If All Else Fails, Harass the Pet-Related AIDS Charity

Back in January I mentioned protests by animal rights activists against stores in Guerneville, California.

In response to the protests and threats of a general boycott by the activists against a Guerneville stores, supporters of the stores selling fur rented out a local gay bar and held a Furrr Ball event to satirize the protests and raise money for a good cause.

Initially the money was going to be given to local group Pets Are Loving Support — a volunteer group that helps care for the pets of about 100 AIDS patients in Sonoma County. But PALS turned down the donations. According to the Press Democrat,

The nonprofit has fielded complaints and name-calling from animal-rights fanatics outraged that it would accept money from people poking fun at the Guerneville fur protest. PAL’s board decided it cannot be pulled into politics.

The money was instead donated to the National Animal Interest Alliance (gee, the animal rights activists must be happy to see NAIA get the money rather than some local animal charity).

Anyway, I tracked down this story because I was curious what had happened. Had activists managed to force the stores to stop selling furs? According to a Press Democrat story from mid-February (emphasis added),

But Stefan Howard [one of the leaders of the anti-fur protests], a Guerneville man reached by phone Sunday, spoke on behalf of the critics of fur sales: “It’s sad that our town actually held an event celebrating a product of pure cruelty.”

Animal rights supporters have halted the protests and are seeking mediation, Howard said.

“We have really focused on trying to call for a resolution of this, and sort of heal the rift,” he said. “We’re willing to consider a compromise proposal.

Willing to consider a compromise? It was just last December that Sonoma People for Animal Rights activist Alex Bury compared vintage clothing store owner Mikki Herman, who is Jewish, to the Nazis. According to the Press Democrat,

. . . Herman said the chance for dialogue ended when Bury compared Herman’s used fur coats to the Nazi lampshades made from the skin of Jews.

Herman is Jewish and lost relatives in the Holocaust.

“There is no conversation that can be had with someone who thinks bunny fur is the same as the skin of a Jew,” Herman said. “I come from a long line of people who act on their conscience, and I’ve got not choice but to continue what I’m doing.”

Bury said she didn’t know Herman was Jewish when she made the lampshade comment but would not back away from the description.

“Animals have the same nerve endings. They feel the same pain,” Bury said. “If Hitler made things out of skin . . . and sold lampshades, I wouldn’t want them in my business. That’s how I feel about fur. Total pain and suffering.”

But now, the activists want to reach a “compromise” with people they have compared to the Nazis? Besides, what happened to Bury’s claims that they would not stop the boycott or protests until all the fur was gone.


‘Furrr Ball’ draws 150. Katy Hillenmeyer, The Press Democrat, February 2005.

Fur protests threaten to split Guerneville. Carol Benfell, The Press Democrat, December 23, 2004.


The British media, in general, does a horrible job of covering the animal rights movement. Is it really asking too much, for example, for reporters to actually know a bit of background on the groups and individuals they are covering?

On November 18, for example, the BBC ran a bland profile of SHAC headlined “How animal rights took on the world.” The profile contains numerous quotes from Greg Avery saying SHAC has focused on companies because,

“Businessmen don’t care about ethics; all they care about is profit. They don’t make ethical decisions; they make financial ones. So we turn it into a financial decision — we will hit you where it hurts and that’s hitting you in the pocket.”

The BBC profile incredibly continues claiming that,

For all of the sophistication of the movement [??] they are well aware that if arguments and legal pressure fail there is always illegal intimidation. The SHAC campaign says it is against all such tactics but some nasty things have happened to companies it has named and shamed on its website.

Would it have reporters Simon Cox and Richard Vadon to note that SHAC’s three primary organizers, Avery, his ex-wife Heather James, and current wife Natasha Avery, were all sentenced to six months in jail in 2001 after they plead guilty to conspiring to incite a public nuisance. The three published newsletters that published personal details of various individuals associated with Huntingdon Life Sciences and urged readers to commit a number of illegal acts, such as order goods on behalf of the individuals in an effort to harm their credit ratings.

Nor is it true that SHAC has simply named companies and individuals. It has a long history of posting personal information along with clear threats such as “smash them.”

One thing those of us opposed to the animal rights movement must do is make these links clear. Every time Neal Barnard or someone else from Physicians Committee for Medical Research pops up with a press release, for example, the Center for Consumer Freedom quickly responds with a press release noting that PCRM is simply a PETA front. This is clearly annoying Barnard and company, but more importantly it typically leads to followups (as it did recently over PCRM’s airport food ratings) in which reporters and newspapers admit they were had and concede that PCRM is simply another name for PETA. That sort of sustained effort will eventually suck the oxygen out of media efforts of groups like PCRM.

There are two other interesting quotes from the BBC profile. First, Avery admits to what is widely believed in anti-animal rights circles. If SHAC should succeed in closing down Huntingdon Life Sciences, it would simply be the first salvo in an all out war against animal enterprises. The BBC quotes Avery as saying,

We won’t just go on to another company [after HLS falls]. We will go on to a whole area of animal abuse. And look to knock out big chunks — puppy farming, factory farming, circuses and zoos. All these could be finished. We’re becoming bigger, even more intelligent and even more determined not just to take companies down but to finish whole areas of animal abuse.

Finally, the BBC quotes National Animal Interest Alliance chief Patti Strand as giving the UK a tongue lashing for allowing a viable animal rights extremist movement to gather steam and take hold. The BBC quotes Strand as saying,

We view the United Kingdom as the Afghanistan for the growth of animal rights extremism throughout the world. The animal rights movement that we are dealing with in the United States is a direct import from the United Kingdom.



