Given the take-no-prisoners attitude with which today’s anti-meat and anti-dairy fanatics attack your food choices, we’ve always suspected that they treat their brand of veganism a little bit like a religion — and some new court documents back us up. Eric McDavid, one of the alleged Earth Liberation Front eco-terrorists arrested in January on charges of conspiring to commit arson, has claimed a First Amendment right to a vegan diet while he awaits trial in jail. In defending the request, his attorney wrote the court to claim that “[McDavid’s] Vegan diet is based upon his strongly, sincerely and firmly held beliefs, which are the same as a religious belief.” (Click here and go to page 14 for the original.)

In a personal statement to the court, the alleged eco-terrorist lays out his belief system:

[M]y vegan beliefs and morality are animated by the way of living which shows a respect for all life, recognizing the rights of living creatures; extending to them the compassion and kindness exemplified toward people … [Veganism] is as sincerely held to me as others hold their own religious beliefs. (Click here and go to page 4.)

A little more research tells us that McDavid’s “religion” may be pretty flexible, since a subsequent court document alleges that a confidential source watched McDavid and his co-defendants eat, “among other things, shrimp stir-fry, pizza, and chocolate-chip pancakes, none of which is part of a vegan diet.” (See the footnote on page 5.)

The bigger hypocrisy in McDavid’s beliefs, however, is as disturbing as his dietary inconsistency is amusing. A must-see video from CBS News indicates just how far McDavid’s “respect for all life” extends. Besides recounting the alleged eco-terrorists’ sordid story more fully, the video also includes an Assistant U.S. Attorney telling reporters that McDavid and his two co-defendants “have made statements to a confidential source that we’re using in this case where human casualties are a possibility, and that’s not a problem for them.” Later on the video, CBS correspondent Jerry Bowen reports: “McDavid told the FBI’s mole [that] he also wanted to kill a cop.”