TRENTON, N.J. - A spokeswoman for a Philadelphia animal rights group
that saw six of its members sent to prison for inciting violence
against testing labs said Tuesday the sentences could drive other
activists underground, reasoning that it's safer to conduct nighttime
acts of harassment or violence than to be "above-board, legal
Speaking after the final two defendants belonging to Stop Huntingdon
Animal Cruelty were sentenced to federal prison terms of between one
and three years, Andrea Lindsay said the outcome could encourage other
animal activists to undertake clandestine acts of sabotage.
Along with the organization itself, the group's six activists were
convicted in March of using a Web site to incite threats, harassment
and vandalism against Huntingdon Life Sciences, a Britain-based
company that tests drugs and household products on animals.
"The message they're taking away from this is: What's the point of
being an above-board legal activist with your name on a Web site out
there in public?" Lindsay said. "You're the one they're going to get.
"There's a message going out to protesters that it's safer to go out
at night to break windows," she said. "If I were a new activist,
that's the message I'd get."
The comments drew a strong reaction from the U.S. Attorney's office,
which prosecuted the six.
"That's the kind of twisted logic we've been dealing with from these
militant animal rights followers who can rationalize their behavior,
inspire others to do likewise, and refuse to take responsibility for
their actions," said Michael Drewniak, a spokesman for U.S. Attorney
Christopher Christie. "It's just unbelievable that they can view harsh
prison sentences this way."