An open letter to those who support violence in the name of animal rights


The following is an open letter from a victim of animal rights extremism.  It was sent to a Los Angeles Times journalist in an effort to draw his attention to the problem. The letter was never published. Her family, not connected to animal research, was the mistaken target of the Animal Liberation Front attack on a UCLA scientist (ALF’s claim of responsibility here). Her personal account of the story, written only days after the firebombing, makes it very clear how close animal right extremists came to hurting human beings in their pursuit of their political goals. These is the kind “direct action” celebrated by animal rights fanatics that demonstrate at the homes of UCLA scientists. The truth is, as the writer notes, that this nothing short of terrorism. For fear of retaliation from animal rights extremists, the author wishes to remain anonymous.

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An open letter to those who support violence in the name of animal rights

For those of you who support violence because you are tired of waiting for the rest of us to accept your views, how exactly are your actions going to convince us to care more about the rights of non-human animals?

Three days ago, at 4 o‘clock in the morning, someone poured gasoline over my car (on the gas tank side) and set it on fire. It was parked in the driveway one foot away from my house, under a tree.  We don’t know if this was done in the name of animal rights, but after looking at websites and learning of similar actions taken against researchers and innocent bystanders, it is a reasonable guess.   My family is connected to UCLA, although none of us have anything to do with scientific research, other than having benefitted from life-saving medications and surgeries in the past.

The sound of the exploding burning tire woke my neighbors, two of whom acted quickly to prevent the worst from happening.  My two cars are total losses, my neighbors’ two cars are damaged, and a neighborhood is terrorized.  The ripples of fear and outrage spread far beyond our street, to our families, friends and colleagues at work.

What might have happened? Without quick action by my neighbors, the gas tank in my car could have exploded, killing or maiming my teenage daughter sleeping 15 feet away.  She has been a vegetarian since age 8, as are many of her friends, since they grew up watching “The Simpsons’ and wanted to be like Lisa Simpson who is smart, vegetarian, a saxophone player who challenges authority.   A roommate closer to the driveway would have suffered the same fate.  It was 4 in the morning; we were all sleeping.  This is ‘attempted murder’ not just ‘property damage’. Someone tried to kill us.

goran_lacan_attempt

Maybe you don’t care at all about the human side of this story.  You might classify the horrors that could have happened in my family as ‘collateral damage’ the same callous way our government labels civilian deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan, and elsewhere around the world.  How does that kind of thinking advance the cause of the animal rights movement? After all, you are trying to influence other human beings to change their ways and care about the rights of animals, correct?  This doesn’t seem the optimal way to win hearts and minds.  Your approach seems more like ‘destroy the village to save it’ as our government practiced in Viet Nam in the 1960s and 70s.

Maybe you care only about animals.  Did the persons who firebombed my car know about my rescued house rabbit, Samsonita, sleeping in my house 25 feet from the car, who lives cage free in her own room?  Did they know about my cat, Ethel, who worked hard every night in the neighborhood to find rats and mice to lovingly bring them inside to share with me in the middle of the night?

Some of the animal rights websites claim that they are part of a proud tradition of liberation movements.  There are quotes from Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, Frederick Douglass, and claims of being the ‘Underground Railway’ for animals.  But the violent harassment of medical researchers is more like the terror practiced by the Ku Klux Klan, who burned crosses in front of the homes of African Americans who dared to act as if they were free and equal to whites.  These kinds of tactics were used not by civil rights activists but by their opponents, and any claim of a moral relationship to that history by violent animal rights advocates is obscene.

I ask you to reconsider your support for violence in the name of your cause, animal rights.  Please think about other kinds of terrorism we have experienced in recent years.  How did you feel about the events of September 11th? Were you horrified, or did you think that everyone harmed, and all their friends and relatives, deserved what happened?  What about the bus bombing in London, or the nightclub in Bali, the trains in Madrid, the slaughter in Mumbai?  Do you support those actions, because the bombers believed in their cause, as you believe in yours?  Or do you disagree with their approach?

Either way, if you believe it is ok to commit violence in the name of your cause and harm innocent sentient beings, how are you are different from those terrorists?  Around the world, millions of people suffer from violence committed in the name of a cause, by government soldiers or rebels or saboteurs.  How does this make the world a better place?  How are you convincing other human beings to care more about the rights of animals by committing and applauding violence?

19 responses to “An open letter to those who support violence in the name of animal rights

  1. Never let the passion for your cause overpower your professionalism to accomplish your goal! When you do, you become part of society’s problem!
    John Thompson

  2. A vegetarian diet is unnatural and unhealthy for humans. It is deficient not only in B12 but also zinc, Coenzyme Q10, D3 (D2 is the plant form of D and does not assimilate well in the body) and essential fatty acids. Make no mistake, THIS is the ultimate end of animal rights extremists-no meat eating. They’ll start with the easy targets like research and fur, and move on if society lets them. I support animal WELFARE, not animal RIGHTS.

