Action Alerts  |  Email List  |  Fact Sheets  |  Store  |  About Us  |  Updates  |  Victories  |  Your Alerts  |  Links
spacerDisaster Aid  |  Donate  |  Volunteer  |  Columns & Articles  |  Ad Designs  |  Stanley  |  Mission  |  Home

Move Over Al Quaeda
Pictures of Animal rights Activists and animal experiments.

By Brenda Shoss, 7/3/04

Move Over Al Quaeda! Animal And Earth Defenders Top Most Wanted List
*Update in SHAC 7 Trial after column

Residents probably thought a mass murderer lurked along the tree-lined streets of their Newark, New Jersey neighborhood on May 26, 2004. As they rose to eat harried breakfasts and tackle the morning commute, U.S. Air Marshals circled the sky in a noisy helicopter. At 6:00 a.m. 15 gun-toting FBI agents and assorted Secret Service personnel raided the home of Kevin Jonas, 26, Lauren Gazzola, 25, and Jacob Conroy, 28.

Their crime? Operating a website that reports civil disobedience, laboratory animal rescue, vandalism and similar tactics of other animal rights activists. Jonas, Gazzola, Conroy, Darius Fullmer, John McGee, Andrew Stepanian, and Joshua Harper—all linked with the non-profit organization Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC-USA)—are not accused of these crimes. They were arrested on “animal enterprise terrorism” charges for ties to a website that “conspires” to close Huntingdon Life Sciences, an animal testing laboratory cited for research fraud and hundreds of animal welfare violations.

“This case is about First Amendment practices in the 21st century [and] the freedom to use websites to speak for any cause,” attorney Andrew Erba told Star-Ledger reporters. Erba will likely represent Jonas, a University of Minnesota graduate who started an Amnesty International chapter and volunteered at nursing homes before becoming a full-time advocate for animals.

Conspiracy to terrorize Huntingdon, a London-based company with a lab in New Jersey, carries a maximum three-year jail term and $250,000 fine. The activists also face a five-year jail sentence and $250,000 fine, per count, for conspiracy to engage in interstate stalking plus three more counts of interstate stalking.

That’s a lot of zeros for breaking a little known law enacted to shield animal-use corporations from protesters. The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act of 1992 authorizes the Attorney General and Secretary of Agriculture to conduct a tax-funded study on the impact of domestic terrorism “on enterprises using animals for food or fiber production, agriculture, research, or testing.”

Ahhhh. That’s Osama’s sigh of relief as America’s “War on Terrorism” turns from bomb-wielding Islamic extremists to grassroots eco-activists.

Even right-wing homicidal fanatics now vie for the Justice Department’s attention, Paul Krugman asserts in a New York Times op-ed piece. Attorney General John Ashcroft apparently withheld details about a white supremacist in Texas armed with 60 pipe bombs and a cyanide bomb. Yet in early June, Krugman notes, an FBI representative asked an industry group to help suppress “the leading domestic terrorist threat: ecological and animal rights extremists."

The Bush regime can’t “smoke out” key terrorists overseas. So it exhausts resources on a National Task Force to hunt down animal rights activists at home. “The rounding up of [SHAC-USA] activists should set off alarms heard by every social movement in the United States: This ‘war’ is about protecting corporate and political interests under the guise of fighting terrorism,” freelance reporter Will Potter writes in Protest Torture of Animals; Get Arrested as a Terrorist.

In June, Rep. George Nethercutt, R-Wash., proposed the “Ecoterrorism Act of 2004” to install criminal penalties for “destructive conduct intended to injure, intimidate or interfere with plant or animal enterprises.” This bill would guard the nation’s livestock from “tampering ecoterrorists.”

With the June screening of more American cows thought to harbor BSE infection, tampering ecoterrorists might find it hard to compete with the growing threat of mad cow disease. Never mind that. Over the May 15-16 weekend, your tax dollars apprehended animal rights activists trying to stage a picnic at an Orange County, CA park for Liberation Weekend. The picnic didn’t go down, but thanks to the counterterrorism efforts of the FBI and Costa Mesa Police, several teenagers were busted for failure to wear their seatbelts.

Both aboveboard and underground activists can no longer count on their First Amendment privilege to free speech, Fourth Amendment buffer from unlawful search and seizure, and Sixth Amendment assurance of a speedy and public trial. Under Bush’s Patriot Act, the government is empowered to:

**Acquire the titles of books that suspects buy or borrow from bookstores and libraries.

**Wage “sneak-and-peak” searches at the home or workplace of anyone affiliated with a religious or political body, with no requirement to demonstrate probable cause.

