SETA hosts presentation by local activist

By Troy J. Acevedo
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, March 24, 2005

In cooperation with the campus activist group Students for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, nationally recognized animal rights activist Rod Coronado spoke last night about taking direct action to ensure animal safety.

About 80 students, news organizations and community members attended the forum in the James E. Rogers College of Law, which focused on animal rights, direct action and individual involvement.

Coronado has been involved with the animal rights cause for 19 years and with various aspects of direct action. He has been speaking at various colleges and universities as an advocate for direct action on the ethical treatment of animals since 1999.

Coronado spoke about the events that moved him and prompted him to take illegal actions as a method of ensuring the survival and rights of animals.

Actions such as reconnaissance and economic sabotage were the methods used by Coronado and his associates to sink an Icelandic whaling vessel supposedly conducting illegal operations.

"A strong line exists between violence against life and economic sabotage," said Rachel Bash, second-year law student and treasurer of SETA.

To this day, the Icelandic government has not filed charges against Coronado or his associates for the actions they deemed terrorism.

"The rules are made by those people who control the game. Our government is not about by and for the people; it is about by and for the corporation," Coronado said. "This leads me to believe that the only way to make a difference is to challenge the law. I wish that we never had to break the law or risk our freedom."

In 1993, Coronado was federally indicted for his involvement with six Animal Liberation Front raids. He was sentenced to 57 months in a federal correctional facility.

He was arrested again in March 2004 for disruption of the Arizona Game and Fish Department mountain lion hunts.

As of December, he was again placed under federal indictment on the charge of conspiracy to impede or injure a federal officer.

Although he was in favor of students taking direct action, he seemed very much in favor of not causing harm to any form of life.

"The club itself takes no direct action and does not intend to encourage any illegal activity by anyone," said Kristen Drumm, president of SETA. "We just feel that the least we can do is provide a forum for Mr. Coronado to speak on these issues."

According to information available on the Animal Liberation Front Web site, their actions are not revolutionary but can be a part of a process that could have important and necessary effects to ease the suffering of animals.

"It is an awesome opportunity and a privilege to have Rod speak," said Drumm, a second-year law student. "It is a rare chance to have important, valuable and educational information presented on the animal rights movement."

Tomorrow from noon to 1 p.m., SETA will be holding their "meat out" event, in which free vegan food will be available on the UA Mall in front of the Student Union Memorial Center.