Activists Protest Circus in Everett, Washington

Animal rights activists in Everett, Washington, planned to turn out to protest the arrival of The Ringling Bros.. and Barnum & Bailey Circus there in September. News coverage of the planned protest provided an interesting contrast between the circus and activists.

Along with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the Progressive Animal Welfare Society of Lynwood planned to protest and hand out leaflets outside the circus. According to Washington state newspaper The Herald,

PAWS, along with People for the Ethical Treatment of ANimals and the Northwest Animal Rights Network, will be in front of the Everett Events Center passing out brochures to circus-goers and ticket buyers.

. . .

[PAWS spokeswoman Zibby] Wilder said PAWS objects to circuses keeping wild and exotic animals captive for entertainment. Many circuses, including Ringling Bros., subject animals to a variety of abuses, the group claims.

“We’re giving information so people can make a more informed decision next time,” Wilder said.

Ringling Bros. spokeswoman Melinda Rosser had a different take on Wilder’s efforts to educate circus-goers. According to The Herald,

“All we hand out is the facts. We want them to think about it,” Wilder said. “We live in an area that’s known for its wildlife awareness. The circus is no different — those animals need to be cared for and protected.

One of the handouts is a circus coloring book for children. It shows elephants in chains, bears in costume and a tiger jumping through flaming hoops.

Rosser said the coloring book is yet another example of lumping circuses together — Ringling Bros. has no bears, no fire hoops and no animals wearing clothing.

Wilder’s group did convince a local automobile dealership to promise that, in the future, it wouldn’t sponsor radio advertisements for the circus. Brien Motors owner Rock Peterson wrote the group saying,

After reading about the treatment of animals by circuses, I agree with you that we . . . should not be associated with that type of activity.

According to Wilder, Peterson was the only one of the circus sponsors who responded to letters the group sent.


Protest follows circus. Jennifer Warnick, The Herald (Washington), September 13, 2004.

Activists Claim Geoff Kerns Is Source of Grand Jury Testimony Against Watson and Lynn

Over the past several months Allison Lance Watson and Gina Lynn have spent time in and out of jail over their testimony or refusal to provide such testimony to a Seattle grand jury. One of the questions raised by the grand jury calling them to testify is who had implicated them in a number of acts of animal rights terrorism. According to a number of animal rights web sites, animal rights activist Geoff Kerns is apparently cooperating with the grand jury, probably as part of a plea bargain.

Kerns has been arrested a number of times for animal rights related activities. According to a Fur Commission USA press release, Kerns was one of three minors arrested at a Washington state fur farm in February 1999. According to the FCUSA,

On Tuesday, when the protesters left the [Seattle Fur] Exchange [following a protest sponsored by the Coalition to Abolish the Fur Trade that led two arrests], the hapless troupe reached the fur farm where about 15 people donned masks and jumped the fence. Five were quickly arrested by on-the-spot policemen. Three out-of-state minors — Lindsey Parme, Kyle Salisbury and Geoff Kerns — and two adults — Kim Berardi and Nicole Dawn Briggs — were charged with second degree burglary and first-degree theft.

Kerns was arrested again on August 2, 2000 at an anti-circus protest at the Los Angeles Sports Arena. According to a No Compromise report on the protest,

Meanwhile, three activists, Michelle Dyrness, Pamelyn Ferdin and Geoff Kerns, staged a lockdown in front of the front doors with lockboxes. (Lockboxes are three foot, cylinder, metal tubes weighing about 25 pounds each.) The activists inserted an arm into each lockbox and locked themselves to each other.

. . .

Three of the five activists remain incarcerated ON A HUNGER STRIKE at Southwest LA Precinct and the 77th Precinct (Jerry Vlasak, trauma surgeon/physician/MD, at Southwest — Pam F. and Michelle D. at 77th).

Two of the five civil disobediencers were minors and released a few hours after they were arrested. They were ADL-LA activists Geoff Kerns and Jeff Van-Name.

When Allison Lance Watson was charged with perjury, prosecutors were required to hand over any grand jury testimony related to the perjury charge to her lawyers as part of discovery. Part of that apparently included Kerns’ testimony, which Watson and/or her attorneys passed on to other animal rights activists.

No Compromise has an edited version of Kerns’ testimony (they have removed all of the names). The grand jury is clearly focused on that 1999 incident, and provides the grand jury not only with who the driver was (who escaped arrest), but also provides the name of a person he claims could identify the others who participated in the raid. Even with the names redacted, this makes for very interesting reading (especially the item I’ve bolded near the end),

AUSA: So it’s your testimony that you don’t recall anyone involved? You don’t recall any person involved in any animal rights or anti-fur protest or activity–

GEOFF: I recall seeing a couple of people. Just people that I recognized from L.A.

