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Animal-rights terrorism is on the increase and animal-rights activists aren't doing enough to stop it.

12:00 AM, May 26, 2006 • By WESLEY J. SMITH
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But so far, the "mainstream" leadership of the animal-rights movement has generally failed to do so. They have been mostly silent, at times ambivalent, and in a few cases, even supportive. The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), for example, refuses to condemn arson and vandalism in the name of animal liberation and likens such crimes to the French Resistance and the Underground Railroad. PETA's second in command, Bruce Friedrich, sure seemed to support violence when he told an animal liberation conference in 2001:

Of course, we're going to be as a movement blowing stuff up and smashing windows. For the record, I don't do this stuff, but I do advocate it. I think it is a great way to bring about animal liberation. And considering the level of the atrocity and the level of the suffering, I think it would be a great thing if all of these fast food outlets and slaughter houses and laboratories--and the banks that fund them--exploded tomorrow.

FROM TIME TO TIME, an animal-rights activist will speak up. Princeton's Peter Singer, the godfather of animal liberation, occasionally takes a mild line against using violence and threats in the name of animal rights, as he did, for example, in "Humans are Sentient Too." But even here, Singer mostly punted, asserting that beyond expressing their genuine disapproval, "There is little more that the non-violent majority of the animal movement can do. The next step is really up to the government and the research community."

Surely there is more to be done than the wagging of fingers. If animal-rights terror continues to be ratcheted up, someone is going to be killed. If that happens, those who winked at violence in the name of saving the animals will wish they had instead insisted to the terrorists among them: "Not in our name."

Wesley J. Smith is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute and a consultant for the Center for Bioethics and Culture. His website is www.wesleyjsmith.com.