About Gary Yourofsky
As of May 1, 2014, Gary Yourofsky has given 2,581 lectures to more than 60,000 people at 184 schools in 30 states and several Israeli cities/schools, including the U. of Alabama, U. of Florida and Georgia Tech. His lecture has been translated into more than 30 languages for over 8 million YouTube hits. Activists in Israel created the Hebrew website GARY-TV and convinced two major vegan companies to put that site's URL directly on their packages! To view accolades from the Israeli press since 2012, check out the English translation of the site.
Lecturing is a softer approach for Yourofsky, who has been arrested numerous times for random acts of kindness and compassion, and banished by five countries from entering their borders. In 1997, Gary liberated more than 1,500 soon-to-be-murdered minks from the Eberts Fur Farm in Blenheim, Ontario. Several attorneys, led by Donald Perkins, Esq., tried to pass a resolution in Michigan in honor of Yourofsky's actions. "We recognize that throughout this nation's history, other individuals, acting from conscience have similarly violated certain laws and ordinances. In our own time, these same principles of nonviolent disobedience to unjust laws have been applied by such individuals as the Mahatma Mohandas K. Gandhi and the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., both of whom were—as was Michigan's Gary Yourofsky—sentenced to jail for their actions."
Wayne State University journalism professor Jack Lessenberry, who has written for the The NY Times, The Oakland Press (MI), The Metro Times (MI) and The Toledo Blade, once said this about Michigan's most outspoken animal rights activist: "We murder billions of animals each year, and that's what Yourofsky has dedicated his young life to fighting. Actually, he knows he can't do much to stop it but he intends to raise our consciousness. Frankly, when I went to interview Yourofsky, I expected to meet a fanatic. Afterward, not only did I find him frighteningly sane and mostly convincing, I had the rather uneasy feeling that always comes when you realize that you are a hypocrite."
Yourofsky's inspirational actions have been covered by every newspaper, radio outlet, and TV station in his native Detroit, and throughout Israel. Author Charlotte Montgomery included a chapter about Yourofsky in the book Blood Relations: Animals, Humans and Politics. Yourofsky's 2004 essay Abolition, Liberation, Freedom. Coming to a Fur Farm Near You appeared in Terrorists or Freedom Fighters, the first-ever book about the Animal Liberation Front, edited by Steve Best and Anthony Nocella. What's Wrong With Hunting appeared in the book Hunting: Opposing Viewpoints, published in 2008 by the Gale Group/Greenhaven Press. In 2009, Westview Press' textbook Essential Criminology (3rd edition), written by professors Mark Lanier (U. of Alabama) and Stuart Henry (SDSU), featured a brief summary of Yourofsky's essays that indict humans as criminal violators of animals. Gary has also written, produced and done several voiceovers for graphic, hard-hitting TV ads that aired in Los Angeles and Detroit in the late 90s, and radio ads that aired in 2012-13 on WDFN-1130 in Detroit, 97.1 The Ticket in Detroit, KFTX in Corpus Christi, WLS-890 in Chicago, WBBM-780 in Chicago, and Fox News, Fox Talk and ESPN on XM/Sirius. Versions of the print advertisement on the left have appeared in The Detroit Jewish News, The Chicago Jewish News, The Jewish Week-New York, The Jewish News of Greater Phoenix and The Texas Jewish Post in February, April and May of 2013. You can watch the commercials and listen to the radio announcements by visiting The ADAPTT Video and Radio Page. The TV commercials appear after the opening 4-minute slaughterhouse segment of Original Slaughterhouse Video and TV Ads, which you can access through the Other Videos link; the Radio Ads link opens a menu linking to all of Gary's radio ads.
In addition, London rapper "I & Ideal" also sampled parts of Gary's lecture in the track titled Not in Our Nature on his 2013 CD Odd One Out, while Asteroide B-612, a band from Chile, paid tribute to him in the song Que La Fe Me Riegue. Emily Moran Barwick, one of Gary's many converts, put together a few educational videos on her Bite Size Vegan channel, Israeli artist Miky Mottes created an adorable illustration of Gary and some animals, while Andy Lally, a streetluge, Grand Am Rolex Series and NASCAR racer, put ADAPTT.org stickers on two of his vehicles in 2010 and 2012.
Born on August 19, 1970, Yourofsky holds a B.A. in journalism from Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, and a radio/broadcasting degree from Specs Howard School of Broadcast Arts in Southfield, Michigan.
Yourofsky's Arrest Record
1) On March 30, 1997, I liberated 1,542 mink from the Eberts Fur Farm in Blenheim, Ontario. The trial took place from April 23-27, 1999. I served 77 days of a six-month sentence before I was deported and thrown out of Canada. For a detailed account of this mink liberation, read my essay, Fur, Liberations, and the ALF.
