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Animal Rights Extremists By: Daniel J. Flynn
Townhall.com | Friday, October 15, 2004

Get Daniel J. Flynn's latest book, Intellecutal Morons: How Ideology Makes Smart People Fall for Stupid Ideas, for only $25.95 from the FrontPage Magazine Bookstore.

Animal-right fanatics have gained infamy by firebombing university laboratories, sending envelopes rigged with razorblades to researchers, and dousing fur coats with lighter fluid and igniting them—while still on the backs of their owners. Now the animal rights movement has a new target: children.

Specifically, they’ve deemed biomedical researchers’ children fair game for “protest”—a word that conveys a different meaning to different people. “The children of those scientists are enjoying a lifestyle built on the blood and abuse of innocent animals,” Englishman Robin Webb of the Animal Liberation Front proclaimed last month. “Why should they be allowed to close the door on that and sit down and watch TV and enjoy themselves when animals are suffering and dying because of the actions of the family breadwinner? They are a justifiable target for protest.”

The proclamation comes on the heels of an upsurge in “protest” by animal-rights activists in the United Kingdom. Fanatics have anonymously mailed hoax letters accusing employees of biomedical companies of pedophilia. At a recent training event, an animal-rights leader called for action: “Ten attacks a night would be an absolute minimum.” Websites are posting the addresses of scientists. Last month, the Times of London obtained an animal rights “hit list” targeting 150 people, including 21 children. The document advised: “Whatever you do, just do it and show them no mercy.”

Who gave these extremists such ideas? How do they muster such indignation? 

A primary inspiration is Peter Singer, a professor of bioethics at Princeton University who launched the “animal liberation” movement in 1975 with a book by that name. Singer has made a career out of justifying and encouraging lawless extremism.

“Should one break in and free the animals?” Professor Singer asked in Animal Liberation.  “That is illegal, but the obligation to obey the law is not absolute. It was justifiably broken by those who helped runaway slaves in the American South.”

Singer concedes that he finds “no reason to protect [animal] experimenters behind a cloak of anonymity.” He asks: “How can they then remove their white coats, wash their hands, and go home to dinner with their families?”

Throughout Singer’s book, an abridged version of which is given to new members of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the animal rights crusade is compared to the abolition movement and the fight against Hitler. Their opponents, naturally, play the role of slaveholders and Nazis.

Is the self-righteousness of animal rights activists, or their tactics, at all surprising given the popularity of Singer’s writings? 

Singer has even coined a term—speciesists—to place the fight for animal rights on the same plane as the fight against racism and sexism. “Racists violate the principle of equality by giving greater weight to the interests of members of their own race,” Singer maintains. “[S]peciesists allow the interests of their own species to override the greater interests of members of other species.” But snails and goats aren’t equal to human beings. First graders know this, but a celebrated Ivy-League professor does not.

Singer has spoken out against eating hamburgers, children’s stories featuring talking bears and monkeys, and even taboos against sex with animals. For some reason, in academia this makes him a genius. For people with common sense, he’s just another intellectual moron, whose ideology blinds him to reality.

The joiners, who’ve acted on his manifesto in England by threatening children, committing arson, and slandering biomedical researchers with vile letters accusing them of pedophilia, defer to Singer’s questionable wisdom rather than thinking for themselves.

Singer and his activist progeny confuse people for animals and animals for people. Violence against human beings is rationalized in the cause of animal rights. When human beings, on the other hand, indulge their carnivorous appetites by eating a ham sandwich, animal liberationists deem this an act tantamount to murder. “Some animals,” the deluded activists quite literally believe, “are more equal than others.”

Ideas do have consequences. The consequences of Peter Singer’s ideas include arson, death threats, and unparalleled stupidity.

Get Daniel J. Flynn's latest book, Intellecutal Morons: How Ideology Makes Smart People Fall for Stupid Ideas, for only $25.95 from the FrontPage Magazine Bookstore.

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