Author: has written 5281 posts for this blog.

Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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179 Responses

  1. Vanessa
    Vanessa June 9, 2009 at 2:12 pm |

    I wouldn’t put radical animal rights activsts in the same league as radical anti-choicers

    Really? I might. It seems to me, after years of seeing stuff like this in the blogosphere in general (and Elaine herself specifically), like these things aren’t on a linear spectrum so much as a circular one, where eventually it goes back to zero and the radical left and radical right are at the same sexist, racist, ableist, ageist spot over and over again.

  2. Eghead
    Eghead June 9, 2009 at 2:16 pm |

    Dear Jill,

    Please stop lumping us all in together

    Love,

    An animal rights activist and feminist

  3. Faith
    Faith June 9, 2009 at 2:25 pm |

    I wouldn’t put radical animal rights activsts in the same league as radical anti-choicers

    I would too. Ditto everything Vanessa said. I also wouldn’t call them animal rights activists so much as extremists. Ingrid Newkirk, president of PeTA noted that if a cure for HIV was found using animal testing, they’d be against it. Despite the fact that she’s an insulin-using hypocrite.

    Frankly if it’s between me and the mouse, the mouse loses.

  4. Marle
    Marle June 9, 2009 at 2:34 pm |

    I’m against animal testing, but I don’t have a problem with the bill. Posting people’s names and addresses on the internet with the hopes that someone will harass them (or worse)? Not cool.

  5. FashionablyEvil
    FashionablyEvil June 9, 2009 at 2:36 pm |

    just because you have the right to do something doesn’t mean that you should do it

    This was one of the things that I found to be most infuriating about the interviews with anti-choicers that I kept seeing in the wake of Tiller’s murders: people were defending the stalking and harassment as though the fact that it was legal somehow made it moral and ethical.

    Also, Eghead, if you read Jill’s post, she doesn’t lump animal rights activists and feminists together: I wouldn’t put radical animal rights activsts in the same league as radical anti-choicers, but a few of them seem to be pushing it. [emphasis added]

  6. Jennifurret
    Jennifurret June 9, 2009 at 2:39 pm |

    Oh animal rights extremists. When you’re calling basic scientific research that will advance human knowledge and medicine “demented,” “useless,” and “uneccessary,” you obviously have no idea what you’re talking about.

  7. John Cain
    John Cain June 9, 2009 at 2:44 pm |

    Last year, animal rights extremists firebombed a scientist’s house. I think the comparison to anti-choice extremists is apt.

  8. j
    j June 9, 2009 at 2:44 pm |

    The campaign against Huntington Life Sciences is successful BECAUSE addresses were available. Countless companies dropped their support for them because of home demonstrations. It was not violent. It was effective.

    What’s next, condemning Anti-Racist Action for streetfighting with Neo-nazis because it’s violent? Hell, even clinic defense sometimes violates the self-righteous morality you seem to have toward activism…should we decry that too? Just because something challenges your set notions of pacifism and veneration of “law” doesn’t mean it will change a thing. The problem with the anti-choice movement isn’t their tactics, it is the beliefs behind them that seek to oppress others.

  9. William
    William June 9, 2009 at 3:03 pm |

    Really, if you think about it, the animal rights extremists really only have two options. Either they’re publishing information for the sake of criminal stalking, harassment, and violence like the forced birth lobby, or they’re publishing information for the purpose of lower level stalking and harassment like Anonymous. When your choice for moral peerage is between Operation Rescue and the asshole of the internet, perhaps its time to reevaluate.

  10. Marle
    Marle June 9, 2009 at 3:04 pm |

    Frankly if it’s between me and the mouse, the mouse loses.

    It’s usually not between you and a mouse. It’s usually thousands of mice, and maybe the tests lead to a useful drug, which might get FDA approval, which might then be determined to give some people strokes and have to be withdrawn. Computer simulations have gotten to the point where we can use those instead, and I think we should.

    Of course, I wish it would go without saying that I think this should be discussed among rational people, as opposed to say, firebombing buildings. :(

  11. TeriSaw
    TeriSaw June 9, 2009 at 3:09 pm |

    Jennifurret, I think I get the gist of what you are saying but I want to point out that there is a real issue with “advancing human knowledge” being the end-all-be-all criteria for experimentation as it has been used int he past to justify experimentation on people too. Scientific ethics need to come into play and consider whether an experiment is actually beneficial. Additionally I believe, and this is me speaking for me, that it shoud then be weighed against pain and suffering.

