Man Becomes First In UK Charged Under Laws Targeting Animal Rights Extremists

In October, Mark Taylor, 38, became the first person charged in the United Kingdom under new laws there designed to crack down on animal rights extremism.

Taylor was charged under a provision of the Serious and Organized Crime and Police Act of 2005 that targets those who interfere with contractual relationships so as to harm an animal research organization — i.e. harassing employees and companies who do business with animal research firms.

Taylor was charged with three such counts of interference with contractual relationships so as to harm an animal research organization, two counts of aggravated trespass, and one count of assault.

He was arrested back on July 16, 2005 after a protest at a company that is a supplier to Huntingdon Life Sciences.


Charge under animal research law. The BBC, October 5, 2005.

Elle Macpherson Abandons Lucrative Contract After PETA Threat

The UK’s Daily Mail reported in September that supermodel Elle Macpherson is seeking to get out of million pound contract she signed with fur company Blackglama after receiving a threatening letter from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ Dan Matthews.

In the letter, Matthews wrote,

By making yourself the new face of fur for Blackglama you are also making yourself a top target for PETA and animal activists around the world. When you take money from such a violent industry you also must carry their baggage.

Matthews, of course, defends every tactic to stop companies using fur up to and including murder. In 2000, asked by gay magazine Genre to name one of his favorite men of the 20th century, Matthews responded that one of his favorite men was

Andrew Cunanan, because he got Versace to stop doing fur.

Cunanan was the serial killer who in 1997 murdered fashion designer Gianni Versace outside Versace’s Miami Beach home.

When you get warning letters from people who admire serial killers, one cannot blame Macpherson for being concerned. The Daily mail quoted a source close to Macpherson saying,

Elle has never seen anything ethically wrong in wearing fur and was very keen to get involved with the campaign. But in the wake of recent developments against the fur industry from militant protesters and animal rights activists, Elle felt that no amount of money was worth jeopardizing the safety of herself or her family and she would rather the ads were pulled.

No word yet on whether or not Macpherson will be able to reach an agreement with Blackglama to abandon the ad campaign scheduled to debut over the next few months.


Elle ‘too scared’ for fur. Clemmie Moodle, Daily Mail, September 30, 2005.

Violent Extremists and the Reporters Who Love Them

One of the more fascinating aspects of animal rights and environmental acts of violence are those in relatively mainstream liberal and environmental circles who choose to excuse and diminish the nature and scope of such crimes. Former UPI reporter Kelly Hearn typifies such fellow travelers, especially in his use of extremely deceptive reporting on one such act.

Hearn opens an article published by Alternet by comparing the sentence received by one eco-terrorist to that received by a young man convicted of rape and assault,

A remorseless rapist in Hamilton County, Ohio is sentenced to 15 years in prison for beating and raping a 57-year-old woman. An environmental activist in California is sentenced to 22 years and 8 months for burning three SUVs at a car dealership after taking precautions to harm no lives.

The disparity helps illustrates [sic] what animal rights and environmental groups say is an expanding Orwellian attack on American environmentalism being waged under the pretext of eco-terrorism.

Of course, the only thing genuinely Orwellian is how utterly deceptive and factually incorrect the above two paragraphs are. They are so deceptive, in fact, that either Hearn did not actually do any original research about either of the young men he mentions, or he is lying through omission in order to make the cause of violent animal rights and environmental extremists seem more palatable to Alternet’s liberal readers.

The first paragraph above is the only reference made to these incidents, which helpfully makes it difficult for casual readers to verify what Hearn says. Who is this environmental activist who was sentenced to 22 years in California? Who is this remorseless rapist from Ohio? Did Hearn get their stories right?

For those who follow the extremists in the animal rights and environmental movement, its obvious that the environmental activist Hearn is referring to is Jeffrey Luers. But Hearn’s description of Luers’ well-deserved predicament is deceptive.

Luers, of course, was convicted in Oregon, not California. And in addition to being convicted of setting fire to three SUVs, he was also convicted of attempting to set fire to gasoline tanker and to possession of incendiary devices.

All of these details are important for understanding an odd circumstance that Hearn cannot be bothered to mention — Luers partner in these arsons, Craig Marshall, was sentenced to just 5 years. If prosecutors wanted to wage a war against environmentalism, it is a bit odd, to say the least, that they would let Marshall off so easily.

The difference, of course, is that Marshall accepted a plea bargain in which he plead to lesser charges. Luers was also offered a plea bargain but rejected it despite the abundant evidence of his guilt.