  3. A strict vegan no meat or meat products diet will eventually cause the human brain to only be able to think irrationally and overly emotionally.
    Human beings require ACTIVE VB12 which only comes from animal products. Plants produce inactive VB12 which does nothing in the human brain and actually makes things worse as it prevents any active VB12 from being properly used. It should be a crime to force children or anyone to eat no meat or milk at all. Even Gandhi who spent years trying to find an inexpensive diet for the poor of India came to the final conclusion that he had been blind and that anyone who denied the poor of India their butter and milk were traitors to India. He stated that in his explorations of different low cost diets he came to the conclusion that most people could not survive or work properly or even think clearly when they had no animal protein in their diet. So using Gandhi as an exampled means these people do not even know the history of the people they use to support their cause. Over 30 infants on strict vegan diets have died in the US and the UK whose parents refused even on the advice of their doctors to feed their babies milk or meat based products. They literally starved their own children to death. Now before you start with the I’ve been vegan for so many years know that a fee people manufacture a bacteria in their gut that does produce some ACTIVE VB12 but most people do not and advocating a law that would remove meat and meat products from everyone’s diet is just short of genocide.

  4. Many years ago I worked in a cancer research lab as a typist. I noted that the head researcher and the staff were extremely kind to the hamsters. Each animal had a name, a family relationship, and was treated very well. On the days when an animal was suffering and had to be put to sleep, the staff and researcher were in tears. All was done with care and kindness. And this was many years ago when there were no animal rights advocates clamoring for kindness for animals. It was simply the proper way to do things, to be concerned for the animals well being. So, this nonsense about all animal in research being mistreated is simply that…nonsense. Part of the propaganda of the animal rights radicals who seem to HATE humans and don’t even have the smarts to do right by the animals they say they care about…note how they release domestic raised animals into the “wilds” where those animals end up with nasty deaths and starvation! Very stupid!

  5. Robin Cross-Carpenter

    Denise “Friend” is no friend to humans and has shown her true colours by attacking girls in a masked mob because the girls happened to work at a second hand shop that had old fur in their inventory. Of course she will support this kind of action because that’s exactly what she does.

    • Ah, just the sort of combination of schoolyard bully and holier-than-though pretensions that we’ve come to expect from animal rights extremists.

      • Down with peta and the ALF! Up with sane people!
        People Eating Tasty Animals: Stupid rotten bullies for animals since 1980

  6. The comments by animal rights supporters above do nothing more than make the author’s point. Effectively, they argue that a sense moral righteousness is sufficient to justify the use of violence. The 99% of society that disagrees with such view should not let these handful of zealots dictate the shape of public debate, let alone define what we, as a society, find acceptable or not in our advancement of science and the arts.

  7. Don't want death threats or anything (Anonymous)

    Wishing people ‘ill’ and hating on them is the exact opposite of what you’re trying to do (I would assume!). Aren’t animal activists spreading LOVE, the LOVE for animals? The LOVE for all creatures? If you love animals and hate people you’re doing it wrong. Spread awareness with LOVE.

    I am neither a scientist nor an animal rights activist – but I can tell you that both sides are in the wrong for believing that the hatred of any creature is okay. LOVE is the answer. It has been all along. How can animal activists say they love animals and then try to destroy these people’s lives? How can scientists say they love humans, then torture innocent creatures just because they deem them ‘below us?’

    Loving animals is easy. They are innocent, cannot protest, and when they do ‘wrong’ you can attribute it to their lower intelligence, or some other outside factor that is not inherent in their character. Loving your fellow man is what’s difficult. Loving these scientists, wishing them well, and trying to change their ways with LOVE is difficult.

    It’s easy to scream and hate and burn and maim. It’s hard to love, accept, and persevere in your ideals without the use of violence or hatred. How dare they quote MLK and Ghandi, people who said VERY CLEARLY that the answer is love, not hate???

    If you think this behavior is okay, you are NO BETTER than the scientists who use animals for study. In fact, you’re WORSE, because you let their actions destroy your love and ‘force’ you to retaliate in return.

    People fighting for animals are (supposed to be!) full of love… That’s why they do it. This is not love. This is terrorism. Terrorism is the opposite of love. Terrorism is hatred and ignorance. People who do this completely diminish their cause. We all know it’s true. How many of us respect Islam because of 9/11? Didn’t think so. How many of us respect Islam IN SPITE of 9/11???