  12. Kristin
    Kristin June 9, 2009 at 3:10 pm |

    Her excuses are ridiculous – you can always send certified mail and conduct protests at the labs and universities where this research takes place if you find it objectionable.

    There is absolutely ZERO difference between what she’s doing and anti-choicers who publish the same information hoping for violence to occur. ZERO.

  13. Alicia
    Alicia June 9, 2009 at 3:15 pm |

    Marlie but its not just one person against thousands of mice either. Its hundreds of thousands of people, sometimes hundreds of millions of people against thousands of mice. I’m against superfluous and cruel animal testing too but when it comes to making medicine computer simulations just aren’t going to cut it when these drugs need to be administered to sick people.

  14. Vanessa
    Vanessa June 9, 2009 at 3:19 pm |

    hey cross a serious line when they start publishing personal information, like home addresses.

    Not to mention it gives no thought to other people who might live at those addresses, like children, spouses and neighbors who did nothing to “deserve” harassment of that nature.

  15. SeanTheSean
    SeanTheSean June 9, 2009 at 3:23 pm |

    I’m always baffled by animal-rights activists who claim that animal experimentation is ineffective. If it were, why would scientists do it? Do the activists think scientists enjoy hurting animals so much they’re willing to submit to huge and onerous ethics regulations in order to do it? The scientific and medical consensus is still that animal experimentation is an invaluable source of information.

  16. shah8
    shah8 June 9, 2009 at 3:27 pm |

    Animal rights activist (not talking about the sane people mkay thx) and anti-choice activist acts similarly because they derive a source of power that is similar to the religious charlatans. They speak for entities that can’t involve themselves in the discussion.

    Thus, no talking back, no embarrasments like what has happened to many an abolitionist and many other activist people. There is a culture of caution/respect for norms built up from history of contradictory inputs from the people being acted on. This is not so from God, fetuses, or your family puppy…

    No puppies will be horrified at what PETA does in its name.

  17. John Cain
    John Cain June 9, 2009 at 3:31 pm |

    Computer simulations have gotten to the point where we can use those instead, and I think we should.

    Animal rights activists say this a lot, but it’s so far from the truth it’s laughable. Computers aren’t magic, and if we had a computer model advanced enough to accurately predict responses to various drugs/disease/what have you, it would mean we already know everything about biology, which we don’t. There is always going to be something we don’t know, which means there will never be a computer model sufficient enough.

    I know it’s easier to believe that scientists are sadists who love to kick puppies and only use animals in their research because they like hurting animals. Unfortunately, that’s not at all true.

  18. Jennifurret
    Jennifurret June 9, 2009 at 3:36 pm |

    TeriShaw, I completely 100% agree with you. The thing is, there are plenty of ethics boards and regulations that scientists go through in order to do this sort of research. Like SeanTheSean said, scientists aren’t just weird sadists that like hurting poor furry little animals. We do whatever we can to minimize the amount of suffering animals go through.

    And Marle, once computer simulations actually do work so well that we won’t need animal testing, we won’t use animal testing. But right now they don’t, and animal testing is an invaluable source of information.

  19. shah8
    shah8 June 9, 2009 at 3:39 pm |

    Computers are only barely sufficient for nuke testing, and biology is about an order or two more difficult to model.

    Most of medicine, especially as you go towards ideas and processes invented closer to the now are almost completely computer assisted intuition, and intuition is nothing like rigorous. It just sort of works, and we usually have *very* limited understanding what the drug or method is *really* doing. Hence testing on other biological organisms.

    And oh hey, I like modern medicine. This world is fucking cruel, and ultimately, lab animals are just another kind of game that helps sustain our lives. The best thing we can do is to be ethical in our *pattern* of usage, and not *whether*.

    Corrante’s blog is interesting, for those of you who are actually curious about the pharm world. Not much comment on animal testing, but plenty on just how hard this field is…

  20. Lillet
    Lillet June 9, 2009 at 3:42 pm |

    “I wouldn’t put radical animal rights activsts in the same league as radical anti-choicers”

    As a vegan I wouldn’t put animal-rights activists in this category either, as fundamentally, animal rights activists believe that all living, sentient beings own their own bodies and should not be considered property or for use by other beings. The forced-birth movement does not believe women have sovereignty over their bodies and that they are lesser persons than fetuses. The large majority of animal rights activists are vehemently non-violent in principle, and serious advocates such as Gary Francione make this perfectly clear.

