The Center for Consumer Freedom testified today before the Senate’s Environmental and Public Works committee that highly visible tax-exempt groups including People for the Ethical Treatment for Animals (PETA), the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), and the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) have ties to violent organizations like the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and the Earth Liberation Front (ELF).
Collectively, ALF and ELF have committed more than one thousand criminal acts amounting to more than $110 million in damage from arson, vandalism, and other violent tactics. The FBI has called them “our highest domestic terrorism investigative priority.”
Groups like ALF and ELF receive financial support from above-ground, non-profit organizations. Our testimony today detailed how mainstream animal rights organizations support much more insidious underground operations. Here is an except from our testimony:
Those who engage in “direct action” crimes, such as starting fires, detonating bombs, threatening lives, and stalking innocent people, receive demonstrable cooperation and assistance-both rhetorical and financial-from an above-ground support system. Today I’d like to walk you through some of our findings in this regard.
A good place to start is No Compromise, a self-described “militant, direct action magazine” for ALF supporters. In 1999, No Compromise published a list of its benefactors, which included People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the Fund for Animals, In Defense of Animals, and the New Jersey Animal Rights Alliance-all groups with 501(c)(3) federal tax exemptions. The list also included PETA’s president and two other PETA officers, and an activist now on the staff of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).
HSUS, PETA, and PETA’s quasi-medical affiliate, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), are troubling examples of animal-rights charities which have connections to their movement’s militant underbelly. In some cases, the line between the direct-action underground and more “mainstream” protest groups is quite blurry.