Revisiting Some AR2001 Complaints

Missed this the first time around, but someone dug up a fascinating message that Alex Hershaft posted to VegSource.Com describing the aftermath of last year’s Animal Rights 2001 conference. It seems that The Hilton used for this conference was less than pleased with some of the shenanigans that occurred at the July meeting.

Prior to the conference, The Hilton had spent millions of dollars renovating its site and, as a result, instituted a no pets policy. Apparently many visitors to AR2001 simply ignored that request,

In spite of it [the no pets policy], a number of people brought their dogs, and the hotel didn’t appreciate having to clean up after those animals who urinated on the new carpet. We will probably have to enforce a “no animal companion” policy of our own, unless someone can come up with a better solution.

Hmmm…what about the rights of the poor companion animals? (In fact several people replied to Hershaft that this was just a base prejudice against animals on the part of The Hilton).

The Hilton apparently did not appreciate the much-publicized protests at Nieman Marcus and Wendy’s (with the Wendy’s protest ending in several arrests).

The hotel is a member of the local merchants association, and the demonstrations at the nearby Wendy’s and Neiman Marcus gave them grief. We will have demonstrations at future conferences, but they will be part of the program, non-invasive, and well away from the hotel. However, here again, we will have to ask all participants to refrain from staging rump activities of their own

The Hilton was apparently not very happy when Neiman Marcus complained that protesters arrived in a Hilton van.

Of course when the Salt Lake City Olympic Committee set up protests areas for activists far from events, the activists acted as if the Constitution of the United States had been repealed. But scheduling demos so as to not offend The Hilton is apparently another story.

The message concludes that it is important to maintain the goodwill of The Hilton because, “We need a high-class venue, because of our size and because we are trying to project a middle class image.”

Yeah, wouldn’t want people to think they’re a bunch of nuts who protest Wendy’s and can’t keep their dogs from urinating on the carpet.


Hotel Grievances. Alex Hershaft, July 23, 2001.

Do Animal Rights Activists Care More About Animals Than Human Beings?

Animal rights activists come in for a lot of criticism, but the one argument
that seems to really get under their skin is the claim that they care more about
animals than they do about human beings. Animal rights groups and individuals
will go to great lengths to show they value human life. They argue they simply
want humans to value the lives of animals.

Do animal rights activists care more about animals than human beings? Comments
made by prominent activists and groups after the September 11 terrorist attacks
speak volumes:

  • Alex Hershaft runs a group called Farm USA that manages a national animal
    rights convention. On September 23, Farm USA issued a press release quoting
    Hershaft saying, “Worldwide, every day, 125 million innocent, sentient animals
    are dreadfully abused and butchered for food. These tragedies are perpetrated
    by a worldwide animal agricultural terrorist network that is much more threatening
    to planetary survival than the Al Queda network, because it kills more people
    and animals, because it kills them unrelentingly every day, because it is
    pervasive and accepted. For every human being who dies of warfare, crime,
    or terrorism, 10,000 innocent, sentient animals die a violent death.”

  • The next day, Michael W. Fox of the Humane Society of the United States
    blamed the 9/11 attacks on humanity’s crimes against nature. In an essay distributed
    via e-mail, Fox wrote that, “Our collective violence against Nature and against
    human nature, from the plight of endangered cultures, wildlife and the environment,
    to the sufferings of indigenous peoples and of domestic animals, especially
    in factory farms and commercial laboratories around the world, needs to be
    acknowledged. Until we find atonement with Nature and all beings, human and
    non-human, how can human nature find peace and not annihilate all that our
    better natures embrace?”

  • In its October issue, the widely read animal rights magazine “Animal People”
    included an unsigned editorial linking Osama bin Laden’s fanaticism to meat
    eating. More disturbing, however, was the magazine’s comparison of farm animals
    to the victims who died onboard the hijacked planes. According to the magazine,
    “Many and perhaps most of the nine billion animals sent to slaughter in the
    U.S. each year, as well as the billions killed abroad, have at least as long
    to sense doom as did the September 11 victims. Neither are the animals’ last
    cries as unlike the cell phone calls made by some of the September 11 victims
    as the typical meat-eater would like to believe. Equally disturbing to meat-eaters
    might be awareness that doomed animals, too, often put up frantic resistance,
    like the passengers who tried to retake United Airlines flight 93…”

  • Lee Ryan, a member of the British boy band Blue, put the comparison in stark
    and crude language. Ryan, who styles himself an animal rights activist, asked
    the British tabloid The Sun, “What about whales? They are ignoring
    animals that are more important. Animals need saving and that’s more important
    . . . Who gives a f— about New York when elephants are being killed.”

  • To his credit, animal rights philosopher Peter Singer did criticize the
    idea of comparing the victims of the September 11 attacks to animals killed
    for food, but United Poultry Concerns’ Karen Davis vigorously denounced Singer
    for this. According to Davis, “For 35 million chickens in the United States
    alone, every single night is a terrorist attack.” Davis went on to suggest
    that since most of those who died in the terrorist attacks were likely meat
    eaters, the attacks may have actually resulted in a net reduction in suffering.

