PETA's Sensitivity to Terrorism Accusations

The Virginian-Pilot ran an article in June about People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ apparent growing concern about accusation that it funds and/or supports animal rights terrorism.

Reporter Bill Burke notes that for once Ingrid Newkirk has been keeping a low profile on this topic and letting PETA’s general counsel, Jeffrey S. Kerr, field all press inquiries about the allegations. Kerr tells Burke,

The whole notion that PETA supports terrorism is false and defamatory. When you use the word ‘terror,’ look at the terror inflicted on billions of animals in this country every year. That’s real terror.

. . .

They’re [PETA’s opponents] trying to smear us any way they can.

In a letter to a House subcommittee investigating ecoterror, Kerr wrote that it “is an insult to the victims of Sept. 11th” to suggest that PETA fosters terrorism. “It is reprehensible for PETA’s opponents to equate peaceful and lawful animal protection with al-Quaida or any other type of terrorism, and to exploit that tragedy for expedient political gain.”

In other words, when PETA’s point man on fur, Dan Matthews, said he admired serial killer Andrew Cunanan “because he got Versace to stop doing fur” — that must have been some other Dan Matthews working for some other animal rights group.

And when Bruce Friedrich told an audience at Animal Rights 2001 that while he doesn’t personally advocate animal rights terrorism, “I do advocate it, and I think it’s a great way to bring about animal liberation” — well, he was probably a victim of some mind control scheme by those evil folks over at The Center for Consumer Freedom.

At the very least, when Ingrid Newkirk was quoted in 1997 as saying, “I wish we all would get up and go into the labs and take the animals out or burn them down,” that was probably a case of mistaken identity. That was really Ingrid Bergman back from the dead saying such vicious things, because everyone knows Ingrid Newkirk would never even think such a thing.

PETA’s press blackout on the terrorism allegations included refusing an interview request with Gary Yourofsky. Yourofsky has an Animal Liberation Front tattoo on his arm and said just over a year ago that animal activists should “not be afraid to condone arsons at places of animal torture” and said that if an animal researcher were killed in such a raid “I would unequivocally support that too.”

That sort of resume makes him perfect material for PETA which hired Yourofsky on as a “humane education presenter” after Yourofsky sent out an e-mail whining that he was broke and leaving the animal rights movement temporarily.

The bottom line is that the widespread support for terrorism within the animal rights movement harms groups and individuals associated with it far more than it poses any credible threat to bringing medical research or animal agriculture to a halt. Fortunately it is not that difficult to make the link since so many prominent animal rights activists apparently see the need to endorse or condone criminal acts in order to appease the extremists who seem to set the agenda within the animal rights movement.

For this reason, The Center for Consumer Freedom’s print ad featuring a Bruce Friedrich quote is easily the most powerful anti-animal rights ad I’ve seen. Hopefully there will be a follow-up with some choice quotes from Yourofsky.

The animal rights movement is intellectually bankrupt on a number of issues, but its willingness to endorse violence and criminal acts makes discrediting the movement to all but the true believers relatively simple. Personally, I’m glad that PETA hired Yourofksy and that Newkirk and Friedrich decided to wax on about their support of terrorism. It certainly makes it much easier to illustrate just how extreme even the most nominally mainstream animal rights organizations are.


Terrorism accusations raise hackles at PETA. Bill Burke, The Virginian-Pilot, June 22, 2002.

PETA Puts Supporter of Violence on Its Payroll

Gary Yourofsky’s absence from the animal rights movement was short lived as the advocate of violence distributed a letter this week indicating that he is now on the payroll of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Yourofsky writes in his letter,

The day after my resignation letter was sent out a couple of months ago, I received a phone call from Ingrid Newkirk, PETA’s founder and president. Ingrid called after Bruce Friedrich, PETA’s Director of Vegan Outreach, informed her of my situation. As most of you recall, after six years of volunteering for ADAPTT, I resigned as ADAPTT’s president due to financial ruin.

Ingrid’s message was touching and emotional, to say the least. Frankly, I was blown away that Ingrid would call me with concern because I could no longer continue my activism. Getting a call and/or a request from Ingrid is like getting a call from the Godfather’s Don Corleone. It’s an offer one can’t refuse.

In a nutshell, Ingrid and PETA wanted to know what they could do to keep me involved. We’ve been in negotiations ever since. Then, on Monday, May 20, PETA made me its official, national lecturer. This union will benefit the animals immensely. Words cannot describe the joy that I am experiencing over this alliance.

Yourofsky’s comparison of Newkirk to the fictional Don Corleone is quite apt. Newkirk says she wishes she could torch labs, hires people who admire serial killers and advocate violence, contributes to legal funds for accused animal rights terrorists, and now has hired on Yourofsky who once said that, “I would unequivocally support” murder in order to further animal rights aims. Oh yeah, that’s a real peace loving, nonviolent bunch of folks right there.