How animal rights took on the world. Simon Cox and Richard Vadon, The BBC, November 18, 2004.

Animal Rights Activist Loses Lawsuit Against San Francisco Police

A San Francisco jury in early May found in favor of San Francisco police in a civil lawsuit brought by attorney and animal rights activist Derek St. Pierre.

The lawsuit stems from a January 16, 2000 rally outside of a Neiman Marcus store. According to the San Francisco Examiner, police were called to the scene after activists used pipes, wire and duct-tape to lock themselves to the front of the store.

Pierre claimed that he was just an observer and not a participant and that police used excessive force in falsely arresting him. According to the Examiner,

Police claimed that St. Pierre attempted to free a protester who had been arrested. Police also accused him of pushing officer Mark Cota and trying to grab his radio. St. Pierre’s resistance prompted Cota to “perform a department-approved hair takedown” on the activist lawyer, according to the police report.

St. Pierre reportedly continued to resist arrest until Cota struck him three times on the shin with his baton. Fourteen protesters were arrested that day.

The Examiner notes that the verdict is a bit of a surprise given that San Francisco juries tend to be far more skeptical of police than juries in other areas. As a spokesman for the San Francisco City Attorney told The Examiner,

It’s the most liberal jury pool in America and they denied this guy his claim. It shows that even in San Francisco, you don’t get a blank check.


Anti-fur activists lose to the fuzz. J. K. Dineen, San Francisco Examiner, May 6, 2004.

Farm Bill Turning Into a Rout for Animal Rights Activists

Last week I reported that Sen. Jesse Helms’ office was saying that the provision to exempt birds and rodents from the Animal Welfare Act had been approved for the final version of the Farm Bill that it was attached to. On Friday, the National Animal Interest Alliance reported that the House-Senate conference committee jettisoned the Puppy Protection Act from the final bill.

In a NAIA press release, Patti Strand said,

The PPA was inspired by special interest groups that fundraise using emotional animal welfare issues. As such, it was base don sound bites and depended on evidence from those who aim to restrict all dog breeding. While strongly supporting the elimination of substandard breeding operations and thereby improving animal care, NAIA believes that any legislation designed to do so should be grounded in science and reason as well as good intentions.

NAIA, along with the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Kennel Club, opposed the bill for being unenforceable and misguided. It would have charged the federal government with making decision on breeding frequency and proper socialization of animals. It also contained a “three strikes” provision that NAIA argues would have actually hampered the USDA’s ability to revoke licenses of noncompliant breeders.

In its press release, NAIA argues that the real problem that needs to be addressed is that of commercial kennels who violate without a license from the USDA and in direct violation of the Animal Welfare Act. According to NAIA,

Current interpretation of the law hinders USDA from tracking pet store puppies back to their suppliers, a situation that hampers the agency’s ability to locate illegally operating kennels. The number one priority for people who want bad kennels closed is to identify the illegal operations that currently duck USDA licensing requirements.

NAIA would also like to see Congress tackle the problem of the increasing sale of puppies from Eastern Europe and other sites abroad. Today there are no regulations that set out any standards for the conditions under which such puppies are raised.


Good Intentions are not Enough! National Animal Interest Alliencae, Press Release, April 26, 2002.

NAIA's New Website

The National Animal Interest Alliance recently created a spinoff called NAIA Trust designed to engage in lobbying and other political activities (under tax laws, NAIA can’t engage directly in lobbying, but NAIA Trust was incorporated under a different part of the tax code).

Many parts of the NAIA Trust web site are still under construction, but it looks like it is going to be a great resource for tracking animal rights and animal welfare-related legislation.

NAIA Wants Investigation of Tax Exempt Animal Rights Groups

The National Animal Interest Alliance recently called for the Bush administration to investigate what NAIA believes are unlawful activities undertaken by animal rights groups acting as tax-exempt charities.

In a press release on NAIA’s web site, Patti Strand said,

We believe that the Administration’s goal to increase the flow of money to legitimate charities through new tax deductions is both admirable and necessary. However, we also believe that organizations that benefit from tax-exempt status and misuse constitutionally protected speech to threaten businesses and private citizens should not benefit from federal help.

Some of these organizations fail to condemn the growing use of vandalism, arson, and other serious crimes that benefit their agenda. They disseminate half-truths to stir opposition to legitimate animal-based enterprises and threaten boycotts and public smear campaigns in order to exact money from corporations, force capitulation to radical demands and raise money from the general public. These campaigns and others have raised millions of dollars based on unproven allegations of animal cruelty and abuse.

Just a little background here. Many animal rights groups, including the big ones such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and the Humane Society of the United States are incorporated as 501(c)(3) charities. Both the law and IRS statements are often vague and confusing, but a 501(c)(3) charity is only supposed to engage in lobbying and other social actions only if such activities are not a substantial part of their total activities. Nonprofits whose primary activities are lobbying and/or otherwise political in nature are supposed to incorporate under 501(c)(4).

Most nonprofits interested in doing a lot off lobbying create affiliated 501(c)(4) charities. For example, when the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People took out an anti-Bush ad last November, it did so through an affiliated 501(c)(4) (currently, there are no restrictions preventing a 501(c)(3) organization from donating to a 501(c)(4) nonprofit).

I think its pretty clear that the animal rights groups such as PETA are primarily engaged in political activity and really should be forced into 501(c)(4) — which they would oppose because they would lose certain tax advantages.

NAIA has an online-petition at its website which you can sign by visiting their press release web page. Scroll to the bottom of the page for the text of the petition and a link to click on to sign the petition.


NAIA Calls on President Bush to Act Against Animal Rights’ Extremists. National Animal Interest Alliance, Press Release, June 1, 2001.