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Jerry Vlasak

jerry vlasak, jerry vlasak divorce
Jerry Vlasak born c 19581 is an American animal rights activist and former trauma surgeon He is a press officer for the North American Animal Liberation Press Office, a former director of the Animal Defense League of Los Angeles, and an advisor to SPEAK, the Voice for the Animals2

Vlasak came to public attention in 2003, and 2004 and again in 2008, when he made statements that appeared to justify the use of violence against animal researchers3 He responded that he had been quoted out of context and strongly denied having said anything to encourage violent action Nevertheless, as a result of his statements, he and his wife were banned from entering the United Kingdom in 2004, on the grounds that their presence, according to the Home Secretary, "would not be conducive to the public good"2


  • 1 Education and career
  • 2 Political activism
    • 21 Sea Shepherd activism
    • 22 Conviction
    • 23 Views on violence
      • 231 Interview with The Observer
      • 232 Banned from entering the UK
  • 3 Notes
  • 4 Further reading

Education and careeredit

Born in Austin, Texas, Vlasak graduated with an MD from the University of Texas Medical School at Houston in 1983 He is board certified in General Surgery and is licensed as a medical doctor in California4

He was an animal researcher himself, and saw no problem with it at the time According to the Los Angeles Times, he conducted research on dogs' arteries in a laboratory at the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, during or after which the dogs were killed5

As of September 2013, Vlasak is affiliated with the Riverside Community Hospital6 in Riverside, California and St Francis Medical Center in Lynwood, California7

Political activismedit

Inspired by his now 2008 ex-wife Pamelyn Ferdin, who was a president of Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty in the US, Vlasak became active in promoting animal rights in 1993 He became a spokesperson for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, although he is no longer a member, and was a board member of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

His principal role in the animal liberation movement is as a liaison between the movement and the public, publicizing the movement's "underground" activities in his role as a press officer He acknowledges his medical background provides a "certain amount of credibility" to the movement8

Vlasak explained his opposition to animal testing to a US Senate committee in 2005:

Sea Shepherd activismedit

Vlasak has been active in opposing the seal hunt in Canada, which occurs every year, mostly in March and April He was punched in the face by sealers during the 2005 hunt on Prince Edward Island, which he attended on behalf of the Sea Shepherd Conversation Society No charges were brought in connection with the attack10 Vlasak was Sea Shepherd's treasurer for many years

During the same hunt, he was one of 11 activists convicted of violating Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans regulations, because they watched the hunt without a permit He was sentenced to 22 days in prison, which he served in a Prince Edward Island jail in 200611


Vlasak was convicted in Los Angeles in 2006 of "targeted protesting" for demonstrating against euthanasia at animal shelters outside the home of a Department of Animal Services employee He was sentenced to 30 days' electronic monitoring He has appealed the decision12

Views on violenceedit

Vlasak has been criticized for appearing to legitimize the use of violence against animal researchers He told an animal rights conference in 2003:

I think there is a use for violence in our movement And I think it can be an effective strategy Not only is it morally acceptable, I think that there are places where it could be used quite effectively from a pragmatic standpoint

For instance, if vivisectors were routinely being killed, I think it would give other vivisectors pause in what they were doing in their work — and if these vivisectors were being targeted for assassination — and I wouldn't pick some guy way down the totem pole, but if there were prominent vivisectors being assassinated, I think that there would be a trickle-down effect and many, many people who are lower on that totem pole would say, "I'm not going to get into this business because it's a very dangerous business

And I don't think you'd have to kill — assassinate — too many vivisectors before you would see a marked decrease in the amount of vivisection going on And I think for 5 lives, 10 lives, 15 human lives, we could save a million, 2 million, 10 million non-human animals

And I — you know — people get all excited about, "Oh what's going to happen when the ALF accidentally kills somebody in an arson" Well, you know I mean, I think we need to get used to this idea It's going to happen, okay It's going to happen13

Following the August 2, 2008 firebombing of a house belonging to University of California Santa Cruz animal researchers, Vlasak was quoted as saying "This guy knows what he is doing He knows that every day that he goes into the laboratory and hurts animals that it is unreasonable not to expect consequences" 14

Interview with The Observeredit

The controversy continued in July 2004 when Jamie Doward of The Observer wrote that Vlasak had told him during an interview: "I think violence is part of the struggle against oppression If something bad happens to these people animal researchers, it will discourage others It is inevitable that violence will be used in the struggle and that it will be effective"15

