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Animal rights activists and their death fetishes

Long before I became the target of animal rights activists myself, I heard stories of the anger, hatred and threats of which they are capable. I had not experienced any of it directly, so I was able to intellectualize it, but not “feel” it. This may be a problem for many of you reading this blog who have never yourself been the victim of this kind of rabid behavior.

Animal rights activists claim to the be the defenders of justice, equality and decency, yet what really seems to stoke the passion of some of them is the attack itself. The glee they take in attempting to beat down other human beings that hold a different philosophy is unmissable.

PastedGraphic-2(2)Of course, my first personal experience with their violence was the bombing of my car in 2009. There are some who claim in the animal rights movement who claim that the bombing was a staged, hoax on my part (demonstrating just how out of touch with reality a good number of them are). There are others who claim that attacking a car is a non-violent crime and that no people were actually hurt in this action. Putting aside the fact that inflicting mental and emotional injury is an act even more evil, in some cases, than inflicting physical harm, there is a more basic fact. The only reason that people were not hurt that morning is because I prevented it. They set my car on fire in the middle of a populated fire-hazard zone. There is every reason to believe that they knew that homes would likely burn in the subsequent fire, and it’s only the quick actions of myself and the fire brigade that prevented that.

Many people, both AR extremists and scientists alike, believe that this level of hatefulness is the product of a very small number of terrorists. What this point of view misses is that there is a larger crowd that is more than willing to use occasions like this to fulfill their fetishes with death.

Two things surprised me in the period following the bombing of my car: 1) just how evil many animal rights activists are and 2) just how many of them are willing to engage in this death-threat fetish online. It’s not a “few”. It’s hundreds upon hundreds, as many who have been the targets of these internet campaigns realize.

Case in point: just over a month after my car was bombed, I received the following note. It would come to be a primer on the fantasies with death so many animal rights extremists have.

Lettter

In the fall of 2010, I would open a plain envelope that had arrived in the mail, and razor blades would spill out. In the accompanying note, the writer graphically describes her fantasy with stalking me at night and sneaking up behind me and cutting my throat. The note had an almost erotic taint to it, revealing the intense pleasure the author took with putting these words and images on a page.

razors

For all these reasons, I no longer feel and shock or surprise when I read about a new case of death threats hurled by animal rights activists at almost anyone in the public who fails to share their philosophy. A recent story highlights what happens when a family is first the victim of a wolf-attack that kills their young horse and nearly kills their dogs and is second the victim of animal rights activists who consider the family responsible for threats against the wolves.

Some of the extremists made threats against the family, against people who were trying to locate the wolf in question and against lawmakers in the state where this occurred. One of the individuals who made such comments was quoted in the story:

They also don’t even know the difference between an actual threat and a remark just wanting ill-will to befall them. Which just goes to show how incredibly ignorant these people are.

His point? He’s not threatening anyone! He’s just wishing death would occur, happen-stance like!

Which just goes to show how incredibly evil these animal-rights people are.

What is clear enough is that there are a really sizable number of animal rights activists who seems to take more pleasure in hurling threats and in eroticizing death than in actually protecting animals. This adds to the weight of evidence that suggests that deep psychopathology is at the root of a lot of pro-animal rights behaviors.

Whether you support biomedical research involving animals or not, one thing is clear. We should all condemn the misanthropic and hateful behavior of what amounts to a quite large number of animal rights extremists. Only then can we find a pathway to a meaningful dialogue on the human-animal relationship.

Gary Francione: “I don’t believe in vaccinations”

It’s a great thing that many anti-science kooks like Gary Francione don’t have children…. If they did, it’s their children who would be paying the price. Of course, their opposition to humane and responsible biomedical research means they want your children to pay the price instead.

Speaking of Research

We previously discussed the anti-vaccination stance of a member of the animal rights group “Progress for Science”.  The fact that this individual prefers oregano oil, ginger, garlic, and other herbs over vaccines did not come as a surprise.  We have  already noted the strong similarities between the arguments espoused by the anti-vaccination and animal rights groups.  But you may be asking yourself — just how prevalent is the view among animal rights activists? It turns out the position can be traced all the way up to prominent academics, such a Professor Gary Francione:

Yes, you heard right (play it again if in doubt) — Rutgers Law Professor Gary Francione does not believe in vaccinations. He is not alone.  The exuberant applause he receives comes from animal rights supporters in the audience, and you can easily judge there are no shortage of them.

