PETA Wants NCAA Ban on Gamecock Mascot

In August, the National Collegiate Athletic Association issued a report ruling putting restrictions on tournament appearances by teams that continue to use Native American mascots. That as the perfect opportunity, of course, for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals to step in and ask the NCAA to do the same thing to some universities that have animal mascots.

Specifically, PETA requested that the NCAA enact the same sort of sanctions against Jacksonville State and the University of South California — both schools use Gamecocks as their mascot.

PETA’s Dan Shannon was quoted by The Birmingham News as saying,

Our position is that since cockfighting is illegal in 48 states in this country and a felony in South Carolina — you go to jail, period — we don’t think schools should be promoting this illegal act with their mascots. Our problem with Gamecocks is it promotes cockfighting. That’s not only illegal, but tremendously cruel to the animals involved. We’ve been in contact with the presidents of these universities for several years. We’ve exchanged polite letters back and forth, very polite and respectful, but they have chosen not to change their names. With the NCAA decision about Native American nicknames, we hope that might spur them on — no pun intended — to adopt a nickname more respectful to animals.

PETA’s Allison Ezell, who sent a letter to NCAA president Myles Brand, said the group does not object to other animal mascots such as the Oregon Ducks or Baylor Bears which, “highlight the power and beauty in the natural world.”


PETA asks NCAA to ban Gamecocks nickname. Mike Perrin, The Birmingham News, August 12, 2005.

PETA asks USC to change nickname. The State.Com (University of Southern Carolina student newspaper), August 12, 2005.

Prosecutor in KFC Supplier Case Receives Threats from Animal Rights Extremists

WAVE 3 TV reported recently that a special prosecutor assigned to look at allegations of animal cruelty at Pilgrim’s Pride — which supplies chickens to KFC — has received so many threats that an FBI agent has been assigned the task of investigating each of them.

In 2004, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals made public a videotape showing employees of Pilgrim’s Pride in West Virginia kicking, stomping and slamming chickens against walls. In January 2005, however, special prosecutor Ginny Conley announced she wasn’t bringing charges because the videotape was so dark and grainy it was impossible to identify specific individuals for prosecution. She also cited concern that since the alleged abuse took place at a slaughterhouse, that it wasn’t covered by the state’s animal cruelty statutes.

Conley subsequently received enough additional information against those in the video to take her case to a grand jury in June. The grand jury, however, refused to indict the identified individuals.

Pilgrim’s Pride fired 11 people connected to the incidents on the videotape.

Conley told the Associated Press and WAVE 3 TV that she regularly receives harassing e-mails and letters from animal rights extremists, some of which include threats. She told WAVE 3,

There was even an FBI person provided to me to monitor it because the harassment got to such a level.

PETA, for its part, stuck with its “we don’t condone it, but we really do” line. PETA’s Dan Shannon told WAVE TV that PETA doesn’t condone the threats, but added that,

At the same time, you can understand how somebody would be so upset by these animals being tortured and abused, thrown against walls and torn apart. They might be moved with that level of passion.

Reminds me of the time that Shannon said PETA didn’t condone throwing fake blood at KFC’s CEO, while Bruce Friedrich was off doing just that.

The kicker is that Conley told the Associated Press that the harassment from animal rights activists made it harder to focus on making a case against the Pilgrim’s Pride workers,

Special prosecutor Ginny Conley had previously said she had no evidence to warrant criminal charges, but said Wednesday that more evidence had been found that persuaded her to present the case to a grand jury. Pressure from the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals did little to sway her, she said.

“In fact, if anything, the harassment I received from PETA was very intrusive on me performing my duties as prosecutor,” said Conley. “However, after I gained the additional information I received, I felt it at least warranted presentation to the citizens of Hardy County.”


PETA supporters upset workers on video abusing chickens won’t be charged. Erick Flack, WAVE TV 3, July 19, 2005.

Jury Won’t Indict Chicken Plant Workers. Associated Press, June 8, 2005.

PETA Protests Oklahoma Prison Rodeo

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ Dan Shannon sent a letter to Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry in August asking the governor to abolish the state’s long-running prison rodeo.

The prison rodeo has been held in Oklahoma for the past 63 years and features inmates engaging in a number of event such as bull riding and cow milking.

According to Shannon, the prison rodeo encourages inmates to abuse animals,

A prison is the last place in the world that should be encouraging violence. It is time to put cruel events like rodeos out to pasture.

A communications director for the governor replied that PETA’s request was “silly” and that, “The governor will not consider stopping this Oklahoma tradition.”


Request To Stop Oklahoma Prison Rodeo Called “Silly”. Associated Press, August 22, 2003.

