I think this story is less important than it might seem. The Telegraph is reporting that terrorism by animal rights extremists has backfired politically, creating sympathy and support for the proper use of animals in medical testing. That is well and good. But the terrorists won’t care. They don’t see themselves as battling for popular support, but rather, in preventing “by any means necessary” activities they deem akin to the cruelest torture. If this is their mindset, what do opinion polls have to do with it?
Moreover, I believe that for many extremists, the animal issue is something of a pretext. These misanthropes vehemently want to “tear down.” Thus, if it wasn’t the animals, it would be the environment, or global warming, or some other such cause. In this sense, they seem similar to the anarchists of the early 20th Century. Thus, it isn’t surprising that our contemporary anarchists–such as those that tore up Seattle a few years ago in a WTO protest–are allies of animal liberationist terrorists.
It is good that the use of animals in medical research has widespread support, of course. This will be helpful in giving governments the backbones to pass anti-terrorist legislation and increase efforts at enforcement. But as I wrote last week in the Daily Standard, I believe that the people who are best situated to talk the crazies back from the cliff are their more peaceable co-believers.
Unfortunately, the non terrorists seem to be less than engaged in this effort. Perhaps this story will convince them that they had better try. Because if someone is killed in the name of animal rights, whatever support the movement now has for “protecting the animals” will sink like a crowbar thrown from a bridge.