PETA is threatening to sue Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin for defamation. You can read PETA's letter to Rubashkin after the jump.
December 15, 2004
c/o AgriProcessors, Inc.
220 West St.
Postville, IA 52162
Via facsimile (563-864-7890)
and First Class Mail
Re: Defamatory statements against PETA
Dear Mr. Rubashkin:
This letter is written on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and concerns recent public statements made by you in response to allegations of egregious violations of federal and state law at AgriProcessors, Inc., in Postville, Ia., documented on video by PETA. The statements are maliciously false and defamatory and thus actionable under the law, and they will be addressed as such by PETA should you fail to retract the statements and cease all such declarations immediately.
Specifically, you have stated “What is being shown on the Internet and video is science fiction” and you provide an example, in your words, of “just one of many lies” as you assert that “the sound track was most likely put [sic] later for maximum effect.” In fact, the video at issue depicts the actual conditions uncovered at AgriProcessors by the PETA investigator. PETA has never falsified any information obtained in the course of any of its investigations (or under any other circumstances). Your statements constitute defamation per se because they infer that PETA has provided false information to law enforcement and government regulatory authorities and thus engaged in criminal conduct itself. We cannot permit such statements to stand.
You have further defamed PETA with the following maliciously false statements: “The USDA will not engage this group in any discussion. They proved themselves to be untrustworthy in any agreement. They would agree only to demand more the next day. Sound [sic] like typical terrorist strategy.” In fact, PETA routinely consults with the USDA on issues related to animal welfare and has repeatedly played a vital role in providing credible evidence of violations of federal law to the agency – evidence that has resulted in enforcement actions against a myriad of animal abusers.
You also have stated falsely that an employee of PETA misrepresented himself as a baal teshuva to both Rabbi Shear-Yashuv Cohen, Chief Rabbi of Haifa, and Rabbi Ezra Raful, Chief Rabbinate of Israel, in order to secure statements about the inhumane nature of the slaughter procedures in place at AgriProcessors. In fact, in response to your false accusation Rabbi Cohen has made clear that he was not deceived by PETA, and no employee of PETA has ever approached Rabbi Raful.
You also have stated falsely that “Peta [sic] demonstrated against the holy Minhag of Kapporos this past Erev Yom Kippur in Crown heights [sic]. They tried to make those pious people feel guilty to practice their religion.” In fact, PETA has never conducted such a demonstration.
Please note that other causes of action in addition to defamation stem from the malicious and false statements discussed above. Moreover, many additional statements not set forth in this letter subject you to liability for fraud. PETA will not hesitate to pursue legal action if forced do so in order to protect its reputation and that of its employees.
You are hereby notified to take all steps necessary to ensure these defamatory statements cease immediately. In addition, we demand that you contact all individuals and entities to which you have made these misrepresentations and issue retractions which are satisfactory to PETA. Please provide a draft of such retraction upon receipt of this letter for PETA’s approval.
Lori E. Kettler
Research & Investigations Dept.