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Bane of companies, PETA spy reveals self
AP ^ | 5/30/5 | BONNIE PFISTER

Posted on 05/30/2005 7:03:30 PM PDT by SmithL

TRENTON, N.J. - Lisa Leitten is finished living her double life. For the past three years, the soft-spoken, 30-year old moved from Missouri to Texas to Virginia, applying for jobs at businesses dealing with animals. She gave her real name, and some real details about herself: a master's degree in animal psychology and prior work at a primate sanctuary in Florida.

What she didn't reveal was that she was also working for an animal welfare organization, and that she wore a hidden camera to document instances in which animals were treated with what she calls horrific neglect and cruelty.

Leitten called her last assignment for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals her most wrenching: nine months in a Virginia lab owned by Princeton, N.J.-based biomedical firm Covance Co. There, she says, monkeys were denied medical care and abused by technicians. The company denies the claims, says it treats the animals properly and has accused Leitten of illegally working under cover.

Two weeks ago, PETA presented Leitten's assertions about Covance in video footage and a massive report to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration, and Virginia prosecutors, calling for regulators to shutter the company's Vienna, Va., lab.

"This was my third assignment, and my final one," Leitten said in a recent interview with The Associated Press, the first time she has publicly revealed her identity. "You never forget the things that you've seen."

Leitten grew up an animal lover in a middle-class family in Buffalo, N.Y. While in college in Ohio, a psychology class took her to a zoo to study chimpanzee behavior.

"My love of primates grew from that," she said. "They are such intelligent, feeling animals, so like us."

She earned her graduate degree at Central Washington University's Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute, famously home in the late 1960s to a chimpanzee who learned sign language.

While in college, Leitten had become a vegetarian and found herself increasingly concerned about animal welfare. PETA was a natural fit.

But she was more comfortable working behind the scenes than marching in rallies. The intrigue of undercover work outweighed her initial worries.

"At first I thought, 'There's no way.' The fear of everything, of having to wear covert equipment and move around. But then it sounded sort of exciting at the same time," she said.

Her first job began in May 2002, a nine-month stint at a Missouri lab that produced pet food for Proctor & Gamble's Iams label. There, she claimed she found animals that were injured, had untended wounds and receiving unnecessary surgeries. Leitten documented her findings, quietly left the job and let PETA make her allegations public.

Retailer PetSmart and Iams severed contracts with the lab, which laid off nearly half of its workers. Its owner accused PETA of playing on corporations' fear of negative publicity rather than exposing legitimate concerns.

By July of 2003, Leitten resurfaced at her next assignment, a wildlife refuge in Amarillo, Texas. PETA said it had received complaints of tigers and monkeys housed in waste-laden cages and being fed spoiled food.

Six months later, Leitten slipped out of Texas, and PETA held another news conference with another damning video. A subsequent USDA review backed up the group's assertions.

For what she says was her final assignment, Leitten was hired as a primate technician for Covance.

Leitten's camera work, and the report issued by PETA, depict frightened monkeys being yanked from their cages and handled roughly by aggressive, often cursing technicians.

She says she watched animals suffer with festering wounds, and that tubes were forced into their sinuses for research medicine to be administered, causing them to scream, bleed and vomit. Monkeys were housed alone in cages that were hosed down with the animals still inside, dripping and shivering, she said.

Laurene Isip, a Covance spokeswoman, says the company has complied with animal welfare regulations for its half-century in business, and doubted the credibility of PETA's charges.

The company called Leitten's actions illegal. Legal experts agree.

"As an employee she has a legal right to be there, but she's there to fulfill and execute on the tasks and responsibilities give to her by her employer. She's not there to fulfill her own private agenda," said Scott Vernick, a Philadelphia lawyer specializing in professional responsibility and legal ethics.

Bruce Weinstein, who has written four books on ethics, said even noble ends do not justify deceptive means.

