population will stand at over ten billion. In 15 years the demand for meat will double. It is predicted that as early as 2016, 95 percent of the world’s rainforests will be depleted, and along with them a major source of our air supply. Today alone, 137 species will be brought to extinction, and 50,000 more will join them by the year’s end.

Most of this is dated nonsense. The UN’s Population Projection, for example, estimates world population will be slightly over 9 billion in 2050. The rainforests have almost no net effect on the world’s oxygen levels, since decaying plant matter in the rainforests uses about as much oxygen as the rainforests produce. Kjonaas is presumably too busy facilitating violence and terrorism to bother keeping up with current developments in the areas he styles himself an expert.

Kjonaas’ argument, to the extent he has one, is that just as the world is on the verge of an environmental collapse, the situation for animals is roughly analogous with the current tactics of the animal rights movement having almost no effect on animal use. And what do you do when faced with the possibility of a catastrophe? Why, of course, then you are justified in using extraordinary measures,

I have always been a proud advocate of radical activism precisely because it is a rejection of the stagnated process of the status quo. It is this sense of urgency that inspires some to break the rules of the broken game and take our predicament seriously.

Many dismiss radical activism and direct action as angry, immature, and disruptive to the politics of the polite. Some criticisms may be constructive, but this holds true for all methodology, and in many instances radical activism is more than adolescent angst. It is a reaction to the pressure of impending collapse, and a sincere attempt at affecting a measurable impact. Now, more than ever, we should be discussing and considering these tactics in a desperate bid for success.

Confronting the impending crises of policy, population, and consumption is not meant to romanticize revolutionary efforts, nor is it meant to discount improvements that are being made gradually through letters, litigation, and legislation. My feet frequently ache from manning information tables, and IÂ’m happy my grandmother can eat vegetarian at her local Burger King. However, acknowledging the shortcomings of these tactics opens us up to question what it will truly take to succeed.

We need to consider everything. To throw every idea against a wall and see what sticks, and discard what slips. We owe it to those we’re fighting for to discover what has true potential to end the atrocities against which we’re fighting. We need to be personally and politically ready to accept that it may not be the feel-good efforts at ‘changing the hearts’ of our toxic species that work. That mad cow may be our best friend after all! We need to at least start thinking about future realities and asking these questions. At the very least, we need to refrain from quickly dismissing those who are trying radical approaches to redress a radical and ravaging reality.

Times are this dire and no one among us should be satisfied with our current progress. The solution is not necessarily that everyone go out and “get militant,” but at least we can start thinking beyond the stringent rules of the national protectionists and the trappings of our own creature comforts. We must truly embrace a cause—a struggle—that is worth fighting for, going to prison for, and perhaps even dying for.

Certainly it would be nice to see Kjonaas go to jail for his movement, which will hopefully happen after his trial this summer.

And, of course, he’s absolutely right on the broader point — the animal rights movement has almost no chance of achieving its goals through its present means. Of course, it has almost no chance of achieving its goals through the means favored by Kjonaas either. All that will happen with the tactics that Kjonaas advocates is an ever stronger law enforcement reaction resulting in lots of activists in jail and little or no progress for the movement.

Animal rights activists largely have two choices — do you want to be peaceful and ineffective or violent and ineffective?


Apocalpyse Now. Kevin Jonas, Satya, March 2005.

Judge Denies Request to Revoke Kevin Kjonaas' Bail

In early September federal prosecutors filed a motion to revoke Kevin Kjonaas’ bail. Kjonaas was charged earlier this year with federal stalking and conspiracy to commit stalking charges. He and others were granted bail on the condition they refrain from “disseminating any personal or private information about company employees and their families, and from threatening or inducing others to threaten anyone.”

Federal prosecutors claimed that a violent protest at the home of a Chiron employee was coordinated by Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty, and that Kjonaas ” as the president of SHAC — is responsible for its activities.”

But on September 15, 2004, U.S. District Judge Mary Cooper ruled that there was no proof that Kjonaas was responsible for the protest and that he could remain free on bail.

