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Jailed activist Peter Young needs your support
Animal rights activist awaits trial on attacks
on fur farms
MADISON, Wis. - In 1997, two figures clad in black slipped
through the northern Wisconsin pines and let hundreds of minks out of their
Nearly eight years later, a man identified by authorities as one
of those figures, Peter Daniel Young, is about to be brought to Wisconsin for
trial on federal charges in a case that could open a window on the radical
animal-rights movement, which federal authorities regard as a growing terrorist
While his alleged accomplice was captured six years ago, Young
was on the run for more than seven years before a San Jose, Calif., beat cop
caught him in March for stealing CDs from a coffee shop. He pleaded no contest
in the shoplifting case earlier this month, and is expected to be brought here
by the end of the month.
According to investigators, Young, 27, is part of the Animal
Liberation Front, a shadowy extremist group whose goal is to shut down animal
research labs and other animal-related industries. ALF members have set fires
and committed other acts of vandalism.
The case against Young "will put anyone else on notice if they
engage in terrorism, we will investigate it and we don't care how long it takes.
We're not going to stop," said Mike Johnson, supervisory agent in the FBI's
Authorities say Young and an accomplice set out on an odyssey in
1997 to cripple fur farms in three states and caused hundreds of thousands of
dollars in damage. Alex Ott's ranch, in Tomahawk, Wis., was their last stop,
Vandals went to Ott's back gate, lifted the latch and crept
inside. Before them stretched row after row of sheds, each one home to dozens of
minks. Ott woke up the next morning to find 300 animals - worth upward of
$350,000 - gone.
Ott said he nearly lost everything "because of some psychotic
Young's story elevated him to cult-hero status among some animal
rights activists. Some supporters claim they mounted a raid on an Illinois fur
farm in his honor, and an anonymous Web site seeks donations for his defense.
"He's a compassionate person. He doesn't want to take lives,"
said Dr. Jerry Vlasak, a Los Angeles doctor who serves as spokesman for ALF.
"This is another way to save animals."
Young himself remains a mystery. He graduated from high school in
1995 in Mercer Island, Wash., a well-to-do Seattle suburb. Young, 19-year-old
Justin Clayton Samuel and a Seattle woman, Allison Porter, were arrested in
Mercer Island in 1997 for trespassing, authorities said. They carried bolt
cutters, ALF literature, a vial of animal tranquilizer and a book titled "Free
According to a court papers, Young and Samuel set out that
October in Porter's red Geo Metro to disrupt mink farms. Working off an ALF list
of addresses code-named The Final Nail, they allegedly freed about 7,000 minks
in Iowa, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
Word spread among Wisconsin fur farmers they were under attack.
Several farmers told police they had seen a red car casing their ranches. On
Oct. 28, a fur farmer saw a red Geo with two men in it coming down the road and
followed it, dialing police on her cell phone. She followed the men into a
parking lot, where they rummaged through Dumpsters, removing apples, she
Police arrived and seized the car, but released two men
identified as Young and Samuel because there was not enough evidence to hold
them while authorities waited for a search warrant for the Geo. Investigators
soon found maps, black clothes, binoculars and bolt cutters in the car. But by
then, Young and Samuel were gone.
They were indicted in 1998 on federal charges that included
interfering with interstate commerce by threat or violence. Federal authorities
call it an animal terrorism charge.
Sympathizers scoff at the charges, the most serious of which
carry up to 20 years behind bars.
"It's a funny terrorist who doesn't harm a single human being,"
said Steven Best, author of "Terrorists or Freedom Fighters? Reflections on the
Liberation of Animals."
Samuel was captured in 1999 in Belgium. He traded information
about ALF for a two-year prison sentence. But Young stayed underground, and as
recently as March 8, a federal judge in Wisconsin sent a letter to prosecutors
asking if they wanted to drop the case.
