Zoos and circuses are targets of scorn for animal liberation activists. But should doing business with a business that activists don’t like get your targeted as well?
The tactic started with animal research. UCLA scientists whose medical research involves animals have been targeted at their homes. Activists with an animal-rights group targeted employees of a biomedical research company. Then they targeted employees of an insurance company who did business with the lab. The activists don’t believe in using animals for medical research, “even if animal research resulted in a cure for AIDS,” admits PETA head Ingrid Newkirk.
But these groups aren’t just against lifesaving medical research. Their tactics have broadened to a wider variety of issues.
The Humane Society of the United States (an anti-meat group not related to local humane societies or pet shelters) has targeted companies selling meat products, demanding that they make demands of food producers in their supply chain. And PETA has recently targeted companies doing business with SeaWorld, such as Southwest Airlines and the American Automobile Association, simply for having travel industry ties to SeaWorld.
In short, every business is fair game to the animal-rights bullies. Innocent bystanders are their targets of intimidation.
Protests lead not just to defamation of a business, but to bigger government. In San Diego, protests at pet stores turned into a ban on the retail sale of pets in order to choke off dog breeders—even ones with the highest animal welfare standards. In Los Angeles, protests of the circus turned into a ban on elephant handling tools, which will effectively ban circuses that have animal acts.
Believe it or not, PETA’s ideology—“total animal liberation”—holds that the mosquito that bit your leg is just as entitled to life as your child. PETA’s President, Ingrid Newkirk, famously said, “A rat is a pig is a dog is a boy.”
And that absurd belief leads them to infer that animals in the zoo are morally and legally “enslaved,” no differently than African Americans in the antebellum South. PETA actually made this argument before a federal court in California.
There’s an even darker side. PETA and other animal liberationists have argued that elephants born in captivity are better off dead than cared for in a modern zoo.
“Better dead than fed” seems to be a core part of PETA’s animal liberation ideology, because the group follows it in numerous ways. PETA kills up to 97 percent of the dogs and cats that come into its care at its Virginia “animal shelter” in a given year, rather than finding these pets adoptive homes. PETA believes that each of the 50 million or so feral cats should be rounded up and killed.
Should we round up and kill the homeless? Since PETA thinks animals and humans are moral equals, the organization just might support that.
Does the public know this? Most don’t. But public polling has found that once people know that PETA kills almost all of the cats and dogs in its care, their support for these radicals bottoms out.
Remember that fact if you see animal-rights radicals pressuring your town or state for one policy or another. Their version of “ethical treatment” of animals isn’t something shared by American voters.