The New Jersey Star Ledger reported that federal prosecutors indicated that they plan to ask Judge Cooper to impose restrictions on SHAC itself and also plan to add federal harassment charges against Kjonaas and three other defendants.


Animal activist stays free on bail despite accusations of violence. Jonathan Schuppe, New Jersey Star-Ledger, September 16, 2004.

Prosecutors File Motion to Revoke Kevin Kjonaas' Bail

Federal prosecutors this week asked a judge to revoke the bail of Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty’s Kevin Kjonaas and jail him until his upcoming trial on charges of conspiracy to terrorize, interstate stalking, and conspiracy to commit interstate stalking.

As part of his bail terms, Kjonaas is barred from “disseminating any personal or private information about company employees and their families, and from threatening or inducing others to threaten anyone.”

Federal prosecutors claim that Kjonaas violated the terms of his bail when activists showed up to protest at the home of Chiron counsel William Green on August 15. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Charles McKenna and Ricardo Solano argued in their motion that,

There is clear and convincing evidence that the attack on Green’s home was coordinated by SHAC-USA, and defendant (Kevin) Kjonaas — as the president of SHAC — is responsible for its activities.

McKenna and Solano note that the protest was publicized on SHAC’s web site, that demonstrators carried a banner displaying the URL to SHAC’s web site, and that leaflets were passed out on SHAC stationery.

Kjonaas’ attorney, Isabel McGinty, responded that her client had resigned as president of SHAC almost two weeks before the protest, and besides the protesters identified themselves as being with the Animal Rights Direct Action Coalition.


Feds want animal rights activist in jail. John Martin, New Jersey Star-Ledger, September 7, 2004.

Seven SHAC Activists Arraigned in New Jersey

On June 15, seven animal rights activists accused of interstate stalking and other crimes related to their activities against Huntingdon Life Sciences were formally arraigned in a New Jersey court. The arraignment lasted only 10 minutes, but drew a few dozen protesters and provided some interesting information into what sort of evidence the government might have against the seven.

Kevin Kjonaas, Josh Harper, Lauran Gazzola, Jacob Conroy, Darius Fullmer, John McGee, and Andrew Stepanian all plead not guilty to all charges. U.S. District Judge Mary Cooper set a tentative trial date of August 17, though that will almost certainly be pushed back at the request of the defendants’ attorneys.

One of the interesting tidbits that came out during the arraignment was that federal authorities had wiretaped and videotaped at least some of the seven activists. According to the New Jersey Star-Ledger,

Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles McKenna, who is prosecuting the case, said the evidence includes phone wiretaps and surveillance that yielded 440 cassettes and 50 videotapes.

Some of the protesters were also of interest. According to the New Jersey Star Ledger’s account,

“I came here because this is a travesty of justice,” said David Lambon, 31, of Norristown, Pa. Lambon said he was an independent activist and a college student “between schools.”

That would have been accurate if only Lambon had said he was between arrests. Lambon was one of 11 activists arrested in Pennsylvania on May 29 at a demonstration outside the home of a pharmaceutical company executive.


Animal rights activists deny targeting lab. John P. Martin and Brian T. Murray, New Jersey Star-Ledger, June 16, 2004.

Lawyers for Indicted SHAC Activists Complain about Bail Terms, Charges

On May 28, Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty activists Kevin Kjonaas, Lauren Gazzola and Jacob Conroy appeared before a federal judge who granted the three bail on their own recognizance.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Wayne D. Brazil did issue a two-paragraph order preventing the two from, according to the Oakland Tribune, “disseminating any personal or private information about company employees and their families, and from threatening or inducing others to threaten anyone.”

Attorney’s for the three activists, however, said the order was not clear enough and asked Brazil for further clarification as to what the three can and cannot do. Brazil said he could not do so, but that the order was clear enough. “‘Go smash up someone’s car’ — that’s inducement,” Brazil said. “Exercising your political views is not inducement . . . you know you can’t threaten people, period.”

Andrea Lindsay made a statement outside the courtroom, however, saying that,

The indictment fails to pin one criminal act on any of these defendants . . . The indictments against these animal protection activists are nothing more than a clear attack on free speech and SHAC USA will be as s rigorous in its defense as it has been in its opposition to animal cruelty.

