A New Low at NIO: extremists threaten students

Earlier this week, the animal rights extremist group at NegotiationisOver.com posted an email they received from Alena – an undergraduate student at Florida Atlantic University – in response to their attempts to solicit local activists to attend an animal rights event:

Actually, I’m an undergrad researcher aiming to work at Scripps [Research Institute]! I currently test on animals and think that it is perfectly fine. In fact, it is the one of the only ways that we, scientists, can test drugs in order to treat human diseases. I’m sure someone in your family or even a friend you know has suffered from a disease or pathology that was treated (or cured) by medicines THAT ONLY CAME INTO EXISTENCE BECAUSE OF ANIMAL TESTING.

First off, we applaud Alena for standing up for what she believes in and for expressing support for the humane use of animals in research aimed at addressing the health and welfare of humans and animals alike. Not surprisingly, however, NIO launched an offensive of degrading and hateful emotional abuse that caused Alena to plead for them to:

…please stop saying such horrible, untrue things about me. It’s hurtful.

In response, they no doubt ratcheted up the threats, causing Alena to:

…denounc[e] animal testing and my involvement in it…. I will be looking for other career choices.

Not unlike perpetrators of child and spouse abuse who use fear of further attacks to ensure silence in their victims, NIO hopes that flooding the email boxes of young people with obscenities and rabid missives will ensure that the voices of scientists of tomorrow are suppressed. Even for NIO, this is a new low, and Speaking of Research sharply condemns those who chose to act like shameless bullies when harassing, threatening and intimidating any student, researcher or faculty member.

Nevertheless, a recent post at NIO underscores their belief that targeting students is an effective way forward:

Students are far more open to objective information and far more susceptible to applied persuasion tactics. The vested interests of industry-entrenched vivisectors lie in their bloody wallets and, truly, the only effective approaches to veteran abusers appear to be through incendiaries, intimidation, and violence. On the other hand, … students are far more malleable and easily manipulated.

What people who use fear and attacks to affect others forget is that, under threat, people will say almost anything, true or not. They may well get a statement or two like the one above, but overall, scientific research will continue and the vast majority of students will continue to feel safe and secure – especially when the scientific community rallies behind them to offer support.

What’s more, for each statement of capitulation they post to their website, there are countless other students who watch these events unfold and, in reaction, redouble their own commitment to science and to scientific advocacy.

Though NIO may refer to students as the “Soft bellied target of the vivisection complex” who “can be shut down with relative ease,” they should study their history. In the winter of 2005, the ALF launched a campaign that targeted students at Oxford University in the UK, declaring them to be “legitimate targets”. Did the students bow to the threats and arson attacks on their facilities? Not a chance! The students responded by launching the Pro-Test movement in support of animal research, and gave the ALF a drubbing which helped to turn the tide against AR extremism in the UK. The hate and lies of the ALF were simply no match for the solidarity shown by students and scientists at Oxford.

Similarly, the extremists at NIO may claim one victory, but they fail to see how much dedication they create at the exact same time.

At UCLA, faculty and students alike have been the target of a heinous and criminal campaign of violence and harassment. How many students have quit animal research and/or changed their careers? To our knowledge: none. Indeed, students at institutions like UCLA have become some of the most passionate and committed defenders of animal-based research.

Students Rallying at UCLA

At NIO, they see victories in stories like these. We say those victories are hollow and pathetic. If you share our view, leave a comment below showing support for Alena and other students like her. The scientists of tomorrow need to hear our voices.


Speaking of Research

94 thoughts on “A New Low at NIO: extremists threaten students

  1. The people at NIO are nothing but sociopaths and common thugs. They need to be treated as the terrorists they are and arrested and put in jail. Threatening others to get your way is what you do in grade school, not as a professional. I suppose this is the only outlet available to them since they do not have a rational argument.

  2. Dee, equating biomedical research using animals to violence against animals is a flawed arguement. The majority of biomedical reserachers are highly ethical people striving for a noble cause. The same ethics used in human medicine for clinical trials are applied to animal trials. The aberations you mentions should be stopped. No researcher worth their salt would support animal use for bad science.

      1. Matt, exactly the same can be said of clinical research, particularly clinical trials, as our good friend Orac pointed out on his blog a couple of years ago http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2008/09/publication_bias_in_clinical_trials_used.php

        Should we ban clinical trails too?

        I’m of the view that more needs to be done to improve the quality of experimental design and reporting of scientific research in general, whether it’s clinical or animal research (or even in vitro research that has not yet seen the same level of scrutiny), and initiatives such as the ARRIVE Guidelines and CONSORT statement


        Animal and clinical research are crucial to medical progress, which is precisely why they must be of the highest quality.

      2. Paul, fair comment.

        I was responding to Linda’s point that “No researcher worth their salt would support animal use for bad science.”

        Clearly, there are researchers out there “not worth their salt”.

        I’m not suggesting this is a reason for banning all animal research, but rather groups such as Speaking of Research must not blindly support the use of animals, regardless of the quality of research or validity of the reasons for doing the research.