AUSA: Who did you see?

GEOFF: I saw [BLANK7]. S/he was at the protest. And I don’t remember specifically seeing them there but I would imagine [BLANK8] was there.

AUSA: Who is that?


AUSA: Who else did you see that you knew?

GEOFF: I believe maybe [BLANK]. I think s/he might have been there.

… AUSA: Ready to resume?

GEOFF: Actually, some of the questions that you have asked, as of now, have brought some things up that I didn’t recall at first…

GEOFF: Yeah. See, at the hotel, there’s one other activist I can remember specifically. And that
would be [BLANK9].

AUSA: What do you remember about [BLANK9]?

GEOFF: I just remember that s/he was there, actually with [BLANK10].

GEOFF: If you could go over some of those questions again.

AUSA: Let’s focus on, anyone else that you recall being involved in the fur exchange protest?

GEOFF: [BLANK11]. S/he’s also from Los Angeles.

AUSA: Anyone else?

GEOFF: [BLANK11], [BLANK7], again, [BLANK8], and [BLANK1].

AUSA: Do you remember any of them driving up to the mink release with you?

GEOFF: I believe [BLANK1] might have been in the car with me.

AUSA: You said you were in the back?


AUSA: Where was [BLANK1]?

GEOFF: If it was her/him, it was next to me.

AUSA: You knew her/him from Los Angeles, right?

GEOFF: I had met her/him a few times. S/he was kind of a not friend.

AUSA: What did you talk to her/him about on the way up to the protest?

GEOFF: Everybody was kind of silent. There was music on in the car, I think.

AUSA: Do you recall that s/he was the [person] next to you?

GEOFF: Not clearly. It might have been her/him. I could say with a decent amount of certainty that it was her/him, but I wouldn’t want to bank a perjury charge on it.

… GEOFF: Look, I am trying to remember these things. A lot of them are things that I intentionally try to block out. I am trying to be honest here, clear all this up, and move on with my life. I am not involved with any animal rights group right now. I am working for a medical company trying to improve my life. I am giving you guys names, telling you, I mean.

JUROR: It just seems like you are protecting these people. You are protecting certain individuals that you shouldn’t be. You are too bright for that.

GEOFF: I am telling you who was in the car with me.

..GEOFF: And, I mean, I donÂ’t do well in jail. You know, IÂ’m not the kind of person that can go in there and deal with the fights and the bigotry and all that. ItÂ’s not easy on me. IÂ’m oh, God. And, I mean, I am claustrophobic. It scares the shit out of me.

GEOFF: I have a belief about government in general. I have a lot of beliefs. Believe me, I am not talking to you guys because I want to see these people go to prison. I am not talking to you because– I am not talking to you because I like you. I am not talking to you because I trust you. I am not talking to you for any other reason than if I donÂ’t, I could go to prison.

AUSA: …Is it because youÂ’ve seen them at a lot of meetings, therefore you trust them or–

GEOFF: Can they handle going to jail, have they been to jail before, have they done a considerable amount of time, are they willing to do something like that again. Most people are going to rat people out, because they donÂ’t want to go to jail. Can they handle it.

AUSA: Is that why you want to get out? You canÂ’t handle it when things get tough?

GEOFF: I canÂ’t handle jail. I can handle being questioned. I canÂ’t handle jail.

… GEOFF: I don’t remember how other people were dressed. I don’t remember if anybody had a mask. Like I said, I remember that [BLANK1] was in the car, and that is it. I am trying to think about conversations I had with [BLANK2].

JUROR: There was a protest going on as well as the mink release?

GEOFF: Right.

JUROR: Do you know how many people were involved in the mink release part?

GEOFF: I would estimate 15 or 20.

… GEOFF: … [BLANK2] told me that s/he had driven to pick those people up that had all run into the woods and later caller her/him. So, I mean, if s/he had gotten away with the rest of them, s/he I mean, I don’t think s/he would have done that. I mean.

… GEOFF: … And it was the police or the FBI that ended up arresting me. Seriously, there were a lot of things I can’t recall about it. I do know [BLANK2] told me later on that s/he drove to pick them up. S/he knows who they are.

… JUROR: Had you ever heard [BLANK2]’s name before coming up here?

GEOFF: I think I heard her/his name. I think [BLANK3] were friends of hers/his.

…JUROR: Are you active with animal rights right now?


