Newkirk: We Oppose All Violence Against Civilians, But Fashion Designers Are Fair Game

Ingrid Newkirk, of all people, gave a speech at a conference addressing violent conflict in the Middle East at which she said,

. . . we call all attacks on civilians, whether against Palestinians in Jenin or Israelis in Tel Aviv, what they are: War crimes.

If we want an end to violence, it means that we must first reject the slaughterhouse, the animal circus, and animal skins and remember that kindness to animals has been a cornerstone of every great religion in the history of the world.

Mohandas Gandhi, one of the icons of the nonviolence movement, taught that how we treat animals shows our ability to empathize with those who are ‘different’ from us, which is the first step toward living in peace with our human neighbors.

Leaving aside the accuracy of her claim about religion and animals, it is interesting that Newkirk declares violence against civilians “war crimes”, but as far as I know neither Newkirk or People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has ever apologized for Dan Mathews remarks in admiration of serial killer Andrew Cunanan. Cunanan murdered fashion designer Gianni Versace, and in 1999 PETA’s Mathews, asked to name a 20th century man he loves, replied,

Andrew Cunanan, because he got Versace to stop doing fur.


Animal rights group addresses Mideast conflict. Ynetnews.Com, January 4, 2005.

Elle Macpherson Abandons Lucrative Contract After PETA Threat

The UK’s Daily Mail reported in September that supermodel Elle Macpherson is seeking to get out of million pound contract she signed with fur company Blackglama after receiving a threatening letter from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ Dan Matthews.

In the letter, Matthews wrote,

By making yourself the new face of fur for Blackglama you are also making yourself a top target for PETA and animal activists around the world. When you take money from such a violent industry you also must carry their baggage.

Matthews, of course, defends every tactic to stop companies using fur up to and including murder. In 2000, asked by gay magazine Genre to name one of his favorite men of the 20th century, Matthews responded that one of his favorite men was

Andrew Cunanan, because he got Versace to stop doing fur.

Cunanan was the serial killer who in 1997 murdered fashion designer Gianni Versace outside Versace’s Miami Beach home.

When you get warning letters from people who admire serial killers, one cannot blame Macpherson for being concerned. The Daily mail quoted a source close to Macpherson saying,

Elle has never seen anything ethically wrong in wearing fur and was very keen to get involved with the campaign. But in the wake of recent developments against the fur industry from militant protesters and animal rights activists, Elle felt that no amount of money was worth jeopardizing the safety of herself or her family and she would rather the ads were pulled.

No word yet on whether or not Macpherson will be able to reach an agreement with Blackglama to abandon the ad campaign scheduled to debut over the next few months.


Elle ‘too scared’ for fur. Clemmie Moodle, Daily Mail, September 30, 2005.

PETA Targets Donatella Versace

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals announced in March that its India chapter would target Donatella Versace with billboards.

The billboards feature pictures of Donatella with the copy, “Fur is worn by beautiful animals and ugly people.”

PETA’s Dan Mathews tells Indian newspaper Mid-Day,

Donatella’s selfish, cruel nature is evident in the photograph, which is in start contrast to the gentleness and beauty of the animals whose skins were stolen for her shows.

Of course, Mathews is one of the uglier animal rights activists around, having in 2000 declared his admiration for the man who murdered Gianni Versace. A profile in Genre magazine that year noted,

When asked who is among the most important men he loves of the century, he replied, “Andrew Cunanan, because he got Versace to stop doing fur.”

Someone’s got a selfish and cruel nature, and it ain’t Donatella Versace.


PETA targets violence. Hemal Ashar, Mid-Day, March 20, 2005.

Australian Minister Accuses PETA of Involvement with Terrorist Groups

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals recently threatened to sue Australia’s Agricultural Minister Warren Truss after Truss accused the animal rights group of providing aid and comfort to animal and environmental terrorists.

Truss apparently cited testimony by the Center for Consumer Freedom about PETA’s alleged involvement with the Animal Liberation Front and Earth Liberation Front. CCF reprinted part of Truss speech which said,

But even more concerning, it has been alleged in a US Senate hearing by the same organization that PETA has provided aid and comfort to people associated with two groups considered domestic terrorist threats by the FBI — the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) and the Animal Liberation Front (ALF).

According to the FBI, the two groups have been responsible for more than 600 crimes since 1996, causing more than $43 million in damage. The ALF even brags on its website that the two groups committed “100 illegal direct actions” — like blowing up four-wheel-drives, destroying the brakes on seafood delivery trucks, and planting firebombs in restaurants — in 2002 alone.

PETA lawyer Jeff Kerr threatened to sue Truss calling the claims part of a smear campaign by a “discredited group.”