How could this be? You would think that…

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Animal rights activist + gallstones = hypocrite-in-chief

A post on the Speaking of Research site recently gave direct evidence in support of what most of us already know: that many animal rights activists that are fighting to end biomedical research are flaming hypocrites that will set aside their values when their health is on the line.

Case in point: Sarah Jane Hardt, a professional photographer who takes glamor shots of toddlers by day and who torments and harasses UCLA researchers in her spare time.

sjh

Ms. Hardt recently became ill (gallstones), and when the discomfort became too much for her, she put all her beliefs about the failures and unethical nature of animal research to the side and went to a doctor. There, she received a surgery first conceived of and perfected on animals. Afterwards, she received pain killers that work on a mechanism first identified in rodents and that were safety and efficacy tested on animals before being sold on the market. By all accounts, her health has improved – she showed up to harass me during a demonstration at my own home earlier this week. Accepting the benefits of biomedical research on animals hasn’t slowed her down. It’s amazing what a little cognitive dissonance can do!

When her hypocrisy was exposed on the SR blog, she showed up and posted a long, rambling, semi-coherent and vulgar response. Though it was appropriately deleted from the website for its threatening and obscene nature, I copied it in full below.

Let’s take a look at some of her statements in more detail. I believe it’s instructive in as much as it shows just how out of touch with reality these Progress for Science activists really are.

I would like to respond to the online commentary regarding my private life and postings on Facebook, which I might add, are verging on virtual stalking and a violation of my privacy. Your bravado is nothing but a facade of cowardly behavior and bullying, thinly veiling a man of subpar character and self-loathing.

Now, let’s take an objective eye here. Which pattern of behavior is more likely to be “stalking” in the common sense of the word:

  1. Repeated visits to a personal home, culminating in shrieking, insults and threats. Persistent harassment. Photo surveillance of private homes. Lying openly about an individual to damage their character.
  2. Reading someone’s Facebook when it has no privacy settings and is open to the entire world.

If you answered “1”, them it’s actually Ms. Hardt who is the stalker. The pattern of behavior of the group to which she swears allegiance is more than clear.

As for who is the bully: just who is it that is trying to use force, coercion and (in some cases) illegal tactics to compel researchers to stop their humane and responsible work? It’s Ms. Hardt and her cronies. They are the bullies.

From a psychoanalytic perspective, Ms. Hardt is experiencing a combination of splitting and projection: namely, she is defending her own fragile ego by seeing her worst qualities in others. But, her own psychological defenses don’t change reality. The reality is that she is every bit the hate monger that she sees in others.

Ms. Hardt goes on to explain her own medical choices:

I’m sure you are aware that all FDA pharmaceutical-grade drugs dispensed at hospitals are mandatorily tested on animals. We, the public have absolutely no choice in the matter, except to say ‘no’ to all drugs which would lead to unrestricted pain. If I were given options on non-tested pharmaceutical-grade drugs verses animal tested, I would of course choose the cruelty free option.

She openly acknowledges that she had a choice: she could have said “No” to all the drugs. But she didn’t. She said “yes”. When she said “yes”, she tipped her cards: she actually has great confidence in the benefits of animal research: so much confidence that she accepted its products willingly. In doing so, she placed her own life and her own intrinsic value above the animals she claims should have personhood and equal rights.

In closing, she notes that:

However as a sometimes spiritual, yet deeply grounded individual, I have to wonder, does Karma exist and if so, does it bite one is one’s ass?

The irony of such a statement is so thick that it’s hard to see how she could miss it. Karma did bite back. It bit her squarely in her gallbladder. After months of endless threats and harassment, she got to face the honest truth of what she was espousing when she harasses us. And she didn’t like it one bit. Instead, she immediately signed her name to the long line of people whose lives were improved by animal research.

So, Ms. Hardt, I suggest to you that a good helping of introspection is long past due for you. It’s time for you and your motley crue to step up and live the life of pain and misery you wish on others by refusing any medical treatments. It’s time for you to stop being hypocrites and to put aside your cognitive dissonance. It’s the only way to ensure that karma doesn’t come back to bite you again.