"The question is, can those perhaps noble ends be achieved legally and ethically? Can one legitimately document abuses that occur without pretending to be someone one is not, or breaking the law, or videotaping things surreptitiously?"

Mary Beth Sweetland, PETA's research and investigations director, said she now has two staffers working covertly, the latest of dozens of investigations conducted by the group's over 25 years.

In some instances, as at Covance, PETA says its moles have signed nondisclosure forms and claim to try to stay within the law by never removing anything from work sites or by revealing proprietary information.

So far only one company that's been infiltrated has sued: product-testing lab Huntingdon Life Sciences. The Somerset County-based company dropped its case in return for PETA promising to not infiltrate it again for at least five years.

"It's a risk we're willing to take," Sweetland said. "If it weren't for these investigations, no one would no what was going on."

For her part, Leitten says her time as a spy was spent worrying about the animals, not about being caught. She said she spent nights at home with her two dogs, weeping and writing up what she had seen during the day.

"That's why people only last in this job a couple of years," said Leitten, who asked that her current residence not be revealed. "I get migraines, a lot of anxiety. But if something can change for the animals, and their lives will be better in some way, then all those sleepless nights and crying at home will be worth it."


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: animalrights; ecoterror; homegrownterrorist; peta

1 posted on 05/30/2005 7:03:32 PM PDT by SmithL
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To: SmithL
"Bruce Weinstein, who has written four books on ethics, said even noble ends do not justify deceptive means."

For leftists any means are justified by their desired ends.
2 posted on 05/30/2005 7:14:42 PM PDT by Texas_Jarhead
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To: SmithL

One would think that the company that paid her deserved her best effort to prevent cruelty. If the best that she can come up with is a few cuss words by technicians, they are doing pretty well.

I would love to hear her recommendation for what is to replace animal experiments. Usually that has something to do with testing medicine on humans, or not trying to make medical progress.

Fact. Primates tend to be biologically similar to humans. If you are doing genetics, you use a fruit fly because it is a great model (it has unusually large chromosomes that are visible under the microscope). If you are doing research on the eye, you use the Octopus, because it has unusually large optical structures. If you are looking at potential reaction of humans to drugs, primate testing is one step that you ethically have to consider. It is not gratuious cruelty, but it may be painful. We try to cut the pain to a minimum, but we will save human lives.

Along the way, we also develop medicines that are useful to treat primate diseases. We benefit from the primate testing, and the primates develop from human efforts to develop medicines.


3 posted on 05/30/2005 7:18:03 PM PDT by Donald Meaker (i)
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To: Donald Meaker

Is it true that abandoned animals taken to PETA are immediately killed and not put up for adoption? If that is so, we need more feature stories on their animal genocide.

I think animals should be treated well, but we have no concern as a nation for the unborn. A child molester is something to joke about, especially when he is a celebrity.


4 posted on 05/30/2005 7:20:49 PM PDT by sine_nomine (Protect the weakest of the weak - the unborn babies.)
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To: SmithL
She said she spent nights at home with her two dogs, weeping and writing up what she had seen during the day.

I am SO not touching that.

5 posted on 05/30/2005 7:23:19 PM PDT by humblegunner
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To: Texas_Jarhead

I absolutely abhor PETA. That being said, abusing helpless animals who cannot complain to anyone is truly heartless and unchristian. If the allegations are true I am glad these "people" have been exposed.

Too bad PETA are such human haters. They could so easily have been sympathetic to the whole population.


6 posted on 05/30/2005 7:23:31 PM PDT by winner3000 (part)
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To: winner3000

Your post to me would seem indicate that you assume, for some unknown reason, that I do not object to the mistreatment of animals. For Clarity just let me say that I do object to the mistreatment of animals. Period.


7 posted on 05/30/2005 7:30:12 PM PDT by Texas_Jarhead
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To: SmithL
Bruce Weinstein, who has written four books on ethics, said even noble ends do not justify deceptive means.

