Washington, DC — The “Taking Action For Animals” conference, kicking off tonight at the Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center, will feature at least one organization with direct ties to organized terrorism, the nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom warned today. The event is sponsored by the Humane Society of the United States, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, and other prominent animal rights groups.


An organization called “Hugs for Puppies” is among the event’s approved exhibitors. Hugs for Puppies is the Philadelphia chapter of Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC), an organization convicted last year in federal court — along with six of its leaders — on domestic terrorism charges related to a violent campaign against medical researchers.


In a November 2002 announcement, the group declared that “SHAC Philly will now be referred to as Hugs For Puppies.” Hugs for Puppies is currently the subject of four different restraining orders intended to protect the public from the group’s constant harassment and threats.


In November 2006, Hugs for Puppies director Nicholas Cooney was convicted of making “terroristic threats with the intent to terrorize another” in a Pennsylvania case related to SHAC’s violent activism. Cooney is expected to represent his organization at this weekend’s conference.


Center for Consumer Freedom Director of Research David Martosko said: “There’s no excuse for consorting with terrorists. The Humane Society of the United States and PETA should be distancing themselves from violence. But by welcoming their movement’s most vicious activists with open arms, they’re defending the indefensible.”


The Taking Action for Animals conference will also include a speech by PETA vice president Bruce Friedrich, who famously advocated “blowing stuff up and smashing windows” during a 2001 animal rights convention in Virginia.


Mr. Martosko is available to comment on the increasing violence in today’s animal rights movement.