For Immediate Release
Salt Lake City: FBI agents and law enforcement from multiple agencies raided a well-known activist group house in Salt Lake City on Monday in connection with an investigation of Animal Liberation Front (ALF) crimes in Iowa. Details are still emerging, but it is clear that the warrant was issued by the Southern District of Iowa, and authorizes the seizure of any books, pamphlets, computers and other materials tied to “animal enterprise terrorism.”
One of the residents of the raided home is Peter Young, repeatedly mentioned by name in the warrant. Young was one of the first people prosecuted for “animal enterprise terrorism” in connection to fur farm raids in the late 90s. He served two years in prison, and has been living in Salt Lake City, speaking at colleges, and writing on his website, Voice of the Voiceless. Young is among the most vocal, public supporters of the ALF and direct action. At least 15 computers were taken by the FBI, along with boxes of documents, notebooks, files, and address books. No arrests have been made
In November of 2004, Animal Liberation Front activists broke into a vivisection laboratory at the University of Iowa, liberating 401 non-human animals and destroying equipment used to hurt and kill them. Just before the 5-year statute of limitations was to expire, two Minneapolis activists were subpoenaed to testify to a grand jury in Davenport, Iowa. Both were jailed after refusing to testify. Soon after, one of the two – Scott DeMuth – was indicted by a secretive grand jury for “animal enterprise terrorism”.
The only apparent link between Young and the house raided on Monday and the Iowa investigation is an emergency motion filed against Scott DeMuth, to keep him in jail, in which the government calls DeMuth an “anarchist” and “domestic terrorist.” As evidence of this, they say he is an “associate” of Peter Young. As DeMuth’s faculty advisor has publicly explained, this is tied to his research as a graduate student.
“It’s important to highlight the fact that I am being targeted just because I am a public figure on the subject” of animal rights, Young said in an interview Tuesday. The raid in Salt lake City and the case against DeMuth have all the markings of a desperate and unconstitutional prosecution motivated by an attempt to save face after 5 years of failing to apprehend the Animal Liberation Front.