  21. shah8
    shah8 June 9, 2009 at 3:52 pm |

    offtopic:
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/31190049/

    I do keep an eye on acid attacks as a spreading phenomenon…

  22. Entomologista
    Entomologista June 9, 2009 at 3:56 pm |

    I work with insects, which is a group of animals that animal rights activists usually don’t care about. It’s unlikely the parasitologists of the world will be firebombed any time soon, for example. But being a scientist I know a lot of other scientists who do work with vertebrates. This is somewhat alarming news. Hopefully the police have been informed.

    For the record, if a test is being done it is necessary. Grant money doesn’t just magically appear, so we aren’t going to waste time and resources on things that aren’t necessary. Maybe it doesn’t seem necessary to YOU, but if you’re not a scientist, you’re not a good judge of what’s necessary. Seriously, you must think we are allowed to do whatever we want and are not subject to the scrutiny of ethics boards. You all watch too many bad movies on the sci-fi channel.

  23. William
    William June 9, 2009 at 4:31 pm |

    Seriously, you must think we are allowed to do whatever we want and are not subject to the scrutiny of ethics boards.

    Recently I submitted my dissertation to an IRB/ethics board. Its purely theoretical, uses no human or animal subjects, and focuses on the ethical principle of autonomy in clinical psychology. The amount of paperwork required? A fifteen hour training and close to thirty pages of applications tacked onto the end of a doctoral program. It would have been easily three times that had the study used human subjects, even if there was no chance of harm.

    I don’t think most people realize the kinds of hoops one has to jump through to do research.

  24. Elaine Vigneault
    Elaine Vigneault June 9, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  25. mariko
    mariko June 9, 2009 at 4:33 pm |

    I challenge every one of these animal rights extremists to enroll in a graduate program and get to work on designing these magical computer-simulated organisms they think ought to exist, or performing experiments entirely in cell culture without using any animal-derived reagents whatsoever.

    They’ll discover very quickly that the problems we scientists face are enormously complex and that, at this point in history, there are simply no alternatives to animal experimentation. While we should work towards the day when we no longer have to rely on animals to gain scientific knowledge (and many of us are — biology is increasingly becoming a quantitative/computational field), we just aren’t there yet. Not even close.

    I’m a vegan and a scientist that supports animal research, and I see no conflict between these two choices, provided that the research in question is valuable, minimizes the number of animals used, and takes great steps to limit the suffering and discomfort for the animals involved. Even Singer says if it came down to rescuing a dog or a human from a burning building, he’d save the human. I feel the same logic applies here.

  26. Cara
    Cara June 9, 2009 at 4:34 pm |

    Thanks for calling this out, Jill. Just when you think some people can’t sink any lower. God.

  27. Elaine Vigneault
    Elaine Vigneault June 9, 2009 at 4:44 pm |

    Get your facts straight. Anti-choicers didn’t invent these tactics. They’re tried and true tactics that produce results, which is why they’re used by a variety of activists. It’s insulting and ignorant to assume AR people copied anti-choicers. Get real.

    Moreover, I’m personally offended that you chose not to quote me when I suggested that if people want to post addresses of animal experimenters that they should “Remind your readers to be nonviolent. Make the nonviolence message explicit and overt.”

    What is your real goal here, Jill? Are you really interested in promoting change through nonviolent activism or do you simply want to condemn animal advocates at any cost through any means?

  28. Ouyang Dan
    Ouyang Dan June 9, 2009 at 4:58 pm |

    You don’t always know if someone does in fact have a privacy/security issue with their real life home info.

    It might be within the legal rights, but it sure isn’t fucking ethical.

  29. akeeyu
    akeeyu June 9, 2009 at 5:12 pm |

    Amen. When I was pregnant and on my six or seventh OB, I Googled my doctor’s name. The first hit is a report about protesters who picketed his house, yelling and carrying pictures of dead monkeys.

    His HOUSE.

    He didn’t live there anymore, although several neighbors were annoyed and his wife showed up later to tell them that he didn’t live there anymore. The protesters still felt justified, because the house had been ‘paid for with blood money,’ and apparently marrying an OB is some sort of character flaw and deserving of harrassment?