        In terms of clinical trials, there is of course one key difference, in that patients actively consent to take part in them. Though you’re right to point out there is still much room for improvement in clinical research. One thing that has come to my attention recently is the possibility of using data from historical trials as control groups:


  3. I can see how many can be good people, and no one deserves their families threatened or car bombs. Yet pro groups always insist all of them, ALL, Everyone, testing is the highest in ethics. Well that is simply Not true. No one can say that all animal activists agree with violent actions, most do not. Likewise, no one can say that all animal testers are not also abusive, or extreme abusers.
    The violence of one side is reciprocating to violence on the other side of the spectrum. Also, imprisonment itself IS abuse. Then follows the bolt cutters that break locks.

    This is merely the reciprocation of one act being exchanged for another. A classic case of 2 wrongs that equal a right. What is theft to one is liberation to another.
    Remember 28 days later? Who is worse? The activists who unwittingly free the animals, or the scientist who engineered the rage virus?

  4. Should we thank the Nazi’s then? Their twisted horrible experiments on humans became legend in advancing the medical knowledge of the time right down to our Modern day.

  5. Mostly I see how much seems to be chronic ailments in humans from a lifetime of eating miserable slaughtered industry animals, so we need to lab torture more animals to prove that the lifetime of eating them and sedentary behaviour was bad for us.
    Then more are lab nazi’d to figure out ways we can survive longer eating slightly less of the other (dead) animals.

    This argument will never be solved on the internet. Most people are not experts or privy to all the information. Most information is never posted really by either side because no one would trust it unless maybe being read by non-biased experts.

  6. You all think animal research is used for such altruistic means like curing cancer and such.
    It never seems to occur to people that animal research has been used equally to fund corrupt work, rotten cancer foundations and bio-warfare eugenics initiatives.

    You all talk about the rights and freedoms to live your lives, while you take away those dreams and rights of other creatures. Where are the cures?

  7. We are witnessing the de-evolution in many sectors of society. We can watch as society crumbles, or push back and continue to work for a better, healthier and happier world. I will not let these knee-jerk radicals pull me mack into the primordial slime!

  8. Matt, I am saying that a vegetarian diet is incredibly hard to balance particularly on the essential protein and vitamins front without relying on supplements.

    We would be better off eating a balanced diet than dancing through dietary hoops to maintain that. Even Soya is not high in essential proteins while Iron issues in western vegetarians are usually sorted by the use of iron supplementation. (which carries risks to children and improper use and general lack of oversight in the supplement industry can lead to a variety of diseases such as bronze diabetes). Most vegetarians are under an assumption that their diet is inherently healthier than a non-veg diet. I am currently in India, the rampant vegetarianism has caused people to rely on a lot of staple starch resulting in ballooning obesity and diabetes. Meat does give satisfaction, it is delicious, it does make you eat less if you have the willpower. My suggestion is to be like the french, food must be delicious, it must be whatever you want it to be, but it must be in the right quantity.

    Janis is a Raw Food advocate. The advocacy of raw food is “kind of daft” since the arguments that come about from eating raw food are heavily mired in heavy doses of “woo” and plain old lies. It throws back to the concept of “natural vs unnatural food”. Yes the irony is not lost on me how a lot of vegans are on artificial supplementation or heavily synthesised fungal protein to make up for nutrient losses to their natural diet.

    1. Avicenna, would you like to be a bit more specific about which vitamins and protein (or rather, amino acids) are incredibly hard to balance for a vegetarian?

      The American Dietetic Association believes vegetarian diets can be nutritionally adequate:

      And it’s really not that hard to get sufficient protein:

      Note that the first page refers to a vegan diet. A vegetarian diet is even easier, since milk, eggs and cheese can be included as protein sources.

      “I am currently in India, the rampant vegetarianism has caused people to rely on a lot of staple starch resulting in ballooning obesity and diabetes”

      Interesting, since pescetarians, vegans, and vegetarians tend to have a lower BMI than meat eaters:

      Obviously, it can be argued that this is because most meat eaters care less about their overall health rather than because vegetarian diets are inherently healthier, but I’m merely pointing out that it is absurd to suggest that vegetarian diets generally lead to obesity.

      Now, I don’t really know enough about India, but I believe most vegetarianism there stems from religious reasons. Religious reasons that have existed for hundreds or thousands of years. If obesity and diabetes is recently ‘ballooning’, I would suggest this is due to factors other than vegetarian diets.

      1. The USA is not the best example of a nation for diets since it’s extremely rich. More than 50% of India live on an amount of money that’s very very small. Some people earn less than Rs 200 a day (by contrast I spend Rs 350 for a day’s food).

        Balancing their diet is incredibly expensive particularly in terms of vegetable protein. We in the west have the luxury of supplementation and cannot apply such standards to here.

        Raw food veganism is extremely stupid and can only exist thanks to the fact we often irradiate vegetables. If you tried that in India I guarantee you within a week or two you will catch something incredibly deadly to vegans (Hypoproteinemia)

        Not all protein is equal. Plant protein is inherently inferior to animal protein. And who are the vegans kidding? How many of them are against GM food yet consume Soya? The VRG forgets that quantity of protein for a vegan and vegetarians is different from me. You could eat the same amount of protein in 3 different diets and end up with 3 different protein counts simply by quality of protein. Again without expensive supplementation.

