Animal passion

ANIMALSCAM" Kathleen Marquardt Regnery Gateway, Washington $24

Published: Friday 15 September 1995

" Four legs good! Two legs bad!"
-Animal Farm FOR a certain section of society the world over, George Orwell's satirical statement is a maxim to live by and defend, by fair means or foul. When the Prince of Wales recently found a rat trap baited with razor blades and an insulting message in his mail, Scotland Yard traced the culprit down to an animal rights extremist group which calls itself, with telling irony, the 'Justice Department'.

Such attacks have be- come increasingly common in Britain. According to Yard officials, extremist groups pursuing the cause of animal rights by violent means have now moved to the top of the lawkeeper's list of trouble- makers in Britain. A year and a half ago, they were second only to the Irish Republican Army.

Meat eaters in India may not have started receiving letter bombs yet, but many are familiar with Maneka Gandhi's sullen and misanthropic brand of animal rights extremism. For those left steeped in guilt after reading her columns demanding renunciation of all that has to do with animals, Animalscam by Kathleen Marquardt presents a more rational point of view.

Outraged when her daughter came back from school one day and said she had been called a murderer by a representative from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA} because she ate meat, Marquardt set out to expose the fraud behind what she calls 'animal apartheid', par- ticularly in the United States and Europe.

Particularly shocking are her revelations of the multimillion dollar industry that animal activism has become in the us. Of the vast sums of money that groups like PETA collect through sending direct mailers and advertisements, she found that 90 per cent was spent on sending out requests to raise more money.

Marquardt points out that though the animal rights movement started in Europe, it poses an international threat, hurting people in Asia, Africa, Australia arid throughout North and South America, and promoting a different kind of terrorism. The moneypower of conserationist groups in Europe; for example, has given environmentalism a permanent limp ,in India, turning traditional tolerance into hostility by dictating policies which put animals before people.

The book is an angry response to the kind of intellectual extremism that can do more harm than good to the cause it espouses, and should come as a warning to rabid activists.

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