Southern Poverty Law Center responds again to Friends of Animals
SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER
400 WASHINGTON AVENUE — MONTGOMERY, AL 36104
July 7, 2003
Priscilla Feral, President
Friends of Animals
777 Post Road Suite 205
Darien, CT 06820
Dear Ms. Feral,
Thanks for your latest letter, dated June 27. I just returned from a week’s vacation, so please accept my apologies for not replying immediately.
I appreciate your detailed response, and I think that we are essentially on the same side in most political matters. Of course, I continue to disagree with you on a number of points—that we described the Vail arson “as an extension of a foreign movement” to frighten readers; that the AR conference that we attended was not really an AR conference at all; that it would have been more appropriate to focus on the motivations of the young Long Island arsonist than on his actions; and a number of other matters you bring up. However, I think we’ve both fleshed out our positions on these pretty well, and I’m not sure that further debate will be useful.
Therefore, I will confine myself to one major point. You imply that we would support “anti-terrorism” laws such as the Texas proposal that you mention. That is not true. These laws sound totally outrageous and anti-democratic to me. Again, as I pointed out in my last letter, we went out of our way to not use the “eco-terrorism” phrase, instead talking mainly about “eco-radicalism” (with the exception of SHAC and the Justice Department). We do not support “reflexive calls for [activists’] punishment under the constitutionally suspect anti-terrorism provisions,” as you seem to suggest we do. We do not support the various Patriot Acts (see forthcoming issue of the Intelligence Report). We are not in favor—despite your assertion to the contrary—any “further erosion of our civil liberties.” We absolutely oppose that.
Again, thanks for your letter. I hope you see that although we do not agree on all points, we are certainly not opposed to Friends of Animals, the animal rights movement or environmentalism generally.
With very best regards,
Mark Potok Editor,
Intelligence Report Southern Poverty Law Center