Activist: We Need More Deadly Hurricanes

This week, of course, the major news is the ongoing disaster in New Orleans where Hurricane Katrina has forced the evacuation of the city and likely killed thousands of people. And if animal rights activist Rick Bogle had his way, there would be many more Katrinas.

On an animal rights mailing list devoted to primate research, Bogle posted a link to Tulane’s main web site, noting there was no mention yet of the status of the university’s primate research center, Covington.

Animal rights activist Jean Barnes replied to that e-mail to the effect that she had talked to a USDA official who said there were no primate deaths at Tulane, but that there were other animals that were stuck in the facility.

Bogle replied,

If there were no primate deaths at Covington over the past few days, then this must be the first time in a long time that a monkey hasn’t died. We need more Katrinas.

Barnes then replied,

Katrina would need to extend to DC to be most effective.

Animal rights activists always get angry when their critics charge that they care more about animals than people, but Bogle and Barnes demonstrate the casual disregard for human beings that is characteristic of many activists. A hurricane that likely killed thousands of people and caused upwards of $50 billion in damages is a good thing, and would be even better if it would land elsewhere.


Primfocus: Tulane. E-mail messages, Jean Barnes and Rick Bogle, September 1, 2005.

PETA, HSUS to Focus on Cockfighting Bans in Lousiana, New Mexico

With the recent Supreme Court decision that ended two years of efforts to overturn Oklahoma’s cock-fighting ban, and the defeat of a pro-cockfighting politician in Louisiana, the Humane Society of the United States and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals look to focus on enacting bans in Louisiana and New Mexico, the last two states in the United States where cockfighting is allowed.

PETA is focusing on New Mexico. In a press conference with Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez and actress Rue McClanahan, PETA’s Dan Mathews said,

Yes. Absolutely. We are targeting New Mexico.

Over the past few years, New Mexico has become a hot spot for filming Hollywood productios and Mathews hopes to convince producers to avoid the state until a ban on cockfighying is passed.

Cockfighting is already banned in 13 of New Mexico’s 33 counties, and in 29 of its cities, including Albuquerque. A proposed ban on cockfighting passed New Mexico’s state house earlier this year, but couldn’t get out of committee in the state Senate.

PETA wants the state to take up a cockfighting ban during its 60-day session that begins in Jaunuary. According to the Albuqurque Journal, a poll it took thsi summer found that two-thirds of registered voters supported a ban on cockfighting.

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, however, remains non-committal on a ban, with his spokesman telling the Albuquerque Journal,

Cockfighting is already banned in the majority of counties and municipalities. The governor is willing to discuss and consider any legislative measure after a full and thorough debate on all sides.

Meanwhile, HSUS is looking to push a ban in Louisiana, where its political action committee spent $250,000 in advertising against a pro-cockfighting candidate for U.S. Senate. HSUS’s Wayne Pacelle was quoted in The Guardian (UK) as saying,

We intend to eradicate this cruel, barbaric practice. My advice to anyone moving to Louisiana thinking it’s a cockfighting refuge is not to unpack their bags — it’s going to be a very short stay.


PETA targets NM film industry over cockfighting. Dennis Domrzalski, New Mexico Business Weekly, November 15, 2004.

Cockfight ban gets TV star’s support. Kate Nash, Albuquerque Journal, November 16, 2004.

Final battle to rid the US of ‘barbaric’ cockfighting. Richard Luscombe, The Observor, November 21, 2004.

Pacelle on Effect of Cockfighting on Louisiana Senate Race

Earlier I mentioned speculation that an anti-cockfighting ad campaign by Humane Society of the United States’ political action committee may have helped Republican David Vitter become the first Republican senator from that state since Reconstruction. The Associated Press ran a story this week looking at the extent of HSUS’ campaign and what, if any, effect it had.

HSUS targeted Democratic U.S. House Rep. Chris John, who is pro-cockfighting. Louisiana has an odd election system which typically leads to two viable Democrats running against a single Republican. If no single candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote, which frequently happens, there is a run-off between the top two vote getters. The upshot is that the Democrats had never lost using this system until this year (and are now talking about ditching this bizarre process).

According to the Associated Press, HSUS’ PAC spent $250,000 targeting John, including mailing 300,000 pieces of mail to white female voters that quoted John saying, “I strongly support the cockfighting industry in Louisiana.” The PAC also paid for a television ad which told viewers that John considers cockfighting to be a “family-type thing.”

Was that the ultimate determinant? The Associated Press notes that John was such a weak candidate that he actually lost his home parish of Acadia by 10,000 votes to Vitter. Not to mention that Vitter did a good job of portraying the conservative, cock-fighting supporter John as a liberal in a state that George W. Bush won by 15 points.

