I have been criticized for focusing on the violent animal liberationists (SHAC, ALF) here at Secondhand Smoke, and those liberationists who refuse to condemn such violence (PETA). So, I recently featured Gary Francione, an animal liberationist who adamantly rejects violence, both here and at the First Things blog (scroll to September 12 entry).
But Francione has always seemed to me to be the notable exception among liberationist leaders, not the rule. Evidence of his minority status is found in this alarming interview with a SHAC activist named Pamelyn Ferdin, who even rails irrationally against animal “disenfranchisement” (they should vote?), animal welfare activism (a waste of time), and who is so lost in her rage that she clearly doesn’t understand the crucial differences between peaceful protest and civil disobedience, versus lawless terrorism.
Here is her whiny complaint in the on-line journal The Abolitionist regarding increasing law enforcement and civil litigation to prevent SHAC-style animal rights thuggery: “There is a witch hunt against anyone in the States or even abroad who is being effective on behalf of a cause that threatens someone’s profits. The SHAC campaign has been very effective world-wide, and whenever a campaign to change something that will force people to have to alter what they are used to doing, there is a backlash. Animal Rights campaigns that are effective are the most threatening because many of the campaigns target companies making billions of dollars off the exploitation, oppression and torture of animals.”
But legitimate (if misguided) animal liberation activities such as picketing, passing out leaflets, boycotts, and the like are not the protest activities that has caused SHAC to justifiably become the focus of FBI and other law enforcement actions. As reported by the Southern Poverty Law Center–hardly a bastion of capitalist conspiracies, this is the kind of activity which landed several SHAC activists justly in prison:
“According to the federal government’s lengthy criminal indictment, the SHAC USA Web site encouraged members and sympathizers to engage in ‘direct action’–activities that ‘operate outside the confines of the legal system.’ SHAC USA suggested ‘top 20 terror tactics,’ including threatening to injure or kill a person’s family members, assaulting a person by spraying cleaning fluid in their eyes, vandalizing or flooding a person’s home, firebombing a person’s car, breaking the windows of a person’s home while family members are inside, and sending e-mail “bombs” to crash computers. (My emphasis)
This is pure criminality. In a country based on the rule of law, it is completely beyond the pale. Participating and conspiring SHAC criminals belong in jail.
Post Script: Ferdin’s husband, Jerry Vlasak, has justified murder in the name of animal liberation.