  • Finally, just a few days ago Farm USA announced the schedule for its upcoming
    Animal Rights 2002 National Conference. Describing the goal of this year’s
    conference, Farm USA’s press release said, “Animal Rights 2002 is our movement’s
    first national conference since the terrible tragedy of September 11 and its
    aftermath. It is dedicated to exposing and challenging the terror perpetrated
    every single day against billions of innocent, sentient nonhuman animals.”

Despite the frequent claims that animal rights activist do not care more about
animals than they do about human beings, in each of these cases human suffering
from the Sept. 11 attacks is minimized, ignored, and even celebrated. At best
human suffering is used simply as a segue to talk about the real issue, which
is always the alleged suffering of animals.

Do animal rights activists care more about animals than they do about human
beings? Of course they do.

Alex Hershaft: Farmers Worse than bin Laden

After holding their tongues for a few days, the usual suspects in the animal rights movement are falling all over themselves to see who can make the most absurd comment comparing the victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the United States to the alleged suffering of animals.

Today’s exhibit is Alex Hershaft, who recently distributed a press release urging animal rights activist to march in Washington, DC on September 29 and 30 at two peace rallies. Hershaft discusses possible sign slogans (“Stop Human and Animal Terror!”) and then offers what he calls “the thoughts that moved us to” join the peace protests, which actually maintain that animal agriculture is much worse than the Al Queda terrorist network believed to be behind the terrorist attacks. According to Hershaft,

Worldwide, every day, 125 million innocent, sentient animals are dreadfully abused and butchered for food.

These tragedies are perpetrated by a worldwide animal agricultural terrorist network that is much more threatening to planetary survival than the Al Queda network, because it kills more people and animals, because it kills them unrelentingly every day, because it is pervasive and accepted.

For every human being who dies of warfare, crime, or terrorism, 10,000 innocent, sentient animals die a violent death. A march/rally advocating nonviolence without an animal contingent would be greatly diminished.

A worldwide animal agricultural terrorist network? Is this the same Alex Hershaft who was complaining that the Washington Post was portraying animal rights activists at AR 2001 as extremist nuts?


WFAD and Peace rallies in nation’s capital. Alex Hershaft, press release, September 23, 2001.

Americans for Medical Progress on Animal Rights 2001

Americans for Medical Progress recently circulated a lengthy summary of the Animal Rights 2001 conference which contained a lot of interesting information that wasn’t in other media accounts.

According to AMP, while “a few speakers advocated violence… these sessions predominantly emphasized non-violent tactics.” Apparently many of the activists in attendance were concerned at how the violent tactics are playing out in the media, especially as many national media outlets have done extensive coverage of the growing violence perpetrated by animal rights and environmental extremists.

Interestingly, AMP reports that one of those explicitly advocated violent acts was People for the Ethical Treatment of AnimalsBruce Friedrich. AMP wrote,

While disclaiming involvement in violent activities himself, Friedrich devoted an entire presentation to the case for violence, starting with people’s natural inhibitions against violence to justification for it “to end animal suffering.” “If we really believe that animals have the same right to be free from pain and suffering at our hands,” Friedrich said, “then, of course we’re going to be blowing things up and smashing windows. For the record, I don’t do this stuff, but I advocate it. I think it’s a great way to bring about animal liberation, considering the level of suffering, the atrocities.”

“I think it would be great if all of the fast-food outlets, slaughterhouses, these laboratories, and the banks who (sic) fund them exploded tomorrow,” he continued to loud applause. “I think it’s perfectly appropriate for people to take bricks and toss them through windows.”

Meanwhile, AMP reported that Kevin Jonas of Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty also discussed violence,

“Closing HLS is my life and this campaign will remain my life until HLS is closed,” he said. The SHAC campaign, Jonas said, “targets the pillars of HLS’ financial support,” and has been so successful that HLS is “on its last leg. All that’s needed is just one more kick.”

“There’s not stopping this campaign,” declared Jonas. “There’s no end to what we can do to HLS. We’ll take out their customers, their workers. There are a lot of options.” Jonas, who acknowledged that he’s been visited by representatives of the FBI and the Joint Terrorism Task Force, also predicted, “There will be windows broken and cars flipped [as the campaign continues].”

PETA co-founder Alex Pacheco who apparently showed up at AR 2001 largely in order to promote a multi-level marketing scheme, American Communications Network. On a bulletin board set up at |VegSource|, one individual complained of Pacheco’s huckster-like tactics. Apparently at a rap session, a conference participant walked in and conveniently asked Pacheco for details about the scheme, at which point Pacheco launched into his pitch. The VegSource poster likened it to a fraudulent revival meeting where people are planted to ask all the rights questions at the right moments (of course other activists quickly chimed in with “we should never disparage other activists” group think).

Finally, last week I mentioned that Alex Hershaft had written a letter to The Washington Post accusing the Post of bias because it ran a photo of PETA’s protest at Wendy’s along with its story about the AR 2001 conference. Hershaft whined that the two things were completely separate and unrelated. Apparently some attendees of AR 2001 didn’t get that memo because several of them were on the VegSource.Com posting about how wonderful the protest was in conjunction with the conference, one even going so far as to suggest that this was such a wonderful thing that perhaps next year an entire day of AR 2002 could be set aside for such protests.


