Conservatives target the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

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Conservatives target the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals features industry-funded organizations and media targeting the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

Ron Arnold & Frankie Trull

In March of 2002, Ron Arnold, the Executive Vice President of the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise (CDFE) wrote to the a Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to inform them of "a flagrant breach of U.S. tax laws by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)". According to Mr. Arnold:

"For a charitable organization that was created to prevent harm to animals, PETA spends an inordinate amount of time inciting and/or encouraging others to commit unlawful acts and justifying these tactics by comparing the plights of animals to some of the worst historical human atrocities. It is a deeply disturbing pattern of activity."

The letter included a "list compiled by the Foundation for Biomedical Research documenting illegal or unlawful activity by groups such as ALF and PETA." [1] The Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR), is an industry front group. Longtime Washington lobbyist Frankie Trull is founder and president. She was previously instrumental in passing the draconian Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) and blocking reforms to the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). See also NABR & the Animal Welfare Act.

Mr. Arnold advocates for corporations, institutions and organizations with long histories of flagrant animal cruelty and welfare violations. They include Huntingdon Life Sciences, Wyeth, Oregon National Primate Research Center, Proctor & Gamble, the March of Dimes and Tulane University. [2] For example, Wyeth's Premarin is derived from pregnant mares’ urine (PMU), and prescribed for "symptoms of menopause". It has been classified as a "dangerous drug" and the number one most likely to cause disability or other serious outcome. [3] Premarin increases risks of uterine cancer, heart attacks, strokes, breast cancer and blood clots. [4], [5] However, according to Mr. Arnold, the drug is used to "help prevent and treat osteoporosis and heart disease." Furthermore, PETA's "claims" that Premarin horses are kept in "tiny stalls for six months at a stretch" with limited access to water, are factually correct. [6] The letter is a collection of random, out of context quotes, high profile publicity stunts and speculation. See also Richard Berman cares about animals: clients exposed. While he is highly critical of their campaigns and activities, the only legitimate charges against PETA members are a handful of high profile protest related incidents. Not too surprisingly, he also ignores the hundreds of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) charges which have resulted from PETA investigations. [7] See also People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Mr. Arnold has employed similar tactics in his tireless disinformation campaigns against environmentalism. In a September of 2007 response to an on-line issue of NYC Indymedia, Mr. Arnold claimed credit for coining the term eco-terrorism in a 1982 Reason Magazine article. [8] In 1986, Mr. Arnold warned New Zealanders that the U.S. was experiencing a dangerous "upsurge in eco-terrorism." According to an interview with the New Zealand Herald:

"We have had power stations blown up, bridges burned, electrical transmission towers collapsed, forest trails booby trapped with wired shotguns, attacks on forestry pesticide application crews, Forest Service officers shot to death and numerous other acts of violence in the name of the environment".[9]

While he often expressed his "fear" that someone will be hurt as a result of 'eco-terrorism', he doesn't shy away from inflammatory rhetoric. In a May 1993 interview with CNN, he described the role of a wise user as akin to a warrior weilding a sword. "And that sword has two purposes: to carve out a niche for your agenda, to reshape the American law in your image; and, kill the bastards." When asked to describe how he would like to be thought of, he replied:

"People in industry, I'm going to do my best for you. Environmentalists, I'm coming to get you. ...We're out to kill the fuckers. We're simply trying to eliminate them. Our goal is to destroy environmentalism once and for all." [10]

Incredibly, CDFE founder and director, Alan Gottlieb is an IRS tax felon [11] whose other conservative fund raising cash cows include two anti-gun control groups; the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms and the Second Amendment Foundation, which he is also founded. Like anti-gun-control, he realized the potential financial rewards of opposing environmentalism:

"For us" said Mr. Gottlieb... "the environmental movement has become the perfect bogeyman." [12]

See also Ron Arnold, section 3.

Penn and Teller

An April of 2004 episode of the Showtime network television show Penn and Teller: Bullshit! was heavily critical of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). The program featured the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise and lobbyist David Martosko of the Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) as a "consumer advocate". See also Penn and Teller.

Richard Berman

Richard Berman dedicates funding from clients in the tobacco, processed food, meat & dairy, pharmaceutical and animal testing industries to "exposing inconsistencies" of "malicious animal rights activists". See also Richard Berman cares about animals: clients exposed.

National Animal Interest Alliance

The National Animal Interest Alliance (NAIA) is a front group and industry funded lobbying organization for animal commerce and agribusiness based in Portland, Oregon. Agendas include financial interests, legislation and public relations for animal agribusiness, commercial breeding, hunting, fishing, trapping, fur ranching, animal testing, and animals in entertainment. [13] Since June of 2001 the NAIA has circulated an unsuccessful petition to revoke PETA's 501(c)(3) status (featured on a site owned by the Fur Commission.) According to National Director, Patti Strand, the NAIA is:

"an organization of animal professionals and enthusiasts, (who) today called on the Bush Administration to investigate the exploitation of IRS charitable tax-exempt status by certain animal rights groups that use intimidation, harassment and deception to raise money." [14]

The Discovery Institute

The Discovery Institute (D.I.) is a think tank and conservative political, policy, economic, religious and industry lobbying organization. It is best known as the driving force behind the Intelligent design movement. The Discovery Institute's views and editorials are reliably corporate and industry friendly. Wesley J. Smith, a Senior Fellow, [15] is known for his diatribes against the animal rights movement. Mr. Smith and his spouse, Debra J. Saunders promote D.I.'s positions through editorials featured on D.I. [16], [17], [18], [19] and other conservative publications. Member organizations of D.I. include the Fur Commission. [20] See also Discovery Institute.

