Shapiro was even listed on the “Steering Committee” of the magazine at one point alongside a press officer for a terrorist group and a convicted arsonist. No Compromise, meanwhile, described Shapiro’s group Compassion Over Killing as one of the “grassroots animal liberation organizations that support militant direct action.”
We shouldn’t write off the influence of No Compromise as a gathering place for the militant underbelly of the animal rights movement. Writing recently on the website “The Talon Conspiracy,” Josh Harper, who was convicted of animal enterprise terrorism in 2006, stated that “No Compromise shaped who I am today. Each new issue contained articles that helped me and thousands of others to evolve our own style of resistance.”
HSUS’s Mike Markarian even seemed to justify illegal activity in a 1997 essay in the now-defunct publication The Abolitionist. Markarian wrote, “A perfect example of effective rebellion is an Animal Liberation Front raid on a laboratory… Sure, the activists broke the law, but all of their activities focused directly on saving animals and exposing cruelty.”
The Abolitionist was the magazine of Paul Shapiro’s group Compassion Over Killing. And that publication featured on one occasion an article announcing that “members [are] needed” for “MF-ALF,” which stood for “Miller’s Furs–Animal Liberation Front” (Miller’s was a fur store in D.C.). The article included suggestions to “smash a window… throw a paint bomb… burn Miller’s Furs down.” (COK did publish a disclaimer that the group “does not endorse (nor condemn) any illegal acts.”)
So what do Shapiro, Markarian, H. Prescott, and others have to say about their involvement with No Compromise? Probably nothing. Or possibly another convenient assertion that their “views have evolved.”
Maybe they have. But doesn’t it seem strange that HSUS is a congregating ground for these people?
They’re not stupid. While “direct action” may have been the rage back in the 90s, the writing was on the wall as law enforcement cracked down. And they have enough P.R. savvy now to understand that running around with “Meat is Murder”-type signs isn’t going to win people over.
But they haven’t changed their goals. There’s not a single animal product that HSUS endorses, no matter how the animal is raised. Folks like Paul Shapiro and Matt Prescott may have grown older but they haven’t grown up. They may sometimes wear suits and make more moderate demands, but it’s important to keep in mind where they have been and where they want to go.
And it’s important for the pork industry to make sure its customers understand this, too.