At the Animal Rights 2001 Conference. Americans for Medical Progress, special report, July 7, 2001.

Washington Post Unfairly Portrayed Animal Rights 2001 Conference

Alex Hershaft, the national chair of Animal Rights 2001, recently penned a letter to The Washington Post claiming that the newspaper’s coverage of his event was biased. For once I agree with Hershaft — The Post‘s coverage was far too sympathetic to the animal rights activists.

Hershaft was angry because The Post‘s editors chose to include a photo taken of an animal rights protest at a nearby Wendy’s in which several people, including actor James Cromwell were arrested when they blocked the restaurant’s front counter.

In his letter, Hershaft whines that “the action was neither organized nor authorized by the conference organizers.” Yeah, who would think that animal rights activists would ever protest at a restaurant? (Guest Choice Network has a page of pictures of the protest).

Of course the protest was carried out by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and, completely by coincidence I guess, Hershaft sent an e-mail out to animal rights news lists cheerfully announcing the election of PETA co-founder Alex Pacheco to the “U.S. Animal Rights Hall of Fame,” noting that Ingrid Newkirk was made a member last year. Maybe Hershaft thought that it was some other Alex Pacheco and Ingrid Newkirk who engage in outrageous protests that tend to alienate non-believers.

Anyway, if anything The Post’s coverage was a bit on the kid gloves side. In an e-mail after the event, Hershaft touted all of the wonderful accomplishments of the conference including a screening of “Igniting a Revolution: An Introduction to the Earth Liberation Front” which was produced by the North American Earth Liberation Front Office and “discuss[es] the ideology of the ELF, and the
logic and necessity of using covert direct action to protect life on earth.”

Now a more accurate way of portraying Animal Rights 2001 would have been to take a frame of a burning building from that video and place it smack dab in the middle of the story as a representation of what the animal rights has become — even Hershaft, who tells the Post that he feels maligned at being associated with PETA’s protest, considers the screening of a documentary defending terrorism to be of enough importance to include in his after-the-fact self-congratulatory e-mail (which is a common tactic — tell the press one thing, the activists another).

In The Post‘s story, however, you have to scroll down to almost the very end to hear No Compromise‘s Jake Conroy tell the reporter, “Property damage, in my opinion, is not a violent act.”


Animal Rights Backers Converge in Va.; National Gathering Includes Seminars, Protests, Booths. Abhi Raghunathan, Washington Post, July 5, 2001.

Animal Rights 2001: Best and Biggest Ever! Alex Hershaft, E-mail communication, July 6, 2001.

AR2001: Letter to the Wash Post. Alex Hershaft, E-mail communication, July 5, 2001.

Five activists inducted into U.S. Animal Rights Hall of Fame. Alex Hershaft, Email communication, July 6, 2001.

World Farm Animals Day Coming Up

October 2 is World Farm Animals Day designed to mark, in the words of FarmUSA, “the suffering of ten billion innocent, sentient animals raised for food…” Activists demonstrating on October 2 will be demanding

  • Ban of veal crates
  • Ban of sow gestation stalls
  • Ban of battery cages
  • Ban of forced molting of laying hens
  • Enactment of Downed Animals Protection Act
  • Strict enforcement of Humane Methods of Slaughter Act
  • Phasing out subsidies for large factory farms
  • Strict environmental pollution regulation of factory farms
  • Strict control of antibiotics in factory farms
  • Choice of plant-based foods in the National School Lunch menus

You do have to appreciate the rhetoric espoused by FARM. At their website they reprint a speech by Alex Hershaft which is priceless:

In the 1950’s, General Dwight Eisenhower warned America of the rising political clout and awesome destructive impacts of the military-industrial complex. …

In the 1970’s, leaders of the vegetarian movement warned America of a much more formidable national threat – the meat-industrial complex. Like its predecessor, the meat-industrial complex feeds human greed by killing living beings and destroying their environment. But, unlike its predecessor, the meat-industrial complex does not wait for wars or other diplomatic failures. Driven by grain surpluses, government subsidies, deceptive promotional practices, and consumer apathy, it carries out its deadly mission every minute of every day of every year, even as we speak. Its destructive power boggles the mind.

That would make a great X-Files episode.

If you want to participate by protesting animal agriculture, the FarmUSA site does provide some helpful slogans though a few are a bit confusing such as “Stop Exportation of Factory Farming!” Is this a Monty Python gag? Help me, I’m being exportated! Others include, “Be Kind To Animals — Don’t Eat Them!”, “Nonviolence Begins at Breakfast”, and that old standby, “It’s Time To End Animal Slavery.”

I also can’t help but notice FarmUSA has a picture of a billboard on its site showing a cat and a pig asking “Which do you pet and which do you eat?” I’ve often asked the same thing to my cats who are very nice to my wife and I, but they keep murdering poor innocent bats who get trapped in our house (let me tell you how much fun it is to come home to find a chewed up bat on your floor). I hope they don’t come to take my felines friends away.