PETA's Turkey Terrorist Television Ad

Just in time for Thanksgiving, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals produced a television commercial that draws on fear of terrorism to sell the vegetarian message.

The ad shows terrorists taking over a supermarket, with the store manager bound and gagged and shoppers cowering in fear while an unseen terrorist declares that innocent creatures will be beaten, scaled and dismembered if anyone resists.

At the end of the commercial, the terrorist is revealed to be a turkey puppet whose demand is that people stop eating meat.

Well, it is certainly consistent with PETA’s message that it is okay to use both violence and threats of violence to further the animal rights movement. After all, when serial killer Andrew Cunanan murdered fashion designer Versace, it was left to PETA’s Dan Mathews to proclaim that he admired Cunanan for finally getting Versace to stop using fur.

PETA’s Lisa Lange told The New York Times that,

A fake supermarket takeover has zip to do with the events of Sept. 11. You’d really have to be a big grump not to see the humor in all of this.

A big grump? Or perhaps someone aware of the numerous statements and actions by PETA staffers in sympathy with and support of animal rights violence.

Fortunately, only a single television station actually accepted the commercial, and PETA tried to gain a bit of additional press by announcing their “withdrawal” of the advertisement before it could be shown on that station.


‘Turkey Terror’ Ad by Animal Rights Group. The New York Times, November 28, 2002.

Center for Consumer Freedom on PETA's Evolving Explanation for ELF Donation

A couple weeks ago I noted that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ staff members had been telling mutually contradictory stories about why exactly they donated $1,500 to the Earth Liberation Front (see Surprise — Someone at PETA Is Lying about That ELF Donation). The Center for Consumer Freedom not only beat me to the punch, but they also found several additional incidents which show a twisting, turning pattern of PETA apparently trying to figure out exactly how best to sell the donation in the media.

On March 22, 2002, the Center for Consumer Freedom sent a long letter to the House subcommittee investigating ecoterrorism. Here is an excerpt from that letter detailing PETA’s constantly evolving position about its ELF donation,

Understandably, PETA was (and still is) subjected to increased public scrutiny following my February 12, 2002, revelation of this donation. In the weeks that followed, however, PETAÂ’s various spokespersons have told at least seven different stories about that grant:

  • “[Ingrid Newkirk] said she did not remember the check to ELF, which was reported on the organization’s 2000 tax return.” (ABC News, February 26)
  • “She [Newkirk] also said the money PETA gave to the North American Earth Liberation Front was in response to a request for funds for educational materials.” (Associated Press, March 4)
  • “Newkirk also confirms that it donated money to the ELF for, ‘habitat protection.Â’” (KOMO television, Seattle, March 5)
  • “PETA [said they] contributed $1,500 during the 2000 fiscal year to ELF for education and habitat protection.” (The Denver Post, March 6)
  • “The only reason we did it is because it was a program that we supported. And it was about vegetarianism.” (PETA director of policy and communications Lisa Lange, on “The OÂ’Reilly Factor,” Fox News Channel, March 7)
  • “When we gave $1,500 to the Earth Liberation Front press office, it was for help with legal bills for one good animal protectionist who we felt was being harassed.” (“Open letter” e-mail to animal-rights activists, written by PETA correspondent Bridgett Cherry, March 13)
  • “In April 2001, PETA sent a check in the amount of $1,500.00 to the North American Earth Liberation Front Press Office to assist Craig Rosebraugh with legal expenses related to free speech issues regarding animal protection issues.” (PETA general counsel Jeff Kerr, letter of March 14)

While PETA may now claim to have earmarked the grant in question for any number of lawful purposes (depending on what day you ask them), I urge you to recognize that such grants are “fungible.” If PETA had used its tax-exempt donations from the public to make a sizable gift to Al Quaeda, Hamas, or the Irish Republican Army, we would not be having a discussion about whether or not it is technically possible to make a donation to terrorists without intending that the funds be used to conduct terrorism. The Earth Liberation Front should be treated no differently, especially considering its status with the FBI.

Of course PETA’s main reply to the Center for Consumer Freedom has been ad hominem attacks on the CCF.

One interesting thing that seems apparent reading between the lines of PETA’s evolving story as well as discussions I’ve had with reporters and others who have looked into this story is that it appears almost no one at PETA was aware of the ELF donation other than Newkirk. One person told me flat out that Lisa Lange seemed to be completely out of the loop on this. The clear implication of this is that donating to ELF was something deemed sufficiently controversial even within PETA that Newkirk didn’t bother to discuss it or inform other PETA staffers about the donation.