    They also went on to publish his new work phone number and ask people to contact him there. I’m sure the receptionists appreciated that, as did the patients who were trying to get through to their doctor. Keep in mind that his office handles some of the crappiest (high risk, going badly) pregnancies in the greater Seattle area, so tying up the phone lines is a spectacularly bad idea.

    Of course, to me, publishing his WORK address (or picketing him there) would have been just as problematic, because to a patient, a doctor’s office is a fairly personal place, and somewhere you should feel safe.

    Things have fallout.

  30. abyss2hope
    abyss2hope June 9, 2009 at 5:18 pm |

    Publishing private addresses and/or phone numbers communicates a lack of ethics and a lack of respect for human life. The excuses for these practices and others including harassment, stalking and trespassing don’t hold up and they cause the person using those tactics to lose credibility.

    Stalking and personal harassment are not acts of free speech they are acts of intimidation and bullying.

    Once people adopt a “by any means” strategy to reach their specific goals then violence and even murder can too easily be justified. If a particular action, such as home harassment, is okay against someone who violates your ethical beliefs then you are making it clear that it is okay to be used against you by those who disagree with you.

  31. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub June 9, 2009 at 5:38 pm |

    Ironic. I remember when Anonymous dug up Elaine’s address (or an old address) and wanted to harass her IRL. I don’t know how much they managed to do or how accurate their info was, but I know some of the info they got on certain bloggers was quite accurate. I remember when they did that to a lot of feminist bloggers.

    No, stalking and harassing people isn’t okay. And you know, it isn’t effective. The only people who win are folks like JJ Luna and other wanna-be spooks who can tell you how to set up ghost addresses and the like.

    If it’s a company or a university doing this, contact the actual, you know, company or university. Protest there. You can either threaten and harass scientist after scientist into quitting, or you can create a big old PR problem for the company or university.

  32. j
    j June 9, 2009 at 5:39 pm |

    Jill, Anti-Racist Action (ARA) has hunted through garbage, found out where Neo-nazis live, and flyered their neighborhood with information about them. Is this tactic wrong? Had they not done this, fascists (often ones engaging in racist violence) would be able to remain undisturbed within the community. They have done the same with anti-choicers and homophobes. In addition, when racists/sexists/homophobes have marches, ARA hold counter-marches, often engaging in fights with nazis. Is this okay, or is it wrong too?

    No one has been killed by animal liberationists. The Animal Liberation Front directly opposes violence against any living thing. Equating them to people who murder abortion doctors is false.

    So no, I do not object to those sorts of tactics. If confrontation and harassment can stop violence or oppression from occurring, then so be it. Whether that violence and oppression is against humyn beings or non-humyns is irrelevant. Putting humyn needs over that of animals/ecology is speciesist and anthropocentric.

  33. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub June 9, 2009 at 5:39 pm |

    Also, if I don’t like PETA’s sexism, or if someone with a serious illness is angry about the efforts of these groups to stop the efforts to find a cure, can we publish the addresses and phone numbers of the likes of Ingrid Newkirk and Elaine? I doubt they’d be jazzed about that.

  34. Vanessa
    Vanessa June 9, 2009 at 5:46 pm |

    If confrontation and harassment can stop violence or oppression from occurring, then so be it.

    So, using your logic, is it okay to waterboard a terrorist if they wind up giving us information we want? When does confrontation and harassment turn into violence and oppression? It’s at best a blurry line, you must admit.

    Ends do not justify means. To steal a good line from Wanda Sykes, it’s like robbing a bank and then going before the judge and saying, “Yes, judge, I robbed the bank, but look at all the bills I paid!”

  35. j
    j June 9, 2009 at 5:58 pm |

    To equate State-perpetrated torture with a small group of unwashed anarchists protesting outside of an auditor’s house is absurd. I am not saying that the ends justify the means. I do not endorse just any type of action.

    Is harassment inherently wrong, or is it just because it is for non-humyns? If you heard of wimmin demonstrating outside the home of a rapist, would you react the same way? Should we not physically fight racists, sexists, or homophobes if they are attacking people of color, wimmin, or queers? No one has addressed this since I brought it up before.