Lindsay also claimed that SHAC’s website simply reports on acts by other animal rights activists but does not incite them.

Michael Drewniak, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office in New Jersey, said the facts would show otherwise,

Their Web site doesn’t just report — it incites harassment, intimidation and violence against individuals associated with Huntingdon. It defies logic to say they merely report things.


Lawyers for animal rights activists criticize government case. KTVU.Com, May 28, 2004.

Animal group vows to carry on. Josh Richman, Oakland Tribune, May 29, 2004.

Federal Agents Arrest Seven Activists in Four States

On May 26, federal agents in four states arrested seven people associated with Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty’s campaign against Huntingdon Life Sciences in the United States.

The activists arrested were Josh Harper arrested in Washington state; Kevin Kjonas (AKA “Kevin Jonas”, “Steve Shore” and “Jim Fareer”), Lauran Gazzola (AKA “Angela Jackson” and “Danielle Matthews”), and Jacob Conroy arrested in California; Darius FUllmer and John McGee arrested in New Jersey; and Andrew Stepanian arrested in New York.

The indictment of the activist charged all seven activist with,

. . . knowingly and willfully combine, conspire and agree with one another and others to use a facility in interstate and foreign commerce for the purpose of causing physical disruption to the functioning of HLS, an animal enterprise, and intentionally damage and cause the loss of property used by HLS, in an amount exceeding $10,000.

That conspiracy charge carries with it up to three years in prison and a $250,000 if convicted.

In addition, Kjonas, Gazzola and Conroy as well as Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty itself were charged with three counts each of interstate stalking and one count each of conspiracy to engage in interstate stalking. Each of those charges carries a sentence of up to five years in jail and a $250,000 fine if convicted.

SHAC’s response was predictable,

Osama Bin Laden must be feeling pretty comfortable right now, as the FBI and the United States Government have shown their investigative hand and it is disturbingly pathetic. Ironically on the same day John Ashcroft held a press conference to warn the country of impending terrorist attacks coming this summer (a warning based on “intelligence” the AG has now had to backtrack from) – the FBI set about tackling their number one priority, the capture of those menacing animal rights activists.

The reader can imagine just about every criminal enterprise from the mob to the local petty bank robber making this argument — “but judge, why waste time prosecuting me when they should be out tracking down Osama bin Laden.”

SHAC also had some hilarious whining about the means of their arrest,

With a seemingly unlimited budget the FBI did spare no expense. To arrest three of the seven supposed SHAC USA volunteers, 15 agents from the FBI, Secret Service, and even US Air Marshals (with their chopper over head) stormed into a home at 6 AM with guns drawn. They were, after all, apprehending people suspected of operating a website, and you never know what sort of floppy disk such thugs could be concealing as a weapon.

Excellent. SHAC might be surprised that it doesn’t require an unlimited budget to have 15 agents execute arrests in four separate states. It is amusing, though, to see the folks who advocate and support the most vile sort of threats and intimidation tactics upset because agents serving a lawful warrant “stormed into a home at 6 AM.” Don’t worry too much for them — hopefully most of those arrested will soon reside in prison cells and not have to worry about anyone storming their homes at 6 AM.

And just to make sure it got some publicity out of the matter, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals was quick to tell any media outlet who would listen that it doesn’t see anything wrong with what SHAC does and that these arrests are part of a government crackdown on mainstream activism.

The New Jersey Star Ledger noted that,

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, however, questioned yesterday whether legitimate activism was under attack.

“Some of the names being bandied about in this instance are longtime activists and well respected,” said PETA spokeswoman Lisa Lange, referring to the SHAC indictment.

Well, at least its good to get Lange on the record. After all of this nonsense of late from PETA that it doesn’t support or condone animal rights terrorism, it’s nice to see them be up front about their admiration for these folks.

The full text of the indictment against the SHAC activists can be read here.


Animal rights activists charged in actions against testing lab. Associated Press, May 26, 2004.

FBI targets ‘terrorism’ by animal, eco-activists. Brian Murray, New Jersey Star-Ledger, May 27, 2004.