Although I do not support Lisa Leitten's PETA freak position on using animals for food or testing, I do agree with documenting evidence of criminal activity at work. The perps will protest, complain and insist that employees have no right to have eyes that have seen, ears that have heard, or knowledge or evidence, of wrong doing but only what THEY say.

You can't buy my ethics off nor threaten me enough to throw them away. A wage does not make a slave.

Flame Suit On!

8 posted on 05/30/2005 7:35:26 PM PDT by Lester Moore (islam's allah is Satan and is NOT the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.)
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To: SmithL
While in college, Leitten had become a vegetarian and found herself increasingly concerned about animal welfare. PETA was a natural fit.

I could say that with a lot fewer words:

While in college, she slowly went off the deep end.

9 posted on 05/30/2005 7:35:44 PM PDT by George Smiley (This tagline deliberately targeted journalists.)
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To: SmithL

Animal cruelty is not nice, but there should be no laws against it.

We have dominion over animals and animals have no rights.

The definition of what is cruel is relative, anyway.


10 posted on 05/30/2005 7:36:42 PM PDT by ConservativeMind
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To: SmithL

Anyone who abuses animals is a coward and less than human and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent under the law.


11 posted on 05/30/2005 7:40:37 PM PDT by jimboster (Vitajex, whatcha doin' to me)
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To: sine_nomine
Is it true that abandoned animals taken to PETA are immediately killed and not put up for adoption?

Look here.
And here.
And here.
And here.

12 posted on 05/30/2005 7:43:10 PM PDT by George Smiley (This tagline deliberately targeted journalists.)
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To: SmithL

wouldn't this be covered under indutrial espionage? seems like she should go to jail.


13 posted on 05/30/2005 7:44:03 PM PDT by vipervomit (gun control means being able to hit your target!)
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To: vipervomit

>industrial


14 posted on 05/30/2005 7:44:53 PM PDT by vipervomit (gun control means being able to hit your target!)
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To: Texas_Jarhead

I absolutely abhor PETA. That being said, abusing helpless animals who cannot complain to anyone is truly heartless and unchristian. If the allegations are true I am glad these "people" have been exposed.

Too bad PETA are such human haters. They could so easily have been sympathetic to the whole population.


15 posted on 05/30/2005 7:52:13 PM PDT by winner3000 (part)
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To: winner3000

PETA's attempts to sway people who are strongly pro-life are laugable (and you know few if any of them oppose abortion). It's like someone with no knowledge of sports trying to talk football during the Superbowl.


16 posted on 05/30/2005 7:57:01 PM PDT by Free and Armed
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To: SmithL

At least she has a new entry for her resume: Feckless poser. :o)


17 posted on 05/30/2005 7:58:42 PM PDT by Liberty Valance (If you must filibuster, it's because you don't have the votes to win honestly)
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To: winner3000
Uh yea, I understood the first time you posted that response in #6.
18 posted on 05/30/2005 8:00:05 PM PDT by Texas_Jarhead
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To: winner3000
"Too bad PETA are such human haters.

One of my favorite comments on this subject:

"There are hidden contradictions in the minds of people who "love Nature" while deploring the "artificialities" with which "Man has spoiled 'Nature.'" The obvious contradiction lies in their choice of words, which imply that Man and his artifacts are not part of "Nature" -- but beavers and their dams are. But the contradictions go deeper than this prima-facie absurdity. In declaring his love for a beaver dam (erected by beavers for beavers' purposes) and his hatred for dams erected by men (for the purposes of men) the "naturist" reveals his hatred for his own race -- i.e., his own self hatred.
In the case "Naturists" such self-hatred is understandable; they are such a sorry lot. But hatred is too strong an emotion to feel toward them; pity and contempt are the most they rate.
As for me, willy-nilly I am a man, not a beaver, and H. sapiens is the only race I have or can have.
Fortunately for me, I like being part of a race made up of men and women -- it strikes me as a fine arrangement and perfectly "natural." --Robert A Heinlien

19 posted on 05/30/2005 8:08:40 PM PDT by AntiBurr ("Ceterum censeo Islam esse delendam " with apologies to Cato)
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To: ConservativeMind

I disagree. Anyone who needlessly or sadistically abuses animals should be subject to legal penalties, severe enough to prevent them doing it again. Hunting, pest control, the use of animals in medical research and so on has a "greater good" rationale; needlessly hurting or harming defenseless animals does not.


