By: Staff  Date: 01/25/2003

On August 1, 2003, Rodney Coronado, a convicted animal rights arsonist supported by PeTA,[i] speaks in San Diego at Revolution Summer - the same day a $20 million San Diego apartment project goes up in flames!

NAIA calls on the federal government [again] to connect the dots and revoke PeTA's not-for-profit tax-exempt status [ii]

A long history …

In 1992, a firebomb destroyed a laboratory at Michigan State University. Rodney Coronado, a member of the Animal Liberation Front, (sister group to Earth Liberation Front), was eventually arrested, admitted guilt, was sentenced, spent nearly five years in jail and served three years on probation.

After his arrest, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, a group that benefits from federal IRS non-profit status as a charity devoted to the public good, donated $45,200 to the Rodney Coronado Support Fund.[iii] It would have been difficult for PeTA to set up a Rodney Coronado Defense Fund, given that Coronado pled guilty well in advance of the trial and has always taken credit for the crimes he has committed.

According to the government's sentencing memorandum, not only did Coronado admit guilt in the Michigan case, federal investigators had traced the use of his calling card and determined that he was in the vicinity of virtually every ALF arson attack under investigation immediately before or after it occurred. The memorandum also points out that Coronado was in contact with PeTA before and after the MSU firebombing.[iv] Following the attack but while Coronado was still at large, PeTA gave his father a $25,000 loan that apparently still remains unpaid.

Although one or the other group may claim responsibility for an attack, ALF and ELF crimes are interchangeable. In October 1998, the Earth Liberation Front took credit for the $12 million firebombing of a ski resort under construction in Vail, Colorado. In 1999, PeTA gave $2000 to David Wilson, who was then the national ALF spokesperson. Wilson has boasted about the movement's expansion from animal rights into wildlife actions like the Vail arson.[v]

"PETA's ties with terrorists are nothing new," wrote David Martosko of the Center for Consumer Freedom in "Financing domestic terrorism," an opinion column in the Washington Times in November 2002. "PETA served as the de facto spokesgroup for ALF in the late 1980s, holding press conferences to praise ALF criminals and field media questions just hours after laboratories were destroyed or buildings burned down."[vi]

Even after ALF hired its own spokesman, PeTA continued to support ALF/ELF activities. In January 2001, PeTA donated $5000 to the Josh Harper Support Fund. Harper was connected with the ELF fire bombings of several businesses in Utah and was arrested and convicted of his crimes. In June, 2001, Josh told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that he sees "a spark of hope in every broken window, every torched police car."[vii]

In 1997, Ingrid Newkirk, PeTA's founder told the New York Daily News that she'd be the last person to condemn ALF. This year, she reaffirmed her support of the terrorist group with a February interview in Bite Back, the ALF quarterly publication:

"A burning building doesn't help melt people's hearts, but times change and tactics, I'm sure, have to change with them," she told Bite Back. "If you choose to carry out ALF-style actions, I ask you to please not say more than you need to, to think carefully who you trust, to learn all you can about how to behave if arrested, and so to try to live to fight another day."

In November 2002, Coronado promoted arson as an appropriate method for getting animals out of research labs. His audience was a rally for Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC), the international animal rights gang of terrorists that inflicts violence, economic sabotage, intimidation and terror on parties connected with the biomedical research company, Huntingdon Life Sciences. PeTA had planted a spy in the HLS New Jersey facility in 1996.

In its February 2002 Intelligence Report,[viii] the Southern Poverty Law Center noted that ALF and ELF members "have been involved with SHAC's campaign to harass employees of Huntingdon ... with frankly terroristic tactics similar to those of anti-abortion extremists. Employees have had their homes vandalized with spray-painted 'Puppy killer' and 'We'll be back' notices. They have faced a mounting number of death threats, fire bombings and violent assaults. They've had their names, addresses and personal information posted on Web sites and posters, declaring them 'wanted for collaboration with animal torture.'"

In 2002, PeTA hired Gary Yourofsky, a convicted felon who has repeatedly backed violence as a tactic for achieving animal rights goals. In 2001, Yourofsky told the Toledo Blade, "If an animal abuser were killed in a research lab firebombing, I would unequivocally support that, too."

In January 2003, Coronado told an American University crowd in Washington DC how to make a simple but effective incendiary device. Arson is Coronado's tool of choice when perpetrating violence against his targets:

"Here's a little model I'm going to show you here. I didn't have any incense, but - this is a crude incendiary device. It is a simple plastic jug, which you fill with gasoline and oil. You put in a sponge, which is soaked also in flammable liquid - I couldn't find an incense stick, but this represents that. You put the incense stick in here, light it, place it - underneath the 'weapon of mass destruction,' light the incense stick - sandalwood works nice - and you destroy the profits that are brought about through animal and earth abuse. That's about - two dollars."

In February 2003, Coronado spoke at Cal State Fresno, California, to another meeting of extremists. Throughout the next several months, criminals planted firebombs at several California businesses, including a McDonald's in Chico. ALF slogans were spray-painted on the buildings. McDonalds has been a major target of PeTA for years.

On August 1, 2003, Coronado was a featured speaker at Animal Liberation Weekend, a focus event during Revolution Summer, a summit for animal liberation radicals in San Diego. That morning, a $20 million apartment project in San Diego was firebombed. A 12-foot-long banner was left at the construction site, its message warning: "If you build it, we will burn it. The E.L.F.s are mad."