Then, on March 21, a police officer stopped at a San Jose
Starbucks and saw a man lift eight music CDs from a counter and tuck them in his
coat. A fingerprint check identified him as Young. During a pat-down, the
officer discovered a handcuff key taped to Young's belt, apparently so that he
could escape, authorities said.
As for where Young's whereabouts while he was underground,
Portland State University professor Gary Perlstein, who studies eco-terrorism,
said ALF cells probably hid him, with rich members helping him find jobs.
"He got moved like the Underground Railroad moved slaves,"
Perlstein said. "They would do it because he saved the animals."
PETER MOVED - NOW IN FEDERAL CUSTODY
On May 5th a settlement was reached on the local charges Peter
facing in San Jose. In exchange for pleading No Contest to
misdemeanor charges Peter was sentenced to time served. The
following day Peter appeared in Federal Court in San Jose for
extradition hearing. At that time he temporarily waived his
argue for his release pending trial in order to expedite his
As of this week Peter has been moved to Santa Rita Jail in
CA. This is the first step in the all too slow process of
federal prisoner across the country. While Peter is in
letters of support for Peter from those of you outside the
may be sent in care of his support group and we will see to it
he gets them once he is settled in Wisconsin.
In the meantime Peter's support team is working closely with
assist him in retaining legal representation in Wisconsin.
defense will cost *AT A MINIMUM* $30,000 so donations are
ensure Peter will be able to get the quality legal defense he
Please send letters of support, and donations to:
Peter Young Support Fund
740A 14th St. #237
San Francisco, CA 94114
Letters to Peter may also be sent via email to:
For more information visit
Activists in the greater Wisconsin area who would be able to
court dates or help with local support should email the
Stay tuned for more updates on how you can help Peter continue
to be provided vegan food and fair treatment (or as fair as it
can be) now that he has been moved to a new jail.
Peter has been able to make a
couple of calls out, and received his first visitor today BUT he has now been
told that he had forfeited "all his rights" and his phone privileges have been
revoked because he refused to take a non-vegan TB test. As a result he is now
being held in high security isolation - unable to make phone calls or trade for
food. Since being jailed the only thing Peter has been given that he can
actually eat is a small amount of lettuce. Peter desperately needs our help so
that he can remain in touch with his supporters and start getting food he can
PLEASE CALL THE JAIL NOW!
POLITELY point out that Peter is an ethical vegan and should be allowed to make
phone calls to his supporters can be given an alternate form of TB test (a chest
x-ray) should be given vegetarian/vegan food.
Peter Young was arrested on March 21st in San Jose, CA. He has been "WANTED"
since 1998 after being indicted on charges of violating the Animal Enterprise
Terrorism Act by releasing mink from a Wisconsin fur farm.
A support website is being setup and will be online soon
www.SupportPeter.com with more
background on the case, and additional information on how we can all help Peter.
In the meantime please send Peter a letter so he knows he's not alone. Until his
phone privileges are restored letters and visits will be his only contact with
the outside world.
LETTERS FOR PETER:
Booking #05015987, PFN #DVF828
C/O Santa Clara Main Jail Complex
885 North San Pedro Street
San Jose, CA 95110
To get books to Peter you have to go to a book store and have them send
paperback books (no more than 5) to
Friends Outside, 551 Stokton Ave., San Jose, CA 95126.
With Peter's info on it: Peter Young, Booking# 05015987 PFN#DVF828
Friends Outside is the only way to get books into Santa Clara County Jail, so
please don't use Amazon.
Money Orders ($300 maximum) for Peter's commissary can be mailed to:
Santa Clara Main Jail Complex
885 North San Pedro Street
San Jose, CA 95110
Money Orders must be made out to:
"Santa Clara County Dept. of Corrections" and must have "Peter Young, Booking
#05015987, PFN #DVF828" printed in the lower left of the Money Order. No
personal checks are accepted.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact
Win Animal Rights at:
firstname.lastname@example.org or call: 646-267-9934