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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 cages.

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 threat.

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 Milwaukee office.

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, investigators say.

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 ideal."

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 the Animals."

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 testified.

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."



On May 5th a settlement was reached on the local charges Peter was facing in San Jose.  In exchange for pleading No Contest to five misdemeanor charges Peter was sentenced to time served.  The following day Peter appeared in Federal Court in San Jose for his extradition hearing.  At that time he temporarily waived his right to argue for his release pending trial in order to expedite his return to Wisconsin.

As of this week Peter has been moved to Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, CA.  This is the first step in the all too slow process of moving a federal prisoner across the country.  While Peter is in transit letters of support for Peter from those of you outside the area  may be sent in care of his support group and we will see to it that he gets them once he is settled in Wisconsin.

In the meantime Peter's support team is working closely with him to assist him in retaining legal representation in Wisconsin.  Peter's defense will cost *AT A MINIMUM* $30,000 so donations are needed to ensure Peter will be able to get the quality legal defense he deserves.

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 attend court dates or help with local support should email the support team at:

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 eat.


(408) 299-8770

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 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.


Peter Young
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: or call: 646-267-9934

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