“The Earth Liberation Front (ELF) and the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) are groups that take direct action to stop the needless destruction of the earth when letters, phone calls and even voting don’t seem to make a difference anymore,” an animal rights supporter writes in a letter to The Greensboro [North Carolina] News and Record. “These groups should not be compared to the terrorists who intentionally kill people… ELF and ALF respect and defend all life; they are not the ecoterrorists.”

No? On the day of the attacks on New York and Washington, ALF took credit for firebombing a Tucson McDonald’s. ALF and ELF have set off firebombs at meat companies and feed mills, leading the FBI to suggest, “By any sense or any definition this is a true domestic terrorism group that uses criminal activity to further their political agenda.” ELF torched the office of a researcher who was developing disease-resistant crops to help feed people in Africa. And in 1999, ALF kidnapped a British journalist at gunpoint, tortured him with a branding iron, and threatened to harm his family — all because he reported on their extreme activities. No wonder Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) said on September 12 that ELF poses a threat “no less heinous than what we saw occur yesterday here in Washington and in New York.”