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The full text of Ms. Hardt’s comment is posted below:

To Dario Ringach, David Jentsch and their ilk,
I would like to respond to the online commentary regarding my private life and postings on Facebook, which I might add, are verging on virtual stalking and a violation of my privacy. Your bravado is nothing but a facade of cowardly behavior and bullying, thinly veiling a man of subpar character and self-loathing. However, I have to admit I am slightly flattered you singled me out, along with two other P4S supporters. As a self-professed “scientists” who “save lives”, I wonder, don’t you have better things to do? Checking out what I’m eating, who I’m dating and what memes catch my eye seem rather trivial for a person of your standing. However these online attacks reveal more about you Mr. Ringach than anyone you may write about.
You are correct; I did have my gallbladder removed. I’m so glad you were able to keep track of my daily progress, visits and pill intake. I’m sure you are aware that all FDA pharmaceutical-grade drugs dispensed at hospitals are mandatorily tested on animals. We, the public have absolutely no choice in the matter, except to say ‘no’ to all drugs which would lead to unrestricted pain. If I were given options on non-tested pharmaceutical-grade drugs verses animal tested, I would of course choose the cruelty free option. I choose not to wear animal skins, use cruelty free make-up and clean my house with “green”, cruelty free detergents. I will always exercise my right to choose cruelty free products WHEN GIVEN THE OPTION. However thanks to big government, big pharmaceutical and a myriad of other corrupt factors, there are no pharmaceutical-grade, non-animal tested choices – and you are perfectly aware of that. You should note that I rejected the pre-surgery drug Heparin, as it is derived from pigs and as a healthy, active vegan I did not see it as necessary. Where I can evoke my right of choice, I do.
You wrote, “Another commonly held view among animal rights activists is that one’s diet is the source of all maladies and that a vegan diet is an effective remedy to many of them … But disease, it turns out, can strike at any point in time, in ways you cannot anticipate or prevent.”
*** If you firmly believe that disease is random, unpreventable and unpredictable why test or research, let alone on animals? If it’s merely one big crap shoot, why don’t you quit and do something else less sadistic with your life then defend this hypocrisy? YOU ARE A WALKING CONTRADICTION OF BULLSHIT Mr. Ringach. ***
And to denounce the insurmountable evidence that a vegan diet is healthier than a Western diet containing flesh and animal products, is simply perverse and delusional. I have attached a link from today’s Huffington post which you may find interesting as a researcher. It is packed full of peer reviewed, scientific data which all unequivocally point to a vegan diet being better for one’s health than a Western diet: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kathy-freston/vegan-diet-cancer_b_2250052.html
Your methods are outdated, lack imagination and are deeply rooted in grant money allocation. Basically the NIH and private supporters like Phillip Morris line your pockets. Advanced, forward thinking doctors like Ray Greek, President of Americans For Medical Advancement, not only dispel your ideology, he kicks your antiquated belief system out the park.
“… Animals, because they have different evolutionary histories complete with differences in gene regulation and expression cannot predict responses for a different species, in this case humans. The same is true of using animals to study human diseases. There is an assumption that if scientists ascertain how HIV enters the white blood cell of a monkey then they have also learned how it enters the white blood cell of a human. Again, this is demonstrably false. So, what we are left with is the fact that society is using animals for drug testing and disease research thinking the animal models are predictive for humans when in fact they are not … Basically the animal-testing Emperor has no clothes.” ~ Dr. Ray Greek.
For those reading this response, you may also find more of Doctor Ray Greek’s research in the following scientific, medically founded journals:
– “Medical Research with Animals.” Animal Rights And Animal Welfare. Volume 2. 2nd edition. Bekoff, M (Ed.). Greenwood Press. 2010.
– Shanks, N and Greek R. “Animal Models in Light of Evolution”. BrownWalker 2009.
– Greek, R and Shanks, N. “FAQs About the Use of Animals in Science. A handbook for the scientifically perplexed.” University Press of America. 2009.
– Shanks N, Greek R, Greek J. “Are animal models predictive for humans?” Philos Ethics Humanit Med. 2009 Jan 15;4(1):2. (http://www.peh-med.com/content/pdf/1747-5341-4-2.pdf
http://antidote-europe.org/en/ray-greek-on-medical-research/
Dario Ringach, while you continue to espouse your lies and idiotic rhetoric that “we” are extremists, uneducated, unknowledgeable perhaps you can at least pay respect to doctors in your field such as Dr Greek and Dr. Richard Klausner, Director of the National Cancer Institute who said “The history of cancer research has been a history of curing cancer in the mouse. We have cured mice of cancer for decades and it simply doesn’t work in humans.”
And your hyperbole of our disregard for the well-being of your children and grandchildren is nothing more than propaganda playing at the heart strings of easily duped listeners, who are victims of your lies as the animals you exploit. Ph. D Robert Sharpe said “The real choice is not between dogs and children, it is between good science and bad science; between methods that directly relate to humans and those that do not.”
And lastly once and for all, we did not fire bomb your car. Don’t be so petty and ridiculous. Progress for Science is a peaceful, compassionate group who would not comprehend nor facilitate such vandalism. However as a sometimes spiritual, yet deeply grounded individual, I have to wonder, does Karma exist and if so, does it bite one is one’s ass?
For the monkeys and other voiceless innocent animals you torture for the sake of the almighty dollar which waters your green lawns and allows for bathroom extensions, cruises and nice cars, I honestly hope so.

