The people who brought you constitutional rights for pigs and the “Fish Empathy Project” have descended on the Copper State. And through a series of crafty campaigns of bait-and-switch, they’re hoping to impose their destructive ideology on the good people of Arizona. But we’re pushing back. With mobile billboards, full-page ads in major newspapers, and opinion pieces — like the one in today’s Arizona Daily Star — we’re telling Arizonans the truth about exactly who it is they’re dealing with. As we wrote in the Star:

Animal “rights” sees the institution of pet ownership, including seeing-eye dogs and police K-9 units, as a form of slavery. Extending rights to rhinos would mean zoos simply couldn’t keep them anymore. Likewise for circus elephants, marine-park dolphins and every living thing sold at pet stores.

Embracing the animal-rights philosophy requires shifting vegetarianism from a choice to an obligation. In the long term, words like beef, pork, veal, cheese, omelet and even “wishbone” would exist only in a Scrabble dictionary. Activists may start out agitating merely for larger cages, but their real goal is the end of all animal agriculture. Including those small “family” farms.

Animal-rights activists know that ordinary Americans would never stand for this. So they unleash their most outrageous spokegroups from time to time, hoping that their more moderate-looking counterparts won’t get noticed as the fanatics that they are.

Average Arizonans are in favor of animal welfare but can’t stomach “rights” for rats. So groups like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) provide something obnoxious to distract us. PETA’s basic purpose these days is to make other animal-rights groups appear moderate by comparison.

This includes the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, which erects calm roadblocks to medical research. And the Humane Society of the United States, which doesn’t operate any pet shelters but has managed to pour $800,000 into an Arizona ballot campaign this year alone …

All animal-rights groups, both the unbearable and the mild-mannered, want the same thing. More rights for animals. Fewer for you. They’re counting on you to dislike PETA but feel morally obligated to agree with someone — anyone — in the animal-protection movement.