20 posted on 05/30/2005 8:25:31 PM PDT by Youngblood
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To: SmithL
even noble ends do not justify deceptive means.

Anyone contending THAT must never have read Karl Marx.

21 posted on 05/30/2005 8:26:25 PM PDT by IronJack
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To: winner3000

I find many members to be very hypocritical and inconsistent, especially with respect to the life of unborn babies. That's why I could not be a member.


22 posted on 05/30/2005 8:34:59 PM PDT by cyborg (I am ageless through the power of the Lord God.)
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To: George Smiley

Thanks.


23 posted on 05/30/2005 8:47:41 PM PDT by sine_nomine (Protect the weakest of the weak - the unborn babies.)
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To: SmithL

I strongly object to the mistreatment of animals. If she witnessed these abuses, she should have reported it to her superiors at the company where she worked to see if they would take corrective actions.To stand idly by while these alleged abuses continued is inexcusable. I've known several people who work in animal research facilities, who are also animal lovers. There ARE ways to do animal research humanely.


24 posted on 05/30/2005 8:51:03 PM PDT by toothfairy86
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Comment #25 Removed by Moderator

To: Youngblood

Animals have no rights and can never respect nor understand them. Animals are not human.

I believe we are to be good stewards of them.

You would, pardon the pun, "have a cow" if you realized people on farms have to kick away animals when mobbed by them. That is life, but to you animal rightists, it should be "subject to legal penalties".

No, it shouldn't be legally handled. Simply shame those who do what you don't like. Keep the law out of it.

Do you think our Founders ever kept their animals in what we would now think was a "humane" fashion? Of course not!


26 posted on 05/30/2005 9:12:59 PM PDT by ConservativeMind
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To: sine_nomine

You know, I hate PETA as much as anyone here. There are a million things to go after them for.... there links to terrorist activity, there apposition to necessary medical and scientific research, their war on the American farmer, their obsene and indecent nudity and gruesome media campaigns that our children are exposed to, etc. BUT I do not understand this whole "PETAkillsanimals.com" website and line of attack.

All they are doing in this case is euthanasia which they actually PUBLICLY endorse and PROMOTE as the "compassionate option" (so its not hypocrisy) which pretty much all humane shelters practice, etc. So I don't see how this line of criticism, that PETA puts animals down, will have any traction at all with the general public.

Let's focus on their real crimes.


27 posted on 05/30/2005 9:21:43 PM PDT by arizonaconservative
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To: Youngblood

I'd have to agree with this also. There is a distinct difference between utilizing animals as a resource and sadism. Those who inflict pain on an animal for the mere pleasure of it is socially ill and needs to be dealt with before they seek pleasure from inflicting pain on humans. Hunting, conducting medical experiments, fishing, etc. is different since the killing of the animal is directly tied to a utilized end.... inflicting pain for mere sport is not sport.


28 posted on 05/30/2005 9:28:51 PM PDT by arizonaconservative
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To: ConservativeMind

ConservativeMind: "Do you think our Founders ever kept their animals in what we would now think was a "humane" fashion? Of course not!"

Do you think our Founders kept blacks in what we would now think was a "civil" fashion?

My philosophy RE: animals is that I aspire to the balance of Ted Nugent.

I love his philosophy, of how he only eats want he hunts, traps or catches. He does not eat store boughten "flesh" as he calls it. I try to supplement my diet with as much wildgame as possible but am not able to go outdoorsing as much as I used to due to my health.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2003/04/0430_030430_tednugent.html


29 posted on 05/30/2005 9:39:51 PM PDT by arizonaconservative
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To: arizonaconservative

They like to pretend that they care for animals. Killing them is not care. It is not my line of attack. I just think they are Pharisees.


