FUR COMMISSION USA COMMENTARY, OCTOBER 17, 2001
Media Link September 11 with Ecoterror
IN THE AFTERMATH of the deaths of some 5,000 innocent people at the hands of terrorists, a besieged band of Americans have been asking themselves some vexing questions.
Medical and biotech researchers, animal industries from fur farming to meat packing, loggers, real estate developers and more have been victimized by terrorists for years, not of the foreign-based variety, but homespun Americans who burn, break, and spread terror in the name of animals or the environment.
Any act of terrorism, big or small, is unacceptable to mainstream America, right? And as victims of animal rights and eco-terrorism know well, it is only by the grace of God, not good planning on the terrorists’ part, that the cost in human life and limb has not been higher.(2)
Of course, their troubles pale in comparison to the atrocities of Sept. 11, but does this mean they should be humbled into silence? Or is the time now right for livestock thefts, arsons, uprooted crops, smashed windows and letter bombs to be promoted from local news pages and placed firmly on the radar of national attention?
The other question being raised is, what do the likes of the Animal Liberation Front, the Earth Liberation Front, and those hordes of anti-globalization anarchists make of recent events?
The World Trade Center housed dozens of “capitalist death machines” whose wealth was acquired through the “rape” of Mother Earth. Wouldn’t their obliteration be just as valid a political statement as lobbing a brick through the window of a McDonald’s?
Unsurprisingly, most activists who have gone public in the wake of Sept. 11 have taken pains to distinguish themselves from fanatics who place no value on human life. The modus operandi of “direct action”, they insist, damages only property, not people. Therefore, not only are they not “terrorists”, they are not even guilty of “violence”.
But how credible are such explanations?
Doubtless, many animal rights and eco-terrorists have little grasp of the immorality of their crimes – a shortcoming that might be blamed on youth, naïveté, or simple stupidity. “Their intentions are good,” is society’s stock excuse. In any event, they are not mass-murderers in the making.
But how many other loose cannons are out there who have difficulty distancing themselves from the attackers of Sept. 11? The Wall Street Journal found one, an anti-globalization activist from San Francisco, who said: “We’re supercritical of the terrorists’ scorn for human life. Why couldn’t they have done what they did on a Sunday? There are always ways to make allowances for people’s lives.”
Countered the Rocky Mountain News (Sept. 18), “Anyone who suggests that shattering the World Trade Center with a hijacked jet on a Sunday night might be considered a concession to civilized norms needs to be under the care of a psychiatrist.”
And therein lies the connection. Anyone who suggests that burning down developments, sending threatening mail to researchers and putting spikes in timber are acceptable provided no one is hurt, also needs to be under the care of a psychiatrist.
These are the people that our besieged band of Americans have been dealing with for years.
* * *
Thankfully, the media have come to the rescue, with a host of commentaries in the last month pointing out that terrorism, in its various forms, is no newcomer to America’s shores.
“Ask a Mink Farmer”
There are animal-rights terrorists, too was the title of a piece in the Minneapolis Star Tribune (Oct. 7) by columnist Ron Schara.
“While nothing compares to the Attack on America or the loss of lives on Sept. 11, acts of terrorism on US soil are not uncommon,” wrote Schara.
“Ask medical scientists at the University of Minnesota or at universities in Michigan and other places whose animal research labs have been bombed or destroyed by suspected animal rights extremists.
“Ask a Minnesota mink farmer whose livelihood disappears in one night when mink pens are opened and the animals allowed to escape to almost certain death.
“Ask a Minneapolis meat business whose refrigerated delivery trucks are destroyed by fire and painted with a terroristic message ‘Meat is murder.’
“Ask deer hunters in New Jersey who have faced hostile animal rights groups bent on disrupting and sabotaging their legal hunting privileges.”
But until Sept. 11, something was always missing.
“Where is the outrage?” asked Schara. “You can’t find it on the editorial pages. You can’t find it in the court rooms or police stations. Seldom are such cases solved and rarely are arrests made of mink or rat releasers.”
And some groups who should have spoken out against such acts remained silent or even gave their tacit endorsement.
“Why aren’t animal rights organizations more forceful in condemning the actions of extremists or aiding in their arrests? Isn’t sympathizing or protecting animal terrorists just as deplorable?
“Certainly America was changed on Sept. 11. Maybe now any act of terrorism in our homeland for any cause will not find a complacent citizenry.”
The Washington Times (Oct. 7) named names, pointing the finger squarely at the Animal Liberation Front and Earth Liberation Front in an editorial entitled War against eco-terrorists.
ALF and ELF, the Times reminded us, were named by former FBI Director Louis Freeh as being among the gravest domestic terrorism threats facing America today. Freeh was speaking before Sept. 11, of course, but that didn’t mean ALF and ELF could now be dismissed as pranksters by comparison.
