The cast of characters at the recently concluded “Animal Rights 2004″ convention including a tenured university professor, a self-described ocean-going pirate, and a husband-and-wife team seemingly dedicated to “animal liberation” by any means necessary. Meet Jerry Vlasak and his wife Pamelyn Ferdin, both of whom have close connections to PETA’s quasi-medical front group, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM).

Vlasak has been arrested several times, and urges others to “get arrested.” Referring to a violent subset of the terrorist Animal Liberation Front (ALF), he described himself during the convention as “heavily involved in the SHAC campaign.” And then, in a stunning comment, Vlasak predicted a particularly violent future for his social movement:

It won’t ruin our movement if someone gets killed in an animal rights action. It’s going to happen sooner or later. The Animal Liberation Front, the Earth Liberation Front — sooner or later there’s going to be someone getting hurt. And we have to accept that fact. It’s going to happen. It’s not going to hurt our movement. Our movement will go on. And it’s important that we not let the bully pulpit of the FBI and the other oppression agencies stop us from what we’re doing. They are the violent ones. They are the terrorists … we have to keep doing what we’re doing. (click here for video.)

At last year’s “Animal Rights 2003″ event, Vlasak specifically advocated the murder of doctors who use animals in their research, saying: “I don’t think you’d have to kill — assassinate — too many … I think for 5 lives, 10 lives, 15 human lives, we could save a million, 2 million, 10 million non-human lives.”

Vlasak has represented PCRM on issues of animal testing. He writes for PCRM’s magazine, and is identified in the magazine as “PCRM’s Jerry Vlasak.” In a February 2002 press release, Vlasak is called a “PCRM spokesperson.”

Pamelyn Ferdin is an aging B-movie actress best known as the voice of the bossy Lucy Van Pelt on the “Peanuts” television specials. Vlasak and Ferdin are both officers of the Animal Defense League Los Angeles (ADL), which made headlines last year for waging an all-out holy war (including aggressive, at-home protests) against the Los Angeles bureaucrat in charge of the city’s animal shelters. Ferdin told Animal Rights 2004 convention-goers:

We want to make people who walk down to a park, or walk their animals who are unaltered feel ashamed, feel humiliated, that they dare have a companion animal who is unaltered when there are thousands being killed in our city shelters because of this problem. (click here for video)

In addition to her affiliation with ADL, Ferdin carries a PCRM business card. Amazingly, it identifies PCRM’s business address as the same location in Santa Monica, California where ADL receives its mail.

A look at ADL’s board of directors fleshes out the bigger picture. In addition to Vlasak and Ferdin, its officers include Gary Yourofsky, a convicted Animal Liberation Front felon who openly advocates arson and murder. Yourofsky’s most recent job was indoctrinating middle-school and high-school children on behalf of PETA. Also on ADL’s board is Allison Lance Watson, the wife of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society pirate Paul Watson. When she is tried later this year, she will face five years in prison for lying to a federal grand jury about her possible role in a 2001 ALF arson. Jerry Vlasak is also Sea Shepherd’s treasurer.

The broad connections among PETA, PCRM, SHAC, ADL, and Sea Shepherd suggest that few things on the animal-rights radical fringe happen in a vacuum. And with the movement’s leaders openly advocating in-your-face tactics and outright violence, Jerry Vlasak’s stunning prophecy may soon be realized.