Bryan Pease
Key Player

President, Animal Protection & Rescue League; serial duck-farm burglar; spokesman, PETA (1998); jailed (2002) for SHAC-related trespass; arrested (2002) for trespassing at a lab-animal vendor; pleaded “no contest” (2005) to an assault involving a stun gunDespite his youth, his California law license, and his law-and-order family (his father is the chief civil attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York), Bryan Pease already has a history — and a long arrest record — in the animal rights movement. In 1994 the Syracuse Post-Standard reported that he was cuffed (at the tender age of 16) along with five other protesters and charged with trespassing at a clothing store that sold fur coats. Since then, Pease’s rap sheet has grown to include convictions for refusing to submit to arrest, fleeing a police officer, and assault.

In September 2005 Pease pleaded “no contest” to assault in a case involving use of a stun gun during a 2004 protest in La Jolla, California. Pease attempted to shock a man at least twice during the protest. After the City Council removed ropes that had blocked a public beach frequented by seals, Pease and others made their own boundary ropes in an attempt to force beachgoers to abandon the sand. On one occasion, Pease used a stun gun on the individual during an altercation.

For the stun-gun assault, Pease was sentenced to probation, 20 days of community service and anger-management training. He failed to appear in court for a January 11, 2006 hearing to determine whether he had met the terms of his sentence; a bench warrant was issued for his re-arrest the following day. Court records show that twelve days later, the warrant was rescinded after Pease provided proof that he had in fact, completed his mandatory anger-management program.

Somehow, Pease has managed to avoid being convicted of burglary, even though the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reported in November 2003 (about just one foie gras duck farm) that he “estimates he has entered [it] illegally a dozen times over the past year.” During one of these burglaries, Pease and three other activists — including an employee of the California organization In Defense of Animals — “liberated” (that is, stole) several ducks. (Pease later disputed that he broke any laws.)

In February 2005, Pease boasted to The Portland Tribune that he had been “inside all of the foie gras farms in the United States, as well as many in France.” Considering the climate of animal-rights vandalism in which duck farmers have to operate — in 2003, for instance, a California foie gras restaurant and the homes of two restaurant partners were wrecked, and one restaurant partner’s life was threatened along with the lives of his family members — it’s unlikely that Pease was ever invited in.

Bryan Pease has demonstrated his sympathy for violent groups like the FBI-designated “terrorist” Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC). No Compromise, a magazine that openly supports ALF crimes and criminals, has acknowledged Pease as a financial donor. Pease was arrested in January 2002 during an aggressive SHAC protest in Conway, Arkansas. He was charged with commercial burglary, battery, criminal mischief, and other charges after police told newspaper reporters that he entered a brokerage firm and kicked an employee. A jury found him not guilty of commercial burglary, battery, and criminal mischief but guilty of lesser charges — criminal trespass, fleeing a police officer, and refusing to submit to arrest. He was sentenced to 45 days in jail (later reduced to 30 days).

A month after the SHAC protest (February 21, 2002), he was arrested at 1:15 a.m., dressed in full camouflage gear, for trespassing on a North Rose, NY farm that raises laboratory animals. Two months earlier, the ALF had claimed responsibility for stealing over two dozen animals from the same farm, and threatened additional attacks. Police sources told The Times of Wayne County that Pease was a suspect in the earlier break-in Pease later sued the newspaper and its editor for libel, but a judge threw the lawsuit out of court.

Pease never admitted to being an ALF member and denied any involvement in the earlier (December 2001) ALF raid, but conceded to reporters that he supported the ALF’s tactics. Oddly, one of those tactics appears to be abandoning “liberated” animals like garbage. One of the dogs stolen by the ALF was found three months later, wandering the streets of West Palm Beach, Florida. The animal, which was identified through an implanted microchip, was emaciated and starving.

Already an “animal liberation” advocate during his college days at Cornell, Pease urged other activists to wear ski masks to show “solidarity” with the ALF. He and other activists burned a Cornell biomedical professor in effigy during one 1999 protest. Pease’s guilty plea to a charge of reckless endangerment of property also satisfied several other charges — including conspiracy, unlicensed burning, criminal nuisance, and criminal mischief. A year later, a restraining order was issued barring Pease from contacting the science professor.

During a 1998 protest against Oscar Mayer, Pease was described by reporters as a spokesman for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. In February 2005 PETA also named him a finalist in its “Sexiest Vegetarian Alive” contest, later removing his picture and biography from the website promoting the contest.

In 2003, Pease met his wife — activist Kate Rogers — when the two were arrested together while protesting an upstate New York crow-shooting competition.