  36. TeriSaw
    TeriSaw June 9, 2009 at 6:02 pm |

    I don’t know how the jump was made from my previous comment to the dismissive accusation of “all scientists are sadists” but I would like to clarify.

    Even with ethical boards there are experiments that are done, here at Berkeley where I am a student, where the immediate results to not benefit anyone. There is a sort of long term approach that at some point this knowledge will combine with further findings for this purpose. This is what I am speaking of, not all researchers.

    In response to -“Maybe it doesn’t seem necessary to YOU, but if you’re not a scientist, you’re not a good judge of what’s necessary. ” I would like to borrow a quote from one of the troll posts and ask if if you asserting your intellectual authority in this matter? There is actually an active debate in the scientific community about the tendency for people to carried away with the cult of science.

    Regardless, everyone is entitled to have opinions. Even if they aren’t intellectuals.

  37. Alderson Warm-Fork
    Alderson Warm-Fork June 9, 2009 at 6:05 pm |

    “…Despite the fact that she’s an insulin-using hypocrite.”

    This is beside the point. I don’t think anyone on this thread would have the courage (or, if I’m frank, the stupidity) to refuse a vital medicine if they found out it was developed in the Nazi’s extermination camps by experiments on humans.

    Similarly, the whole idea of ‘necessary’ animal experiments will be beside the point until we’re devoting all available resources to exhausting the non-lethal methods of saving human lives, which we are laughably far from doing.

    “Once people adopt a “by any means” strategy to reach their specific goals then violence and even murder can too easily be justified.”

    Except that everyone draws lines. In this case the line being drawn is between physical violence and harassment&bullying, in the context of the ‘other side’ using systematic lethal violence. You draw a line somewhere else.

    You presumably don’t mind hurting people’s feelings or ruining people’s careers in the name of justice. And I really hope this thread is chock-full of pacifist anarchists who don’t support having police to use force against ‘criminals’ – it’s odd how ‘the end doesn’t justify the means’ never seems to apply to those in authority.

    Not to mention that if the end really doesn’t justify the means, then animal experimentation, under any circumstances. Not even to find a cure for AIDS. And certainly nobody should be put in jail.

    Anyway.

    “If a particular action, such as home harassment, is okay against someone who violates your ethical beliefs then you are making it clear that it is okay to be used against you by those who disagree with you.”
    This I think is the main point. I think usually animal rights terrorists (I use the word because it’s an accurate description, they’re trying to create fear, not as a condemnation) do accept that their enemies will use such methods against them – indeed, will use much stronger methods (the ALF haven’t locked anyone in a cage for 5 years, have they?).

    They accept this because they accept that there’s a fight, an ongoing major violence, happening, not a genteel discussion. They think this method is effective, and they think that effectiveness is much more important than whether or not they ‘can object’ when the same methods are used back against them.

    In a nutshell, this whole liberal ‘the ends never justify the means’ line is about holding onto the right to be outraged. I don’t think that’s worth holding onto.

  38. SeanTheSean
    SeanTheSean June 9, 2009 at 6:11 pm |

    j:

    No one has been killed by animal liberationists.

    They’ve sure as hell tried. Do we wait until they successfully murder somebody before we bother to oppose them?

    Jill, Anti-Racist Action (ARA) has hunted through garbage, found out where Neo-nazis live, and flyered their neighborhood with information about them. Is this tactic wrong?

    Yes. I say this as someone active in antifascism in my own country, where extremism is on the rise. If we descend to the politics of thuggery, we lose the moral high ground, and if we lose the moral high ground, we lose everything.

  39. Vanessa
    Vanessa June 9, 2009 at 6:13 pm |

    Is harassment inherently wrong, or is it just because it is for non-humyns?

    I would think it would be clear, but yes, harassment at this level is wrong. Inherently. I would not picket the home of a rapist, since I would not be able to say for certain whether or not I would also be putting neighbors, spouses, children through undue stress or if I might even be endangering their lives. There’s a reason we have a criminal justice system, and however flawed it is, it is superior to vigilante justice. But you know, nice try at a “gotcha” question.

    People who spend their time harassing private individuals rather than trying to enact actual change for whatever cause it is they believe in are not activists for anything other than drawing attention to themselves.

  40. Alderson Warm-Fork
    Alderson Warm-Fork June 9, 2009 at 6:16 pm |

    “if we lose the moral high ground, we lose everything.”

