Animal rights groups plan to protest House eco-terrorism

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January 20, 2002

Activists plan protest at hearing

By Robert Gehrke, ASSOCIATED PRESS

Animal-rights groups are rallying supporters for a protest next month at a House hearing on eco-terrorism and similar protests across the country.

The organizers, Mobilization for the Protection of Civil Liberties, have also called for "direct action," a term commonly used to refer to acts of vandalism or arson committed by groups like Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front.

However, MPCL spokeswoman Elaine Close said how people interpret their call for action is up to them.

"We're not specifically asking people to go break the law or vandalize things, but to think about things that would be effective," she said.

The rallies are meant as a show of support for former ELF spokesman Craig Rosebraugh, who has been subpoenaed by the House resources forests subcommittee to testify about acts of eco-terrorism for which the ELF has claimed responsibility.

Rallies are scheduled in Los Angeles, Portland, Ore., Boston and Washington.

Rosebraugh said he will attend the hearing, but does not plan to cooperate.

"I have no information to give the committee," Rosebraugh said. "And I have no reason in my mind why I would want to cooperate with this attempt to stop the ELF."

Rosebraugh has said he had no firsthand knowledge of who committed acts of eco-terrorism. Instead, he merely relayed messages for the group from 1997 until he quit last September.

Over the years, the groups have done tens of millions of dollars in damage in an effort to undermine businesses and government entities they say exploit animals or the environment.

In a report the ELF and ALF released last week, the groups claimed responsibility for 137 illegal direct actions in 2001, ranging from petty vandalism to burning down a horticulture building at the University of Washington, causing an estimated $5.4 million in damage.

The group's biggest strike was an arson attack at Vail Ski Resort that did $14 million in damage in 1998.
 

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