Ethics News

News: Animal Rights


>> = Important Articles; ** = Major Articles


**In the Name of Rover: Are Animals People, Too? (Christian Post, 091218)

‘Godfather’ of animal rights out to counter Christianity (Ottawa Citizen, 020705)

Attacks Haven’t Slowed Down Environmental Radicals (Foxnews, 011106)

Police alert after protester death (London Times, 011106)

‘Eco-Terrorists’ Go to Extremes (Foxnews, 021203)

Eco-Terror Ties Put PETA Funding at Risk (Foxnews, 020917)

Public Lukewarm on Animal Rights (Gallup, 030521)

Hooked! Ouch? Fish, they say, feel pain (NRO, 030605)

Tunnels of Love (Weekly Standard, 031125)

PETA urges schools to cut out dissection (WorldNetDaily, 031202)

PETA vs. KFC: A dirty war against the Colonel (NR, 031222)

New Terrorists on the Block: Animal-rights activists turn to violence (National Review Online, 040811)

The madness of the animal-rights movement (WorldNetDaily, 050104)

Wild, Wild World of Animal Rights (American Spectator, 050125)

Study: Boiling Water Not a Pain for Lobsters (Foxnews, 050215)

PETA’s Non-Apology Apology: The group still equates animal killings to the Holocaust. (National Review Online, 050506)

Activist Extremists Top U.S. Domestic Threat (Foxnews, 050519)

PETA Gets to Your Kids (Foxnews, 050518)

PETA Workers Charged With Animal Cruelty (Foxnews, 050617)

The PETA Principle: Will the group’s efforts to curb animal testing run afoul of Bay Area sensibilities? (Weekly Standard, 050622)

Better dead than fed, PETA says (, 050623)

Dying for Liberation: Why is PETA killing animals? (National Review Online, 050713)

Animal terrorism (Washington Times, 050822)

PETA: No Sushi in Presence of Live Fish (Foxnews, 050812)

Jesus Isn’t a Pig: Newsflash to PETA. (National Review Online, 050914)

PETA is full of SHEETA (, 051009)

Animal rights activist: ‘Kill the researchers’: Senate committee shocked by testimony of ALF spokesman (WorldNetDaily, 051027)

Animal rights extremists gone wild (, 051130)

PETA’s ties to terrorism (, 051223)

Dark Elves: The FBI takes down the Earth Liberation Front. (Weekly Standard, 060202)

US animal activists accused of terrorising UK firm (Times Online, 060207)

Professor: Many Humans Have To Die For Earth To Live (Foxnews, 060404)

Lobsters v. Whole Foods: A great day for lobsters, sort of . . . (Weekly Standard, 060706)

Russian fur under attack (Washington Times, 070212)

Kill Knut? The Twisted Logic of Animal Rights Extremists (Mohler, 070320)

Austrian Group Wants Chimpanzee Granted Basic Rights (Foxnews, 070504)

Speciesism and Rights for Animals: Of Pigs and People (Christian Post, 071113)

Viewpoint: The Next Civil Rights Crusade (BreakPoint, 080227)

Holy Muttrimony (BreakPoint, 080311)

Monkey Business in Spain (BreakPoint, 080723)

PETA Seeks ‘Converts’ at Southern Baptist Meeting (Christian Post, 090622)

U.S. Supreme Court strikes down animal cruelty video ban (National Post, 100420)

Animals’ Right to Privacy Denied by Wildlife Documentaries, Says Researcher (Foxnews, 100430)





**In the Name of Rover: Are Animals People, Too? (Christian Post, 091218)

By Chuck Colson


I’ve shared before on The Christian Post my concern over the animal rights movement and our infatuation with pets. Whether it’s “pet-ernity leave” for employees with young puppies, or people demanding human rights for pregnant pigs, there’s something dramatically wrong when people place animals on a par with humans.


The most recent example of this comes from the Rev. Tom Eggebeen, pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles. He has begun a church service where congregants are invited to bring their pets to church with them. Not only are the pets allowed in the church, but the pets receive special blessings while the owners enjoy pet-centric services.


Now you might ask, “What’s so wrong with this?”


Well, the question is at what point does our accommodation actually distract from gathering to worship the holy and transcendent God? At what point does our very accommodation become a distraction from people actually hearing the Gospel?


The Washington Times reports that the Rev. Eggebeen hopes to “attract new worshippers who are as crazy about God as they are about their four-legged friends.” Funny, I thought the Bible was rather specific on God having the first place in our heart’s affections.


This emphasis on self-satisfaction and personal joy is the product of a falsified gospel. Some pastors are afraid that the real message of the Gospel will drive away the nodding regulars. Though this is a sad reality, it doesn’t change the truth, or the pastor’s requirement to preach it accurately.


I recently received a note from a high school teacher. Each year he poses an ethical question to his students. This year his question was simple: What if your house were on fire and you could save either your household pet or an electrician who was trapped inside? In past years, the teacher’s students have been divided pretty evenly on this question. This year, to his astonishment-and mine-90% of the students said they would save the pet.


What an indictment on the value our culture places on human life!


Similarly, earlier this year President Obama appointed Cass Sunstein as administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. It turns out that Cass Sunstein believes animals should be afforded the same rights as humans. (I guess he’d be one of the 90% in that schoolroom voting to save the family pet.) In fact, Sunstein believes that animals should be given human legal counsel and the ability to sue their human counterparts.


It would seem that Cass Sunstein, and these teens arguing to save the family pet, are all suffering from the same delusion. They believe that animals have equal footing with human beings.


Now, love for pets is one thing, but putting them on the same moral footing as humans is incredibly dangerous. Never forget that humans, and humans alone, were created in the image of God.


I explain why this is so dangerous on this week’s “Two-Minute Warning.” Go to and view it.


Hard as it may be for some, Jesus Christ died to save sinners. Not Fluffy.




 ‘Godfather’ of animal rights out to counter Christianity (Ottawa Citizen, 020705)


Belief that humans are superior to all other beings is promoted through Bible teachings, ethicist argues


Fundamentalist Christian views promote a view of human superiority that is detrimental to animals and an obstacle to animal rights activism, a Princeton University ethicist says.


Peter Singer, the “godfather” of animal rights activism and a controversial figure for advocating euthanasia for disabled infants, says he is on a mission to counter Christian teachings that animals do not have the same standing as people.


“I think that mainstream Christianity has been a problem for the animal movement,” he told an animal rights conference at a hotel near Washington, D.C., where he also declared that conservative fundamentalists are out to create “a huge gulf between humans and animals.”


He could not be reached yesterday, the July 4 holiday in the U.S., but his comments were reported by the online Cybercast News Service and he later reiterated those views in an interview with the Washington Times.


Judeo-Christian teachings that animals do not have souls, that humans were created in the image of God and are granted dominion over animals creates “a very negative influence on the way in which we think about animals,” he told an audience at the Animal Rights 2002 conference, organized by a coalition of groups including People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and the Animal Legal Defence Fund.


Christians, he said, are interpreting the Bible too literally and are promoting “speciesism” — a belief that humans are superior to any other being.


Mr. Singer — a vegetarian and self-described atheist — is a widely published bioethics scholar. His appointment to Princeton in 1999 stirred controversy because of his view that parents should have the right to end the life of a severely disabled newborn.


Christian leaders do not deny making a distinction between animals and humans, but say that does not diminish their responsibilities to animals.


The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, a Toronto-based umbrella association for evangelical groups, says the distinction does not make Christians enemies of the animal rights movement.


“Broadly speaking on the Christian tradition, there is a view that human beings have a unique moral status within nature or, in our language, within creation. We believe we are created in the image of God. So at that level, there is a difference between human and non-human life,” said Bruce Clemenger, director of the group’s Centre for Faith and Life in Ottawa.


“In addition to that, however, we also believe that we are stewards for other creatures within creation. So, it does mean that animals do have moral status. They don’t have the same moral status as humans, but they do have a moral status,” he said.


“This isn’t just a Christian approach. This is reflected in law. Obviously, the Criminal Code treats murder of human beings quite more seriously than it treats killing of animals. Killing animals is legitimate in certain circumstances, in other circumstances — cruelty to animals — it is not,” he said.


“I guess my comment back to Singer is, does he really want to raise the moral status of animals to those of humans? Or, given his views about infanticide, is he really trying to lower the moral status of humans down to animals?”


In his 1993 book Practical Ethics, Mr. Singer wrote that parents should have the right to euthanize a severely disabled infant within 28 days of the child’s birth. At the conference last Saturday, he made it clear he no longer believes in that deadline — labelling it too arbitrary — but instead advocates that such a decision be made “as soon as possible after birth.”


“If you have a being that is not sentient, that is not even aware, then the killing of that being is not something that is wrong in and of itself,” he said. He later told the online news service that he believes “a chimpanzee certainly has greater self-awareness than a newborn baby.”


Mr. Singer has taught at a number of universities, including Oxford and the University of California at Irvine. His book Animal Liberation, first published in 1975, is credited for launching the modern animal rights movement and he is known in some circles as the godfather of animal rights activism.




Attacks Haven’t Slowed Down Environmental Radicals (Foxnews, 011106)


PORTLAND, Ore. — The new war on terror hasn’t slowed down one group — environmental radicals who have claimed responsibility for at least five acts of sabotage over the past two months.


Guerrilla greens have been as busy as ever since Sept. 11, setting fire to a maintenance building at a primate research facility in New Mexico, releasing minks from an Iowa fur farm twice within a week and firebombing a federal corral for wild horses in Nevada. Only three days before the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, militants torched a McDonald’s restaurant in Tucson, Ariz.


Four of the five actions have been claimed by the Animal Liberation Front and one by its sister organization, the Earth Liberation Front.


“We believe that their methods of intimidation and violence have crossed the line into unacceptable for law enforcement, and they’ve crossed the line for the majority of Americans,” Beth Anne Steele, an FBI spokeswoman in Portland, said.


She said it was “pretty unbelievable” that the groups continued to wage their war for the environment while the country is waging its war against terrorism.


But the spokesman for the two groups, David Barbarash, said the Sept. 11 attacks changed nothing for underground activists.


“The Sept. 11 attacks were horrific acts, but we also have to remember that the atrocities against the earth continue unabated,” Barbarash said.


But he conceded the ALF and ELF run the risk of losing any sympathy for their cause by carrying out illegal acts during the nation’s terrorism scare. But he said they don’t care.


“Sympathy isn’t a factor high on the agenda of ALF and ELF,” Barbarash said.


The ALF first surfaced in 1987 and the ELF nine years later. They have claimed responsibility for dozens of acts of sabotage against companies and agencies they say are harming animals and the environment — including fur farms, research facilities, fast-food restaurants and logging operations.


One of the most notorious operations carried out by the ELF was an Oct. 1998 fire that swept through part of the Vail ski resort in Colorado. The group said it was protesting the resort’s expansion into lynx habitat.


In the post-Sept. 11 age, the word “terrorism” has become an even more loaded word, and now authorities and radical environmentalists are arguing over whether the word applies to groups like ALF and ELF.


The FBI defines terrorism as “the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce” the government or the civilian population — words that Steele says fits ALF and ELF to a tee.


But Barbarash argued that militant environmentalists are not terrorists because their aim is not to harm people, but to protect animals and the environment.


ELF and ALF “are acting out of compassion for all life, including human life,” and can’t be likened to terrorists who crash hijacked planes into buildings or spread disease as a weapon, he said.


The FBI has an active investigation into the ELF and the ALF. Congress also wants to know more about the two groups. Former ELF spokesman Craig Rosebraugh of Portland has been subpoenaed by a House subcommittee to testify on ecoterrorism. Rosebraugh said he won’t cooperate.


Rosebraugh stepped down as spokesman for the ELF about two months ago. His role has been taken over by Barbarash, who previously was spokesman only for the ALF.


Barbarash, a former ALF activist who now acts as their spokesman from his home in Vancouver, British Columbia, said the two groups send him anonymous communiqués when they want to announce they’ve carried out an illegal act. Barbarash then relays the information to the news media. The communiqués can come by fax, e-mail or phone, he said.


Barbarash served four months in jail for taking part in an ALF action — the release of cats used in medical research at a Canadian university in 1992.


He said he ceased taking part in ALF actions because he lost his anonymity when he was arrested. But that hasn’t stopped him from relaying the communiqués, or speaking out in favor of there acts.




Police alert after protester death (London Times, 011106)


POLICE forces were on alert for potential retaliation by militant animal rights groups yesterday after a jailed protester died on hunger strike.


Barry Horne, who was serving 18 years after being convicted of an arson campaign that caused damage amounting to £3 million, died in hospital after refusing food for 16 days.


He had been held in Long Lartin top security jail in Worcestershire, where he had been on and off hunger strike throughout the summer.


Horne, 49, from Northampton, was transferred from the jail to Ronkswood Hospital in Worcester last Thursday when his condition deteriorated.


A Prison Service spokeswoman said he died of kidney failure yesterday. She said his condition had been weakened by sporadic refusal of food since the summer.


Horne, described at his trial as an “urban terrorist”, embarked on his latest hunger strike in protest at the Government’s handling of the foot-and-mouth epidemic, in particular the slaughter of cattle.


During previous hunger strikes by Horne, militant animal rights supporters threatened to murder ten leading scientists if he died. Ronnie Lee, founder of the Animal Liberation Front, said yesterday that some militants might respond to Horne’s death with violence. “I think there are some people who will regard Barry as a martyr,” he said. It could “spur people to work harder” for the cause. “That includes people whose thing is to carry out personal actions on animal rights’ abusers.”


Horne had been weighed daily and examined by a psychiatrist. As he had been declared mentally fit, doctors had to abide by his wishes not to be fed. Under the law prisoners who are demonstrably sane are free to starve themselves to death.


Horne was jailed for 18 years at Bristol Crown Court in November 1997, and embarked on a series of hunger strikes in protest at Labour’s refusal to set up a royal commission into vivisection. The first two, which lasted 35 and 46 days, were ended only after meetings with Home Office officials. A third hunger strike, lasting six weeks, damaged his eyesight and kidneys.


Carla Lane, who sent several letters of support to Horne during his hunger strikes, said: “Barry will be revered by those whom he would want to be revered by.”




‘Eco-Terrorists’ Go to Extremes (Foxnews, 021203)


WASHINGTON — The FBI is on the watch for special-interest terrorists committing crimes in the United States.


Although these terrorists aren’t the typical evildoers, what’s known as “special-interest extremism,” or “eco-terrorism,” is a very real terrorist threat.


Environmental and animal-rights activists preach peace and love, but the FBI classifies the Animal Liberation Front, for example, as a terrorist group, and describes it as “one of the most active extremists elements in the United States.”


The FBI classifies the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) with ALF as the two main groups that characterize special-interest extremism. In fact, ELF is actually modeled after ALF.


As of February of this year, the FBI estimates that the ALF and ELF have committed more than 600 criminal acts in the U.S. since 1996, resulting in damages in excess of $43 million. The FBI said last year that eight of what the law enforcement group deemed “terrorist incidents” during 1999 were attributed to either ALF or ELF.


ELF operates in cells, all of which are anonymous to each other and the public. The group’s goals, according to its Web site, is “to inflict economic damage on those profiting from the destruction and exploitation of the natural environment; to reveal and educate the public on the atrocities committed against the earth and all species that populate it; to take all necessary precautions against harming any animal, human and non-human.”


ALF, which says it is non-violent, consists of small autonomous groups of people who consider themselves vegetarians or vegans. The group’s Web site says its short-term aim “is to save as many animals as possible and directly disrupt the practice of animal abuse.” The group’s long-term goal is “to end all animal suffering by forcing animal abuse companies out of business.”


In recent years, a string of crimes shows the distinction environmental and animal-rights activists have traditionally observed — between targeting property and targeting people — is breaking down.


Groups like ELF and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have begun giving financial support to some very violent individuals.


For example, PETA gave $7,500 to Fran Trutt, who was convicted of attempted murder after he planted a radio-controlled nail bomb to kill the president of a U.S. medical company that used animals to research the use of staples in human operations. No one was hurt.


PETA also gave $20,000 to Rodney Coronado, convicted of burning a research lab at Michigan State University, and $5,000 to Josh Harper, who was convicted of assaulting police. PETA has also donated money to ELF-sponsored acts. PETA funding of such violent acts has even caused critics of the group to push for an end to its tax-exempt, non-profit status.


And in Britain last year, the managing director of a drug-testing facility that experiments on animals was beaten by three masked men with baseball bats. An executive for the same company based in the United States was subjected to repeated harassment.


These kinds of attacks are back in the news lately following a vandalism spree against about 40 SUVs in central Virginia, which caused an estimated $45,000 worth of damage. Since July 2002, the SUVs were treated with glass-etching cream, had their tires slashed or have been subject to other damaging activity. Damage to just two of the vehicles was estimated at $15,000, according to ELF.


“We’re looking around, checking people, suspicious characters, you know, just trying to keep an eye on the neighborhood and everything,” said one of the victimized drivers. “I really think it’s unfair - people damaging other people’s property like that. It really upsets me that someone wants to do that to other people.”


ELF acknowledged that the SUV attacks likely were carried out by member cells in the Richmond, Va., area.


“SUVs have not only added tremendous amounts of pollution to our environment, but have also contributed to increased congestion on roadways and higher death rates in auto accidents,” the ELF Web site says. “ELF actions are a reminder to SUV owners of how their personal choices affect the society and environment in which they live.”


Just one of the many other destructive acts ELF claimed responsibility for was an Aug. 11 arson attack on the U.S. Forest Service Northeast Research Station in Irvine, Pa. The laboratory there was set ablaze, causing more than $700,000 in damage and destroying portions of 70 years worth of research.


ELF threatened similar facilities with other destruction.


These groups have also hit fast-food chains and other similar establishments.


Those in the movement call themselves “eco-defense activists.”


“If we really believe that animals have the same right to be free from pain and suffering at our hands, then of course we’re going to be blowing things up and smashing windows,” PETA’s vegan outreach director said recently. “I think it’s a great way to bring animal liberation, considering the level of suffering, the atrocities. I think it would be great if all of the fast-food outlets, slaughterhouses, these laboratories and banks that fund them, exploded tomorrow.”


Last year, a member of ELF spoke with Fox News about his group’s ends and means, and why members perpetrate such crimes.


“It sends out a threat to those who assault environment that we will escalate tactics,” ELF spokesman Leslie James told Fox in May 2001. “Because we only have one Earth, we need to protect it with everything we have.”




Eco-Terror Ties Put PETA Funding at Risk (Foxnews, 020917)


LOS ANGELES — Eco-terrorists blamed for a Vail ski resort building fire and other extremist acts of violence are getting their money from a variety of places, including PETA, prompting two activist groups to seek an end to the animal rights group’s tax-exempt status.


Records show that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, known for its publicity stunts on behalf of animal rights, has given monetary support to the Environmental Liberation Front.


“We did it, we did it. We gave $1,500 to the ELF for a specific program,” said PETA President Lisa Lange.


Lange did not say which program PETA sponsored, but from burning down buildings to blowing up SUVs, ELF is America’s largest domestic terrorist group, the FBI says.


“They are an underground organization that consists of numerous cells throughout the United State s,” said FBI agent David Szany.


Last week, ELF admitted to torching a Forest Service laboratory in Pennsylvania in August. The blaze caused $700,000 in damage and destroyed 70 years of research. In 1998, the group claimed responsibility for the fire on top of Vail, which cost $12 million in damage. ELF members said they wanted to stop expansion of the resort, which could further damage the habitat for the endangered lynx.


“Anyone who is making money off the destruction of the natural environment could be a target,” ELF spokesman Craig Rosebraugh said last February before testifying at a House subcommittee hearing.


PETA’s sympathies for ELF actions were apparent in a recent speech by PETA Vice President Bruce Friedrich.


“I think it would be great if all of the fast-food outlets, slaughterhouses, these laboratories and the banks that fund them exploded tomorrow,” he said.


PETA payouts to radicals willing to carry out such crimes include:


— $5,000 to Josh Harper, who was convicted of assaulting police and firing on a fishing vessel;


— $2,000 to Dave Wilson, convicted of firebombing a fur cooperative;


— $7,500 to Fran Trutt, convicted of attempted murder of a medical executive;


— $20,000 to Rodney Coronado, convicted of burning a research lab at Michigan State.


Now, a congressman from the Vail area and some pro-business activists want PETA to be investigated. Rep. Scott McInnis, R-Colo., is probing PETA’s alleged ties to violent activism.


“There is a fine line between endorsing something in a speech and helping them financially,” McInnis said. “PETA got caught this time around.”


Activist Ron Arnold is asking the IRS to revoke PETA’s tax-exempt status for appearing to support criminal acts. The effort could cripple PETA’s $13 million funding campaign.


“The law is clear ... [a] charitable organization can’t advocate acts of civil disobedience, acts that break the law,” Arnold, of the Center for Defense of Free Enterprise, said.


Asked about their non-profit status and questionable payments, PETA officials call the allegations against them untrue.


But the Center for Consumer Freedom says that PETA donations to the ELF, even if intended to be used for lawful purposes, still fund a terrorist organization.


“If PETA had used its tax-expemt donations from the public to make a sizable gift to Al Qaeda, Hamas or the Irish Republican Army, we would not be having a discussion about whether or not it is technically possible to make a donation to terrorists without intending the funds be used to conduct terrorism,” wrote Richard Berman, executive director of the D.C.-based advocacy group, in a letter to McInnis.




