Another Twist in Animal-Rights Controversy. (Nation in Brief)

Article excerpt

Neal Barnard, president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), takes issue with the way a statement about his group was phrased in a recent nation in brief column. The gist of the article was that some critics of groups such as PCRM -- an animal-rights organization -- want those groups subjected to the same scrutiny applied to contributors to the al-Qaeda terrorist organization because of their association with eco-terror groups such as the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) and Animal Liberation Front (ALF).

Upon review, Barnard's request seems fair enough. Here is how he suggests the item be clarified: "On 25 March 2002, Insight published a statement that could be taken to suggest that the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine had contributed to the Earth Liberation Front and the Animal Liberation Front. It has not, nor has any evidence suggested otherwise."

The problem resulted from a misinterpretation of sworn congressional testimony by Richard Berman, executive director of the Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF). In that testimony, supplemented by lengthy footnotes showing that PCRM has worked with what he considers to be radical animal-liberation groups and received money from them, Berman concluded by saying: "I would also urge the appropriate congressional committee to explore the tax-exempt status of groups that have helped to fund directly or indirectly these domestic terrorists. …