        Vegetarians in the USA are extremely picky about what they eat. Their entire attitude is that vegetarian food MUST be healthy because that’s what they entrench into their movement.

        The VRG has some bizzare notions about muscle physiology and atheletics. Surely if vegan diets are superior to meat atheletes (Whose coaches fork out millions on fancy diets) would be vegan. Yet we watch as the best atheletes on the world are maintained on very strict diets involving meat and vegetables.

        The ultimate ideal is a balanced diet. Both for us and for our agriculture. Meat should use the agricultural waste of stems and stalks and roots that we cannot use. We need “in the west” to eat less meat, but we should encourage meat eating in areas of poverty particularly as balanced diets.

  9. This is ridiculous. I am in the NIO and proud of it! Alene, the student was NOT threatened. The NIO is NOT bombing or threatening anybody!! We are saying that performing vivisection invites these things because vivisectors are terrorists. What is it called when it was discovered that when animals in a torture lab see a technician, their heartbeat is off the chart? YOU ARE THE TERRORISTS!!!! We are the animal lovers. Do not twist this around. Do I think vivisectors deserve their lab broken into where animals are rescued? Absoutely. You gotta love the ALF!!!The ALF credo says never kill animals or people.
    I saw a study the other day whereby rats were tested to see if they like ejaculating. OMG our country is going in the wrong direction if people are losing their homes and cannot pay the bills but our tax money is spent masturbating rats!!!
    Its not enough to torture animals, now you are sexually abusing them. You are all a bunch of sociopaths and perverts. Is any body part of an animal sacred to you people?
    Your research is doing nothing anyway. There is still cancer, heart disease etc. There are alternatives to vivisection seehttp://www.geari.org/alternatives-to-animal-testing.html
    The real solution to most diseases is a diet without preservatives and raw food. Our digestive system has not evolved past the caveman age. We have long intestines that are suitable to eating mostly vegetables. Eliminate the toxic chemicals, buy your shampoos etc from health food stores and you will eliminate 90 percent of the cancers.
    Im willing to bet 80 percent of you are sociopaths and need psychiatric help. It worries me when you have no compassion for suffering animals. God help you all. I hope you all burn in hell for abusing the earth and its inhabitants

    1. 1. We regret testing on animals. If there was any other way we would do it. But there isn’t. Our choices are “test” or “just throw medicine and animal biology out the window”. There are no other options bar in very specific cases.

      2. I would be interested in seeing research into ejaculating rats. It would help us develop drugs that can improve libido and indeed understand sexual dysfunction and depression. You don’t see the value, but we do because we are trained to think about possibility.

      3. We can cure a lot of cancer. We have improved a lot of the treatment of heart disease.

      4. The alternatives you have listed are completely retarded. The development of computer models would require testing on animals anyways! The skin is only useful for skin tests. Statistics cannot predict how a new drug will work or how a system works. And LLNA is a animal testing method since it uses lymph nodes which come from animals.

      5. Your knowledge of human biology is atrocious. Raw food is a good way to fall very very sick. And what you need to eat a vegetarian diet is an appendix and a ruminant digestive system. We are omnivores and are meant to eat a balanced diet.

      6. I do have a lot of compassion for suffering animals. Every animal I have tested on has been treated well until the testing. I have ensured they are kept in better conditions than in the wild. And we may be sociopaths but we are making the world better while you wish to destroy medicine.

      You are spoilt by medicine because you don’t get to see what real disease is like because our medicine is so good that most diseases are rare. I suggest a trip to India or Africa to see what diarrhoea does (Murders People. You get it from eating Raw Food)

  10. Dear Alena,

    I don’t have the eloquence or the experience of most of your supporters here or on Pharyngula, but rest assured, I know bullies, and wherever possible, I’ve got your back. Do what you should, be whom you are supposed to be, do what you want; you have rights, and people around you who will protect them.

    This reminds me of my (sadly, bygone) days as a Club Rat (“Lounge Lizard” to a previous generation). I was always ready upon my own observation, the gesture of a barkeep (do NOT underestimate!), or a suggestion, to become the fiancé, brother, boyfriend or (humilation!) dad-of-the-moment. Obnoxious bullies are my meat. And there are a lot of me.

    All Best


    1. @RAz No, I don’t get the idea. What I see–and sorry I’m part of that legalistic, evidence based community–is not a threat, but a desire that a career choice will result in fear.

      I think that it is chest-thumping attempt at intimidation, but that is not a threat, in the sense that SR and Orac and the rest want to suggest that it is.

      I’m not a lawyer, and perhaps a prosecution will occur on the basis of these paragraphs, but I want to split hairs and argue that no determinate threat is conveyed by a reasonable reading of these sentences and based on 1st amendment precedent it would be protected speech (though the biomedical-agribusiness industry clearly has the upper hand here–i.e. SHAC 7/6 suggests that when it is animal ‘enterprise’ the standards are different than when say it is racism etc).

      So while I think that the quote is d-baggery, I don’t have a lot of sympathy for Ringach et al’s cynical use of this to drum up hits for SR.