**Obtain user records from Internet providers without a court order or subpoena and observe Internet searches, email exchanges, and chat room dialogue. Expand wiretapping of phone calls.

**Attain an individual’s medical, financial and educational history.

**Spy on discourse between attorneys and clients in federal custody.

**Detain foreigners for an indeterminate period, without indictment or right to counsel.

According to the Patriot Act, domestic terrorism includes “intimidation” and “coercion” used to influence the government or civilians. “Indeed, nearly any protest group can fit the definition of terrorists,” argues Dr. Steven Best, associate professor/chair of philosophy at the University of Texas-El Paso. “Protests often are intimidating and their entire point is to ‘influence’ policy.”

Animals used in experiments.

In historical terms, the decades-old animal rights movement is not particularly outstanding. It is “no more controversial than the lunch counter sit-ins of the civil rights era, the union pickets for fair wages, the agitation of the suffragettes, and the dissidence of Henry David Thoreau, Harriet Tubman, John Brown, and the celebrators of the Boston Tea Party,” SHAC-USA maintains.

Some politicians agree. In response to a May 18, 2004 Senate Judicial Committee hearing on the topic Animal Rights: Activism vs. Criminality, Senator Patrick Leahy stated: “Most Americans would not consider the harassment of animal testing facilities to be terrorism, any more than they would consider anti-globalization protesters or anti-war protesters or women’s health activists to be terrorists. I think most would rather that we address more urgent concerns that really do pose a threat to this country and to the world.”

In fact, the government’s most wanted ecoterrorists—the Earth Liberation Front (ELF), the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and SHAC-USA—have never caused human death or injury in the U.S.

Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS), on the other hand, flaunts 32 affirmed violations of the Animal Welfare Act, 16 violations of Good Laboratory Practice in England, the conviction of workers on animal cruelty charges, and a $50,000 payoff to the USDA for multiple violations of animal welfare laws. As many as 500 dogs, cats, rabbits, mice or chimpanzees die each day for tests “only reliable 5-25% of the time,” one HLS record claims.

Five undercover investigations expose inept HLS technicians who shove naso-gastric tubes into dogs’ lungs, causing instant death as the animals drown in toxic materials. Animals seen dangling from slings or cowering in cages are left to seize, vomit and collapse with no veterinary care. In one video clip, a tech grabs a beagle by the loose skin over his neck. As the puppy’s legs frantically peddle air, the man punches the dog in the face. During a supposedly post-mortem dissection, another tech slices into the chest of a convulsing monkey.

Still, HLS enjoys unlimited immunity while its adversaries fight increasing repression. On May 29, 2004, Philadelphia activists holding a legal demonstration outside the home of the president of Johnson Matthey Pharmaceuticals, an HLS customer, were arrested and handcuffed to a wall for eight hours at state police barracks. The 11 activists, including two minors restrained in leg shackles, were charged with criminal conspiracy, harassment, disorderly conduct, and corruption of a minor.

“In our Orwellian culture where truth is falsehood and falsehood is truth, documenting animals tortured is terrorism, but beating and killing animals in unspeakably vicious ways is not,” Dr. Best writes in Neo-McCarthyism, the Patriot Act, and the New Surveillance Culture.

The vast majority of animal rights advocates do not commit vandalism to bring attention to animal suffering. But even if they did, there are already property damage laws with penalties proportionate to the crime.

More often, activists like Kim Berardi are jailed for contempt when they refuse to divulge information about other activists or state their political philosophy. Berardi, subpoenaed to appear before a federal grand jury in Seattle on July 1, was sent to the Sea-Tac Federal Detention Center on charges federal agents decline to explain.

Activists who fight on any front ought to support fellow activists and challenge the government’s ironclad grip on fundamental liberties. Without solidarity, the Bush administration’s war on free speech just might succeed.

First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.

-Pastor Martin Niemöller


Action Alerts  |  Email List  |  Fact Sheets  |  Store  |  About Us  |  Updates  |  Victories  |  Your Alerts  |  Links
spacerDisaster Aid  |  Donate  |  Volunteer  |  Columns & Articles  |  Ad Designs  |  Stanley  |  Mission  |  Home


HLS enjoys immunity while its key opponents sit in jail.

On March 2 my friends and colleagues of Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC-USA) were found guilty on all counts in a case that tested the validity of First Amendment rights and our freedom, as activists, to utilize the internet as a platform for dissent.