Public Lukewarm on Animal Rights (Gallup, 030521)


Supports strict laws governing treatment of farm animals, but opposes bans on product testing and medical research


PRINCETON, NJ — The vast majority of Americans say animals deserve at least some protection from harm and exploitation, and a quarter say animals deserve the same protection as human beings. But most Americans oppose banning medical research and product testing on laboratory animals. By an even larger majority, they oppose banning all types of hunting. A clear majority, however, favors strict laws concerning the treatment of farm animals. Women are more likely than men to support animal rights, and Democrats more than Republicans, but there are few differences by age.


The poll, conducted May 5-7, finds 96% of Americans saying that animals deserve at least some protection from harm and exploitation, while just 3% say animals don’t need protection “since they are just animals.” Twenty-five percent of Americans say that animals deserve “the exact same rights as people to be free from harm and exploitation.”


Opinion of Treatment of Animals

May 5-7, 2003


The poll also shows that among four proposals made by animal rights activists tested in the poll, Americans oppose three and support one:


* By 64% to 35%, Americans reject banning all medical research on laboratory animals.


* Similarly, by 61% to 38%, Americans oppose banning all product testing on laboratory animals.


* And by an overwhelming majority, 76% to 22%, Americans oppose banning all types of hunting.


* On the other hand, Americans support passing strict laws concerning the treatment of farm animals, by 62% to 35%.


Support and Opposition for

Animal Rights Proposals

May 5-7, 2003


“Same rights” may be an overstatement


Although 25% of Americans say they believe animals deserve the “exact same rights” as people to be free from harm and exploitation, many of these same people oppose proposals to limit the harm and exploitation of animals.


Among those who support the “same rights” for animals as people:


* 44% oppose banning medical research on laboratory animals.

* 38% oppose banning product testing on laboratory animals.

* 23% oppose passing strict laws concerning the treatment of farm animals.

* And 55% oppose banning all types of hunting.


Of course, the percentages opposing these proposals are much higher among people who say that animals deserve only “some protection.” The substantial numbers of people who oppose these proposals — despite saying they want the same rights for animals that people have to be free from harm and exploitation — suggest that the issue may be more complex than some initially expected. Perhaps the initial question evoked images of pets rather than “laboratory” animals, and the latter question may conjure up pictures of mice and rats rather than, say, dogs and cats.


Gender gap in support for animal rights, but no significant generational differences


Women are twice as likely as men to say they want the same rights for animals as people, with 33% of women and just 17% of men taking that position. In addition, women are 14%age points more likely than men to support strict laws for the treatment of farm animals, 19 points more likely to support banning product testing on laboratory animals, 14 points more likely to support banning medical research on laboratory animals, and 10 points more likely to support banning all types of hunting.


Support for Animal Rights Proposals:

By Gender

May 5-7, 2003


The poll finds few differences by age, suggesting no generational trend in any of these attitudes related to animal rights.


There are, however, significant differences by party, with Democrats and independents more likely to support animal rights than do Republicans.



% Who support each proposal








Same rights for animals as people




Passing strict laws concerning the treatment of farm animals




Banning all product testing on laboratory animals




Banning all medical research on laboratory animals




Banning all types of hunting





Democrats are generally 14 to 19%age points more likely than Republicans to take the pro-animal rights position, while independents fall between — but always closer to Democrats than Republicans.


Survey Methods


Results are based on telephone interviews with 1,005 national adults, aged 18+, conducted May 5-7, 2003. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3%age points. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.


Which of these statements comes closest to your view about the treatment of animals – [ROTATED: animals deserve the exact same rights as people to be free from harm and exploitation, animals deserve some protection from harm and exploitation, but it is still appropriate to use them for the benefit of humans, or animals don’t need much protection from harm and exploitation since they are just animals]?



Same rights as people

Some protection

Don’t need much protection


No opinion

2003 May 5-7







Here are some specific proposals concerning the treatment of animals. For each one, please say whether you strongly support this proposal, somewhat support it, somewhat oppose it, or strongly oppose this proposal. How about … [RANDOM ORDER]?


A. Banning all medical research on laboratory animals

Strongly support

Somewhat support

Somewhat oppose

Strongly oppose

No opinion

2003 May 5-7






B. Banning all product testing on laboratory animals

Strongly support

Somewhat support

Somewhat oppose

Strongly oppose

No opinion

2003 May 5-7






C. Passing strict laws concerning the treatment of farm animals

Strongly support

Somewhat support

Somewhat oppose

Strongly oppose

No opinion

2003 May 5-7






D. Banning all types of hunting

Strongly support

Somewhat support

Somewhat oppose

Strongly oppose

No opinion

2003 May 5-7









2003 May 5-7

TOTAL support

TOTAL oppose

Passing strict laws concerning the treatment of farm animals



Banning all product testing on laboratory animals



Banning all medical research on laboratory animals



Banning all types of hunting






Hooked! Ouch? Fish, they say, feel pain (NRO, 030605)


Marin County, California, may conjure up images of hot tubs and peacock feathers, but Marin’s secret is that there are five pristine lakes on the north side of Mount Tamalpais. The lakes hold much of the county’s fresh water, and all are stocked with rainbow trout, as well as bass, bluegill, crappie, and catfish.


On a weekend visit to one of these lakes — Lake Lagunitas, which is managed for flies-only, barbless-hook trout fishing — I watched an osprey shoot down out of the sky, pluck a plump trout out of the water with its talons, and laboriously carry its prey back to the top of a tall fir tree where it would dine on the still-thrashing fish.


“Rivers and the inhabitants of the watery element were made for wise men to contemplate, and fools to pass by without consideration.” Izaak Walton made this declaration in his 1693 treatise on piscatorial philosophy, The Compleat Angler.


Aside from being envious of the osprey’s success, the event caused me — following in Izaak Walton’s wisdom — to ponder an ethical position currently being promoted by animal rights activists. Fishing, they say, is a cruel sport because fish feel pain when hooked. Hence, it should be banned.


In the U.S., the anti-fishing campaign is led by media-seeking PETA, which launched its anti-fishing campaign in 1999 when the late Linda McCartney appeared in a nationwide TV commercial declaring September 25 “National Fish Amnesty Day.”


PETA has used TV and radio commercials, newspaper ads, billboards, protests involving costumed characters, and other media-attention-seeking tactics to get its message out.


In England, anti-fishing proponents are a little more serious. Fishermen have been attacked on land, buzzed by boats on the water, and sabotaged by scuba divers underwater. According to the Countryside Alliance, a nail-mail bomb was sent by activists to a fish-and-chip shop in North Wales.


On PETA’s special anti-fishing website, it is argued that people should cease fishing because it is cruel, as fish feel pain when hooked. To get their point across they show a dog hooked through the mouth like a bass.


Like the osprey, man has been catching fish for millions of years. I doubt if the bird has ever given much thought to whether catching a fish is ethical or not. It is food-gathering. Survival stuff. Predatory animals do not care about inflicting pain on their prey. Why should man? Nonetheless, spurred on by charges that fishing is sadistic, scientists have recently been studying whether or not fish feel pain.


According to James Rose, a professor of zoology at the University of Wyoming, and an admitted fisherman, “Awareness of pain in humans depends on specific regions of the cerebral cortex. Fishes lack these brain regions and thus the neural requirements necessary for pain experience.” Rose believes that a fish’s reaction to being hooked is an “escape reaction.”


Countering Rose’s view is a recently released British study that claims fish do in fact feel pain. Lynne Sneddon and Michael J. Gentle of the Roslin Institute (the place that gave us Dolly the sheep), and Victoria Braithwaite of the University of Edinburgh, injected bee venom, or acetic acid, into the lips of some trout. They concluded the fish had polymodal nociceptors receptors that respond to tissue-damaging stimuli. Therefore, Sneddon and company state that fish feel pain.


No fishhook that I know contains bee venom or acetic acid — two caustic chemicals that would cause a biochemical reaction independent of any physical sensation. But the scientists’ results pleased animal-rights activists around the world. (It’s fascinating how it is okay to do things to hurt fish to support the anti-fishing position, but not okay if the results are supportive of fishing.)


Anyone who has ever hooked a fish knows that fish don’t like it. In fact, the fight that the fish puts up when hooked is part of the excitement of fishing. But, is such a contest between man and beast automatically “cruel”?


Predators in nature do not show any remorse for catching and killing their prey. Human fishermen, in contrast, usually dispatch a fish quickly upon catching it, unless the fish is kept alive on a stringer so the flesh does not spoil. Each of these are humane gestures, as well as a practical ones. They show respect for the fish. Wasting the flesh of an animal you catch and kill is the real ethical issue for a fisherman, aside from making the choice of whether or not to kill it in the first place.


Nature is cruel. The food chain is a who-eats-who world. Fish commonly eat young ducklings, mice, frogs, snakes, tadpoles, crabs, crawfish, and other fish. Big fish often impale themselves on the spines of the smaller fish they are eating, thus inflicting pain on themselves as well as their prey.


The eminent psychologist Erich Fromm pointed out in his masterful study of the human shadow, The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness, fishing and hunting (fishing is really a form of hunting) cannot be sadistic because the motivation of a sadist is anger and revenge, while the motive of the sport fisherman is pleasure.


Certainly, sadistic individuals can hunt or fish. They might catch their prey and then delight in prolonging the animal’s suffering as much as possible. However, to say all sportsmen are psychopaths is like saying all sexual intercourse is rape. Thus, if all sex is cruel, brutal, and sadistic, then all of it should be banned.


Over 35 million fishermen in the U.S. enjoy their sport because it involves challenge, leads to communion with nature, and hopefully produces some fresh, tasty, healthy food. Fishing also enables people to take a responsible place in the web of life. Contemplation of the basic law of life that “flesh eats flesh,” as Joseph Campbell put it, leads one to develop a true reverence for life. This is why sportsmen are among the most ardent of conservationists.


In Samoa, they have a saying: “The fish seem to do the will of the chief fisherman.” On my weekend outing to Mount Tamalpais, the osprey must have been the chief fisherman because I got skunked. So, on the way home, I stopped at the fish market and bought some fillets of sockeye salmon. They were fresh in from Copper River, Alaska. Their bright-red flesh has the highest oil (good oil) content of any fish, which makes it the most flavorful.


Modern civilization gives us the security of the fish market. We do not have to catch our food to survive. But someone else does catch and kill it. It does not magically appear in the back of the market. But those who abstain from eating the meat and fish in their stores — because they do not want to be a part of causing pain or suffering in another living thing — are deluding themselves. They have stepped outside of the natural chain of life. And they have no other target than those who remain a part of the natural order.


It kinda makes you think. If the normal, average, mentally strong fisherman or hunter derives pleasure from what they do, aren’t the antis really saying, “Hey. You can’t enjoy yourself doing that because I can’t enjoy myself doing that”? To me, that sounds more a little more like jealousy than concern over another species.


— James Swan is a contributing editor of He also writes for the Outdoor Channel’s Engel’s Outdoor Experience, which just won a Golden Moose for the category “Best Waterfowl Shows 2002.”




Tunnels of Love (Weekly Standard, 031125)


A group of Stanford environmentalists try to save the California tiger salamander—by building tunnels under roadways for them.


STANFORD CAMPUS BIOLOGISTS and students have teamed up in a daring new rescue effort—to save the tiger salamanders. Natives of the Stanford area, the salamanders migrate yearly to nearby Lake Lagunita to breed. The migration route takes them across the busy streets of Junipero Serra Boulevard and Campus Drive East. Some of the salamanders become road kill, which greatly concerns biologists, since California tiger salamanders are nearly an endangered population.


Their solution? Salamander tunnels! Construction crews are currently working to install three metal tunnels under the road so salamanders can move on to breed in peace and safety. One tunnel was installed in 2001 as a test for effectiveness. The Stanford community got the idea from the Germans, who have built tunnels for badgers, and the British, who did the same for toads. In fact, the new tunnels have come specially ordered from England. Other scientists in California have installed salamander tunnels as well.


Alas, the tunnel idea is not foolproof. After all, how do you convince a salamander to use an out-of-the-way tunnel when it is more convenient to cross the road?


When installing the first tunnel, biologists used ridged pipes cut in half along the roadside; but that deterrence failed after a few months. As part of the new phase, they are creating a perpendicular drop-off from the road to the shoulder. They hope this will discourage the salamanders from climbing onto the road and encourage them to use the tunnels instead. It is a major improvement from the current arrangement,

where students and staff patrol the area with buckets on rainy nights and act as ferry boats for the salamanders.


In addition to the tunnels, the biologists are creating nine new ponds and waterways in the Stanford foothills so that the salamanders will have someplace other than Lake Lagunita to breed. The biologists say the habitat will serve other flora and fauna as well, but their primary hope is that it helps increase the salamander population. Dr. Sean Anderson, head of the salamander project, claims that “compared to historic numbers, the population is definitely down,” although he admits some might hold a different view: In recent years, Stanford’s salamander population has remained steady at 500 to 2,400 adults each year.


The tunnel project will cost around $100,000, which Stanford will fund in toto. “It’s Stanford’s way of trying to be a good steward over the land,” says Anderson.


The ponds and tunnels will soon be finished and the salamanders can live and breed in safety—if they so choose. One wonders what Stanford will choose as its next environmental project. Perhaps overpasses for the squirrels?


Nicole Topham, a former intern at The Weekly Standard, is a writer in California.




PETA urges schools to cut out dissection (WorldNetDaily, 031202)


Claims ‘immoral’ practice desensitizes students to animal suffering


Students are becoming desensitized to animal suffering through dissection in science classes, charges animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which is urging schools to stop the practice.


PETA sent a letter to principals in Charlotte County, Fla., stating dissection “teaches students that animals are simply convenient tools to be thrown away like pencils when they are no longer of any use,” the Port Charlotte, Fla., Sun-Herald reported.


“Dissection research shows that students who are desensitized to animal suffering and abuse have a good chance of becoming desensitized to human suffering,” the letter said.


PETA wants animal dissections to be replaced with activities such as virtual dissections on computers. School officials, however, say that is not likely.


Dissection, if done correctly, is a good way for students to learn, especially if they are pursuing a health-related career, said Jackie Speake, Charlotte County’s curriculum and instruction specialist for science.


“To me it’s an invaluable tool,” she told the Sun-Herald. “I know our teachers use it in a very productive way.”


Classes that use the computer programs still use dissection, Speake said, adding it’s up to the teachers to decide.


PETA’s letter was sent the same day the group urged the Florida State Attorney’s Office to “vigorously prosecute” a Charlotte County 13-year-old accused of killing an 8-week-old kitten, the paper said.


On its website, PETA encourages students to “take a stand” against dissection, even to the point of pressing a legal case based on “religious beliefs.”


PETA says:


Meet with the instructor right away and tell him or her that you cannot participate in the dissection because of your “sincerely held religious and moral beliefs about the sanctity of all life,” and ask for a non-animal alternative. These words provide the basis for a possible legal case. (You do not have to support any formal religion; the courts have interpreted a belief that animals should not be killed for classroom dissection to be a religious belief, which schools cannot violate.)


The group says “more and more students –from elementary school to veterinary and medical school – are taking a stand against dissection before it happens in their classes.”


The practice, says the group, is “disgusting, it’s wrong, and it’s time for it to end. And now you are ready to fight dissection!”


PETA is known for its headline-grabbing campaigns on behalf of animals. In April, the animal-rights group, which claims “750,000 members and supports” offered the town of Hamburg, N.Y., $15,000 in veggie burgers if it officially changed its name to “Veggieburg.”


A PETA campaign called “Holocaust on Your Plate” compared chickens slaughtered at factory farms to the Jews annihilated in Nazi death camps.


“Just as the Nazis tried to ‘dehumanize’ Jews by forcing them to live in filthy, crowded conditions,” said a PETA press release relaunching the campaign in February, “animals on today’s factory farms are stripped of all that is enjoyable and natural to them and treated as nothing more than meat-, egg-, and milk-making ‘machines.’”


PETA also condemned the U.S. military’s use of dolphins and sea lions in the Iraq war to help clear underwater mines.




PETA vs. KFC: A dirty war against the Colonel (NR, 031222)




Eaten at KFC lately? Well, shame on you — at least that’s what PETA would say. PETA, of course, is People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the most notorious and influential animal-rights group in the country. And KFC is the chain once known, more amply, as Kentucky Fried Chicken. PETA has been on a fierce campaign against KFC, charging that the company treats chickens inhumanely, or at least allows its suppliers to. KFC, naturally, denies the charge. Who’s right? And what is a fan of the Colonel, who is nevertheless a foe of animal abuse, to do?


Start with the fact that PETA does not, or should not, inspire trust in normal people. Despite its beautiful name — who can be against the “ethical treatment of animals”? — PETA is an extremist group. They hold that meat-eating is “Holocaust on Your Plate.” Sharks that maim and kill people have exacted “revenge.” School lunches are “weapons of mass destruction” — that sort of thing.


More damnably, the group has clear ties to terrorism: For example, it has donated to the Earth Liberation Front, which is number one on the FBI’s domestic-terror list. In truth, PETA may, in its heart of hearts, see itself as somewhat soft: Ingrid Newkirk, the group’s flamboyant and endlessly energetic president, has said, “If I had more guts, I’d light a match” — to research laboratories. And a statement by PETA’s Bruce Friedrich is often cited by people who worry that the extent of PETA’s radicalism is little known. Before a convention audience, he celebrated “blowing stuff up and smashing windows” and declared, “It would be great if all the fast-food outlets, slaughterhouses, these laboratories, and the banks who fund them exploded tomorrow. . . . Hallelujah to the people who are willing to do that!”


So, this is not a nice lil’ anti-cruelty group. Violence aside, their aim is “total animal liberation,” which is to say, no meat, no milk, no anything. They’re against seeing-eye dogs for the blind, any and all medical research involving animals — the works. They can hardly serve as champions of those who want simply that their meat be raised and killed humanely.


But PETA has scored inarguable successes. It campaigned against McDonald’s, Burger King, and Wendy’s, and ceased those campaigns when the companies undertook animal-welfare reforms. (The companies denied that the changes had anything to do with activist pressure, but then they probably would, wouldn’t they?) PETA next turned its sights on KFC. Now, poor KFC gets its chickens from the same places everyone else does — Tyson’s, Perdue, and the handful of other suppliers in this country. But KFC is a big name, and a big chain, so PETA went after the Colonel — the Colonel of Cruelty, they call him.


They put up a website,, which is a model of invective, camp, and gonzo aggression. PETA depicts the Colonel — kindly old Harlan Sanders — as a chicken-torturing maniac, complete with dripping knife. The first step in his “secret recipe” is, “Starve the parent birds constantly . . .” And you should check out the Kids’ Corner, which, like the knife, features dripping blood. “Chickens should be friends, not food!” PETA admonishes. The sermon concludes, “The best way to make sure that animals don’t suffer is to stop eating them!”


And there’s the rub I mentioned: In the PETA view, the basic cruelty is the use of animals for food at all. These activists communicate a mixed message, as when they stand in front of KFC outlets holding banners that say “Go Vegan!” This must not cut much ice with those who, no matter what their concern for animal rights, aren’t goin’ vegan. And does Bruce Friedrich lose some effectiveness when, in letters to KFC urging more humane practices, he identifies himself as PETA’s “Vegan Campaign Coordinator”? KFC can say — and does say — quite persuasively, Don’t listen to these kooks. Their real aim is that you don’t eat any chicken at all — or drink milk or own a cat. Come on!


PETA has been pulling anti-KFC stunts all over the country — nay, the world. In Paris, they had a “demo” — their word, a typical radical’s word — in which they smeared fake blood and scared away customers. (“The protest blocked traffic on the busy Boulevard Sébastopol for more than two hours!”) In Germany, an activist daubed the CEO of KFC’s parent company with blood and feathers, causing Friedrich to remark, in characteristic fashion, “There is so much blood on this chicken-killer’s hands, a little more on his business suit won’t hurt.”


PETA has enlisted a number of celebrities in its war against KFC, most prominently Pamela Anderson, the ex-Baywatch babe. She has done a provocative poster for the group, and has furnished — or so we’re asked to believe — “Pamela’s Festive Favorites,” which are “animal-free” recipes (e.g., Best-Ever Green Bean Bake). And PETA put the arm on actor Jason Alexander, who was KFC’s ad spokesman: They threatened to picket the show he was doing in L.A. (The Producers). He and KFC parted company, for reasons that are contested. What is not contested is that it’s not good to cross PETA, unless you want a world of grief, unrelentingly.


The group campaigns with the zeal — and bullying passion — of fanatics. They harass KFC officials at home and at church (yes). They knock on neighbors’ doors, imploring these folk to lobby the officials. At first, KFC tried cooperating with PETA, listening to its appeals and discussing reforms. But at some point, apparently, it determined that PETA is unappeasable.


In getting to the nitty-gritty, let’s stipulate that chicken-raising and -killing is a dirty, unpretty business. It’s almost a cliché to say that, if you’ve ever been on a chicken farm, you don’t ever want to eat a chicken. PETA circulates a film of abuses at a chicken plant, and the film is virtually impossible to watch. KFC says that it is misleading, as the practices depicted are either obsolete or aberrant. Whom to believe? In many of these disputes, it comes down to he said, she said — and what common sense and intuition tell us. KFC has formed an “animal-welfare advisory panel,” which sounds encouraging. PETA charges that the panel is a) stacked with corporate stooges and b) disregarded by the company anyway.


