Cracking Down on Animal Rights Violence

Last week, 23-year-old animal rights activist Chris McIntosh was sentenced to eight years in prison for the 2003 arson of a Seattle fast-food restaurant. Claiming credit for the fire in the name of both the Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front, McIntosh called an arson tip line hours after igniting a firebomb, announcing: “There was an ELF/ALF hit at McDonald’s … There will be more. As long as Mother Earth is pillaged, raped, destroyed. As long as McDonald’s keeps hurting our furry brothers, there will be more.” When he raised his right hand to be sworn before entering his guilty plea in September, McIntosh revealed the letters “H-A-T-E” tattooed onto four fingers.

McIntosh raised some additional eyebrows in July when he issued a jailhouse letter to Seattle’s activist community, advocating even more violence:

I no longer see the use or satisfying results of petitions and demonstrations. The truth is the crunch has come, and it’s time for a feral rampage in everyone’s heart! Whether it’s wreaking drunken havoc upon the civilized pillars of society or some other way that gets you off, we are the barbarian hordes. Let’s sack Rome!

Also last week, federal authorities arrested six activists in connection with other arsons committed in the names of the ALF and ELF. One of those was the decidedly animal-rights-motivated 1999 arson of a meatpacking plant. The suspect in this case, Chelsea Dawn Gerlach, is also now the prime suspect in a $12 million arson fire that destroyed a development project at the Vail, Colorado ski resort.

Given the increased focus of federal law enforcement agencies on crimes like these, yesterday’s news that the FBI has pursued a “domestic terrorism” investigation against People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) comes as no surprise. As we outlined in a detailed press release this morning, PETA has a long history of supporting and encouraging unlawful activity — including violence — in the name of “total animal liberation.”

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