Another Perspective

In Praise of PETA

An animal rights campaign that even PETA finds un-bear-able.

By 10.22.08

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It isn't often that card-carrying conservatives find anything People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has to say palatable. This, then, is a red-letter day as rightwingers and PETA are in full, er, bear hug mode over the sad case of Jim West, of British Columbia.

A bear recently attacked West after he inadvertently came between a mother bear and her cubs. The bear knocked him down repeatedly before he was able to grab a large stick and bludgeon it to death. In the attack, West suffered injuries that required 60 stitches. West had to kill the bear in self-defense.

End of story, right?

Wrong.

Since the attack, a different sort of vicious clawed beast has been attacking West: animal rights activists. Some activists pose as West and tell reporters that he killed the bear maliciously and wasn't threatened at all.

Others call and harass him at home. "One woman asked me why I killed the bear and why I didn't run away. Well, you can't outrun a mother bear," said West.

West is not unsympathetic to concerns about cruelty against animals. He said he regrets that he had to kill the bear but claims to have had no choice. Sixty stitches is pretty good evidence that the bear didn't have West's well-being in mind. Yet the harassment continues.

Since the start of the smear campaign, PETA has refused to add to West's injuries. "We are absolutely not involved," said PETA spokesman Martin Mersereau. "We focus our efforts on accomplishing things and this doesn't fit in that category."

What's this? Common sense from a PETA point man? The group typically sets the bar for nutty animal rights activism. PETA wraps people up like steaks at the meat counter to protest eating meat. PETA demonstrators throw paint on people wearing fur.

PETA recently urged Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream to replace cow's milk with human milk in producing ice cream. Ben & Jerry's declined, thankfully.

How far off the reservation does an animal rights activist have to be to alienate PETA? When one is attacked by a bear, one should merely accept being mauled to death? Even PETA agrees, that’s downright un-bear-able.

Animal rights activists need to watch Stephen Colbert's <I>Colbert Report</I>. The broadcaster and satirist has worked long and hard to expose the savage truth about bears. Bears are "actually Satan's children," says Colbert.  They are "after our kids" because human children are "tender, juicy, you don't even have to throw away the bones."

Or maybe these activists were raised by bears.

In all seriousness, it is unfortunate that a man who successfully defended his own life now needs defending.

Animal rights activists have gone too far on this one. For the first time in its 28-year history even PETA finds itself on the side of sanity and common sense. Too bad it won't last.

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About the Author

Eric Heidenreich is a writer in Alexandria, Virginia.