A significant victory in social and legal battles against criminal animal rights activists happened very quietly in a courtroom this past Friday (6/26/2015). Kevin Johnson (“Olliff”) pled guilty to federal Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) charges relating to the criminal sabotage of a mink farm that occurred in Illinois in 2013. Kevin and his fellow animal right fanatic, Tyler Lang, were arrested while traveling in Illinois, not long after the release occurred. I discussed the circumstances of their arrest here.
Police reports indicate that the two young men in the car were traveling with:
bolt cutters, wire cutters, muriatic acid, ski masks, and cammo (sic) clothing
Apparently, extensive amounts of physical evidence tied them directly to the break in, which included vandalism of cars and property and led to the death of many of the animals that were “liberated”. According to sources cited by the Chicago Sun-Times here:
Though some of the farm’s animals were recovered, many died, according to neighbor Darren Caley.
“A lot of them got hit by cars, and a lot we found in a cornfield dead,”‘ Caley said. ”They were hand-reared and didn’t know how to hunt, so many of them starved to death.”
According to Friday’s plea agreement: “Of the 2,000 released minks, approximately 600 died or were never recovered. The remaining minks lost their resale value because the breeding cards were removed and destroyed.”
After months of fighting a losing battle to challenge the Constitutionality of the AETA and years of claims that they would never stop challenging their arrests (*WARNING: Animal rights website: SupportKevinandTyler.com *), Kevin has now plead guilty, and Tyler appears poised to do the same in the forthcoming days or weeks.
For years, these two individuals were participating in neighborhood protests focused on UCLA researchers, including me (here, here and here). As I mentioned in an earlier post, this directly demonstrates the blurred lines between the people who propagate above-ground harassment and underground, criminal actions in the name of animal “rights”. Indeed, Kevin has already spent considerable amounts of time in jail for criminal harassment of UCLA researchers, including threats to burn down their homes and the intentional terrorism of their children.
Some people continue to believe that many animal rights activists are merely disillusioned young people who will grow out of their problem behaviors. But cases like this show that the animal “rights” movement is made up a non-trivial number of recidivistic criminals who are determined to harm others in order to achieve their ends.
So, while this first successful prosecution of animal “rights” terrorism under the enhanced penalties offered by the AETA is cause for victory (as will be Tyler’s presumably impending plea), it’s also a cautionary note. The fanatical animal “rights” movement undoubtedly contains many more people willing to commit heinous crimes to earn publicity and celebrity for themselves and their cause, and we must be ready, as a society, to take action against them whenever and wherever they do.