Newsweek Profiles Convicted Animal Rights Extremists

On March 23, Newsweek published a report about the conviction under the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) of Kevin Johnson (a.k.a. Olliff) and Tyler Lang, “Mink on the Run: Animal 'Terrorists' Smacked by Federal Prosecutors.”

The article outlines the events leading to the arrest and prosecution of Johnson and Lang, including the release of 2,000 mink and the aftermath of their attack.  Not only were dozens of the released mink killed by roadway traffic, but the victims were forced to close their business and lost their retirement savings.  Unfortunately, the article does not include a statement from victims about the destruction of their business and minimizes the nature of the crimes committed by the pair, their criminal histories, and the evidence presented against them.

You will recall that Judge St. Eve sentenced Lang to three months time already served, six months of house arrest, six months community confinement and one year of supervised release. He is also required to make a $200,000 restitution payment to the farm operators.  "This is a very serious offense that caused a substantial loss to the victim. It wiped out their business and life savings," St. Eve said at Lang's sentencing hearing, reported the Chicago Tribune. "You destroyed their feelings of security and their trust of others, in addition to their business. Johnson received a three-year prison sentence and was ordered to make a $200,000 restitution payment.

To read the Newsweek article, please click here.

Second Activist Sentenced in AETA Case

Tyler Lang, an animal rights activist from California, was sentenced Wednesday for his involvement in the 2013 raid of a fur farm in Morris, IL.  In handing down the sentence, U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve called Tyler Lang's actions "counterproductive," noting that hundreds of the minks died and many others suffered.  Judge St. Eve sentenced Lang to three months time already served, six months of house arrest, six months community confinement and one year of supervised release. He is also required to make a $200,000 restitution payment to the farm operators.  "This is a very serious offense that caused a substantial loss to the victim. It wiped out their business and life savings," St. Eve said at Lang's sentencing hearing, reported the Chicago Tribune. "You destroyed their feelings of security and their trust of others, in addition to their business."

Lang and his partner in crime Kevin Johnson (a.k.a. Olliff) were on a cross-country journey to sabotage animal farms when they were stopped by police a few days after the Morris incident. They were arrested in possession of tools and masks while staking out a fox farm near Peoria, which they planned to sabotage as well, authorities said.  The pair was convicted of conspiracy under the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA).  Last month, Johnson received a three-year prison sentence and was ordered to make a $200,000 restitution payment.  In a statement, Lang and Johnson's support team said "Tyler and Kevin's case should be a reminder to us all that we have to show each other love and support in the face of State oppression."

Australian Senate Rejects Legislation Banning the Importation of Primates for Research

As you know, the transportation of lab animals for lifesaving and life-improving biomedical research is an important concern for the scientific community.  Animal rights activists opposing animal research have made it a target in their ongoing efforts to curtail medical progress for both humans and animals and these efforts have not been based solely focused on the United States.  Just last week, the Australian Senate decided not to pass legislation that would have prohibited the importation of nonhuman primates (NHP) for biomedical research.

This proposal was made late last year based on concerns that primates being imported into the country were wild-caught and that there was no need for importation given the fact that breeding colonies already existed in Australia.  The importation of wild-caught NHP’s is already prohibited in Australia.  A report by the Australian Senate even noted that passage of this legislation was the first step towards outlawing animal research in that country.  After hearing common-sense arguments from scientists in Australia and across the globe, legislators in Australia rejected the bill.

To read more about this important development, please read the report by the European Animal Research Association (EARA).  Please take a moment to visit NABR’s page on transportation, “No Cargo, No Cure,” to learn more about the transportation of animals for research.

Neuroscience Leaders Say Responsible Animal Research Critical for Brain Research Progress

Society for Neuroscience (SfN) president Hollis Cline and Mar Sanchez, chair of the SfN Committee on Animals in Research, have responded to a National Public Radio (NPR) commentary by Samuel Garner claiming “The ‘Necessity’ of Animal Research Does Not Mean It’s Ethical.”

The SFN leaders first noted the Garner piece “does not reflect the unassailable reality that responsible animal research remains essential to advance our understanding of the brain and to treat its diseases. Given the tremendous human and economic toll of brain disorders worldwide—including autism, depression, schizophrenia, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease—it is among those areas of research in which continued progress is most critically needed.”  They then describe the ways in which “animal research is conducted under extensive regulation and oversight to assure humane and compassionate animal care.”

