Just Your Average, Ill-Informed Activists

Activists with In Defense of Animals protested at the University of California Berkeley on April 19, and brought shovels in an attempt to dig up a courtyard above an underground animal research lab. Police stepped in and confiscated the shovels without incident.

The protest was part of World Week for Animals in Laboratories, and the activists displayed their knowledge of animal research. For example, protester Jennifer Blum told the San Francisco Chronicle,

It’s pretty disgusting to think about what’s happening beneath our feet — monkeys having electrodes implanted in their brains, kittens having their eyes sewed shut.

Just one problem with that thought — according to Helen Diggs, head of Berkeley’s Office of Laboratory Animal Care, the university is not involved in any research involving kittens. Perhaps Ms. Blum should be more concerned about what’s going on in her head more than what’s going on beneath her feet.


Activists denounce research on animals. Charles Burress, San Francisco Chronicle, April 20, 2004.

Activists Disappointed by Oregon Trap-Checking Limit

In 2001, the Oregon legislature passed a law that, among other things, required that traps set for “nuisance animals” be checked “on a regular basis.” It was left to the state Fish and Wildlife Commission to determine what qualified as “a regular basis,” and it issued a decision on that in February that pleased farmers and trappers but disappointed animal rights activists.

State law already requires traps set for fur-bearing animals be checked every 48 hours. On a 4-2 vote, the Fish and Wildlife Commission ruled that traps for nuisance animals must be checked every 76 hours. In addition, if a trapping is done for “damage control” the traps only need to be checked every 7 days, and conibear traps need to be checked only ever 30 days.

In Defense of Animals’ Connie Durkee told The Oregonian that the Fish and Wildlife Commission was putting the interests of trappers ahead of the animals,

The message that the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife sends is that convenience for the trapper outweighs being humane. No wild animal should have to suffer needlessly.

Wayne Pacelle of the Humane Society for the United States said the trap-check limits were inhumane and would likely spur his and other groups to bring a ballot initiative to address “inhumane traps.” Pacelle told the Bend Bugle,

The Commission has abrogated its responsibility to provide the most elemental humane standards for trapping. Animals caught in inhumane traps will languish not for hours, but for days. The Commission has all but incited humane and wildlife protection organizations to renew their effort to pass a comprehensive ballot initiative to halt the use of inhumane traps in Oregon.

HSUS Oregon program coordinator Kelly Peterson noted that many states require traps to be checked every 24 hours and argued that Oregon should have brought its trap-check limit in line with other states. Peterson told the Bend Bugle,

Given that more than 30 states mandate 24-hour or daily trap check requirement, it is most disappointing that the state will allow animals to linger in traps for three to thirty days. The suffering the animals will endure is immense.

The 76-hour limit was favored by a majority of a citizen’s committee that looked at this issue in 2003. It was favored in order to accommodate federal Wildlife Service so that such individuals could set traps on Friday and not have to check them again until the following Monday.


Oregon panel sets 76-hour trap-checking limit. Mark Larabee, The Oregonian, February 7, 2004.

Humane Society dismayed by trap check rules. Bend.Com, February 6, 2004.

Trapping decision angers animal-rights activists. Mark Freeman, Mail Tribune (Jackson County, Oregon), February 7, 2004.

In Defense of Animals Starts Letter Campaign Against Proposed Pro-Trapping Postage Stamp

On December 8, 2003, In Defense of Animals included this item in its weekly newsletter,

A pro-trapping postage stamp is currently under consideration by the U.S. Postal Service. The National Trappers Association (NTA) is pushing the stamp and if they go forward with their campaign to institute the pro-trapping stamp, the trappers will inundate the USPS with vocal requests for these stamps.

Each year approximately 10 million animals are trapped in the wild, so that they can be skinned for fur coats. The primary tools used by fur trappers are the following: leghold trap, the body grip (Conibear) trap, and the wire snare. Volumes of documentation proving that leghold traps mutilate wild animals, are non-selective in what they catch, and are a danger to companion animals and children.This is not something to be promoted on a stamp. Learn more about trapping here.