    Wow. There it is. Right there. I couldn’t have put it better myself. I know if I were in trouble somewhere being brutalised by some state bureaucracy for whatever reason, I would be so deeply concerned that my supporters outside kept the moral high ground. Them losing it would be worse than my imminent and painful death…

  41. j
    j June 9, 2009 at 6:19 pm |

    The moral high ground is not going to end the systematic torture and murder of animals. Are we supposed to sit back and protest respectfully while this and other forms of oppression go on? Good luck combating fascists when you think outing nazis to their community is immoral.

    It is evidence of privilege to say that certain actions of more “ethical.” Pacifism often comes from a position distant from violent oppression and refuses to acknowledge the struggles of those who may not have the option of liberal protests and instead must directly confront their oppressors. Not everyone can navel gaze and wait for things to change. If violence against a neo-nazi stops them from assaulting me or people in my community, then I’m going to use it.

  42. Cara
    Cara June 9, 2009 at 6:20 pm |

    The moral high ground is not going to end the systematic torture and murder of animals. Are we supposed to sit back and protest respectfully while this and other forms of oppression go on? Good luck combating fascists when you think outing nazis to their community is immoral.

    Oh yeah, nothing like anti-choice extremists at all. It’s not like you could totally take that quote, replace “animals” with “fetuses” and never, ever realize that this quote didn’t come from Randall Terry . . .

  43. SeanTheSean
    SeanTheSean June 9, 2009 at 6:21 pm |

    I don’t know about you, Alderson, but I oppose the BNP and the National Front because they are violent thugs. I don’t see how I can justify opposing them with violent and thuggish tactics.

  44. Vanessa
    Vanessa June 9, 2009 at 6:24 pm |

    If violence against a neo-nazi stops them from assaulting me or people in my community, then I’m going to use it.

    If this line of thinking were remotely helpful in any way, then Israel would be the safest country on the face of the planet.

  45. j
    j June 9, 2009 at 6:24 pm |

    People who spend their time harassing private individuals rather than trying to enact actual change for whatever cause it is they believe in are not activists for anything other than drawing attention to themselves.

    Actually, these tactics have put HLS on the brink of collapse, so it is making a change. And considering these activists choose to remain anonymous, and have no organization or hierarchy, they can’t exactly draw attention to themselves.

  46. Alderson Warm-Fork
    Alderson Warm-Fork June 9, 2009 at 6:26 pm |

    “t’s not like you could totally take that quote, replace “animals” with “fetuses” and never, ever realize that this quote didn’t come from Randall Terry . . .”

    Yes, and if you took a military briefing or speech from the Republican armies in the Spanish civil war, replaced all the references to “dastardly fascists” with “dastardly commies” and “brave democrats” with “brave nationalists” and not realise that it wasn’t a briefing from Franco’s army.

  47. j
    j June 9, 2009 at 6:27 pm |

    If this line of thinking were remotely helpful in any way, then Israel would be the safest country on the face of the planet.

    This is me individually defending myself, not the systematic state oppression of an entire group of people based on something as arbitrary as national identity.

  48. SeanTheSean
    SeanTheSean June 9, 2009 at 6:28 pm |

    It is evidence of privilege to say that certain actions of more “ethical.”

    But isn’t your whole point that animal experimentation is ethical? If it’s illegitimate to call anything ethical or unethical, then what in blue blazes are we arguing about?

  49. Alderson Warm-Fork
    Alderson Warm-Fork June 9, 2009 at 6:28 pm |

    “I don’t know about you, Alderson, but I oppose the BNP and the National Front because they are violent thugs.”

    Good for you, I oppose them because they’re fascists.

  50. SeanTheSean
    SeanTheSean June 9, 2009 at 6:29 pm |

    Sorry, last word of my first sentence should be “unethical”, obv…

  51. catty
    catty June 9, 2009 at 6:32 pm |

    I really have to agree with Jill’s article. I don’t consider myself an animal rights activist, but I do support some of their platforms- although I have no love for PETA.

    Harassing scientists and encouraging harassment is beyond the pale.

    I’d rather see more money put into research of viable alternatives to animal testing and more practical solutions to making animal testing obsolete and less necessary.

  52. Alderson Warm-Fork
    Alderson Warm-Fork June 9, 2009 at 6:35 pm |

    “It is evidence of privilege to say that certain actions of more “ethical.”/

    But isn’t your whole point that animal experimentation is [un]ethical?”