Activists Throws Fake Blood on Yum! Brands CEO

German animal rights activists threw fake blood on Yum! Brands CEO David Novak is June as Novak arrived at the opening of the first A&W Restaurant in Germany. Along with A&W, Yum! Brands is the owner of KFC.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has been waging a public campaign against KFC for what PETA claims are the cruelties that chickens killed for KFC are subjected to. PETA, however, claims that it was not behind the fake blood incident.

Which is a bit odd, considering that PETA is the group that initially notified the media that the action had taken place and was able to supply photographs of Novak covered in fake blood to news media quickly after the incident.

The brave animal rights activists who threw the red liquid immediately fled the scene.

PETA’s Dan Shannon claimed that,

It was an independent person, working on their own, on behalf of our campaign [against Yum]. We are not asking or encouraging people to do this sort of thing.

Somebody forgot to tell Bruce Friedrich they’re not encouraging such actions. In a quote on PETA’s web site, Friedrich says,

KFC stands for cruelty in our book. There is so much blood on this chicken-killer’s hands, a little more on his business suit won’t hurt.

Yum! Brands wasn’t buying Shannon’s pathetic spin. Yum! spokesman Jonathan Blum said,

This is the type of corporate terrorism groups like PETA have endorsed in the past. Corporate attacks and personal violence of this nature cross the line from expression of views to unacceptable acts of corporate terrorism. The perpetrator of this crime should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.


KFC Chief “Blooded” In Germany. Press Release, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, June 23, 2003.

Animal-rights activist douses Yum’s CEO. Courier-Journal (Louisville, Kentucky), June 24, 2003.

Animal rights activists spray KFC chief with fake blood and chicken feathers. Associated Press, June 24, 2003.

PETA's Anti-KFC Billboard

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals found its latest billboard attacking KFC widely rejected before finding a billboard company in Illinois willing to take the group’s money.

In a press release, PETA said,

Showing Col. Sanders spattered in blood and clutching a terrified chicken in one hand and a bloody butcher knife in the other, PETA?s new billboard, reading, “Kentucky Fried Cruelty ? We Do Chickens Wrong,” has just gone up in Springfield as part of PETA?s international campaign to pressure KFC to crack down on cruel treatment of animals by its suppliers. The billboard was rejected by nervous advertisers in cities all over North America. The billboard is located along North Grand Avenue on the right side, 50 feet east of 6th Street.

In a news report from the Edmonton Sun, PETA’s Dan Shannon responded to questions about the billboard (an Edmonton billboard owner rejected it) explaining that,

We’re frustrated. We think this is an important message that people need to hear.

You have to love PETA. Kill a chicken to eat it: bad. Kill a human being as part of a serial killing spree: good.


Billboard company chickens out on campaign. Rob Drinkwater, Edmonton Sun, May 9, 2003.

Ad Depicts Knife-Wielding Col. Sanders “Doing Chickens Wrong”. Press Release, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, July 8, 2003.

When Is PETA Going to Sue the CDFE?

Okay, here’s something I genuinely don’t understand — why hasn’t People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sued Ron Arnold and the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise for libel yet? This is hard to understand for two reasons.

First, PETA is hardly afraid to file lawsuits. Just last February, for example, PETA said it would sue the state of New Jersey after PETA activists Dan Shannon and Jay Kelly hit a deer in that state while driving a PETA-owned vehicle. One news organization I wrote an op-ed about PETA for made me go over it with a fine-tooth comb because of PETA’s perceived litigiousness. This is not an organization known for holding their lawyers at bay.

Second, Ron Arnold has said a number of things which PETA and its attorneys say are patently untrue and would thereby be libelous. For example, here’s Arnold describing PETA in no uncertain terms for the New Jersey Herald earlier this month,

We believe the evidence shows that PETA’s leaders and personnel have been involved in criminal activities of such a magnitude for such a length of time that they have no legal right to a tax exemption.

Or how about its filing with the IRS last year where Arnold and CDFE asserted,

PETA openly and actively induces and encourages unlawful acts . . .

Maybe PETA agrees with Arnold that it actively encourages criminal acts. But no, PETA attorney Jeff Kerr tells the New Jersey Herald,

That is completely ludicrous and they’ve known about it for a long time. Everything it [PETA] does is directly related to trying to help end the suffering and exploitation of animals. Everything we do is consistent with the charitable mission of PETA.

Well, if Arnold’s assertions are really that ludicrous, it’s a bit odd that PETA doesn’t seek recourse in the courts through a libel action. Either they really know Arnold’s statement is, in fact, accurate, or they’re too busy suing states when their own activists hit deer to bother.


Animal rights group attacked; PETA integrity under question. Pat Mindos, New Jersey Herald, May 6, 2003.