Controversy Follows Plans for British Dogs to Compete in Irish Coursing Contests

In 2004, hare coursing was outlawed in England, so what are coursing dog owners to do? Some of them are taking their dogs to Ireland where coursing is still legal.

Half of the 32 places at Ireland’s Seamus Hughes International coursing tournament in Sevenhouse, Co Kilkenny, are reserved for British dogs and the National Coursing Club is advertising the event on its website according to The Times Online.

And, of course, where there are British coursing dogs there are inevitably British animal rights protesters.

Activists are also making the trip, with Fight Against Animal Cruelty In Europe’s Tony Moore one of a number of British animal rights activist who will make the trip to Ireland to make their view on coursing known.

Moore told the Times Online,

Whlie there is a natural link between the countries because of the strong Irish connection to coursing in England, this seems wrong. Ireland doesn’t need the problems that these hunting people bring. I don’t think the farmers over there want them either.

The Times Online also quoted Aideen Yourrell of the Irish Council Against Blood Sports who is organizing a protest against the competition,

This is very worrying. We have heard that more than 300 people are traveling to attend the event. This is like a consolation prize for them losing the Waterloo Cup (a British coursing event held since 1836), but English coursers coming over here puts extra pressure on our hare population. Coursing has been suspended in Northern Ireland already because studies there have shown a shortage of hares.

According to Kilkenny Today, however, “greyhounds in Ireland which compete in coursing meetings are muzzled to protect the hares.”


War against hare coursing crosses the water to Ireland. Mark Tighe, The Sunday Times, January 1, 2006.

Stand-off looms at Sevenhouses. Kilkenny Today, January 4, 2006.

Meatout Sets New Record — Of Course, So Did Worldwide Meat Production

FARM-USA sent out a newsletter in March congratulating itself that, as it noted, “Meatout Observance Smashes Past Records”. According to the newsletter,

Activists came out in droves in observance of the 20th Anniversary of the Great American Meatout, setting a new record for participation. Records were also set for number of proclamations issued and number of billboards placed. All 50 states and 23 other countries were represented. Thanks for making this Meatout observance the best yet!

. . .

Hundreds of billboards and bus cards are carrying the Meatout message in Baltimore, Dallas, Denver, Eugene, Hartford, Los Angeles, New Haven, Oakland, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Tampa, Vancouver, and Washington (D). Celebrity entertainers like Casey Kasem, Mary Tyler Moore, Joaquin Phoenix, Rue McClanahan, James Cromwell, and Bill Maher headlined this year’s special observance.

Of course something else hit a new record as well — worldwide meat production in 2004 reached an estimated 257.6 million metric tons, up from 253.3 metric tons in 2003. Meat production is forecast to take a big leap forward in 2005 thanks to improving economic conditions, with an estimated 264.7 metric tons produced this year.

Or just stick to the United States. Twenty years ago, when the Great American Meatout began, annual per capita consumption of red meat, fish and poultry stood at 181.7 pounds. In 2003, per capita consumption of red meat, fish and poultry stood at 234 pounds.

In the intervening 20 years since activists have been holding their Meatouts, meat consumption increased by 22 percent.

But hey, they’ve got proclamations!


FARM Campaign Update. March 2005.

April 2005 Meat Market Assessment. Food and Agricultural Organization, April 2005.

Animal Rights — Its Even for Flesh Eaters!

Sometimes you see quotes from animal rights activists that makes you wonder if they even understand their own ideology.

For example, in march the Body of Animal Rights Campaigners — a University of Central Florida animal rights student group, collaborated with the Orlando Animal Rights Alliance and the Farm Animal Reform Movement for a Meatout Walk.

Why they bothered to organize such a walk is a mystery given this statement from Body of Animal Rights Campaigners co-president Sara Beniamino,

You don’t have to be vegan or vegetarian to support animal rights. I just think if people had all the facts, as I do, they’d get there, because I used to eat meat, too.

Fine, I’m going to take this twit at face value and come out here and now — that’s right I’m a closet animal rights supporter. I support animal rights, I just also happen to think its okay to eat meat, experiment on animals, kill them for fur, hunt them, fish them, put them in zoos and circuses, and pretty much everything else that’s legal to do with animals in the United States other than cockfighting.

Maybe we need a whole new nomenclature for animal rights types similar to the umpteen versions of hyphenated vegetarians (for example, I might be classified as a morte-ARA — someone who supports the rights of animals but I also think its okay to kill them with impunity as long as you’ve got a good reason to do so, like you’re hungry or have a thing for veal).

