No Laughing Matter

Animal rights extremism would be funny if it weren’t so serious, Oregonian columnist Steve Duin writes. “How can you keep a straight face when People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals hustles out such celebrity spokesyahoos as Pamela Anderson or Joaquin Phoenix, who boasts he wore only ‘fake-leather outfits’ in the filming of Gladiator?” Duin asks readers. “Given the goofy lengths to which these diehards pushed their manifesto, even condemning the Red Cross for its part in ‘terrorizing’ animals, taking the movement seriously can be difficult, indeed.”

But Duin writes that Dr. Michael Conn of the Oregon Regional Primate Research Center can’t laugh so easily. When Conn traveled to Florida for a job interview this summer, his itinerary was posted on the Internet by animal rights fanatic Gary Yourofsky — who wrote the Red Cross-denouncing message Duin cites. Yourofsky has told supporters, “do not be afraid to condone arsons at places of animal torture,” and stated, “I would unequivocally support” the death of “animal abusers” in arson fires. Conn told a terrorism task force that on his trip he was “physically surrounded” by extremists on an airport escalator, who told him, “We came to say goodbye.”

Public safety professional Gary Granger told Duin: “The history of most resistance movements is if you don’t achieve your goals at one level, you give up or you find new tactics.” In the animal rights movement, “I think we’re going to see an escalation of tactics.”

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