Matthew Prescott is the food policy director for the so-called Humane Society of the United States. It’s pretty clear what Prescott’s food policy is: Only vegan diets are “humane,” and anybody who eats meat and cheese is supporting a new “holocaust.” And he’s even come to the defense of the terrorist actions of the Animal Liberation Front.
Before joining HSUS, Prescott was a longtime PETA activist. Prescott devised PETA’s noxious “Holocaust on Your Plate” campaign that compared using animals for food to the mass-killing of Jews. “Anybody who eats meat,” Prescott told a Canadian reporter, “is guilty of holding the same mindset that allowed the Holocaust to happen.”
Unsurprisingly, Prescott’s PETA campaign was widely condemned. “To blatantly compare the mass murder of 6 million people to the issue of animal rights is distasteful at least and at best a vicious affront to the victims of the Holocaust,” said one Jewish community leader. “PETA’s exhibit is a disgrace,” The Boston Globe editorialized. A Boston Herald contributor opined, “Campaigns like ‘Holocaust on Your Plate’ are intentionally designed to be repugnant, and will always have some smug, self-righteous idiot like Mr. Prescott as spokesman to explain why the rest of us are the disgusting ones.”
Prescott was also apparently “not honest” in obtaining images from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum that PETA used in its campaign. A spokesman for the museum told The Boston Globe that “Prescott was not honest with us about how he would be using the images. He did not say that it had anything to do with animals. We would not have given permission for that.”
If the “not honest” Prescott thinks the end justifies the means, then he’ll be at home at the Humane Society of the United States. HSUS raises money with pictures of needy dogs and cats while only giving 1 penny of every dollar it raises to pet shelters. That leaves a lot of money for lawyers, lobbyists, and PETA propagandists like Prescott.
Prescott also was an active participant in a listserv about Earth First!, a radical environmentalist group. Started in the 1980s, EF! is a “warrior society” that takes a “by any means necessary” approach to “defending mother earth.” EF! crimes include arson, sabotage, and assault. According to the FBI, EF! members in England formed the Earth Liberation Front, which expanded and became considered a top domestic terrorist threat in the U.S. after engaging in arson and other illegal activity along with its sister group, the Animal Liberation Front.
Prescott considered himself an Earth First!er. He signed one email, “matt prescott, NH EF!” It’s unclear how active he was in EF! activities—if at all—but Prescott didn’t seem to have any problem with the EF! attitude of law-breaking.
Prescott was arrested in 2001 in Maine for trespassing in conjunction with a Greenpeace protest. He was arrested in 2003 as part of a PETA protest outside of Vogue offices, along with Patrick Kwan, also now with HSUS. And in one email to the EF! listserv, Prescott stated his broad defense of illegal activities, including arson:
By burning down a vivisection lab, not only does the ALF [Animal Liberation Front] save the lives of innocent LIVING beings, but they take a huge stand against the notion of property being equal to life….While I obviously beleive [sic] STRONGLY in [legal] methods, I also believe in the actions of the ALF and other such groups.
In another email, representing “The GreenFire Collective of New Hampshire” (whatever that was), Prescott wrote, “We actively participate in and endorse protests, direct action, and non-violent civil disobedience.” Direct action is a code phrase for illegal acts designed to cause economic loss or property destruction—like arson.
- “Anger greets Montreal pro-vegetarian exhibit comparing holocaust, meat-eaters,” The Canadian Press, Sept. 8, 2004.
- “Animal rights zealots hit dinner plates,” The Boston Herald, Mar. 11, 2003.
- “PETA’s Human Victims,” The Boston Globe, May 23, 2003.