Contact the national Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee and ask it to deny any pro-trapping stamp requested by the NTA. Tell the Committee that the USPS should not promote animal cruelty.

But a couple weeks later, New Jersey Animal Rights Alliance activist Joe Miele posted a copy of a letter he had received from the USPS dated November 4, 2003, denying that the postal service had plans for a trapping stamp,

November 4, 2003

Dear Mr. Miele:

Thank you for your October 24 letters expressing your opposition to the
issuance of a stamp honoring trappers and animal trapping.

There are no plans to issue such a stamp as part of the annual stamp

Each year the Postal Service receives thousands of letters suggesting
hundreds of different topics for new stamps. The Citizens’ Stamp Advisory
Committee was established in 1957 to review all suggestions and make
recommendations to the Postmaster General. Committee recommendations are
based on national interest, historical perspective, and other criteria. We
rely on the Committee to produce a balanced stamp program that touches on
all aspects of our heritage. Enclosed for your reference is the Creating
U.S. Postage Stamps brochure.

We appreciate your interest in our stamp program.


Terrence W. McCaffrey
Stamp Development

If IDA wants to keep activists busy on a wild goose chase, more power to them.


Trappers push pro-trapping postage stamp. Animal News Center, December 22, 2003.

E-Newsletter. In Defense of Animals, December 8, 2003.

USPS correspondence. Terrence W. McCaffrey, November 4, 2003.

African Elephant Moved to Tennessee Zoo Over Animal Rights Objections

In May, animal rights groups lost their bid to prevent the Los Angeles Zoo from moving a 42-year-old female African elephant to the Knoxville Zoo in Tennessee.

Los Angeles resident Catherine Doyle had sued to get a temporary restraining order blocking the move, but the zoo moved the elephant two days before the scheduled hearing on the restraining order.

Animal rights groups that had opposed the move, including The Humane Society of The United States (HSUS), In Defense of Animals, Last Chance For Animals and Venice Animal Allies Foundation, blasted the move. In a joint press release, the groups complained,

In its attempt to keep [elephants] Ruby and Gita together, Doyle’s lawsuit accuses the Los Angeles Zoo of violating public policy and trust, as well as the California Administrative Procedure Act. It does not cite any violation of the Endangered Species Act. This outrageous ploy on the part of the zoo and the L.A. City attorney was a blatant delaying tactic designed to leave Ruby’s fate in legal limbo and enabled the zoo to carry out their plan of transferring Ruby to the Knoxville Zoo in Tennessee, regardless of the elephants’ mutual welfare.

“I believe the L.A. Zoo, with Mayor Hahn’s endorsement, has shown its true colors with this covert operation of moving Ruby under the cover of darkness over a holiday weekend,” declares Gretchen Wyler, VP HSUS Hollywood Office. “The zoo has resorted to reprehensible legal maneuvering to achieve its intractable goal of separating these elephants, and like thieves in the night, has spirited away city property from the residents of Los Angeles.”

“Shame on the zoo for sneaking Ruby away in chains in the middle of the night, taking her away from her home and her best friend, while our request for a temporary restraining order was to be ruled on today,” states Yael Trock, the attorney for the plaintiff Catherine Doyle. “We are not giving up on this and intend to take further legal action.”

The Los Angeles Zoo moved the elephant because the Knoxville Zoo has an interest in developing an African elephant breeding program whereas the L.A. Zoo is in the process of focusing on Asian elephants in a process that could eventually lead to a breeding program as well.


Animal Protection Groups Blast L.A. Zoo for Spiriting Away Elephant Under Cover of Darkness. In Defense of Animals, Press Release, May 27, 2003.

Despite protests, L.A. Zoo Sends Elephants to Tennessee. Carla Hall, Los Angeles Times, May 27, 2003.

IDA Hysterical Press Release Over Anti-Terrorist Bill

In Defense of Animals released a press release announcing that urgent action was need to stop a “Bill to Criminalize Animal Welfare Advocacy” that is making its way through the New York State Assembly.