“ELF and ALF could be called key links in the web of violent environmental groups – an eco-al-Qaeda,” said the Times. “The individuals who join ELF adopt a fanatical ideology and a twisted morality. ALF’s mission statement advocates ‘Animal liberation – by whatever means necessary’ and equates the ‘liberation’ of animals to emancipating slaves. An ELF pamphlet maintains that ‘the profit motive, caused and reinforced by the capitalist society is destroying all life on this planet.’ The final ELF solution is to stop such destruction ‘by any means necessary.’ …
“Astonishingly, few members of ELF or ALF have ever received the justice due their actions. Clearly, they should, as such groups have openly declared war on the West. In a shocking statement, ALF press officer Robin Webb declared, ‘Animal liberation is not a campaign. … It’s a war. A long, hard, bloody war …’
The conclusion is obvious, stated the Times.
“[I]t is well past time to take the threats of eco-terrorists seriously. It is time for the United States to fight back and bring eco-terrorists to justice.”
“American Lives at Risk”
The Tulsa World (Oct. 7) likewise aired the stinking laundry of ALF and ELF, in a guest commentary by Tom Randall of the John P. McGovern Center for Environmental and Regulatory Affairs at the National Center for Public Policy Research.
In his piece entitled As a Nation Struggles, Domestic Terrorists Brag, Randall examined the modus operandi of America’s homegrown terrorists, including ELF’s inflammatory website and two of the publications distributed there:Setting Fires With Electrical Timers – An Earth Liberation Front Guide and If an Agent Knocks.
“They proudly take credit for striking in the night, often torching homes, schools and workplaces,” wrote Randall. “Even now, as the nation struggles back from the vicious attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, they continue to boast of their assaults, recruit others to join them and offer training in how to use arson and elude the authorities. …
“While these terrorists are small-time compared to the terrorists who struck the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and are not known to have killed anyone as yet, they appear to be intent on expanding their violence and putting American lives at risk. …
“FBI sources say under current law the maximum penalty for these crimes is only a $10,000 fine – a penalty so light as to make investigation and prosecution almost a waste of time.
“Representative George Nethercutt of Washington is now seeking to change that. He has revised and reintroduced his Agroterrorism Prevention Bill, HR 2795, which stiffens the minimum penalty to five years and provides for the death penalty when acts of ecoterrorism cause loss of life.
“A Nethercutt aide said the congressman might succeed in attaching his bill to the broader international terrorism bill now being drafted.
“This kind of legislation would be a welcome advance in fighting home grown terrorists as the nation goes to war with those from overseas.”
To anyone who disagrees with that sentiment, now is the time to stand up and be counted. As George W. Bush said, in the war against terrorism, you are either with us or you are against.
The Washington Times
The following letter waspublished in the Washington Times on Oct. 12. The author is not known to Fur Commission USA, but there is no doubt that many fur farmers share his views.
Take down the eco-terrorists
I couldn’t agree more with your Oct. 7 editorial “War against eco-terrorists” that it is time to bring groups such as those in the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and Earth Liberation Front (ELF) to justice. Frankly, I was wondering whether anyone would ever make the connection between these eco-extremists and Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda. All three cloak their activities in righteous causes – animals, the environment and Islam. In reality, all three are morally, intellectually and politically bankrupt. For the most part, they are in it for the excitement and the opportunity to wreak havoc.
As with al Qaeda, our strategy to bring ALF to justice should be to go after the groups that support and harbor it. We could start with institutions such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), which provide moral support for ALF’s destructive acts. Or perhaps we should target Princeton University, which harbors the animal rights movement’s foremost philosopher, Peter Singer, a man whose position on bestiality is, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, “You can have sex with them, but don’t eat them.”
DAVID N. NARR
(1) The author wishes to acknowledge Americans for Medical Progress for the idea and many of the sources for this article.
(2) While spokesmen for animal rights and ecoterror acts say great pains are taken not to endanger human life, many observers consider Gilbert Murray of the California Forestry Association and advertising executive Thomas Mosser lost their lives to an ecoterrorist, “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynsky. The “Justice Department”, an extreme offshoot of ALF, has also made it clear human lives are expendable.
Environmental Terrorists Deserve No Special Treatment CNSNews.com commentary by Christopher Horner, Oct. 26, 2001. (Outside link)
The Ecoterrorist Anthrax Connection CNSNews.com commentary by Tom DeWeese, Oct. 23, 2001. (Outside link)
Two Weeks After ALF Attack, Thousands of Mink Dead or Dying FCUSA press release on Iowa farm raid, Sept. 22, 2000.
New Hampshire Mink Stolen and Abandoned; Nursing Females and Kits Casualties of War on Animals FCUSA press release, June 14, 2000. Includes link to a National Public Radio program on a 1998 mink farm raid in Michigan.
ALF Pushing Nonsense Philosophy; Farmers Issue Challenge FCUSA press release, Sept. 13, 2000.