Peter Daniel Young gets 2 years

topic posted Fri, November 11, 2005 - 11:57 PM by  Jeffz
Need to find his address to send letters.

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Activist who freed mink gets 2 years

November 10, 2005


MADISON, Wis. -- An animal rights activist who freed thousands of mink from Midwestern fur farms and then dodged federal authorities for years was sentenced to two years in prison this week after urging his supporters in the courtroom to raid more farms.

Peter Daniel Young, 28, of Mercer Island, Wash., became an idol to fellow activists during his seven years on the run from the FBI. Dozens of supporters demonstrated on the sidewalk outside the federal courthouse Tuesday, holding signs that read ''Free Peter'' and ''Fur -- No Skin Off Your Back.''

They jammed U.S. District Judge Stephen Crocker's courtroom, sitting on each other's laps after the spectator benches filled. They applauded and cheered when U.S. marshals led Young into the room. Young nodded and smiled at them.

''I don't think he's wrong at all,'' said Anna Marie Loeffler, 22, of Madison. ''I completely support what he did.''

Raids an 'absolute pleasure'

Young read a statement to the court, calling his mink farm raids an ''act of conscience.'' He told fur farmers in the audience ''it was an absolute pleasure to raid your farms'' and urged everyone in the courtroom to go out and attack more farms.

His fans erupted in applause until Crocker threatened to kick out the next person who clapped.

The judge called Young an arrogant vigilante and warned him against ever repeating his crimes.

''He clearly relishes his role as a martyr for his cause,'' Crocker said. ''Just sit on your bully pulpit and tell other people what to do because the consequences for you will be dire [the next time].''

Young had pleaded guilty in September to two counts of animal enterprise terrorism in a deal with prosecutors.

The judge sentenced him to the two-year prison term and $254,840 in restitution to the mink farmers. He also sentenced him to one year of supervised release and 360 hours of community service that must be spent helping humans, not other species, as Crocker put it.

Young and accomplice Justin Samuel were originally indicted in Madison in 1998 on four extortion charges and the two animal enterprise terrorism counts. Federal prosecutors said they broke onto mink farms in Wisconsin, South Dakota and Iowa in 1997, cut fences and freed the animals from their cages.

Caught at a Starbucks

Investigators believe they were acting on behalf of the Animal Liberation Front, a radical group that aims to destroy animal industries it considers inhumane, although Young's attorney, Chris Kelly, denies that.

Both Young and Samuel disappeared after the indictment.

Young was finally caught when police arrested him for trying to shoplift CDs from a Starbucks in San Jose, Calif. AP
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