2) On March 6, 1998, I chained my neck to the rear-wheel axle of my car as it blocked the main entrance of the Michigan State Fairgrounds on The Shrine Circus' opening night. I was charged with disorderly conduct and received a small fine. To read the Detroit Free Press' article about this lockdown, go to the Gary Yourofsky in the News page, click "Circuses" and scroll down.
3) On September 9, 1998, I chained my neck to the rear-wheel axle of my car after I drove it onto the sidewalk and parked it snugly next to the front doors of Dittrich Furs in Bloomfield Township. Activist Laura Rogers was already inside the store chained to a rack of fur coats while Marie Mason locked her neck to the front door handles. We were charged with disorderly conduct and received a small fine. To read the Detroit News' article about this lockdown, go to the Gary Yourofsky in the News page and click "Fur". It's the first story.
4) On September 22, 1998, I was illegally arrested during a protest at The UniverSoul Circus at Chene Park in Detroit. The entire incident was caught on video. Police told me that I had to cross the street and stand with two other protesters because it was "illegal for protesters to separate" during a demonstration. Since the cops were lying, I refused to follow their order. I was arrested for disorderly conduct. Since I could have been charged with resisting arrest, which is a felony, my attorney advised me to pay a small fine and move on.
5) On February 9, 1999, I barged into the Michigan Humane Society's Rochester Hills office to confront Gary Tiscornia, the MHS president. Tiscornia had just publicly condoned the mass murder of dozens of deer in several Michigan Metroparks. I had been trying to ban these killings for over a year. I told him he was finished in this town, and that I would expose his hypocrisy and all of MHS' dirty laundry. I berated him for around three minutes. When the secretary tried to call the police, I took the phone from her hands and threw it against the wall. ADAPTT organized several protests at the Rochester Hills location, and conducted many interviews with Detroit TV stations. No arrest or investigation ever took place until I beat the city of Warren and state of Michigan in a jury trial in 2001 (see No. 11 below). I received a notification in the mail informing me that I was being charged with disorderly conduct for the Tiscornia/MHS incident which occurred two years earlier! Judge Julie Nicholson forced me into 65 hours of community service.
6) In March of 1999, the Detroit Police Department illegally arrested me for the third time during a Shrine Circus demo at the Michigan State Fairgrounds. The day before the arrest a WHITE police officer drew his gun and threatened to shoot me because I was displaying an elephant hook during the demo. (Before the demo, I talked to several officers who said it would be okay to show the device during the protest. There was a shift change, though, and the WHITE officer wasn't informed.) An elephant hook is a pick-axe like weapon used to beat elephants into submission during training sessions. I was simply asking circus-goers, "If the circus cares about elephants, why do they have elephant hooks? I know people with dogs and cats and they don't have dog and cat hooks." After a 30-second stand-off in which I told the cop to "go draw your gun on the trainer who beats elephants with the hook", I dropped the hook and said, "What's your problem?" The officer asked me why I was protesting with the hook. I explained how the circus was an animal-slavery enterprise, and drew the analogy to hundreds of years of slavery in America. He responded: "Black slaves had it good in America because it was poor in Africa and they were being fed here." I couldn't believe my ears so I asked him to repeat the statement. He reiterated it verbatim. So I took my hook and walked away, refusing to waste my breath on such a racist. Cut to the following day's protest when six police cars surrounded my vehicle after the demo and wouldn't allow me to leave. They demanded to see my ID. I asked if I was under arrest or under investigation for something. They said, "No." I said, "Well, this isn't India circa 1899 and I don't have to present ID upon demand without a valid reason." But I tossed one of my business cards at them saying, "Everyone is entitled to one of these." Five of the cop cars left. One, with four black officers, stayed. As I looked into my rearview mirror, I could see they were punching my name into the computer. This was pure harassment, and I couldn't keep silent any longer. I yelled, "Hey black officers!" to make sure I had their undivided attention. They all looked up simultaneously. I said, "You remember what happened to me yesterday? When the cop drew his gun on me. I know you heard about it." They nodded their heads affirmatively. I continued: "I want you to know what your boy, your brethren, told me. He said that 'black slaves had it good in America because it was poor in Africa and they were being fed here.' " Then I said, "Can you fucking believe that?" All four officers jumped out of the car and arrested me for swearing. I, of course, was charged with disorderly conduct. The charges were eventually dropped.