30 posted on 05/30/2005 10:04:47 PM PDT by sine_nomine (Protect the weakest of the weak - the unborn babies.)
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To: Donald Meaker

The technicians should be taught how to properly treat the animals in their care. They should not be treated roughly, cursed at, nor should they be left in their cages while the cages are hosed down. Their lives should be made as pleasant as possible. After all, they are valuable and they are doing humanity a great service. Also, they are living, breathing creatures belonging to God, just as we are.


31 posted on 05/30/2005 10:17:24 PM PDT by Goodgirlinred ( GoodGirlInRed Four More Years!!!!!)
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To: sine_nomine

I think that a family who puts a beloved pet "down" would say they are doing it out of compassion for that animal, to end their suffering. So I think any family who has had to go put a pet down will not think its hypocritical to both care for an animal and to practice euthanasia. That's just me.

I think PETAsupportsterrorists.com or PETAwantsyourkidtodie.com would be much better.


32 posted on 05/30/2005 10:19:59 PM PDT by arizonaconservative
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To: ConservativeMind

There most definitely should be laws against cruelty to animals. Animals are God's creatures just as we are. They deserve to be treated in a humane way.

Do you think that someone who sets a cat on fire or who ties a dog to a tree and leaves it there to starve to death should get off without punishment? If you do, I pity you.


33 posted on 05/30/2005 10:21:06 PM PDT by Goodgirlinred ( GoodGirlInRed Four More Years!!!!!)
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To: Lester Moore
"I do agree with documenting evidence of criminal activity at work. The perps will protest, complain and insist that employees have no right to have eyes that have seen, ears that have heard, or knowledge or evidence, of wrong doing but only what THEY say."

Boy would abortion clinics be pissed off if they were recorded giving false info to an underage girl in a parental notice state or hiding a statutory rape. Partial birth abotion on tape - would that be fair? How about PETA training programs or animal shelters? I'm not advocating as such but it is only time before someone starts fighting fire with fire.

34 posted on 05/30/2005 10:37:25 PM PDT by torchthemummy ("Sober Idealism Equals Pragmatism")
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To: Lester Moore
"I do agree with documenting evidence of criminal activity at work. The perps will protest, complain and insist that employees have no right to have eyes that have seen, ears that have heard, or knowledge or evidence, of wrong doing but only what THEY say."

Boy would abortion clinics be pissed off if they were recorded giving false info to an underage girl in a parental notice state or hiding a statutory rape. Partial birth abotion on tape - would that be fair? How about PETA training programs or animal shelters? I'm not advocating as such but it is only time before someone starts fighting fire with fire.

35 posted on 05/30/2005 10:37:41 PM PDT by torchthemummy ("Sober Idealism Equals Pragmatism")
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To: Goodgirlinred
The punishment should be social, not legal punishment.

Whatever happened to "shunnings"?

Is it right by animals to allow some to be "protected" because they are called "pets" while others are slaughtered or gassed by local shelters and that isn't called "abuse"? How about animals killed simply for meat? Did they not have a right to live? Who were you to kill that innocent animal?

Do you see the problem? There is no way to make this consistent in law.

So all animals should, especially if owned, be allowed to be killed in whatever way the owner deems fit. If the owner is Vietnamese and they own a dog, let them slaughter it.

Just because it offends your sensibilities doesn't mean it shouldn't be legal. There are plenty of things with which I disagree that should remain legal, too.
36 posted on 05/30/2005 11:14:17 PM PDT by ConservativeMind
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To: AntiBurr

The obvious contradiction lies in their choice of words, which imply that Man and his artifacts are not part of "Nature"




Spot on. I have been using that argument for years and as usual with leftys they are silent for a moment(I think their heads hurt from unacustomed thinking) then they begin the name calling. Debate over.