Vlasak responded in a press release that the allegations were part of a smear campaign against him He wrote: "I was outraged by Jamie Doward's article in the Observer stating that I, a medical doctor who spends my entire life SAVING lives, is calling for or encouraging the assassination or killing of any being, human or non human" He continued:

People have been killed over absolutely ridiculous things like oil, power and money It would be "speciesist" of me to say that in a battle for the moral and ethical high ground that there will never be casualties I'm not encouraging or calling for this, I am simply stating that the animal rights movement is and has been the most peaceful and restrained movement the world has ever known considering the amount of terror, abuse and murder done to innocent animals for greed and profit If by chance violence is used by those who fight for non human sentient beings, or even if there are casualties, it must be looked at in perspective and in a historical context16

He told the BBC's Today program: "I am personally not advocating, condoning or recommending that anybody be killed I am a physician who saves lives I spend my entire day saving people's lives All I am saying, in a historical context, violence has been used against us as animal rights campaigners and against the animals and is no different from us using violence on the other side"17

On Australian television a few months later he said: "Would I advocate taking five guilty vivisectors' lives to save hundreds of millions of innocent animal lives Yes, I would"18

Banned from entering the UKedit

As a result of the Observer article, the British government announced in August 2004 that Vlasak and his wife were banned from the UK Vlasak had been due to attend a conference organized by Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty SHAC, an animal-rights campaign to close Huntingdon Life Sciences The Home Secretary told the couple that their presence in the UK "would not be conducive to the public good"2

Vlasak is one of two animal liberation press officers who have been banned from entering the UK Steven Best, professor of philosophy at the University of Texas, El Paso, was banned in 2005 to prevent him from addressing an animal rights conference there19


  1. ^ Stark, Annette 2005-12-29 "Meat Is Murder" Los Angeles CityBeat Archived from the original on 2006-03-27 
  2. ^ a b c Blackstock, Colin Blunkett bars US animal rights activist from Britain, The Guardian, August 26, 2004
  3. ^ McMaster, Nick August 4, 2008 "Firebombed Researcher Fears Animal-Rights Activists" newsercom Retrieved 19 April 2011 
  4. ^ http://wwwhealthgradescom/physician/dr-jerry-vlasak-2tq5w/background-check
  5. ^ Mozingo, Joe "Surgeon Walks a Thin Line on Animal Rights", Los Angeles Times, September 5, 2006
  6. ^ http://wwwvitalscom/doctors/Dr_Jerry_Vlasakhtml
  7. ^ http://wwwvitalscom/doctors/Dr_Jerry_Vlasak/credentials
  8. ^ Range McDonald, Patrick, Monkey madness at UCLA, LA Weekly, August 8, 2007
  9. ^ "Statement of Dr Jerry Vlasak", US Senate committee on Environment and Public Works, October 26, 2005
  10. ^ "Crew attacked and arrested", Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, March 31, 2005, retrieved January 17, 2008
  11. ^ Jerry Vlasak Seeks Permission to Enter Canada to Serve His Jail Sentence, Animal Friends Croatia, retrieved January 17, 2008
  12. ^ Gordon, Larry "Animal rights group says it flooded house," Los Angeles Times, October 30, 2007
  13. ^ Best, Steven "Who's Afraid of Jerry Vlasak" Archived 2008-04-21 at the Wayback Machine Animal Liberation Press Office, undated, retrieved January 17, 2008
  14. ^ Firebombed UCSC researcher speaks out
  15. ^ Doward, Jamie "Kill scientists, says animal rights chief", The Observer, July 25, 2004
  16. ^ "Dr Jerry Vlasak replies to media libel", SPEAK, July 24, 2004, retrieved January 17, 2008
  17. ^ Today, interview with Jerry Vlasak, BBC Radio 4, July 26, 2004, cited in Best, Steven "Who's Afraid of Jerry Vlasak" Archived 2008-04-21 at the Wayback Machine Animal Liberation Press Office, undated, retrieved January 17, 2008
  18. ^ Australian TV, interview with Jenny Brockie, October 2004, cited in Best, Steven "Who's Afraid of Jerry Vlasak" Archived 2008-04-21 at the Wayback Machine Animal Liberation Press Office, undated, retrieved May 5, 2008
  19. ^ MacLeod, Donald "Britain uses hate law to ban animal rights campaigner", The Guardian, August 31, 2005 Also see Smallwood, Scott "Britain Bans American Professor Who Speaks on Behalf of Animal Liberation Front", The Chronicle of Higher Education, August 29, 2005

Further readingedit

  • "Anti-sealing group denounces director's comments", CBC News, April 21, 2005
  • Website of the Animal Defense League of Los Angeles

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