News Index > Sortable News 10/06 - now > Dec 2007
Patrick Range McDonald - Proud to Be a Sleazy Journalist
I don't know if you saw the article in the current issue of LA Weekly Magazine, entitled: "Terrorizing Villaraigosa: Animal rights zealots target his sister and suggest he should die" by reporter Patrick Range McDonald. He interviewed me. I had no inclination what his agenda was and feel I was interviewed under false pretenses - but that isn't even the crux of my complaint.
I believe that the principles of fair journalism dictate that the respondent's statements be accurately quoted in the context in which they were made and that the major informational or ideological points discussed be faithfully included.
Here is the essay I submitted to which and with which you may compare and contrast Mr. McDonald's article. He altered my words, omitted core information and clarifying remarks, and even attributed statements to me which I did not make.
We have no way of knowing in advance what a reporter's motives are - and we are all aware that our movement has its detractors. Mr. McDonald will be removed from the Press Office Media List. I trust that LA Weekly's readership is sophisticated and savvy enough to recognize unfair journalism practices. and that those interested will view the essay on the Press Office website.
Mr. McDonald's editors will also be contacted.
Interview with Patrick Range McDonald, Reporter for LA Weekly Magazine
The North American Animal Liberation Press Office (NAALPO) is an above-ground, legal entity that receives, releases to the media, and clarifies the anonymous communiqués it receives from underground activists who carry out illegal direct action in defense of abused and exploited nonhuman animals. The Press Officers do not participate in underground activities and do not know the identities of those who do. Neither can they (or any other above-ground activists) predict or control when, where, how, whom, or whether the underground will strike. Since we cannot communicate directly with the underground, the Press Officers do our best to construct a reasonable evaluation of why an action was taken - by speaking from the heart and drawing on perspectives gleaned from long-term commitment to the animal rights movement. I like to put it that we speak for those who cannot - and for those who dare not.
The Stop The Killing educational campaign against Los Angeles Animal Services (LAAS) has been engaged in constitutionally-protected pickets for about three years. It obeys all local, state, and national laws governing demonstrations and seeks redress of grievances through totally legal channels. It focuses on the six Los Angeles municipal shelters currently overseen by General Manager Ed Boks. He was fired and asked to resign from the same positions in New York City and Maricopa County (AZ), respectively, for the identical complaints now levied against him in Los Angeles. These consist of allegedly "cooking the books," lying, and employing disingenuous means to appear to be lowering the kill rate. The latter is reputed to consist of manipulating figures by factoring out certain categories and allowing animals to linger until they die "on their own" from willfully untreated injuries and illnesses. Boks reportedly omits from the "euth" stats neonates, ferals, owner-surrenders, purported "unsociables," and animals who die in-house. If the true kill rate is the percentage derived from the fraction whose denominator is the total number of animals impounded and whose numerator is the total number of animals dying (for any reason), my guess is that it would fall somewhere between 60 and 80. Ed Boks also refuses to implement the protocols, policies, procedures, and programs of NoKill Solutions proven to be saving lives at progressive shelters nationwide.
The Animal Liberation Front is an underground group that removes animals directly from the clutches of - or inflicts economic sabotage on - their abusers. Liberations are difficult today, because of tightened and more sophisticated security - so the emphasis seems to be more on property damage. The motive for the former is self-explanatory, while that for the latter rests on the premise that money and material possessions are all that matter in the absence of conscience and compassion. The ALF adheres to a very strict guideline that no life - human or animal - be harmed during an action. (Any group that follows its guidelines can consider itself part of the ALF, but the Press Officers have no way of knowing whether groups doing so but carrying other names still, in fact, so consider themselves.) Other groups - such as the Animal Rights Militia, Justice Department, and Revolutionary Cells - do not rule out violence against abusers as a morally justified tactic, although to date such has not (to my knowledge) been employed. In every social justice cause, there has been that element willing to "ratchet it up a notch" - and it is doubtful that movement objectives would have been achieved without it.
