Birds of a feather

Supporters of the Southern Poverty Law Center may be surprised when they read the latest SPLC Intelligence Report. The widely-admired quarterly journal, known for monitoring domestic terrorism and reporting on the activities of “hate groups,” has decided to profile animal-rights and environmental terrorists alongside reliable standbys like abortion-clinic bombers, neo-Nazis, and the Ku Klux Klan.

In a remarkable article entitled “From Push To Shove,” Intelligence Report describes how radical “green” and animal zealots are no longer “drawing the line” at targeting humans. SPLC pays special attention to “SHAC,” a violent animal rights group dedicated to dismantling the medical research community one laboratory at a time. This criminal organization’s U.S. branch is run by a former leader of the FBI-certified “domestic terrorist” Animal Liberation Front (ALF).

In recent months, SHAC has apparently given up on efforts to maintain the illusion of separateness from ALF, blurring the line in a fashion that one can only describe as defiant. SHAC also has ties to PETA’s medical front group, the misnamed Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

In a clear reference to Al Qaeda, The Waterbury (CT) Republican-American recently called ALF’s sister group, the Earth Liberation Front (ELF), “the other terrorists.” The paper’s editorial writers also lambasted “mainstream” animal rights groups, saying that PETA and others “see eco-terrorism as a valuable weapon and look upon ELF operatives as heroes.”

In a separate rebuke, two members of Congress expressed their outrage in the pages of The Washington Times. California Rep. George Radanovich called ELF “as cowardly as Al Qaeda and as dangerous as the Taliban.” But Pennsylvania Rep. John Peterson may have summed it up best. “World terrorists are against our economic system,” he said, “and in reality, these people are, too.”

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