Calling PETA’s Bruce Friedrich a “PR man” is only half-accurate (“PETA PR man Friedrich practices what he preaches,” September 22). While PETA engages in a healthy amount of reckless spin, its overall goal is to establish what the group’s co-founder, Ingrid Newkirk, calls “total animal liberation.” For the uninitiated, this means no meat or dairy, no circuses or rodeos, no hunting or fishing, no fur or wool, no leather, and no medical research using animals to cure human diseases. Whether we like it or not.
Contrary to your profile, Bruce Friedrich’s most frequent theme is violence, not kindness. In 2001 he told a rapt crowd of animal-rights convention-goers in Virginia that “blowing stuff up and smashing windows” is “a great way to bring animal liberation.” Friedrich continued: “I think it would be great if all of the fast-food outlets, slaughterhouses, these laboratories, and banks that fund them exploded tomorrow.” To a standing ovation, he added: “Hallelujah to the people who are willing to do it.” This is not just any “PR man.”
To be fair, PETA puts its money where its mouth is. At last count, the group has spent over $165,000 in tax-exempt money trying to help those “who are willing to do it” beat arson and attempted murder raps. According to PETA’s own tax records, donations to the group are more likely to wind up in the pockets of criminals than in programs that actually care for animals. Unfortunately, many reporters are too romanced by PETA’s mystique to ask Bruce Friedrich how this ugly truth is reconciled with his vaunted “compassion” for all living things.