Damned if you do . . .

One of vice-president Al Gore’s big environmental
projects has been to force chemical companies to test thousands of chemicals
already on the market for toxicity – most of these chemicals were
in widespread use before modern safety regulations and thus never went
through the testing regimen that new compounds go through. The Environmental
Protection Agency pressured the Chemical Manufacturers Association into
running a battery of five animal toxicity tests on 3,000 or so chemicals.

The use of animal toxicity tests brought an
objection from the Humane Society of the United States, which wants the
EPA to use this initiative to develop and implement alternatives to animal
testing, saying among other things that “the relevance of all this
animal testing to human safety is questionable, according to several toxicologists
with whom we have conferred.”

According to HSUS, the LD50 test (which establishes
the dose level that kills 50 percent of the experimental animals) is “widely
criticized on humane and scientific grounds.”

In fact, if interpreted properly, the LD50
tests still give important information about toxicity that can’t be gleaned
solely from the tissue and cell culture alternatives that HSUS and other
animal rights organizations push.

Those tests certainly have their place,
especially for establishing potential toxicity before conducting animal
tests, but there is still an enormous gap between testing on isolated
tissues and cells and testing on a whole organism.

Do other primates deserve the same rights as human beings?

A group of New Zealand activists calling itself
the Great Ape Project of New Zealand recently asked that nation to amend
its constitution to grant great apes the same rights as human beings.
Chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans and bonobos would be given the same
legal right to life and freedom from torture and invasive surgery that
humans have.

According to David Penny of the Great Ape Project,
“There is now a mountain of evidence that the great apes are as intelligent
as young human children and very similar in their emotional and cognitive

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.