Animal Rights Activist Charged With Animal Cruelty

JohnCookeInteresting news from Colorado: Taylor Radig, an animal rights activist who was a contractor of the vegan group Compassion Over Killing, has been charged with animal cruelty following the release of an undercover video that she filmed. Why? Because she waited too long to report the crime to police. Radig shot video from July through September, and yet the video wasn’t turned over to the local sheriff until November.

The Weld County Sheriff issued a formal statement, and also spoke to the media:

“They could have put an end to the cruelty back in July, but they didn’t so that’s why she got charged, because she allowed the mistreatment to continue,” said Weld County Sheriff John Cooke.

Concerning the most recent video, Cooke said there would have been enough evidence from July alone to make the animal cruelty charges, and more animals would have been spared.

“Just imagine the number of calves that have gone through that place in the past four months and the number they could have protected if they truly cared about the calves,” he said.

The sheriff has a great point. The video was not turned over to law enforcement for months, and more animals could have been spared. That’s just morally unacceptable inaction (and possibly illegal under Colorado law), especially from an organization that claims to care about animals.

It’s a moral defect we’ve seen from the Humane Society of the United States, too. Laws were proposed in several states this year that would require mandatory reporting to authorities within 48 hours of recorded evidence of animal cruelty. These laws do not prohibit activists from recording or continuing to record—it just requires that they keep police in the loop. Yet these laws faced heavy opposition from HSUS, which claimed that they were actually an attempt to cover up cruelty.

If you think that makes sense, we have some beachfront property in North Dakota to sell you.

For a little history, COK was founded by Paul Shapiro, who is now an HSUS vice president. Miyun Park, a past HSUS vice president, previously worked for COK, as did Josh Balk, a food policy director at HSUS.

COK is a radical organization. In the 90’s, COK distributed a publication called The Abolitionist, referring to the group’s animal liberation agenda. In one essay for The Abolitionist, Mike Markarian, now the chief policy officer at HSUS, wrote that a raid on a laboratory by the Animal Liberation Front, a terrorist group, was “a perfect example of effective rebellion.”

COK may have grown up a little, but its tactics are still hypocritical for a group claiming the moral high ground. It’s similar to how HSUS sat on an undercover investigation for months in late 2007—and then had the gall to claim that the investigation had implications for food safety. If it did, why did HSUS sit on the footage for so long? New York Times columnist Joe Nocera scolded HSUS for its handling of this matter, writing, “It’s [HSUS CEO Wayne] Pacelle who’s playing Russian roulette with the truth.”

Activists have too long treated undercover investigations as an opportunity for self-serving media campaigns. The arrest of the COK activist for animal cruelty should send a strong message to HSUS and its allies: It’s time to hold yourselves to higher moral standards.