When it comes to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Warren Truss is mad as hell and he’s not going to take it anymore. Truss, the Australian government’s Minister of Agriculture, shares his countrymen’s frustration with PETA’s latest campaign — a misguided attack on the Aussie wool industry. In a speech this week at the Victorian Rural Press Club in Melbourne, he warned reporters that PETA “is not an animal welfare group,” citing the Center for Consumer Freedom’s research about PETA’s ties with domestic terrorist organizations.

The Minister’s office was kind enough to forward us a copy of his speech, a portion of which reads:

According to United States-based non profit corporation The Center for Consumer Freedom, PETA’s leadership has compared animal farmers to serial killer and cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer, compared chickens to Holocaust victims, and pronounced a shark attack on a little boy was “revenge” against humans.

But even more concerning, it has been alleged in a US Senate hearing by the same organisation that PETA has provided aid and comfort to people associated with two groups considered domestic terrorist threats by the FBI — the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) and the Animal Liberation Front (ALF).

According to the FBI, the two groups have been responsible for more than 600 crimes since 1996, causing more than $43 million in damage. The ALF even brags on its website that the two groups committed “100 illegal direct actions” — like blowing up four-wheel-drives, destroying the brakes on seafood delivery trucks, and planting firebombs in restaurants — in 2002 alone.

Truss also noted PETA’s disturbing influence in schools, saying he frequently receives “letters from schoolchildren who have clearly been influenced by and disturbed by PETA-style propaganda. Sometimes they say they heard about these issues in the classroom.”

Predictably, Australian wool producers and sheep farmers appreciated Truss’s frank comments about PETA, a group whose “ultimate aim,” he added, “is to end the use of animals and all farming of livestock — no pets, no guide dogs and no mosquito sprays.” But PETA was not amused. The group told an Australian AP reporter that it was considering legal action against Truss. “If … anybody thinks that we’re a wilting flower, they’ve got another thing coming,” PETA attorney Jeff Kerr said.

While no one would accuse PETA of being a “wilting flower,” we might at least hope the group would tell the truth. During a radio interview Wednesday, Kerr was asked if PETA “denies any activity of a violent or terrorist nature.” His answer: “Of course.”

A quick refresher is in order: In 2001 PETA wrote a check to the Earth Liberation Front, the arson-happy eco-terrorists who frequently torch SUVs and construction sites. During the 1990s, PETA donated over $70,000 to a convicted arsonist who burned down a research lab at Michigan State University — a crime in which PETA president Ingrid Newkirk was also implicated by a federal prosecutor (see page 9, including the footnote, here). PETA even has a “fact sheet” praising the terrorist Animal Liberation Front as an “army of the kind.”

During one recent animal rights convention, PETA vegetarian campaign director Bruce Friedrich proudly boasted that “blowing stuff up and smashing windows” is “a great way to bring about animal liberation … Hallelujah to the people who are willing to do it.” (Click here to listen.)

Keep up the good work, Minister Truss. The truth is a powerful weapon.

Members of the media who would like to read Minister Truss’s complete speech are welcome to inquire at [email protected].