Animal (spin) control

In yet another PR mis-step, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) chose America’s most somber day of remembrance to congratulate itself for its supposed switch to “kinder, gentler” tactics in the wake of 9-11.

What of PETA’s vaunted but mythical shift to all things warm and fuzzy during the past year? In addition to PETA’s financial donation to the Earth Liberation Front just a few months before 9-11, here’s a few of the group’s more telling exploits since last year’s day of infamy:

Starting on the very day of Al Qaeda’s attacks, PETA was looking to take political advantage of the situation in New York. The group’s September 11, 2001 press release complained that “Mayor Giuliani has a poor record when it comes to animals” and begged PETA members to “urge Mayor Giuliani to set up a task force to locate and rescue animals” near Ground Zero. While countless heroes — both uniformed and ordinary — rushed to save literally thousands of human beings, PETA indignantly insisted that vital manpower be spared to hunt for missing house-cats.

Months later, PETA designed, promoted, and then ultimately scrapped a billboard mocking the loss of a 10-year-old boy’s arm in a shark attack as “revenge.”

In May 2002, PETA hired long-time radical Gary Yourofsky as a full-time “educational” lecturer. Yourofsky once told a reporter that if people died as a result of a research lab firebombing, “I would unequivocally support that.” One week after 9-11, Yourofsky sent an e-mail to activists encouraging them not to support the Red Cross, because of its support for lifesaving animal research.

Americans in all sorts of places are just beginning to understand PETA’s uglier side. Just last week in the small town of Pryor, Oklahoma, columnist Kathy Parker told readers of The Daily News that “blowing things up and ruining people’s belongings has nothing to do with working toward actually helping animals.”

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