National organizer & spokesperson, SHAC USA; former crew member, Sea Shepherd Conservation Soc.; producer, Breaking Free animal rights videos; jailed in 1997 (assault on a police officer), 1999 (firing on a whaling ship), 2001 (grand jury contempt)Animal-rights extremist Josh Harper describes his goal as “the complete collapse of industrial civilization” and he’ll happily break laws, and bones, to achieve it. The 25-year-old Harper was jailed in 1997 for assaulting a police officer; in 1999 for attacking Native Americans on a whale hunt by throwing smoke bombs, shooting flares, and spraying their faces with chemical fire extinguishers; and in 2001 for violating a summons to give testimony about the Animal Liberation Front and the Earth Liberation Front. Between jail stints, Harper created a pseudo-documentary of animal-rights sabotage titled “Breaking Free.”
Fortunately for Harper, he’s got plenty of friends. Animal rights activists descended on Irvine, California, where Harper was on a hunger strike during his 1997 incarceration. In 2000, PETA gave $5,000 to the “Josh Harper Support Committee.” And in 2001, ELF militants, in “solidarity” with Harper, burned down three houses being built on what they claimed — absurdly — was one of Long Island’s last remaining farms.