Human Exceptionalism

Excellent Column Decrying Animal Rights Terrorism

And I don’t just say that because it was written by my wife, nationally syndicated San Francisco Chronicle columnist, Debra J. Saunders. The problem of animal rights terrorism is real and of growing concern. So far, no one has been murdered–not for lack of advocacy for such an event by the likes of Jerry Vlasak (as noted by Debra). I worry that once that Rubicon is crossed, all restraint will evaporate. Here are a few key paragraphs from Debra’s piece:

The threats of violence and intimidation work. Last year, UCLA researcher Dario Ringach sent an e-mail to Vlasak in which he proclaimed, “You win”–he would stop research with animals. Vlasak sent out a triumphant press release. Vlasak told the Daily Bruin that activists had tried to stop Rosenbaum’s research by appealing to UCLA administrators, but had failed. “All reasonable attempts have failed, so we’re going to take it to the next level,” Vlasak told the student paper.
When abortion foes have harassed–even killed–abortion clinic workers, outrage rightly has followed. Oddly, when animal-rights activists threaten and harass people who are trying to cure diseases, the silence is deafening. When they’ve expanded their harassment to include people who work for targeted companies, and companies that will not pledge to not do business with targeted companies–as Chiron [a company targeted for bombing] refused to do–there is little outcry.

When animal-rights activists’ vandalism cowed the New York Stock Exchange so that it pulled the planned listing of Life Sciences Research–a medical-research firm–in 2005, the New York Times didn’t bother to report it.
Now, Vlasak says that animal-rights activists will move to the next level. Expect more firebombs, more harassment campaigns–and less research. Because there is no partisan angle to this story–no Democratic or Republican bogeyman–there is no outrage.

The threat of violence and the no-holds-barred harassment of medical researchers required the passage of the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act–decried by whining animal rights fanatics as an infringement on free speech. But bombs are not speech. Receiving videos of your children at school–with the obvious implication that they could be targeted–is not speech.

Unfortunately, the only ones with any power to restrain the nutters are other animal rights believers. With the notable exception of Gary Francione, as Debra noted, the silence is deafening.