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Animal Rights Extremists in the Classroom By: Scott Rubush
FrontPageMagazine.com | Monday, February 25, 2002

ANIMAL RIGHTS ACTIVISTS have some big plans for your kids. Ready or not, groups such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and the Student Animal Rights Alliance (SARA) have begun infiltrating public schools in an effort to recruit children into their ranks.

Earlier this month, several hundred SARA activists, some as young as 13 years old, gathered at American University in Washington, DC. These young people met to plot their next steps in forming a national animal-rights student movement.

“In recent years, the animal right's movement has seen a surge in student activism," SARA executive director Patrick Kwan told CNS News Service. Not surprisingly the elders in this movement are overjoyed.

"It is crucial to have student involvement, and when somebody's in college is when they are asking the most questions and making the decisions that will guide their lives," PETA’s Bruce Freidrich told reporters. "It is an especially important time to reach people with the animal rights message."

It’s a message that PETA has spent years trying to cultivate in our nation’s college campuses. On its website, PETA offers a complete guide on campus activism, which includes tips on how to start an start an animal rights student group, on how to garner attention in the news media, and even tips on how to dress for a protest rally:

Keep in mind that you may be photographed by the media. Make sure your group dresses neatly and conservatively (unless you decide to wear costumes). Green hair, safety pins through your nostrils, and other accessories far out of the mainstream will only draw attention away from the important issue at hand.

PETA encourages its young followers to push a campus agenda that ranges from the mundane goal of promoting vegan foods (ie, foods free from animal products) in campus dining halls, to the deeply ideological goal of “educating” fellow students with posters bearing slogans such as this one: “Pro-life? Go vegetarian.”

While animal rights extremism generally is quarantined on college campuses at the moment, PETA and other groups have set their sights on younger school kids as well.

PETA sends out “educational packs” to schoolteachers as a means of introducing their extreme viewpoints into the classroom. The ideas in these packets have been estimated to reach 9.3 million school children during the course of a school year.

PETA also encourages teachers to organize their students for letter-writing campaigns to big corporations that test products on animals. A September 1995 exposé in the Wall Street Journal quoted some of these letters, which offered a horrifying look at the message PETA is spreading to kids:

"You have no excuse for the murders that go on every single day in your laboratories, if you can call them that. It sounds to me like you are the Nazis back in World War II and the poor suffering animals are the Jews," wrote then 13-year-old Christina Fortner of Fredericksburg, Va. "People like you are cold-blooded, insensitive, cruel, unthinkable vivisectors," wrote Shweta Patel, then 12, a student at the Mark Twain School in Niles, Ill. A student at the James Martin School in Philadelphia wrote: "Let this be a warning to you. If you hurt another animal, if I find out, one month from this letter arrives to you, I'll bomb your company. P.S. Watch your back."

On his website, Mohan Embar of the Animal Rights Counterculture explains why his fellow animal rights extremists are so eager to reach young people: “This is an extremely important cause. Only by staying sane ourselves and getting the kiddies while they're youngcan we try to limit the damage and eventually reverse it.”

The goal to get “the kiddies while their young” also involves efforts to shape the consumption patterns of children. For instance PETA has waged a hyperbolic campaign against circus purveyors such as Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey. PETA says the circus is cruel to animals. Ringing Brothers has recently fired back by saying that circus animals are better off in their care than in nature. Regardless of that, PETA’s campaign to keep kids away from the circus fits into a larger pattern of denying children their innocence in an effort to mold them into life-long activists.

Certainly it’s horrifying situation, but it’s a predictable position for a group that cares more about cows and chickens than it does about living, breathing, thinking human children. Sadly that’s just par for the course from an organization whose President, Ingrid Newkirk, once huffed, “A rat is a pig is a dog is a boy."

Fortunately an effort is afoot to root out this extreme agenda. A group called Frontiers of Freedom reportedly is working on a landmark report that will document this pattern of abuse by animal rights extremists. The report is set to be released later this spring. Let’s hope they leave no stone unturned during this investigation. A group that holds such callous disregard for the minds of our youth deserves nothing less than a full, public accounting.

Scott Rubush is a former associate editor of FrontPageMagazine.com. He also edits a daily web log at ScottRubush.com.

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