Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty activist Kerry Whitburn, 34, was sentenced to two months in jail in January for breaking into a UK pet store. He actually only served one month and was released on January 30.
Whitburn pleaded guilty to breaking into The Fish Specialist after seeing a television documentary which included footage of the shop. Whitburn broke a glass door with a crow bar in order to steal two marmoset monkeys that he noticed in the footage.
The monkeys were not in the pet shop when he broke in, however, and Whitburn managed to cut himself on the glass leaving behind plenty of evidence of his involvement. Despite previous animal rights-related convictions — including a 2001 conviction for an anti-Huntingdon Life Sciences protest — Whitburn received the light sentence.
And Whitburn is very aware that law enforcement in the UK is unwilling or unable to do more than slap his wrists for such crimes. While in jail he wrote a letter to supporters,
“HI EVERYONE!” Hope everyone out there is fine and well, and living a positive cruelty free life. Course you are! So, here I am again! For those who don’t know, I’m serving a 2-month sentence for attempting to ‘steal’ 2 marmoset monkeys from a tiny, bare cage in a grotty pet shop in Nottingham. I won’t go into detail, as those who know me will confirm that if I give the whole complex story I’ll be writing a novel, not a short article. Oooh, I nearly broke into a waffle then, during that last sentence. So, for Jo-Ann’s sake, all I’ll say is the pet shop appeared on an undercover T.V. documentary, and was voted 2nd worse in the UK.
So, went to court on Jan 5th and received 2 months but will only serve one. Hell, this animal rights lark can really get you in trouble, can’t it! Maybe I’m expected to come to prison and learn my lesson, don’t you think? Hmmmm, nah – maybe I won’t! Besides, I’m illiterate when it comes to the law concerned with the abuse of animals! Sorry, your honour.
Yeah, the British government is really doing everything it can to deter animal rights crimes, isn’t it?
Letter from Kerry Whitburn. Kerry Whitburn, January 28, 2004.
ELP November 2001 Newsletter. Earth Liberation Prisoners Network, November 2001.
Pets Raid Man Faces Prison. Nottingham Evening Post, December 10, 2003.