OBERLIN, Ohio (CBS Cleveland) – A convicted animal enterprise terrorist encouraged college students to break laws in order to achieve the change they want and provided guidance on how to do so last month.
Radical animal rights activist Peter Young spoke to nearly 100 Oberlin College students on Dec. 5, stressing that breaking the law for something you believe in can bring about change, even if it means going to prison. Young is known for eluding the FBI for more than seven years after he had released up to 12,000 minks and 100 foxes housed in fur farms in three states in 1997. He was arrested and served two years in federal prison for animal enterprise terrorism charges.
“Two rules to be a successful fugitive: Number one, have an I.D. under a different name, a real I.D. under a different name, and number two, don’t call your parents,” Young said in his speech, according to the Oberlin Review. “If you can do those two things you’re pretty much set. The FBI is not quite as savvy as they’d have you believe. It took them seven-and-a-half years to find me.
“And, oh, third thing to be a successful fugitive, don’t shoplift CDs from Starbucks. That’s how they caught me; they said I was trying to steal CDs from Starbucks.”
Throughout the course of the speech, Young emphasized how animal rights is more of a war than an activist pursuit and how activism that’s considered more “radical” has more value when it comes to achieving change for the greater good.
“Peter Young specifically encouraged us to break the law and take action even when the consequence may be prison,” one student said, according to the Oberlin Review. “Additionally, it seemed like he was suggesting that the audience free the animals from the basement where research experiments may be conducted on them. Hearing that was pretty shocking.”
Other students in attendance believed that Young needs to incorporate more protesting methodologies in order to drive home a message rather than just stick to his radical mindset, mentioning how a greater array of methods can help persuade people.
“I’m not sure how many people he is persuading by letting animals out,” another student told the Oberlin Review. “I’m not going to say that what he is doing is completely ineffective because I think what he is doing is really, really great, but that’s not the only thing that needs to happen in the movement. That’s one of the many tools.”