Well, what did they expect? That an organization that hides its activities from donors (I’ve never seen an donation pitch from PETA mentioning their donations to animal rights terrorists) would necessarily share them with staffers? Ha.


Letter to House Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health. Center for Consumer Freedom, March 22, 2002.

Surprise — Someone at PETA Is Lying about That ELF Donation

The revelation that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals donated $1,500 to the Earth Liberation Front seems to have done quite a bit of damage to PETA’s reputation and (hopefully) may even jeopardize its tax exempt status. But what exactly did that money go for? Oddly enough, PETA seems to be trying to tell two contradictory stories about this.

As I mentioned before, PETA’s lawyer, Jeffrey Kerr, formally responded to an inquiry from Rep. Scott McInnis. Robert Gehrke of the Associated Press summed up Kerr’s response this way,

But Kerr said that in April [2001] the group [PETA] did write a $1,500 check to the North American ELF media office to assist in the legal defense for the group’s spokesman, Craig Rosebraugh, in free speech matters.

Not what I think their donors had in mind … and apparently not what PETA’s Lisa Lange had in mind. Because Lange told a completely different story to CNSNews.Com,

PETA spokesperson Lisa Lange acknowledged a $1,500 donation to ELF for a “project of habitat protection,” which concluded, “meat eating is a huge problem for the environment.”

“This is one of our focuses of our vegetarian campaign reaching to environmentalists, basically saying you can’t be an environmentalist and eat meat, and the ELF was going to be doing some publicity on that very thing,” Lange said. “We saw it as an opportunity to get our message out.

“None of our money goes toward illegal activities,” Lange insisted. “This specific project we funded was a quality project.”

This article appeared on March 8, 2002. On March 13, 2002, Ingrid Newkirk sent a letter in response to the article which acknowledged that the money had in fact gone to defend Craig Rosebraugh, but offered no explanation at all as to why Lange was telling people that it was for a “project about habitat protection.” Newkirk wrote,

What we do, say, and how we spend our money is always legal and open to scrutiny.

When we gave $1,500 to the Earth Liberation Front press office, it was for help with legal bills for one good animal protectionist who we felt was being harassed and has never been charged with anything at all.

Then why was Lange trying to spin this as just some basic anti-meat habitat protection project?

Imagine that — a PETA activist making up facts and distorting the truth!


PETA Under Attack for Funding Alleged Eco-Terrorists. Jason Pierce, CNSNews.Com, March 8, 2002.

PETA President Responds to Critics. Ingrid Newkirk, Letter to the editor, CNSNews.Com, March 13, 2002.

Group accuses Congressman with a ‘New McCarthyism.’ Robert Gehrke, Associated Press, March 16, 2002.

PETA's Hypocritical Lawsuit Against Ringling Brothers

The Associated Press reported this week that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has filed suit in Virginia against Ringling Brothers Circus. The lawsuit charges Ringling Brothers with using paid investigators to infiltrate PETA by pretending to be volunteers. The spying allegedly took place in the early 1980s.

Of course PETA pioneered this technique of infiltrating groups itself — in fact it came to national prominence precisely because of Alex Pacheco‘s questionable undercover work. Now, however, PETA is complaining that this case is different.

The Associated Press quoted PETA’s Lisa Lange as explaining, “First of all, we don’t steal documents in our investigations. More importantly, we investigate situations where we have reason to belive, either through whistle blowers or industry practices, that illegal and abusive treatment of animals exist.”

Lange’s first statement is an outright lie. In 1997 PETA settled a lawsuit brought against it by Huntingdon Life Sciences over a PETA operative who infiltrated HLS. That operative stole hundreds of HLS documents and video tapes, and one of the requirements of the settlement agreement was that PETA had to return or destroy all materials stolen from HLS.

As for PETA investigating only where there are allegations of animal abuse: a) PETA has manufactured evidence of animal abuse as often as it has uncovered it, and b) given Ingrid Newkirk and other PETA staff members tendency to praise animal rights terrorism, it would not be much of a stretch to wonder if PETA might be engaged in illegal activities itself. Certainly there is at least as much evidence for that as there is for some of the bogus claims that PETA has pursued.

Ringling Brothers, for its part, told the Associated Press that the company had not been served with the lawsuit yet and so could not comment.


PETA: Circus spied on us. Matthew Barakat, Associated PRess, May 8, 2001.

PETA Sues Rosie O'Donnell

Last week People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sued talk show host and actress Rosie O’Donnell for defamation after O’Donnell claimed PETA endorses the use of some leather products.

