A second-year law student should know better than to get mixed up with domestic terrorists, get arrested and then risk violating the terms of his bail. Especially if his dad is a prominent federal lawyer. But not University at Buffalo Law School student - and animal-rights extremist - Bryan Pease.
Pease is one of the few figures apparently affiliated with the violent Animal Liberal Front to be apprehended. The group's firebombings and other attacks have caused at least $40 million in property damage nationwide, and disrupted life-saving medical research. And if Pease is representative, the harm is being done by what look to be spoiled children of privelege.
Our tale begins last Dec. 5, when ALF - classified by the FBI as a domestic terrorist group - burglarized the North Rose, N.Y., facility of Marshall Farms USA, Inc., stealing 25 beagles.
Marshall Farms is one of the largest breeders of animals used in life-saving medical research conducted at pharmaceutical company, university and government laboratories.
Though no arrests were made, ALF claimed credit for the attack and threatened more. On Feb. 21, a K-9 unit of the Wayne County Sheriff's Department arrested Pease for trespassing on Marshall Farms' property at 1:15 a.m., dressed in full camouflage.
Pease was interrogated by the New York State Police Counter Terrorism Intelligence and released on bail - again. He'd already been arrested in Conway, Ark., the month before, on Jan. 14, and charged with commercial burglary, third-degree battery enhanced by violent criminal group activity, criminal mischief, resisting arrest and fleeing.
Police say Pease and other animal-rights psychos stormed the offices of Stephens, Inc., an Arkansas investment firm, through the back door and began kicking employees and destroying property.
Stephens earned the wrath of the animal-rights extremists by helping rescue from bankruptcy Huntingdon Life Sciences, a British medical testing company that uses animals.
Law student Pease may soon get more firsthand experience with the law: The Conway prosecutors' office says it will investigate and commence process to revoke Pease's bail.
Neither Pease's father - the chief civil attorney in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of New York - nor University at Buffalo Law School Dean R. Nils Olsen, Jr. would comment. Olsen didn't even know that one of his budding lawyers seems to be a serial criminal.
Not everyone is as tongue-tied as Pease's elders.
A spokesperson for the 63-year-old, family-owned Marshall Farms pointed out the value of medical testing that involves its specially bred dogs:
Marshall Farms is in good standing with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which establishes and enforces rules for the proper care of animals raised for lab research.
But the same can't be said of ALF's care of the animals stolen from Marshall Farms: One of the dogs "liberated" was later found in West Palm Beach, Fla. - abandoned, thin and hungry.
So much for the claims that ALF never injures animals and that the animals stolen from Marshall Farms would never have to endure "brutal conditions."
ALF, whose members are anonymous to shield them from prosecution, says it's nonviolent. But Pease, an ALF sympathizer at least, was charged in Arkansas with violent crimes.
While a student at Cornell University, Pease promoted a speech by an Animal Defense League member on the "historical uses of violence in liberation movements." He advocated the wearing of ski masks at a protest to show solidarity with ALF and supported Mumia Abu-Jamal, the political activist who murdered a Philadelphia policeman.
Pease has jeopardized his own legal career even before it begins and embarrassed his prominent attorney-father and law school. But this pales in comparison to the violent criminal he seems to be growing into and the threat that ALF represents to progress in medical research.
Perhaps that's something young Pease might contemplate in the prison cell he may soon occupy.
Steven Milloy is an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute and author of "Junk Science Judo: Self-defense Against Health Scares and Scams."