PETA says that its demands are relatively modest: that suppliers replace “electrical stunning and throat slicing” with “gas killing.” (Talk about “Holocaust on Your Plate,” but never mind.) That they institute “humane, mechanized chicken gathering,” as opposed to “manual methods,” which — contrary to what you might suppose — subject chickens to more injuries. That suppliers “stop forcing rapid growth” and adopt as their primary concern the health of the chicken.


KFC’s defenders say that some of PETA’s demands are impossible, and meant to be impossible. And it would, indeed, seem too much to ask that suppliers breed “leaner, stronger” chickens, as PETA insists — restaurants, and customers, want their birds plump and juicy, unalterably. But some of the demands seem quite reasonable. When PETA is in moderate mode, it comes off as . . . well, non-crazy, and just. Why not “mechanized gathering” instead of the manual variety, particularly in an ever-mechanizing world? And why not “gas killing,” as a gentler alternative to the other stuff? KFC itself says that it is looking into the feasibility of such a change.


I should note that the company does little to defend itself, and to help those who would be its friends. If you’re a journalist — even from a conservative opinion magazine! — they won’t talk to you. They will only fax you a two-sentence statement from a spokeswoman saying, in essence, Don’t worry, be happy! KFC might show a little more self-confidence, and engage with its critics, when those critics seem engageable (i.e., non-crazy). In July, PETA sued KFC for making false statements in its communications to the public. In September, it dropped the suit — because KFC dramatically altered its line. This was a black eye for the company, and a rather startling victory for PETA.


There are countless details in this case, and many twists and turns to the story. I will boil down for you, if you like, what I have concluded about KFC and PETA after disinterested investigation: PETA is a radical group, maybe even a dangerous one, and its claims should be regarded with skepticism. But just because it says something, doesn’t mean it’s not true. KFC, like most companies, blows a little corporate smoke. Its interest is the bottom line, not the well-being of chickens. But it is far from a nefarious company; it’s just another chicken buyer. PETA may force the more humane treatment of chickens, which would be splendid. But the business of serving chicken, and other meats, to many millions of customers will always be a little dirty, something from which sensitive people rather turn away, even as they tolerate it, and benefit from it.


The PETA president, Ingrid Newkirk, has talked of finding Colonel Sanders’s grave and dancing on it. Her group has promised that the company is “in for a long battle.” If the company has a case to make — and it does — it ought to fight back, and hard. For its foe is formidable, and well-wishers of both KFC and animals could use a little, honest reassurance.




New Terrorists on the Block: Animal-rights activists turn to violence (National Review Online, 040811)


If you want to see the future of animal-rights/liberation (ARL) advocacy in America, you need only look across the pond to the United Kingdom. It isn’t a pretty picture. Increasingly, radical animal liberationists are resorting to violence, threats, and intimidation to prevent people and businesses from engaging in the proper and humane use of animals.


Here is just a sampling of the violent seeds these extremists have recently sown:


Jerry Vlasak, an American trauma surgeon who advises British animal liberationists, reportedly said that assassinating scientists could save the lives of laboratory animals. “I don’t think you’d have to kill too many [medical researchers],” Vlasak told the Observer. “I think for five lives, 10 lives, 15 human lives, we could save a million, 2 million, 10 million non-human lives.” (In a subsequent statement, Vlasak denied advocating murder in the cause of animal liberation, adding the caveat, “If by chance violence is used ...even if there are casualties, it must be looked at in perspective and in a historical context.”)


The Independent reported that ARL “activists from around the world” are headed to the U.K. to prepare for what they call “an animal liberation war.” They don’t mean the term figuratively. And the “war,” if it comes, will not long be contained by Britain’s shores.


Intimidation against legitimate animal-related activities is working. Building contractors of a new medical laboratory at Oxford University, for example, walked off the job after ARLists terrified employees with threats of physical harm.


Cambridge University, under pressure from animal liberationists, dropped a proposed multimillion-pound research project that would have, in part, conducted experiments on monkeys in the urgent search for the causes of and cures for devastating neurological diseases. The university cited “financial risks” in justifying its decision. But, of course, the real reason was fear — fear of the potentially violent reaction of animal liberationists who hold the lives of monkeys far more dearly than the alleviation of suffering in people.


England has long been a spawning ground for international ARL radicalism. Indeed, one of the world’s most extreme ARList terrorist groups, Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) — which is dedicated to shutting down Huntingdon Life Sciences because they use animals in research — originated in the U.K. There, SHAC activists engaged in harsh violence. For example, one executive was beaten with a baseball bat and another had a caustic substance thrown in his face.


But SHAC was not content to merely go after Huntingdon employees. In a disturbing innovation, it began a campaign of intimidation against banks, insurance companies, accounting firms, and other companies that merely did business with Huntingdon. As a consequence, many businesses cut off all ties. This ancillary intimidation became so extreme that the Bank of England agreed to allow the company to open the bank’s only commercial account so it could remain in business.


Seeking respite, Huntingdon moved much of its activities to the United States. But the ARL terrorist network is international and a mere move across the Atlantic Ocean offered no protection. Soon, Huntingdon and American businesses doing business with the company were being targeted in the same manner as occurs in England.


SHAC’s campaign against Huntingdon is a test case for radical ARLists — and for society. If these fanatics succeed in driving Huntingdon out of business, no company that makes legitimate uses of animals as part of its operations will be safe — not restaurant chains, university research labs, fishing fleets, circuses, cattle ranchers, or leather-clothing outlets. In this sense, ARList radicals pose a substantial threat to human welfare and economic vitality.


What to do?


We have to understand that ARLists do not share a common frame of moral reference with the rest of society. Whereas most of us believe that humans have the highest moral value, it is an article of faith among ARLists that no moral distinction exists between humans and animals; “a rat, is a dog, is a boy,” in one animal liberationist’s infamous assertion. Thus, while most of us believe that we have a positive moral duty to treat animals humanely and support punishing people that abuse them, ARL movement devotees believe — not metaphorically, but literally — that we have no right to use animals for any purpose, not even as seeing-eye dogs.


In this surreal moral prism, real evil is reduced to banality as advocates equate cattle ranching with human slavery, Mengele’s notorious twin experiments with testing the safety of stem cells in rats, and the sending of Jews to the gas showers at Auschwitz with eating a steak. Lest you think I exaggerate, in its pro-vegetarian “Holocaust on Your Plate Campaign,” People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) asserted, “The leather sofa and handbag are the moral equivalent of the lampshades made from the skins of people killed in the death camps.” What’s worse: They meant every word.


The ideological struggle must be joined. ARList ideology is a frontal attack on human exceptionalism (and not the only one we face). In this sense, it is profoundly anti-human, both in its first principles and in consequential effects. This is undeniably subversive to the moral order. Believing that humans are unique and special is essential to promoting the ideal of universal human rights. After all, if we are just another species of animal in the forest, that is precisely how we will act.


Call upon prominent animal-rights/liberation leaders to condemn violence and intimidation unequivocally. Too often, prominent leaders of the ARL movement who do not engage personally in lawlessness, praise animal-rights terrorism with faint damnation, or none at all. With the threat that someone may be killed as a result of animal-rights terrorism growing, such shrugs of the shoulder are unacceptable. If animal-rights/liberation leaders expect to be deemed legitimate participants in the public square, they have a duty to use their influence to dissuade their more extremist colleagues from engaging in violence and threats. Failing to do so will reveal where their true sympathies lie.


Government must do more to protect companies that use animals and their business associates. Government is beginning to respond to the threat posed by groups such as SHAC and the Animal Liberation Front (ALF). We must move faster and with a greater sense of urgency. Federal and state laws need to protect businesses of those threatened by ARL extremism, and the homes of their employees. This should include using anti-stalking laws to protect identified categories of victims as well as individuals. Any non-profit organization that is proved to be a front for, or funder of, animal-rights terrorist activities, should lose its tax-exempt status, and have their assets frozen — just as the government does Islamist terrorist front groups.


Businesses must take the threat seriously. Too often, corporations threatened by ARL intimidation campaigns adopt a hide-under-the-desk-and-hope-they-go-away strategy. Such appeasement won’t work. ARLists are bullies and ideological true believers, and perceived weakness in their victims only encourages them. Understanding this is the first step toward building an overarching corporate strategy to meet the threat. Among other agenda items, companies need to ensure that their use of animals and that of their sub contractors meets or exceeds legal standards; budgets must set aside funds to pay for security to protect threatened employees; and resources must be committed to the ideological struggle that lies ahead. It is also essential to quantify the tremendous good people receive from the proper and humane use of animals, an issue so seemingly self-evident that too many of us take it for granted.


Protecting animal welfare is a noble cause. But animal-rights/liberation is not merely animal welfarism with a high metabolism. The former seeks to make the human use of animals increasingly more humane, while the latter seeks to end it altogether. This advocacy is perfectly legal, of course. But we dare not tolerate violence, threats, or intimidation — overt or implied — against those who make proper use of animals. Nor should we grant any legitimacy to movement leaders who do.


— Wesley J. Smith is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute and a special consultant to the Center for Bioethics and Culture. His next book, to be published in the fall, is Consumer’s Guide to a Brave New World.




The madness of the animal-rights movement (WorldNetDaily, 050104)


Social workers in Scotland recently rescued a pet monkey from the filthy, drug-infested apartment of a couple of heroin addicts. Contacting an animal-welfare group, the social workers took great pains to make sure the animal was removed from the squalid cesspool of a home.


But the social workers neglected to do anything about the little girl living with the couple.


The 5-year-old’s fingernails had not been cut for more than a year, she was covered in bed sores, lying in human waste and wearing a plaster cast on her broken leg that should have been removed 10 months earlier. When doctors eventually removed the cast from the girl, whose leg has been permanently scarred, they found spoons, a fork, and a pen she had used to try to scratch her ulcers.


A judge rebuked the social workers, noting incredulously that they had visited the couple’s house 18 times and had gone inside four times, but had failed to take note of or do anything about the poor girl’s plight.


Hang on to that picture for a minute.


PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, is the largest animal-rights organization on the planet, boasting 600,000 members.


The group has an impressive record of getting business, industry and government to be kinder to animals. With the central theme of preventing cruelty to animals, the group has waged a long and successful campaign against research, scientific and product testing involving animals.


To demonstrate its corporate citizenship in promoting alternative methods of testing, PETA has made grants totaling $300,000 to two research firms “to assist in the validation of non-animal test methods to replace existing animal tests.” What sort of non-animal testing? How about human embryos?


As reported in WorldNetDaily, although one of the two firms funded by PETA has denied using human embryos for their testing, the other has not. Human babies, you see, are not as important as rats.


Now the National Institutes of Health has drafted new guidelines for “human embryonic stem cell research” that will make it easier than ever for human embryos to be used as mere “tissue” for research.


The general secretary of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, Rev. Msgr. Dennis N. Schnurr, in his letter to the NIH, charges that “the policy of the new NIH guidelines is that human embryos outside the womb may be exploited and killed as nothing more than ‘tissue.’ In short,” he says, “live human embryos are dismissed as mere ‘tissue’ to be destroyed for useful cells.”


“Under this policy,” concludes Schnurr, “far from being treated as a human subject, the human embryo effectively ranks lower in status than a laboratory animal.”


Humans lower than animals? Is there a pattern developing here?


I always thought PETA just wanted to put a stop to homeless dogs’ being burned alive and similar horror stories, as their home page indicates. But moving beyond the shiny exterior with its heart-wrenching animal-abuse stories designed to appeal to large numbers of people and attract donations, I find this:


“For kids who want to eat their veggies and not their friends,” PETA draws children into campaigns to “Save the Chickens,” and to “Save the Pigs.”


What about “Save the Babies”? I couldn’t find that campaign. Can someone send me the link?


Wait, maybe this is it, on one of’s many niche marketing spin-off sites called (That’s the one for Christians, there’s also for Muslims.)


By the way, the statement “Jesus was a vegetarian” is a lie. The Bible, which I presume is the source of PETA’s information about Jesus, clearly states that Jesus ate fish, even after his resurrection.


But I digress. In “Jesus was a vegetarian,” PETA poses to itself one of the key questions that people ask of the organization, and of animal rights activists in general:


“Why don’t you focus your attention on abortion or child abuse? Why do you care about animals?”


PETA’s answer, addressed specifically to Christian, pro-lifer types:


“... Those who are particularly adamant on the abortion issue should also consider the issue of vegetarianism, as it requires no additional effort and lends the credibility of personal action to their statements about being ‘pro-life.’


“... With the issue of abortion, few of us will ever have to make this choice, and no one can make this choice for someone else, however much some people might wish to.


“But there is one area where the solution is simple: the issue of animal abuse on factory farms. Each and every one of us can simply choose not to be animal abusers by becoming a vegetarian.”


Okay, let’s get this straight. No one has the right to tell another person that it’s wrong to kill the living, breathing, pain-feeling human baby living inside its mother. That’s her business alone if she wants to kill it, so butt out.


But, it’s everyone’s duty and moral responsibility to stop the killing of chickens, pigs and fish everywhere.


There’s more: “If we purport to be ‘pro-life,’ yet we choose to support violence, misery, and death every time we sit down to eat, what does that say about our convictions? For a simple palate preference, we have become ‘pro-death,’ we are paying for cruelty to animals. The only legitimate Christian or ‘pro-life’ choice is vegetarianism.”


What are we dealing with here? Just some wacky, lovable, slightly-off-base critter-loving friends of animals?


Let’s take a deeper look.


A human being — from the moment of its conception, and as the delicate and ethereal fabric grows with its tiny, perfectly formed fingers and toes, little heartbeats, little lips, little ears, shrouded peacefully in its mother’s womb — is undoubtedly the crowning glory of creation.


“Created in His image,” the human baby at whatever stage is, simply, sacred. So of course, good-natured, decent pro-lifers are always scratching their heads and asking the animal-rights crowd, “Why don’t you folks care about the aborted babies?”


Take a really good look at PETA’s response. Look at the tortured reasoning. Notice the unfriendly tone, the disdainful use of quotes around the phrase “pro-life.” Do these seem like the words of an organization that really cares about aborting humans?


No. But they’re hoping you won’t notice. They’re hoping you’ll think, “Oh well, PETA just carved out this little niche of saving dogs and cats and chickens and pigs, but they really care about human babies too.”




The most PETA can grudgingly offer up in support of human life is, “Those who are particularly adamant on the abortion issue should also consider the issue of vegetarianism, as it ... lends the credibility of personal action to their statements about being ‘pro-life.’”


Pitiful. By the way, PETA’s core argument is the prevention of needless suffering to all life. Do they think unborn babies do not suffer? The research - all of it - says that early on, human beings have a nervous system and feel real pain. Their nerves and pain receptor cells don’t suddenly switch on the moment they exit their mother’s womb. They feel the abortionist’s scalpel, they feel the forceps, the suction devices, skull crushers and other torture implements used in the various barbaric rituals of infant sacrifice that we call abortion. If PETA really cared about human life, it would have answered the question something like this: “Although abortion is the worst travesty, the greatest injustice, and the most egregious cause of needless suffering on the planet today, we at PETA have chosen to come to the defense of animals, since not many people have the will or the means to do so. But we know our mission pales into nothingness next to the horrendous ongoing tragedy of tens of millions of innocent human babies killed painfully, sometimes meeting excruciating deaths, every year while in their mother’s wombs. We salute our brothers and sisters in the pro-life movement for their dedication and commitment to end this needless suffering.”


Sorry, it’s just a nice dream. The reality is that you pro-lifers are the enemy of the radical animal-rights crowd. Because you, through your standing up for the little divine spark in God’s most perfect and prized creation, are championing the very reality - namely, the existence of the soul in human beings — that they want to forget. The real message of the radical animal rights movement is that people are only animals - and not very good ones at that.


Elevating animals up to the level of human beings — as actor Steven Segal, one of PETA’s celebrity advocates, puts it, “We have to view all life as equal” — is a round about way of saying that human beings are no more than animals and therefore have no souls.


Why would anyone deny that human beings have a soul, you might ask. Why would that notion that we have a divine spark within us be repugnant? After all, whatever goodness we humans can muster, whatever kindness and consideration we have for each other, is based on the fact that we know we are dealing with another soul. If we are faithful to our spouse, honorable in business, truthful to each other, willing to sacrifice for our children - whatever we consider to be virtuous and noble is tied up in this conviction that we are more than animals, that we are spiritual beings also, esteemed by God.


For many, there is a great comfort and “freedom” in believing that there is no soul, because if there is no soul, there is no God, no divine judgment, no accountability — you get the picture. We’re animals, so we act like animals, we do what animals do. They eat each other, mate in the street, run around naked - kind of like the ‘60s again, with “sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll.”


The radical animal rights folks are exactly like the multiculturalists. Do you think the multiculturalists really care about Eskimo music or how the Ubangis make their lips as big as pancakes? Do they really care that much about cultures that worship rats, cows and sex organs? No, their interest is not really in elevating other cultures, nor in celebrating diversity.


Their interest is in tearing down Western civilization, in denying God, in denying the immortal soul of man — denying that we will be judged one day by One greater than us.


In the same way, the animal rights radicals don’t really love animals. They don’t even know the meaning of the word love. They just want to be their own gods. And the way you become your own god in this life is to deny the real One.


Animal-rights radicals loathe the idea of man having an immortal soul, of his being superior to the animals, because if we are superior to animals it is because we have a soul, and that reality makes us subservient to something greater than ourselves. And, as I said, some people just want to be their own god.


Besides, many people just don’t get along with other people. After all, people give you a hard time, they can criticize you, they can even tell you the truth when you don’t want to hear it. Animals never do that.




Wild, Wild World of Animal Rights (American Spectator, 050125)


By Christopher Orlet


Twelve years ago, the Liberal British MP Lord Alton quit the House of Commons largely because his party supported abortion on demand, but opposed the use of goldfish as fairground prizes. The depravity of the situation was too much even for a liberal parliamentarian. The lord resigned forthwith. The goldfish controversy was back the other week as the ruling Labour Party considered a ban on animals as competition prizes. After an intense debate that must have resembled a Monty Python skit, ministers decided that with elections coming up they would look very silly indeed if they pressed for the goldfish ban.


Similarly the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals appeared rather silly after it recently lost its appeal to halt a California Milk Producers Advisory Board’s “Happy Cows” advertising campaign. PETA objected to the campaign’s tag line “Great Cheese comes from Happy Cows. Happy Cows come from California.”


PETA attempted to sue the Milk Board for false advertising, insisting that California cows are no happier than Iowa cows or even, God help them, Missouri Bootheel cows. This seems logical. Besides, what patriotic Iowan or Missourian wants to be told that livestock of some other state — especially California—are more contented than his own simply by virtue of where they graze? Research indicates that a multiplicity of factors account for happiness: health, wealth, access to knowledge, equality, and personal freedom. Environment is far down on the list. Few of these factors, however, concern cows overly much.


So far as I know there have been no surveys to determine where the happiest people (or animals) in the U.S. live. But such polls have been undertaken in Europe. The surprise winner: the Belgian port city of Antwerp. Yes, Antwerps are very happy indeed. Happier than their Dutch neighbors who have legalized both pot and prostitution.


Despite a life expectancy of 50 years, periodic droughts, rampant AIDS, a poverty level of 60%, frequent Muslim-Christian conflicts, and an unstable government, the happiest people in the world, according to a 2003 World Values Survey, are the Nigerians. Of course, no one bothered to survey Nigerian cattle, but I suspect native cows are rather unhappy about their homeland’s continuing loss of pasture lands to desertification, soil degradation, rapid deforestation, water pollution, and near constant oil spills.


PETA maintains that most milch cows, regardless of where they dwell, live Hobbesian lives that are nasty, brutish and short, and the California government’s propaganda was actually a devious plot meant to mislead the lactose tolerant. Despite the soundness of this argument, PETA’s suit was dismissed on a technicality. It seems one cannot sue a government agency under the California Unfair Business Practices Act. Thus the American public missed out on yet another silly and no doubt highly amusing spectacle.


Scientific researchers are making great progress in many areas, but they are woefully behind in their research on fish stress and bovine contentment. Perhaps because they have other priorities: like safer breast implants. PETA, however, claims to recognize a wretched or a contented critter when it sees one. That is a useful and significant trait to have, especially if, like me, you share quarters with a large, ornery tomcat. Perhaps the folks at PETA can have a look at my feline friend and tell me what on earth I have done to offend him. Do I not clean up after him? Do I not allow him to stay rent-free? Haven’t I fed and fussed over him? Was it something I said?


Now that the appeals court has dismissed PETA’s case, the justices are free to take up other significant issues. Here’s my suggestion. Perhaps they can investigate why California taxpayers are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to advertise milk.




Study: Boiling Water Not a Pain for Lobsters (Foxnews, 050215)


PORTLAND, Maine  — A new study out of Norway concludes it’s unlikely lobsters feel pain, stirring up a long-simmering debate over whether Maine’s most valuable seafood suffers when it’s being cooked.


Animal activists for years have claimed that lobsters are in agony when being cooked, and that dropping one in a pot of boiling water is tantamount to torture.


The study, funded by the Norwegian government and written by a scientist at the University of Oslo, suggests lobsters and other invertebrates such as crabs, snails and worms probably don’t suffer even if lobsters do tend to thrash in boiling water.


