The arrest of six suspects in a string of eco-terror arsons has generated a string of related stories, including many about the jail-cell suicide of one defendant described as the "ringleader" behind eco-terror fires in several states. In a follow-up report that caught our eye, The Seattle Times talked to defendant Kevin Tubbs’ mother. Tubbs is charged with setting a $1.2 million fire in June 1998 which consumed the USDA’s Animal and Plant and Health Inspection Service facility in Olympia, Washington. He’s also accused of torching 35 sport-utility vehicles at a Eugene, Oregon car dealership. And according to his mother, he used to work for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
In 1993, an Associated Press photographer snapped a picture of Tubbs and PETA employee Matt Rossell, after the two were arrested for trying to disrupt a meeting of cattle ranchers. Tubbs wore a colorful cow costume. And the following year, Tubbs (then described by The Philadelphia Inquirer as "a PETA supervisor"), was charged with assault after he and two PETA interns attempted to douse the headquarters of a pharmaceutical company with buckets of urine. Unfortunately for PETA, they ended up drenching several police officers by mistake.
Tubbs, now a terrorism defendant, didn’t end his association with "mainstream" animal rights groups a decade ago. In a recent newsletter, United Poultry Concerns president Karen Davis thanked him for "staffing our table" at a March 2005 University of Oregon environmental law conference.
Kevin Tubbs, of course, is innocent until proven guilty. But given the FBI’s reported use of his own friends as informants against him, it appears likely that Tubbs will soon join the colorful pantheon of criminal PETA employees both past and present. This list includes Gary Yourofsky, a convicted Animal Liberation Front burglar; accused eco-terror arsonist Tre Arrow, who protested for PETA as Michael Scarpitti before changing his name because "the trees told me" to do it; and current PETA campaign director Bruce Friedrich, whose rap sheet includes a 15-month federal jail sentence (although he only served 5 months) for attacking a U.S. Air Force F-15 fighter jet with a hammer and a bucket of blood.