In his most recent statement Clifton states that has served in many related advisory capacities to organizations.
So, let’s examine a few of those organizations.
In March of 2004, Clifton’s story, “How to tell the Best Friends Animal Society from the cult who built Kanab” appeared on Animal Liberation Front DOT com (ALF). In the story, Clifton shares the history of Kanab Utah and it’s polygamist roots then later references that history when stating, “They [Best Friends Animal Society] need only look across the desert to the sprawling unpainted housing complexes of the Mormon polygamists still in the vicinity to see what authentic cults look like.”
In 2002, according to Clifton, Best Friends computer guru Stephen Hirano at Christmas surprised ANIMAL PEOPLE with a new MacIntosh computer.
This story appears on Animal Liberation Fronts website, a national eco-terrorist organization identified in testimony before the House Resources Committee by the FBI‘s James F. Jarboe Domestic Terrorism Section Chief of the Counterterrorism Division at the FBI in Washington, DC on February 12, 2002. ALF has criticized Clifton as well for his narcissistic methods, tagging him as an “obstructionist” due to his repeated tactic of attacks on any and all advocates and activists that disagree with his opinion.
Additionally, Clifton was promoted as controversial by ALF in 2003, yet by 2004 they were sharing his Best Friends article with a more favorable appearance. Did Clifton make amends with ALF?
Since the publishing of his Best Friends’ article, Clifton’s close ally and friend, Alexandra Semyonova has continuously blasted Best Friends Animal Society with accusations that the organization started as a cult. At her prodding, a number of the newer members blindly parades the bunk on numerous blogs geared to undermine the very organization that had at one time supported Merritt Clifton’s self-published ANIMAL PEOPLE Magazine.
So, wouldn’t that make Clifton and Animal People magazine just a little tainted in the Dogsbite.org members eyes?
Afterall, they always repeat the mantra “Follow the Money!” Seems Clifton had received some funding in the past from BFAS….by his own admission.
Semyonova is the same friend of Clifton’s that belabors the whole Ku Klux Klan connection with pit bull type dogs, declaring that the typical pit owner is white-trash, southern redneck, meth-addicted, dog-fighting loving inbreds.
She seems extremely hung up on the Ku Klux Klan angle, and not surprisingly, Clifton gave a very blustery fairytale-esq share of his opinion of the Klan’s connection to dog-fighting and pit bulls when he addressed Afro-American, Hispanic drug gangs and drug addicted white rural redneck’s ownership….on a BFAS forum.
A truly eye-opening work of, well, either fiction or insanity, and certainly worth a read.
This was his attempt to explain how the term racism was not applicable to “dogs” as it pertains to human beings strictly. Oddly, this rule seems not apply when a human-based behavioral term can be applied to dogs as long as it benefits their personal agenda.
For instance, murder and psycho just to give a small example of Dogsbite.org and Cliftons own methods of anthropomorphism. Dogsbite.org has taken it even a step further assigning made up terms, such as piticide in their Maul Talk Guide.
Clifton’s 25-year run in the animal welfare world has made him some enemies, in fact more enemies than friends probably.
And even his personal relationships have suffered the wrath of his self-obsession.
He founded Romania League in Defense of Animals (ROLDA) in 2006 and serves as U.S. Trustee/Secretary for the organization, setting up the 501c3 charity in the U.S. He solicited donations on behalf of ROLDA including $20,000. from one individual and promoted the organization at international conferences. He provided assessment of two separate ROLDA shelters in 2009 which was a direct conflict of interest as he also served as a ROLDA Trustee.
What was Clifton’s objective for upstarting a Romanian organization? He lives in Washington state here in the U.S.
According to private emails provided by his [now former] wife and long-time partner and co-founder at Animal People, Kim Bartlett, it was his love of Dana Costin that seems to have derailed Clifton the greatest. Until meeting Costin in 2004, Clifton had managed to present himself to the public as an expert with no prejudice, no influence by others.
Even his own rag proclaimed to be unbiased, and appeared seemingly unassociated based on his public attacks of organizations, individual animal welfare advocates and in defense of his statistics.
Animal People statement: “ANIMAL PEOPLE is the leading independent newspaper providing original investigative coverage of animal protection worldwide,founded in 1992. Our readership of 30,000-plus includes the decision-makers at more than 10,000 animal protection organizations.We have no alignment or affiliation with any other entity.”
It wasn’t until Clifton’s personal dirty laundry was aired, albeit somewhat quietly among a few of us ‘old timers’ in the animal welfare community, that his unbiased vision was truly debunked however.