PETA, say hello to 2017. Last Thursday, the animal rights group was slapped with a defamation lawsuit filed by a primate facility in Missouri. That follows a belated Christmas present PETA received the previous week: A second defamation lawsuit, this one filed by a zoo in Michigan.
Both lawsuits claim to be responding to PETA harassment, and it’s certainly great to see people sticking up for themselves against animal-rights bullies. Both facilities claim that PETA has been threatening to sue them under the Endangered Species Act to try to take away their animals. The frivolous theory goes roughly like this: The ESA prohibits “taking” endangered species, meaning to “harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect.” It seems clear this is meant to apply to creatures in the wild, but PETA believes that zoos are a form of slavery and imprisonment, and so it’s hoping to use the courts to do what it would never get through elected representatives.
Sound familiar? This was the same legal theory floated by the Humane Society of the United States in a lawsuit one of its entities pursued against the Ringling Bros. circus. That lawsuit fell apart spectacularly when the court found that HSUS and other groups had secretly paid their key witness almost $200,000 (see here for one check from HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle) and that this witness has lied under oath. Ringling Bros.’ owner countersued HSUS and others and got $25 million in settlement.
We can only hope similar fortunes await for the facilities suing PETA.
Meanwhile, PETA is off wasting about $22,000 running a guilt-trip campaign at a metro station in London attempting to guilt-trip people into going vegan. As we told the Southwest Londoner, “If PETA truly cared about individual animals, then what of the 35,000 animals it has killed at its US headquarters?”
Perhaps PETA should save the money for its defense counsel.