By: Norma Bennett Woolf  Date: 03/31/1998 Category: | Animal Rights Extremism |

Brothers guilty of ALF raids

Clinton Colby Ellerman, 21, pleaded guilty to releasing more than 3000 minks on a Utah farm and was sentenced to two years in jail and fined more than $14,000 last December. Less than six weeks later, Douglas Joshua Ellerman, 19, his brother, admitted being a pipe-bomber for ALF for the March 1997 bombing of the Fur Breeders Agricultural Co-op in Sandy, Utah. The younger Ellerman was sentenced to 30 years in prison under the federal guidelines for using a pipe bomb to commit a crime of violence. Damage to the fur co-op was more than $750,000.

The Ellermans were Straight Edgers, members of a movement that eschews the use of drugs and alcohol and has adopted much of the animal rights agenda. Although Straight Edge groups are generally non-violent, those in Utah and some other areas have been connected with violence against animal users. Another Utah teenager, 19-year-old Jacob Lyman Kenison, was convicted in December of the 1995 firebombing of a Tandy leather store in Murray, Utah, and of lying on a gun purchase application when buying a rifle for his friend Joshua Ellerman.

The Straight Edge movement is based on lyrics in a punk rock song and gives teenagers an opportunity to listen to punk rock music at concerts while following a lifestyle without drugs, alcohol, or tobacco. Many followers are vegetarians or vegans.

"I wouldn't eat refined sugar, white rice - nothing bleached," Kenison told Associated Press writer Arlene Levinson. "There's animals that live in cotton plants - some live in the shade. The main reason I'm vegan is, I felt bad."

The Coalition Against the Fur Trade took advantage of the Straight Edge affinity for animal rights ideas and recruited teenagers for the anti-fur campaign at Straight Edge concerts.

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, CAFT recruiter Dave Wilson said, "Years down the road, people are going to view us as freedom fighters and saints for freeing these animals. We used to have black slaves. Now we have mink slaves or fox slaves or pig slaves."

Straight Edge groups are considered gangs by authorities in some areas because they indulge in violence against those who do not follow their creed. They commit vandalism and assault against individuals for smoking or drug use as well as violence against those who eat, wear, or benefit from animal products.


California group gets signatures for trap ban


Protect Pets and Wildlife, a coalition of animal rights groups, has gathered 720,000 signatures for a California ballot initiative to ban "cruel and indiscriminate traps - including the steel-jawed leghold trap - for recreation or the fur trade. The initiative would also ban the use of sodium fluoroacetate and sodium cyanide, two poisons used to control predators.

The bill is sponsored by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Animal Protection Institute, Ark Trust Inc., Doris Day Animal league, The Fund for Animals, the Humane Society of the US, and the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

California initiatives need 433,269 signatures to qualify for the ballot. If the signatures are verified, the initiative will appear on the November ballot. Massachusetts, Colorado, and Arizona have approved trap bans in the past.

Lobster goes from the pot to . . . the pot?

Denver restaurants and television stations teamed to save the life of a 10-pound lobster and raise some money for charity, but they may have simply postponed the lobster's ultimate fate as a culinary delight.

Bob, the lobster, was raffled off at a charity Christmas party. A United Airlines pilot offered to fly Bob to Boston so he could be released near his expected Maine home. Sometime during the flight, Bob lost a claw. When he was released in early February, his other claw was held closed with a rubber band.

A biologist said that the rubber band would likely work its way loose and that one-clawed lobsters can forage quite well. However, he said, Boston Harbor - the release site - is rife with lobster traps, so Bob may find himself back in human custody before long.

PeTA admits faked photo

Ingrid Newkirk, president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, admitted the use of a doctored photo of an injured stallion to illustrate a story about the use of pregnant mares.

The photo was taken by Michelle Rokke, one of PeTA's undercover operators, to represent the cruelty endured by pregnant mares used in the production of Premarin, a hormone treatment for menopausal women. The horse had an injured leg; Newkirk said that PeTA's "designers placed text over that rather prominent part of the stallion's anatomy because we chose not to show genitalia in Animal Times." She also said that the horse's sexual identity was "irrelevant."




Kim Basinger wants circus license pulled

Following the death of a young elephant at the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus, actress Kim Basinger asked the US Department of Agriculture to suspend the circus' operating license pending investigation of the incident.

"This elephant most likely suffered more anguish and misery than we will ever know," Basinger wrote in a letter to USDA.

The baby Asian elephant named Kenny died January 25. Circus veterinarian Gary West said the animal had a gastrointestinal infection.

The circus responded to Basinger's letter with a statement that said in part:

"Based on Ringling Brothers' employees sworn affidavits before USDA inspectors, there was no indication that Kenny was 'dizzy' or 'wobbly on his legs' or that he was 'wailing.' In response to Basinger's statement concerning Kenny's treatment, Kenny's condition was carefully monitored at all times by Ringling's veterinarian and staff. Kenny was never treated cruelly or prematurely removed from his mother."

About The Author

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Norma Bennett Woolf -

Editor and Writer for the National Animal Interest Alliance.

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