China’s population policies come under fire

In March 1998, Chinese president
Jiang Zemin said China would intensify its population control efforts,
saying that family planning programs should be “strictly carried

A few months later, in June, a
Chinese defector, Gao Xiao Duan, testified in the US House of Representatives
that she had personally participated in a program of state-sponsored forced
abortion. GAO testified that as a provincial birth control officer, she
ordered forced abortions, the arrests of women who tried to avoid such
abortions, and many other human rights violations.

According to GAO, regional officials
who are under intense pressure to meet birth quotas, “will resort
to anything to achieve planned birth goals set by their superiors.”

The Chinese government quickly
blasted Gao’s testimony, but did appear to concede that individual officials
might be taking coercive actions.

“China, in implementing its
family planning policy, has all along stood opposed to coercive measures
in any form,” said spokesman Zhu Banazao. “As to some individual
cases of breaches in policy in the day-to-day work in the field we will
correct such practices promptly. At the same time, we stand opposed to
some people’s attempt to use this issue to distort China’s family planning.”

Amartya Sen wins Nobel Prize in economics

On Oct. 14, Amartya Sen was awarded the Nobel Economics Prize for his contributions
to development economics, including his analysis of famine and poverty.

Sen, 64, has often challenged the view, held by so many population doomsayers,
that lack of food is the primary cause of famine. His 1981 book, Poverty
and Famines: An Essay on Entitlement and Deprivation
, took up that topic
and argued that “famines have occurred even when the supply of food was
not significantly lower than during previous years” that didn’t experience

Sen has personal experience with famine – as a boy a famine struck India
when wartime inflation pushes food prices sky high, but as in most famines only
a small percentage of the population was at risk of starvation. “There
is hardly a famine that affects more than 10 percent of a population.”
Sen said. Sen argues that famines are easy to prevent in democracies where a
free press acts as a check on out-of-control politicians, whereas authoritarian
and totalitarian regimes are breeding grounds for famine because the elites
who run such nations are rarely affected by them and have no serious opposition
press or political parties.


Research on poverty and disasters earns professor Nobel for economics. Jim
Heintz, The Associated Press, October 14, 1998.

Nobel-winning work in economics was rooted in boyhood famine, winner says.
Bruce Stanley, The Associated Press, October 15, 1998.

Cornell activists burn effigy of Animal Welfare Committee chairman

Nine animal rights activists at
Cornell University were recently arrested for trespassing during a demonstration
outside a biology laboratory. A press release by two of the activists
said one of the arrested students is being charged with harassment, “a
charge which violated a restraining order placed on him by the campus
Judicial Administrator after an effigy-torching of the Animal Welfare
Committee chairman last week.”

This is what animal rights activists
must mean when they talk about having compassion for all living creatures.
What is more reprehensible is that, according to the justifications offered
by some activists in favor of “direct action,” this isn’t
really violence because, as in raids on laboratories and fur farms,
all that is being destroyed is property.

Sure, and when the KKK burns a
cross on some black family’s lawn or paints swastikas on a synagogue,
all they’re really doing is harming property in a peaceful, non-violent


Activists attempt to view animal mutilation. Cornell Students for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Press Release, November 2, 1998.

PETA demands withdrawal Nike commercial

Coming on the heels of its complaints
about commercials featuring National Football League defenseman John Randle
chasing a chicken dressed as Brett Favre, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is demanding Nike withdraw a commercial featuring the NFL’s
Denver Broncos.

The commercial parodies the running
of the bulls in Spain. The viewer sees the bulls stampeding down a street
and a matador waiting for them in a large stadium. Before the bulls can
get to the stadium, though, the Denver Broncos defense lines up in formation
on the street. The commercial cuts back to the stadium where the matador
is perplexed by a loud crash and then wailing of bulls in the distance.

According to a PETA press release,
the commercial “promotes animal torment and cruelty.” Personally,
I thought the commercial was hilarious.


PETA sees red over Broncos Nike Ad. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Press Release, October 12, 1998.

Will transplant recipients be less than human?

Animal rights activists seem to
be increasingly desperate in their fight against Xenotransplantation
the transplanting of organs and tissues from animals into human beings.
First, they argued such transplantation simply wouldn’t work. After
that argument failed, they argued there were enormous dangers of passing
diseases between animals and humans. Now that the evidence indicates this
risk is minimal, the activists are pulling out the big guns in their rhetorical
grab bag – people who receive animal organs aren’t really human.

According to Gill Langley, who
co-wrote a recent report on xenotransplantation for the
British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection and Compassion in World Farming, “The
human xenotransplantation patient will become a literal chimera. It sounds
like scare-mongering, but let me assure you that the word chimera is being
used by xenotransplant scientists.”

Scare-mongering? From an animal rights

If the thought of being less than
human isn’t enough, Langley’s report warns that patients whose
lives are saved by these new technologies (which he still claims won’t
work) could face unknown psychological consequences.

So this is the justification
that animal rights activists are going to present to the 50,000 people
in Europe alone who are waiting to receive organs? Xenotransplantation
must be stopped to prevent those dying individuals from becoming less
than human and suffering the attendant psychological side effects. Better
dead than depressed?


Activists say animal transplants make us less human. Reuters, October 13, 1998.

What Goes Around Comes Around

Following the passage of Arizona’s
ban on cockfighting, an unidentified group is circulating a press release
claiming that those in favor of cockfighting are using the Internet to
harass and target animal rights activists who supported the measure.

“Taking a page from the anti-abortion
movement’s book on terrorism, Arizona cockfighters have posted a
list of animal activists’ names at a website on the Internet,”
the press release claims.

Antiabortion terrorism? Try animal
rights terrorism. Assuming the press release is accurate, these people
are doing to animal rights activists exactly what the activists have been
doing to medical researchers, fur farmers and others for years. Animal
rights activists regularly post to the Internet the names and phone numbers
of medical researchers, journalists who write disapproving articles, fur
farmers and others.

This is what happens when social
movements self-righteously believe they are so obviously correct that
they may break the law with impunity and attack indiscriminately both
persons and property who get in their way. Officials with animal rights
organizations such People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals issue fawning
press releases and articles defending the activities of groups such as
the Animal Liberation Front, but animal rights activists are the first
ones to cry foul when their tactics are turned back on them.

Not that I support taking direct
action against animal rights activists. As I have said before, the main
thing that such direct action does is discredit animal rights activists
in the eyes of most Americans. The reaction to the recent destruction
of more than $12 million in property at Vail proved that point. Even those
local environmentalist and activists who opposed the new Vail development
condemned the action and the attack did more than anything to unite that
community behind the ski resort. Engaging in direct action against animal
rights activists only risks giving them sympathy on a potentially national
stage that they simply don’t deserve.


Cockfighters use Internet to target animal activists. Citizens Again Cockfighting, Press Release, November 6, 1998.