      1. Terrorism is the use of violence and threats in an attempt to coerce. The NIO is using terrorism, just by instilling the fear of bombs, harassment and violence, even if they never actually come up with the goods. Furthermore, Alena would seem, by any reasonable assessment, to have been bullied and harassed into making her statement that she’s ‘seen the error of her ways’.

        My point is, though, that if you truly abhor the use of violence, or of the threat of violence, then the people you should be complaining to, and arguing against in this case are the NIO. If all you do is use their threats as the start of an argument saying “I don’t agree with their methods but…”, then you’re taking advantage of their threats, and, as such, condoning them.

        The issue around this story is not animal rights. It is the use of terror as a weapon: terrorism.

  11. To C. at March 31, 2011 at 2:26 am. Sorry, the reply button seems to be missing.

    From the article (not a reply, but the actual OP) at the NIO blog:

    2. Students also need to understand that making the wrong choice will result in a lifetime of grief. Aspiring scientists envision curing cancer at the Mayo Clinic. We need to impart a new vision: car bombs, 24/7 security cameras, embarrassing home demonstrations, threats, injuries, and fear. And, of course, these students need to realize that any personal risk they are willing to assume will also be visited upon their parents, children, and nearest & dearest loved ones. The time to reconsider is now.
    (my emphasis)

    That is the position being taken by the people we are arguing against. If you have a non-violent, non-threatening, non-cyber bullying position, then fine. Denounce them, not us. If you truly don’t conscience their tactics, then distance yourself by attacking them, the aggressors, not the probable victims.

  12. We non-scientists love you guys. Stay strong and rational, Alena. These terrorists are not acting out of love for animals, but rather a self-righteous hatred for civilization.

    These are more dangerous times than normal for humanity; we are at a crossroads, and we must make decisions based on knowledge. Hang in there, all.

  13. I will take a bite, she has my support as a medical student and fellow person on the line of such terrorists.

    Fight, out of love of your field. These people are hypocrites. They owe their lives to medical science that has been tested on animals yet will prevent others from getting the same benefit.

    If you don’t then they will pick on the next one, be strong and don’t break.

  14. It’s cute that you think your silly little group’s “demonstrations” have given the ALF a “drubbing.”

    Really adorable.

    1. LOL, but Pro-Test did give the ALF a drubbing, a proper drubbing that the whole country saw. Now the ALF is a spent force in the UK who are despised by everyone.

      Even most on the far left of British politics consider them an embarrasment, but that might also have something to do with SHAC/ALF getting all cosy with the far-right English Defence League.

      1. Wow, sounds like the hyperbolic claims that I hear from those extremists about shutting down the opposition.

        History is moving–animal abuse will end up on the tail-end. We will apologize for SR, and Henry Harlow, et al. and all the benefit that we will wrench from the suffering of non-human minds, like we apologize for Thomas Jefferson’s slave owning. We will wish it weren’t our past one day.

  15. I was once a AR supporter – in the form of donations. The flat out sociopathy of LisaG and her unhinged terrorist-wanna-be ilk has shown me I was horribly misguided in thinking these ghouls want to help anyone or anything.

    Anyone have a suggestion as to where my donations should go instead? Something pro-science and actually going to help.

  16. Alena, please remember the lives you might be saving if you go on with your research. You have my full support.

  17. I hope the student involved is supported by her university and can move on and put all this crap behind her, regardless of what she chooses to do with her life. Being bullied by a lunatic fringe is revolting. The general public are broadly supportive of animal experimentation for good reasons.

  18. @ Alena Rodriguez:

    Don’t give up your passion to go work at Scripps and be a part of the life sciences on account of intimidation, threats, and bullying.

    All the best, whatever you choose to do in your life.

  19. Alena: I’m not a biologist or a medical researcher, but I have the utmost respect for those of you who are or aspire to be, and I am thankful every day for the work you do. I know far too many people who would be dead without animal research.

  20. Nobody EVER threatened Alena. She did not like being in the article and wanted out. I am in NIO and they are not “criminals.” Vivisectors are the criminals and the terroritsts. We do not torture animals. I am willing to bet that 90 percent of you vivisectors are sociopaths. Anybody that tortures animals with no compassion are sociopaths. Get some psychiatric help for your disease

    1. Anybody who threatens terror bombings, or defends an organisation which does so, has no way of taking the moral high-ground.

      End. Of. Story.

    2. @ anonymous (March 31, 3:32 am):

      Quoted verbatim from NIO’s site (apologies to all if the HTML tags don’t work):

      “Students also need to understand that making the wrong choice will result in a lifetime of grief. Aspiring scie…ntists envision curing cancer at the Mayo Clinic. We need to impart a new vision: car bombs, 24/7 security cameras, embarrassing home demonstrations, threats, injuries, and fear. And, of course, these students need to realize that any personal risk they are willing to assume will also be visited upon their parents, children, and nearest & dearest loved ones. The time to reconsider is now.”

      Yeah, that reads like the kind of people who aren’t prepared to engage in criminal activity.


