Washington -- People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the largest animal rights organization in the country, representing more than 600,000 members, today fired a warning shot at Al Gore, launching an aggressive campaign critical of the vice president's support for the Environmental Protection Agency's unnecessary use of animals in its High Production Volume (HPV) chemical-testing program.
PETA's campaign, which begins next week in New Hampshire, Tennessee, and Iowa, will deploy 50,000 lawn signs displaying the message, "Gore No More!" as well as paid advertising, including a television spot featuring "Golden Girl" Bea Arthur, who blasts Mr. Gore for condemning millions of animals to death in the EPA program.
Said Mary Beth Sweetland, PETA's director of research and investigations, "We're determined to win the public's support, and we're going all out to hold Mr. Gore accountable for placing politics ahead of a humane environmental policy."
PETA's campaign focuses on the vice president for his misguided advocacy of the EPA's plans to test the toxicity of substances that are widely used and already recognized as hazardous, such as turpentine, gasoline, and rat poison, by poisoning animals with them.
"The vice president is encouraging bad science and making bad policy. The results of these crude tests, developed in the 1920s and 1930s, are useless. The vice president is thumbing his nose at the millions of Americans who have believed in his promises to protect the environment and trusted him to protect animals from cruelty," said Jessica Sandler, a former occupational safety expert with the federal government.
PETA's frustration with the vice president represents a major crack in his base of support among conservationists, environmentalists, and the general public. "One good political stunt deserves another," Sweetland said of the 6-foot-tall PETA "Gore-y rabbit," which has dogged Mr. Gore at every campaign stop over the past three months.
This phase of PETA's "Gore No More" Campaign follows events in February that included a much-publicized letter calling for non-animal testing in the HPV chemical-testing program written to Vice President Gore by Paul McCartney, as well as advertising in The New York Times. Other letters addressing the issue have been sent to Gore by every national animal protection organization in the U.S. (representing 10 million Americans), Politically Incorrect host Bill Maher, Colgate-Palmolive, Procter & Gamble, and several dozen members of Congress. Congressional hearings on the HPV chemical-testing program were held June 17 before the House Subcommittee on Energy and Environment, resulting in highly critical comments by subcommittee members.
Sweetland said that PETA will escalate its campaign until the EPA restructures the program, expanding its efforts to other states as the primary season progresses. "We didn't choose to be on the vice president's campaign trail, but wherever he goes, so must we until this issue is resolved. So far, he's handling it like a loser."
For more information, visit People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.