Animal Rights

Animal Rights Activists Plead Guilty to Harassing UCLA Researchers

| by Mark Berman Opposing Views

One animal rights activist pleaded guilty and another pleaded no contest to charges related to protests held against UCLA researchers and juice company executives, prosecutors said.

Kevin Richard Olliff, 22, pleaded no contest last Friday to felony stalking and conspiracy charges, a day after 62-year-old Linda Faith Greene pleaded guilty to similar charges. Both are affiliated with the Animal Liberation Front, an underground network of activists that has claimed responsibility for sabotaging animal research labs, setting fires, flooding properties and making death threats against researchers.

Olliff faces up to three years in state prison, and is scheduled to be sentenced in May. He also had to sign an agreement saying, “I admit that I am an animal rights activist who engaged in demonstrations targeting specific professors, researchers and business people at the personal residences and at their workplace, including the UCLA campus."

Greene’s deal requires five years of strict probation, during which she cannot belong to animal rights organizations and must stay away from victims’ homes and workplaces and UC property. She is scheduled to be sentenced next month.

Last year, a grand jury in Los Angeles indicted Olliff and Greene on charges that they had harassed UCLA scientists who use animals in their research and held threatening protests near the homes of executives of the POM Wonderful juice company.

Olliff and Greene were among five activists named in a 2008 injunction that barred contact between animal rights activists and UCLA researchers..

UCLA officials welcomed the news.

"While we respect the rights of those who take a different view of animal research, we are committed to protecting our researchers from harassment and providing an environment where they can continue their work toward cures and a greater understanding of the human body," Chancellor Gene Block said in a written statement.