    3. Anonyomous (and I can see why you would want to be) anyone who has read the quotations from Alena on the NIO website, and the subsequent posts there on targeting students can see very well that NIO did harass and threaten Alena.

      The only sociopaths and torturers in this debate are NIO and the cowards who support them. Is Camille still starving her cats?

      Alena, all reasonable people support you. We know that you have suffered and wish you all the very best in your career.

      NIO can go straight to hell!

    4. “Anonymous”, I’ve read the piece on NIO. Threats of kidnap and torture, intimidation are3 all terroristic in nature. You, Camille and the rest of your ‘Loony Tunes” are the ones in need of psychiatric help. That site reeks of sociopathy (at the minimum).

      When I was 18 I was told by my doctors I’d probably not see 30, last Saturday I turned 62. Advances in medicine, all of which were animal tested made this possible.

    5. Dear Anonymous,
      have you ever set foot in a lab? Have you ever seen an animal experiment (independent of the twisted stories released by these antivivisection organisations)? Most people who work with animals like them, we have to. We work with them day in, day out and have to respect and care for them to ensure our results are valid and meaningful. I do not and will never torture an animal, but I do believe in the validity and utility of my work for people with neurological diseases. Much of the publicity generated by anti-vivisection groups is outdated, misinterpretation or simply wrong. As a member of NIO I hope you are FULLY informed from independent sources of your facts. Any opinion is valid if it is informed and not forced on someone with an opposing view. We will not be intimidated into stopping research which saves human and animal lives.

    6. Seems very threatening to me…

      This past week, NIO posted on its website encouragement for a new tactic against animal research—targeting university students who plan to enter the health sciences field. Here are two excerpts:

      “Every time a vivisector’s car or home — and, eventually, the abuser him/herself — blows up,
      flames of liberation light up the sky. And now we have a golden opportunity to begin to destroy
      the foundations upon which Bogus Big Pharma and the academic-industrial complex rest —
      the vivisection research model can be made unworkable and obsolete. A strategic and
      streamlined above-ground resistance advanced in coordination with that of our anonymous underground counterparts can yield that elusive point of critical mass at which the infrastructure begins to implode and the grant money stolen from taxpayers begins to dry up — the only
      remnant of the atrocities being the trail of blood from the cages to the incinerator to the
      parking lot to the vivisectors’ homes, adorned with windows that can be opened and doors
      with locks that can be picked.”

      “[Students] also are the next generation and it is our responsibility to ensure that they are the last generation. Unless we intercede now, the students of today will be the mutilators of tomorrow. Conversely, there will be no animal torturers tomorrow if we effectively eliminate them today.”

  21. Alena,
    As a mom and an AR activist, I’m very proud of you for originally coming forward in response to your dreams of helping society become a healthier and better place. Kudos! Not alot of biotech people come right out and say what they do to animals. And as I teach my 19 year old son, this is a very important life skill and character trait.

    As you probablly read on other blogs preceeding this one, the truth of seasoned vivisectors is dark and based in greed. When they comment here, they’re pretending they didn’t say all the crazy things away from here. So use you’re obviously good heart to make decisions on what they want you to get involed in.

    Most importantly, notice how the collective of vivisectors shamelessly denies the exisistence of in vitro non animal testing research. Cutting up animals and injecting their eyes is just anyiquated, but profitable business! The past is the past. It’ now time to protect weaker beings AND be a part of modern medice. The main truth they do not want you to know is that you, Alena, can do both.

    I would love to see you take your intelligence and goodness to studing ways to help al of society become better- study, invent, expand on current alternative methods.Most of your future professors are going down in history with the likes of Natzi Dr. Mengala as a disgrace to your science.

    Here’s just a molecule of thought to start with- there is a ton of non animal successful, profitable researching going on. Especially in Europe. AltTox.com.

    Trust your conscience and try to see possibilities. And best of luck…I know our future will be a better place because you’ll be there!

    Lisa Grossman

    1. There is no doubt whatsoever that there are some situations in which non-animal systems can be used to make important discoveries. No reasonable scientist has said anything to the contrary. Studies of yeast (a single celled organism), for example, have been crucial to advances in genetics, genomics and protein biochemistry. But they are only one piece of a larger scientific effort that must include living humans and animals. There are no alternatives to the study of living multi-cellular systems when trying to understand how disease affects those systems, no matter how many times you say it is so.

      I totally agree that those who commit themselves to scientific study and use non-living systems make a noble and important contribution to research. But that is complementary to that research which involves humans and animals, and virtually every scientist who opts to use non-animal systems knows that. And yes, those who meet the challenge of curing disease by using living animals are contributing in the same noble and ethical way that those who use yeast are.

      Alena – and the thousands of other students like her – are, in fact, good people. They are also brilliant and understand how and why animal systems are required for biomedicine to advance. Much like global warming deniers, you persist in a belief unsupported by actual fact and contrary to much of the available evidence. Simply put: facts don’t matter to you.

      Perhaps if you and your cabal at NIO had applied reasoned dialogue with people like Alena, instead of your “applied persuasion tactics” (read: threats, harassment, attacks), you wouldn’t have shown yourself to be the hate mongers you now pretend not to be.