JUROR: You are not associated at all?

GEOFF: I have completely disassociated myself from it. The only contact I have had with people regarding or who are involved in the animal rights movement has been through an arrest last July. It was for an old warrant. And pertaining to this. And after some of the questions, as I said, I was able to go back and clarify things.

…JUROR: And you said you disassociated yourself with the whole animal rights. WhatÂ’s the reason for that?

GEOFF: ThereÂ’s a number of reasons. I was finding myself getting in a lot of trouble. That was one thing. I didnÂ’t want to destroy my life. I didnÂ’t want to do all this stuff, even though my ideals were so strong. And, you know, I didnÂ’t want to keep going through that. A lot of the people I had met were not the kind of people I liked associating with. On top of that, I burned a few bridges. I stole things from an activist house in Utah. They trusted me to be there, and I stole things from them. I was still– I had stopped doing drugs and started drinking and falling into a crowd that glamorized theft from the rich. And I betrayed someone who was a good friend of mine. And I couldnÂ’t stand the torment of those people continually confronting me about that. And I totally fucked that up.

AUSA: How do you justify breaking into another activistÂ’s home and stealing from them for the cause?

GEOFF: I donÂ’t justify it. I donÂ’t justify it. I donÂ’t pretend to. Breaking into an activistÂ’s home, that wasnÂ’t related to the cause. That was because I was fucked up. That was because I was going through a lot of things and learning about you know, new philosophies on how wonderful it is to shoplift and steal from the rich. And I went and did it. I was an idiot. I screwed up and betrayed people. ThereÂ’s no justifying that. At the time, I justified it by thinking, these people are rich. ItÂ’s okay to take from them. I donÂ’t have money. They do.

… GEOFF: … As I said, wanted to really start living my life and not just living unquestioning the way that everyone taught me to. We were taught to spout off statistics that we didn’t know were true. We were taught to, you know, embellish things to make things look more tragic than they already were.

JUROR: And when you are saying that you were taught things, who was teaching you? Who was giving you the statistics and telling you what to say?

GEOFF: I mean, just everybody. Mainstream animal rights groups, they don’t say where they get their statistics or anything like that. And, you know, people just say, you know, if you make things seem more extreme than they are, people aren’t going to research it. They are going to believe it. And I don’t know. It’s– the whole thing. I mean, you’ve got to understand, I have had all this stuff drilled into my head all the time about, you know, don’t snitch, don’t name names, don’t say things. And you have to understand that the vagueness and all that comes from a deep sense that I am betraying people that I loved. This is so hard for me.

JUROR: That is the believable Geoffrey. That is what we wanted to hear.

… GEOFF: … I really don’t remember her/ him driving up there. The only person I remember was [BLANK1], and s/he was sitting next to me…

AUSA: Do you want a minute before we go on? I have put a stack of pictures in front of you. And they are labeled Grand Jury exhibits GK 1 through 13. Can you take a look at each one? If you know who the person is, tell us the name.

GEOFF: This one looks familiar. I don’t know who s/he is.

AUSA: Is that GK1?


GEOFF: This is the only one that looks familiar, I don’t know where I’ve seen him before. It was probably at the protest. This one looks familiar. I might have seen him in Salt Lake. GK5–

… AUSA: Do you know [BLANK3]?

GEOFF: No, I don’t, not personally.

AUSA: Okay.


AUSA: That’s the next one that looks familiar after GK5?

GEOFF: Yeah. GK10 is [BLANK1]. GK11, I think, is [BLANK5]. GK12 I don’t know. So these are the only ones that look familiar.

AUSA: Let me hand you three more exhibits… Can you take a look at each set of pictures and tell us if you recognize the person in that?

GEOFF: It could be [BLANK5]. I don’t know though.

AUSA: There’s four pictures. So take a look at the four.


AUSA: I believe you told us earlier that you recognized her/his build.

GEOFF: Definitely her/his build. I can’t recognize the face though.

AUSA: Which exhibit is it that you are talking about?

GEOFF: It’s GK14.

AUSA: What about GK15 and 16?
GEOFF: 15, I don’t really remember. Is that [BLANK6], actually?

AUSA: Who is [BLANK6]?

GEOFF: My old friend, [full name].

… AUSA: Would you look back at GK14 for a minute. That’s the one I think you thought was [BLANK5].

GEOFF: Could have been, yeah.

AUSA: Could you take a look and tell us if you think it is?

GEOFF: I think so, based on the build, but the face is really blurry.

AUSA: You believe it’s [BLANK5] based on what you can see?

