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Animal loving freaks

By Alan Caruba
web posted January 16, 2006

America is home to millions of people who love animals. I love animals. On the floor of the luxury apartment complex where I live, there are at least two dog owners and one cat owner. They actually pay a premium to have these companion pets. On any given day you see the dog owners dutifully picking up their poop out of respect for their neighbors.

In December of last year, some residents of my home state of New Jersey shelled out money for the privilege of bagging 297 black bears in an effort to thin out the population which was beginning to rival that of a stadium full of Giants’ fans in the Meadowlands.

Over the next ten years, New Jersey, having received special dispensation from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife agency will begin to shoot and trap scads of Canadian Geese, as well as trample on their nests and destroy their eggs. The reason for this is that New Jersey has more Canadian Geese per square mile than any other state in the nation. Having migrated here, they refuse to go home to Canada, but who can blame them?

These programs, sanctified and authorized after much scientific fact gathering, are perfectly sensible responses to the problem of too many animals of a given species.

So far, nothing seems to work on the deer population whose bodies litter the sides of every major highway in New Jersey due to a failure to understand that cars traveling well beyond the stated speed limit cannot avoid them as they amble in a leisurely pace across the asphalt.

New Jersey, of course, is currently enjoying fame as a state that cannot make up its mind about a new slogan. I suggest “New Jersey, Up to its Asterisk in Animals.”

There are animal lovers and there are animal freaks. The latter group are a varied and colorful cast of characters who run the gamut from terrorists to police wannabes. In late December, the president of the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals resigned in protest, saying, “We’re supposed to be investigating animal cruelty. Instead, they’re buying more vehicles and getting more involved in a police culture.”

His resignation came at a time when the state legislature is contemplating reinstating the NJSPCA as the lead animal cruelty law enforcement agency. A 2000 Commission of Investigation found that the group was badly mismanaged and largely ineffective. Internal reforms, we’re told, ensued, but the resignation casts doubt on that.

In January, the NJSPCA sued Huntingdon Life Sciences of Somerset County to challenge the use of animals in its laboratory research programs. This British-based company has been under attack for years by animal rights “activists.” Its employees have been attacked and the company has been endlessly harassed because it uses lots of laboratory rats and mice (specially bred for such use), and other animals to test new pharmaceutical and comparable products that ultimately enhance and save human lives.

The suit is based on decades-old charges made by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and it comes just weeks before six animal rights activists, members of Stop Huntington Animal Cruelty, go on trial in New Jersey for allegedly waging a terror campaign against the company. Coincidence? We think not. And neither does the U.S. attorney’s office in Newark.

The trial should draw nationwide news coverage. It involves Kevin Jones, the president of SHAC at the time of his indictment, and five other animal rights “activists.” Together they face an aggregate of 23 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000, if convicted. Their defense attorneys will claim that this is an effort by the federal government to deprive them of their First Amendment rights of free speech. There’s free speech and there’s deliberate terrorist tactics and this trial is likely to describe them in detail.

Meanwhile, in December, a 23-year-old animal rights “activist” named Chris McIntosh was sentenced in Seattle for the 2004 torching of a McDonald’s restaurant. He got eight years and his response to the sentence was to tell the judge that “The earth is being destroyed (and) animals are being led to mechanized slaughter. I don’t consider myself a terrorist, but the earth is being terrorized by corporate greed.” He was, he said, proud of his crime which he deemed necessary “to protect the public.”

Earlier in December, the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms announced the arrest of six other “activists” in connection with four separate arsons and the destruction of an energy facility in the northwest, dating back to 1998. All of them are alleged to have ties to the Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front.

We are not dealing with some relatively harmless “animal lovers.” These are full-fledged terrorists. The groups that encourage their war on research, fast-food chains, new housing developments, and university laboratories, include People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals who raised $28,072,597 last year in donations and earnings. Its front group calling itself the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine took in $10,180,969. The Humane Society of the United States raised and earned $74,015,068. Other comparable groups raised millions as well.

Such groups are not just passionate advocates for the proper treatment and care of animals. They exist to mislead a public that already loves animals, but understands that, with all other aspects of life, there has to be limits when wildlife conflicts with humans and there has to be respect for private property and the right to conduct a legitimate business.

The dog and cat owners where I live genuinely love their pets. Who else would pick up their poop to keep the peace?

Alan Caruba writes a weekly column, “Warning Signs”, posted on the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center, © Alan Caruba, January 2006

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