      Unfortunately, Lisa… it’s too late. That cat’s out of the bag, and people everywhere see you and your cronies for the cyber-bullies you are.

    2. “…they’re pretending they didn’t say all the crazy things away from here…” You’re speaking of the AR group that has threatened violence and terrorism against all those pesky students that make up the ‘soft under belly’, right?

      I’m a supporter of actual science and the people who practice it. I live in Gainesville Florida, the location of a university that is targeted by these insane extremists.

    3. Lisa,

      You are either misinformed or lying.

      There is no scientist that opposes the use of alternatives when these are available. Period.

      As the mother of a child, I presume you opted to vaccinate him with the fruits of scientific research.

      As the mother of a child, I presume you would not like him being personally attacked because of your AR activism.

      But this is exactly the kind of behavior your promote to advance your cause.

      Perhaps you would share the emails you sent Alena with everyone here?

      You are despicable.

      1. Sure Denis. Get them vaccinated, then when they become a statistic of children who suffer neurological dysfunction or failure, brain haemorrhaging, clots, death afterwards, you can pat yourself on the back what a good parent you were not to let him contaminate the rest of the herd.

    4. Alena,

      You can find more incendiary comments from Ms. Grossman in the earlier linked Pharyngula post. Her ID there is LisaG. Her concern for you is questionable at best. She does not denounce the violent rhetoric directed at you and your fellow students by the NIO.

      Do check out the AltTox link, though. You’ll see they have interesting ideas, but are not nearly ready for implementation.

      Happy learning, and may you have the career of your dreams.

    5. LisaG,

      Where is Ghazal now?

      It seems she has disappeared from the face of the earth.

      Too bad she is not willing to defend her targeting of students herself.

  22. Alena, you have my support as well as most educated people engaged in the welfare of others.

    And good of SoR to post.

    @ C:

    “she realized how barbaric much of animal research is”

    With ethical oversight committees? You don’t know whereof you speak.

    Also, we should note that humans are among the most social species around, but that doesn’t mean our morality should or could extend to other species unthinkingly. For one, we still need to eat plants and/or animals, and we don’t do that to peers.

    “what actually goes on sometimes under the name of “science.””

    And now you are running away from the subject into crazy land. We can recognize science when we see it.

    1. Oh c’mon. Of course I know how IACUC’s work, and the one solid study we have of suggests that in the absence of blind review they are significantly affected by culture. That is, protocols that were blind reviewed were significantly less likely to be accepted than under the original “collegial” IACUC system. I know the review process intimately and aside from the bureaucracy it is tepid at best. There exist better models in the world today–and AR fought to get what we have now. So thank AR, just like labor and weekends.

      Sigh, “crazy-land” yeah you can recognize it when you see–that’s freaking the scientific method at it’s best. Lord, save scientists from this sort of shite.

  23. I developed asthma as an adult. I am one of tens of thousands of people in the US alone who would most likely be dead if it were not for medicines or procedures developed by animal testing. I love animals and have rescued stray cats from roof tops at a risk to myself, but sometimes, we have to put human lives first and that means testing on animals before trials with humans.The kind of people who threaten humans to save animals have some issues that really have to doo with fear of their own species.

  24. Hard to tell apart from the d-baggery at NIO and Pharyngula what actually happened here. Perhaps if the emails are released, people know of threats against this student. Her tweet or email or whatever suggests that she realized how barbaric much of animal research is and thought better of it. Research is glamorized sometimes, the reality is sometimes squalid and ugly, despite the noble sounding rhetoric. Not an unheard of reaction to seeing what actually goes on sometimes under the name of “science.”

    Well, either a student was persuaded that her career path was barbaric, or a student is just saying that in order to be free from NIO thuggery, or maybe there were actually threats of violence against this student. If the latter I hope that she remains safe, and that no one confuses the handful of loudmouth chest-thumpers for the critics of the use of animals, whether in part or toto, on the grounds that violence and causing others to suffer whether physically or through fear and anxiety are wrong.

    1. “…hope that she remains safe”? Is that all you can say?

      And how exactly is your comment supposed to help anyone avoid confusion between the extremists and other critics of animal research?

      You want not to be confused? Then condemn these terrorists in no uncertain terms. Period.

      Then you can go back to express your objections about animal research.

      1. You really do like that Bush tactic of claiming that people don’t condemn threats of violence, don’t you? The vast majority, I would suspect, of people who the reject the ethical justification of your “research,” are opposed to violence and would happily denounce these tactics both as tactics and morally.

        You have animals killed for your pleasure–so suggesting that I, who oppose violence and threats of violence–need to meet your cynical and craven expectations of moral rectitude is farcical.

        I am happy to say that I oppose threats and acts of violence against even animal abusers–not because of your silly moral posturing, but because it is my moral conviction.

        Of course, what hasn’t been shown is that any threat occurred. Do you have evidence of this yet? Or are you still just pulling the FoxNews playbook out here?

        “Saying hurtful things” does not sound like terrorism to me, but perhaps Jack Bauer is a character on Mean Girls these days. If there is more evidence that she was threatened please do post it and then we can sit around denouncing it for your pleasure.