Yourofksy is planning to hit the lecture tour and PETA apparently plans to sell recorded copies of his rantings. Yourofksy writes,

After watching my 68-minute presentation, PETA, like many others in this movement, believed that my vegan/animal liberation lecture was damn persuasive! So, our goal now is to have DAILY lectures set up in schools across the U.S. when the fall semester begins next September. Several people will be helping me achieve this goal. Plus, at the end of June, an oration will be recorded at a Michigan college and placed on VHS, DVD, and CD (audio). These items will be featured in PETA’s next issue of Animal Times which will be available in the PETA catalogue. This will help us reach many educators across the country.

The rest of Yourofsky’s letter is given to defending himself against charges that he’s “sold out,” since he used to blast PETA every chance he got. Yourofksy writes,

By the way, those closest to me know that I have been growing wiser as each year of activism passes. I used to be flat-out vituperative when it came to PETA and other groups who didn’t do things my way. But last year I started to realize that my acrimony was wrong and wasteful. . . .

Moreover, after spending a week here at PETA’s HQ in Norfolk, Virginia, I now see that PETA people work damn hard for the animals. There are 100 Yourofskys working in this building, each activist doing what they do best. Every activist should be required to meet our PETA brethren face-to-face and attend a monthly staff meeting to see all the hard work and achievements. While I may have had tactical differences with PETA, I have had tactical differences with EVERY group and EVERY activist involved in animal liberation, even the ALF!!!! Heck, I don’t even agree with myself sometimes!

For any of you out there who feel that I’ve sold out or something like that — let me paraphrase Paul Watson by saying what makes you think I care what you have to say? Creating an image for one’s self is NOT more important than fighting for animal freedom. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: “I work for the animals and the animals alone.” And, thanks to largest animal rights organization in the world and its founder Ingrid Newkirk, I can now continue my work!

Of course. The $10,000 that PETA gave Yourofsky to run anti-fur advertisements in the Detroit-area played no role whatsoever in his sudden change of heart.


Open Letter. Gary Yourofsky, May 28, 2002.

Poor Gary Yourofsky

Gary Yourofsky recently announced that he was resigning as president of ADAPTT and apparently abandoning animal rights activism for the forseeable future.

In a tear-jerking e-mail, Yourofsky complained about his deteriorating financial position,

I can no longer keep my activism at a much-needed tempestuous pace. Sixty-six months of working for NO PAY has caught up with me. In addition to the debt that I’ve amassed, I’m broke beyond belief with no respite in sight. Technically, I’ve been on the brink of homelessness as well for about six months now. Shacking up with friends, strangers and at motels has run its course.

The burden has overwhelmed those around me who have helped me scrape by. In other words, ALL OF MY RESOURCES ARE COMPLETELY TAPPED! The only way out is to recoup my losses with full-time, overtime PAID employment.

. . .

Reality has forced me to take two jobs (seven days a week) immediately).

. . .

I will remain a vegan humanitarian forever. I will support animal liberation until I die. However, at this juncture, I can no longer be an activist. Only a supporter.

Really? What a shame.

Yourofsky went on to reaffirm is extremist views about animal rights, writing,

To all my enslaved planetary companions, I apologize for discontinuing activism for the time-being, but you can be that I’ll be back in a few years with bigger and better things.

Always support activists, especially those who put their freedom on the line for those who have none. Long live the ALF!

Never have empathy for an animal abuser under any circumstance! Only have empathy for those who are abused, tortured, enslaved and murdered.

Yourofsky was asked last year about what would happen if a medical researcher were murdered, to which he replied, “I would unequivocally support that, too.”

And now, Yourofsky’s out of the movement entirely. Hey, I would unequivocally support that, too.


Yourofsky resigns as ADAPTT president. Gary Yourofsky, e-mail communication, March 5, 2002.

How Animal Rights Activists Try to Intimidate Researchers: The Testimony of Dr. Michael Conn

Steve Duin wrote an excellent op-ed for The Oregonian at the end of September which talked about the epidemic of animal rights terrorism. Duin describes chilling testimony given by Dr. Michael Conn during hearings held by the Joint Terrorism Task Force, which is trying to coordinate efforts at dealing with terrorism from political extremists, including radical pro-lifers and animal rights extremists.

Conn, the associate director of the Oregon Regional Primate Research Center, testified about flying to Florida in August 2001 for a job interview at the University of South Florida in Tampa.

Conn described how Gary Yourofsky posted details of his trip on the Internet — the same Yourofsky who in July told the Toledo Blade that he would “unequivocally support” the killing of an “animal abuser.”

Animal rights protesters were waiting for Conn at the airport when he arrived, and harassed him in his hotel room with threatening calls. As he was preparing to leave the airport for his flight back to Oregon, Conn described animal rights extremists “physically surrounding” him on the escalator, telling him, “We came to say goodbye.”

Conn testified that, “I felt unsafe the whole time I was there. I was an easy target.”


The evolution from landmarks to land mines. Steve Duin, The Oregonian, September 27, 2001.