“Lobsters and crabs have some capacity of learning, but it is unlikely that they can feel pain,” concluded the 39-page report, aimed at determining if creatures without backbones should be subject to animal welfare legislation as Norway revises its animal welfare law.


Lobster biologists in Maine have maintained for years that the lobster’s primitive nervous system and underdeveloped brain are similar to that of an insect. While lobsters react to different stimuli, such as boiling water, the reactions are escape mechanisms, not a conscious response or an indication of pain, they say.


“It’s a semantic thing: No brain, no pain,” said Mike Loughlin, who studied the matter when he was a University of Maine graduate student and is now a biologist at the Maine Atlantic Salmon Commission.


The Norwegian report also reinforces what people in the lobster industry have always contended, said Bob Bayer, executive director of the Lobster Institute, a research and education organization in Orono.


“We’ve maintained all along that the lobster doesn’t have the ability to process pain,” Bayer said.


People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, an animal rights organization based in Norfolk, Va., has made lobster pain part of its Fish Empathy Project, putting out stickers and pamphlets with slogans such as “Being Boiled Hurts. Let Lobsters Live.” Group supporters regularly demonstrate at the Maine Lobster Festival in Rockland.


PETA’s Karin Robertson called the Norwegian study biased, saying the government doesn’t want to hurt the country’s fishing industry.


“This is exactly like the tobacco industry claiming that smoking doesn’t cause cancer,” she said.


Robertson said many scientists believe lobsters do feel pain. For instance, a zoologist with The Humane Society of the United States made a written declaration that lobsters can feel pain after a chef dismembered and sauteed a live lobster to prepare a Lobster Fra Diavolo dish on NBC’s “Today” show in 1994.


It’s debatable whether the debate will ever be resolved.


The Norwegian study, even while saying it’s unlikely that crustaceans feel pain, also cautioned that more research is needed because there is a scarcity of scientific knowledge on the subject.


And, many consumers will always hesitate at placing lobsters in boiling pots of water.


New Englanders may feel comfortable cooking their lobsters, but people outside the region often feel uneasy about boiling a live creature, said Kristen Millar, executive director of the Maine Lobster Promotion Council.


“Consumers don’t generally greet and meet an animal before they eat it,” she said.




PETA’s Non-Apology Apology: The group still equates animal killings to the Holocaust. (National Review Online, 050506)


Ingrid Newkirk, the alpha wolf over at the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), has just issued a classic non-apology “apology” for PETA’s odious “Holocaust on Your Plate” Campaign, which explicitly compared eating meat to participating in the gassing of millions of Jews.


The purported equation between the Holocaust and normal practices of animal husbandry wasn’t presented between the lines by PETA. Nor was it implied subtly in the hope that the viewer would infer a similarity. Rather, comparing Auschwitz to your corner butcher shop was the explicit and unequivocal theme of the entire international pro-vegan campaign.


First there were the photographs. PETA juxtaposed pictures of emaciated concentration-camp inmates in their tight-packed wooden bunks with chickens kept in cages. Worse, in a truly despicable comparison (on several levels), a picture of piled bodies of Jewish Holocaust victims was presented next to a photograph of stacked dead pigs.


The text of the campaign was even worse. In a section entitled “The Final Solution,” PETA made this astonishing assertion:


Like the Jews murdered in concentration camps, animals are terrorized when they are housed in huge filthy warehouses and rounded up for shipment to slaughter. The leather sofa and handbag are the moral equivalent of the lampshades made from the skins of people killed in the death camps.


For two years, PETA presented the Holocaust on Your Plate Campaign throughout the United States and much of the world. In almost every city and country where PETA activists turned up to promote Holocaust on Your Plate, Jewish groups and others angrily protested. But PETA doggedly stuck to its propaganda. Then, unexpectedly, on May 5, Newkirk issued an “apology for a tasteless comparison.”


So, has PETA really recognized the error of asserting a moral equivalence between genocide and stock yards? Not in the least. PETA’s is an apology that doesn’t really say “We are sorry.” In fact, Newkirk takes great pain to justify the entire Holocaust on Your Plate approach:


The “Holocaust on Your Plate” Campaign was designed to desensitize to different forms of systematic degradation and exploitation, and the logic and methods employed in factory farms and slaughterhouses are analogous to those used in concentration camps. We understand both systems to be based on a moral equation indicating that “might makes right” and premised on a concept of other cultures or other species as deficient and thus disposable. Each has it own unique mechanisms and purposes, but both result in immeasurable, unnecessary suffering for those who are innocent and unable to defend themselves.


Since the group clearly still believes in its advocacy, what does PETA admit it did wrong? Resorting to that old standby of the unrepentant who know that public relations problems necessitate the appearance of contrition, Newkirk apologizes merely for the “pain” PETA’s campaign caused to Jews. Newkirk’s is thus a classic non-apology “apology.”


But when you look deeper, it isn’t even that. Newkirk’s pseudo mea culpa emphasizes PETA’s continued support for the book Eternal Treblinka: Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust by Charles Patterson, which gave PETA the idea to launch the Holocaust on Your Plate Campaign in the first place. (Treblinka was a notorious Nazi death camp.) And what is that book’s message? You guessed it: As the foreword puts it:


In Eternal Treblinka, not only are we shown the common roots of Nazi genocide and modern society’s enslavement and slaughter of non-human animals in unprecedented detail, but for the first time we are presented with extensive evidence of the profoundly troubling connection between animal exploitation in the United States and Hitler’s Final Solution.


So, it is quite clear that PETA continues to believe that “the leather sofa and handbag are the moral equivalent of the lampshades made from the skins of people killed in the death camps.” The group just wants to be able to claim that because it apologized for Holocaust on Your Plate Campaign, it should no longer have to defend itself about the matter in interviews and during debates.


But be clear: This is merely a public-relations tactic. The leopard has not changed even one of its spots. PETA remains firm in its belief that killing an animal is morally equivalent to killing a human being.


— Wesley J. Smith is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute and a special consultant to the Center for Bioethics and Culture. His current book is Consumer’s Guide to a Brave New World.




Activist Extremists Top U.S. Domestic Threat (Foxnews, 050519)


WASHINGTON — Environmental and animal rights activists who have turned to arson and explosives are the nation’s top domestic terrorism threat, an FBI official told a Senate committee on Wednesday.


Groups such as the Animal Liberation Front, the Earth Liberation Front and Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty are “way out in front” in terms of damage and number of crimes, said John Lewis, the FBI’s deputy assistant director for counterterrorism.


“There is nothing else going on in this country over the last several years that is racking up the high number of violent crimes and terrorist actions,” Lewis said.


ALF says on its Web site that its small, autonomous groups of people take “direct action” against animal abuse by rescuing animals and causing financial loss to animal exploiters, usually through damage and destruction of property. ELF is an underground movement with no public leadership, membership or spokesperson.


The British-based SHAC describes itself as a worldwide campaign since 1999 to rescue animals tortured in research labs and shut down the businesses that rely on their use. It says it “does not encourage or incite illegal activity.”


Lewis said the FBI concluded that after analyzing all types of cases and comparing the groups with “right-wing extremists, KKK, anti-abortion groups and the like.” He said most animal rights and eco-extremists so far have refrained from violence targeting human life.


“The FBI has observed troubling signs that this is changing. We have seen an escalation in violent rhetoric and tactics,” he told the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “Attacks are also growing in frequency and size.”


Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., the panel’s chairman, said he hoped to examine more closely how the groups might be getting assistance in fundraising and communications from tax-exempt organizations’ “mainstream activists” not directly blamed for the violence.


“Just like Al Qaeda or any other terrorist organization, ELF and ALF cannot accomplish their goals without money, membership and the media,” Inhofe said.


The FBI said 35 of its offices have 150 open investigations, with activists claiming credit for 1,200 crimes between 1990 and mid-2004.


Investigators cite examples of people using arson, bombings, theft, animal releases, vandalism, harassing phone calls, letters rigged with razor blades, and office takeovers.


Such tactics have been used in what officials call “direct action” campaigns to disrupt university research labs, restaurants, fur farms and logging operations. Newer targets include SUV dealerships and new home developments as signs of urban sprawl.


Officials say the incidents have caused more than $110 million in damage. The biggest so far was an arson at a five-story condominium under construction in San Diego in August 2003 that caused $50 million in damage.


In the past few years arson fires and explosives have been used increasingly, Lewis said. “We have a serious movement afoot,” he said.


Since 1993, when ELF declared solidarity with ALF, “there has been a convergence of agendas,” said Carson Carroll, deputy assistant director for field operations of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the nation’s premier bomb investigators.


“The most worrisome trend to law enforcement and private industry alike has been the increase in willingness by these movements to resort to the use of incendiary and explosive devices,” Carroll said.




PETA Gets to Your Kids (Foxnews, 050518)


Radical animal-rights activists may be the last people you’d think would be planning school lessons for your children. Well, think again.


Through its innocuous-sounding “educational” programming arm known as TeachKind, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has found a way to reach school children starting as young as kindergarten with its extremist agenda. The opportunity for PETA to gets its message into the classroom has been paved, at least in part, by various laws on the books in at least 12 states mandating humane education in public schools — thus creating a demand for curricula centered on teaching children about the humane treatment of animals.


Naturally, PETA is only too happy to provide ready-made lesson plans, videos and handouts to already overworked teachers.


“Kids who hurt animals may be on a dangerous path that will only get worse if it is not corrected. Psychiatrists, FBI profilers and law enforcement officials have repeatedly documented that kids who abuse animals rarely stop there,” TeachKind warns.


Its fact sheet, entitled “Animal Abuse and Human Abuse: Partners in Crime,” points out that “violent acts toward animals have long been recognized as indicators of a dangerous psychopathy that does not confine itself to animals,” and goes on to detail how many notorious school shooters, including Columbine’s Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, were known to mutilate animals prior to their attacks on humans.


Indeed, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) published by the American Psychiatric Association, participation in animal torture is one of the early warning signs of a severe emotional disturbance in a child, ranking alongside fire-setting as a strong indicator of future criminal behavior as well as the likelihood of psychopathy in adulthood.


While there’s no question that the small number of children who torture animals are quite disturbed and that all children should be taught how wrong such behavior is, it’s quite another matter for PETA to capitalize on this issue as an opportunity to indoctrinate children with PETA’s own radical, catch-all definition of what constitutes “animal cruelty.” And that’s precisely what PETA is doing through TeachKind.


As its Web site prominently touts the animal cruelty-psychopathy connection with quotes from FBI criminalists and others, a closer inspection reveals that the bulk of TeachKind’s educational efforts are actually crafted so as to make children believe that everyday behaviors, such as eating a diet that contains meat or animal products, are unmistakably, unequivocally acts of animal cruelty.


PETA’s frightening of young children by equating, or even associating, truly disturbed behavior such as mutilation of a family pet with common everyday practices such as eating hamburgers amounts to nothing less than ideological child abuse.


PETA even accuses schools across America of being major perpetrators of animal cruelty. They oppose basic learning methods widely practiced throughout our educational system such as insect collection, field trips to zoos or aquariums, and dissection in the classroom.


“Hearing a lot about violence in schools? You can do something to help. Cut out dissection!” announces their Web-based anti-dissection campaign, which even mentions how a young Jeffrey Dahmer “became fascinated with blood and guts” as a result of participating in a biology assignment involving dissection. With this assertion, PETA is inviting impressionable young minds to believe that all it takes is one experience with a dissection assignment to walk away a psychopathic serial killer.


In addition to encouraging kids to refuse to participate in dissection assignments, the campaign even coaches kids on the exact wording to use in their formal written objections so as to “provide the basis for a possible legal case.”


A significant portion of TeachKind’s curriculum is devoted to persuading children to adopt a vegetarian diet as a way to avoid participating in “animal cruelty.” PETA’s Web-based materials provide the warped logic that if farmers treated a cat or a dog the way they treat livestock, they would “be prosecuted for animal cruelty and locked up” — once again stressing the theme of hypothetical criminality for those who eat meat.


PETA even tries to scare kids away from drinking milk, a food so controversial that it occupies its very own wedge on the latest FDA food pyramid for optimal nutrition. A series of trading cards called “Don’t Be a Milk Sucker” available from its Web site, features cartoon characters suffering a host of illnesses PETA attributes to milk consumption such as ear infections, obesity, acne, and even diabetes!


Nor does milk consumption escape PETA’s definition as a distinctly cruel act against animals. We meet “Milk-Stealing Ming,” who is depicted with his mouth directly attached to an unhappy cow’s udder, alongside a “wanted poster” describing his crimes and exclaiming, “cows make milk for their babies, not for maniacs like Ming.”


If we are to take at face value PETA’s irresponsible suggestion that “animal cruelty” — as defined by their radical, catch-all parameters — is a reliable indicator of psychopathic tendencies, I suppose it’s just a matter of time before we all read about Milk-Stealing Ming’s future adult crime sprees in the headlines.


Steven Milloy publishes and, is adjunct scholar at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and is the author of Junk Science Judo: Self-defense Against Health Scares and Scams (Cato Institute, 2001).




PETA Workers Charged With Animal Cruelty (Foxnews, 050617)


AHOSKIE, N.C. — Two employees of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals have been charged with animal cruelty after dumping dead dogs and cats in a shopping center garbage bin, police said.


Investigators staked out the bin after discovering that dead animals had been dumped there every Wednesday for the past four weeks, Ahoskie police said in a prepared statement Thursday.


PETA has scheduled a news conference for Friday in Norfolk, Va., where the group is based.


Police found 18 dead animals in the bin and 13 more in a van registered to PETA. The animals were from animal shelters in Northampton and Bertie counties, police said.


The two were picking up animals to be brought back to PETA headquarters for euthanization, PETA president Ingrid Newkirk said Thursday. Neither police nor PETA offered any theory on why the animals might have been dumped.


Police charged Andrew Benjamin Cook, 24, of Virginia Beach, Va., and Adria Joy Hinkle, 27, of Norfolk, Va., each with 31 felony counts of animal cruelty and eight misdemeanor counts of illegal disposal of dead animals. They were released on bond and an initial court date was set for Friday.


Hinkle has been suspended, but Cook continues to work for PETA, Newkirk said.


Newkirk said she doubted Hinkle had ever been cruel to an animal and said if the animals were placed in the bin, “We will be appalled.”




The PETA Principle: Will the group’s efforts to curb animal testing run afoul of Bay Area sensibilities? (Weekly Standard, 050622)


TO UNDERSTAND the San Francisco Bay area one needs to appreciate its assorted love-hate relationships. That would include Barry Bonds (love the swing, hate the attitude), the landmark bridges (love the vistas, hate the tolls), and Silicon Valley (love the technology, hate the MBAs’ self-absorption).


Soon, there may be a new addition to that list: PETA, a.k.a. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.


PETA was in the news last week, with the arrest of two of its employees on charges of dumping the remains of some 30 dogs in a trash bin outside of a Piggly-Wiggly store in Ahoskie, North Carolina—an hour-and-half hour’s drive south of PETA headquarters in Norfolk, Va. As it turns out, up to 80 dead dogs have been illegally dumped in the area over the past month, presumably part of PETA’s effort to give man’s best friend what it deems to be a more dignified ending (PETA says it takes the dog from local animal shelters and lethally injects them—in its view, a more humane form of euthanasia).


Such logic may actually add up back in California, where Democrats in the state legislature recently failed to pass a physician-assisted suicide bill. Indeed, on the surface, PETA seems right at home in the Bay Area, which it once lauded as the most vegan-friendly corner of the country. Indeed, over the years PETA has been active in the area, butting heads with the San Francisco Zoo over elephant captivity (in life, as in politics, elephants aren’t welcome in San Francisco)


and taking on Safeway, a local corporate giant, alleging animal abuses by the grocery chain’s suppliers.


And there are the antics of one Lisa Franzetta, a campaign coordinator for PETA who, in her spare time, dresses up as “Leopard Lady” and “Tiger Lady” and sits nearly naked in a cage to protest such atrocities as wearing fur, and the eating of animals. In fact, it was the same Ms. Franzetta who three winters ago skated nude around a downtown San Francisco ice rink carried a banner that read, “We’d Rather Bare Skin Than Bear Fur.”


So how could PETA possibly run afoul of Bay Area sensibilities? Simple: the group stands accused of putting animals ahead of people in the greater scheme of life. And that doesn’t sit well with some San Franciscans—AIDS and cancer patients in particular.

AT PRESENT, PETA FINDS ITSELF in a legal tussle with Covance, a contract medical research firm located in suburban Washington, D.C. A former Covance employee (a technician in Covance’s primate toxicology department) and pro-PETA sympathizer snuck a camera inside Covance to film supposed mistreatment of test monkeys. The firm responded by filing a lawsuit against PETA and the ex-employee, charging the pair with a conspiracy to commit fraud and intentionally harm the company’s business.


Ordinarily, one could write this off as just one more example of PETA’ sometimes-offbeat, sometimes-out-of-bounds behavior. Remember, this is the same group that once ran a “Holocaust on Your Plate” campaign that equated roasting chickens to Nazi genocide. PETA also went to court earlier this year in—you guessed it, San Francisco—to try to halt the California Milk Advisory Board’s “Happy Cows” ad campaign (for years, PETA has been trying to fan the flames over what it contends is cow abuse and the detrimental effects of milk)


However, the Covance lawsuit puts PETA on weak ground, morally and politically, even in the safe haven of California. At the same time PETA comes up with creative ways to sway the public against animal-testing, a poll by the Foundation for Biomedical Research shows a majority of Americans in strong support of animal research for medical progress. Back in San Francisco, home to one of the nation’s largest gay communities, it raises a question PETA may not care to answer—which matters more: lab animals, or AIDS victims who may benefit from medical advancements animals testing.


Let’s suppose PETA, keeping in form, chooses monkey over man. The group will find itself having to argue with proponents like Robert Gallo, the co-discoverer of HIV, who once remarked: “With animal research we may have a cure for AIDS in ten years.”


And PETA will also discover trouble among one of its core California constituencies: show biz folks.


Go to and you’ll find a plethora of B-list celebrities straight from the E! programming lineup: Cindy Crawford, Dennis Rodman, Anna Nicole Smith. PETA even offers the choice of separate videos featuring the Dalai Lama and Pamela Anderson. (The former Baywatch star’s film is less spicier and crisper than the one she did with Tommy Lee; she wants viewers to boycott KFC restaurants until they’re nicer to the featured fare.)


However, the stars are not as aligned when the topic switches to animal-testing. Take the example of singer Melissa Etheridge, who’s appeared in PETA anti-fur ads. Etheridge,


a much-celebrated breast cancer survivor has publicly parted ways with PETA. Her explanation: “My father died of cancer, and I’ve lost many friends to AIDS, so I believe in animals losing their lives to eradicate cancer and AIDS from our lives.”


Such is PETA’s future PETA. It can continue to resort to PR stunts in an attempt to hinder animal testing. Yet, ironically, the same group that fashioned the phrase “fur kills” may one day be accused of blood on its hands—if their guerilla tactics succeed and medical breakthroughs are delayed.


Bill Whalen is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, where he follows California and national politics.




Better dead than fed, PETA says (, 050623)


Debra Saunders


Don’t be fooled by the slick propaganda of PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. The organization may claim to champion the welfare of animals, as the many photos of cute puppies and kittens on its website suggest. But last week, two PETA employees were charged with 31 felony counts of animal cruelty each, after authorities found them dumping the dead bodies of 18 animals they had just picked up from a North Carolina animal shelter in a Dumpster. According to The Associated Press, 13 more dead animals were found in a van registered to PETA.


The arrest followed a rash of unwelcome discoveries of dead animals dumped in the area. According to veterinarian Patrick Proctor, the PETA people told North Carolina shelters they would try to find the dogs and cats homes. He handed over two adoptable kittens and their mother, only to learn later that they had died, without a chance to find a home, in the PETA van.


“This is ethical?” Proctor railed over the phone. “I don’t really think so.”


This is not the first report that PETA killed animals it claimed to protect. In 1991, PETA killed 18 rabbits and 14 roosters it had previously “rescued” from a research facility. “We just don’t have the money to care for them,” then PETA-Chairman Alex Pacheco told The Washington Times. The PETA shelter had run out of room.


The Center for Consumer Freedom, which represents the food industry, a frequent target of PETA campaigns, released data filed by PETA with the state of Virginia that shows PETA has killed more than 10,000 animals from 1998 to 2003.


“In 2003, PETA euthanized over 85% of the animals it took in,” said a press release from the lobby, “finding adoptive homes for just 14%. By comparison, the Norfolk (Va.) SPCA found adoptive homes for 73% of its animals and Virginia Beach SPCA adopted out 66%.”


The center’s David Martosko considered PETA’s hefty budget — reportedly, $20 million — and many contributions from well-heeled Hollywood celebrities, then figured, “PETA has enough money in the bank to care for every unwanted animal in Virginia (where it has its headquarters) and North Carolina.”


Except PETA apparently prefers to spend donations not caring for flesh-and-blood animals entrusted to it, but on campaigns attacking medical researchers, meat eaters or women wearing furs. It is as if PETA prefers the idea of animals to animals themselves.


Why does PETA kill animals that might otherwise find a home? I repeatedly phoned PETA, but I never reached an official who would answer my questions. PETA’s website spun the story under the banner, “PETA helping animals in North Carolina,” with an emphasis on its efforts to “solve the animal overpopulation in North Carolina.”


