Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Pies-in-face attack roils anarchist-vegan world

Demian Bulwa, Chronicle Staff Writer

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO -- An ex-vegan who was hit with chili pepper-laced pies at an anarchist event in San Francisco said Tuesday that her assailants were cowards who should direct their herbivorous rage at the powerful - not at a fellow radical for writing a book denouncing animal-free diets.

Lierre Keith, a 45-year-old Arcata resident, was attacked at 2:15 p.m. Saturday at the 15th annual Bay Area Anarchist Book Fair while discussing her 2009 book, "The Vegetarian Myth." A 20-year vegan, Keith now argues that the diet is unhealthy and that agriculture is destroying the world.

As Keith stood at a lectern at the Hall of Flowers in Golden Gate Park, three people in masks and black hooded sweatshirts ran from backstage, shouted, "Go vegan!" and threw pies in her face. While they fled, some in the audience cheered or handed out leaflets.

The attack, midway through a 30-minute talk, was captured on a video posted to YouTube and prompted blistering debates on radical Web sites.

Many people defended Keith - or at least her right not to be attacked. Others said she was dishonest and abusive to vegans and should not have been invited by the event organizer, San Francisco's Bound Together bookstore.

Police are investigating the incident but have made no arrests, a spokesman said. Keith said she did not go to a hospital and was able to speak at a second engagement later Saturday, but had sore eyes for a few days and developed an ear infection.

"The whole thing was designed for social humiliation," said Keith, speaking Tuesday from her sister's home in Kansas. "We're supposed to be against sadism and cruelty and domination, and these people were willing to do this to me."

Keith said her values are similar in most ways to those of her attackers. She believes in militant action, even property destruction, if it can lead to change. In her book, she said, she railed against factory farming and promoted the restoration of prairies and forests.

"It's insane. My entire book is about how the world is being destroyed," Keith said. She said the first pie hit her just after she uttered the sentence, "You should not eat factory-farmed meat."

Among those rejoicing in the pie attack was the North American Animal Liberation Press Office, which often prints communiques from activists taking credit for attacks on animal researchers.

The group said Keith was wrong about veganism, referred to her as an "animal holocaust denier," and scolded her for calling the "agents of state oppression" - the police.

Her assailants were "masked marvels" who "made their statement very eloquently and succinctly on behalf of the billions of animals she advocates killing," the group said.

Keith said the attack appeared to have been planned on Internet sites dedicated to veganism. She called it a case of infighting that harmed activist causes.

"If this is what is considered radical action," she said, "this movement is dead."

I've never thrown a pepper-filled pie in the face of an ape who disagreed with me. I'm surprised they didn't throw poo.

More PETA-kills-animals info...

$34 Million Later, PETA Saves Eight Animals?

PETA’s Euthanasia Rates Have Critics Fuming, according to AOL News, and rightfully so.

“In 2009, PETA euthanized 2,301 dogs and cats -- 97 percent of those brought in -- and adopted only eight, according to Virginia state figures. And the rate of these killings has been increasing.”

That’s 2352 animals: 681 dogs, 1620 cats and 51 other companion animals.

A mere eight of them were saved.

Granted, PETA’s main function isn’t to run as an adoption agency, but eight animals? That’s just shameful. Where’s the ethical treatment in that? Was something wrong with them? Terminal illness? Injuries? Behavioral issues? Aggression? Were all of the dogs Pit bulls?

According to Daphna Nachminovitch, vice president of cruelty investigations at PETA, their euthanasia program isn’t any big secret. She also adds that money can’t buy a good home.

Maybe not, but with $34 million in the bank, surely more of an effort could have been made. Maybe by spending less on things like billboards that shame women into giving up meat by calling them whales…because only skinny people care about animals?

"It's whoring itself out for media coverage," David Martosko, director of research at the Center for Consumer Freedom, said of PETA. "They'll do the ridiculous stuff, but they won't put an ad in the Norfolk press saying, 'We have puppies and kittens, come adopt one.'"

I shed a tear of confusion over the fact that I just agreed with CCF’s mouthpiece Martosko, the very same man who said that animal abuse is alright, just as long as no one sees it, it’s the undercover investigators that must be stopped. However, on this point, he may just be right.

Even with up to 8 million cats and dogs making their way into shelters, others also disagree and are looking to the No Kill movement as an answer. (Check out Sharon Seltzer’s post Is Pet Overpopulation Really Killing Our Cats and Dogs?)

PETA may make a lot of money, use shock value and sex as a means of getting a message across, but they haven’t changed the dialogue about animal cruelty or a compassionate and healthy lifestyle in a real way. Instead, they make everyone else who cares about the cause and thinks that sentient beings should be treated with kindness and respect while being allowed to live free of exploitation look stupid. Which is unfortunate, because it’s a cause worth defending with integrity, logic and education.

They push people away from the message of compassion while offending them at the same time by employing misogynistic tactics that degrade women, which does nothing for animals, insulting everyone’s intelligence and flushing any credible message and argument down the drain rather than using rational thoughts or asking people to put on their critical thinking caps and ponder why pigs and cows are so different from dogs and cats, which is truly sad, mostly for the animals they’re claiming to help.

Total fail.

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