The Associated Press quotes HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle as saying,

Cockfighting wasn’t the most important issue, but it was a measure of personal character. Polls show that people really want to be proud of Louisiana, and to have someone who advocates cockfighting is someone who’s going to reinforce perceptions that Louisiana is backward.

. . .

There was a political judgment made — Chris John made it — that there’s this group of voters out there that thinks cockfighting is fine, and that the right political stance is, cockfighting is fine. This election demonstrated that that’s the wrong political position.

Personally, I think Vitter’s election shows just how Republican the South is becoming, but seeing a supporter of cockfighting lose out in the process certainly doesn’t hurt.


Animal rights group claims victory in Louisiana’s Senate race. Doug Simpson, Associated Press, November 21, 2004.

Is Pro-Cockfighting Stance a Political Liability in Louisiana?

The surprise election of Republican David Vitter to Louisiana’s open Senate seat has some Democrats wondering whether the pro-cockfighting position of the leading Democrat candidate cost them the election.

Vitter’s win was a major upset — a Republican had not been elected to the Senate in Louisiana since the end of Reconstruction.

The major problem the Democrats had is that no less than three Democrats ran for the office, splitting the vote and media attention between them.

But exit polls also showed that Vitter received 32 percent of the votes from white women — a surprisingly high number. According to The Times-Picayune,

Some Democratic women said they were turned off by [leading Democratic candidate] John’s support for the bloody sport of cockfighting, an issue that was highlighted by ads from an animal rights group.


La. Dems diagnose party ills after loss. Bill Walsh, The Times-Picayune (Louisiana), November 14, 2004.

Humane USA Targets U.S. Senate Candidate Chris John

Humane USA — an animal rights political action committee created by the Humane Society of the United States, The Fund for Animals and other groups — is targeting U.S. Senate candidate Chris John for his pro-cockfighting views.

John is part of a three-way race for an open U.S. Senate seat in Louisiana. He is running against Republican David Vitter and fellow Democrat John Kennedy. Both Vitter and Kennedy oppose cockfighting. Currently Vitter is leading the race polling at about 43 percent, but if no candidate receives a majority then a runoff election between the two top vote getters is held.

In article on its website, Humane USA says,

Chris John is clearly out of step with Louisiana voters. He has established himself as the go-to guy in Congress for the cockfighting industry. Louisiana is one of two states where cockfighting is legal, and John has been a staunch advocate of the activity in which roosters are pumped with drugs, sharp knives and razors are strapped to their legs, and they are forced to hack each other to death for entertainment and gambling.

When legislation to ban the interstate transport of fighting birds came up before the House Agriculture Committee, John tried to bottle it up. “Let me be very clear about my position on this,” he lectured. “I strongly support the cockfighting industry in Louisiana. I am adamantly opposed to this piece of legislation, and I will vote against it in every opportunity that I have.” He described cockfighting, in an interview with the Baton Rouge Advocate, as a “cultural, family-type” activity and “an industry that is very important to America.”

Humane USA is running ads against John in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Shreveport and Lafayette, and also plans for a mass mailing target Democratic and independent women voters in the state.


Humane Society targets Senate candidate Chris John. KATC.Com, October 2004.

Chris John Supports Extreme Animal Cruelty. Humane USA, October 2004.

PETA Activists Pester Neighborhood Children After Arriving After School Closure

You remember People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, right? The group that Ingrid Newkirk insisted on national television doesn’t target children? Well, for some reason it sent three activists to Capitol Middle School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in May to convince children that it is wrong to eat chicken

What the PETA activists did not realize is that the school had let out two hours earlier, it being the last day of the 2003-2004 school year for Capitol Middle School students. So what did the three activists from an organization that doesn’t target children do then? Of course, they pestered neighborhood children walking or riding by the school.

The Advocate newspaper reports the following exchange that PETA’s Matt Rice had with a child outside the school,

Rice asked Keshon Bell, also a sixth-grader at Capitol Middle, whether she eats chicken.

“I eat chicken,” she said.

“That’s too bad. They’re just like dogs and cats,” Rice responded.

“Like that dog over there,” Bell said, pointing out a dog, perhaps dead, which had been lying in the middle of Gus Young Avenue, the whole time.

Afterward, Bell said eating chickens is wrong, repeating what the activists were saying in her own way.

“I know you can’t kill dogs and cats,” she said.

For an organization that targets their message entirely at adults, as Newkirk said, PETA spends an awful lot of time targeting children.


Animal-rights group too late to take message to school. Charles Lussier, The Advocate (Baton Rouge, Louisiana), May 21, 2004.