Wesley J. Smith

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Wesley J. Smith is a conservative columnist and a Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute (D.I.), [1] 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. Mr. Smith promotes the Discovery Institute's positions through editorials featured on D.I. [2], [3] and other conservative publications.

Mr. Smith's wife, Debra J. Saunders, occasionally writes op-ed columns in the San Francisco Chronicle on issues which overlap with D.I's agenda, though she openly discloses her relationship with Smith and his role with D.I.[4], [5] See also Debra J. Saunders.

Member organizations of D.I. include the Fur Commission. [6]

Terri Schiavo

Mr. Smith closely followed the Terri Schiavo case in 2005 and wrote frequent editorials on the topic. [7]

Quoting industry reps & targeting activists

Smith has criticized People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and animal rights in D.I. articles [8], [9] as well as other conservative publications. Some of Mr. Smith's editorials and blog reference industry reps such as David Martosko and the front group Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF):

"Doesn't the establishment of legal rights for these animals also debase humanity? At the end of the day, it is probably impossible to guarantee both "rights" for animals and disease cures for humans. I see siding with my own species as the only compassionate option. David Martosko" [10]

CCF does not advocate for "humanity". CCF sponsors have included Phillip Morris, Monsanto, Tyson Foods and Dean Foods. These corporations have a long history of gross animal welfare violations, human rights, health and environmental abuses. See also Richard Berman cares about animals: clients exposed.

According to an editorial in the National Review:

"In 2001, S. L. Davis of the Department of Animal Sciences at Oregon State University, Corvallis, wrote a paper claiming that the diet most likely to result in the deaths of the fewest animals would be beef, lamb, and dairy — not vegan. Davis found a study that measured mouse population density per hectare in grain fields both before and after harvest and estimated a harvest casualty rate of ten mice per hectare. Then, he multiplied that figure by 120 million hectares of farmland in the U.S.; meaning that 1.2 billion mice would die each year in food production if America became a wholly vegan country."[11]

Livestock consumes 47% of the soy and 60% of the corn produced in the US. [12] According the United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO), livestock use 30 % of the earth’s entire land surface. 70% of former forests in the Amazon have been turned over to grazing. [13] Approximately 10 billion land animals are raised and killed for food every year in the U.S. (over a million an hour).[14]

See also meat & dairy industry, section 5 & animals raised & hunted for food.

Green baiting

According to another NR editorial :

"In the Netherlands, an animal-rights extremist allegedly assassinated a candidate for parliament, perhaps because he defended pig farming in a debate with animal-rights activists. ....You have to be especially dangerous and potentially violent to warrant attention from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). Cofounded by renowned civil-rights attorney Morris Dees, the group is best known for its successful legal struggle against hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and Aryan Nation. One of the center's most useful projects is the respected SPLC Intelligence Report (IR), a quarterly magazine that offers in-depth analysis of political extremism in the United States. The Fall 2002 IR exposes the depth of the threat of ARL terrorism — earning ALF, ELF, and SHAC a level of infamy usually reserved for American extremist groups such as the KKK, Aryan Nation, and the American Nazi party." [15]

However, according to interviews:

"Pim Fortuyn had reasonable views on the bio-industry," Pigs in Need, an animal rights group, said in a statement. 'Fortuyn believed that new agricultural policy needed to be animal friendly.'"

According to a recent book by Pim Fortuyn:

"Animal welfare must be a priority and we need to switch to less industrial production methods." [16]

The assassination was attributed to Fortuyn's views on religion and immigration. [17], [18]

According to an editorial in the Weekly Standard:

"TERRORISM TAKES MANY FORMS. Recently, animal-rights terrorists have unleashed an organized campaign of violence and intimidation against animal industries and their service companies--such as banks, auditing companies, and insurance brokers. ...One of the most active of these groups is Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC), which is dedicated to driving Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS) out of business because it tests drugs on animals. ..Law enforcement is on heightened alert to protect against animal-rights terrorism, and legislation (H.R. 4239) is wending its way through the House of Representatives to make such lawlessness more easily prosecuted. These are necessary steps." [19]

The only attempted murder in the history of the U.S. animal rights movement was coordinated by corporate provocateurs.[20]

Between 1977 and January 2007, there were over 13,000 incidents targeting abortion clinics and doctors, including 7 murders. There have been over 2,100 acts of union violence between 1991 and 2001, including bombings, shootings and near fatal injuries. In 2004 alone, there were over 4,500 racially motivated incidents in the U.S. There were 1,480 incidents based on religious bias and another 1,460 based on sexual orientation. Animal and environmental groups have committed far fewer acts, yet are labeled "terrorists", while those who shoot abortion doctors or burn down synagogues are perceived only as felons.[21]

Animal activists who have been injured or killed

However, there have been a number of incidents involving victimized animal activists who have been injured or killed.

