Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, asked by an animal rights group to drop animal products from his diet, says he understands the cause but doesn't fully support it.
In a response to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, McVeigh also wrote: "I cannot sustain a prolonged intellectual debate on the subject as my time is short, but I suggest hitting Ted Kaczynski up for his opinions on the subject."
McVeigh even provided the prison address for Kaczynski, the Unabomber. The two were held in the same prison in Florence, Colo., before McVeigh was moved to the federal death row in Indiana. His execution is scheduled for May 16.
PETA made its request last month, asking McVeigh to go vegan at the U.S. Penitentiary in Terre Haute. A vegan diet contains no animal products, including milk or cheese.
In the letter to Bruce Friedrich, PETA's vegan campaign coordinator, McVeigh wrote: "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)."
McVeigh went on to raise questions about where people in "the 'veg' movement" draw the line.
"Where do those who oppose suffering stand?" McVeigh wrote. "(Ever see a fish struggling out of water?) What about grubs/worms/etc.?"
The man responsible for killing 168 people by bombing the Oklahoma City federal building in 1995 also noted that plants are alive and respond to stimuli, just as an animal would respond to pain.
"To me, the answer is as the Indians believed: respect for the life you take to sustain yourself, but come to terms with your place in the 'food chain,"' McVeigh wrote.
He did not indicate whether he plans to stop eating animal products.
Friedrich said he wasn't exactly sure how PETA feels about having McVeigh on its side.
"I don't know what it means for the vegan movement if Timothy McVeigh, in his final days, adopts a vegan diet," he said Monday. "But I think it would be very positive for his soul." (AP, 16. April 2001)