Josh Ellerman sentenced; 5 other animal rights activists indicted

On September 10 a judge in Utah
sentenced animal rights terrorist Josh Ellerman to seven years in jail
for his role in the March 1997 firebombing of the Fur Breeders Cooperative
in Sandy, Utah. Ellerman faced up to 35 years in jail but received a reduced
sentence in exchange for his cooperation in the prosecution of fellow
members of the Animal Liberation Front.

Earlier in the week, five other animal
rights activists were indicted in Salt Lake City for alleged acts of terrorism.

Assistant U.S. Attorney David Schwendiman
warned that animal rights terrorism would be vigorously prosecuted:

We support and defend the rights
of people to say and think what they want. But when they choose to express those beliefs through violence that endangers
lives and destroys property, it will be met with swift and sure prosecution.

Ellerman and the five recently indicted
animal rights activists were members of the “straight edge”
movement whose members foreswear drugs, alcohol, tobacco, casual sex, meat
and leather — but as Steve Milloy pointed out, apparently
not explosives.

One year after beef recall, no decline in beef consumption

A little over a year ago the largest
recall of beef in US history led to speculation that Americans might curb
their beef consumption over fear of |E. coli| — so far, that simply
hasn’t happened.

Hudson Foods Co. recalled 25 million
pounds of beef produced at its Columbus, Ohio, plant based on fears that
the meat may have been contaminated with potentially deadly E. coli.
Although prices in the cattle futures and similar markets declined in
the days immediately after the recall, Americans average yearly consumption
of beef has remained steady at about 64 pounds.

Part of the explanation for the
continued popularity of beef has been the industry’s quick initiatives
to combat E. coli contamination. Ranchers, meat packers and others
in the beef industry quickly formed the Beef Industry Food Safety Council
in the wake of the Hudson Foods recall to promote education and research
into preparing beef safely. Most plants also stopped the reprocessing
of meat left over from the previous day — no one in the industry wants
to have to recall several days worth of production as Hudson did because
of its reprocessing procedures.

Hudson Foods sold the Columbus
plant, but it is still not completely off the hook. The U.S. Attorney’s
office in Oregon is investigating whether the managers at the Hudson plant
tried to cover up the extent of the E. coli contamination.

Animal rights activists back California anti-trapping measure

Animal rights groups are supporting
Proposition 4 on California’s November 3 ballot which, if passed,
would make it “unlawful for any person, including employees of the
federal, state, county or municipal government, to use or authorize the
use of any steel-jawed leghold trap, padded or otherwise, to capture any
game mammal, fur-bearing mammal, non-game mammal, protected mammal, or
any dog or cat.” According to the initiative’s supporters,
the use of the steel leg traps is cruel.

“There’s two distinct
kind of cruelty,” said Proposition 4 supporter Aaron Medlock. “There’s
the initial impact that can cause broken bones, abrasions and swelling.
Then the second injury when the animals struggle to get out.”

On the other side of the issue
are wildlife conservationists who argue the bill will make it extremely
difficult to effectively manage wildlife. W. Dean Carrier, president of
the Western Section of the Wildlife Society, recently sent out a letter
to that group’s members urging California voters to vote against Proposition
4 for precisely that reason.

a report on the impact of the ban prepared for its members, the Western
Section of the Wildlife Society claimed,

Banning padded leghold traps would eliminate the most humane, selective,
and effective means of capturing non-native red foxes. Padded leghold
traps, also called “soft catch” traps, can be set to the target
species’ size and weight, thereby reducing the likelihood of capturing
pets and non-target wildlife species.

The report goes on to note
that studies of the effectiveness of various trapping methods indicate
it takes anywhere from 3 to 9 times longer to trap a red fox with a cage
trap than with a padded steel leg trap. This is a highly significant difference
that could severely impact endangered species. Again from the Wildlife
Society’s report,

In situations where foxes are preying on endangered species, wildlife
managers cannot afford the time to use less effective capture methods.
Predation must be curtailed as soon as possible. An entire colony’s
or population’s nests could be destroyed if an animal is allowed
to predate endangered birds for one or two extra nights.

Leave it to animal rights activists
to oppose an important technology in the fight to preserve endangered

Successful strategies for dealing with animal rights activists recently published
an excellent article on the American Association for Animal Laboratory Science‘s (AAALS) strategies for dealing with animal rights activists
who showed up at its national meeting last November.

After being tipped off by
Americans for Medical Progress that the AAALS meeting was being targeted
for protest by animal rights activists, AAALS executive director Michael
Sondag put together a three-prong approach that succeeded in minimizing
confrontation with the activists.

First, he involved local,
state and federal law enforcement agencies in the planning and security
arrangements of the conference. When 140 or so animal rights activists
showed up to protest, AALAS was prepared with over 200 police officers
to keep things under control.

Second, Sondag and the AALAS
gave conference participants a tip sheet with advice to travel in groups
and completely ignore the animal rights activists. Specifically, Sondag
advised participants that this conference wasn’t the time or place
to debate with the animal rights activists.

“The bottom line is,
you’re never going to win that battle,” Sondag said. “All
it’s going to do is turn into a confrontation with pushing and shoving
and someone will get hurt, or sued, or end up in jail.”

Sondag made a couple interesting
observation about the protests at the conference. First, most of those
who showed up to protest the conference weren’t all that interested
in convincing through persuasion. “Ninety percent of what [the protesters
said] had nothing to do with animal rights. They said filthy stuff, made
remarks about people’s anatomy.”

