Steven Zak couldn’t have missed the mark more completely. Nobody with a brain is applying the “terrorist” label to kindly old grannies who help out at their local animal shelters. Such “mainstream animal welfare activism” is a very healthy thing indeed.
However, last year alone, more than $13 million in damage was caused in the United States by radical animal activists who weren’t content to donate their time to worthy causes. Members of the Animal Liberation Front preferred to express themselves by shattering windows, lighting Molotov cocktails and detonating explosives.
Members of another criminal group, known as SHAC [Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty], have beaten people outside their own homes and freely distributed the Social Security numbers of Americans whom they don’t like. Their targets have included people who dared own stock in or do business with a medical research company that uses animals in tests for cures to cancer and Parkinson’s disease. The esteemed Southern Poverty Law Center recently labeled SHAC a “hate group,” correctly lumping it in with neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan.
Animal rights zealots who object to having their violent friends considered “domestic terrorists” should take up the matter with the FBI. It’s the FBI’s characterization, not one cooked up by journalists.
Anyone who still needs convincing that “mainstream” animal activists are crossing the line into violence should know that last year, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals made a cash donation to the North American Earth Liberation Front, another FBI-certified “domestic terror” group. The money came out of tax-exempt funds, too. No amount of fuzzy-bunny sophistry on Mr. Zak’s part can explain that away.