Animal Rights Activists vs. Victims of Terrorism

Some animal rights activists have long been proponents of using the methods of terror — destroying buildings and other property to push their political agenda. But in the wake of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, some animal rights activists chose to show just how callous they were toward human life.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals had to weigh in, of course, although the organization seemed to have a quick change of heart. The day after the attacks, PETA issued a press release on its web site which was yanked off the site almost as soon as it had been put up.

Although national news media were reporting that phone service in New York City was suffering under the weight of people concerned about relatives not to mention the ongoing rescue work which had various local, state, and federal authorities staggering to keep up, PETA actually urged people to call Mayor Rudolph Giuliani to express their concerns about abandoned pets. In the press release, PETA said,

Mayor Giuliani has a poor record when it comes to animals. In 1998 he refused to allow desperate New Yorkers whose apartment building’s scaffolding collapsed, the opportunity to tend to or rescue their beloved animals for more than five days, leaving animals to become dehydrated and starving.

Please urge Mayor Giuliani to set up a task force to locate and rescue animals in need. To many of this disaster’s victims and their families, these beloved animals are members of the family and would be a great source of comfort.

It then gave both the phone and fax numbers to Giuliani’s office adding, “If you have a difficult time getting through to Mayor Giuliani due to phone line trouble, please don’t give up; keep trying.” Yeah, they might actually be on the phone trying to arrange to find survivors — clearly PETA’s priorities were far more important than that.

Given the situation on the ground in New York City, such a telephone campaign had the real possibility of endangering human life and has to be one of the more sickening efforts to ever emerge from that sick organization.

Meanwhile, Gary Yourofsky actually tried to top PETA in the level of absurdity. Many Americans have opened their hearts and wallets during this crisis and donated in excess of $100 million to the Red Cross (Amazon.Com alone collected $6.4 million in donations for the Red Cross within a week). Many people also sought to donate blood, in many places quickly overwhelming the ability of volunteers to keep up.

Is this an example of the best of America? According to Yourofsky, people who donate to the Red Cross are simply perpetuating terrorism. In a press release Yourofsky wrote,

Sorry I didn’t post this last week, but The American Red Cross engages in the terroristic, murderous and unscientific practice of vivisection.

It is my personal belief, too, that the Red Cross is making out like bandits over the recent tragedy. You can bet the upper management Red Cross people will be receiving HUGE bonuses after the public sends in tens of millions if not hundreds of millions of dollars because of the WTC/Pentagon attacks.

DO NOT SUPPORT the RED CROSS in any way until it refuses to torture, terrorize and murder animals in unscientific and unethical experiments.

There are other ways to donate blood besides via the Red Cross. Local hospitals or county clinics can take blood donations, too. Be careful about hospitals, though. Many of those institutions engage in vivisection, too. County clinics are your safest bet.

Yourofsky is right about one thing. The Red Cross does participate in some medical research involving animals, and thanks to animal research many of those who likely would have died of their injuries were saved thanks to the incredible advances in drugs, surgical practices, medical devices and other innovations.

Just one more thing to thank them for.


Red Cross experiments on animals – DO NOT DONATE. Gary Yourofsky, ADAPTT Press Release, September 19, 2001.

New York City’s Animals Desperately Need Your Voice. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Press Release, September 12, 2001.

Gary Yourofsky Profiled In The Toledo Blade

Jack Lessenberry, the Ombudsman for the Toledo Blade, wrote a fascinating profile of Michigan animal rights activist Gary Yourofsky for that newspaper. After reading some of the quotes from Yourofsky, its scary that anyone takes him seriously (but people do).

Yourofsky has spent quite a bit of time in jail for various animal liberation acts, including two months in a Canadian prison for releasing mink from a Canadian farm. Yourofsky tells Lessenberry that he is $30,000 in debt and lives mostly off of donations. “[I’m] an activist 24/7,” Yourofsky said. “This is what I do.”

It gets better. According to Lessenberry, Yourofsky supports a large tattoo of himself wearing a hood and “displaying the symbols of the ALF, the Animal Liberation Front” on one of his arms. In addition Yourofsky has an exaggerated sense of self-importance, telling Lessenberry that he doubts he will live to see the animal rights movement succeed because, “I really think I will be assassinated.”

Not that Yourofsky particularly thinks violence is a bad thing. “…we must be willing to do whatever it takes to gain their [animals] freedom and stop their torture,” Yourofsky said.

Would it be okay if an activist killed an “animal abuser”? “I would unequivocally support that, too,” Yourofsky said.

All in order to achieve Yourofsky’s ideal. “What we must do is start viewing every cow, pig, chicken, monkey, rabbit, mouse, and pigeon as our family members.”

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals loves Yourofsky — they gave him $10,000 for an anti-fur ad which aired in the Detroit area dozens of times.

As I mentioned at the beginning, the scary part is that Yourofsky is taken seriously, especially in some of the public schools here in Michigan. As Lessenberry notes, “he is increasing demands on the classroom and lecture circuit.”


Activist devotes life to animal rights. Jack Lessenberry, Toldeo Blade, June 24, 2001.