As I write, five of the defendants are in jail, with a possible 1-10 year sentence to be determined on June 7. Personally, I had made travel arrangements to testify at the New Jersey trial. As many of you know, I have spoken at SHAC conferences and Kinship Circle strongly supports legal protest against Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS). Unfortunately, the trial concluded earlier than anticipated and I was unable to attend. However, if I am called to testify when the verdict is appealed, I will make every effort to do so. Brenda Shoss, Kinship Circle

The SHAC 7 Support Committee ask for your immediate help in raising funds to hire
top-notch attorneys to appeal this conviction.

Updates on the SHAC 7,
The next step in the legal battle is to appeal the verdict. As many lawyers have said, most First Amendment cases are not won at the trial level. They are won on appeal. Unfortunately, attorney's fees are very expensive and we need to get the ball rolling immediately. I know many of you have donated to this case in the past, and we hope that you can do so again.

Make donations payable to NJARA, earmarked for the SHAC 7:
PO Box 174
Englishtown, NJ 07726
Donate online:

By March 4, 2006 five defendants were in custody. On March 7, Andrew Stepanian, Jacob Conroy, and Lauren Gazzola were released on house arrest pending sentencing on June 7, 2006. However, Joshua Harper and Kevin Kjonaas remain in jail. Remember jail authorities read all mail and anything said to them could be brought up at sentencing.

Kevin Kjonaas
Monmouth County Correctional Institution
1 Waterworks Road
Freehold, NJ 07728

Joshua Harper
Monmouth County Correctional Institution
1 Waterworks Road
Freehold, NJ 07728

Activists at protests.

Edited for length. Full report and updates at:
Today the jury in the SHAC 7 case returned a guilty verdict on all counts as to all defendants. Five of the six defendants were ordered into custody with a possibility of bail pending. Some face a maximum 23 years, although it is expected all defendants will receive sentences less than 10 years.

The six are being held at Monmouth County Jail and the judge has agreed to order that the jail provide vegetarian meals. At this time, no calls to the jail are needed and visiting spots are being reserved for family and close friends of the defendants.

The defendants implore the activist community to not publicly comment on the case, to keep their frustration with the outcome in check, and to remember that the scrutiny on them and actions perceived to be on their behalf can do nothing but hurt them at this point. (SHAC 7 Support Committee)

While some do not agree with SHAC's tactics, it is difficult to disagree with the goal:
An end to the routine animal abuse inside HLS. Kinship Circle does not endorse violence or vandalism and will never encourage subscribers to engage in any form of verbal or physical intimidation. We will however, continue to post factual, polite letter campaigns targeting HLS costumers, suppliers and financiers. (Kinship Circle)

Sign-up for updates on the SHAC 7:

SHAC 7 Support:

We apologize, but this site has been shut down for legal reasons.


Undercover video footage:

INSIDE/OUT: Diary of Madness
Download/View PDF:
Hardcopy Inside/Out Booklets:

Who is Huntingdon Life Sciences?

W.A.R., Win Animal Rights:

Kinship Circle Letter Library/Animal Experimentation
Scroll list for HLS-related letter campaigns:

1. December 1, 2002 - HLS 50th Anniversary Rally & Demonstration, New Jersey
2. Primate testing, HLS - Inside/Out: Diary of Madness
3. Lauren Gazzola at AR2006 banquet, wearing Kinship Circle “Vegan Goddess” tank.
4. Practice surgery puppy, HLS.
5. Brenda Shoss, Kevin Kjonaas, and Stanley at AR2006 in Los Angeles.
6. Jake Conroy and Kevin Kjonaas at their AR2003 exhibit, in Washington D.C.
7. Alone and terrified, on cold metal slats, HLS.
8. Cat with mangled eye, HLS in Japan.
9. Practice brain surgery puppy, HLS.
10. Police stand between Huntingdon Life Sciences (behind fence) and protesters at Dec. 1, 2002 national demonstration in New Jersery.
11. Brenda Shoss and son at Washington D.C. demo against Sumitomo, an HLS customer, in 2003.
12. Rod Coronado, AR2003 in Washington D.C.
13. Anti-HLS protesters in Los Angeles, 2005.
14. Jake Conroy, Kevin Kjonaas and others march outside HLS customer Sumitomo, at D.C. demo in 2003.

To reprint this article in your publication, web site or list, please request author permission:

Kinship Circle’s column runs bimonthly in The Healthy Planet. Ms. Shoss is also a contributing writer for The Animals Voice, Satya Magazine, VegNews, and other publications. If you would like to reprint this column, please request author permission at


Action Alerts
  |  Email List  |  Fact Sheets  |  Store  |  About Us  |  Updates  |  Victories  |  Your Alerts  |  Links
spacerDisaster Aid  |  Donate  |  Volunteer  |  Columns & Articles  |  Ad Designs  |  Stanley  |  Mission  |  Home