Judge Throws Out SHARK Lawsuit

In January, an Ohio judge threw out a lawsuit by Showing Animals Respect and Kindness seeking permission to videotape sharpshooters the city of Solon planned to hire to shoot deer.

SHARK had requested permission from Solon to tape the deer cull. When that was denied, it filed a lawsuit. SHARK’s lawyer argued that since the deer shooting was being paid for by public monies, that the animal rights group had a First Amendment right to videotape the shooting of the deer.

Solon’s lawyers argued that SHARK had no standing to challenge the city in court, and Judge Nancy McDonnell agreed, throwing out the case.

Residents in Solon have complained that deer are damaging property and interfering with traffic, and the city has hired a firm to kill about 600 of the estimated 1,200 deer in the city.


Judge throws out suit to tape Solon deer kill. Michael O’Malley, Cleveland Plain Dealer, January 15, 2005.

Steve Hindi Admonishes Activists for Not Sufficiently Supporting His Pet Project

Showing Animals Respect and Kindness’ Steve Hindi sent out a letter to supporters of his group chiding activists and groups for not sufficiently supporting his pet project, SHARK’s Tiger video truck,

Over the last two and a half years that it has crisscrossed the United States, SHARK’s Tiger video truck has proven itself to be the most effective weapon of compassionate and nonviolent direct action in the animal protection movement. The Tiger has graphically exposed a long and still growing list of animal abuses, including but not limited to rodeos, bullfighting, slaughterhouses, the fur industry, Korean dog torture/slaughter, dolphin slaughter, circuses and most recently, shoemaker Adidas’ support of the mass-murder of kangaroos in Australia.

. . .

It is a mystery to me why the animal protection movement has not jumped on the effort to bring the message of compassion out to the uninformed masses. Only one other truck close to the scale of the Tiger has been built, and interestingly it was again by a small organization run by lawyer Lori Peterson in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Although SHARK applauds the use of smaller vans as display vehicles by smaller organizations, the movement needs the “heavy weaponry” represented by a large Tiger-type vehicle.

I find the lack of forward momentum in this area to be indicative of a lack of leadership, dedication and commitment. Hundreds of millions of dollars come into this movement every year. Yet, a tiny fraction of that money at best goes to bring our message from the animal rights conferences and meetings, out to the masses. This is unacceptable. There should be no higher priority than getting the issues and images of animal abuse out to the public.

SHARK can wait no longer for others to pick up the ball. Therefore, I am proud and excited to announce SHARK’s intent to build two more Tiger trucks, with completion expected before the end of the year. We also intend to upgrade the original Tiger to an even more effective and invincible weapon of nonviolence.

I suspect that Hindi here is vastly over-estimating the effect that the Tiger truck and similar efforts have at promoting animal rights, especially since it targets people who are likely not ideal recipients for the animal rights message — is targeting the animal rights message at people attending a rodeo, for example, really an efficient way to push Hindi’s agenda? Color me skeptical. There has not, after all, been any sudden massive grass roots movement against rodeos in America.


E-mail communication. Steve Hindi, August 2003.

Rodeo Exonerated in Case Based on SHARK Videotape

The Whittier Daily reported recently that a California Court Commissioner exonerated the a rodeo that had been accused of cruelty charges based on video taken by Showing Animals Respect and Kindness (SHARK).

Shark took the video at a San Dimas Rodeo in October 2002 and turned it over to the Inland Valley Humane Society. The Humane Society then charged the Growney Brothers Rodeo C. with four counts of misusing a cattle prod.

California has a law that went into effect in 2001 that makes it a crime to use a cattle prod during a rodeo except to protect the participants or audience at a rodeo. SHARK and the Humane Society argued that the videotape showed workers at the rodeo using the cattle prods on four horses to force them out of the chute during a bucking bronco contest.

Pomono Court Commissioner Martin Goetsch ruled in favor of the rodeo, however, saying that he agreed with expert testimony provided by the defense that the use of the cattle prods was designed to protect the rider when horses failed to leave the chute on their own. The Whittier Daily News quoted Goetsch as ruling,

It appears clear to me everybody involved at the chute understands that . . . in each of these cases there was never an attempt to prod any of the horses while the gate was closed.

Goetsch’s decision cannot be appealed.


Rodeo provider cleared by judge. Diana L. Roemer, The Whittier Daily News, April 25, 2003.

