A lot of news flows across my desk and computer in any given day and sometimes it’s hard to keep up with what’s going on. I plow through the piles and must confess that many of the “same old, same old” headlines go unread.
In the middle of January, yet another anti-milk campaign surfaced and I was tempted to toss most of the material that listed the “horrors” of milk. After all, I recognized the pitch group, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and generally discount anything they say.
But I want to make sure readers also recognize the group’s faulty logic and hidden agenda, so here’s what I’ve learned about this group.
At a time when we’re particularly sensitive to the word “terrorism,” it should be known that that word has been used to describe allies of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. Most recently, PCRM head Neal Barnard joined with Kevin Jonas of the violent animal rights group known as SHAC in a letter writing campaign urging businesses and countries not to do business with Huntingdon Life Sciences, a UK company that develops products for the pharmaceutical, veterinary, chemical and food industries. The company is targeted for its use of animals in research.
According to the Center for Consumer Freedom, members of SHAC have adopted terrorist tactics, fire-bombing automobiles, smashing windows, assaulting research employees and harassing and intimidating individual investors.
To step back and add another link, Kevin Jonas used to be known as Kevin Kjonaas and was a spokesman for the Animal Liberation Front, a militant activist group labeled terrorists by the FBI.
In fact, on the same day American was attacked in New York and Washington D.C., the Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front took credit for burning a McDonald’s in Tucson, Ariz.
These are not warm-fuzzy animal lovers we’re talking about here.
Published sources quote FBI special agent David Szady as telling “60 Minutes,” “Make no mistake about it, by any sense or any definition, ELF is a true domestic-terrorism group.”
The groups have destroyed or damaged homes, feed mills, private and university research facilities, banks, meat processors and even a government holding pen for wild horses and burros in Nevada.
And once you get into the loop, you find connections among other organizations as well, such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
Last summer, a PETA coordinator declared at a Virginia convention, “It would be a great thing if, you know, all of these fast-food outlets and these slaughterhouses and these laboratories and these banks that fund them exploded tomorrow.”
Those comments, and others like them, are designed to incite terrorism. And that’s a war we should be fighting as vigorously as Operation Enduring Freedom.
Researcher Michael Conn, associate director of the Oregon Regional Primate Research Center, conducts research to develop treatments for breast and prostate cancer. He has been the target of ongoing harassment and physical threats because of his work – and he doesn’t even work with animals. A recent visit to the University of South Florida was particularly harrowing.
In a statement to the Portland, Ore., City Council Sept. 26, Conn detailed his abuse by activists. His final comments, in which he calls himself a target of terrorists, are worth sharing:
“Painful as it is to be in the cross hairs of terrorists, neither my colleagues nor I will bow to their force or be deflected from our course of discovery that leads to cures of human and animal disease.
“I challenged those who taunted me in Florida to tell the parents of a critically-ill child that research is not important. The only time these terrorists did not follow me was when I passed through the cancer ward at Florida’s Moffitt hospital. Go figure.”
It is easy to be misled by a group with the noble sounding name Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. But the underlying philosophy is anything but noble. Arm yourself with knowledge.