The Science and Medicine of “Progress for Science”

Progress for Science is a big steaming bag of hypocrisy.

Speaking of Research

The animal rights group “Progress for Science” (P4S) made one more appearance last night to harass a UCLA professor at his home. Don’t let their name fool you .  The consequences of P4S’s advocacy are backwardness and regression.  To advocate for science you must be familiar with it;  to advocate for progress you must understand medical history.  But it does not take much digging to discover just how detached from facts and science their beliefs really are.  Take for example their views on vaccinations:

Amy Nicole

There is absolutely nothing progressive or pro-science about being anti-vaccination. Those who, despite the evidence, continue to advocate against childhood vaccinations are nothing short of a public health hazard who have directly contributed to a rise in avoidable disease and death in our state and elsewhere.  Such groups are not pro-science.  Instead, they have the features of a cult.  

Another commonly held view…

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Primatologist Group Condemns Progress for Science’s Actions

The American Society of Primatologists is a scientific and educational organization whose membership includes many of the most distinguished primatologists in the world. These individuals have backgrounds in field research, primate ecology, behavior and preservation, zoological parks and biomedical and psychobiological research. Their collective voice represents the most powerful point of view from the primatological community on issues of non-human primate welfare, care and maintenance.

It should be noted that, despite their diverse backgrounds and individual perspectives on the involvement of non-human primates in research, this organization has been forceful in condemning the tactics of animal rights activists who use terror and threats to end the work. This organization has taken a strong position twice in the past in response to the attacks perpetrated by the animal rights extremist community against biomedical researchers (here and here).

In response to the activities of a Los Angeles animal rights groups, which has including terroristic threats, depraved home demonstrations and endless lies and misinformation, this group has come forwards to again urge the end to the use of these tactics to end the involvement of non-human primates in biomedical and behavioral research. Their statement (found here) is quoted below:

The American Society of Primatologists supports the humane and ethical use of nonhuman primates in research, including biomedical research, and has made strong statements to this effect in the past (https://www.asp.org/society/ ). As a scientific society with a strong educational mission, the American Society of Primatologists applauds and supports efforts to educate the public about scientific research, rational discussion about the value of, and ethics associated with, animal research, and attempts to foster humane animal research. Recently, the research community and its supporters at UCLA have taken pro-active steps to address the violence that has been directed at them by radical groups that resort to unlawful means or violence under the pretense of animal protection. We believe that harassment of scientists in their homes and destruction of property is reprehensible and does nothing to contribute to science, animal welfare, or serious dialogue about animal research. Thus, we support those at UCLA who have bravely chosen to stand against these tactics and to continue the research that serves the public’s interest in medical and scientific progress. More broadly, we again affirm our opposition to the use of violence and affirm our support for scientists and their staff and students everywhere who are the targets of violence, harassment, and intentional misrepresentation of their work.

I want to personally thank the primatologists at ASP for their voice of support in this difficult time. They make it clear the tactics being used by extremists in Los Angeles and elsewhere are never acceptable and do not serve the cause of furthering the welfare and care of non-human primates.

Zerhouni Sets the Record Straight on Animal Research

A common AR claim, that a former NIH Director disputes the value of animal research, is undone….

Speaking of Research

On June 4th 2013, Elias Zerhouni, a former Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) made some comments at a Scientific Management and Review Board (SMRB) meeting that were reported in NIH Record as follows:

“We have moved away from studying human disease in humans,” he lamented. “We all drank the Kool-Aid on that one, me included.” With the ability to knock in or knock out any gene in a mouse—which “can’t sue us,” Zerhouni quipped—researchers have over-relied on animal data. “The problem is that it hasn’t worked, and it’s time we stopped dancing around the problem…We need to refocus and adapt new methodologies for use in humans to understand disease biology in humans.”

This comment has been used by many animal rights activists to claim that animal research does not work. Here is a selection (many more examples exist):

Zerhouni animal research doesn't workHow much of this comes down to Zerhouni playing…

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

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.

Speaking of Research


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. 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

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Insecure bullies never like resistance

What do you call school-yard bullies who gets endless glee and pleasure from tormenting others but who run to the school teacher for protection when someone finally stands up and pushes back?

You might call them insecure, infantile, ignorant, sociopathic and cowardly.