Luers, instead, decided to roll the dice and go to trial. Luers was well aware what he was possibly facing. Oregon’s Measure 11 sets strict mandatory minimums, and Luers and his lawyers knew full well that if convicted on most of the charges, he would spend a very long time in jail, much of it without the possibility of parole. Luers gambled, and lost, with his freedom both when he set those fires and then in facing the legal system for those crimes.

So, now that we’ve got a bit better picture of Luers’ predicament than Hearn could be bothered to present, what about that Ohio rapist. Presumably Hearn is writing about Terrell Wilkins, whom prosecutor Steve Tolbert said, “(He) might be the most dangerous human being I’ve ever prosecuted in all these years.”

In 2003, then 17-year-old Wilkins assaulted and raped his 57-year-old literacy tutor. He was reportedly angry that she decided to end their tutoring session early.

Wilkins plead no contest to rape and assault charges, and was sentenced to six years in prison for assault and nine years for the rape charge. The 15 years was just three short of the maximum 18 years he could have been sentenced to.

Why didn’t Wilkins get more time? The news reports on Wilkins’ case, unfortunately, do not give a lot of information on this point, but there are a number of possibilities. Wilkins plead “no contest” to the charges shortly before his trial was to begin, suggesting he may have reached a plea bargain with prosecutors.

Second, Wilkins did not use a weapon of any sort during his assault. Ohio statutes for rape and assault — as similar statutes across the country — generally treat acts of violence committed without weapons differently than acts of violence committed with weapons.

Third, Wilkins committed a single, unpremeditated rape. Again, most statutes for rape and assault generally reserve their longest sentences for convicts who fit sexual predator profiles — i.e, those who plan and carry out multiple assaults.

That being said, Hearn offers a false dichotomy. The clear implication of Hearn’s article is that if a brutal assault and rape only garners 15 years in jail in Ohio, a premeditated act of arson in Oregon should not draw an almost 23 year sentence. But the correct conclusion is that Wilkins should have been sentenced to a much longer period in jail, not that Luers’ sentence should have been shorter. Certainly the voters of Ohio can, if they choose, increase the mandatory minimum for violent crimes just as Oregon voters decided to increase the mandatory minimums for violent crimes in their state.

Moreover, Hearn’s defense of animal rights and environmental violence is the latest in a disturbing trend of left-liberals coming to the defense of violent extremists who happen to tangentially share their ideologies. Presumably if Luers and Marshall had torched an abortion clinic, Alternet would not be running an article complaining about the long sentence.

This is why, for example, no one at Alternet complains that Peter Howard received a 15 year sentence just like Wilkins. Howard is an anti-abortion extremist who tried to destroy an abortion clinic. At about 2 a.m. on March 17, 1997, Howard rammed his pickup truck into an abortion clinic. The truck was loaded with 13 gasoline cans and three propane tanks which Howard planned to use to set fire to the building. Howard’s concoction of gasoline and propane failed to ignite, however, and he was apprehended at the scene.

If Hearn wrote that a man who attempted to burn down an abortion clinic received the same sentence as a man who raped and assaulted a woman, thereby demonstrating that the government is persecuting anti-abortion activists in an Orwellian attack, the Alternet editors would file his story in their wastebaskets. Change the ideological cause to environmentalism and animal rights, however, and well, you know . . .it is only arson after all.

Hearn’s article serve the same role that much pro-life propaganda in the 1980s and 1990s did. It attempts to recast those committing acts of arson as the victims, and in the process of excusing and diminishing their crimes also glamorizes them. Jeff Luers, after all, is no longer simply an arsonist who liked to set fire to things, he’s now a victim in an “expanding Orwellian attack on American environmentalism.” Hell, they should probably give that kid a medal, not send him to jail!


Stepping up the attack on green activists. Kelly Hearn, AlterNet, September 30, 2005.

Teen sent to jail for raping tutor. Jennifer Steiner, WCPO.Com, November 18, 2003.

Remorseless rapist gets 15 years. Janice Morse, The Cincinnati Enquirer, November 19, 2003.

Would-be clinic bomber gets 15-year term. Jerry Bier, The Fresno Bee, February 10, 1998.

YWCA rape victim file lawsuit. Jessica Brown, Journal News (Hamilton, Ohio), December 5, 2003.