Here’s more: “PETA has provided euthanasia services to various counties in that state to prevent animals from being shot with a .22 behind a shed or gassed in windowless metal boxes — both practices that were carried out until PETA volunteered to provide painless death for the animals.” Make that painless deaths for animals that could have found love.


Besides, PETA always has been about killing animals. A 2003 New Yorker profile included PETA top dog Ingrid Newkirk’s story of how she became involved in animal rights after a shelter put down stray kittens she brought there. So she went to work for an animal shelter in the 1970s, where, she explained: “I would go to work early, before anyone got there, and I would just kill the animals myself. Because I couldn’t stand to let them go through (other workers abusing the animals). I must have killed a thousand of them, sometimes dozens every day.”


That’s right. PETA assails other parties for killing animals for food or research. Then it kills animals — but for really important reasons, like because it has run out of room.


Martosko hopes animal lovers will learn that their donations will do more good at a local animal shelter than at PETA. “For years,” he added, “we thought that PETA just cared for animals more than they cared for humans. But now it seems they don’t care much for either.”


No lie about not caring for people. In 2003, Newkirk hectored late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat because a terrorist blew up a donkey in an attempt to blow up people. Newkirk also told The New Yorker the world would be a better place without people. She explained why she had herself sterilized: “I am opposed to having children. Having a purebred human baby is like having a purebred dog — it’s nothing but vanity, human vanity.”


Now you know. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals doesn’t really like people. PETA has no use for ethics. And PETA kills animals.



Note to readers: My husband, Wesley J. Smith, is a senior fellow on animal rights issues at the Discovery Institute.




Dying for Liberation: Why is PETA killing animals? (National Review Online, 050713)


The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is one of the world’s most successful and effective advocacy organizations. Dedicated to the “rights” of animals with a devotion so fierce it borders on fanaticism, PETA activists practice propaganda as an art form and are so skilled at in-your-face advocacy and agitation that executives of the world’s most powerful corporations cow when the PETA activists pound on their doors.


The constant flow of press releases, boycotts, movie-star endorsements, and never-ending (and often funny) street demonstrations — such as the recent “Running of the Nudes,” a naked protest against Pamplona, Spain’s famous running of the bulls — not only keeps PETA continually in the news, but also serves to mask the organization’s bizarre and rigid ideology. But now with the recent arrest of two of its employees for cruelty to animals in North Carolina, the true weirdness of the cult-like group may finally receive the attention it deserves.


For those who missed it, here’s the story: Adria J. Hinkle, 27, and Andrew B. Cook, 24, were arrested in Ahoskie, North Carolina, after a four-week law-enforcement investigation into the illegal dumping of about 100 dead dogs into area trash receptacles. The illegal dumping began around the time PETA arranged with local animal shelters to transport stray animals that would otherwise be killed in area pounds to their Norfolk, Virginia, headquarters, purportedly to find homes for the animals — or, for the ill and unadoptable, to submit them to euthanasia.


Instead, according to local media reports, Hinkle and Cook allegedly were in possession of a “death kit” when arrested, consisting of “syringes and two drugs that only licensed veterinarians can have.” Neither PETA employee is a veterinarian. The two would allegedly collect the animals from shelters, and rather than transport them to PETA headquarters, kill them immediately, and dump the bodies.


PETA suspended Hinkle and mounted a vigorous defense of its work in North Carolina, (while condemning the alleged dead animal dumping by Hinkle and Cook), claiming it undertook the transportation project due to the inhumane conditions in which the animals were maintained and because the shelters gassed or shot unwanted animals rather than lethally injecting them.


The fact that PETA kills animals may surprise people. It shouldn’t. Even though animal shelters that do not kill are the newest rage in animal-welfare advocacy, PETA isn’t in the animal-welfare business. Its ultimate purpose is not to improve the proper and humane use of animals by people. Rather, it seeks complete and uncompromising “animal liberation,” a vastly different concept from animal welfare that demands the end of any and all uses of animals by humans.


Animal liberationists believe that any human use or control of animals is morally wrong and, by definition, a cause of physical and/or psychic pain and suffering to the animals. In this regard, PETA is absolutist and authoritarian. It literally views animal husbandry, for example, as morally equivalent to human slavery and genocide, as its infamous “Holocaust on Your Plate” vegetarian campaign made vividly clear. Accordingly, PETA seeks nothing less than the eventual obliteration of all animal industries, meat eating, dairy ice cream, leather-shoe wearing, medical research with animals, wool clothing, pets (called animal companions by PETA), horseback riding, zoos, fishing — the list could go on for pages — regardless of any human benefit derived from it or harm that would be caused thereby. Thus, the PETA organizational slogan, “animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, or use for entertainment.”


PETA is so intent on rescuing animals from what it views as human tyranny that it doesn’t get worked up over theft, threats, violence, and vandalism by its more radical colleagues, such as the anarchist Animal Liberation Front (ALF), even comparing such actions to the Underground Railroad that freed slaves. Thus, when ALF “liberates” minks to prevent their being used in the fur and pet-food industries — meaning that activists steal and release them — PETA looks on benignly even though the “liberated” animals will probably starve to death. Nor will PETA condemn liberationists who engage in violence and intimidation of insurance-company and bank employees merely for doing business with animal-testing facilities, a deplorable but effective tactic intended to put the laboratories out of business. When I asked PETA’s second-in-command, Bruce Friedrich, to disavow ALF tactics during a debate on the television show Faith Under Fire last year, he refused.


PETA is even willing to see animals killed before they are made proper and humane use of by humans. A classic example of this approach came to light 2003 federal litigation. PETA and other animal-liberationist organizations sued to prevent elephants from being imported from Africa and placed in zoos. The elephants in question were endangering the ecosystem of the world famous Kruger National Park. The court noted that granting the injunction would cause the elephants to be culled rather than save their lives. But the attorney for PETA and its liberationist co-plaintiffs told the court that the pachyderms “will be better off if…killed rather than imported and placed in zoos.”


In a similar vein, in 2002 PETA joined with other animal-rights groups to sponsor a constitutional amendment in Florida that prevented pregnant pigs from being placed in gestation crates, which prevents sows from moving during pregnancy. The groups spent well over $1 million on the project even though Florida was not exactly known as the “pig-farm state.” With no major pork industry in the state to finance the opposition, and after a one-sided campaign, Floridians voted to grant state constitutional rights to pregnant pigs.


When the smoke cleared, it turned out that only two pig farmers in the entire state utilized gestation crates. Since the measure made their businesses untenable financially, the farmers sent their pigs to immediate slaughter — to the general applause of animal liberationists, presumably including PETA. As a representative of the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida put it, “In the big picture, we see that as a good thing. It’s going to lessen their suffering and hasten the end of their miserable lives.”


Back to the North Carolina debacle and PETA’s handling of unwanted dogs and cats: PETA claims that it tries to find good homes for the stray cats and dogs it obtains. But one wonders how hard PETA tries. According to official records dug out by the Center for Consumer Freedom — the food-industry-financed organization that may be PETA’s foremost political opponent — in 2003, of the 2,224 dogs and cats PETA received for placement, only 312 (14%) ended up in homes. All but one of the remaining animals were killed. This has been a consistent pattern for years. The Center noted that between 1998 and 2003, PETA took in 13,021 animals. Of these, it killed 10,195, with 2,540 adopted and 261 transferred.


In contrast, animal shelters located near PETA’s headquarters had a far superior adoption-to-kill ratio in 2003. According to the statistics compiled by the Center, the Norfolk SPCA found adoptive homes for 73% and Virginia Beach adopted out 66%, compared to PETA’s meager 14%.


These numbers don’t necessarily prove anything — for example, PETA may merely have had fewer adoptable animals to handle than did the nearby shelters. But then again, they may prove something. A PETA representative answered “maybe” when asked last week whether any of the group’s euthanized animals had been adoptable. Indeed, nine of the 31 animals Hinkle and Cook are charged with killing were highly adoptable puppies and kittens. Thus, PETA’s high kill-to-adoption ratio could mean instead that the animal liberationists set unrealistic standards for the adoption of rescued cats and dogs, preferring to kill the animals than let them live in homes that are deemed ideologically incorrect.


This much is certain: The story of the killed and dumped dogs is likely to interest reporters digging behind PETA’s seemingly benign and wacky façade to explore the true ideological weirdness that lies beneath. And who knows what they will find in the darkness? Perhaps there is a reason that PETA’s alpha wolf Ingrid Newkirk called Hinkle “the Mother Theresa of animals.” Indeed, in the coming months, we may learn that PETA’s ideologues actually believe animals are better off dead than contaminated by contact with people.


— Wesley J. Smith is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute and a special consultant to the Center for Bioethics and Culture. His most recent book is Consumer’s Guide to a Brave New World.




Animal terrorism (Washington Times, 050822)


International terrorism, exemplified by the September 11 attacks and most recently in London, may pose the greatest security threat facing America. But domestic terrorists also lurk among us, mostly in the guise of animal-rights and environmental activists.


They “see themselves in a war against the entire government and industrial democracy itself,” explains Mark Potok, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project. Frankie Trull, president of the Foundation for Biomedical Research, notes: “These are unbelievably mean-spirited people” who “operate in a classic terrorist organization mode.”


Over the last decade, the Animal Liberation Front has committed 700 criminal acts, according to the FBI. ALF activists recently broke into a car belonging to a pharmaceutical executive’s wife, stole her credit cards and charged $20,000 in charitable “donations.” At the University of Iowa, ALF members destroyed laboratory equipment, removed animals, ruined research papers and threatened school employees.


Slightly less extreme is Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC), which focuses only on the one company. Last month six SHAC members went on trial for allegedly vandalizing autos and homes and attacking computer and fax systems. The judge sealed the jurors’ names to prevent any harassment of them.


People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has begun to mimic SHAC’s tactics. For instance, PETA has accosted Kentucky Fried Chicken executives, intimidated company advertising pitchmen and breached KFC events.


More recently, the group has targeted Covance, a contract laboratory. PETA illegally infiltrated an employee into Covance to videotape firm research, claiming that the company abused research monkeys.


Still,PETAGeneral Counsel Jeffrey Kerr proclaims: “PETA has no involvement with alleged ALF or ELF [Environmental Liberation Front] actions. PETA does not support terrorism. PETA does not support violence.”


Yet PETA President Ingrid Newkirk complained three years ago that nonviolence isn’t effective. In contrast, she noted, “someone makes a threat, and it works.” PETA’s number three official, Bruce Friedrich, told a 2001 animal-rights conference that “blowing stuff up and smashing windows” is “a great way to bring about animal liberation.”


Wishing it so doesn’t make it so, of course. But Miss Newkirk seems to speak for ALF when she disseminates documents purloined in ALF break-ins.


She bluntly declared: “I will be the last person to condemn ALF.” Moreover, observed Miss Newkirk: “More power to SHAC if they can get someone’s attention.”


PETA itself asserts: “The Underground Railroad and the French Resistance are both examples of people breaking the law in order to answer to a higher morality.” The group has given money to ELF and supported several violent animal-rights activists.


Most significantly, PETA provided $71,000 to Rodney Coronado, an ALF member who was convicted of arson. At Coronado’s sentencing the judge “implicated Miss Newkirk in the crime,” reports Michael Fumento of the Hudson Institute.


In May the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held hearings on ecoterrorism. FBI officials cited more than 1,200 attacks since 1990 causing roughly $112 million in damage.


“There is nothing else going on in this country over the last several years that is racking up the high number of violent crimes and terrorist actions,” argued John E. Lewis, bureau deputy assistant director. The fact that no one has been killed is just “dumb luck,” in his view.


Moreover, worries Mark Potok: “... the fringes of the animal welfare and environmental rights movements have become increasingly radicalized.” Similarly, Frankie Trull allows: “Regrettably, I think this is actually a growing industry.” Obviously, animals should be treated humanely. Curiously, PETA, which presents itself as a defender of animals, killed 12,400 animals between 1998 and 2004, in some years euthanizing as many as 86% of the animals that it took in. The charges against Covance, if true, warrant action.


But that really isn’t PETA’s first priority. Rather, the organization is advancing these charges as part of a broader agenda. Ingrid Newkirk admits that “Even if animal research resulted in a cure for AIDS, we’d be against it.” And PETA just might stop such a cure from being developed.


Frankie Trull worries: “My fear is that in this climate they have managed to drive away really brilliant minds.” PETA doesn’t look much like al Qaeda, and the groups are very different. But the danger of animal-rights and environmental terrorism is exacerbated by the enabling role of supposedly more mainstream groups such as PETA. We shouldn’t wait until people die to combat this threat.


Doug Bandow is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and a former special assistant to President Reagan.




PETA: No Sushi in Presence of Live Fish (Foxnews, 050812)


The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which often accuses others of being insensitive to animals, is now being accused of being insensitive itself, after launching a national tour called, “Are Animals the New Slaves?” The tour in New Haven, Connecticut earlier this week features giant photographs of mostly black Americans being tortured, sold and killed, next to pictures of animals being tortured, sold and killed.


One black resident of New Haven called it “the most racist thing I’ve ever seen [around here].” Another said, “You can’t compare me to a freaking cow.” PETA is standing by its display, which is now on tour.


Speaking of PETA, the organization is condemning a sushi fundraiser for the Florida Aquarium in Tampa, which is to be held at the aquarium. PETA says serving sushi in the presence of live fish is just wrong, insisting, “That’s like serving poodle burgers at a dog show.” An aquarium spokeswoman defends the fundraiser, telling the Tampa Tribune that it brings in lots of people, and “more people equals more education.”




Jesus Isn’t a Pig: Newsflash to PETA. (National Review Online, 050914)


Kathryn Jean Lopez


People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals needs a shot of perspective. Straight up. No offense to Pamela Anderson, Sharon Osbourne, Alec Baldwin, John McEnroe, and other glitterati who seem desperate to hug PETA.


Normally my instinct is to ignore this “animal rights” organization, dismissing it as just silly. After all, this is the group that’s sponsoring a “Make-Out Tour.” As the PETA’s website explains: “In a public display of passion that’s bound to raise a few eyebrows and turn lots of heads, two PETA members — a U.S. marine and Iraq War vet wearing only boxer shorts and a raven-haired beauty decked out in sexy lingerie — will passionately make out in a bed in order to make the point that vegetarians are better lovers.”


Definitively shrug-off-able.


But PETA is not run by benign tree or dolphin huggers. During their “Holocaust on Your Plate” campaign, for example, PETA contended that “like the Jews murdered in concentration camps, animals are terrorized when they are housed in huge filthy warehouses and rounded up for shipment to slaughter. The leather sofa and handbag are the moral equivalent of the lampshades made from the skins of people killed in the death camps.”


Thank you, PETA, for detestably belittling one of most horrific human tragedies in modern history.


I’m not going to deny that a cattle slaughterhouse isn’t disgusting. But any reasonable person knows that equating the plight of a cow with the coordinated extermination of millions of human beings is reprehensible.


PETA claimed to apologize earlier this year for its Holocaust campaign, but really just justified their nonsense.


The Holocaust analogy disgrace is not the group’s first offensive marketing ploy. As the Center for Consumer Freedom points out in a new study called, “Holy Cows: How PETA twists religion to push animal ‘rights,’” PETA is equal opportunity, especially when it comes down to preying on people who pray.


It’s no accident they target believers. The “Holy Cows” report documents one animal-rights leader noting at a convention for his types: “If we are not able to bring the churches, the synagogues and the mosques around to the animal rights view, we will never make large-scale progress for animal rights in the United States.”


And how does one do that? Why, offend them all.


Jesus was a vegetarian, they insist (it’s O.K. if you want to roll your eyes at that claim and move on). But what about when PETA issues a Last Supper parody card for Easter — Christianity’s greatest holy day — declaring “Jesus was the Prince of Peace, not a bloody butcher,” written in blood, depicting a figure so many believe to be divine beheading a lamb.


Now I know I’m getting annoyed. I suspect I’m not alone.


And the list goes on. PETA issues its own reads of the Koran. It toys with the Book of Mormon. Few beliefs are spared PETA’s offensiveness.


And PETA’s influence is not confined to obnoxious billboards, websites, and protests. As the “Holy Cows” notes: In 2003, PETA’s president, Ingrid Newkirk, faxed terrorist Yasser Arafat after Palestinian terrorists used explosive-strapped donkeys in a terrorist attack, asking Arafat to spare the donkeys. Not innocent Israeli civilians being targets, but the donkeys. “Leave the animals out of this conflict,” she wrote. The Center for Consumer Freedom report notes: “When The Washington Post inquired why she didn’t ask Arafat to persuade his people to stop blowing up Israeli citizens as well, she replied: ‘It’s not my business to inject myself into human wars.’”


I’m betting Newkirk knows whether Hitler, Tojo, or Idi Amin were kind to animals, too. As for me, I don’t care. I know what he did to my fellow man.


More recently, as part of their “Animal Liberation Project,” PETA again insists that animals are people, too. Wesley Smith, author of Consumer’s Guide to a Brave New World, among other books, makes the point: “When ALP places a photograph of hanged blacks with that of a dead cow being hoisted by a rope for butchering, it is because animal liberationists actually believe that the lynching of African-Americans in the Jim Crow south and slaughtering cattle are equivalent evils.”


Now take a quick visit to the London Zoo, which recently had an exhibit where men and women were on display. Eating, playing, copulating as any zoo animals might. It’s a weird, disturbing, PETA-like statement to make: That man isn’t any different from a zoo animal.


It’s a statement, that, when mixed with PETA’s tendency to compare some of the most appalling human tragedies in recent times to the front-end of a burger assembly line, is one we’ve got to watch.


It’s a worldview that, when fully considered, holds devastating possibilities, excusing human depravities, relieving men (and women) of their moral culpability. It’s not a place we want to be.


So I’m resigned to do more than roll my eyes when I next see PETA crucify a Jesus figure with a pig’s head — or whatever the next awful campaign they want to pull is.


During the Hurricane Katrina devastation down in New Orleans, Ron Magill of the Miami Metro Zoo was on Tucker Carlson’s MSNBC show talking about the plight of animals in such chaos. He said, “I said this after the hurricane at the zoo. I said, folks, you have to keep something in mind. There is no single animal life that’s more important than a human life.”


That’s what you call perspective. Someone get PETA’s head out of a donkey and remind them of that.




PETA is full of SHEETA (, 051009)


by Doug Giles


The paranormal at PETA are at it again with another stupidity campaign, and this one, mom and dad, is aimed at your kids. PETA, with its couldn’t-be-more-bizarre-if-they-tried zombies, is out in full farce with their sights set on getting your little ones, apart from you, to worship animals and eat lettuce for the rest of their lives.


Their current cacophony of craziness is this: if you took Skooter, Jr. fishing this year, well then, you’re the devil. You . . . are a bad parent. And the kids should, “turn in their fishing tackle” and even grab “Grandpa’s fishing rod so it won’t cause any more pain and suffering.” []


Through stealth research, spending tens of dollars (not to mention several acid trips in which they personally interviewed many fish), the wizards at PETA have concluded that fishing hurts the fish. No kidding? I wouldn’t have thought that a sharp hook in a fish’s mouth would hurt. Garsh. Thanks for the enlightenment. But y’know . . . even in this newly illuminated state, I couldn’t care less. All I’ve got to say is, “I’m top of the food chain. Pass the tartar sauce, and get in my belly.”


Now if PETA wants to think that way, fine. That means more fish for me. And if PETA gets their jollies as they read High Times and watch The Lion King while wearing pleather, gargling rice milk and eating tofu, well then let them. It’s a free country. But if they want to surreptitiously indoctrinate my kids with their madness, they have just faux- leathered their way into my sacred zone where trespassers are unwelcome.


Knowing that sanity reigns supreme in most American households and that the vast majority of parents think the PETA cronies are certifiable, the mentally challenged at PETA have gotten busy developing kiddy websites, worming their way into mass media and stoking their plants within the public fool system with a fresh batch of PETA Kool-Aid. Be prepared, mom and dad, for the possibility that your unmonitored kid will get that Ban roll-on glazed look over their eyes, chant the mantra of the non-meat eaters, and give you that tsk-tsk look if you order chicken for dinner, because PETA is specifically gunning for them.


If it were up to this gang (and that’s what they are) your kids would not dissect a frog, buy Dr. Marten’s, hunt quail, catch a trout, go to a circus or drink a glass of Elsie’s best, and they would virulently rebel against those who do, including you.


That’s just a little FYI, from me to you, so be on the look out for their beyond the pale political correctness to be crammed down your kids’ throats.


Now, here’s a little 411 to give to your children regarding what hunters and anglers, that’s right, “fish-catchers, meat-eaters and leather-wearers,” actually do on a on-going and on-growing annual basis for the flora and fauna of our fantabulous nation:


1. HUNTING & FISHING LICENSE SALES total nearly $1 billion annually. This contribution supplies over half the income of the state conservation agencies and is used for wildlife management, education and safety programs.


2. EXCISE TAXES on sporting equipment, such as fishing tackle, firearms and ammunition, provide another $400 million, funding thousands of conservation, habitat improvement and recreation projects across America.


3. DUCK STAMPS purchased by migratory bird hunters add another $21 million in annual funding, totaling over $500 million to date. This money has been used to purchase some 5 million acres of wetlands habitat.


4. CHARITABLE CONTRIBUTIONS by hunters and anglers to some 10,000 private organizations provide another $300 million in wildlife funding, in addition to the countless hours they spend doing vital conservation work.