7) On August 10, 1999, I chained my neck to the rear-wheel axle of my car after I drove it onto the sidewalk and parked it snugly next to the front doors of the Detroit Animal Control Center (DACC). When the DACC isn't selling dogs and cats to Wayne State University for gruesome experiments, it's gassing them in garbage cans with a hose connected to the muffler of a running automobile. Several TV stations covered this lockdown and, thus, informed tons of people about the DACC's evil ways. I was charged with disorderly conduct and paid a small fine. If you want to see a photograph of the lockdown, check out the Gary Yourofsky in the News page, click "Profiles" and scroll down to the story Taking it to the Limit by Cathy Nelson.
8) On August 20, 1999, I chained my neck to a rack of fur coats at the Burlington Coat Factory in Sterling Heights. The Detroit affiliate of Dateline NBC was on the scene and recorded the entire lockdown. I was charged with disorderly conduct and paid a small fine.
9) On November 26, 1999, activist Tiffany Frost and I decided to do a lockdown with Mark Whitt and Amy Ptaszynski, two members of the newly-formed ADAPTT-Toledo group. We chained our necks together inside the Franklin Park Mall in front of Dillard's department store in Toledo. Every TV news outlet covered the lockdown, and The Toledo Blade ran a story about it as well. Check out the Gary Yourofsky in the News page, click "Fur", and scroll down to the 4 Anti-Fur Activists Arrested story by Mark Zaborney. We were charged with disorderly conduct and paid a small fine.
10) On March 25, 2000, the Detroit Police Department illegally arrested me for the second time during a Shrine Circus demo at the Michigan State Fairgrounds. An officer told me one of the demonstrators was using vulgar language. I asked him to identify the person and then chided her for swearing instead of educating. The officer said he was thinking of arresting her for swearing. Even though vulgarisms can be counterproductive, I explained how it was her First Amendment right to swear. We debated a few minutes, and after realizing he lost the argument, he pushed me five times in the chest. After the fifth shove, I walked up to him and said, "Do I look like Rodney King?" He shoved me to the ground, put me in a pain hold and arrested me for disorderly conduct. The charges were eventually dropped until I beat the city of Warren and state of Michigan in an unrelated jury trial that took place in February of 2001 (see No. 11 below). The charges were then reinstated and I was forced to pay a small fine.
11) On November 14, 2000, two members of the Warren City Council—Jim Fouts and Mike Wiecek—asked me to speak at a council meeting because General Motors, a $180 billion corporation, was planning to destroy Warren's last piece of animal habitat in order to build condos. Over 100 deer and dozens of other wild animals lived on the 300-acre ecosystem. After giving a brief speech, I SILENTLY stood at the microphone awaiting a chance to address a few of their concerns. A police officer approached me and told me to "sit down." I said, "Is it illegal to stand up in America?" He refused to respond and said, "I said sit down!" I again posed the question: "Is it illegal to stand up in America?" He replied, "Yes, it is." So I turned around, put my hands behind my back, and said, "Have a judge tell me that." He slapped the cuffs on. I was charged with disrupting a government meeting. After a two-day jury trial on February 1-2, 2001, I was found not guilty. Right after the verdict was read, my attorney said, "Watch out. You just beat the state of Michigan in a jury trial. They're going to get you back." Within two weeks, I was re-charged with disorderly conduct for the March 25, 2000 incident (see No. 10 above). Plus, I was charged with disorderly conduct for a 1999 confrontation I had with Michigan Humane Society's president Gary Tiscornia (see No. 5 above). For three news articles about the jury trial, check out the Gary Yourofsky in the News page, click "Miscellany" and scroll down to the story Animal Defender Acquitted by Norb Franz. Also, on that same page click "Hunting" and scroll down to GM's Deer Removal Plan Draws More Criticism and Residents Threaten Violence Over Deer Removal.
12 & 13) On April 24, 2001, during an anti-fur demonstration at Somerset Mall in Troy, I had a confrontation with a motorist who stopped his vehicle to offer me a $20 donation. When I approached the car to accept the donation, he pulled the money back and laughed. So I spit on his passenger seat. He drove away but came back a few minutes later in an attempt to spit on me. He missed and took off. I chased his car around 100 yards down 16 Mile Road. After I stopped chasing, he made a u-turn and drove up to a nearby parking lot. I ran towards him, removing my shirt, and challenging him to a fight. He was visibly scared and begged me not to do anything. I obliged, only wanting to scare him in the first place. He got in his car and started laughing. So I kicked in his car door. I kicked the door so hard it took me a few seconds to remove my foot from the crater. When the police showed up, they said they couldn't arrest me because they didn't witness the incident. They issued me a civil citation (arrest No. 12) for the door damage and let me go back to the demo. Around 10 minutes later, the officers told me there was a warrant out for my arrest for an "undisclosed incident" in Detroit. This was utter nonsense. But since the police always get their way, I was arrested (No. 13). By the way, I'll bet my life that the motorist who messed with me never heckled another demonstrator again.
