Dog­ging the Trumps

An­i­mal rights ex­trem­ists curry fa­vor with ad­min­is­tra­tion

The Washington Times Daily - - OPINION - By Richard Ber­man Richard Ber­man is the pres­i­dent of Ber­man and Com­pany, a pub­lic re­la­tions firm in Wash­ing­ton, D.C.

This past week­end saw the an­nual An­i­mal Rights Con­fer­ence take place just out­side our na­tion’s cap­i­tal. The event is a who’s who of ac­tivists from Peo­ple for the Eth­i­cal Treat­ment of An­i­mals (PETA), the Hu­mane So­ci­ety of the United States, and like-minded groups that con­verge to dis­cuss tac­tics for get­ting rid of meat, ice cream, cir­cuses, zoos, aquar­i­ums, leather belts and silk shirts.

Some of them now have their sights set on get­ting into fa­vor with the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Head­ing the list is a group call­ing it­self the Bea­gle Free­dom Project (BFP). It’s got a fluffy cause: stop­ping the use of dogs in med­i­cal re­search. And it got Lara Trump, wife of Eric Trump and an an­i­mal wel­fare ad­vo­cate, to ap­pear via video at a fundrais­ing event this spring.

The BFP’s direc­tor of op­er­a­tions is a con­victed an­i­mal-rights ter­ror­ist named Kevin Kjon­aas (who now some­times calls him­self Kevin Chase). Kjon­aas got a six-year sen­tence in fed­eral prison for a sus­tained cam­paign ter­ror­iz­ing em­ploy­ees of a med­i­cal re­search com­pany. BFP’s pres­i­dent, mean­while, has also pro­duced a pro­pa­ganda film try­ing to boost the rep­u­ta­tion of an FBI-de­signed ter­ror­ist group, the An­i­mal Lib­er­a­tion Front. The FBI has es­ti­mated that the An­i­mal Lib­er­a­tion Front and as­so­ci­ated groups are be­hind 1,100 crim­i­nal acts caus­ing over $100 mil­lion in dam­age.

If Lara Trump was aware of the his­tory and agen­das of these ex­trem­ists, I’m cer­tain she never would have en­gaged.

And Kjon­aas (or Chase) is not the only joker in the deck. In re­cent weeks, the rad­i­cal Hu­mane So­ci­ety of the United States (HSUS) has also tried to woo Trump fam­ily mem­bers with its “pro-pet” agenda de­spite its CEO, Wayne Pa­celle, sug­gest­ing that if he had his way, he would stop any more dogs or cats from be­ing born.

What’s par­tic­u­larly ironic is that the Hu­mane So­ci­ety Leg­isla­tive Fund re­ported spend­ing over $200,000 at­tack­ing Pres­i­dent Trump. In a TV ad, the Hu­mane So­ci­ety Leg­isla­tive Fund also called out Don­ald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump for pre­sent­ing “a fright­en­ing pic­ture” be­cause they have gone on sa­fari hunts. Mr. Pa­celle’s fund re­ported that “the risk of hav­ing a globe-trot­ting tro­phy hunter … hav­ing the ear of the pres­i­dent should be a ter­ri­fy­ing prospect for any an­i­mal ad­vo­cate” and ac­cused the Trump sons of con­vey­ing “the usual in-your-face ar­ro­gance of fat-cat tro­phy hunters who don’t seem to care much about any­thing but them­selves.”

HSUS CEO Mr. Pa­celle has also spent months rail­ing against Se­nate Repub­li­cans for votes friendly to hunt­ing or proper wildlife man­age­ment. But it’s got­ten them largely nowhere. Ma­jor leg­isla­tive ini­tia­tives have floun­dered for Mr. Pa­celle and HSUS on agri­cul­ture, an­i­mal re­search and other is­sues, for years. So now he’s try­ing to make nice with con­ser­va­tives and speak the lo­cal di­alect.

HSUS has also tried to make in­roads with con­ser­va­tive fundrais­ers and thought lead­ers at the Amer­i­can En­ter­prise In­sti­tute and Na­tional Re­view. This year its staff at­tended CPAC, and it formed a “Con­ser­va­tive Ad­vi­sory Coun­cil” and sought out Repub­li­can con­gress­men to sign onto its bills.

But a leop­ard doesn’t change its spots. The Hu­mane So­ci­ety Leg­isla­tive Fund and its PAC un­sur­pris­ingly spend around 80 per­cent of their money sup­port­ing Democrats. Its board mem­bers do­nated to Hil­lary Clin­ton over Don­ald Trump by a 5-to-1 mar­gin. Its chief devel­op­ment of­fi­cer is a former Planned Par­ent­hood fundraiser who got caught in a James O’Keefe sting. It em­ploys nu­mer­ous PETA alumni, in­clud­ing one who cre­ated a cam­paign com­par­ing Amer­i­can farms to Nazi con­cen­tra­tion camps.

Pres­i­dent Trump railed against the swamp of Wash­ing­ton de­spite the fact that many of its denizens are en­gaged in good work for so­ci­ety. He was right, how­ever, that many of the self-ap­pointed and self-right­eous were in need of a bright light shined on their scams. His ad­min­is­tra­tion could ben­e­fit by ex­pos­ing these char­ac­ters as Ex­hibit A.

IL­LUS­TRA­TION BY LINAS GARSYS

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