The National Review

Editorials featured in the National Review are reliably corporate and industry friendly and/or reference industry lobbies such as CCF. [21], [22] See also Wesley J. Smith.

The Weekly Standard

Editorials featured in the Weekly Standard are reliably corporate and industry friendly with frequent use of excessive rhetoric. Editorials also source and reference industry lobbies such as CCF. [23] See also Wesley J. Smith.

Americans for Medical Progress

Americans for Medical Progress's (AMP) board of directors consists of senior executives and other representatives employed by the pharmaceutical and vivisection industries. Board members represent multinational, billion dollar corporations as well as universities and institutions receiving government grants for vivisection. Four of the universities represented by AMP board members [24] are listed on PETA's list of the ten worst laboratories according to: worst violations of the Animal Welfare Act; [25] largest numbers of animals killed; most painful and invasive experiments and least willing to make improvements.

AMP also funds the "campus oriented" astroturf group, Speaking of Research. See also Americans for Medical Progress.

National Legal and Policy Center

The National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) is a conservative political and industry lobbying organization. NLPC targets labor unions, health care reform, environmentalism, animal rights, activists, liberal and reform oriented politicians. See also National Legal and Policy Center.

Financial statement & salaries

PETA reported $34,568,954 dollars in total revenue for the fiscal year ending in July 31, 2009. The breakdown for this amount was $32,242,134 in donations; 1,033,519 in gross merchandise sales and $1,293,301 in interest, dividends, royalties and other income. According to their financial statement, PETA is funded almost exclusively by member contributions. Funds are utilized in the most effective and efficient way possible. 80.87% of operating expenses went directly into programs addressing animal exploitation. Only 15.09% was spent on fund raising and 4.04% on administration. 32% of PETA's staff earn annual salaries of between $14,383 and $29,999; 44% earn $29,000 to $39,999 and only 24% earn over $39,999. PETA's president, Ingrid Newkirk, earned $36,997 in 2009.

A detailed breakdown of expenses is available on their financial statement, which was independently audited.[26]

Articles & sources

SourceWatch articles


  1. Ron Arnold Letter to Charles O. Rossotti, IRS: Re: PETA, Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise, page 2, March 2002
  2. Tulane University, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Ten Worst Laboratories List, accessed December 2008
  3. Premarin, Injury Board, Sept 2007
  4. Prescription Drugs: Premarin, PDR Health, accessed August 2009
  5. Premarin,, January 2006
  6. ASPCA Equine Program, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, accessed January 2009
  7. Heather Moore PETA: Putting Compassion Into Action for 26 Years American Chronicle, August 2006
  8. The Birth of a Buzz-Word: Eco-Terrorism" (Ron Arnold response to article), Indymedia, September 2007
  9. "'Green campaign just cover' says 'Hit man'", New Zealand Herald, March 19, 1986
  10. David Helvarg The War Against the Greens: The Wise-Use Movement, The New Right, and the Browning of America, pg 7, May 2004, ISBN 978-1555663285
  11. Jim Halpin, Paul de Armond Alan Gottlieb: The Merchant of Fear, Sweet Liberty, 1994, 1995
  12. Timothy Egan Fund Raisers Tap Anti- Environmentalism, New York Times, pg 1, December 19, 1991
  13. Sites of interest, National Animal Interest Alliance, accessed January 2009
  14. NAIA Press Release: NAIA Calls on President Bush to Act Against Animal Rights' Extremists, Fur Commission, June 2001
  15. Bioethics, Discovery Institute, accessed December 2008
  16. Wesley J. Smith Liberation Theology The twisted thinking motivating PETA, Discovery Institute, August 2005
  17. Wesley J. Smith The Most Tasteless PR Campaign Ever: PETA Outdoes Itself, Discovery Institute, March 2003
  18. Debra J. Saunders Better Dead than Fed, Discovery Institute, June 2005
  19. Debra J. Saunders, American Terrorist, Discovery Institute, June 2007
  20. What is Fur Commission USA?, Fur Commission, accessed June 2009
  21. Kathryn Jean Lopez Jesus Isn't a Pig, National Review, Sept 2005
  22. Wesley J. Smith Dying for Liberation: Why is PETA killing animals?, National Review, July 2005
  23. Wesley J. Smith The Most Tastless Campaign Ever, PETA Out Does Itself, Weekly Standard, March 2003
  24. Board of Directors, Americans for Medical Progress , accessed February 2009
  25. Animal Welfare Act and Regulations, U.S. Department of Agriculture , May 2009
  26. About: Financial Reports,, accessed January 2011