ALF-Types Think Merritt Clifton Hurts Animal Rights Progress
Merritt Clifton: Obstructionist Extraordinaire
Merritt Clifton is a perfect example of an obstructionist. He vehemently denounces being an animal rights activist (which is true), even though he has no problem giving activists "pointers" and explaining to them their "mistakes". Instead of an activist, he claims to be an unbiased "journalist" who believes in the humane ethic.
Clifton's paper Animal People has spread his obstructionist ideas to all corners of North America's animal movement. In it, he defends businesses like Proctor & Gamble, McDonalds, and Sea World; rants about the "psychotic" A.L.F. activists; and pleads for activists to work with abusers to bring about change for the animals.
Clifton, with the help of his paper, has helped lull the movement into a complacent slumber -- our outrage was pacified, ineffective campaigns were looked upon as the animals' salvation, and direct action was dismissed as extremist and ineffective.
Clifton, although willing to bend over back-wards to speak well of the abusers, apparently has no problem trying to destroy good direct action activists. As any educated activist knows, you do not spread rumors that other activists are infiltrators without hard evidence, or rumors linking people with illegal activities.
As someone who claims to have been involved with environmental, peace, and animal issues for over two decades, Clifton should know better. I think he does know better. And it is precisely because he knows how harmful these rumors can be that he uses them. Direct action threatens his perceived "empire" that he has created with Animal People and he wants radical actions stopped.
Since he doesn't recognize the fact that direct action stems from committed people who demand change now, he is attacks the messenger that reports on direct action, No Compromise, by attacking those people involved in its production.
Clifton is also weak on the issues. For starters, he admits to not being vegan while traveling. Equally egregious, he defends Sea World, Proctor & Gamble, and McDonalds. He argues that Sea World has the world's largest tanks, rescues dolphins, promotes environmental education, and has not captured animals from the wild for over a decade. I guess we should just ignore the fact that the animals are still imprisoned and that any tank, no matter how large, is still a toilet when compared to the ocean.
When defending the vivisectors, Proctor & Gamble, Clifton argues that P&G have donated $45 million to developing alternatives to animal tests, reduced animal use by 56%, and in 1984 made a corporate commitment to phase out all animal tests as quickly as possible. But if P&G is so good why is it that more than a decade after their "corporate commitment", they continue to slice, dice, and sacrifice animals for profit?
And how could Clifton possibly defend McDonalds? Because the golden arches signed an agreement to only purchase brutalized carcasses from factory farmers that meet the humane standards set up by some meat promoting organization. Well, hooray for the largest animal killer in the world! Hey Merritt, sign me up for the Humane Auschwitz Now campaign!
With friends like Clifton, the animals don't need enemies. There are many obstacles in our way towards animal liberation -- the abusers, the authorities, infiltrators, and agents. But we must also remember that even those who claim to be friends of the animals can also be obstacles.