Second, many of the protesters
apparently weren’t animal rights activists but paid protesters. Sondag
said he found classified ads in the local newspaper offering to pay people
$5/day to protest the AALAS.

In a very sad commentary,
however, part of Sondag’s advice included not discussing the science
of animal experiments with the media. “Forget science,” he told
representatives who talked to the media on behalf of the AALAS. “Most
Americans have the equivalent of an eight-grade science education. Speak

This is a strategy destined
to backfire. One of the reasons animal rights activists get some support
from otherwise sensible people is precisely because what goes on in a
scientific laboratory is largely a mystery to most Americans. By refusing
to talk about the science, people will only see labs as even more removed
and remote from their lives and become more likely to take the claims
of animal rights activists at face value.

Further Fallout Over Off-Road.Com Article

In the past week several more
news outlets wrote stories about Lycos dropping Envirolink, host of many
animal rights web sites, after an article written by Norm Lenhart, senior
editor at Off-Road.Com. In general the subsequent articles have only reconfirmed
the suspicions expressed here last week about Lycos’ move.

An article at Wired’s web site
quoted EnviroLink founder Josh Knauer as confirming that EnviroLink’s contract
did not have any minimum hit requirements, leaving out EnviroLink’s apparently
low click through rate as an explanation. Wired also quoted Knauer as
saying he believes Lycos is in breach of its contract with EnviroLink.

The articles, unfortunately,
also demonstrated how willing the media are to let animal rights
extremism slide. In Wired’s story, for example, writer Steve Silberman
characterized Lenhart’s article as a “flame job” and spent two
paragraphs describing EnviroLink’s content by focusing on the allegedly
satirical Church of Euthanasia, completely ignoring Lenhart’s documentation
of the Animal Liberation Front Information Site articles on how to commit
arson located on EnviroLink’s servers — which was the real flame
job as far as this writer is concerned. Post-Gazette writer Michael Newman
didn’t even see fit to mention that EnviroLink hosts the ALFIS site in
his piece on the controversy.

The on-line animal rights
community continues to whine about Lycos’ decision. A message on a mailing
list maintained by the Humane Society of the United States said that,
“EnviroLink is experiencing severe funding problems due to what may
be described as a disinformation campaign.” Of course the author
of this message, like authors of several similar ones, never bothers to
point out any factual errors in Lenhart’s article.

An email posted on the animal
rights terrorist list “Frontline” summed up the controversy
this way:

10 short days after Off-Road.Com published a scathing slanderous attack
on the server and several of it’s hosted environmental
and animal rights web sites, Lyco’s [sic] decided to drop its corporate
sponsorship of EnviroLink.

The issue is not whether
you care about the environment or animal rights but about Internet censorship
and and [sic] free expression on the Internet. What is next to be attacked?

Got that? When ALF members
firebomb a warehouse, that is peaceful, nonviolent protest. When Off-Road.Com
persuades Lycos to drop its sponsorship of EnviroLink, that’s censorship.

Is Target training kids to kill?

A few weeks ago I mentioned
an animal rights group angry at the electronics chain Best Buy for selling
a series of Hunting-related computer games. Now Last Chance for Animals has put up a web site called TargetTeachesKids2Kill.Com attacking Target
for stocking similar software.

These games such as Deer Hunter, Big Game Hunter and Sportsman’s Paradise typically put the player in a first person view of a woods with the objective
being to track down and kill an animal such as a deer or bear. The games
tend to feature photo-realistic graphics (often incorporating digitized
video) and have proven extremely popular. Deer Hunter was
the number one selling computer game in the country for many weeks, which
is why Target and other stores stock them — their customers want to buy

Last Chance for Animals objects
to the software claiming, “All of these programs teach computer users,
kids and adults alike, how to hunt and kill real animals.” Yes, of
course. And cookbook and recipe software, commonly available in the discount
bins at such stores, also teach both kids and adults how to cook and
eat dead animals. Should those be banned too? Will Last Chance for Animals
soon register a domain like TargetTeachesKids2EatMeat.Com?

Last Chance for Animals goes
beyond these claims to include charges that playing these games can contribute
to everything from school shootings to gang violence, of course without
providing any concrete evidence of any sort of causal connection. Their
view is summed up by a quote the group includes from a Kenneth Stoller,

How easy would it be for your children, or children you know, to commit
an act of violence against another living creature if any authority
asked them? Playing “Duck Hunt” (aka “Kill Ducks”)
on Nintendo that your parents gave you … is not that far removed from
bashing in the heads of helpless [animals] with your parents or scout
leader egging you on.

Huh? I’d say the two situations
differ vastly in both content and context. This is just a variation on
the nonsensical idea that eating meat isn’t that far removed from cannibalism
and animal experimentation is equivalent to torture. Somebody really needs
to wean these animal rights types from their arguments by analogy.

Fortunately Target doesn’t
seem likely to stop selling these computer games. Last Chance For Animals
wrote Bob Ulrich, the chairman of Target’s board of directors, but received
a reply from Target Guest Relations to the effect that it’s up to Target’s
customers — not Last Chance for Animals — to decide whether or
not to buy a hunting game. Three cheers for Target.


Public Alert. Press Release, Last Chance For Animals, undated.