GEOFF: Yeah. I think [BLANK5] wears glasses. And based on the build, the lack of any fashion sense. That’s serious.

… AUSA: Are these people expecting to hear from you as far as what you have said here to the Grand Jury?

GEOFF: [BLANK1] told me to talk to her/him about it. I have not talked to her/him in the past couple of weeks, but–

AUSA: But s/he asked you to tell her/him what happened here. Are you planning to do that?

GEOFF: No. I was thinking about that last week.

… GEOFF: Which organization?

AUSA: The animal rights organization that you were involved in.

GEOFF: I was involved in a number of them. But in general, with activism movements such as that, if you do something like what I am doing now, this is the general rules, snitches get stitches.

AUSA: Then there are consequences for you?

GEOFF: If anybody finds out, yeah.

AUSA: For example.

GEOFF: I don’t know. Get beaten. Get hurt really bad.

AUSA: Had you heard that before, had somebody said if you do that, this is what’s going to happen?

GEOFF: I mean, not specifically, not relating to this. But in general, that like I said, snitches get
stitches. I mean, shit, I kicked this kid in the face for doing the same thing in Long Island.

AUSA: So you do have some fear for your safety because of what’s happened here at the grand jury?

GEOFF: If anybody finds out, I don’t know what happens. If they do, yeah.

AUSA: If it’s any consolation to you, you haven’t snitched on anyone.

GEOFF: I have talked about [BLANK5].

AUSA: No, you haven’t. People showed you pictures of [BLANK5]. And you said, yeah, that’s [BLANK5]. And you said you heard s/he had picked up some people after the mink release. We already had that information.

GEOFF: It’s still snitching. The thing you got to understand, you don’t help them put people in jail. And if they didn’t have a use for it, for me coming up here and doing that, then they wouldn’t be bringing me up here.

… GEOFF: Right, but I picked her/him from that. I am not trying to protect her/him. If s/he was driving the car, why would I say s/he was not driving the car but pick her/him out there?”


Geoff Kerns snitches to grand jury. San Diego IndyMedia, August 28, 2004.

Geoffrey Kerns talks. No Compromise, September 18, 2004.

6 Arrested, 2 Hurt at LA Sports Arena Circus Protest. No Compromise, August 2, 2000.

Quick Arrest for bungling terrorists. Press Release, Fur Commission USA, February 23, 1999.

Government Drops Charges Against Allison Lance Watson; Watson Plead Guilty to Refusing to Testify

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports that the U.S. Attorney’s Office has dropped perjury charges against Allison Lance Watson after a clerk apparently destroyed the only existing copy of a transcript of discussions in the grand jury room before and after Watson testified.

Watson was reportedly asked whether or not an associate of hers, Gina Lynn, was ever a passenger or drive in a truck that Watson had rented during a period when two acts of animal rights terrorism were carried out in Washington state. Watson reportedly answered no, but the FBI has surveillance footage showing Lynn in the truck.

Watson’s defense at trial was apparently going to be that the U.S. Attorney had tricked her into perjuring herself. To that end, the judge hearing the case ordered the U.S. Attorney’s office to turn over a transcript of discussion within the grand jury room immediately before and after Watson testified.

But the U.S. Attorney was forced to drop the charges after a clerk apparently destroyed 10 years worth of grand jury transcripts made when a witness was not in the room. The clerk apparently falsely believed that electronic backups of the transcripts existed and destroyed the records when the U.S. Attorney’s office recently moved to a new building.

Watson was then ordered again to testify to the grand jury on Sept. 2 which she refused to do. She plead guilty on Sept. 9 to misdemeanor contempt charges for failing to answer the grand jury’s questions.


No perjury charges vs. animal activist. Paul Shukovsky, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, September 9, 2004.

Gina Lynn Again Jailed for Refusing to Cooperate with Grand Jury

Animal rights activist Gina Lyn was jailed this month after invoking her Fifth Amendment right not to testify before a grand jury investigating acts of animal rights terrorism in Washington state. Lynn can be held until the grand jury’s term runs out, which could be as early as September or as late as March 2005 if the prosecutor should request a six month extension of the grand jury’s term.

Lynn has a habit of being jailed for failing to cooperate with grand juries, including a 22-day stint in 1999 and another in 2000 for refusing to cooperate with grand jury’s investigating environmental and animal rights terrorism.

The grand jury in this case wants Lynn to answer questions about a May 2000 arson at an Olympia, Washington timber company and the theft of a couple hundred chickens at a nearby egg farm the same day.

Lynn has been granted limited immunity from prosecution, which would prevent prosecutors from using her statements against her in court.


