Four activists with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals were arrested in California and Florida on August 14 while protesting the planned importation of African elephants from Swaziland.
PETA and other groups had unsuccessfully tried to block the importation of 11 elephants from Swaziland that were destined for the Lowry Park zoo in Florida and the San Diego Zoo in California. The elephants will be part of breeding programs at both institutions.
In Tampa, Florida, police arrested three activists. Jayson A. Bayless, 29, of Norfolk, Va., and Valerie Lee Silidker, 28, of Davie, Florida, were arrested on burglary and disorderly conduct charges. Alan Hugh Berger, 57, of Charleston, South Carolina, was arrested on a trespassing charge.
The three PETA activists entered the offices of the zoo and apparently began screaming at the staff members and refused to leave when asked.
In San Diego, meanwhile, Lisa Ann Wathne, 42, of Washington state was arrested on a charge of trespassing after she unsuccessfully (!) tried to chain herself to an office building at the San Diego Zoo.
Elephant protest leads to arrest. Tallahassee Democrat, August 15, 2003.
Four PETA members arrested at Tampa, San Diego zoos. Associated Press, August 14, 2003.