AETA (HR 4239)

HR 4239 or the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA), became law on November 27, 2006 after receiving President Bush’s signature. [22]Critics have characterized this legislation as being designed to protect the financial interests of corporations, chill dissent and discourage legal activism. [23] AETA terrorism charges cannot be brought against someone whose target is "unaffiliated with an animal enterprise", which violate constitutional rights to equal legal protection. [24]

See also AETA, section 7.

Huntingdon Life Sciences & SHAC campaign

Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS) is the 3rd largest contract research organization (CRO) in the world and the largest animal testing facility in Europe. Firms hire CRO's to conduct animal toxicity tests for agrochemicals, petrochemicals, household products, pharmaceutical drugs and toxins. HLS has a long history of gross animal welfare violations. They are the only laboratory in the United Kingdom ever to have their license revoked by the government.[25] The Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) campaign is an international campaign with groups in the UK, USA, France, Holland, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and many other countries who target HLS and the global corporations which support them. [26]

See also Huntingdon Life Sciences & animal testing, section 3 on product (toxicity) testing.

Articles & sources

SourceWatch articles


  1. Bioethics, Discovery Institute, accessed December 2008
  2. Wesley J. Smith Liberation Theology The twisted thinking motivating PETA Discovery Institute, August 4, 2005
  3. Wesley J. Smith The Most Tasteless PR Campaign Ever: PETA Outdoes Itself, Discovery Institute, March 2003
  4. Debra J. Saunders Better Dead than Fed, Discovery Institute, June 2005
  5. Debra J. Saunders, American Terrorist, Discovery Institute, June 2007
  6. What is Fur Commission USA?, Fur Commission, accessed June 2009
  7. Bioethicist Wesley J. Smith Condemn's Judge's Ruling in Schiavo Case, Discovery Institute News, March 2005
  8. Wesley J. Smith Liberation Theology The twisted thinking motivating PETA D.I., August 2005
  9. Wesley J. Smith The Most Tasteless PR Campaign Ever: PETA Outdoes Itself, D.I., March 2003
  10. Wesley J. Smith The Wisdom of David Martosko, Secondhand Smoke, April 2008
  11. Wesley J. Smith Veganism is Murder, National Review, July 2008
  12. The Issues: Corn and Soy, Sustainable Table, accessed December 2009
  13. Livestock a major threat to environment: Remedies urgently needed, United Nations, FAO Newsroom, Rome, November 2006.
  14. About Farm Animals and Factory Farming, Humane Society of the United States, 2005
  15. Wesley J. Smith Terrorists, Too Exposing animal-rights terrorism, National Review, October 2002
  16. Environmental Activist Charged in Dutch Politician's Assassination, Associated Press, May 2002
  17. Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Joan Clements Fortuyn killed 'to protect Muslims, Telegraph.co.uk, March 2003
  18. Andrew Osborn I shot Fortuyn for Dutch Muslims, says accused, Free Republic, March 2003
  19. Wesley J. Smith Animal Planet, Animal-rights terrorism is on the increase and animal-rights activists aren't doing enough to stop it., Weekly Standard, May 2006
  20. Will Potter How Corporate Provacateurs Made Fran Trutt an “Animal Rights Terrorist”, Mar 25th, 2009
  21. Charlotte Laws, PhD, AETA and the New Green Scare: Are You the Terrorist Next Door?, Counterpunch, January 2007
  22. Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, Govtrack.us 109th Congress, 2005-2006
  23. Will Potter House Passes AETA With Little Discussion or Dissent: Notes from the House Floor “Debate”, Greenisthenewred.com, Nov 2006
  24. Charlotte Laws, PhD, AETA and the New Green Scare: Are You the Terrorist Next Door?, Counterpunch, January 2007
  25. Dr. Jerry Vlasik Testimony of Jerry Vlasik, M.D.: Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (“SHAC”) Eco-terrorism, U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works, October 2005
  26. Introduction to SHAC, SHAC.net, accessed May 2009