Read their full letter here on the SFN website.

Animal Extremist Sentenced to Three Years and $200,000 in Restitution

In federal court Monday, February 29, Kevin Johnson was sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to pay $200,000 in restitution to the fur farm owner victims of his sabotage, according to the Chicago Tribune.  Johnson, 29, pleaded guilty last year to one count of conspiring to travel across state lines to interfere with the operations of an animal enterprise, a violation of the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA). In handing down the sentence, U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve said she was troubled by the "escalation" of Johnson's activism over the years and that previous stints behind bars had not seemed to deter him. She also noted that his actions on the mink farm caused suffering for many of the animals he professed to want to save. In all, more than 550 of the minks died, many painfully, the judge said.  The fur farm owners were forced to close their longstanding business and lost their retirement funds in the process. Before he was sentenced, Johnson choked back tears and apologized for the attack, saying he has finally realized after nearly a decade of arrests that committing criminal acts was not an acceptable form of protest.

“(Johnson) has stalked, stolen, harassed, and threatened to make his point," Assistant U.S. Attorney Bethany Biesenthal wrote in a court filing, "... his past shows an escalating dangerousness."  Records show Johnson has a long criminal record in California starting in 2006. Video from the protests depicted him screaming into a bullhorn outside Pom Wonderful executives' homes, threatening to harm them and their families, according to prosecutors. Three years later, Johnson was arrested after threatening UCLA professors over their use of animals in research. He later pleaded guilty to criminal stalking and served about 1 1/2 years in prison, prosecutors said.  In May 2012, five months after his release on parole, Johnson was arrested for shoplifting and inciting a riot, prosecutors said. Later that year he was arrested again for attempting to burglarize a pharmacy, and when authorities searched a laptop computer found in Johnson's car, they found personal information about scientific researchers and their families, according to prosecutors.

An accomplice, Tyler Lang of Los Angeles, also pleaded guilty last year to the same charge as Johnson.  Lang is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge St. Eve on March 23, 2016.

Two Plead Guilty to AETA Conspiracy Charges; Federal Prison Sentences and Nearly $400,000 in Restitution Expected

Two animal extremists pled guilty to federal criminal charges and entered plea agreements according to the San Diego Unit-Tribune.

Joseph Buddenberg and Nicole Kissane each admitted in San Diego federal court last week to conspiracy to violate the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA). Prosecutors and defense lawyers reportedly plan to jointly recommend a two-year sentence for Buddenberg and six months for Kissane. The pair also admitted that their actions caused more than $100,000 in damage. They have agreed to pay $398,000 in restitution to several victims, including Furs By Graf, a San Diego business that was vandalized, and to seven mink farms and two other businesses around the country.

A previous AETA indictment of Buddenberg was ultimately dismissed for insufficient details.  The same cannot be said about the indictment in this case.  It is extremely thorough, documenting the pair’s four cross-country trips to terrorize fur farms as well as their financial dealings, including selling stolen goods on eBay to pay for their travels, among other pieces of evidence.  A long list of potential prosecution witnesses was also presented.

Dogs’ Role in Cancer Research Featured in Latest FBR Editorial

On Saturday, December 26, the New York Daily News featured an op-ed written by Frankie Trull, the President of the Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR), covering the important role that man’s best friend plays in conquering cancer.

The editorial, “Animal-rights groups dog cancer research,” discusses how animal rights groups like the Beagle Freedom Project (BFP) are putting the lives of dogs and humans in danger by campaigning against animal research that is saving the lives of both species. Trull notes the results of two cancer studies involving dogs that yielded promising results and that opportunities for canines to receive cutting-edge cancer therapies are increasing rapidly.  In fact, the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Comparative Oncology Trials Consortium is currently operating dog trials at 20 institutions around the country.

Why would animal rights groups oppose such research?  Animal rights groups want to end all animal research.  As Trull notes in her op-ed, “If they succeed, many cancer patients — across multiple species — will die. Who knows how long it will take to cure cancer if scientists are precluded from using some of the most effective research techniques available to them.  And that’s to say nothing of the dogs who will die along the way.”