You could also call them “Progress for Science“.

For literally years, these people have been marching in the streets in front of our homes. There is no limit to how hateful and arrogant they have been. They have called me a “cocksucking pervert” and “pedophile”. They have called people I love “hookers” and “fags”. They have never hesitated to pull out anti-gay and anti-Semite epithets. They have no decency at all. The following video was shot at my house in the fall of 2013. After rattling the gate to try to get in, they proceeded to shout for an hour in the street.

So, the fact that they now want sympathy because researchers shouted back for 45 min is ironic indeed.

Let’s recall the facts.

We didn’t come looking for them. They came to my colleague’s house looking to torment her. All we did is get in the way. They could have left at any time if they didn’t like the attention.

They have threatened, harassed and tormented people for years, and their victims weren’t just researchers. In the following clip, Progress for Science taunted the neighbor of a UCLA researcher who was afraid to remove her baby from her car while they were screaming. We didn’t take this video and post it online. They did – because they were proud of what they did. That’s how insane they really are.

They have openly stated their intention to make researchers as uncomfortable as possible. So, should we feel sorry that they were made to feel uncomfortable for a few minutes on a sunny afternoon? Not a chance.

And we welcome the opportunity to defend our colleagues and her neighbors again on February 15. Join us to stand up for reason and civility in Westwood.

We scientists are the true activists

On a cold spring morning in 2009, someone stole into my front yard at 4 a.m. and placed a sophisticated incendiary device under my car; the explosion occurred fewer than 10 feet from where members of my household were sleeping. Before the flash of the initial detonation was even over, my car was engulfed in flames, and the fire had begun to spread into the surrounding brush — placing hundreds of West LA homes at potential risk; I watched the sun rise from the front room of a home that had become the site of a domestic terrorism investigation.

By now, many people in our community are aware of the reasons that this happened. I — like hundreds of other faculty, students and staff at UCLA — am a scientist who studies the biology and behavior of mice, rats or monkeys in my quest to better understand how the brain works. Because of this, I have been targeted by animal rights activists who likely followed me home from campus, stalked me and my loved ones in the dead of night, and then bombed my car.

The human brain is arguably the most complex mechanism — artificial or natural — known to us; we marvel at its remarkable functions and are perplexed by the profound disabilities that can occur when it fails. We now know, in part because of my own research, that there are circuits in the brain that must function properly for people to inhibit socially-inappropriate behaviors such as taking a drug of abuse, harming others and failing to comply with teacher’s instructions in class. Notably, these circuits are compromised in persons with behavior addictions or other problems we call “impulse control disorders.” My goal is to understand why this neural deficit occurs in order to propose new treatments that will allow people to better resist engaging in harmful behaviors. Because of animal research, I think the future holds great promise.

Though my choice to become a scientist was driven by empathy for those that are affected by these conditions, I — like many other biomedical researchers — have been accused of undertaking the work that we do because of a violent lust for blood or money or both. We are labeled as “abusers” because we involve animals in our scientific studies. Beyond referring to our work as violent (a gross distortion of the truth), they claim that it is futile — with no real improvements in human health emerging from animal research (despite decades of evidence to the contrary). Individuals with little knowledge of our work make characterizations that are profoundly false; they are either poorly informed or are attempting to intentionally mislead others.

I know that they are wrong because I walk the hallways and sidewalks of UCLA almost every day. I am witness to literally thousands of undergraduate and graduate students, staff members and faculty who have given their lives over to scientific inquiry in order to enhance the knowledge and welfare of the human race. They search for cures to cancer and HIV/AIDS; they investigate the basic building blocks of life so that others can use that information to build treatments for emerging diseases; sometimes, they even study animals for the sake of the animal itself. These scientists are good people, struggling to improve the world the best way that they can. They are your sons and daughters, your husbands and wives, your friends and lovers, your teachers and colleagues; they are also sometimes strangers to you.

Please join us in support of science and scientists at 10:15 a.m. Saturday, February 15, 2014, outside Franz Hall on the UCLA campus (near the intersection of Hilgard and Westholme Blvds). We will gather to show the broader community, as well as the activists that would do us harm, that attempts by animal rights activists to evoke terror will only breed solidarity, resilience and commitment to our duties as researchers. We will stand up for science and against the anti-animal research voices that would seek to forestall advancements in health and welfare of humans and animals alike.

Standing up for what is right in a civil way is the privilege of everyone in our society. We invite members of the Southern California communities who support humane, life-saving and effective biomedical research involving animals to Pro-test for Science and for the scientists who have contributed positively to the lives of everyone.