Woofs and growls…
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 1993:
Freedom of speech cases
A lawsuit filed February 9 by U.S.
Surgical Corporation alleges the firm was defamed
in remarks made to reporters by Fund for Animals
Connecticut representative Julie Lewin and Fund pres-
ident Cleveland Amory, who are codefendents, along
with the Fund itself. Lewin sued U.S. Surgical for
defamation in 1991. Lewin’s suit, still pending,
alleges her reputation suffered when operatives of the
private security firm Perceptions International, hired
by U.S. Surgical, recruited Fran Trutt (who had little
previous involvement in activism) to join in protests
against the firm’s use of dogs in surgical staple
demonstrations; gave her the money to buy four pipe
bombs; and drove her to the U.S. Surgical corporate
headquarters in November 1988, where she was
arrested just after placing one of the bombs in the
parking lot. Lewin’s suit and a similar suit filed by
Friends of Animals allege the bombing plot was
arranged to discredit the protesters by association.
While a countersuit of some sort against Lewin is only
conventional legal strategy on the part of U.S.
Surgical, this suit is unusual in that it alleges the
defamation occurred through major news media, in
regular news coverage, without also alleging libel on
the part of the media––which include the most influen-
tial newspapers in Connecticut.
A libel suit filed by the McDonald’s restau-
rant chain against British environmentalists Helen
Steel and David Morris is tentatively scheduled for
trial in October, according to the March 1 issue of
Corporate Crime Reporter. Circa Earth Day, 1990,
Steel and Morris distributed leaflets critical of
McDonald’s food, hiring practices, and alleged sale of
beef raised on former rainforest. At about the same
time Steel and Morris were sued, McDonald’s also
sued a TV station, a major newspaper, two labor
organizations, and a theatrical company, all in
Britain, for issuing similar criticisms. All the others
apologized to McDonald’s and settled out of court.
Former journalist Rik Scarce, now a grad-
uate student at Washington State University, was
jailed March 10 for refusing to testify to a federal
grand jury probing the Animal Liberation Front.
Scarce is author of Eco-Warriors: Understanding the
Radical Environmental Movement, a 1990 book that
includes the most definitive history to date of the ALF,
the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, Earth First!,
Surgical. Weicker is among the AMP directors. Tax records show
that in 1991 AMP spent more than $50,000 on unexplained “legisla-
tive activities” and consulting fees, and paid $13,000 in directors’
fees and staff salaries.
1993 budget figures for pro-vivisection activity given by
the January 25 issue of The Scientist include $225,000 for Putting
People First (nearly quadruple its 1991 budget); $225,000 for the
North Carolina Association for Biomedical Research; $200,000 for
the Massachusetts Society for Medical Research; $181,000 for dis-
tribution of National Institutes of Mental Health pro-vivisection
materials aimed at children; and $400,000-plus for the Coalition for
Animals and Animal Research, divided among 40 regional chapters.