The New York Daily News is one of the top 10 papers in the U.S.  Thus far in 2015, FBR editorials have appeared in 4 out of the top 10 newspapers in the country.  To view other stories from FBR’s media campaign, please click here.

Please click here to read the editorial.  To learn more about dogs in biomedical research, please click here.

Please help FBR continue spreading the word on the critical importance of humane animal research, and share "Animal-rights groups dog cancer research" with your friends, family, colleagues and on social media.  You can make a difference by donating to FBR by clicking below or by calling (202) 457-0654.

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The Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR) Needs Your Help

If you haven’t already, please consider a personal donation to the Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR).  For thirty-five years, FBR has served as the predominant and preeminent voice for the biomedical research community on the importance of humane and responsible animal research.  It is FBR that communicates with the press and the public about an issue that is controversial and emotional.  Universities, companies and researchers depend on FBR to speak out on their behalf and FBR has done this well throughout its history.

With public awareness, video, educational and media campaigns, they've shown the critical role animal research plays in fighting diseases that affect both people and animals. In 2015, FBR landed in the opinion pages of two of the country’s three top newspapers: The Wall Street Journal and USA Today.  Last week, they were nominated for their 11th Emmy Award for their TV episode on Alzheimer’s disease research, featuring legendary basketball coach Pat Summitt.

FBR speaks for institutions and individuals, but they can’t do their job without the involvement and representation of all of you.  That’s why your tax-deductible, charitable donation to FBR is important. Every contribution, large or small, makes a huge difference to FBR.  As the end of the year approaches, please consider giving what you can, whether it’s $15, $50, $1000 or anything in between.  It all matters.

Thanks for your consideration and generosity. Together we will continue to make a difference.

 

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USA Today Op-Ed by FBR’s President: “We’re Killing Chimps with Kindness”

The Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR) continues to receive national attention for its effort to educate the public on the vital importance of animal research for both human and animal benefit.  Moments ago, USA Today featured an opinion piece by Frankie Trull, President FBR, discussing the pitfalls of a recent decision by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) to classify captive chimpanzees as endangered species.

In, "We're Killing Chimps with Kindness," Ms. Trull discusses how the FWS’ recent re-designation of chimpanzees to the “endangered” list is effectively signing the death warrants for countless chimps.  She discusses the promising species-preserving research that will be lost to unnecessary regulation noting, "the move will effectively halt U.S. medical research with chimps — research that is moving ever-closer to yielding a vaccine for Ebola, which has wiped out one of every three great apes over the last two decades."

To read today's coverage of this important issue, please click here.  USA Today is the nation's top newspaper in circulation reaching 4,139,380 people.  Today's coverage is the latest addition to FBR coverage in other significant news outlets like the Wall Street Journal, The Chicago Sun-Times, and the Tampa Tribune.

If you'd like to help FBR continue spreading the word on the critical importance of humane animal research, please share "We're Killing Chimps with Kindness" with your friends, family, colleagues and on social media.  You can make a difference by donating to FBR by clicking below or by calling (202) 457-0654.

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FBR Releases Updated Informational Tools for Public Education

Time and time again, animal rights narrators give inaccurate information about the ethical and humane use of animals in lifesaving and life-improving biomedical research. Therefore, the Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR), has released newly updated versions of their widely acclaimed “Fact vs. Myth” and “Proud Achievements of Animal Research,” pamphlets to help address perpetually repeated falsehoods and present the truth to the public.

“Facts vs. Myth” challenges misrepresentations by animal rights groups with facts showing the importance of animal research for human and animal benefit, while highlighting the imperative of excellent animal care. To further these points, FBR updated “Proud Achievements of Animal Research,” which dives deeper into the role played by these models in most medical breakthroughs. Antibiotics, analgesics, antidepressants, organ transplants, joint replacement, and other therapies have all been developed with the humane use of animal models. In fact, the Top 25 Most Prescribed Drugs were created with the assistance of a wide range of laboratory animals.

Please share these pamphlets with your friends, family, neighbors, and on social media. Online versions are available at the links above or, if you’d like hard copies for your school or events, please contact FBR at (202) 457-0654 or email info@fbresearch.org.

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