Three SHAC UK Animal Rights Extremists Jailed

Three UK animal rights extremists received jail sentences ranging from 15 months to four years their part in an illegal campaign against companies that had business relationships with Huntingdon Life Sciences.

Mark Taylor, 39; wife Suzanne, 35; and Teresa Portwine, 48, were the first to be charged under new UK laws designed to make it easier to crack down on animal rights extremists who skirted the law in their efforts to harass and intimidate animal research firms and nonprofits.

All three plead guilty to conspiracy to interfere with a contractual relationship. Portwine was sentenced to just 15 months, Suzanne Taylor received 2 1/2 years, and Mark Taylor was sentenced to four years in jail.

The judge in the case apparently took into account testimony from witnesses that Taylor had been a ring leader of the group’s activities in handing out the sentence. Taylor participated in numerous protests and drove others to said protests where groups of Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty activists wearing masks would storm into the offices of the targeted companies.


3 animal rights extremists
. D’arcy Doran, Associated Press, March 6, 2007.

Animal rights activists are jailed for ‘intimidation’. New Scotsman, March 6, 2007.

Animal rights activist jailed. Press Association, March 6, 2007.

New Jersey SHAC Activists Arrested

New Jersey police recently arrested animal rights activists Janice Angelillo and Nicholas Cooney and searched Angelillo’s residence and automobile in connection with a number of criminal acts.

Angelillo and Cooney were arrested around 4 a.m. July 21st outside a Hoffman-LaRoche facility. They allegedly gave officers fake identification after being stopped on foot outside the facility.

According to Gannett,

Just before the Thursday arrest, police had been alerted to an incident in nearby Bloomfield in which derogatory slogans toward Hoffman-LaRoche were spray-painted on a white fence in the same color paint found on the hands and clothing of Angelillo and Philadelphia resident Nicholas Cooney, said Capt. Steve Serrao, assistant director for operations of the state Office of Counter Terrorism.

After the arrest, police obtained a search warrant for Angelillo’s black Subaru which was parked nearby. Police said that evidence obtained from the car implicated Angelillo and Cooney in another incident that occurred within 24 hours of their arrests.

Police also raided the residence of Angelillo, who lives with fellow animal rights activist Ted Nebus. They removed a computer and animal rights-related materials from the residence according to the Home News Tribune.

Both Angelillo and Cooney have been arrested numerous times in their protests against very SHAC targets.


Borough couple caught in probe. Arielle Levin Becker, Home News Tribune, July 25, 2005.

Huntingdon Wins Limited Discovery Access to SHAC Financial Records, Supporters List

In April, a British court rejected Huntingdon Life Sciences’ request for access to Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty’s address list of 10,000 supporters, but was granted HLS access to SHAC’s financial records and a list and addresses of all supporters who are activists with criminal records.

The ruling comes as part of the discovery process in HLS’s lawsuit against SHAC which looks to be on track to start sometime later this year.

HLS lawyers argued they needed access to the list to prove that SHAC includes among its supporters animal rights activists with criminal records, but a judge denied that request. Of course its a bit odd, but typically hypocritical, for a group like SHAC that regularly publishes the addresses of people only tangentially related to HLS to clam up over its own members.

According to the Telegraph, at one point SHAC’s lawyers actually tried to maintain that SHAC is not actually a group at all and thus not subject to discovery, but in the end conceded that it was an unincorporated association.

According to SHAC’s lawyer, Tim Lawson-Cruttenden, the organization receives about 150,000 pounds a year in donations.


Huntingdon refused access to information on activists. Rosie Murray-West, Telegraph (UK), April 21, 2005.

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.

Sunday Times Claims Wealthy UK Developer Is Linked to Animal Rights Extremists

The Sunday Times filed a story on March 13 claiming that one James Gorman, 57, is linked to extremist animal rights activists in the United Kingdom.

According to the Times, Gorman made his fortune as a property developer and now spends his time giving lectures on the benefits of vegan diets. The Times quotes Gorman as saying he has committed “direct action” attacks in the past and carried out surveillance for other activists planning such attacks.

The Times quotes Gorman as saying,

I’ve rescued animals — no problem at all . . . I have been involved with surveillance, undercover work. . . . The ALF are freedom fighters fighting the terrorists who are terrorizing the animals.

According to the Times, Gorman is a “nutritional adviser” to the UK’s Vegan Prisoners Support Group whose mission is “to fight for the daily rights of vegan animal rights prisoners whilst being detained in prison establishments.”

The Times claims that Gorman is in regular contact with UK animal rights extremists Keith Mann, Greg Avery, and Natasha Avery.