If the statements are untrue and part of a smear campaign, then why hasn’t PETA sued the Center for Consumer Freedom for making the same statements for several years now? Perhaps PETA doesn’t think it would help to go into court only to have CCF show PETA’s own 2001 tax return showing a $15,000 donation to the Earth Liberation Front. Or maybe it doesn’t want to be reminded of Ingrid Newkirk’s odd behavior in the Rodney Coronado case which was cited in the government’s sentencing memo (emphasis added),

Forensic evidence discovered during the investigation confirmed that Coronado played an important role in planning and executing the ALF’s campaign of terrorism. Investigators learned that immediately before and after the MSU arson, a Federal Express package had been sent to a Bethesda, Maryland address from an individual identifying himself as “Leonard Robideau”. The first package went to Ingrid Newkirk, PETA’s founder.

. . .

Significantly, Newkirk had arranged to have the package delivered to her days before the MSU arson occurred.

Not to mention quotes from everyone from Bruce Freidrich to Dan Mathews to Newkirk herself expressing approval for actual acts of violence and destruction and anticipation that more such acts might be forthcoming.

I suspect that this lawsuit will have the same sort of longevity as PETA’s lawsuit against New Jersey over another PETA attorney’s violent altercation with a deer.


PETA may sue over Truss’ terror comments. Australian Associated Press, March 3, 2005.

Not A G’Day For PETA Down Under. Press Release, Center for Consumer Freedom, March 4, 2005.

PETA, HSUS to Focus on Cockfighting Bans in Lousiana, New Mexico

With the recent Supreme Court decision that ended two years of efforts to overturn Oklahoma’s cock-fighting ban, and the defeat of a pro-cockfighting politician in Louisiana, the Humane Society of the United States and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals look to focus on enacting bans in Louisiana and New Mexico, the last two states in the United States where cockfighting is allowed.

PETA is focusing on New Mexico. In a press conference with Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez and actress Rue McClanahan, PETA’s Dan Mathews said,

Yes. Absolutely. We are targeting New Mexico.

Over the past few years, New Mexico has become a hot spot for filming Hollywood productios and Mathews hopes to convince producers to avoid the state until a ban on cockfighying is passed.

Cockfighting is already banned in 13 of New Mexico’s 33 counties, and in 29 of its cities, including Albuquerque. A proposed ban on cockfighting passed New Mexico’s state house earlier this year, but couldn’t get out of committee in the state Senate.

PETA wants the state to take up a cockfighting ban during its 60-day session that begins in Jaunuary. According to the Albuqurque Journal, a poll it took thsi summer found that two-thirds of registered voters supported a ban on cockfighting.

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, however, remains non-committal on a ban, with his spokesman telling the Albuquerque Journal,

Cockfighting is already banned in the majority of counties and municipalities. The governor is willing to discuss and consider any legislative measure after a full and thorough debate on all sides.

Meanwhile, HSUS is looking to push a ban in Louisiana, where its political action committee spent $250,000 in advertising against a pro-cockfighting candidate for U.S. Senate. HSUS’s Wayne Pacelle was quoted in The Guardian (UK) as saying,

We intend to eradicate this cruel, barbaric practice. My advice to anyone moving to Louisiana thinking it’s a cockfighting refuge is not to unpack their bags — it’s going to be a very short stay.


PETA targets NM film industry over cockfighting. Dennis Domrzalski, New Mexico Business Weekly, November 15, 2004.

Cockfight ban gets TV star’s support. Kate Nash, Albuquerque Journal, November 16, 2004.

Final battle to rid the US of ‘barbaric’ cockfighting. Richard Luscombe, The Observor, November 21, 2004.

PETA's Latest Anti-Rodeo Ad

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sent former Dallas Cowboy cheerleader Bonnie-Jill Laflin to the Museum of Sex (I’m not making this up) in New York City to showcase the animal rights groups latest anti-rodeo poster,

Dan Mathews summed up PETA’s approach, telling The New York Daily News, “We like to keep the ‘T’ and ‘A’ in PETA.” And not much else, apparently.

Laflin told the New York Daily News, emphasis added,

I don’t want to be crude, but basically they stick electric prods up their [butts], and put straps down in their sensitive areas, poking them and everything to make them buck. If you got a spur jabbed into your side, you’re probably gonna move a little, too.

Oh yeah, after seeing that poster it’d be really difficult to consider Laflin being crude.

Sheila Lehrke of the International Professional Rodeo Association gave the proper response to PETA’s silly antics, saying,

I really have a hard time making a comment on the kind of campaigns PETA runs. They’re so contrived for response and so far off base from what we’re really talking about.


Nudie in a haystack. Lloyd Grove, New York Daily News, September 21, 2004.