An undeniable pattern …

"Although none of us can assert specific knowledge of cause and effect regarding events such as the recent domestic terrorist attack inflicted on San Diego, the history of associations, the timing and the brazen support of such acts given by IRS tax exempt charities, suggest a pattern of activity that any child could recognize," said NAIA president Patti Strand. "ELF, ALF, PeTA and their radical friends, push the same fanatical agenda using any means that produce their desired results."

"What is even more disturbing than law enforcement's inability to end their reign of terror is our government's amazing failure to remove PeTA's tax free charitable status." It is shocking, says Strand, "that PeTA's financial support of radical terrorists is bankrolled in part by donations from an organization that holds an IRS exemption - and thus a federal subsidy - as a charity," She observed. "American workers pay high taxes on their salaries, but PeTA gets a tax break while supporting terrorism."

"Some countries use better judgment than the US in bestowing charitable status", she said. "Revenue Canada, the Canadian body with oversight for charities, refused to recognize the Greenpeace Environmental Foundation as a charity simply because they found that it offered "no public benefit. The Canadian government recognized that "sending people into poverty" wasn't a good trade off for closing down polluting industries. "From our vantage point, that looks like a great starting point for revamping the US code."[ix]

Shouting fire ...

Courts have limited the extent to which speech is protected and have held hate-mongers accountable for their provocative rhetoric. Shouting "fire" in a crowded theater is not protected, and as white supremacist Tom Metzger learned at his 1990 trial, neither is inciting people to kill others because of their race or religion. In that case, three murderers were connected to Metzger's White Aryan Resistance, a hate group that encourages violence. Metzger, his son, and his organization were fined a total of $12.5 million.

Like Metzger's group, PeTA indulges in inflammatory, hateful rhetoric and exhorts people to action through carefully nuanced language that shows support and admiration for criminal activity. They glorify the people who do it, refuse to condemn it, and fund its most public advocates. PeTA founder Ingrid Newkirk calls Coronado a "nice young man" while lamenting that she does not have the courage to commit these crimes herself. The flamboyant (nude-in-England) PeTA spokesman Bruce Friedrich told participants in the 2001 animal rights conference:

"If we really believe that animals have the same right to be free from pain and suffering at our hands, then, of course we're going to be, as a movement, blowing things up and smashing windows ... I think it's a great way to bring about animal liberation ... I think it would be great if all of the fast-food outlets, slaughterhouses, these laboratories, and the banks that fund them exploded tomorrow. I think it's perfectly appropriate for people to take bricks and toss them through the windows. ... Hallelujah to the people who are willing to do it."

During his talk at American University in January 2003, Coronado, Ingrid's "nice young man" told his audience, "I think [food producers] should appreciate that we're only targeting their property. Because frankly I think it's time to start targeting them."

"The dots are there," Strand said, "the elephant is in the living room."

"The question is: What will it take to get the IRS to connect the dots and revoke PeTA's tax exemption? Do we have to wait until someone gets killed before the US government gets serious about the threat posed by animal rights- and eco-terrorists? Does PeTA have to write a check to Al Qaeda before the IRS decides they are operating outside the scope of the tax code? Until their tax exemption is removed, we're all subsidizing domestic terrorism."



Help needed …

In 1999, NAIA formally requested that the Congress investigate domestic terrorism perpetrated by animal rights and environmental extremists and renewed the request in 2000 when California Representative Randy Cunningham introduced a rider to the agriculture bill that would strengthen the Animal Enterprise Protection Act. Included in the NAIA request was a plea that Congress "direct the Internal Revenue Service of the Department of the Treasury to vigorously review the tax exempt status of organizations that advocate, support, fund, or engage in unlawful activities and investigate and take appropriate action to revoke such classification when the facts so dictate and report such findings to Congress."

Since that time, arson, intimidation and other vicious and destructive actions aimed at promoting animal and earth liberation have escalated. PeTA, a US charity that enjoys the benefits of tax-free income, remains blatant in its support of criminals and terrorists and their networks. It's time for action!

Please join NAIA in renewing our call to Congress urging an immediate review of the code, enforcement of the code, or if necessary, amendment of the code, so that organizations that support, encourage, condone or fund criminals, terrorists or any other person or entity that abets illegal, corrupt or terrorist activities is prevented from receiving charitable status and tax free revenues under the code.

Click here to revoke the tax status of corrupt charities like PeTA



[i]In November 2002 during an ABC interview with John Stossel, PeTA's founder Ingrid Newkirk justified PeTA's giving money to support Coronado, saying, "We gave him money for his defense because it is America and you are entitled to a legal defense and he's a fine young man and a schoolteacher."

[ii]Since the National Animal Interest Alliance's founding in 1991 we have actively called on the US government to revoke the tax exempt status of so-called charities that work with and offer moral and financial support to people and organizations that engage in criminal or terrorist activities and systematic and strategic hate mongering as part of their fundraising template. NAIA representatives have traveled to Washington DC, to meet with law enforcement officials, elected representatives and agency personnel. In 1998 we initiated a Call to Action dealing with this subject and later a petition to President George W. Bush:

[iii]Donation information is taken from the IRS 990 forms of the tax-exempt organization(s).

[iv]Government's sentencing memorandum in the Rodney Coronado Michigan State University firebombing case:

[v]Mother Jones Magazine: Backfire, Alex Markels, March/April 1999 (Article no longer online)

[vi]The Center for Consumer Freedom:

[vii] and



About The Author

Staff's photo
Staff -

All Authors Of This Article: | Staff |




blog comments powered by Disqus