Across this country vegan animal rights prisoners have sacrificed themselves in service of defending those who cannot defend themselves, and find themselves on the other side of the law which invariably protects the interests of the animal abusers when it is in service of industry. And with the new laws in place that protect the financial interests of the industries who use animals, more activists are finding themselves prosecuted for activities that were before protected under the First Amendment rights of free speech.
Nowadays it is more important than ever before to not to forget those who have put themselves on the line in defense of the animals and to show that they are not forgotten. Being what in most cases is a political prisoner is disheartening to say the least, when the law ostensibly vows to punish abusers and protect victims, but it is important to know that in any progressive cause, civil disobedience was a norm to show the injustices of the existing laws. So we encourage other activists to connect with those who find themselves out of action in a show of solidarity and compassion. If you would like to write to an activist prisoner, we have a list of [guidelines] to ensure they receive your letter. Thanks for your support!
This list is the most up-to-date list we have--prisoners are often transferred or released before news circulate, but we monitor their support pages to ensure that this is the most complete and current listing available. For a listing of UK prisoners, check with this site: http://www.arprisoners.org
Walter Bond #37096-013
USP Marion CMU, PO Box 1000, Marion IL 62959
In February 2011, Walter Bond was sentenced to five years in prison in connection with the April 2010 fire at the Sheepskin Factory in Glendale, Colorado that caused $500,000 in damages. He has also been charged with arson for fires started at the Tandy Leather store and Tiburon restaurant in Salt Lake City in June and July 2010.
Jordan Halliday #15922-081
FCI La Tuna, PO BOX 3000, Anthony, NM 88021
On Friday, March 13th, 2009, then 21-year old Jordan Halliday was taken into federal custody for keeping his constitutional right to silence and refusing to cooperate with a grand jury investigating the animal rights community of Utah . He was held for nearly four months. On June 29th, Jordan was federally indicted with sui generis "criminal contempt of court" and released on pretrial. Jordan plead guilty to "criminal contempt of court" on July 27th, 2010. On November 3rd, 2010 he was sentenced to 10 months in prison and 3 years of probation upon release. Both Jordan and his lawyer believe that this sentence is too harsh, as he has already served time. Jordan lost an appeal of the sentencing, and is serving out the rest of his term.
Update March 2, 2012: He has been transferred to New Mexico to serve out his sentence of 14 months.
Steve Murphy 39013-177
FCI Beaumont Medium, Federal Correctional Institution, P.O. BOX 26040 Beaumont, TX 77720
Steve Murphy was sentenced to 5 years on April 5, 2010 after previously pleading guilty to charges alleging the decommissioning of a tractor and placing an incendiary device in a housing development construction site in Pasadena, California in the name of the Earth Liberation Front.
Eric McDavid 16209-097
FCI Terminal Island, Federal Correctional Institution, PO Box 3007, San Pedro, CA 90731 (Note new address as of Nov. 2011)
Eric was sentenced to just under 20 years imprisonment for conspiring to think about actions. An FBI sting operation entrapped Eric but no actions were ever carried out, and Eric was charged with a single count of "conspiracy." Eric was denied bail twice - despite having no prior criminal record and no history of violence - and spent almost 2 years pre-trial in Sacramento County Main Jail in "Total Separation" - or solitary confinement. During that time he endured two separate hunger strikes to gain access to vegan food. He also endured two separate bouts of pericarditis - a heart condition which Eric had never experienced before his time at Sac County. In May of 2008 Eric was sentenced to an outrageous 19 years and 7 months in prison. At the time, it was the longest standing sentence of any environmental prisoner in the US. Unfortunately, Eric's case and sentencing seem to have set a precedent for such injustice, and others have since been sentenced to similarly outrageous time in prison. Eric is currently appealing his conviction and sentencing.
Marie Mason #04672-061
FMC Carswell, Federal Medical Center, P.O. Box 27137, Fort Worth, TX 76127
Marie Mason of Cincinnati, Ohio is a long time environmental and social justice activist and loving mother of two. On March 10th, she was arrested by FBI, Homeland Security and local police on charges related to two Earth Liberation Front actions that occurred in Michigan, in 1999, and 2000. She is serving an unprecedented 21 years and 10 months imprisonment for ELF/ALF actions. She is serving time inside a facility that severely curtails her outside communication. Please note that she has a list of 100 pre-approved people who she can write to; if you are not on that list, she will not be able to write you back, although she will be able to receive your incoming mail.