5. ALL TOLD, hunters and anglers annually provide over 75% of the average funding for state conservation agencies and some nine dollars for each single taxpayer dollar invested in wildlife.


Like I said, make sure you kids get this brief.


Virtually every species of wildlife, from songbirds and chipmunks to bald eagles and whooping cranes, benefits from the programs supported and financed by hunters and anglers. PETA . . . well . . . they don’t even come close to that. They won’t, and they never will, no matter how many hepatitis-C-carting soft porn stars, B-grade actors and brothers of famous people speak on their behalf, or how many bizarre protests they stage, or how many shocking comic books they launch to boost their losing battle.


My advice, mom and dad: take your kids hunting this fall and fishing this spring and summer. Introduce them to the respectful and responsible way enjoying and using of these amazingly healthy natural resources. Join the NRA and the IGFA, as well as other state and local hunting and fishing organizations. Also, tell the teachers at that Kool-Aid Elementary that their anti-hunting, fishing and leather-wearing smack is not going to go down with you and yours and that they need to save that rhetoric for their weekend bong sessions with their adult friends who don’t mind smoking it.


I honestly wish these PETA morons would get as zealous at protecting the rights of an unborn child as they are in trying to stop someone from making an omelet out of whooping crane eggs.


Well, I must run . . . I’ve got a big slab of snook to eat, and a whitetail deer/wild boar/American Bison hunt in Texas next month for which I must prepare. However, if you want more info regarding PETA and their unending weirdness and hypocrisy, go to and




Animal rights activist: ‘Kill the researchers’: Senate committee shocked by testimony of ALF spokesman (WorldNetDaily, 051027)


WASHINGTON – A radical animal rights activist shocked members of the U.S. Senate this week by advocating the murder of those conducting medical research.


Jerry Vlasak, spokesman for the Animal Liberation Front, told the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works that killing medical researchers was “morally justified” to save laboratory animals.


Vlasak compared the life of lab animals to African American slaves and the Jewish victims of Nazi concentration camps.


He made his comments while defending a similar statement, made to the news media last year: “I don’t think you’d have to kill – assassinate – too many vivisectors before you would see a marked decrease in the amount of vivisection going on. And I think for five lives, 10 lives, 15 human lives, we could save a million, 2 million, 10 million non-human lives.”


“It is so revolting to hear what you say about murder – these aren’t extermination camps,” said Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-NJ. “What’s being done, whether you like it or not, is to try and improve the quality of life for human beings. I believe that laboratory tests involving animals can be necessary and important for the advancement of science and medicine and the protection of public health.”


The hearing was called to investigate the animal rights group SHAC, whose mission is to force the closure of one of America’s largest independent contract research organizations, Huntongton Life Sciences. Recently, the New York Stock Exchange abruptly postponed its long-planned listing of HLS’s holding company, Life Sciences Research Inc. following threats against the exchange made by SHAC.


Sen. James Inhofe, R-OK, told the FBI’s counterterrorism Deputy Assistant Director John E. Lewis, who also testified, that he plans to introduce legislation that will grant law enforcement greater flexibility in tracking and prosecuting those who break the law.


“That’s not a maybe,” he vowed after hearing Vlasak. “That’s a definite.”


Another witness, Mark Bibi, general counsel for LSRI, recounted how his private property was vandalized by SHAC.


“The car was covered with animal rights graffiti,” he said. “Warning messages were spray painted all over my house.”


Witness Skip Boruchin of NASDAQ, who was targeted by SHAC for having a business relationship with HLS, reported the group slandered him as a sex offender and harassed his elderly mother while she was residing in an assisted living home.


LSRI reportedly lost millions of dollars in business and spent over $1 million on legal costs. Its share price was battered.


Vlasak described himself as a “former vivisector” and the press officer of the North American Liberation Front.


“The actions of underground activists who care enough about animals to speak out in no uncertain terms, and at times to risk their own lives and freedom, have a message that is most urgent and one that deserves to be heard and understood,” he said. “Often underground animal liberation speech and actions either go unreported in the media or are uncritically vilified as ‘violent’ or ‘terrorist,’ with no attention paid to the needless and senseless suffering that industries and individuals gratuitously inflict on animals.”


He claimed HLS kills 500 animals a day and “will test anything for anybody. They carry out experiments which involve poisoning animals with household products, pesticides, drugs, herbicides, food colorings and additives, sweeteners and genetically modified organisms, oven cleaner and make up.”


Vlasak said the company was infiltrated in 1997 by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and found information that forced HLS to plead guilty to animal cruelty violations and pay a $50,000 fine.


He said it was important to realize “SHAC is not one group, or hierarchical entity, but an ideologically aligned group consisting on thousands of people who gather in various groups to protest the atrocities perpetrated by HLS.”


Vlasak celebrated the fact that HLS has been brought to the brink of financial ruin.




Animal rights extremists gone wild (, 051130)


by Cam Edwards


Animal rights activists are going to court to try and stop the New Jersey black bear hunt, scheduled to take place next week. As much as I hate to do it, I applaud these activists for operating within the bounds of the law, even if the ideas they promote exist outside the bounds of common sense.


Of course, for every one of these activists who operate inside the law, there are others who have no qualms about violating the law; threatening violence, committing acts of vandalism, even advocating death for hunters.


In the wake of my last column on these animal rights terrorists, a number of supporters of animal rights extremism have emailed me, taking me to task for being a speciesist. “A what,” you ask? A speciesist is one who discriminates on the basis of species. I, being an omnivore, am obviously a speciesist because I eat meat and I don’t have a problem with hunting.


This is a pretty typical email, received earlier this week by a fellow named Najib. He writes:


“how about stopping them [animal rights terrorists] by stopping the killing of these animals?!


how fair is it to hold any being at gun point when they cannot fight back?!


how would u feel if your child or even yourself was fullowed [sic] by a group of blood hungry people with guns?!”


So, following Najib’s logic, the way to stop terrorism is to change your behavior so that it’s no longer upsetting to the terrorists. Surrender, in other words. That doesn’t exactly sound like a winning strategy in fighting terrorism. It sounds like grade school level reverse psychology from a supporter of animal rights terrorism, as a matter of fact.


Emailer James is at least a little more coherent in his argument. He writes:


“You should give animal rights people a little more respect. Most of them are more concerned with animal pain than they are animal death.”


I’ve got no problem with prosecuting people for cruelty to animals. But I should give a little more respect to these people because they’re only interested in stopping animals feeling pain? Let me tell you a story, and then you tell me how much respect you have for these “animal liberators”.


For three decades, the Hall family has raised guinea pigs at their farm in Newchurch, England. Guinea pigs have long been used in medical research, helping scientists develop the vaccine for diphtheria, treatment for whooping cough, and the antibiotic streptomycin. The Halls are providing a service to mankind by raising these animals that can be used as research tools.


But the animal rights terrorists don’t see it that way. They see the Hall family as killers who must be stopped by any means necessary. And for six long years they tried. Death threats, bomb threats, and vandalism were just a few of the tools the terrorists used to try and stop the Halls from breeding their guinea pigs. Nothing worked. That’s when the creeps decided to dig up the Hall’s grandmother.


That’s right. In October of 2004, the animal rights extremists that we should respect dug up the body of 82-year-old Gladys Hammond and held it for ransom, in essence telling the family “give up the rodents and we’ll give back Grandma”. The Hall family waited for months while police investigated the crime, but finally in August of this year they capitulated. A spokesman for the family said at the time “We now hope that, as a result of this announcement, those responsible for removing Gladys’ body will return her so she can lie once again in her rightful resting place.


“David Hall and Partners are planning a return to traditional farming. They have no plans to be involved in any way in the breeding of animals for medical or scientific research.”


At last report, the family was still waiting for Gladys Hammond’s remains to be returned.


Don’t talk to me about respecting these sickos. They deserve respect like Ashton Kutcher deserves an Oscar. And obviously the animal rights activists don’t respect humans. Besides the obvious mistreatment of the body of Gladys Hammond, just look at the recent comments by PETA2 blogger Noah Cooper, who recently called hunters ““really dumb white trash who should fall off a cliff”.


Not every comment I received was from a moonbat. In fact, the vast majority of them were against these extremists. Rob, for instance, wrote something work quoting:


“Animals have no responsibilities, therefore they have no rights. We have rights and responsibilities, including the responsibility to manage animal resources properly. We should never be wantonly cruel to animals, not because animals have rights, but because wantonly cruel behavior hurts us as human beings.”


Am I a speciesist? I suppose I am. I do believe that humans are at the top of the food chain. I do believe that humans are different than animals. I do believe that we have rights and responsibilities, and animals have neither. I’d hazard a guess that 99% of Americans feel the same way. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some leftover turkey from Thanksgiving to polish off.




PETA’s ties to terrorism (, 051223)


by Cam Edwards


This week’s revelation that the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has been the subject of an FBI investigation into the animal rights group’s possible ties to terrorism has stunned many liberals. PETA’s general counsel, Jeff Kerr, called the investigation “shocking and outrageous”, saying “it’s an abuse of power by the F.B.I. when groups like Greenpeace and PETA are basically being punished for their social activism.”


Two things here. First, how is PETA being punished? They’re being investigated. There’ve been no charges. There’ve been no indictments. They’re not being punished at all.


Secondly, and really the broader question: Should PETA be investigated for possible ties to terrorist groups like the Animal Liberation Front and the Earth Liberation Front, two domestic terror groups responsible for a series of arsons, bombings, and other violent acts that have caused hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage? Again, many liberals say no. At the popular lefty website, a front page story decried the investigation, saying “Everything that many of us consider moral (taking care of the environment, opposition to the war, freedom to speak our minds, to protest, etc.) is on the FBI’s ‘there might be a terrorist connection list.” So what are the chances that the liberals are right? Unfortunately, I don’t have access to the FBI’s files on PETA. I do, however, have an internet connection. Five minutes on Google can get you some pretty interesting information.


Did you know, for example, that PETA gave $1500 to the Earth Liberation Front back in 2001? That would be the same Earth Liberation Front recently described as one of the nation’s top domestic terror threats. According to the Center for Consumer Freedom, this “gift” (acknowledged in PETA’s end of the year tax return) is the only public donation the Earth Liberation Front has received.


PETA’s tax returns show some other interesting payments as well. A $2,000 payment to a David Wilson, at the time a spokesman for the Animal Liberation Front.  A $5,000 payment to Joshua Harper, a self-described anarchist who faces terrorism charges for smoke bombing an insurance company with ties to a medical research firm. Harper, incidentally, denies being a terrorist. He did tell the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, however, that he has a spark of hope ““a spark of hope in every broken window, every torched police car and every mink running free as their hearts desire.” He also says his ultimate goal is the “complete collapse of industrial civilization”.


Harper’s not the only animal rights extremist with a gift for eloquence. How about this quote from… well, let me wait to tell you who actually said this.


“I think it would be a great thing if, you know, all of these fast-food outlets and these slaughterhouses and these laboratories and the banks that fund them exploded tomorrow. I think it’s perfectly appropriate for people to take bricks and toss them through the windows, and you know everything else along the line. Hallelujah to the people who are willing to do it.”


Maybe it’s just me, but that sounds an awful lot like an endorsement of violence.

But PETA’s non-violent, so that quote couldn’t have come from one of its leaders, right? Wrong. Those are the words of Bruce Friedrich, PETA’s Director of Vegan Outreach. But hey, this is just one guy. Surely this attitude isn’t common at PETA, right? Well, here’s another quote, this time from PETA’s head, Ingrid Newkirk.


“We are complete press sluts.”


Whoops. Wrong quote, although she did say that in the New Yorker magazine back in 2003. This is the quote I was looking for.


“I will be the last person to condemn ALF.”


She’s right. PETA doesn’t condemn the Animal Liberation Front. In fact, Newkirk has written a gushing biography of the terrorist group entitled “Free the Animals”. She’s provided financial support for the ALF publication No Compromise. PETA has, over the years, compared ALF to the French Resistance, called the terrorist group the “army of the kind”, and has contributed tens of thousands of dollars to the defense funds of ALF members charged with crimes.


In fact, Newkirk herself ended up as a footnote in the trial of Rodney Coronado, an ALF member convicted of firebombing a laboratory at Michigan State University. Newkirk received two packages from Coronado, one the day before the bombing, the other shortly afterwards. The second package was actually intercepted by the FBI. Inside the package were documents stolen from the lab. U.S. Attorney Michael Dettmer said Newkirk had “arranged to have the package[s] delivered to her days before the MSU arson occurred.”


Again, you don’t need to have a top secret clearance to learn these things. You just need to do some digging on the internet. After learning these facts, I’m not “shocked and appalled” that the FBI is investigating a possible tie between PETA and eco-terrorists. I’d be shocked and appalled if the government wasn’t looking into PETA.


I’ve been fortunate enough to write a few columns on the animal rights extremists for, and after every one I always get a few emails from people criticizing me for writing about these organizations. They’d rather I highlight the positive stories of animal lovers, of which there are many. I’ll make these folks a deal. As soon as I start seeing some of these animal lovers renounce PETA, ALF, and others who condone violent terrorist actions, I’ll write a nice story about an animal lover. If not, I’ve got a great story in the pipeline about a number of animal rights extremists recently arrested in New Jersey, including one guy facing charges of “making a terrorist threat”. The peaceful, nonviolent activists strike again.




Dark Elves: The FBI takes down the Earth Liberation Front. (Weekly Standard, 060202)


IT WAS TO HAVE BEEN the perfect crime. A recon of the target had already been accomplished, and a staging area selected, where a hole had been dug to later bury the evidence. All was ready: timer, dark clothing, two-way radios and police scanner, masks and gloves, a drill, and the acid. Night was thick in the little town of Redmond, hard by the Deschutes National Forest in central Oregon. The four actors moved off toward their target. Three of them had nicknames: J.P., Dog, and Seattle.


White five-gallon plastic buckets were their trademark. Inside the bucket was diesel fuel and ground up soap, used to thicken the fuel and slow the burning. The one known as J.P. carried the bucket and timer.


Their target was a meat packing plant owned by Cavel West, Inc. The plant slaughtered wild horses rounded up by the Bureau of Land Management, and sent the meat to Europe. At the plant, the man known as Seattle drilled a hole in an exterior wall. The fuel was poured through the hole into the building. The timing device was activated.


J.P., Seattle, Dog, and the fourth arsonist hurried back to their staging area, dropped their clothes and shoes into the hole, poured acid over the clothes, filled the hole with dirt, then scattered like poultry.


The fire—which occurred on July 21, 1997—caused a million dollars in damage. The meat packing plant has never reopened.


Earlier this month, after a nine-year FBI investigation, federal prosecutors handed down a 65-count indictment against 11 people—including


J.P., Seattle, and Dog—involving 16 acts of sabotage and arson. Arrests were made across the country.


The indictments and arrests may have broken the back of the Earth Liberation Front—which the FBI has concluded is our most serious domestic terrorism threat. They estimate that the group’s members have caused $100 million in damages since the mid-1990s.


The indictments reveal the extreme enviro movement’s hapless clumsiness, its paint-thin philosophy, and its dangerousness.


THE EARTH LIBERATION FRONT originated in Great Britain, where in the early 1990s several Earth First! activists decided their organization—with its lobbying and organizing and pamphleteering—was too passive. Direct action—their term for setting fires and tree spiking, which is also called monkey-wrenching—was needed. Judi Bari, an Earth First! leader, wrote, “It’s time to leave the night work to the elves in the woods.” A 1993 ELF communiqué declared solidarity with the Animal Liberation Front—known for freeing minks—and now acts jointly with the ALF.


Earth Liberation Fronters call themselves elves. On October 28, 1996 the elves set fire to the U.S. Forest Service ranger station in Marion County, Oregon, their first act of arson in the United States.


The Earth Liberation Front’s philosophy is a mix of Marx, Unibomber, and Beavis and Butthead. An ELF communiqué (why can’t these people call them messages?) states, “ELF works to speed up the collapse of industry, to scare the rich, and to undermine the foundations of the state.” A New York Times article quotes an ELF activist saying that “It takes all the tools in the toolbox to dismantle the master’s machine.” Jeffrey Luers, who calls himself Free, and who is serving a 22-year sentence for torching SUVs at a Eugene, Oregon Chevrolet dealership, and who bears an odd resemblance to Gilligan, lists in a letter to followers those things he fights for: animal rights, gender equality, anti fascism, and eco-defense. Luers remembers his thoughts as he set fire to the Chevies, “Wow, I’m really doing this.”


Also, they don’t like freeways. The headquarters of the Republican party in Monroe County, Indiana was set on fire because it supported the extension of an interstate highway. One sympathizer sums up ELF philosophy: “Knock down all the concrete.” This nihilism begins early in some elves. Luer’s partner in the SUV arson, Craig Marshall, said, “Back in the fifth grade, I was already questioning the Pledge of Allegiance.” Marshall earlier copped a plea, and was sentenced to five years.


PERHAPS the ELF spokesman could make sense of all this. During hearings in 2002, members of Congress, trying to understand the ELF philosophy, questioned former ELF spokesman Craig Rosebraugh, who replied with more than 50 refusals to answer based on the Fifth Amendment. (He even refused to answer whether or not he was an American citizen.) But when he wasn’t taking the Fifth, he did manage to promote the Zapatista cause in Mexico, accuse the United States of trying to assassinate Egypt’s President Nasser, and imply America was complicit in the 9/11 attacks. Rosebraugh denies he is an elf himself, saying, “I receive anonymous communications from the ELF and act as a conduit . . . to let people know these are not just random acts.”


THE EARTH LIBERATION FRONT is as maladroit as it is earnest. It took the elves a while to figure out the timers. One placed on the roof of an Oregon Ranger station just sat there, a dud. The incendiary devices they use are typically Rube Goldberg contraptions, using matches, sponges, model rocket parts, kitchen timers, buckets, and bottles. (They are called cat’s cradles.)


Firebombs were found on the roof the Nike outlet in Albertville, Minnesota. They didn’t go off, but ELF claimed credit anyway, saying the attack had something to do with child labor. Or perhaps it might’ve been globalization. It depends on how one reads the communiqué. Last year, bombs believed to be planted by the ELF failed to detonate at two government buildings in Auburn, California and at a nearby house under construction. Sometimes the elves can’t be bothered with the complications of a firebomb: in 2001 they settled for smashing windows and a neon sign at an Old Navy store in Huntington, New York. Occasionally, even that dime-store vandalism is too much effort. In September 2002 elves ripped up oil-exploration survey markers near Moab, Utah. And once in a while they stoop to simple graffiti: Red paint was sprayed on the Mexican Consulate in Boston to protest the treatment of peasants in Mexico.


The elves take great pride in not targeting people. But a spreading fire acts indiscriminately and authorities believe only luck has prevented human casualties.


The fires, however, have caused abundant damage. ELF arson at a Vail mountaintop restaurant in October 1998 resulted in a $12 million loss. An arson fire at the USFS Oakridge Ranger Station in Lane County, Oregon caused $5.3 million in damage. An ELF fire at the University of Washington’s Horticultural Center in Seattle resulted in $2 million in damage. The list of million dollar fires is long: the Department of Agriculture National Wildlife Facility in Olympia, Washington, the Childers Meat Company in Lane County, Oregon, the Boise Cascade office in Polk County, Oregon, the Superior Lumber Company in Glendale, Oregon, the Jefferson Poplar Farms in Columbia County, Oregon. No damage estimate can be found for the Bonneville Power Administration high tension power line near Bend, Oregon that the elves toppled in December 1999. James F. Jarboe, chief of the FBI’s Domestic Terrorism Section, testified before a House committee that the elves have committed more than 600 criminal acts in the United States since 1996.


What is the Earth Liberation Front? Its website defines it as an “international underground movement consisting of autonomous groups of people who carry out direct action according to E.L.F. guidelines.” The site says there is no structure and no membership.


The ELF might hesitate to claim kinship with the Ku Klux Klan, but Stefan H. Leader and Peter Probst note that this principal of “leaderless resistance” was developed by the KKK and Aryan Nations activist Louis Beam. The ELF site advises that it would be useless to try to join the ELF, as you would never find them, and it could threaten other elves. “There is no centralized authority or chain-of-command,” Leader and Probst write, saying the structure makes infiltration difficult. Bruce Barcott in the New York Times writes that in a video sold in Portland’s counterculture bookshops (Igniting the Revolution: An Introduction to the Earth Liberation Front) Craig Rosebraugh tells viewers to start their own cells. “There’s no realist chance of becoming active in an already existing cell. Take initiative. Form your own cell.”


But the loose structure doesn’t prevent that ancient bane of criminal organizations: ratting out. The Department of Justice’s indictment lists one criminal act after another, and as the indictment identifies the alleged perps of each arson by name and nickname, it then adds in count after count “and other persons known to the Grand Jury.” These other persons are the informants, and while the indictment doesn’t name them, a defense motion filed in the U.S. district court in Eugene says one of the snitches is Stanislas “Country Boy” Meyerhoff, a 28-year-old who attends Piedmont Community College in Charlottesville, Virginia. Oregon’s Ashland Daily Tidings reports that Lauren Regan, an attorney with the Civil Liberties Defense Center in Eugene, has said the government’s case is based largely on the testimony of one Jake Ferguson, who has admitted his role in the actions and has agreed to cooperate with the FBI. The San Diego Union Tribune reports there may be an additional two informants.


