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Liberation Theology

The twisted thinking motivating PETA National Review

Animal-rights and animal-liberation advocacy has, over the years, become a radical and subversive enterprise. To see this phenomenon at work, one need look no further than the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the movement’s leading advocacy group. PETA’s latest campaign blitz, the “Animal Liberation Project” (ALP), is a case in point, blending moral relativism with extremist rhetoric.

It comes on the heels of PETA’s pro-vegetarian “Holocaust on Your Plate” campaign, which claimed that the worst crimes of the Shoah were morally equivalent to eating meat and wearing leather; that one set off a firestorm of criticism and condemnation from Jewish groups and the media. It took two years, but PETA leader Ingrid Newkirk finally issued a non-apology apology for the indefensible comparison.

But, of course, defend she did; PETA hadn’t changed its mind about the campaign’s essential message. Enter ALP, which again asserts a moral equivalency between using animals and some of history’s worst crimes. ALP’s overarching theme is: “We are all animals.” While this is biologically true, PETA isn’t merely stating a scientific fact. Rather, by the statement PETA means that humans and animals are moral equals. Hence, everything we do with and to animals should be judged morally as if the same things were being done to people.

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Wesley J. Smith

Chair and Senior Fellow, Center on Human Exceptionalism
Wesley J. Smith is Chair and Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism. Wesley is a contributor to National Review and is the author of 14 books, in recent years focusing on human dignity, liberty, and equality. Wesley has been recognized as one of America’s premier public intellectuals on bioethics by National Journal and has been honored by the Human Life Foundation as a “Great Defender of Life” for his work against suicide and euthanasia. Wesley’s most recent book is Culture of Death: The Age of “Do Harm” Medicine, a warning about the dangers to patients of the modern bioethics movement.