    2. The only thing we really have to go on are Alena’s comments herself.

      “…please stop saying such horrible, untrue things about me. It’s hurtful.”

      From this, we can assume she received harassment of some sort directed at herself. How else would someone take a mere day to make such a change in opinion? If all she was shown was ‘what it is really like in labs’ then more students would be flocking from the universities in disgust upon seeing their first animal in a lab.

  25. Hey NIO folks, could you start breeding a whole bunch? Since you don’t want us to test on animals, we need your daughters and sons to test on, post haste. Oh, and you need to give us a whole bunch of children so we can have a control group and a test group, all alike. Hurry up! You are delaying the research. What? You don’t want us to use your daughters either? So, it’s not so much you are pro-animal, but you are anti-science? Good to know. Thank you.

    A diabetic who lives because of animal-produced insulin.

    1. Insulin isn’t harvested from animals any more :(.. it’s made from e. coli (bacteria)..

  26. Alena, what a talent you have. I hope after seeing the support you have from your future colleges and peers you will be able to keep you head up. You have a bright future, don’t let extremists who have nothing but hate take it from you.

  27. I want to add my support for Alena and let her know she is not alone in this. There are far more caring researchers and research suporters than fanatics such as NIO.

    They didn’t win in the UK and they cannot win here.

  28. Alena, and all the aspiring scientists out there: hang in there. The vast majority of people recognize you are thoughtful, caring, dedicated people who don’t take these ethical issues lightly. Of course, we’d love a world where we could have the benefits of modern medicine and scientific discovery *without* animal testing, but that simply does not exist at the moment, despite extremists’ claims to the contrary. And these activists benefit from the gains made through animal research, both indirectly and, I’m sure, in many cases directly/personally.

    The “war on terrorism” should be brought to bear on those who intimidate, threaten (and carry out) violence and bullying such as NIO advocate.

  29. Scientists who conduct research are the foundation of our future.
    Terrorists are dogmatically inspired haters who think they know what is best for everyone.

    Alena and folk like you keep doing what you do.

  30. Alena,

    You have our full support!

    The terrorist actions of the folks at NIO is a demonstration of their moral bankruptcy.

    Our society will never tolerate a handful of social outcasts from setting the scientific agenda of the country.

    Hopefully, the law will soon catch up with those that are openly inciting to violence and engaged in criminal solicitation.

  31. NIO is no more than a small group of terrorist thugs that are completely ignorant of science or even basic humanity. They belong on the Federal list of terrorist organizations and should have a bounty on their heads. Hang in there Elena.

  32. I just got back from hospital last night, rather weak and getting lots of bed rest. A very severe reaction to some food I ate had been giving me all-over-itching, abdominal pain that nearly made me pass out, and stopped me being able to hold down any food. Without animal-tested medicines I would still be lying on a hospital bed in pain being fed through an intravenous drip.

    I’m still very weak and it took a great effort to type this out on my tiny mobile phone. But at least now the medicines are holding the symptoms at bay while I rebuild my strength. So it’s worth the effort to say thank you to all involved in this essential research.

  33. I wonder if these AR terrorists have the courage of their convictions: if they were struck with a life-threatening illness, would they refuse treatment if the therapy that could save their lives was developed with the help of animal models?

  34. Idiots like these NIO people would likely be the first to run to hospitals to take advantage of many techniques and research that has been done on animals to save their own lives. Stand tall Alena, most of the world is smart enough to know that animal research =/= animal torture. Maybe one day you can develop an animal model of viable anencephaly so we can figure out what makes these idiots tick.

  35. Being a biochemistry student and knowing many others, I find NIO’s claim that “students are far more malleable and easily manipulated” incredibly false. Students know what animal testing is and why it’s done. We have to take courses with heavy focuses on ethics and research methods, on top of our laboratory courses. Not only that, but we devote years of our life to learn all of this on top of a demanding courseload because–let me emphasize this–we’re WELL aware of what we want to do with our lives.

    I’ve spent upwards of 20 hours working on lab writeups worth 3% of my final grade. I’ve gone an entire semester without having a weekend. I consider reading my organic textbook as “fun and relaxing”. I’ve spent nights in the library. If none of this has made me change my career direction, there’s no way an uneducated radical group spewing nonsense ever can.

    I’m not unique; talk to any science student and you’ll hear more or less the same story.

    Alena, good job for standing up to them. Sure, they’ll lie and twist your words, but what’s important is that you’re still going for the research career you want.

  36. Just wanted to show some support for Alena. I’m sorry you went through that horrible experience at the hands of such insane sociopaths.

  37. Word – Alena, I wish you well in your career.

    But this is why my friends who do animal research won’t talk about it in public – even in private conversations in public places. Sad but true. Glad I’m a botanist and don’t have to face this choice.

  38. Alena, please visit a lab and speak to researchers and technicians and see what really goes on. Animal welfare is the core concern for anyone working in a lab and is much more thoughtfully considered by these people than by any of those goons at NIO. Your love for animals and concern for their well being will stand you in good stead as a researcher.

