In late May, Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty posted a report of a protest by California animal rights extremists directed at an executive of a company that SHAC claims uses Huntingdon Life Sciences for animal testing. According to the SHAC post (emphasis added),
On Sunday, May 23rd, 20 activists visited the home of Mitchell Lardner, a Sumitomo executive who lives at . . .. Apparently, the neighbors had been planning for our visit and over 30 of them gathered at MitchellÂ’s place to greet us. They were so intimidated by activists asserting their constitutional right to free speech that they called out the entire Monrovia police department to join the protest! And the Monrovia police were so scared that they called out the Temple Station deputies to hold their hands and even asked the Los Angeles Police Department to come with a helicopter! That still was not enough to make the residents of MitchÂ’s neighborhood feel comfortable, so the incompetent Monrovia police called out their fire trucks and ambulances to wait down the road.
Mitchell Lardner truly became an embarrassing spectacle as about 75 people watched anxiously as grassroots activists exposed Mitch as an accomplice to the murder of 500 animals who die every day at HLS because of its customer, Sumitomo. The neighbors started chanting and tried to start a mosh pit, but failed miserably; they clearly had little experience dealing with activists who easily droned them out. We persisted in explaining what it means to have a puppy killer in the neighborhood, and the police just did not know how to deal with the excitement.
As the tension increased, the police arrested 3 activists in a pathetic attempt to stop the demonstration. As the neighbors cheered, activists chanted, Â“for every arrest, one window!Â” and this really shut them up. No matter how many police officers and grumpy neighbors cower before MitchÂ’s home, the grassroots animal rights movement will not be affected or deterred. The arrested activists were released after just a few hours, unfazed and excited to return to MitchÂ’s house.
We will continue to come back and make MitchÂ’s ritzy neighborhood into a circus until Sumitomo stops contracting with HLS.
Before delving further, it’s good to note that even with activist’s own self-serving commentary, it’s clear that the neighbors in the area weren’t buying into extremist’s campaign of harassment. That the neighbors may have actually confronted the animal rights extremists instead following the script that SHAC and others want — cowering in fear and directing their frustration at their neighbor — is very heartening compared to how often people and companies tend to cut and run when faced with pressure from such extremists.
A brief item in the Pasadena Star News backs up at least part of the activists’ claims noting that,
Three animal rights activists were arrested for disturbing the peace late Sunday [May 23, 2004].
. . .
[Monrovia police Sgt.] Alfaro said the activists picketed and assaulted people, he [sic] but could not say who or how many were assaulted.
The protesters were being held overnight and released on a citation today.
Not a terribly helpful description, but this is not the first time activists have shown up at Lardner’s door. They also showed up to protest on May 14, and the Pasadena Star at that time provided a bit more information about how these brave animal rights extremists chose to express themselves (emphasis added),
A family in Monrovia was harassed by animal rights activists when their home was vandalized with phrases like “puppy killer’ and “murderer,’ allegedly by members of the Animal Liberation Front. On Wednesday, animal rights protesters put on masks and hooded sweat-shirts and shouted anti-animal testing slogans through a bullhorn as neighbors and police looked on.
. . .
. . . Dressed in all black, some wearing skull masks, they obviously tried for the scary look . . .
Strike three in the intimidation attempt was the fact that one of the activists arrived at the scene in a shiny new Audi with the license plates removed, of course.
Ah those brave, relentless animal rights activists. They’ll put your home address, phone and the name of your kids on their web sites, but they won’t protest at your home without wearing masks and hoods (a lot like another group of cowards who hide behind masks and hoods while harassing and intimidating the objects of their hatred).
3 animal rights activists arrested. Diana L. Roemer, Pasadena Star News, May 23, 2004.
Rockers to the rescue. Pasadena Star News, May 14, 2004.