Some Thoughts on Our Legal Victory
In December 2008, we ran a full-age ad in The New York Times asking this question: Why is the Humane Society of the United States helping a terrorist group raise money? We ran the ad after learning that a senior vice president of the Humane Society of the United States would be speaking at a fundraising event for the so-called “Humane League of Philadelphia.” It sparked a legal drama that lasted until this summer. And we have emerged victorious.
In the ad—click below to view a larger copy—we outlined the history of the Humane League of Philadelphia and, based on information we had, we demonstrated that the Humane League of Philadelphia could be traced back in origin to a group called “SHAC Philly.” SHAC stands for Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty, which was convicted in 2006 along with six SHAC activists on federal terrorism charges.
While HSUS didn’t sue us over the ad, its friends at the Humane League of Philadelphia decided to utilize a fellow animal rights activist’s law degree and took us into court.
The Humane League sued us because they didn’t want to be called a terrorist group and alleging that our ad’s flow chart had a technical inaccuracy. But a New York court threw the case out last month before it ever saw the inside of a courtroom based on the research and information that we had, saying we were in the clear.
So, four and a half years later, the frivolous legal proceedings are over. It’s likely the whole goal of the case was harassment in order to distract us from the work we’re doing to expose the animal rights agenda. (Too bad for them—the only people distracted were our lawyers.)
Given the tactics of the Humane League of Philadelphia it wouldn’t surprise us if that was a motive. If you go to the Humane League’s website, you’ll see a little “Legal” notice in the bottom left about four restraining orders against the group:
“Notice: The Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, has issued an order prohibiting certain activity relating to GlaxoSmithKline, and persons or entities having business or economic relatins with GlaxoSmithKline”
NOTICE: Temporary Emergency Ex-Parte Restraining Order issued in regards to the London Grill Restaurant. Check it out by clicking here.
NOTICE: THE SUPERIOUR COURT OF THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY HAS ISSUED AN ORDER PROHIBITING CERTAIN ACTIVITIES RELATING TO PLAINTIFF ROTENBERG MERIL SOLOMON BERTIGER & GUTTILLA, P.C., THEIR CURRENT OR FORMER EMPLOYEES AND THEIR FAMILIES OR ANY PERSONS KNOWN OR BELIEVED TO BE FAMILY MEMBERS, THEIR CLIENTS, THEIR VENDORS, THEIR AFFILIATES, AND THEIR BUSINESS ASSOCIATES.
Notice: The Superior Court of the State of New Jersey has issued an order prohibiting certain activity relating to Huntingdon Life Sciences, Inc. and Life Sciences Research, Inc., and any persons or entities having business or economic relations with Huntingdon Life Sciences, Inc. or Life Sciences Research, Inc.
Four restraining orders, you ask? Yes. The Humane League of Philadelphia was previously called Hugs for Puppies—perhaps the most laughable misnomer we’ve heard—and Hugs for Puppies used rather extreme tactics. The third restraining order listed barred Hugs for Puppies from demonstrating, approaching, calling or e-mailing the employees of an accounting firm that merely did business with a company that performed research on animals. (Targeting employees of tangential companies has been, sadly, a tactic employed by radical animal rights activists.) Another restraining order was extended after a court heard testimony that protestors called owners at a restaurant serving foie gras “duck rapists” and shouted that they knew where an owner “sleeps at night.”
Meanwhile, Nick Cooney, who previously ran the Humane League of Philadelphia, was found guilty in 2006 of making terroristic threats. According to media reports and court documents, he threatened to kill the children of an employee of a drug company. Cooney is now with Farm Sanctuary, a vegan activist group based in New York, where he joins longtime PETA mouthpiece Bruce Friedrich, who himself has said that “blowing stuff up and smashing windows… I don’t do this stuff, but I do advocate it.”
And perhaps the biggest putz in this courthouse nonsense is the counsel representing the plaintiff, Bryan Pease, a longtime animal rights activist with a decent rap sheet, including a guilty plea this year for trespassing in connection with an alleged theft on a San Diego beach. Amusingly, then San Diego mayor Bob Filner testified as a character witness on Pease’s behalf in his latest crime and called Pease “a man of character and integrity.” You may have heard of ol’ Bob recently—he’s the fellow who a dozen women say sexually harassed them. A great guy to get an endorsement from.
And if you think it’s an anomaly that HSUS would be helping out a group like the “Humane League of Philadelphia,” think again. Many HSUS leaders have roots in the radical fringe of the animal liberation movement. A number were contributors to the magazine No Compromise, which openly rooted for Animal Liberation Front criminals. (The FBI has declared ALF a domestic terror threat.) Current vice president Paul Shapiro even sat on the steering committee for No Compromise. Meanwhile, HSUS executive Mike Markarian has written that an “Animal Liberation Front raid on a laboratory” is a “perfect example of effective rebellion.”
Quite the crowd we had to deal with, eh? When you deal with a movement that has such a misanthropic view of the world, you have to have a thick skin. But whether it’s frivolous legal threats or ad hominem attacks on us, we’re not going anywhere.