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How Corporate Provacateurs Made Fran Trutt an "Animal Rights Terrorist"

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How Corporate Provacateurs Made Fran Trutt an "Animal Rights Terrorist"

By Will Potter

Shortly after midnight on November 11th, 1988, Fran Trutt exited the passenger side of a rented Chevy pickup and approached the headquarters of U.S. Surgical with a package. She still had doubts about the evening. The day before, as she prepared for the trip to Norwalk, Connecticut, from her home in Queens, New York, she called a friend three times. She had cold feet. Could she go through with this?

Was it taking things too far? What if someone got hurt? No, no, the voice on the phone reassured her. Remember the dogs.

U.S. Surgical had become the nation's largest supplier of surgical staplers, a speedier alternative to stitches. The company used about 1,000 dogs each year in training doctors to use the product, stapling dogs and then killing them. Behind the invention of the surgical stapler, the rise of U.S. Surgical to a $1 billion company, and the deaths of tens of thousands of dogs was the CEO, Leon Hirsch.

To Trutt, Hirsch murdered the only creatures who seemed to understand her. She was a loner and uncomfortable around people, neighbors said. But dogs were different, especially the four she called her "babies." She felt a special kinship with them. To Trutt, the dogs were unconditionally loving and affectionate. To Trutt, Hirsch was unconditionally evil.

She placed the package in some bushes about ten feet from where Hirsch would park his car the next morning. Inside the package, a foot-long radio controlled pipe bomb had been wrapped in roofing nails. Maybe Trutt still had doubts as she hid the package and then turned back to her waiting driver. By the time she reached the truck, though, it was too late for second thoughts.

Fran Trutt had been set up. U.S. Surgical, the press and most animal rights groups, would soon condemn her as a violent extremist. But over the coming months it would be revealed that the plot--the only act of attempted murder in the history of the U.S. animal rights movement--had not been an organic occurrence.

The money for the bomb, the truck, the logistics, the encouragement�U.S. Surgical and a "counter-terrorism" firm had been orchestrating it all. [Continue reading at ]

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