For a movement that claims to value animals on a par with people, animal-rights radicals sure have been killing a lot of fish. Police in Oban, on Scotland’s west coast, are investigating the release of 15,000 halibut from a fish farm — a million-dollar crime committed in the name of the terrorist Animal Liberation Front. The London Times observed yesterday that “thousands of dead fish” are washing up on the shore, and reported that they died “from starvation or getting caught in seaweed. They were also being eaten by herring gulls and otters.

There’s nothing new about the Law of Perhaps-Unintended Consequences plaguing animal rights extremists. Fur-farm raiders often wind up killing the animals they claim to “liberate” (see here and here for examples). And the most visible result of a 2002 Florida election fiasco, which added rights for pregnant pigs to that state’s Constitution, was the wholesale slaughter of breeding sows the new law’s backers claimed they were protecting.

And what of the mice and insects that live inside the walls of practically every building ever erected? How can an animal-rights arsonist ever be certain of sparing these lives? In the animal lunacy-packed book Terrorists or Freedom Fighters? (which now includes our favorite publisher’s correction of all time), People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals vice-president Bruce Friedrich muses about this concern in his own inimitable way:

Based on my time living with rats and mice in Washington, D.C., I have always assumed that animals will escape such fires, since their senses of smell, wariness of such dangers, and ability to move through almost invisible holes is so impressive, but I think that we should not dismiss the possibility that they, also, will be harmed. These reflections do not, of course, rule out burning meat trucks. And they don’t mean that when the next slaughterhouse or vivisection lab burns down, I will denounce those who carried out the burning, or that I will feel anything other than joy in my heart …