Politico scooped a little noticed story that has now caused a big concern among supporters of President Donald Trump and his family including raising some ire on the left too. Lara Trump, wife of Donald Trump’s son Eric, has been found to be contributing to the Beagle Freedom Project (BFP). The group is an animal rights organization that pitches itself not only as a group that adopts out beagles that are no longer used by laboratories for medical experiments, but BFP is also involved in an effort to obtain documents from the USDA as part of their attempt to harass National Institute of Health labs using public records of inspections.
As has been pointed out before, animal rights groups are notorious for using USDA records in question to harass and intimidate medical research facilities and their employees that use animals for their experiments. A couple of years ago, Science Insider revealed the Beagle Freedom Project (BFP) was using Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests in order to harass medical laboratories like the one at Ohio State University.
Worst part about it, however, is that Politico reveals that the head of Beagle Freedom Project, Kevin Kjonaas (aka Kevin Chase), served six years in federal prison for harassing and stalking employees of research laboratories that use animals in their tests. To get a clearer picture of Kjonass’s terrorist acts, Mother Jones outlined what Kevin Chase did that resulted in his 2006 conviction and imprisonment:
As president of SHAC USA, Kjonaas [Chase’s given last name] posted the home addresses and telephone numbers of Huntingdon employees on the group’s website. Sometimes Kjonaas helped organize protests in front of workers’ homes. When he couldn’t make it to a demonstration, he posted other people’s accounts of the event, even when they included acts of vandalism.
… SHAC activists have poured paint thinner on a Huntingdon executive’s car, broken windows, and spray-painted “puppy killer” on an employee’s property. Using tactics akin to those of extreme antiabortion groups, the SHAC USA website published the names, ages, and school addresses of Huntingdon employees’ children. “When you’re on the receiving end of [SHAC’s] campaign, it’s violent and severe intimidation,” [spokesman for the U.S. attorney in New Jersey, Michael] Drewniak says. “It’s a campaign of terror, yes.”
Kjonaas told Politico he bonded with Lara Trump earlier this year during a Central Park dog walk and has highlighted her support of BFP on his group’s website. Kjonaas also admitted he never disclosed his criminal background to Lara Trump and usually doesn’t when conducting his job, save if he was to testify in Congress.
Lara Trump should be given the benefit of the doubt since a Trump spokesperson stated she was not aware of Kjonaas’s past. Her support of BFP will, most likely, not be a political liability for the Trumps despite Politico‘s claim to the contrary. Many animal rights and other green groups are able to gain access to celebrities and other well known personalities like her by being at the right place at the right time or by established connections they have in the entertainment industry. After gaining their trust, groups, like BFP or PETA, then use celebrities as a means to further their cause by gaining publicity or to benefit them in some way.
Celebrities and other well known personalities that back leftist causes are not blameless either. Their continued support of environmentalist organizations should be condemned depending on the context of the situation. Most notably, actress Emma Thompson’s recent support of Greenpeace’s campaign against seismic testing in Canada despite knowing the racist past of the group who drove the Innuit communities into poverty due to Greenpeace’s opposition to seal hunting that native Canadian tribes used to support themselves. Thompson makes regular appearances in support of Greenpeace and its causes.
Lara Trump did not know about Kjonaas’ history and it’s clear he took advantage of her in order to not only gain her trust but also to get some sort of benefit personally or for Beagle Freedom Project. Hopefully Lara’s support of BFP will end and her father-in-law will be given an up close example of one of many leftist groups that not only deserves scorn but continued legal scrutiny due to the fraud and force they engage in.