Kevin Olliff (aka Kevin Johnson) and Tyler Lang were indicted under the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act for allegedly releasing—and conspiring to release—about 2,000 mink and foxes from Midwest fur farms. They were arrested during the summer of 2013 and took non-cooperating plea deals on state charges of “possession of burglary tools.” Then almost a year later, they were indicted on federal AETA charges. During the summer of 2015, Kevin and Tyler entered into a non-cooperating plea agreements through which they plead guilty to violating the AETA.
Although it may seem ridiculous to charge people with “terrorism” for allegedly saving animals from living in barren wire cages and being killed by methods that may include anal electrocution or having their necks snapped, the ridiculousness speaks to what is beneath the surface of this legislation. The AETA was crafted by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a group of corporate power players who write pieces of model legislation that suit their interests, and then ALEC passes off the legislation to members of Congress. Many members of ALEC are part of the pharmaceutical, big ag, and other industries that exploit and kill animals for profit—industries that have a huge interest in stopping the actions of animal liberation activists.
To add to the mix, the State uses the label of “terrorism” with a lot of flexibility in order to be able to manipulate public fear based on the State interests of the day, and this context left the label open for ALEC to apply it to animal liberation activists. And so ALEC devised the AETA, legislation not meant so much for prosecuting activists (Kevin and Tyler are among only a handful of people who’ve been charged under the AETA), but to conjure public fear of the animal liberation movement and deter people from getting involved in activism, let alone from freeing animals from the hell of fur farms.
Kevin and Tyler’s case should be a reminder to us all that—in addition to showing solidarity with the animals—we have to show each other love and support in the face of State repression. Please watch for updates about Kevin and Tyler’s case, donate to their support fund, write letters and send books, and never stop fighting for the animals.
You can use the Support Kevin & Tyler Flyer to help spread the word about their case and the AETA.
About Kevin Olliff
Kevin is a 28 year-old activist from the Bel Air neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA. A vegan since age 15, Kevin has been involved in numerous animal rights campaigns since the mid-2000s, including vegan outreach, anti-vivisection work, and a tour with Sea Shepherd.
On February 29, 2016, after spending over a year in state custody and then more than another year in federal custody awaiting sentencing, Kevin finally had his federal sentencing hearing. Kevin was sentenced to 36 months, with credit for time served (both state and federal time). Kevin was released from prison and moved into a halfway house in May of 2016.
About Tyler Lang
Tyler Lang is a animal rights activist from Los Angeles, CA. He went vegan at the age of 14 and has been an activist for animals since. In 2009 Tyler was arrested and given several misdemeanor charges for participating in home demos against UCLA vivisectors. Later that year he helped organize demonstrations against Fortress Investment Group, an HLS affiliate. After six months of home protests, Fortress announced they would no longer do business with HLS. Between 2011 and 2012 Tyler was sued by AstraZeneca, BlackRock, and Beckman Coulter for his role in organizing protests against their key executives.
On March 23, Tyler was sentenced to three months of time served, as well as 6 months on home detention and 6 months in a halfway house.