According to the IDA,

A bill that could classify you as an “animal or ecological terrorist” if you donate to an organzation that promotes animal welfare, or that brings suit against an inudstry alleged to have violated animal cruelty laws, has move to the Senate floor. . . . The bill defines “animal or ecological terrorist organizations” as two or more people who support any politically motivated activity to deter those who own an animal facility or who participate in animal or environmental exploitation. This translats into criminalizing those people who object verbally and in a lawful fashion to abusive practices in these areas.

Apparently, the folks at IDA have a bit of trouble reading. Does the bill define an ecological or animal terrorist group has two people who simply try to deter those who own an animal facility. Hardly. Here’s the text of the bill with the some emphasis added for our challenged friends at IDA,

“Animal or ecological terrorist organization” means any association, organization, entity, coalition, or combination of two or more persons with the primary or incidental purpose of supporting any politically motivated activity through intimidation, coercion, fear, or other means that is intended to obstruct, impede or deter any person from participating in a lawful animal activity, animal facility, research facility, or the lawful activity of mining, foresting, harvesting, gathering or processing natural resources.

Does the bill allow for legal action against a group that simply files a lawsuit or simply peacefully states his objection to animal research. Again, the answer is no.

4. An animal or ecological terrorist organization or any person acting on its behalf or at its request or for its benefit or any individual whose intent to commit the activity was politically motivated is prohibited from:
    (a) depriving the owner of an animal or natural resource from participating in an animal or natural resource activity by:
          (i) obstructing the lawful use of an animal, natural resource or other property from the owner permanently or for such a period of time that a significant portion of the value or enjoyment of the animal, natural resource or property is lost to the owner;=
         (ii) taking or detaining the animal, natural resource or other property and agree to restore it only upon reward or other compensation; or
         (iii) disposing of an animal, natural resource or other property or to so alter its condition or usefulness that the value of the animal, natural resource or other property is substantially reduced.
     (b) obstructing or impeding the use of an animal facility or the use of a natural resource without the effective consent of the owner by:
         (i) damaging or destroying an animal or research facility, or other property in or on the premises;
         (ii) entering an animal or research facility that is at the time closed to the public;
         (iii) remaining concealed in an animal or research facility with the intent to commit an act prohibited by this chapter;
         (iv) entering an animal or research facility and commit or attempt to commit an act prohibited by this chapter;
         (v) entering an animal or research facility to take pictures by photograph, video camera, or other means with the intent to commit criminal activities or defame the facility or its owner;
        (vi) entering or remaining on the premises of an animal or research facility if the person or organization:
             (1) had notice that the entry was forbidden; or
             (2) received notice to depart but failed to do so; or
        (vii) causing a physical disruption of an animal or research facility.
   (c) interfering with any lawful animal activity or the lawful use of a natural resource or its byproduct.
   (d) participating in or supporting animal or ecological terrorism to include raising, soliciting, collecting or providing any person with material, financial support or other resources such as lodging, training, safe houses, false documentation or identification, communications, equipment or transportation that will be used in whole or in part, to encourage, plan, prepare, carry out, publicize, promote or aid an act of animal or ecological terrorism, the concealment of, or an escape from, an act of animal or ecological terrorism.

IDA’s press release is about as accurate as the Abraham Lincoln quote on this t-shirt that these morons are still selling.

The full text of New York State Assembly Bill S 2996 can be found here.


Action Urgently Needed: Bill to Criminalize Animal Welfare Advocacy Moves to Senate Floor. In Defense of Animals, 2003.

In Defense of Animals Appalled at Oprah's Mink Slippers

In Defense of Animals sent to a newsletter in late January including an item expressing its outrage over Oprah Winfrey’s apparent fondness for fur,

On a recent Oprah Winfrey Show, Oprah gave all of her guests a gift of mink-trimmed slippers in drawstring mink bags. Please let Oprah know that animals raised for fur are kept in miserable conditions [etc., etc.] . . .

You know when Oprah Winfrey’s handing out mink slippers, all of this nonsense from activists about the fur industry being on the run is about as accurate as everything else the animal rights movement produces.


In Defense of Animals Newsletter. In Defense of Animals, V.2, #3, January 31, 2003.