PRCA rodeo company running from cruelty citations? Showing Animals Respect and Kindness, Press Release, 2002.

Steve Hindi Abandons Defamation Lawsuit

Steve Hindi announced this month that he was dropping his lawsuit against Utah state Rep. Paul Ray because it would be too expensive to proceed. Ray had state attorneys defending him, and Hindi apparently did not think he could match those resources.

The Salt Lake Tribune quoted Hindi as saying,

As badly as I want to see this guy in court, as badly as I want to see him put his money where his mouth is, he’s going to put taxpayers’ money where his mouth is . . . We’re not going to play that game.

The lawsuit was filed after Ray sent a letter to the Salt Lake Organizing Committee asking that committee to reject animal rights demands to stop a rodeo held as part of the Winter Olympic’s cultural events. In that letter, Ray wrote, “We cannot allow terrorist groups such as SHARK and PETA to frighten us with their threats of violence.”

Hindi took umbrage to Ray’s repeated claims that his group had made threats of violence and supported terrorism and filed suit.

Ray, for his part, seems to be choosing his words more carefully these days and told the Tribune, “I’m not going to get in a name-calling fight with them. I don’t want to rehash all this.”

Hindi’s lawyer, Brian Barnard, was apparently disappointed at the decision to withdraw the lawsuit thinking he had a good defamation case.

Realistically, though, the odds of Hindi prevailing in court were slim to none. Hindi may have been right that SHARK is not a terrorist group and does not support terrorism, but in court he would have had the burden of proving that a) Ray knew this, and b) despite that knowledge, Ray called SHARK a terrorist group anyway (Hindi an SHARK are clearly public persons and, as such, would have had to prove actual malice to prevail).

It was very clear from his statements, however, that Ray had only passing knowledge of the animal rights movement and would almost certainly have relied on a defense that he believed what he was saying at the time was true and accurate.

Winning a defamation case in the United States is extremely difficult, and Ray would have almost certainly prevailed had the lawsuit went forward.


Animal rights activist drops defamation suit against lawmaker. Dan Harrie, The Salt Lake Tribune, March 14, 2002.

Is SHARK a Terrorist Group?

One of the things that really angers me about animal rights groups is how they frequently twist the facts to serve their agenda. But sometimes their more outspoken opponents also cross that line, and such is the case with Utah State Rep. Paul Ray.

In letters to the U.S. Olympic Committee and in television appearance, Ray has repeatedly characterized Showing Animals Respect and Kindness (SHARK) as a group that supports terrorism. In a letter to Olympic officials, for example, Ray wrote,

The rodeo is a very important piece of our culture here in Utah. We cannot allow terrorist groups such as SHARK and PETA to frighten us with violence.

Ray offers a defense of his statements saying, “I called them terrorists. I grouped them all together because it’s really pretty hard to distinguish one from the other.”

Is he serious? It is easy to distinguish animal rights groups from each other, for the most part, and whatever else SHARK is, it is not a terrorist group.

In fact, SHARK’s Steve Hindi has been one of the few people in the animal rights movement willing to speak out publicly against animal rights terrorism. Hindi sent a letter to Animal People shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks that read,

In light of what has happened in New York and Washington D.C., I hope animal advocates will take a renewed stance against such tactics. Clearly, the terrorists have not helped their cause; they have damaged it. Our cause will also be damaged by terrorism, and animals will pay the price.

Anyone who knows SHARK knows we like to hit our opposition hard and often.

But terrorism is not the way to go. In our cause, the animals are the victims, and this is the message that must be carried to the public. The SHARK Tiger truck, for example, exposes animal abuse in a very hard-hitting but thoroughly peaceful manner.

As a movement, let us drop any consideration of terrorism, and build a global Tiger fleet!

Hindi was arrested in 1996 for using a paraglider to try to scare away geese that were being hunted. I’m not a big fan of hunt saboteur’s, but that hardly constitutes terrorism.

SHARK has filed a libel lawsuit against Ray. I doubt it will prevail, if only because libel lawsuits are extremely difficult to win in the United States. But Ray is being extremely irresponsible in twisting and distorting the facts to fit his agenda.

We get enough of that from the animal rights movement — we hardly need Ray jumping in to contribute to the confusion.


Group sues lawmaker for libel. Greg Burton, The Salt Lake Tribune, February 5, 2002.

Utah lawmaker sued for defamation after calling animal advocates ‘terrorist groups’. Associated Press, February 5, 2002.