PETA and O’Donnell became entangled after O’Donnell decided to proclaim a “wear leather day” on her show. Many animal rights activists and groups, including PETA, decided to go after O’Donnell, declaring “wear leather day” as promoting cruelty to animals.

On a recent episode O’Donnell told her talks how audience that The Gap used leather approved by PETA. According to PETA spokeswoman Lisa Lange, “There’s no such thing as PETA-approved leather,” and PETA announced a lawsuit seeking an on-air retraction of O’Donnell’s statement as well as $350,000 in damages.

The only problem is that O’Donnell is absolutely right — The Gap does use PETA-approved leather and the lawsuit is completely frivolous.

Earlier in the year PETA launched a campaign to convince The Gap to stop using leather obtained from China and India. PETA argued quite vociferously that animals killed for leather in China and India are treated cruelly, and that it would be better for The Gap to buy leather from countries with higher animal welfare standards.

When The Gap caved in to PETA’s demands, the organization trumpeted its great victory. Now, however, PETA wants to run away from this victory when O’Donnell correct points out that The Gap uses PETA-approved leather.

The bottom line is that this lawsuit is simply just another publicity stunt from a group that excels at such stunts.


Animal rights group sues O’Donnell. The Associated Press, December 6, 2000.

Attack on University of Minnesota Worst Lab Attack in Recent Years

On April 5, the Animal Liberation Front claimed responsibility for a raid on a University of Minnesota lab
that released over 100 animals and vandalized the lab doing more than
$2 million in damage.

The lab was conducting experiments
with rats, pigeons, salamanders and mice on a variety of research projects
including efforts to better understand cancer and Parkinson’s disease.
Dr. Walter Low, a researcher at the University of Minnesota, said the
raid set back studies being conducted on Alzheimer’s by at least two years
(the University of Minnesota is well known for developing a strain of
mice that mimic the traits often found in Alzheimer’s patients.)

Along with freeing the lab
animals, the ALF operatives smashed computers, wrecked microscopes and
photocopiers and even destroyed human tissue that were part of a research
program to find a vaccine to attack brain tumors. As Low pointed out,
this is rather ironic since the animal rights activists insist tissue
cultures should be used to replace animals in medical research.

Several people in the Minnesota
area, including a cancer patient, are offering a reward of $10,000 for
information leading to the capture and conviction of the perpetrators.

The reaction from animal rights
groups was predictable. Lisa Lange of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
was quoted in New Scientist as saying, “We do things in a very different
way, but I understand their frustration. The real crime is that millions
of animals are being tortured and killed.”

On the other hand Freeman Wicklund, executive director of the nonprofit Animal Liberation League,
told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that such actions hurt the animal rights
cause. “We hope everybody realizes that the visible minority within
the animal-rights community doesn’t represent the broader movement,” Wicklund said. “A
lot of people who care about animals are upset about the actions.”

Although it is nice to see
Wicklund oppose such raids, he is ignoring reality when he implies
his view is in the majority. In fact he has been widely denounced by animal
rights activists for his stance against terrorist activities.


Animal activists suspected in lab damage. Jim Adams, Minnesota Star Tribune, April 6, 1999.

Activists up the ante. Kurt Kleiner, New Scientist, April 17, 1999.

Research labs vandalized, 75 animals taken. Associated Press, April 6, 1999.

NC A.L.F. Liberates 116 from Vivisection Lab. No Compromise, Press Release, Arpil 9, 1999.

Doctor refutes claim animal experiments have brought us closer to cure for Alzheimer’s disease, call such claims “exploitative” of stricken families. New England Anti-Vivisection Society, Press Release, April 9, 1999.

Veternarian charges U of M experimenters exaggerated claims of research progress. In Defense of Animals, Press Release, April 9, 1999.

ALF tactics condemned. Letter to the editor, Minnesota Daily, April 9, 1999.

More lost U lab animals found in Woodbury field. Jim Adams, Minnesota Star Tribune, April 9, 1999.

Minn. research labs vandalized. Associated Press, April 6, 1999.

Animal Liberation Front claims responsibility for liberation of 116 animals from University of Minnesota, while destroying violent research. North American Animal Liberation Front Press Office, Press Release, April 5, 1999.

A.L.F. Raids University of Minnesota Animal Lab. North American Animal Liberation Front Press Office, Press Release, April 5, 1999.

Vigil for lab animals. Animal Liberation Front, Press Release, April 7, 1999.