An Extreme Voice from the Past Resurfaces

Dr. Jerry Vlasak, Who Has Repeatedly Proposed Killing Scientists, Seeks to Inspire the Next Generation of Animal Activists

July 15, 2022

Americans for Medical Progress (Front Group for Vivisectors)

Animal rights extremist Dr. Jerry Vlasak resurfaced earlier this summer  to take part in a workshop hosted by Animal Activism Mentorship (AAM), a group which seeks to educate and influence future generations of activists. If you haven’t previously heard of Dr. Vlasak, a former trauma surgeon, that’s because he’s remained relatively silent for the past few years. He’s best known for making several incredibly dangerous and deplorable comments in the past about the “benefits” of killing health researchers who conduct research in animals.

Here are just a few of the things Dr. Vlasak has said over the years:

“For instance, if vivisectors were routinely being killed, I think it would give other vivisectors pause in what they were doing in their work – and if these vivisectors were being targeted for assassination, and call it political assassination or what have you, I think if — and I wouldn’t pick some guy way down the totem pole, but if there were prominent vivisectors being assassinated, I think that there would be a trickle-down effect and many, many people who are lower on that totem pole would say, “I’m not going to get into this business because it’s a very dangerous business and there’s other things I can do with my life that don’t involve getting into a dangerous business.” And I think that the — strictly from a fear and intimidation factor, that would be an effective tactic.”

— Animal Rights National Conference, 2003

“If their father is willing to continue risking his livelihood in order to continue chopping up animals in a laboratory than his children are old enough to recognize the consequences. This guy knows what he is doing. He knows that every day that he goes into the laboratory and hurts animals that it is unreasonable not to expect consequences.”

—  Response to fire bombings of a car and a home belonging to two UC Santa Cruz biomedical researchers who conduct research in animals, Santa Cruz Sentinel – August 4, 2008

‘I think violence is part of the struggle against oppression. If something bad happens to these people [animal researchers], it will discourage others. It is inevitable that violence will be used in the struggle and that it will be effective.’

— “Kill Scientists, Says Animal Rights Chief” The Guardian, July 25, 2004

“And I don’t think you’d have to kill — assassinate — too many vivisectors before you would see a marked decrease in the amount of vivisection going on. And I think for 5 lives, 10 lives, 15 human lives, we could save a million, 2 million, 10 million non-human animals.”

— Animal Rights National Conference, 2003

“And I — you know – people get all excited about, “Oh what’s going to happen when – the ALF accidentally kills somebody in an arson?” Well, you know I mean — I think we need to get used to this idea. It’s going to happen, okay? It’s going to happen.”

— Animal Rights National Conference, 2003


Thankfully these past statements did not go unnoticed by authorities. In 2004, both Dr. Vlasak and his wife, fellow activist and actor Pam Ferdin were both banned from traveling to Great Britain based on Jerry’s dangerous rhetoric. The two had planned to attend an animal rights conference. In 2006, Dr. Vlasak’s violent comments were  repeatedly quoted as federal lawmakers debated and then eventually passed the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, which sought to crack down on animal rights extremism.

What’s new?

Since that time, violence and threats have thankfully declined. Dr. Vlasak’s influence has diminished as well, until now. The purpose of AAM’s recent webinar was to instruct activists how to avoid law enforcement detection and possible criminal charges while conducting illegal acts in the name of animal rights. Joseph Buddenberg, who previously spent time in prison for extremist acts, served as Dr. Vlasak’s co-presenter. Both of these individuals serve as “National Press Officers” at the North American Animal Liberation Press Office, according to a website maintained by that organization.

Screenshot from Webinar Featuring Animal Liberation Press Officers Dr. Jerry Vlasak and Joseph Buddenberg

Throughout their nearly two-hour presentation titled “Security Culture: Staying Safe Online and Offline,” Buddenberg and Vlasak discussed several items including:

  • Tips for secretly planning a “direct action to stop an animal abuser in your neighborhood.”
  • Using fake names
  • Avoiding police detection by remaining anonymous and not affiliating oneself with animal rights organizations
  • Avoiding situations where authorities might be able to identify you via social media posts
  • Strategies for erasing hard drives. Vlasak suggested “throwing them into the ocean,” a surprising proposal from an environmental activist.
  • Using encrypted messaging and emails to plan actions
  • Strategies for using burner phones and storing those phones outside of your home so that GPS functions cannot be used by authorities to obtain your location
  • Conducting economic sabotage

It was  of course a very poor decision by two press officers for the Animal Liberation Front  to appear in a publicly posted video about avoiding arrests while conducting illegal actions.   What’s even more shocking however is that the video featured a Q&A section where some attendees appeared on camera. Below is just one example.

Screenshot Animal Activism Mentorship’s Security Culture Workshop in June 2022

Here, an activist who is verbally identified as both “Jonathan” and “JJ”  posed questions and even offered advice about avoiding surveillance by authorities. This individual notably shares a striking resemblance with Jonathon Horn, a Chicago-based campaigner employed by PETA who used those same two names to identify himself in a separate May 2022 video hosted by the same group, Animal Activism Mentorship.

Below is a screenshot from that May 22 workshop, also posted on YouTube. The topic for that webinar was  interacting with police during protests.

Screenshot of PETA’s Jonathan aka “JJ” Horn from a May 2022 AAM Webinar 

We’re certain you will agree, the resemblance is pretty striking.

At this point, the “Security Culture”  featuring the notorious Dr. Vlasak has been viewed 276 times and surprisingly it remains posted on YouTube. We’ll see for how long….