The Center for Consumer Freedom butted heads with a People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) spokesman yesterday on the Fox News Channel’s “Your World with Neil Cavuto.” Combining obfuscation, denial, and half-truths, PETA desperately tried to defend its record of supporting terrorism and terrorists. Read on for some of the highlights — and once you’re through, sign our petition to yank PETA’s tax exempt status.

After we mentioned PETA’s $70,000-plus gift to dedicated arsonist Rodney Coronado, Cavuto directed this question to PETA:

This Rodney Coronado guy, I don’t know much about him — I just need to know this, because this is a big deal. If he was found guilty of blowing up a facility, and spent time for doing that, would you continue to fund him?

To which PETA responded:

Absolutely not. If he needs legal fees before he’s been convicted of a crime, then we’ll consider helping him out. We do not fund illegal activities. That’s a simple, straight fact.

Of course, as we mentioned on Fox News, PETA’s own tax returns show a $1,500 gift to the terrorist Earth Liberation Front (ELF), a donation made after ELF activists had been convicted of various violent crimes. PETA has subsequently offered several conflicting justifications for that bit of insanity, but whatever the reason, they clearly funded illegal activities, since that’s all ELF does.

After PETA’s remarks about Coronado’s right to legal counsel, Cavuto chimed in: “This is a guy who blew up a facility. Why would you even countenance [funding him]?” With the metaphorical noose tightening, PETA’s talking head replied: “At the time he was innocent, and everybody knows people are innocent until proven guilty.”

While that may be true in a court of law, PETA certainly knew Coronado had in fact been planning to burn down a Michigan State University research lab. In Coronado’s official “sentencing memorandum,” U.S. Attorney Michael Dettmer wrote that PETA president and co-founder Ingrid Newkirk arranged ahead of time to have Coronado send her a pair of FedEx packages from Michigan — one on the day before he burned the lab down, and the other shortly afterward. “Significantly,” wrote Dettmer, “Newkirk had arranged to have the package[s] delivered to her days before the MSU arson occurred.” (Emphasis in the original)

There’s more yet. After we noted that PETA’s Bruce Friedrich “stood up in front of a public audience and advocated people going out and blowing up restaurants and blowing up medical laboratories,” PETA’s rep retorted: “That’s not what he said. What Bruce said was that he wished some places would burn down, that are hideously abusing animals.” Just to keep the record clear, here are Friedrich’s actual words:

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, as a movement, blowing things up and smashing windows … I think it’s a great way to bring about animal liberation … I think it would be great if all of the fast-food outlets, 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 … Hallelujah to the people who are willing to do it. [click here to listen]

PETA went on to insist that in 2001, the year Friedrich lionized arsonists, PETA “gave $200,000 to humane societies and SPCAs for their local work … All of our finances are detailed in our annual report which people can check out at PETA.org.” Well, we looked at PETA’s webiste, and there’s no way to verify this claim. On documents that PETA files with the IRS, the group listed less than $8,000 in gifts to humane societies and SPCAs during 2001. In that same year, they gave $5,000 to Animal Liberation Front’s militant Josh Harper and $1,500 to the Earth Liberation Front. PETA either misled Fox News viewers or the IRS.

Here’s one final exchange between host Neil Cavuto and PETA, which speaks for itself:

CAVUTO: Where do you draw a line between [raising animals for food] and animals that are used in research, for either cancer or multiple sclerosis or things like that?

PETA: The fact is that none of this research is necessary.

CAVUTO: How do you know, are you a doctor?

PETA: I’m not a doctor, no.

CAVUTO: How do you know?

PETA: We have been researching cancer for decades, using animal experiments. Do we have a cure for cancer? Of course we don’t.

CAVUTO: Do we have treatments for cancer? Of course we do.

PETA: But in the 21st century, don’t we have technologies that can get us past this? There’s is no need to be slicing these animals open —

CAVUTO: Dan, would you be open to trying some of these experimental drugs on a rat before your mom?

PETA: It doesn’t work like that, Neil. It is not a fair comparison. The fact is —

CAVUTO: It would be for me, Dan. I’d like to try it out on a rat before giving it to a loved one.