    1. Karen, don’t believe for a moment that Alena has actually changed her views on animal research, she knows very well that it is ethical and necessary. She only made that “confession” because she was being threatened and harassed by extremists.

      Alena, there are thousands of good people who care about you, and condemn utterly the actions of the cowards and terrorists of NIO.

  39. I never use my real name in blog comments, but I have here, because I want Alena and students like her to know that intimidation, smear campaigns, violence, and threats are unacceptable and that I support their work. We all love animals, and we all seek to reduce harm to them, that’s what ethics reviews on research are for. But the human lives saved by the results of research are of utmost concern, and the lives of researchers, students, and their families should never be threatened. And when it comes to research on fruit flies, I come from Florida and half the people I grew up with make their livings in citrus. You can do whatever you want to fruit flies as long as you keep them locked up.

  40. I would like to extend my support to Alena and to all those who work so hard for the betterment of humanity. Although my research path has taken me away from animal testing, I have been involved in such studies and I have never encountered a more compaaionate group of people who care deeply about animal welfare then those involved in such testing.
    Stay strong and know you are right.

  41. NIO says: “Aspiring scientists envision curing cancer at the Mayo Clinic. We need to impart a new vision: car bombs, 24/7 security cameras, embarrassing home demonstrations, threats, injuries, and fear.”

    Why is this not illegal?

  42. Alena, difficult though it may be, please try and remember that the vast majority are able to see that the group at NIO are unhinged and violent people. You’ve chosen a very worthwhile career path, and I wish you all the best with it.

  43. The campaign of animal rights terrorism was becoming very serious here in the UK. It was not resolved until the national government and the police finally began to take it equally seiously.

    It turned out that the number of people who were dedicated both to the vilest lies and to violence was relatively small, and I suspect that the situation is the same in the USA.

    Moral support for the researchers is good, of course, but practical action by government and law enforcement is imperative to stop these morons. They are not open to rational argument, so they need to be found and put in prison for a long time. That is the only solution and it IS effective.

  44. Animal Rights groups have long had a history of targeting young people. PETA, after all, has a whole section of its website devoted to children. Targeting specific students with threats is clearly a new low but hardly surprising from this particular group.

    Alena, it’s completely understandable when your targeted as such to be scared off and nobody can blame you for announcing that you will be pursuing a different career path. Please know that there is a large community here that is willing and able to offer support. Having had dealings with NIO I know what they can be like and so do many others on this board. You have my full support in whatever you ultimately decide to do.

  45. Dear hippocrates at NIO,

    Due to your extremist actions, I am now aware of your despicable campaign and fully support your opposition.

    The stupidity of your tactics is astonishing, since all you’re doing is making enemies and turning the public against your goals.

  46. I would like to extend my support to Alena as well. Don’t let these violent assholes force you away from a career that not only helps humans, but animals as well.

    I’m not a researcher, but I do know how important it is for those who do to have all the tools available to build the tools that help everyone else.

  47. The tactic of targeting students because they are “more malleable and easily manipulated” puts in sharp contrast the credibility of the AR position compared to the plain, honest facts all over this blog about the value of animals in responsible biomedical research.

    Courage, Alena, you have science and the community on your side.

  48. I support you, Alena, and hope these terrorist freaks won’t end up seriously and criminally harming you due to their own ignorance. Talk to your peers and superiors about animal research and what they think of it. Talk to members of your family and friends, but don’t take the opinions of the radical-minded over those of sensible, smart and educated humans.

  49. Do not bow to the self righteous scum, thumb your nose at their hysterical vitriol and pursue your chosen field.

    You are not alone and they are few.

  50. Young scientists of tomorrow, do not fear the extremists: you have the support of many, many people

  51. Wow, a new low for the AR terrorists indeed. Best of luck to Alena in shedding these leeches who want to use her only to climb up over the other leeches in the extremity of their insane rhetoric. Strange way to make a living, this AR profession.

  52. Animal rights extremists continue to try and find new targets who will be the next recipients of their hatred. They may think that students are a vulnerable population, but I think they are the best asset of the scientific advocacy initiative. Students are the most passionate and most eager defenders of science, and the next generation of researchers is likely to be more engaged, more active and more dedicated than ever before.

    In addition, in undertaking such efforts (like those directed at Alena), activists only further mobilize the scientific community. If there is one thing that will get a faculty member stirred up, it’s an attack on his or her student. As Earle Holland wrote yesterday, these efforts will wake a “sleeping giant”.

    To all students who have been the subject of attacks, and to Alena in particular, I say that we are with you. We will never stop defending your interests and your dedication to scientific study and to knowledge. Some fear the contributions to medicine and science that you will make, but you must persist through their attacks to continue your efforts to join one of the noblest professions: a scientist.

  53. Alena, you have my complete support. We should all be free to follow our dreams and be able to work in a profession we are passionate about without fear.

    Those of us who work in these fields have had to develop some tough skin to deal with those who disagree with what we do. But in the end, it is worth it when you are able to cure diseases like Polio and Small Pox or bring relief to someone suffering from cancer or heart disease.

    I agree with Paul, hold your head high and know that you never, ever stand alone. You will always have our support!

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