37 posted on 05/30/2005 11:30:01 PM PDT by DugMac ((Regan Rules))
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To: sine_nomine
I think animals should be treated well, but we have no concern as a nation for the unborn. A child molester is something to joke about, especially when he is a celebrity.

Michael Jackson owned a chimpanzee. Sort of ironic.

38 posted on 05/30/2005 11:36:38 PM PDT by Gigantor (Nuclear power is the simple and cheap solution to the entire world's energy problems.)
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To: arizonaconservative
Let's focus on their real crimes. Such as supporting terrorist organizations like ALF, Earth First, etc?

They are self-righteous hypocrites whose philosophy, when examined in detail, is irrational. (A rat = a dog = a boy. I. Newkirk, PETA founder)

Okay, fine.

39 posted on 05/31/2005 6:25:27 AM PDT by George Smiley (This tagline deliberately targeted journalists.)
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To: ConservativeMind

Injuring an animal for fun, or torturing it is something that should be punished by law. Those people go on to harm people, too. Euthanasia is, I guess, what has to be done when there a so many animals in shelters and no homes for them. I don't agree with it, but I can't take them all in.

Torturing and injuring for fun is a crime. You must agree with that. No animal should have to suffer just so people can get some kind of sick pleasure out of it.


40 posted on 05/31/2005 7:10:10 AM PDT by Goodgirlinred ( GoodGirlInRed Four More Years!!!!!)
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To: Goodgirlinred

I'm sorry, I've already stated what I think on this matter.

So I don't agree.


41 posted on 05/31/2005 7:48:26 AM PDT by ConservativeMind
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To: SmithL

Is PETA a Cult?


42 posted on 05/31/2005 7:55:01 AM PDT by FlatLandBeer
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To: FlatLandBeer
Is PETA a Cult?

I don't think so- not in the traditional sense of the word.

There are a number of "cult checklists" available online, and from my limited knowledge of the org, I don't think they'd get enough checkmarks to qualify.

(A large IT consulting firm I once worked for passed with flying colors, though.)

: ^ )

They are, however, an organization with extremist goals which are cloaked by "warm fuzzy" public generalizations that most people would not consider extreme.

43 posted on 05/31/2005 8:11:41 AM PDT by George Smiley (This tagline deliberately targeted journalists.)
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To: ConservativeMind

Well, I tried.


44 posted on 05/31/2005 9:06:52 AM PDT by Goodgirlinred ( GoodGirlInRed Four More Years!!!!!)
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To: ConservativeMind
Animals have no rights and can never respect nor understand them. Animals are not human.

They feel pain and distress though.

I believe we are to be good stewards of them.

For the most part, yes.

You would, pardon the pun, "have a cow" if you realized people on farms have to kick away animals when mobbed by them. That is life, but to you animal rightists, it should be "subject to legal penalties".

I grew up on a cattle farm. Using a stick with minimum necessary force or giving a cow a kick in the right spot to move her on is not what I was talking about. A good farmer uses only as much force as is necessary to control his animals, and a farmer with half a brain knows that well-treated animals are much easier to control and handle.

No, it shouldn't be legally handled. Simply shame those who do what you don't like. Keep the law out of it.

I'm sorry, but that is insufficient for me. If you're a person who keeps bears in tiny cages to harvest their bile or starves and beat your dogs to get them in fighting shape, I really doubt if you're going to worry about some guy up the street talking about you. I'm perfectly happy to see my tax dollars used to punish such people.

Do you think our Founders ever kept their animals in what we would now think was a "humane" fashion? Of course not!

I don't see what the has to do with anything. I don't know if they abused their animals, and I don't care. The fact that such abuse as may have occurred may have been perfectly acceptable behaviour back then does not tie us in the 21st century to those standards. And I'd be pretty confident that the average cow chewing the cud in a late 18th century pasture was probably pretty content.

45 posted on 05/31/2005 8:57:39 PM PDT by Youngblood
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