Property damage strives to completely shutter animal-abusing businesses or at least disable them to the point where recovery is extremely cumbersome and time-consuming. It consists usually of destroying equipment and data. Where individuals are concerned, cosmetic or mechanical insults to homes and vehicles "encourage" targets to pursue more ethical vocational endeavors. "Secondary" or "tertiary" targeting is a brilliant and effective strategy that goes after satellite businesses and clients servicing, supplying, and patronizing offensive central companies. The theory is that it's nearly impossible to conduct commerce when no one will underwrite an organization's insurance, do its banking, trade its stock, or even provide it with toilet paper. This is the situation for Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS), a product-testing lab that poisons to death 500 animals a day and is the object of an ongoing international campaign across twenty-two countries. When aimed at family members and other associates of a disfavored individual, the logistic may seem to be "unfair" on the surface. But activists assign a certain degree of moral culpability to these indirect "accomplices" who enable the abusers by failing to hold them accountable for their atrocities against animals - and the intent of the underground actions is ostensibly to "persuade" them to exert pressure for reform on the perpetrators.
My speculation is that this last would be the reason behind the strikes against Deborah Villar (sister of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa) and Maria Teresa Blackman (ex-wife of Jimmy Blackman, mayoral Deputy Chief of Staff). They both are in a position to influence two men who have the power to make drastic beneficial changes for the innocent animals who are caught in the crosshairs between a pair of politicians whose continued dereliction of duty is costing tens of thousands of lives. The mayor refuses to fire the inept and uncaring Ed Boks and replace him with someone competent and dedicated. In fact, back in October 2005, the Mayor and Jimmy Blackman promised the humane community that they were going to get the shelters on track by hiring Nathan Winograd (NoKill Solutions) as a consultant. But they reneged on that pledge.
And there may be people in the above-ground who disagree with some of the underground's targets, but they respect and support its choices. The few who have been caught reveal that those who elect to carry out illegal direct action are mature, bright, methodical individuals who just want the same thing the above-ground wants - for the killing to stop. And the way to get it to stop in the shelters is to implement the tenets of Nathan Winograd's NoKill Solutions.
I do not consider the statement in the communiqué about "bumping" Mayor Villaraigosa a threat. Legally, a threat must comprise three elements: action, agent, and an imminent time frame. In other words, it must delineate what's going to happen, who's going to do it, and when it will occur. Every one of us, including you and me, has expressed - upon hearing of some heinous offense - the wish that the same would befall the perpetrator. It is not a threat or an advocation, but simply an expression of moral outrage.
The UCLA Primate Freedom Project is a campaign against primate experimentation at the University of California at Los Angeles. The university squanders multiple millions of dollars studying methamphetamine addiction in monkeys. Substance abuse is an arena of inquiry that should lend itself admirably to clinical studies in which an investigation into the psychodynamic and socioeconomic parameters that contribute to a uniquely human problem would constitute a much more ethical and productive course than making "tweakers" of members of a species with no native inclination toward self-intoxication and no ability to communicate their experiences. UCLA also purports to "simulate" strabismus - commonly referred to as "lazy" or "crossed" eye - by injecting the paralytic drug Botox into the ocular musculature of restrained primates, when a simple and successful operation has already been known and practiced for at least six decades.
Underground activity is driven by pervasive animal abuse and is also a response to individuals and officials who consistently "thumb their noses" at above-ground activists and humane advocates. It also seems to escalate in the presence of law enforcement harassment of and interference in the free exercise of First-Amendment rights. I personally have been cited and arrested for doing nothing more than peacefully protesting. I have also been raided twice by the FBI, who searched my apartment and confiscated two computers. I surmise that I was targeted because the authorities may see me as somewhat more "prominent" or "visible" - since I am a Press Officer, quite outspoken, and wont to use the bullhorn at demonstrations.
No one expects or demands perfection - but if LAAS would make a sincere, honest, and diligent effort to save animals' lives by hiring Nathan Winograd of NoKill Solutions to consult, it would doubtless find that the above-ground would take a hiatus and the humane community would rally behind it with support and assistance. Common sense would dictate that the underground would probably back off, as well. If all the killing and law enforcement attempts to quash civil liberties continue, I can only assume that both above-ground and underground campaigns will press onward - and possibly increase in frequency.
NAALPO Press Officer