    I may be wrong but I think point is that it takes privilege to prioritise the methods used absolutely over the results acheived. Obviously there are concerns that could be called ‘ethical’ in relation to both, but it’s usually around methods that people bring up the word more.

  53. SeanTheSean
    SeanTheSean June 9, 2009 at 6:37 pm |

    Good to hear you’ve no objection to the violence, then. I guess violence as an acceptable part of political discourse could be quite refreshing! No need to brush up on my arguments or connect with the community in any way, I’ll just bring along my cricket bat and some likely lads and scrap in the town centre…

  54. SeanTheSean
    SeanTheSean June 9, 2009 at 6:40 pm |

    But my concern is with the results. I’m concerned with the result of legitimising violence.

  55. Alderson Warm-Fork
    Alderson Warm-Fork June 9, 2009 at 6:42 pm |

    “guess violence as an acceptable part of political discourse could be quite refreshing!”

    FFS. You fight if there’s a (just) war, right? You fight in self-defense? You fight if you see a murder or a rape or assault being committed in front of your eyes? You may hate violence but if it’s going on, you don’t make a principle of abstaining.

    Right now there is a hell of a lot of violence going on. Some of us exist in a condition of moderate social peace, and that’s a good thing, and I’m sure glad of it myself, but a lot of us don’t. You don’t have to be a ‘thug’ to meet violence with violence.

    Or perhaps your anarchist-pacifism really is that extreme?

  56. SeanTheSean
    SeanTheSean June 9, 2009 at 6:43 pm |

    Hit enter too soon. Legitimising violence as part of the political process doesn’t end well for the underprivileged, who are more vulnerable to violence and whose use of it is disproportionately punished. Nor is it a stable foundation for building something politically. It’s a recipe for failure.

  57. Vanessa
    Vanessa June 9, 2009 at 6:45 pm |

    This is me individually defending myself, not the systematic state oppression of an entire group of people based on something as arbitrary as national identity.

    You don’t think the IDF soldiers bulldozing homes (and the occasional person) feel as though they are defending themselves, individually? You don’t think neo-nazis feel like they’re individually defending themselves against whatever threat they feel POC pose?

    If my daughter has a disease that can be cured via animal research and the scientist involved is forced to stop because of a campaign of intimidation, that’s not an attack on my daughter, individually? Is it okay for me to use harassing/stalking against you to stop your harassing the scientist so the research can continue and my daughter can live?

  58. Alderson Warm-Fork
    Alderson Warm-Fork June 9, 2009 at 6:53 pm |

    “You don’t think the IDF soldiers…feel as though they are defending themselves”

    So in the end, all violence is equivalent? Shooting hitler is the same as shooting Roosevelt, bombing a weapons factory is the same as bombing a school, the Rwandan genocide is the same as macing a sexual assaulter in the face? As soon as we accept a single act of violence, we’re no different from Pol Pot?

    Or – is there a boundary? A distinction between legitimate and illegitimate violence? Some kind of rules of war? Or are people really saying the above?

  59. Pinko Punko
    Pinko Punko June 9, 2009 at 7:03 pm |

    The evidence continues to pile up that Elaine Vigneault is not a very nice person. If you think abortion is murder or animal experimentation is murder, then you have to do what you have to do. If it means you become a terrorist you deserve to be called a terrorist and suffer the shame and public opprobrium and the full weight of the law for such.

  60. Michael Hussey
    Michael Hussey June 9, 2009 at 7:08 pm |

    I can think of another person that publishes contact information. Michelle Malkin.

    Malkin has been repeatedly publishing personal contact details of uni. students protesting against military recruiters on campuses. Inevitably, that attracted death threats towards the students. From Malkin’s readers that is expected, since their vocabulary rarely goes past “moonbats” and “anti-war thugs”. Then I just saw this piece, where our poor Malkin claims she’s getting death threats too! Not only that it says:

    This kind of thing attracts hatemongers. Eventually, the government may put stricter oversight on bloggers because of irresponsible people.

    I have posted Democratic meet ups and a recent Tampa Blog Her Meet Up and I take off the phone numbers. I only post the email addresses if the host or sponsor wants that information on the blog. Usually, I provide a link back to the host or sponsor web site. People can find out information there. You can always ask first before posting contact information.

