Okay, here’s something I genuinely don’t understand — why hasn’t People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sued Ron Arnold and the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise for libel yet? This is hard to understand for two reasons.
First, PETA is hardly afraid to file lawsuits. Just last February, for example, PETA said it would sue the state of New Jersey after PETA activists Dan Shannon and Jay Kelly hit a deer in that state while driving a PETA-owned vehicle. One news organization I wrote an op-ed about PETA for made me go over it with a fine-tooth comb because of PETA’s perceived litigiousness. This is not an organization known for holding their lawyers at bay.
Second, Ron Arnold has said a number of things which PETA and its attorneys say are patently untrue and would thereby be libelous. For example, here’s Arnold describing PETA in no uncertain terms for the New Jersey Herald earlier this month,
We believe the evidence shows that PETA’s leaders and personnel have been involved in criminal activities of such a magnitude for such a length of time that they have no legal right to a tax exemption.
Or how about its filing with the IRS last year where Arnold and CDFE asserted,
PETA openly and actively induces and encourages unlawful acts . . .
Maybe PETA agrees with Arnold that it actively encourages criminal acts. But no, PETA attorney Jeff Kerr tells the New Jersey Herald,
That is completely ludicrous and they’ve known about it for a long time. Everything it [PETA] does is directly related to trying to help end the suffering and exploitation of animals. Everything we do is consistent with the charitable mission of PETA.
Well, if Arnold’s assertions are really that ludicrous, it’s a bit odd that PETA doesn’t seek recourse in the courts through a libel action. Either they really know Arnold’s statement is, in fact, accurate, or they’re too busy suing states when their own activists hit deer to bother.
Animal rights group attacked; PETA integrity under question. Pat Mindos, New Jersey Herald, May 6, 2003.