Three Activists Arrested, Fourth Loses Job in Wegmans Case

Three animal rights activists with Compassionate Consumers were recently charged with third-degree burglary, a felony, and a fourth was fired from her job, all stemming from several incidents in which the activists allegedly broke into Wegmans’ New York egg farm in order to videotape conditions at the farm.

Adam Durand, 25; Melanie Ippolito, 21; and Megan Cosgrove were arrested and charged with third-degree bursarial which carries a maximum sentence of up to seven years in jail.

On the tape, Durand admits that he videotaped the group’s break-ins at the farm while Ippolito and Cosgrove appear on camera describing how they removed animals from the facility.

Durand told the Finger Lake Times that the trio knew a burglary charge was a possibility, but that it was worth the risk. The newspaper quoted Durand as saying,

We plan on showing up to court and, of course, we’re going to continue to promote the film and raise awareness.

The activists were, however, apparently surprised at the charges they faced. According to the Democrat & Chroncile, the three apparently thought they would only face trespassing charges which carries just a $75 fine. Wegmans, however, has apparently pressed prosecutors to bring the burgarly charges rather than settling for just trespassing charges.

The video the three taped was publicized in July by Compassionate Consumers spokeswoman Jodi Chemes. Chemes was subsequently fired by accounting firm Deloitte & Touche.

Chemes told The Democrat & Chronicle that she believes her firing was due to her animal rights activism. Deloitte & Touche does accounting work for Wegmans Food Markets, and Chemes told The Democrat & Chronicle, “I believe Wegmans pressured them into firing me.”

Deloitte & Touche said it would not comment on a confidential personnel matter. Wegmans, however, said it did contact Deloitte & Touche about Chemes. According to The Democrat & Chronicle,

When news accounts of the animal rights documentary surfaced earlier this month, a representative of Deloitte called Wegmans to say “that one of their employees was involved,” she [Wegmans spokeswoman Joe Natale] said.

After that, “our only request to Deloitte & Touche was to assure us that the security of our information was guaranteed,” said Natale.


Fired activist blame Wegmans. Corydon Ireland, Democrat & Chronicle, July 15, 2005.

Animal rights activists charged. Mike Maslanik, Finger Lake Times, August 9, 2005.

Third felony warrant issued in Wegmans Egg Farm Case. Corydon Ireland, Democrat & Chronicle, August 5, 2005.

Are Feds Preparing Indictment Against Rodney Coronado?

San Diego City Beat recently reported that a federal grand jury investigating a August 1, 2003 fire at an apartment complex may be close to indicting convicted animal rights terrorist Rodney Coronado for violating a law passed after 9/11.

According to the City Beat, after 9/11, Congress made it a crime to,

teach or demonstrate the making or use of an explosive, a destructive device or a weapon of mass destructionÂ… with the intent that the teaching, demonstration or information be used forÂ… an activity that constitutes a federal crime of violence.

Over the past few years, Coronado has given dozens of speeches in which he concluded by showing audiences how to make an incendiary device. According to City Beat,

Coronado doesn’t deny that near the end of his talk at the LGBT Center in Hillcrest, where he spoke mostly about his history as an animal-rights activist, he picked up a container of apple juice from a nearby food table to “show that weapons [animal-rights activists] use are very simple devices.” It’s something he’s discussed in other public forums, he told CityBeat, to explain to his audience not only the “why” behind actions he’s carried out, but also the “how.”

“It’s always been in the sense that this is the most aggressive and extreme our movement gets,” he said. “It’s for people to understand that as much as the FBI says we’re a highly organized group, we aren’t.”

Coronado is also currently under indictment for allegedly destroying a mountain lion trap in Sabino Canyon, Arizona.


Imminent Indictment. Kelly Davis, San Diego City Beat, August 2005.

Idiot Activists Vandalize Wrong House

As has been mentioned a few times on this site, animal rights activist Janice Angelillo and Nicholas Cooney were arrested in July after being caught prowling around outside a Hoffman-LaRoche facility at 4 a.m. They both had white paint on their clothes and hands — the same color paint used earlier in the morning to vandalize another site with anti-Hoffman-LaRoche slogans.

The two were also charged with spray painting the home and car of a New Jersey man with “scum,” “puppy killers” and “blood money.” Apparently Angelillo and Cooney believed that the man who owns the car and home was an executive at Huntingdon Life Sciences.

It turns out, however, that the man is simply a real estate agent who has a name very similar to an executive who works at HLS.

This is why activists regularly brag about their high levels of compassion rather than high levels of intelligence.


Police: Animal Activists Target Wrong Man.