(Post script: Timothy McVeigh was executed on June 11, 2001. On hearing that his last meal before being executed consisted of two pints of mint chip ice cream, PeTA’s vegan campaign coordinator Bruce Friedrich wrote, “Mr. McVeigh’s decision to go vegetarian groups him with some of the world’s greatest visionaries, including Albert Schweitzer, Mohandas Gandhi, Leo Tolstoy and Albert Einstein, all of whom advocated vegetarianism as an extension of humanitarianism.” Quoted in The Financial Times (London; US edition), June 13, 2001)

McVeigh to PeTA: “Where Do You Draw the Line?”

DURING MARCH, PeTA’s prolific PR staff turned out 75 press releases. One of them was to the warden of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, asking him to put McVeigh on a vegetarian meal plan. When the warden refused, PeTA tried again, with a direct letter to the murderer, upgrading the request from vegetarian (including some animal-based foods such as eggs and dairy) to vegan (100% plant-based diet).

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“Last week, I wrote to your warden, asking him to put you on the prison system’s vegan meal plan,” wrote PeTA’s Vegan Campaign Coordinator, Bruce Friedrich. “He refused. So I’m appealing directly to you, asking that you choose to eat a vegan diet for the remainder of your life, or at the very least for your last meal.”

McVeigh was convicted of murder for the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, in which 168 people died and some 500 were wounded. Among the dead were 19 infants and children. Prosecutors called the bombing an act of revenge for an FBI clash with the Branch Davidian religious sect exactly two years earlier in Waco, Texas. The toll at Waco included four government agents killed and six wounded in gun battles, plus 80 Davidians, including children, killed when the Branch Davidian compound caught fire. A jury subsequently found the government innocent of any wrongdoing in the 1993 siege.

McVeigh, who didn’t know where to draw the line, is scheduled to be killed by lethal injection this May 16.

“Good Job” PeTA

McVeigh promptly replied to PeTA’s letter over his dinner menu, but expressed no concern that Friedrich had first tried to have his diet changed without asking his permission. Instead he congratulated PeTA on its publicity machine. “ood job getting the attention to your cause (like protesting dead rats on ‘Survivor’,” he wrote.

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“Truth is, I understand your cause – I’ve seen slaughterhouses myself – but I still believe in reasonable taking and eating of game (as an outdoorsman and hunter.) …”

He continued with a question he should have asked himself.

“My one main problem with the veg movements is this: (besides the fact that I’m a libertarian) Where do you draw the line, and what standard is used to define that line? … What about grubs/worms/etc.? (that chick on ‘Survivor 2.’) And finally, plants are alive, too: they react to stimuli (including ‘pain’); have circulatory systems, etc.; so how about them?”

McVeigh, who called the children he murdered in Oklahoma “collateral damage”, suggested PeTA pursue the matter with an expert. “I suggest hitting Ted Kaczynski up for his opinions on the subject.”