Animal rights activist is jailed for contempt. Seattle Post-Intelligencer, August 27, 2004.

Federal Agents Arrest Seven Activists in Four States

On May 26, federal agents in four states arrested seven people associated with Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty’s campaign against Huntingdon Life Sciences in the United States.

The activists arrested were Josh Harper arrested in Washington state; Kevin Kjonas (AKA “Kevin Jonas”, “Steve Shore” and “Jim Fareer”), Lauran Gazzola (AKA “Angela Jackson” and “Danielle Matthews”), and Jacob Conroy arrested in California; Darius FUllmer and John McGee arrested in New Jersey; and Andrew Stepanian arrested in New York.

The indictment of the activist charged all seven activist with,

. . . knowingly and willfully combine, conspire and agree with one another and others to use a facility in interstate and foreign commerce for the purpose of causing physical disruption to the functioning of HLS, an animal enterprise, and intentionally damage and cause the loss of property used by HLS, in an amount exceeding $10,000.

That conspiracy charge carries with it up to three years in prison and a $250,000 if convicted.

In addition, Kjonas, Gazzola and Conroy as well as Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty itself were charged with three counts each of interstate stalking and one count each of conspiracy to engage in interstate stalking. Each of those charges carries a sentence of up to five years in jail and a $250,000 fine if convicted.

SHAC’s response was predictable,

Osama Bin Laden must be feeling pretty comfortable right now, as the FBI and the United States Government have shown their investigative hand and it is disturbingly pathetic. Ironically on the same day John Ashcroft held a press conference to warn the country of impending terrorist attacks coming this summer (a warning based on “intelligence” the AG has now had to backtrack from) – the FBI set about tackling their number one priority, the capture of those menacing animal rights activists.

The reader can imagine just about every criminal enterprise from the mob to the local petty bank robber making this argument — “but judge, why waste time prosecuting me when they should be out tracking down Osama bin Laden.”

SHAC also had some hilarious whining about the means of their arrest,

With a seemingly unlimited budget the FBI did spare no expense. To arrest three of the seven supposed SHAC USA volunteers, 15 agents from the FBI, Secret Service, and even US Air Marshals (with their chopper over head) stormed into a home at 6 AM with guns drawn. They were, after all, apprehending people suspected of operating a website, and you never know what sort of floppy disk such thugs could be concealing as a weapon.

Excellent. SHAC might be surprised that it doesn’t require an unlimited budget to have 15 agents execute arrests in four separate states. It is amusing, though, to see the folks who advocate and support the most vile sort of threats and intimidation tactics upset because agents serving a lawful warrant “stormed into a home at 6 AM.” Don’t worry too much for them — hopefully most of those arrested will soon reside in prison cells and not have to worry about anyone storming their homes at 6 AM.

And just to make sure it got some publicity out of the matter, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals was quick to tell any media outlet who would listen that it doesn’t see anything wrong with what SHAC does and that these arrests are part of a government crackdown on mainstream activism.

The New Jersey Star Ledger noted that,

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, however, questioned yesterday whether legitimate activism was under attack.

“Some of the names being bandied about in this instance are longtime activists and well respected,” said PETA spokeswoman Lisa Lange, referring to the SHAC indictment.

Well, at least its good to get Lange on the record. After all of this nonsense of late from PETA that it doesn’t support or condone animal rights terrorism, it’s nice to see them be up front about their admiration for these folks.

The full text of the indictment against the SHAC activists can be read here.


Animal rights activists charged in actions against testing lab. Associated Press, May 26, 2004.

FBI targets ‘terrorism’ by animal, eco-activists. Brian Murray, New Jersey Star-Ledger, May 27, 2004.

Earth Liberation Front Extremists Destroy Washington Homes

Earth Liberation Front extremists were responsible for firebombing three houses in Snohomish County, Washington, that caused an estimated $1 million in damages.

The fires were set in the early morning hours of April 20 in Snohomish County, and there were apparently other targets in nearby areas as well as one incendiary device that apparently failed to ignite.

According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer,

At a separate home-construction site near Maltby, workers arrived yesterday morning to find soft drink and Gatorade bottles filled with liquid and a threatening note written on a piece of cardboard.

The Associated Press quoted the Sierra Club’s Bill Arthur as denouncing these acts of extremism saying that,

What’s happened in Snohomish County is not an ecological statement but a criminal act.


ELF tied to fires at new houses, $1 million loss. Associated Press, April 24, 2004.

Arsonists destroy two new houses. Jennifer Langston, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, April 21, 2004.