Animal People’s Statement on Animal Rights Extremism

In this holiday season Animal People reminds us all that we are privileged to live in a democratic society, where different points of view can be expressed, discussed and debated freely, and where violence has no place as a tool to advance social change.

Speaking of Research welcomes and applauds this statement.  We hope the new year will only expand the circle of those open to civil dialogue and public debate.

The Animal People’s board resolution reads in its entirety:

The Animal People, Inc. Board Resolution on Activist Tactics

        Arresting the cycle of violence in human affairs is of greater importance than the accomplishment of any single tactical objective–whether trying to stop the slaughter of animals for food,  fur,  sport,  or religious rituals;  addressing the scientific use of animals;  or dealing with any other particular exploitation of animals.  We enjoy the opportunity to address social injustices,   inequities,  and cruelties (toward animals,  children,  women,  gay people,  poor people,  and racial and ethnic minorities) because we are privileged to live in a democratic society,  which through the effort of generations of our forebears has (however tenuously at times) replaced the old paradigm of “might makes right” with respect for the rights of individuals,  democratic process,  public debate,  freedom of expression,  and divergent points of view.

        Part of our social contract as civilized people is that we agree to trust in the ability of our ideas to persuade,  and to operate within established systems until they can be improved by peaceful means.

        We believe that no principle should be more inviolable than the principle that violence–including psychological violence such as intimidation,  the invasion of familial privacy,  and engagement with persons not responsible for or directly involved in issues (such as relatives of parties with whom there is a dispute)–must never be employed as means to achieve moral progress and advance social change.

        Protesters have the right to express dissent,  rally,  and even agitate in order to arouse public concern in the hope of prompting action,  but demonstrations,  rallies,  and actions involving civil disobedience should be held at appropriate sites,  such as public areas including shopping malls,  universities,  government buildings,  or office buildings connected to the issues of concern.

4 responses to “Animal People’s Statement on Animal Rights Extremism

  1. Like so many other hotly debated issues, what we can hope for most is that the discussion about the ethics of animal research is based upon empirical, scientific facts, a clear understanding of the progress already achieved and promised by it and a prevailing instinct that resolving the issue in light of differences of perspective can only happen when there is mutual respect and civility involved in the dialogue.

  2. May we always revere and admire animals sufficiently to continue to learn from them, and may the day never come when we ignore animals and their well-being. May the new year see progress toward unification of the health sciences as “One Medicine.”

  3. May the new year bring scientific advances that will alleviate the suffering of our patients, from our babies to the elderly.. and may scientists continue to work hard developing technologies that, one day, will make use of animals in research a necessity of the past.

  4. Since it is Christmas Day, I will add: May there someday be peace on earth for all living beings, and––in the meantime––may there be goodwill among us.