Anyway, the whole thing was apparently a way to get money to rent a billboard. Dan Holbert, the other co-president of BARC, told the Central Florida Tribune,

The money raised for this vent goes to FARM, which does great work within the United States and around the world to address the plight of farmed animals. If OARA and BARC raise at least $1,000 together, then we get a billboard in the Orlando area showing people the cruelty of factory farming and asking them to go veg! If BARC and OARA each get 10 people to raise $50, then we’ve got the billboard.

And, of course, the annual statistics on number of animals slaughtered in the United States for food demonstrate just what a good job FARM is doing in the United States. In fact, since I’m coming out here as a closet activist, let me add that I encourage all of my fellow activists to give as much of their money as possible to groups as effective as FARM.

(On a side note, it is good to see they let Holbert out of his cage once in awhile).


Animal rights club beats meat. Bruce Rabin, Central Florida Tribune, March 10, 2005.

Paul Watson Attempts Takeover of the Sierra Club

Paul Watson’s announcement last summer at AR 2003 that he was just three seats away from controlling the board of the Sierra Club suddenly started getting a lot of media attention in early 2004 as the Sierra Club’s April election deadline comes closer.

The Sierra Club, of course, has a $95 million budget which Watson wants to control in order to push his agenda. According to the Center for Consumer Freedom, Watson said at that time,

One of the reasons that I’m on the, um, the Sierra Club board of directors right now is to try and change it Â… we’re only three directors away from controlling that board. We control one-third of it right now. And, uh, once we get three more directors elected, the Sierra Club will not, no longer be pro-hunting and pro-trapping and we can use the resources of the $95-million-a-year budget to address some of these issues. And the heartening thing about it is that, in the last election, of the 750,000 members of the Sierra Club, only 8 percent of them voted. So, you know, a few hundred, or a few thousand people from the animal rights movement joining the Sierra Club — and making it a point to vote — will change the entire agenda of that organization.

According to Sierra Club executive director Carl Pope, about 18 percent of Sierra Club members fish or hunt, and Pope worries that those individuals would be driven from the organization and that it would end up marginal,

It’s important to have hunters and fisherman in the Sierra Club. We are a big-tent organization. We want the Sierra Club to be a big-tent organization. We want the Sierra Club to be a comfortable place for Americans who want clean air, clean water, and to protect America’s open spaces.

The most amusing commentary on the controversy came from FARM USA’s Alex Hershaft who distributed a letter charging that it was, in fact, the hunters and fisherman who were trying to take over the Sierra Club rather than vice versa. According to Hershaft,

The Sierra Club, with 750,000 members and a $95 million annual budget, is being hijacked by the hunting, trapping, and fishing cadres in the forthcoming Board election. Their leaders have been urging members to join the Sierra Club in droves. We can not do any less.

Hershaft parted ways with reality long ago, so this claim should not surprise anyone.

According to Hershaft the three candidates the animal rights activists want to win are activists Kim McCoy and Robert Roy van de Hoek as well as Cornell University Professor David Pimentel.

Pimentel is part of the other group that is trying to hijack the Sierra Club — an organized effort by right wingers and extreme environmentalists to turn the Sierra Club into an anti-immigration organization. A few years ago this coalition managed to put up to a vote by the members a proposed anti-immigration stance that they wanted the Sierra Club would take, but that failed. Along with Dick Lamm and Frank Morris and promoted by racist web sites like VDARE.Org, the anti-immigration effort has also seen the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Morris Dees enter his name as a candidate for the board in order to protest and highlight the anti-immigration effort.


Keep the Sierra Club Out of Hunters’ Clutches! Letter, Alex Hershaft, January 23, 2004.

Sierra Club: Ever More Radical. Center for Consumer Freedom, September 4, 2003.

AMP on Animal Rights 2003

Compared to the last couple years, there was very little national media coverage of the Animal Rights 2003 convention in Washington, DC this year. According to a summary report of the event by Americans for Medical Progress, AR2003 appeared to have lower attendance and a different focus than previous such events,

It’s evident that this year’s conference is not meant for longtime participants of animal rights campaigns, but is primarily to inculcate a much younger crowd of new initiates who have been recently drawn to the animal rights philosophy. Nearly half the program is filled with workshops on lifestyle matters such as choosing a career, how to avoid burnout, and setting personal priorities. . . .

. . .