Who are the alleged elves? Here’s a sample. Jonathan Paul—known as J.P.—was arrested at an inn in Greensprings, Oregon while he was eating a tofu burger on a homemade bun, reports the Jackson County Mail Tribune. J.P. is a volunteer firefighter near Ashland, Oregon, with a trust fund and other assets worth $1.7 million. J.P.’s wife describes him as “non-violent, peaceful, and compassionate.”


Kevin Tubbs, who is called Dog, is described at the Support Kevin Tubbs website as “a uniquely gentle, loving person who is uncommonly generous to friends and strangers alike. He is not a violent person.” The site has Dog’s wish list of books he would like sent to him at the Sheridan Federal Corrections Center in Sheridan, Oregon. Prison Etiquette: The Convict’s Compendium of Useful Information, by Philip Metres, has been removed from the list as Dog has already received it, thank you.


Defendant Suzanne Savoie of Applegate Valley, Oregon, known as India, is accused of being the lookout in the 2001 firebombing of the Superior Lumber Co.’s offices. She is described by an Ashland resident Jan Wright, mother of Savoie’s partner, as “absolutely non-violent.” That’s the common denominator for the defendants, their devotion to non-violence. Except, of course, for the firebomb thing.


Of the 11 alleged elves indicted on January 20, eight are in custody and three remain in hiding. The evidence against the ELF 11 consists of 35 CDs of recorded conversations, 40,000 pages of other evidence, fake IDs, a book titled Advanced Anarchist Arsenal, and, of course, white plastic buckets.


An unindicted conspirator, William C. Rodgers, a.k.a. Avalon, has already martyred himself, suffocating in a commissary plastic bag in his Arizona jail cell. If convicted of multiple counts, the other elves face decades in prison. They’ll be out of sight, but perhaps they will enter our lore, as did Robin Hood. It has already begun. Folk musician David Rovics has written a song about Jeffrey Luers, the fellow who set fire to the Chevies and is doing 22 hard ones. The song is titled Free, after Luers’ nickname. Some of the lyrics:


I saw the highways, I saw the mall

I saw the eagle, heard the clarion call

Voices of reason were talking to me

So I burned down a couple of SUV’s


James Thayer is a frequent contributor to THE DAILY STANDARD. His twelfth novel, The Gold Swan, has been published by Simon & Schuster.




US animal activists accused of terrorising UK firm (Times Online, 060207)


Six animal rights activists have gone on trial in the US charged with terrorism over an alleged campaign of harassment against a British animal research company.


Prosecutors say that the group’s website incited violence as part of its campaign to shut down Huntingdon Life Sciences, which operates animal-testing labs in the US state of New Jersey.


The activists contend that criticising the company’s operations, and even applauding the illegal actions of others who lash out against it, is an exercise in free speech and is not illegal.


The six activists from the Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (Shac) campaign were arrested in May 2004 and charged with animal enterprise terrorism, conspiracy and stalking, under a federal law that equates such crimes with domestic terrorism.


Jury selection began yesterday at a federal courthouse in New Jersey’s state capital, Trenton, where about 70 animal rights protesters picketed outside. Many held signs criticising the company for its work on animals, as well as the government for prosecuting the defendants.


Shac was set up in the UK in 1999 with the aim of closing down Britain’s biggest animal-testing laboratory, although it says that its international branches, including that in the US, are fully independent.


One of the defendants in the US, however, Shac-USA’s president Kevin Kjonaas, spent two years in Britain and took command of the UK arm while its leaders served prison sentences in 2002.


In the UK, Shac campaigners have been legally barred from demonstrating outside Huntingdon premises, although their ‘direct actions’ against the group and its suppliers and customers continue.


The website run by Shac-USA shows what it says are undercover videos of beagles being slapped, force-fed and otherwise manhandled, allegedly by workers at a research lab that uses animals to test the safety of drugs and chemicals.


US federal prosecutors say that the site encourages violent attacks against Huntingdon and its employees. The indictment lists numerous acts of vandalism, harassment and intimidation that followed postings on the website, including the overturning of a Huntingdon employee’s car in the driveway of his home, and the throwing of rocks through his windows.


Other alleged crimes include the smoke-bombing of the offices of two Seattle insurance companies that did business with Huntingdon, spray-painting and threatening to burn down the homes of several officials of companies doing business with Huntingdon, and a cyber-attack on Huntingdon’s computer network.


“This is not activism,” prosecutor Christopher Christie said at the time of the arrests. “This is a group of lawless thugs attacking innocent men, women and children.”


The group makes no apologies for its five-year campaign against Huntington, which it says kills 500 animals per day. A spokeswoman for the group denied it broke any laws.


“The government contends it rises to the level of domestic terrorism. We say it’s free speech,” Andrea Lindsay said.


Officials of Huntingdon say animal tests are done as humanely as possible and stressed that their company is not on trial. “We’re grateful for the Justice Department’s efforts in bringing this case, and we, along with the rest of the biomedical research community, will be watching the outcome very carefully,” said Mike Caulfield, Huntingdon’s general manager.


The defendants - Mr Kjonaas, Lauren Gazzola, Jacob Conroy, Joshua Harper, Andrew Stepanian and Darius Fullmer - could face as much as 13 years in prison and fines of up to $750,000 each if convicted.


This is the second time the government has put the group on trial. The first trial ended in a mistrial last June after Mr Kjonaas became ill during his opening argument.


Shac-USA says it never told anyone to break the law or commit illegal acts. A section of its website urging people to call Huntingdon and companies that deal with it “and ask them to justify their involvement in animal cruelty” includes a caution that “Shac does not encourage repetitive, rude or threatening phone calls and e-mails. Make your point politely.”




Professor: Many Humans Have To Die For Earth To Live (Foxnews, 060404)


Austin, texas — a university of texas biology professor has been targeted by talk radio, bloggers and vitriolic e-mails — including a death threat — after a published report that he advocated death for most of the population as a means of saving the earth.


But dr. Eric pianka said monday his remarks about what he believes is an impending pandemic were taken out of context.


“what we really need to do is start thinking about controlling our population before it’s too late,” he said. “it’s already too late, but we’re not even thinking about it. We’re just mindlessly rushing ahead breeding our brains out.”


The public furor began when the gazette-enterprise of seguin, texas, reported sunday on two speeches pianka made last month to groups of scientists and students about vanishing animal habitats and the explosion of the human population.


The newspaper’s jamie mobley attended one of those speeches and also interviewed forrest mims, an amateur scientist and author who heard pianka speak early last month before the texas academy of science.


After the newspaper’s report appeared, it was circulated widely and posted on “the drudge report.” It quickly became talk-radio fodder.


The gazette-enterprise quoted pianka as saying disease “will control the scourge of humanity. We’re looking forward to a huge collapse.”


The professor weighed the killing power of various diseases such as bird flu and hiv, insisting neither would yield the needed results.


“hiv is too slow. It’s no good,” he said. He went on to discuss how an ebola pandemic could wipe out a significant chunk of the human population.


• click here to view the bird flu center.


Pianka said he was only trying to warn his audience that disease epidemics have happened before and will happen again if the human population growth isn’t contained.


He said he believes the earth would be better off if the human population were smaller because fewer natural resources would be consumed and humans wouldn’t continue to destroy animal habitats. But he said that doesn’t mean he wants most humans to die.


But mims, chairman of the academy’s environmental science section, told the associated press there was no mistaking pianka’s disdain for humans and desire for their elimination.


“he wishes for it. He hopes for it. He laughs about it. He jokes about it,” mims said. “it’s got to happen because we are the scourge of humanity.”


David marsh, president of the texas academy of science, did not return telephone and e-mail messages seeking comment. No recording or transcript of either that speech or another delivered last friday at st. Edward’s university in austin was available for review by the ap.


The gazette-enterprise said it reviewed a transcript of the original speech, which was provided on the condition that it not be distributed.


Allan hook, a st. Edward’s biology professor who heard both speeches, said pianka “wasn’t so perhaps adamant in his own personal views of what he thinks might happen” in his second lecture.


But hook declined to elaborate on what pianka said in the earlier speech, which pianka delivered while being honored as the academy’s 2006 distinguished texas scientist.


University of texas officials don’t plan to take any action against pianka, university spokesman don hale said.


“dr. Pianka has first amendment rights to express his point of view,” hale said. “we have plenty of faculty with a lot of different points of view and they have the right to express that point of view, but they’re expressing their personal point of view.”



Lobsters v. Whole Foods: A great day for lobsters, sort of . . . (Weekly Standard, 060706)


SOON the Supreme Court may be forced to consider a thorny question it has hidden from for too long: Does the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment protect shellfish?


Okay, perhaps not “soon.” The issue hasn’t gone to appeal. And, it’s not—yet—technically the subject of any state or federal litigation. But last month the Bobo supermarket chain Whole Foods announced that it would no longer be selling live lobsters or soft shell crabs from in-store tanks. They concluded that the practice was inhumane.


The company’s press release was quick to point out that it would still be retailing frozen lobster and crab products (products—as in flesh.)


Whole Foods based its decision partly on the dubious conclusion of a 2005 European Union report that found lobsters feel pain and learn. The rest of the equation was their finding (noticing, really) that when sold live, lobsters—natural loners among decapod crustaceans—can be transported and stored one on top of another in cramped tanks for up to six months before final purchase. Earlier this year Whole Foods’ Northeast and Atlanta stores briefly installed “condos” in their lobster tanks: short sections of PVC pipe that the lobsters could snuggle up inside of in privacy. But it wasn’t a comprehensively humane solution. Dropping live sales, the company switched to a vendor that dispatches the creatures right off the boat, in just seconds, with a pressurized metal tube.


Amy Schaefer, a Whole Foods spokesperson, summed up the corporate thinking: “Lobsters are going to be caught and going to be eaten . . . [what we’re] trying to do is create a supply chain that treats the animals with respect and minimizes unnecessary pain.”


This is essentially the same reasoning the Supreme Court has used in interpreting the Eighth Amendment: Capital punishment is not by itself cruel and unusual (and, presuming the synonym, inhumane), but you can do it in certain ways that make it so, and those ways are verboten.


Whole Foods, by reasoning that implicitly says lobsters have a right (just like U.S. citizens!) to be treated humanely in this particular way, is extending a parallel, abstract protection against the cruel and unusual to maritime invertebrates.


From here, the legal issues could complicate exponentially. If lobsters are entitled to their own sort of Eighth Amendment, do they get constitutions, too? How can the grocery store lobster tank square with Roeper v. Simmons, which prohibits the execution of those under 18 at the time of their crime? Homarus americanus can live to be 50 years old, though by the time they’re butter sauced most lobsters are between 4 and 7. On a human scale that’s something like 11 years old. Are trapped lobsters being provided with adequate defenses? (This might hinge on when those rubber bands go on.) What is due process for arthropods? (Probable cause = probable deliciousness?) What adjustments need to be made to Atkins v. Virginia—banning the execution of mentally retarded convicts—given that one can’t describe a lobster’s “brain” without quote marks?


Perhaps a higher retail authority—say Wal-Mart—will move to overturn Whole Foods’ ruling.


If lobster rights ever did make it before the Supreme Court, a definitive ruling on the legal protections could also help the High Court wrangle with thornier issues, such as abortion and assisted suicide. Seriously.


On big questions, the Court has usually been somewhat concerned with public attitudes and Whole Foods’ stance, discouragingly, reflects the ethical intuitions of people who enjoy a good BLT, but also evince casual concern at the ethical nastiness of food, things like factory farms and bovine growth hormones.


These are exactly the sort of middle-class, middle-way type people who buy into Whole Foods’ promotion of things natural and organic. And to judge by Whole Foods’ annual sales, this is a growing class. And ultimately, conceptions about the proper treatment of animal life are only assumptions about human life projected onto cows and frogs: instincts about one connect us to instincts about the other.


Most shoppers will probably shrug at the chain’s decision, and few will leave it because it is treating its shellfish too humanely. But for those who buy into Whole Foods’ reasoning, other things follow. If it’s inhumane to cause undue pain to a being that can feel it, but acceptable to terminate that being’s life in a painless way, then it follows that partial-birth abortions are inhumane but abortions in early pregnancy are acceptable. And if it’s accepted that it’s better to kill a lobster quickly than to keep it alive for six months in conditions that are degrading and painful to it, then it’s certainly true that it’s acceptable for people to terminate their own lives rather than live for years in painful and degrading conditions.


Louis Wittig is a media writer in New York.




Russian fur under attack (Washington Times, 070212)


MOSCOW — An anti-fur campaign being introduced by an animal rights group today holds little fear for furriers, who say Russian women will never give up their fur coats, which are prized both as status symbols and protection against the bitter cold.


The anti-fur group, called Vita, hopes to emulate the success of their counterparts in the West, who have made the fur coat an endangered species on the streets of London and New York.


During a rally at Pushkin Square in central Moscow today, Vita will ask women to hand over their fur coats, hats and stoles so they can be destroyed. The event is timed with the start of “maslenitsa,” or Shrovetide, when Russians traditionally begin spring cleaning before Lent.


But the activists face an uphill struggle trying to win over Russian women, who consider their fur coats as essential — whether they have just one that was bought after years of scrimping or closets brimming with mink, sable and white fox.


“For a Russian woman, fur is not only fashionable, it’s necessary,” said Helen Yarmak, one of Russia’s top fur designers, who has salons in Moscow and New York. “When it is as cold as it is here, people really need fur.”


After the warmest January on record, winter arrived in Moscow this month with temperatures below minus 15 degrees Fahrenheit, and the streets are crowded with women in fur coats and hats. Few seemed willing to do without.


“How else are you going to keep warm in this weather?” asked 29-year-old Nadya Ivanova, wrapped in a brown mink coat.


She said she doubted anyone would turn up today to hand in their furs. “Every young Russian girl dreams of getting her first fur coat. She’s not just going to give it away.”


Vita officials sympathize with the women but sympathize more with the animals.


“We know it’s difficult for people to give up things that are fashionable and expensive, but we want to make them aware of the cruelty that goes into making their fur coats,” said Yelena Maruyeva, Vita’s director. “People don’t understand how badly animals are treated on fur farms, how they’re abused.”


Animal rights groups say the millions of animals raised for their pelts around the world are frequently mistreated — kept in small, filthy cages for the duration of their lives before being killed, often painfully.


Vita models itself on People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which for nearly three decades has been waging a high-profile campaign against animal cruelty in the United States. PETA has scored dozens of celebrity endorsements in its war against fur, with many posing in the nude for its “I’d rather go naked than wear fur” campaign.


Vita has had less success. Its attempts to recruit high-profile supporters in Russia have largely failed, with only a handful of minor celebrities agreeing to give up fur.


Russia is the largest consumer of fur in the world, according to the British Fur Trade Association, with Russians spending about $2.5 billion a year on furs. Industry groups say fur sales have soared in recent years as Russia’s economic boom drives demand for luxury goods. Furs at Miss Yarmak’s boutiques can cost as little as $500 or as much as $400,000.


Fur hats and coats have long been a symbol of prestige among Russians, with the most-expensive furs, such as sable, considered the most prestigious. “Fur is a symbol for a Russian woman, of the love of a man or of how hard they’ve worked,” Miss Yarmak said.


Representatives of Russia’s fur industry dispute claims that animals are mistreated.


“The industry is regulated, and there are standards for our fur providers,” said Natalya Chirkova, a spokeswoman for Soyuzpushina, Russia’s largest fur auction house. “It’s impossible to have good quality fur if the animals are treated badly.”


She also argued that fake fur and other synthetic materials are worse for the environment than genuine fur because their production leads to large-scale factory pollution.


Vita admits it’s unlikely many people will turn in their furs today. “I can’t even get my relatives to do it,” Miss Maruyeva said. “My aunt said she knows it’s cruel but can’t appear in public without her fur coat.”


Still, Miss Maruyeva said, recognition of animal rights are still in its infancy in Russia and Vita is hoping that by raising public awareness, Russians may one day turn against fur.


“We’re just a drop in the sea right now because there’s no history of animal rights in Russia. But when we show people footage of the fur farming and the cruelty, they start to understand. So it is possible.”




Kill Knut? The Twisted Logic of Animal Rights Extremists (Mohler, 070320)


The star attraction of the Germany’s Berlin Zoo is “Knut,” a three-month-old polar bear cub. Knut is popular because he is undeniably cute, but he is also the focus of controversy as well. It seems that some animal rights activists want to have him killed.


From Der Spiegel:


Everyone loves Knut. The three-month-old polar bear born in one of Berlin’s zoos has become a star in the German capital and has won hearts the world over. Indeed, the exact date of his first public appearance — likely to be made later this week — is the subject of almost as much anticipation as the details of Britney Spears Alcoholics Anonymous love affair. It’s impossible not to love the little guy, right?


Well, not quite. Animal rights activists, as SPIEGEL reported Monday, aren’t so enthralled with the polar bear baby. They are concerned that Knut, who is being raised by human hand after his mother rejected him, is in danger of losing touch with the bear necessities. Some would like to see him dead.




“Raising him by hand is not appropriate to the species but rather a blatant violation of animal welfare laws,” animal rights activist Frank Albrecht told the mass circulation newspaper Bild, whose front page headline Monday read “Will Sweet Knut Be Killed by Injection?”


Berlin Zoo is allowing Knut to be raised in such a way that the bear will have a behavioral disorder for the rest of his life, Albrecht believes. “In actual fact, the zoo needs to kill the bear cub,” he adds.


He’s not alone. Wolfram Graf-Rudolf, director of the Aachen Zoo, told the newspaper, “I don’t consider it appropriate for the species that the little polar bear is being raised on a bottle.” The animal will be fixated on his keeper and not be a “real” polar bear, he says. However he feels it is now too late to put Knut out of his supposed misery. “The mistake has been made. One should have had the courage to put him to sleep much earlier.”


Zoo keepers started feeding Knut with a bottle after his mother rejected him. The keepers did not do this in order to tame the bear, but to save his life. Knut is the first polar bear born at the zoo in over thirty years.


Animal rights activists have added an important voice to our moral conversation. In some cases, cruel and abusive practices have been brought to light. In other cases, however, animal rights extremists deny any special status to human beings and thus deny that we should treat animals any differently than we would treat a fellow human.


As stewards of God’s creation, we are charged to delight in the animals, and to rule over them. We rightly eat their flesh and use their skins and hides. We enjoy their companionship and find pleasure in the wonders of the animal kingdom. We enjoy a good zoo, where we are all children at heart.


This is the real problem with Knut and the controversy surrounding him. The decision to have a zoo — a perfectly justifiable decision in my view — is a decision to house and care for animals in a way that is surely different from their natural habitat. Zoos do not allow tigers to hunt and kill zebras, for example. The decision to have a zoo is a decision to face the realities of caring for the animals that are housed and born there.


Furthermore, one clear purpose of zoos is to attract and delight crowds of humans who are drawn by the excitement and pleasure of looking at cute, dangerous, exotic, and famous animals. Zoos dress up their mission statements with passages about scientific study, defending biodiversity, and other purposes — no doubt legitimate — but those do not explain why people are buying tickets to get in.


Animal rights extremists undercut their own message when they call for killing little Knut. The German public is nuts about him. Knut is cute — no doubt about that. This controversy should remind Christians of our responsibility to the animal kingdom.


In addition, we should remember that human beings are alone created in God’s image. Knut reflects the glory of God in his beauty, but the bear has no consciousness of this fact.


For Christians, a trip to the zoo is an exercise in observing the wonder of God’s creation — and in imagining the Creator’s delight in each animal. As for this little polar bear, let’s hope the animal rights activists don’t have their way. Don’t kill the bear.




Austrian Group Wants Chimpanzee Granted Basic Rights (Foxnews, 070504)


VIENNA, Austria  —  In some ways, Hiasl is like any other Viennese: He indulges a weakness for pastry, likes to paint and enjoys chilling out by watching TV.


But he doesn’t care for coffee, and he isn’t actually a person — at least not yet.


In a closely watched test case that could set a global legal precedent for granting basic rights to apes, Austrian animal rights advocates are waging an unusual court battle to get the 26-year-old male chimpanzee legally declared a “person.”


Hiasl’s supporters argue that he needs that status to become a legal entity who can receive donations and get a guardian to look out for his interests.


“Our main argument is that Hiasl is a person and has basic legal rights,” said Eberhart Theuer, a lawyer leading the challenge on behalf of the Association Against Animal Factories, a Vienna animal rights group.


“We mean the right to life, the right to not be tortured, the right to freedom under certain conditions,” Theuer said.


“We’re not talking about the right to vote here.”


The campaign was launched earlier this year after the animal sanctuary where Hiasl (pronounced HEE-zul) and another chimp, Rosi, have lived for the past 25 years went bankrupt.


Activists want to ensure the two apes don’t wind up homeless if the shelter closes. Both have already suffered trauma: They were captured as babies in Sierra Leone in 1982 and smuggled in a crate to Austria for use in experiments at a pharmaceutical research laboratory. Customs officers intercepted the shipment and turned the chimps over to the shelter.


Their food and veterinary bills run about US$6,800 a month. Donors have offered to help, but there’s a catch: Under Austrian law, only a person can receive personal donations.


Organizers could set up a foundation to collect cash for Hiasl, whose life expectancy in captivity is about 60 years. But without basic rights, they contend, he still could be sold to someone outside Austria, where he’s now protected by strict animal cruelty laws.


