Animal right fanatics: Dr. Dolittle gone bad

spectr17

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July 15, 2002

Animal-rights fanatics: Doctor Dolittle gone bad

By David Martosko, Special to The Seattle Times

Seattle downtowners experienced a wave of fear last Wednesday as military-style smoke grenades were set off on the upper levels of two skyscrapers. Could this be the latest al-Qaida plot hatched someplace far overseas? Hardly. It appears to be the work of an extreme fringe of the animal-rights movement right here in the U.S. Their target was the insurance provider of Huntingdon Life Sciences, a well-known research facility that uses animals to find cures for diseases such as breast cancer and Parkinson's.
Shocking? Absolutely. Criminal? Definitely. Surprising? Not to those who have been paying attention to the violent tendencies of today's animal-rights zealots. Judging by the teachings of their own annual convention, held two weeks ago near our nation's capital, perhaps we should expect more of this sort of thing in coming months.

Today, sensible goals of animal protection have been twisted into hideous extremism, or what the FBI calls "special-interest domestic terrorism." It's as if Hugh Lofting's Doctor Dolittle has mutated into Ian Fleming's Doctor No.

We got a brief, scary look into this world June 28-July 3 as nearly a thousand self-anointed spokespersons for the non-human animal kingdom converged to plan the future of the crusade that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals executive Bruce Friedrich recently called "the most important social movement in history."

This is the same Friedrich who told last year's convention: "It would be a great thing if all of these fast-food outlets, these slaughterhouses, 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 everything else along the line. Hallelujah to the people who are willing to do it."

For this he earned a standing ovation.

Then again, no one could have expected much reasonable discussion from this lot. The widely promoted schedule of this year's "Animal Rights 2002" event included panel discussions about the use of "physical threats" and on the nuts and bolts of handling "arson gone bad." This, of course, presumes that there's such a thing as "arson gone good."

In the context of animal-rights violence by FBI-certified terrorist groups such as the Animal Liberation Front (ALF), which was responsible for over $17 million in damages during 2001 alone, those who plunked down $180 at the door were probably not all that shocked by workshops on the value of "lying, cheating, stealing," or debates centered on the question of "what tactics," if any, "should be off-limits." The event's organizers even held two consecutive panels titled "Getting Attention (legally)" and "Getting Attention (otherwise)."

The rising stars of this national disgrace include a wide variety of convicted criminals, a few of whom accepted invitations to speak to the assembled activists. PETA's Friedrich is just one example of those who have personally spent time behind bars.

Kevin Jonas, a young activist who has been an official "spokesperson" for ALF, made several appearances. The convention program described Jonas' first appearance as a discussion of "economic and peer pressure" and "physical threats."

These days, Jonas runs the U.S. arm of a British animal-rights group called Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC), which is dedicated to, in their words, "crushing" and "destroying" Huntingdon Life Sciences. Jonas boasted to this year's convention-goers that his group is "going to take them out, one by one, after Huntingdon." In the United Kingdom, his organization has already embraced the baseball-bat approach to conflict resolution, literally, in a bloody assault on Huntingdon's CEO. SHAC has issued physical threats to elderly women, destroyed automobiles, committed grand theft, and vandalized homes and office buildings.

These kinds of activities are, of course, usually conducted under the cowardly cover of anonymity, but ALF and SHAC supporters are fond of covertly distributing videotapes of their crimes, showing disguised perpetrators hard at work. The "Animals Rights 2002" convention actually showed at least four such films.

Of course, the animal-rights convention wasn't all about bombs, death threats and beatings. There were also lectures on ways to reach young kids with these sorts of messages, as well as deep philosophical discussions ("Your Son or the Rat? Whose Life Do We Value?&quot, and even a practical roundtable on ways to "deal with adversaries."

The animal-rights movement isn't just about fuzzy bunnies and baby seals anymore. Depending on the day of the week, an animal-rights target might be a restaurant, a research lab, a veal farm, a circus, a supermarket, or even an insurance company. But no matter who wears the bull's-eye next, chances are the plan was hatched at this year's "Animal Rights 2002" convention.

Doctor Dolittle beware.

David Martosko is director of research for the Center for Consumer Freedom, http://www.consumerfreedom.com, a public-interest coalition of more than 30,000 restaurant and tavern operators.
 

Welby

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My question is what is our government doing to stop or catch these folks?  Are they being prosecuted?  These people are terrorists.
 

troll

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The problem is that ALF and ELF are very loosly organized.  This means that it is mostly made up of very small groups and individuals that work semi-independently. PETA on the other hand is the supporting political organization.  I like to look at the relationship being similar to the situation in Ireland IRA and Sinn Fein.  Ones the political arm, the other is the force.  Mostly the same group of individuals, though.

By the way, the contact information for the Earth Liberation Front Web page is

     Thurston, Darren  (DTT61)  darren@TAO.CA
     PO Box 78061, 2606 Commercial Drive
     Vancouver
     BC
     V5N1G8
     CA
     604-618-5469

In case you want to mail/email him (or her?) your feelings.

(Edited by troll at 3:01 pm on July 16, 2002)
 

Marty

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Is the organization based in the States?  If not, doesn't it qualify for reproach/prosecution under the Presidential Order regarding acts of international terrorism?

The North American branch claims to be "legal & above-ground", yet promotes illegal protests, fire-bombing, tree spiking, vandalism, and outright violence.  

from earthliberationfront.com:

The North American Earth Liberation Front Press Office is a legal, above-ground news service dedicated to exposing the political and social motives behind the covert direct actions of the underground Earth Liberation Front. The North American Earth Liberation Front Press Office receives anonymous communiques from the underground Earth Liberation Front and distributes the message to the media and public nation-wide.

North American Earth Liberation Front Press Office
PO BOX 14098, Portland, OR 97293, USA
Spokesperson: Leslie James Pickering
Phone: (503) 804-4965
Email: elfpress@tao.ca


(Edited by Marty at 12:38 pm on July 16, 2002)
 

troll

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From what I read today, this organization has international supporters in the anarchy/communist/anti-global economy crowd around the world.  Believe it or not, Ted Kaczinski (The Unabomber) is one of their heros.  Whether or not they would be considered international, I wouldn't even pretend to understand the whereas' and other legal loopholes they may work out of.  However, I do know that they work closely with the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) that was responsible for firebombing some offices up here on Michigan State University.  These groups' antics range from simple vandalism to arson and murder if you count in our buddy the Unabomber.  Amazing how most of these people are anti-war people, but they don't mind destruction of property and fire-bombing to further their own cause.  I guess dreadlocks and the lack of animal protein will do that to your brain.
 
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