Gorman tells The Times that he plans to leave about 1 million pounds to animal rights groups when he dies, but that he won’t be donating it to groups like Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty out of concerns that the government will seize any such donations.

Its worth noting that The Times uses an extremely deceptive headline for its story, which reads (emphasis added), “Vegan bodybuilder funds animal extremists.” But there is not a single sentence in the story which backs up this claim. The only mention of Gorman’s providing funds to the movement is related to his will, with Gorman telling The Times that, “My money is left in my will, and I’ve left over Pounds 1 million” to animal rights groups. The article contains nothing about whether or not Gorman is currently funding animal rights groups in the UK. Perhaps The Times should require that its editors actually read its articles before writing the headlines.


Vegan bodybuilder funds animal extremists. Nick Fielding and Gareth Walsh, The Sunday Times, March 13, 2005.

Activists Rally Around 10th Anniversary of Death of Jill Phipps

In February, animal rights activists in Great Britain and the United States held protests to remember the 10th anniversary of the death of Jill Phipps. Phipps was an animal rights activist killed in 1995 at an anti-veal protest in Great Britain.

Of course there was a lot of nonsense about exactly how Phipps died. For example, Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty claimed that (emphasis added),

Ten years ago Jill Phipps was murdered. She was a passionate British animal rights activist who literally stood her ground when defending animals from terror and death. She was killed during a demonstration against the cruel live export of ‘veal’ calves at Coventry Airport. She stood defiantly in front of a crowded animal cargo truck, as she had so many times to stop it from making its fateful delivery. This time the truck chose not to stop. She was crushed under its wheels.

In fact, Phipps death was ruled accidental at an inquest that investigated her death and the person primarily responsible for Phipps’ death was Phipps herself.

To be clear, police had cordoned off the area where the trucks were transporting the veal calves. Phipps and other activists, however, evaded police and attempted to block the passage of the trucks. Some of the activists attempted to attach themselves to the trucks with handcuffs while others, such as Phipps, got in front of the trucks in an effort to make them stop.

Due to the confusing set of events that occurred shortly before her death, in fact, the driver of the truck, Stephen Yates, never saw Phipps and didn’t realize he had run her over until a police officer banged on the door of the truck’s cab and asked him to stop the vehicle.

Yates noted that police had not given him any special instructions on how to handle protesters who might jump in front of the truck or might try to climb onto the cab. According to a Guardian account of Yates 1995 testimony at the inquest,

Mr. Yates told police he noticed a woman, probably Ms. Phipps’s friend, Pamela Brown, run to the driver’s side and try to chain herself to the lorry before officers dragged her away.

Inspector Williams said Mr. Yates continued: “There were two, maybe three or four protesters running down the grass verge towards the front of the lorry. I had kept my eye on her.

“Then there was bang on the passenger door. An officer said: ‘Stop, stop. There’s someone under your wheels.’ At the time I didn’t know if it was the back or front wheels. I said ‘What’s wrong?’ and he said ‘Just back your truck — a couple of inches.’ I did.

“Someone told me I’d just run somebody over. I said: ‘You’re joking.’ The officer came around the side to me. I asked: ‘I’ve gone right over the top of her?’ and he said ‘Yes.’ I said ‘Bloody hell, that’s bad. I can’t believe it’.”

He added: “The only person I saw was the girl. I wasn’t doing more than five or six miles per hour – 10 at the most. I don’t think anyone expected the protesters to act the way they did.”

After hearing all the evidence in the case, a 10-person jury at the inquest found that Phipps’ death was accidental. As assistant chief constable Mike Brewer said of the verdict and Phipps’ death,

We didn’t have the benefit of hindsight but it was a good operation. At the time it was well planned and well carried out. The police were not responsible for Jill’s death; regrettably that lies with Jill and her friends. I think Jill Phipps died because she was engaged in an endeavor which was dangerous. The times we are talking about were just literally a matter of four, five, six seconds, between when she was safe and when she was under the lorry. “Jill made a miscalculation and could not get out of the way. Jill and her colleagues had broken the law and put themselves in great danger.


Woman’s Veal Protest Death ‘was An Accident’. Rory McCarthy and Eileen Murphy, Press Association News, August 22, 1995.

Driver did not know he had killed woman. Alex Bellos, The Guardian, August 19, 1995.

Animal rights protesters to mark activists’s death. Phil Hazlewood, Press Association, February 5, 2005.

In Memory of Jill Phipps. Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty, February 2005.

March to honour animal campaigner. The BBC, February 5, 2005