“If we can get Hiasl declared a person, he would have the right to own property. Then, if people wanted to donate something to him, he’d have the right to receive it,” said Theuer, who has vowed if necessary to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France.


Austria isn’t the only country where primate rights are being debated. Spain’s parliament is considering a bill that would endorse the Great Ape Project, a Seattle-based international initiative to extend “fundamental moral and legal protections” to apes.


If Hiasl gets a guardian, “it will be the first time the species barrier will have been crossed for legal ‘personhood,”‘ said Jan Creamer, chief executive of Animal Defenders International, which is working to end the use of primates in research.


Paula Stibbe, a Briton who teaches English in Vienna, petitioned a district court to be Hiasl’s legal trustee. On April 24, Judge Barbara Bart rejected her request, ruling that Hiasl didn’t meet the two key tests: He is neither mentally impaired nor in an emergency.


Although Bart expressed concern that awarding Hiasl a guardian could create the impression that animals essentially enjoy the same legal status as humans, she didn’t rule that he could never be considered a person.


Martin Balluch, a scientist who heads the Association Against Animal Factories, since has asked a federal court for a ruling on the guardianship issue.


“Chimps share 99.4% of their DNA with humans,” he said. “OK, they’re not homo sapiens. But they’re obviously also not things — the only other option the law provides.”


Not all Austrian animal rights activists back the legal challenge. Michael Antolini, president of the local Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said he thinks it’s absurd.


“I’m not about to make myself look like a fool” by getting involved, said Antolini, who worries that chimpanzees eventually could gain broader rights, such as copyright protections on their photographs.


But Stibbe, who brings Hiasl sweets and yogurt and watches him draw, paint and clown around by dressing up in knee-high rubber Wellington boots, insists he deserves more legal rights “than bricks or apples or potatoes.”


“He can be very playful but also thoughtful,” she said. “Being with him is like playing with someone who can’t talk.”


A date for the appeal hasn’t yet been set, but Hiasl’s legal team already has lined up several expert witnesses. Theuer said they include Jane Goodall, the world’s foremost observer of chimpanzee behavior, who revolutionized research on primates during the 1960s when she studied them at close range in Tanzania.


“When you see Hiasl, he really comes across as a person,” Theuer said.


“He has a real personality. It strikes you immediately: This is an individual. You just have to look him in the eye to see that.”




Speciesism and Rights for Animals: Of Pigs and People (Christian Post, 071113)


Chuck Colson


Five years ago, Florida voters amended their state constitution to guarantee the rights of a previously unprotected class: pregnant pigs. Specifically, the ballot initiative guaranteed pregnant sows “enough space within which to turn around.”


Now, treating animals humanely is a moral imperative, especially for Christians; treating them as if they somehow were equivalent to humans is not. And, increasingly, that is what we are doing.


At the time of the initiative, bioethicist Wesley J. Smith noted that at, any given time, there are only 300 pregnant sows in the entire state. Of these, only a handful were not being provided the space required by the amendment.


So, the initiative was not being sponsored to eliminate animal cruelty. Instead, its goal was to establish a legal and political precedent that would help redefine the relationship between people and animals—and, in this case, bestow constitutional rights on animals.


The next big test for this campaign to turn animals into rights-bearing creatures is in California. There, animal-rights supporters are trying to get an initiative on the September 2008 ballot.


This initiative would extend the “rights” granted to Florida sows to the rest of the barnyard. It would, in effect, give animals a right to stand up, lie down, turn around, and fully extend their limbs.


Again, Christians ought to oppose cruelty toward animals and ensure that animals, including those we eat, are treated humanely.


But initiatives like this one and in Florida are not really about the humane treatment of animals—they are about blurring and eventually erasing the distinction between people and animals. They are about eradicating what animal-rights advocates call “speciesism.”


Princeton ethicist Peter Singer defines “speciesism” as “a prejudice” that favors “the interests of members of one’s own species . . . against those members of other species.” Singer regards “speciesism” as being the moral equivalent of racism.


For Singer and company, the offense is not only that we treat animals badly—it is that we think that people are human and, thus, different than animals.


Christians need to beware, as well. A letter from a friend told me of a group in his church praying for the healing of pets, even laying on hands. Some Christians, who rightly love their animals, begin to think of them as humans, members of the family.


How far will the animal-rights movement go? Can you imagine pigs enjoying the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? Don’t laugh. Social changes in postmodern America happen very quickly—especially when couched in the language of rights. How quickly, for example, did abortion go from being a crime to a right? Or the demand by gays for marriage?


Worldviews matter. If you believe there is no God, then you believe there are no God-given rights. And to you, humans are indeed just one of many living accidents roaming the planet.


But we know better. And we know better than to cast human rights before swine.




Viewpoint: The Next Civil Rights Crusade (BreakPoint, 080227)

By Chuck Colson


Animals Are Not Humans


At the Adelaide Zoo in Australia, humans are housed in the old orangutan enclosure—next to the chimpanzees—to demonstrate that we are just another part of the animal kingdom.


In Seattle, people attend lectures about setting up trust funds for their pets’ care after their owners have died—just as the late Leona Helmsley did, leaving $25 million to her dog, Trouble.


In Los Angeles, a Bible-study group lays hands on a sick dog, praying God will heal her—and if not, receive her into heaven.


And at a medical research facility in Bethesda, animal-rights activists picket against the use of animals in medical research, demanding that researchers use humans instead.


Are these merely examples of over-zealous animal lovers—or signs of the latest “rights” campaign gaining steam?




Of course, humans have a special responsibility to be concerned about animal welfare (think SPCA), and Christians have a specific command to care for the creation. But that is not what we are witnessing here. These examples, and countless others like them, are signs of a growing movement—one that seeks to blur and eventually erase the distinction between animals and people.


Animal-rights advocates call such distinctions speciesism, which Princeton professor Peter Singer, author of the animal-rights classic, Animal Liberation, defines as “a prejudice” that favors “the interests of members of one’s own species . . . against those members of other species.” Singer regards speciesism as being the moral equivalent of racism. For Singer and company, the offense is not only that we treat animals badly (as, sadly, we sometimes do); it is that we think people are human and thus, different from animals. (The reason Singer supports bestiality is because he believes there is no moral distinction between animals and humans).


Beliefs like these arise from the philosophy of naturalism, the idea that nature is all there is. Humans are not considered unique and spiritual; they are just another part of material nature. But if humans are nothing more than the product of evolutionary forces, then they are no different than—certainly not superior to—pigs, dogs—or rats, as Ingrid Newkirk of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) famously said. Passing laws giving animals the same rights as humans is entirely logical; after all, if humans are not innately superior to animals, why should we lord it over them?


This is the real agenda behind initiatives to bestow constitutional rights on pigs (as happened in Florida five years ago) or legally redefine the relationship between people and animals. The next big test is in California, where activists are attempting to extend the “rights” granted to Florida sows to the rest of the barnyard—among other things, making it illegal to keep laying hens in cages. (This may sound humane—but the Animal Agriculture Alliance points out that countries that have banned cages for laying hens have experienced a drastic increase in the death rates of their birds. Cages keep them safe, protect them from the elements, and provide better access to food and water.)


Of course, Christians are called to oppose cruelty to animals and ensure humane treatment, recognizing that animals—like all created things—are God’s servants for our good. But initiatives like the ones in California are not really about humane treatment; they are about conditioning us to accept animals as our moral equivalent.




Even Christians seem to be falling for this. I am encountering more and more believers who not only treat their pets like children—up to and including mortgaging their homes to fund expensive surgeries for them—but who also think their beloved dogs and cats will be with them in Paradise, despite biblical teaching to the contrary. (All animals—including our beloved pets—are soulless creatures that will perish with the rest of the creation.)


But once the majority of Americans accept the idea that animals and humans are morally equivalent, activists will press on to their ultimate—and dangerous—goals: eliminating animal agriculture (forcing us all to become vegetarians) and banning scientific research using animals, which would jeopardize the development of life-saving medicines. And, as Singer proposes in his utilitarian formula, activists would seek to allocate scarce resources fairly among animals and humans. (Fido’s operation will create greater happiness than keeping Uncle Bob on life support).


The idea that these things could actually happen may seem preposterous, but remember, throughout our history, Americans have displayed a natural compulsion for great crusades. We have fought pitched battles over slavery, suffrage, and civil rights, which went against the grain of the times (and thank God Americans did). And today we see activists demanding, and frequently winning, special rights for homosexuals. So when politically correct gender and sexual orientation campaigns are completed, what’s next? Speciesism is the logical candidate.


Most “rights” campaigns take decades, even centuries. But today, with instant communication and pervasive media, public and political opinion can be swung quickly. At the current pace we will see the animal-rights campaign succeeding in less than a decade.


This is why we must understand the issue and learn how to defend the uniqueness of God-given human life. We should resist when anyone suggests—like that Australian zoo—that there is no real difference between humans and animals. And we should ensure that our neighbors understand the radical worldview that props up this cause. It is one that challenges Christianity’s most fundamental doctrines.


Yes, we have a duty to care for the creation that involves both the privilege of using it and the duty of protecting it, as the Scriptures command. But having compassion for animals is completely different from assigning them rights—and we should never confuse the two.




Holy Muttrimony (BreakPoint, 080311)


By Chuck Colson


Equating Animals with Humans


The groom was attired in a black tuxedo, and the bride—decked in a white silk gown and pearls—carried a small bouquet. Max and Bella exchanged rings, and the reverend declared them wed. And then the bride and groom ran off, barking and wagging their tails.


Max and Bella, you see, were Chihuahuas—and their owners had just had them joined in “holy muttrimony.” The dogs’ owners say they did it just for fun—but I am not so sure. It appears to be just one more sign of the success of an aggressive animal-rights movement—one that seeks to blur the distinction between animals and humans. And even some Christians are being unwittingly pulled into their orbit.


For example, I know of a Bible-study group in Los Angeles that recently laid hands on a sick dog, praying God would heal her—and if not, receive her into heaven. Dozens of websites offer so-called biblical “proof” that animals are resurrected just like humans. Well-meaning evangelical authors write of their hopes that God will admit their beloved pets into heaven.


Of course Christians have a specific command to care for the creation. But that is not what we are witnessing here. These are signs of Christians weakening their own best defense on what constitutes the distinctiveness of humans. Christianity teaches that humans are the only part of creation that bears the image of God. We are, thus, unique in all creation, conscious of our existence, aware of death, and capable of works of great creativity. Humans alone have eternal souls, which confers upon us a unique moral status.


Many animal-rights activists dismiss any distinctions between humans and animals as “speciesism.” Princeton professor, Peter Singer, defines this as “a prejudice” that favors “the interests of the members of one’s own species . . . against those members of other species.” If the material world is all there is, if humans are nothing more than the product of evolutionary forces, then they are essentially no different from pigs, dogs, or rats. We are merely the latest stage in evolutionary development.


Singer and PETA are consistent at least. Their campaigns to grant constitutional rights for pigs or make it illegal to keep laying hens in cages are perfectly logical. It is Christians who behave irrationally when they fall into naturalist positions out of love for their pets.


I am not suggesting that people should not love their pets. There are few things more painful than the death of the family pet, long-time companion. But nowhere do the Scriptures teach that animals have souls. They will perish with the rest of creation. When Christ returns and our bodies are resurrected, we will live in the new heaven and the new earth—where there may be new (but not resurrected) animals.


If we fail to understand our own doctrines, more and more Christians will accept the idea that animals and humans are morally equivalent. Animal-rights activists will then press on: eliminating animal agriculture and banning life-saving research, and yes, Singer says, affording the same rights to animals that we give to humans.


Christians, arguing that humans alone are made in God’s image, can make the only logical defense of the uniqueness of human life. But if out of sentimentality we treat our pets as if they have souls, we give away the argument. What tragic irony if the Church finds it has been conquered through our beloved pets.




Monkey Business in Spain (BreakPoint, 080723)


By Chuck Colson


Spain’s 1-to-nothing victory over Germany in the finals of the European Soccer Championship marked her first major title in 44 years. Well, now Spain has gotten the proverbial monkey off her back—just in time to make the monkey a Spanish citizen or the next best thing to it.


The same week that Spaniards were busy watching the home team make soccer history, the Spanish Parliament’s environmental committee was busy making history of its own: It approved a series of resolutions that committed Spain to fulfilling the goals of the Great Apes Project.


The stated goal of the Project is to obtain for “non-human great apes the fundamental moral and legal protections of the right to life, the freedom from arbitrary deprivation of liberty, and protection from torture.”


If this sounds like they want chimps, orangutans, and gorillas to be treated like people, well, that is exactly what they do want. One of those people who wants that is Princeton professor Peter Singer, who favors infanticide and the disposal of otherwise unwanted humans. Singer says, given the “rich emotional and cultural existence” of great apes, humans should extend them the “same considerations” they do to “other members of their own species.”


This blurring of the line between apes and people was summed up by Pedro Pozas, the head of the Project in Spain. He called the committee’s vote “a key moment in the [defense] of our evolutionary comrades.”


“Evolutionary comrades?” It is hard to imagine another two-word phrase that better encapsulates the power of bad ideas.


Other Spaniards did not share Pozas’s revolutionary enthusiasm. The Madrid newspaper, El Mundo, asked why the government was trying to “turn the country of bullfighting into the principal defender of the apes.” It noted that the only apes in Spain were those “that could cross over from Gibraltar.”


What’s more, given “the [economic] problems that Spanish farmers and fishermen are experiencing,” you would think that the government had more pressing priorities.


The opposition Popular Party thinks so, too. It acknowledged that great apes had been mistreated, but that the solution lay in anti-cruelty laws and protection of habitat. It called the equivalence between apes and humans “impertinent” and “unserious.”


Sadly, the measure’s proponents are very serious. Christians can support measures to protect great apes. And we can also, as C. S. Lewis did, question the morality of experimentation on animals.


But that is not the issue here: What motivates the proponents is not so much the protection of animals—it is the diminution of people, the desire to see man put in his place as just another animal.


And it is fitting that the current government of Spain would be the first one to take the plunge. As Reuters noted, the Socialist government has turned Spain, which did not even permit divorce until the 1980s, into a “liberal trailblazer.” From gay “marriage” to church-state relations, the Zapatero government is intent on re-inventing Spain.


Or, in this case, even reinventing Spaniards, if we mean by “Spaniard” those whose moral and legal rights are guaranteed by Spanish law. Which leaves only one question: Are apes better goalies or forwards? Olé, indeed!




PETA Seeks ‘Converts’ at Southern Baptist Meeting (Christian Post, 090622)


PETA members will be bringing a pro-vegetarian message with them to those attending the annual gathering of the Southern Baptist Convention, the nation’s largest Protestant denomination.


Among the demonstrators who will be standing outside the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville as the SBC opens its two-day meeting on Tuesday will be one dressed as Jesus, carrying a sign reading “For Christ’s Sake, Go Vegetarian,” and another dressed as a chicken with a sign reading “Jesus Loves Me Too.”


Other members will be holding signs reading “Thou Shalt Not Kill. Go Vegetarian” and “Blessed Are the Merciful. Go Vegetarian.” They will also hand out leaflets that relate vegetarian living to Christian teachings.


“Factory farms and slaughterhouses are a source of constant violence and bloodshed, and they cruelly exploit God’s creatures,” says PETA Vice President Bruce Friedrich in a released statement.


“For Christians, the peaceful message ‘God is love’ extends to animals too – and to embody His compassion, we must stop eating them,” he adds.


Not all – or even most – Christians would agree, however, as the Bible records Jesus eating fish and lamb and miraculously feeding a large crowd fish and bread. Furthermore, according to the Gospel of Mark, Jesus declared all foods “clean” – a declaration recorded again in the Book of Acts.


“[T]here is nothing wrong with a Christian being a vegetarian,” notes the ministry behind “[But] there was never a command against eating meat.”


“What the Bible does say is that we should not force our convictions about this issue on other people or judge them by what they eat or do not eat,” it adds, pointing to Romans 14:2-3.


But Dr. Stephen R. Kaufman, who serves as chair of the Christian Vegetarian Association, says times have changed and that the imperative to choose a plant-based diet is much stronger today than in the past.


This, he adds, is because modern animal agriculture features factory farming, which is “inherently cruel to animals; is poor stewardship because it depletes the scarce land, water, and energy resources on which all humans and animal depend; damages God’s earth; and harms our God-given bodies, the ‘temple of the holy spirit.’”


“I don’t believe that salvation depends on diet, but I do think there is a moral imperative to do what we can to reconcile the world to God’s original, harmonious, peaceful intentions,” Kaufman says.


“I think a plant-based diet is a Christian ideal, as depicted in the vegan Garden of Eden, the Peaceable Kingdom, and the Millennial Age when ‘death shall be no more,’” he states, noting verses in the Bible that support his thoughts.


Like Kaufman, PETA also refers the supposed diet in the Garden of Eden as ideal, noting that “God’s perfect world ... was vegetarian” in, a PETA website designed to reach Christians and Jews.


PETA’s faith-based arm also makes its case by directing believers to words expressed by Pope Benedict XVI after he was elected in April 2005 and when he was still Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in 2002.


In the 2002 interview, the Catholic leader affirmed that “[a]nimals, too, are God’s creatures” and that the degrading of living creatures to a commodity “seems to me in fact to contradict the relationship of mutuality that comes across in the Bible.”


“Animals are God’s creatures. He surrounds them with his providential care. By their mere existence they bless him and give him glory. Thus men owe them kindness,” he stated. “It is contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer or die needlessly.”


Though PETA will likely get few, if any, “converts” during their outreach Tuesday to members of the most conservative denomination in America, the organization will likely draw the attention of the media, as it has done with past publicity stunts.


Earlier this year, a sexually-explicit ad PETA submitted for the Super Bowl was flatly rejected but still drew the attention of thousands through the media and through social networks including YouTube, where it drew half a million hits. Over a two-day period, PETA’s website reportedly picked up more than one million hits following its rejection.


“According to advertising professionals, the three most popular elements in winning television spots are sex, humor, and animals,” the group states in its website.


PETA, however, itself has received criticism for its hyper-sexualized marketing approach, which critics say are offensive and degrading to women.


But that hasn’t stopped the organization so far. Over the last 10 years, PETA has submitted at least five Super Bowl ads.


It was also around 10 years ago that PETA made Jesus its newest pro-vegetarianism endorser and launched its Christian-catered website, then located at


“Jesus was the ‘Good Shepherd,’ not a bloody butcher,” they stated.


PETA’s Southern Baptist outreach is scheduled for noon Tuesday.




U.S. Supreme Court strikes down animal cruelty video ban (National Post, 100420)


WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that a U.S. law that makes it a crime to sell videos of animals being tortured or killed violated constitutional free-speech rights.


By an 8-1 vote, the court struck down the 1999 animal cruelty law for infringing on free-speech protections guaranteed by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.


Congress adopted the law in an attempt to stop people from profiting by the interstate sale of depictions of torture and killing of animals. It was mainly aimed at “crush” videos, in which women in high-heeled shoes step on small animals as a type of sexual fetish.


Opponents of the law had argued it was too broad and too vague, making illegal some videos of blood sports like bullfighting and even some documentaries. They said it should be struck down as a form of government censorship.


Writing for the court majority, Chief Justice John Roberts agreed that the law was substantially too broad and therefore invalid under the First Amendment.


While the prohibition of animal cruelty has a long history in American law, there is no evidence of a similar tradition prohibiting depictions of such cruelty, Chief Justice Roberts wrote in the 20-page opinion.


The ruling was a victory for Robert Stevens of Virginia, who made and sold three videos of pit bulls fighting each other and attacking hogs and wild boars.


His 2005 conviction was the first in the country under the law. Stevens was sentenced to 37 months in prison, but he has yet to start his sentence while his case was on appeal.


Attorneys for Stevens said his sentence was 14 months longer than professional football player Michael Vick’s prison term for running a dog-fighting ring. Vick has served his sentence and has resumed his career.


Laws in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, along with various other federal laws, already ban animal cruelty.


U.S. Justice Department lawyers had argued animal cruelty videos should be treated like child pornography, not entitled to any constitutional protection. Usually, videos and other depictions are protected as free speech, even if they show abhorrent conduct.


Only Justice Samuel Alito dissented. He said the law could be validly applied to at least two broad categories of expression — “crush” videos and dog-fighting videos.




Animals’ Right to Privacy Denied by Wildlife Documentaries, Says Researcher (Foxnews, 100430)


Animals filmed for television wildlife documentary series are denied their right to privacy, a leading U.K. academic claimed in a report that emerged Friday.


Dr. Brett Mills of the University of East Anglia in Norwich, southeastern England, analyzed the behind-the-scenes footage of the BBC documentary series “Nature’s Great Events.”


The series followed animals such as polar bears, African elephants and humpback whales during epic annual environmental events. Mills examined the way in which the animals were filmed and concluded that animals, like humans, have a basic right to privacy that the documentary filmmakers ignored by filming their most intimate moments.


He said that the show’s producers only considered the mechanics of filming, using the latest equipment to capture previously unseen natural events, and did not take into account the ethics of broadcasting an animal mating, giving birth and dying.


Mills’ report, published in the latest edition of Continuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies, claimed that this is speciesism and that in order to make a successful wildlife documentary, filmmakers must inevitably deny many species the right to privacy.


However Piers Warren, the founder of interest group Filmmakers for Conservation, disagreed with Mills’ claims.


“How can you say whether an animal wants to filmed? No animal will understand the concept,” he said.