ActivistCash Update: This Is Not Your Father’s Sierra Club

In our continuing mission to expose radicals plotting to restrict our food choices and increase the cost of our meals, the Center for Consumer Freedom is adding a profile of the increasingly extremist Sierra Club to our award-winning ActivistCash website. Click here to read the full report.

Animal-Rights Extremism

The Sierra Club has increasingly aligned itself with animal-rights activists, and even has a national leader best known for steering the animal liberation “navy.” Sierra Club board member and Sea Shepherd Conservation Society leader “Captain” Paul Watson told activists at an animal rights conference: “We should never feel like we’re going too far in breaking the law, because whatever laws you break to liberate animals or to protect the environment are very insignificant.”

Sierra Club Board Chair Lisa Renstrom notes: “The Club could begin to include animal rights positions in decades to come as members and the American public acknowledge the impact of our high animal protein diet on sustainability.” Perhaps that’s why Club chapters have pushed People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’s Vegetarian Starter Kit.

The Club’s “sustainable consumption committee” issued a report in 2000 that listed “eating less meat” as a “Priority Action for American Consumers,” right alongside “buying a fuel-efficient car.” Joan Zacharias, one of this committee’s leaders, is scheduled to address the “Animal Rights 2004” convention in Virginia next month. Her influence is seen in the committee’s stated goal of developing “stronger ties with vegetarian organizations.”

Sierra Club leaders have a tendency to espouse the anti-human beliefs typical of animal-rights extremists. Former Sierra Club executive director David Brower has argued for government limits on human reproduction: “Childbearing [should be] a punishable crime against society, unless the parents hold a government license … All potential parents [should be] required to use contraceptive chemicals, the government issuing antidotes to citizens chosen for childbearing.” He also insists: “Loggers losing their jobs because of Spotted Owl legislation is, in my eyes, no different than people being out of work after the furnaces of Dachau shut down.”


The Club’s “Rap Sheet on Animal Factories” lists farms that the Sierra Club has targeted for “action.” What type of action? In the May 2000 issue of Sierra, the Club declared its intention to sue large-scale livestock farms across the nation: “No one [court] case,” wrote Sierra‘s editors, “will be a magic bullet … You have to fight on multiple legal fronts.”

On February 28, 2001 the Club announced an alliance with Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s radical anti-pork-farming operation, the Waterkeeper Alliance, as a “full partner in litigation.” That same day, the Sierra Club declared that it had filed multiple lawsuits “across the United States,” targeting a major pork producer.


Despite all the promise that genetically enhanced crops hold for the future, the Sierra Club demands “a moratorium on the planting of all genetically engineered crops and the release of all GEOs [genetically engineered organisms] into the environment, including those now approved.” And despite the fact that genetically enhanced crops have been used for a decade, this technophobic stance falls right in line with Brower’s radical belief that “all technology should be assumed guilty until proven innocent.” Not surprisingly, the Sierra Club united with Greenpeace and organic-only food activist groups in 1999 to sue the Environmental Protection Agency over its approval of genetically modified crops.

Suing For Profit

One of Sierra Club executive director Carl Pope’s self-proclaimed “major accomplishments” is his co-authorship of California’s infamous “bounty hunter” toxics labeling law, Proposition 65 (“Prop 65” is responsible for countless warning labels in California on everything from power mowers to fishing rods). Sierra Club president Larry Fahn is also executive director of As You Sow, an organization that describes itself as a “leading enforcer of Proposition 65.” Fahn’s group functions as a litigation machine, conjuring up lawsuit after lawsuit and directing its winnings to some of the most radical groups around, including the Rainforest Action Network and the Ruckus Society.

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