Daniel McGowan #63794-053
FCI Terre Haute - CMU, P.O. Box 33, Terre Haute, IN 47808
Daniel McGowan is an environmental and social justice activist from New York City. He was charged in federal court on counts of arson, property destruction and conspiracy, all relating to two actions in Oregon in 2001. He was arrested on December 7th, 2005, and as one of the 4 co-defendants in Operation Backfire who was offered a plea agreement, pleaded guilty so as not to implicate or identify others who may have been involved.
He is serving time inside a secretive Communications Management Unit. His ability to communicate with the outside world has been severely curtailed, so letters to him are important. There are dozens of others being held in these restrictive units who are fighting to close down the units and be transferred out. Check the support site for more information on CMUs.
Daniel McGowan's case has been featured in a new documentary "If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front."
Nathan Block #36359-086
FCI Lompoc, 3600 Guard Road, Lompoc, CA 93436
Nathan "Exile" Block is serving a 7-year, 8 month sentence and was one the 4 co-defendants in Operation Backfire who was offered a plea agreement, and pleaded guilty so as not to implicate or identify others who may have been involved.
Joyanna Zacher #36360-086
FCI Dublin, Federal Correctional Institution, 5701 8th St. Camp Parks, Unit E, Dublin, CA 94568
Joyanna "Sadie" Zacher is serving a 7-year, 8 month sentence and was one the 4 co-defendants in Operation Backfire who was offered a plea agreement, and pleaded guilty so as not to implicate or identify others who may have been involved.
Manuel C. Salas #504212
Columbia Correctional Institution, P.O. Box 900 Portage, WI 53901
A vegan animal right activist who was arrested for arson (unrelated to his animal rights activism) a few months before his 19th birthday. He has been incarcerated since 2005 serving out a 12-year sentence, but was sentenced for an additional 4.5 years after being charged with repeat felony criminal damage to property and disorderly conduct stemming from an escalation of a protest against the facility for denying him vegan food.
Update March 15, 2012: The facility has been steadily and willfully careless in ensuring that no animal products end up on his trays, so much that he hasn’t been able to eat his first meal for almost a month, causing his blood sugar to drop and subsequently blacked out. While he was undergoing these medical problems, he also suffered battery abuse by the prison staff.
Ronald Cherney #21151-057
F-Unit, FCI Sandstone, P.O. Box 1000, Sandstone, MN 55072
Ronald is a prisoner who turned vegan while in prison (courtesy of his former cellmate Kevin Kjoonas of the SHAC 7), and is working to get more vegan options in his facility. He wishes to be an activist upon his release. He lived with a dog whom he rescued from a cruel owner. The dog is currently at his sister's place.
Victor Van Orden RELEASED
Kellie Van Orden RELEASED
Update May 10, 2012: Victor was released today after having his five year sentence reduced down to three months after a parole hearing. He will be joining his wife Kellie in Maryland, who was released earlier.
Note: this list is updated regularly. Prisoners who have been released over six months ago may be taken off this list.
Eight Los Angeles activists were arrested on May 15, 2010, while engaging in legal picketing and demonstrations in the neighborhoods of UCLA primate vivisectors. This same protest activity has been going on for years, on a monthly basis, and nothing in activists' behavior on this particular day was different from any other protest they had engaged in for this campaign. Activists were not told why they were being arrested, but were later charged with focused picketing and noise violations.
Their case is ongoing--to follow their trial dates and other events please visit Justice For Activists.
UPDATE: On December 5th, 2011 the Free Speech 8 defendants accepted an informal disposition. The activists have made no plea of guilt and the case will be completely dismissed in 18 months if they stay at least 300 hundred feet away from the homes of three of the targets they were protesting for that period of time. Please visit our Free Speech 8 page for more details.
On February 20th, 2009, four California animal rights activists, Nathan Pope, Adriana Stumpo, Joseph Buddenberg, and Maryam Khajavi, now collectively known as the AETA4, were arrested under suspicion of violating the federal Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA). Their alleged crimes include protesting outside vivisectors' homes and publishing their names and addresses, activities that are protected by the First Amendment.
The arrests of the AETA4 mark a dramatic escalation by the federal government and abusive industries against animal rights and environmental activism. Their arrests marked the first under the Bush Administration's controversial Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, signed into law in 2006. The AETA statute was introduced at the behest of wealthy biomedical and agri-business industry front groups. It passed with inadequate notice, and with only a handful of Congresspersons present for the vote. It is currently being challenged as being un-constitutional.
On July 11, 2010 a US District Court threw out the indictment because the government prosecutors did not say exactly what the protesters did. However, this case is not completely over. The government can still re-indict the defendants with an amended bill of particulars that clearly outlines their alleged actions. For more on this, click [here]