Activist court calendar
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 2002:
ST. JOHN’S, Newfoundland–A three-judge Newfoundland Court
of Appeal panel on March 12 overturned the conviction of sealer Jason
Penny for allowing a wounded seal to suffer unnecessarily long from a
bullet wound in early 1996, by ruling that the prosecution failed to
submit adequate evidence establishing that the video used to convict
him had not been “altered or changed” by the International Fund for
Animal Welfare before it was turned over to the Crown.
“Current technology is such that it is not difficult for a
competent person to alter visual evidence,” the court said. “In
this case, the video was for a lengthy period in the possession of a
company that edits videos.”
Defense attorney Averill Baker predicted that the ruling
would “have a massive impact. It’s going to send a message to IFAW
to get off our sealing grounds,” Baker said.
But when the 2002 Atlantic Canadian offshore seal hunt began
on March 19. IFAW observers with video cameras were there.
IFAW-Canada national director Rick Smith indicated that IFAW
will appeal the Newfoundland verdict to the Supreme Court of Canada,
and told Canadian Press reporter Michael MacDonald that it really
“Our videotapes have already resulted in major changes in the
court of public opinion,” Smith said. “They have sparked a major
reassessment of the marine mammal regulations, and have resulted in
a few sealers pleading guilty.”
The Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans on March 6
proposed amendments to the sealing regulations which would allow
sealing vessels longer than 65 feet to collect seals from smaller
boats, enabling the smaller boats to kill more; require sealers to
check the pupils of clubbed or shot seals to ascertain death before
bleeding and skinning them; prohibit use of nets by sealers; and
require sealers to land either whole carcasses or pelts of seals, to
prevent the practice of taking only penises, the most lucrative
part, and dumping the rest.
Four years in development, the new regulations are to take
effect in 2003.
The sealing quota for 2002 includes 275,000 harp seals and
10,000 hooded seals, the same as in 2001. Early reports from the
ice indicated that the full quota would probably not be reached, due
to dangerous conditions.
PETA deer/car crash
TRENTON, New Jersey–PETA legal counsel Matthew Penzer on
February 14, 2002 served notice to New Jersey Division of Fish and
Wildlife director Bob McDowell that PETA and PETA employees Dan
Shannon and Jay Kelly intend to sue the Division of Fish and Wildlife
for damages and personal injuries suffered in a deer/car collision
early on November 16, 2000. Shannon and Kelly were returning to the
PETA offices in Norfolk, Virginia, after participating in an
anti-fur protest in New York.
Wrote Penzer, “PETA, Shannon, and Kelly believe that
this collision, which occurred near the start of New Jersey’s
hunting season [occurred because] despite the known dangers an
increased deer population poses to motorists, the [Fish and
Wildlife] Division and the [Fish and Game Council] actively assist in
increasing the deer population for the purpose of enhancing hunting
opportunities and licence revenues.”
Because PETA employees were injured on the job, PETA would
appear to have automatic standing to bring the case.
Berosini told to pay up
LAS VEGAS, Nevada–U.S. magistrate udge Lawrence Leavitt in
early March 2002 ordered former Las Vegas orangutan trainer Bobby
Berosini and his wife Joan to pay more than $250,000 to three law
firms that represented former PETA executive director Jeanne Roush in
a 1998 federal lawsuit against the Berosinis for allegedly concealing
their assets to avoid paying Roush and PETA the sums that they were
supposed to receive as result of earlier court judgements. Leavitt
required that the law firms be paid by no later than April 5.
Leavitt in February 2000 ruled that the Berosinis had
improperly transferred more than $2 million to Panama, and ordered
them to return the funds to the U.S. In May 2000 the Berosinis
finally paid $340,230 to Roush and PETA in settlement of a 1996
Nevada Supreme Court judgement awarding them court costs and interest.
The Nevada Supreme Court verdict reversed a 1990 Las Vegas
court ruling that PETA should pay $3.1 million to Berosini for
alleged defamation of character. The case started in 1989 when PETA
distributed a videotape purportedly showing Bobby Berosini beating
his orangutans backstage. Berosini claimed the tape was altered.