"Banned from Canada and the United Kingdom"
In February of 2008, the British Home Office informed me that I had been thrown out of the UK (England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales). In addition to the Canada expulsion (mink liberation), this makes five countries that have banished me from entering their borders. The oddest part of the UK expulsion is that I've never been to the UK nor did I ever plan on going. Here is the three-page UK letter:
"I am writing to advise you that following the London bombings in July 2005, the Home Secretary announced a list of particular activities that would normally lead to a person being excluded or deported from the United Kingdom (UK) on the grounds that their presence in the UK would not be conducive to the public good. The list of unacceptable behaviours covers any non-UK national whether in the UK or abroad who used any means or medium including:
- Writing, producing, publishing or distributing material
- Public speaking including preaching
- Running a website
- Using a position of responsibility such as a teacher, community or youth leader
to express views that:
- foment or justify terrorist violence in furtherance of particular beliefs
- seek to provoke others to terrorist acts
- foment other serious criminal activity or seek to provoke others to serious criminal acts
- foster hatred which might lead to inter-community violence in the UK
The list is indicative and not exhaustive.
The Home Secretary has considered whether, in light of this list, you should be excluded from the UK. After careful consideration, on 4 February 2008 she personally directed that you should be excluded from the UK on the grounds that your presence here would not be conducive to the public good. The Home Secretary has reached this decision because you are an animal rights activist and founder of Animals Deserve Absolute Protection Today and Tomorrow (ADAPTT) and in this role you have brought yourself within the scope of the list of unacceptable behaviours by fomenting serious criminal activity and seeking to provoke others to serious criminal acts which might lead to inter-community violence in the United Kingdom.
The Home Secretary notes that you have made the following statements:
"While we used to employ a wide array of tactics to facilitate substantive change, ADAPTT has realized—through hands-on activism—that education is the most effective way to enlighten the masses...ADAPTT also believes that civil disobedience and direct action—violent and nonviolent— ...along with TV advertising are the other effective ways to achieve animal liberation."
"Just to make everyone aware of my activism, in the late '90s, I was arrested 13 times for civil disobedience and direct action, including the ALF liberation of 1,542 mink from the Eberts Fur Farm in Blenheim, Ontario. As of 2006, I've given 956 lectures about ethical veganism in 130 schools in 27 states to more than 30,000 carnivorous students because I believe veganism and education are the most effective forms of activism. I have yet to engage in violence but believe violence has its place alongside peaceful education and nonviolent protest. It is the amalgam of these methods that will result in the eventual freedom of animals."
"Remember, just because an act might be classified as illegal does not make it morally wrong. And just because an act is legal does not make it the best avenue for facilitating substantive change. Laws have always been broken by free-thinking, radical individuals who realize that it is impossible to make progressive changes within a corrupt, discriminatory system."
The Home Secretary notes that you are a well known figure in the animal rights world and known as a somewhat radical figure. You are a self proclaimed supporter of the extremist group Animal Liberation Front. You have been arrested over a dozen times and were sentenced in 1999 to six months in a Canadian maximum security prison for a raid on a fur farm. In 2000 the IRS revoked ADAPTT of its 501 c3 status because of your activities.
In expressing such views it is considered that you are fomenting serious criminal activity and seeking to provoke others to serious criminal acts which might lead to inter-community violence in the UK.
The Home Secretary considers that should you be allowed to enter the UK you would continue to espouse such views. In doing so, you would be committing listed behaviours and would therefore be behaving in a way that is not conducive to the public good.
In light of these factors, the Home Secretary is satisfied you should be excluded from the UK on the grounds that your exclusion is conducive to the public good.
You are instructed not to travel to the UK as you will be refused admission on arrival. Although there is no statutory right of appeal against the Home Secretary's decision, this decision is reviewed every three years."
Gary's Influence in Israel...and on Tofu!
Gary Yourofsky has accumulated a huge fan base in Israel. So much so that friends of ADAPTT in Israel have put together a terrific website, GARY-TV, that commemorates Gary's work. (There is also an English version of the site.) In late 2011, one of the leading tofu companies in Israel, Kafri Bari, agreed to publish the URL of GARY-TV on packages of its tofu; these packages became available in February 2012. Here's the package, with the URL quite visible; the label reads "For important information on the plant-based diet: gary-tv.com". A month or so later, another company, Cream Soy (maker of soy-based cream cheese) also published a similar message on its packaging (see below).