    So many have said this, yet so many continue to hate… I can only hope that one day people let the love in Let it in! It’s waiting for you! Love all of the terrible people. LOVE all of the jerks around us!!! Because it all starts with you. You love, those around you begin to love, eventually the whole world will love…

    I hope this posts makes this small group of people at least consider what I’m saying… It’s been said since the beginning of time. Most of us saying it become martyrs, because people don’t want to love. They don’t want to open their hearts. They want to hate… I hope those of you smart enough to read an article about these issues will one day see that the answer is simple… Do all things with love, and everything will fall into place.

    Thanks for reading, and I’m sending so much love your way! Love to this family, love to the readers, love to the ALF, love to the scientists at UCLA who work hard every day.

    • Firstly, it is not necessary to ‘love’ non-human animals in order to award them the right to not be tortured and killed for (dubious) human benefit.
      Non-human animals have the ability to suffer just as much as humans, which should be reason enough that we do not use them as expendable research tools.
      I suggest you take your ‘love’ philosophy to David Jentsch who certainly does not show any love, compassion or respect to the sentient beings that he tortures and kills.

    • Your comment ignores the existence of a real moral dilemma. Yes, love is all good. And yet, to ignore the plight of our patients when we know that we have the ability to fight disease by means of scientific research, can hardly be called love. Ask the patients and their families.

  8. If this woman truly has nothing to do with animal torture then I’m sure no animal rights advocate would condone what happened to her. However, when I was a child I thought the evil scientist was the stuff of dark and sinister fiction. But the evil scientist is alive and well and torturing millions of helpless, innocent beings. And for what? To investigate the over-eating of stupid, selfish, greedy humans? Is this what Goran Lacan does everyday at work? These monster “scientists” are the real terrorists. They terrorise sentient beings who can’t fight back. When America bombed the Vietnamese, at least they could fight back. Why doesn’t Lacan use himself to experiment on? At least that science would be “human relevant” instead of monkey relevant. He is so obviously a sadist who enjoys listening to the screams of these poor monkeys. I wish him nothing but ill and hope that his dreams become nightmares.

    • Gordan Lacan is a very accomplished neuroscientist, who has done some excellent research on neurological disorders and addiction, though given the tendency of animal rights groups to misrepresent addiction research, I’m not surprised that they chose to target him http://www.nature.com/news/animal-farm-1.14660

      Your “evil scientist” is a creature of your imagination, and the fiction of animal rights groups, a fiction that fueled the actions of the terrorists who firebombed vehicles and homes of UCLA scientists and their neighbors.

      Your attitude disgusts me.

  9. People who go to work every day and torture sentient beings are extreme.
    Weird that vivisectors have pets, I am sure they profess to ‘love’ them but are incapable of showing empathy or compassion towards animals suffering at their hands.

    • You’re apparently so engulfed in hatred that you’ve failed to notice that this family weren’t medical researchers. But I guess that doesn’t matter to you since they were unlucky casualties of a war against science.

      Looking at your publicly visible facebook profile it’s clear that you are proud of the fact that you are a political extremist. From that I conclude that it would be pointless to reason with you, people cannot be reasoned out of positions they’ve never been reasoned into in the first place.

      Thankfully policy (including that on the use of animals in experimental science) is decided by adults who are able to weigh up competing ethical dilemnas. Not by people from a vocal and violent minority who haven’t matured from a teenage mentality, have absolutist stances on complex issues and think violence is the solution when they do not get their way. I hope you seek some counselling to address your maturity and anger issues before you do something stupid and land yourself in prison. Where other people who think violence is the solution to their problems end up.

  10. No one should live in fear for any reason. It is not a healthy way to live. I am sorry you feel unable to share with anyone who you are due to fear. I can’t image what that early morning was like for you and I am thankful for your neighbors fast action. I can’t begin to repair any damage they have done but I can promise that I will do everything I can to make sure this violence stops. No problem is solved by violence. Ever. I wish you, your family, pets and friends and your neighbors peace.

  11. Juan Carlos Marvizon

    I know this family. The teenage daughter was an occasional babysitter for my daughter at the time this happened. I also know children who are growing up in fear of animal right activists because of their demonstrations and violent actions against their neighbor scientists. The animal right activists are “educating the neighbors” all right, only not in the direction that they hope.

  12. Reblogged this on unlikelyactivist and commented:

    One of the sad truths of the ALF campaign against UCLA scientists is the fact that so many bystanders completely unrelated to UCLA were caught in the crosshairs. The violence and hatred of animal rights groups was so diffuse and misdirected that they repeatedly risked harming bystanders. This post was written by an individual who just happened to get caught in between the ALF and a UCLA researcher.