This week’s convention may be made most notable not by its speakers, but by those in the movement’s national leadership who are not there. There is no trace of PETA, which had been a major sponsor of previous conventions and whose founder, Ingrid Newkirk, gave the keynote speech at last year’s convention. Neal Barnard, president of PETA’s sister organization, the oxymoronically-named Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, had been listed as a speaker, but opted for remaining on tour promoting his latest book, instead. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) which also fielded a great number of experts at past conventions, was not represented. The HSUS has also dropped its traditional role as organizer of the activists’ day of congressional lobbying. Many of the workshops previously handled by PETA, PCRM and HSUS staff are being run this year by the staff of the chief sponsor, Farm Animal Reform Movement (FARM).

The organizers have not released information about the number of registrants, but it appears to observers that the numbers of activists attending are far lower than those of previous years.

As AMP noted, though, that may be due to the decision to split the convention into two separate East and West Coast events.

Nonetheless AMP found a few interesting things to report on, with their summary of remarks by Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty’s Kevin Jonas being especially interesting,

Of special interest to those in the research community is that Jonas has backed away from the claim of SHAC’s victory over Huntingdon Life Sciences, which he made at last year’s meeting.

Now, he talks more of the sacrifices involved in his campaign, telling the audience about the raid on his home by federal authorities and jail time he and other activists have endured. As for closing HLS, he demurred. It may take three weeks, three months, three years or thirty years, he noted, saying simply that ‘an example’ was going to be made of the company.

He said of SHAC: “Our campaign comes with an attitude that we noted was missing from the animal rights movement and one that we know the media would bite onto, that of a very aggressive, unapologetic, uncompromising ‘militant’ campaign . . . and, sure enough, it worked.” He talked of the media attention SHAC has been able to obtain. “We need to have some PT Barnum in us; we need to know how to market, how to put our propaganda out there so that people will pay attention. We spent a long time fine tuning and tinkering with our image and it has paid off.” Jonas told the activists, “The tactics we use here can be used against any other company to tear them apart.”

“We want our opposition and the public to know . . . that there is a large and growing segment among us who say enough is enough,” Jonas said. “We aren’t interested in sitting down and having coffee with an animal abuser and asking them to be compassionate . . . we are going to be the force . . . that punches back. Enough is enough.”


AMP News Service Special Report: At the AR 2003 Convention – Part I. Americans for Medical Progress, July 2003.

Who Are You Calling Terrorists?

In an op-ed published in the Washington Times, Steven Zak accuses conservative anti-animal rights writers of falsely branding animal rights activists as terrorists. But Zak undermines his own case by glossing over actual animal rights terrorism.

Zak writes,

Granted, some animal activists have committed serious acts of vandalism and other crimes. But the wrongers’ wrath isn’t directed solely at them. Mr. [Wesley J.] Smith, for instance, condemns groups like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and even the moderate Humane Society of the United States.

First, it is interesting that Zak lumps all animal rights related crimes into two categories: vandalism and “other.” So the firebombing of a Minnesota University laboratory was just an “other” crime. The death threats and razor-blade laced letters to researchers and farmers are just “other” crimes. Certainly vandalism is a major part of animal rights crimes, but animal rights terrorism has progressed way beyond just simple vandalism.

Second, of course, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals deserves condemnation for its support — moral and otherwise — of terrorism. Zak doesn’t even bother to address the issue of PETA’s Earth Liberation Front donation nor its donation to the legal funds of several individuals accused of animal rights terrorism. He doesn’t bother to dismiss or explain away the numerous statements made by PETA insiders such as Ingrid Newkirk or Bruce Friedrich that encourage and justify animal rights terrorism.

Third, Smith’s comments about the Humane Society of the United States were completely justified, although twisted and distorted by Zak’s failure to actually outline Smith’s complaint. Smith wrote,

. . . known ELF and ALF activists are routinely invited to speak at the yearly Washington, D.C. animal-rights conference sponsored by PETA and the Humane Society of the United States.

I believe HSUS is simply a participant in AR 2002, not a sponsor, but aside from that this is a valid question — why does HSUS participate in FARM USA’s annual animal rights conference which features animal rights terrorists front and center? If there were an anti-animal rights conference which featured groups that advocated burning down the businesses of animal rights activists, I know I would not attend and I cannot imagine any other anti-animal rights group would attend. So why does HSUS want to associate with known criminals and advocates of animal rights crimes?

(The irony, by the way, in Smith attacking animal rights activists is that his view of medical research is rather close to the animal rights position. Smith is, for example, a vocal opponent of transgenic research which he claims undermines human dignity).

Hopefully Zak’s next op-ed or article defending PETA and HSUS will actually address the salient issues.


Exposing animal-rights terrorism. Wesley J. Smith, National Review Online, October 2, 2002.