  61. Vanessa
    Vanessa June 9, 2009 at 7:09 pm |

    he Rwandan genocide is the same as macing a sexual assaulter in the face?

    If you’re the one being sexually assaulted, then macing someone in the face is a form of self-defense and justified. If you just walk up to someone who you feel in the past may have committed an act of sexual assault and mace them in the face (which would be a better analogy to what we’re talking about here) then, no, that would not be justified. There’s too much risk to passers-by, there’s a chance that you may not have the right person, etc, etc.

    If you’re against what you perceive to be animal cruelty, then lobby for increased legislation and regulation. If you feel laws are being violated, report those in question to the authorities. Standing outside someone’s house and shouting (or, putting out someone’s address and then going, well, gosh, I had no idea someone was going to go there and stand outside their house and shout at them – or worse) is vigilante justice, and all too often just an excuse to have fun violating social mores.

  62. John Cain
    John Cain June 9, 2009 at 7:26 pm |

    “I don’t know about you, Alderson, but I oppose the BNP and the National Front because they are violent thugs.”

    Good for you, I oppose them because they’re fascists.

    Yes, because there’s nothing at all fascist about using mob violence to get others to agree to with your politics. Oh wait…

    There was a moment when you came to believe that animal rights was a “special” cause, one too important to be advocated through the political process and persuasion, one that needed extreme measures outside the political process to be brought about. It was at this moment that you abandoned democracy and embraced fascism.

  63. r.
    r. June 9, 2009 at 7:46 pm |

    there’s lots more to say here, especially about animal experimentation. it’s amazing how people – well-intentioned scientists among them – truly don’t see how much of animal experimentation is done “just because,” and doesn’t actually benefit benefit us. you can find plenty of information about that, if you just care to look/see. (and, yes, there are “hoops” for animal experimenters to go through… but most of those are minimal common sense guidelines that weren’s always there and have come about precisely because people who are pro-animals are trying to change the paradigm where animals are just tools for us to use.)

    but i want to put this discussion into context. when we have a situation where vegan groups are considered terrorist by virtue of their being vegan and the animal rights movement is increasingly unjustly targeted, when in austria a serious repressive wave against otherwise quite successful and mainstream animal protection organizations is happening right now (for no other reason because they oppose commercial and political interests) – this could set the precedent for state repression against all groups fighting for some sort of social justice and all of us (animal rights people or not) should think about this carefully, should be aware and care that this is going on, and should weigh our positions and our tactics.

    i think we all are in need of some thoughtfulness. and since even if i tried i couldn’t say it much better myself, i’m just going to quote from a post by brownfemipower from a while back:

    [...] The problem is, when you need a mass base of power to create change, but you are only preaching to the converted–you are not creating a base of power–thus you are not ever going to create change.

    To bring this back to the firebombers–the fallout of the action consists of those who are already converted being forced into a corner by the non converted–that is, instead of continuing action and base building that *does* bring about change, animal rights groups have to stop and answer questions and reassure and promise that they are not really like *that* group.

    On the other side, the non converted are making new laws that make it harder for ALL animal liberation folks to protest, not just the extremists. They are calling animal liberation minded folks “crazy” and equating them to terrorists. They are distancing themselves from not just the extremist actions of a few animal liberation folks–but from the entire concept of animal liberation period.

    Is that what’s going to stop violence against animals? Detracting those who are doing legitimate grassroots basebuilding from their work and completly alienating the unconverted?

    There are many many compelling moral and ethical reasons for not engaging in violence as a form of protest. I have talked about those reasons before–and for me, my belief non-violence is primarily a moral and ethical choice based in feminist principles. At the same time, there are sound practical reasons why engaging in violence as an organizing strategy simply doesn’t work. You have to know a thing or two about social justice movements to understand this, however, and unfortunately, it seems that far too many organizers feel that reading and talking and contemplating historical strategies of social justice movements are not legitimate forms of ‘action’.

    [...] My advice: if you are person that is truly interested in creating meaningful change–then start researching social justice movements. [...] Pay attention to what strategies have been successful for other organizations and what has not been. Do outreach to organizations in your own community. Be mindful of the work they’re dong so that you aren’t repeating their work or writing over it.

  64. r.
    r. June 9, 2009 at 7:47 pm |
  65. Feet74
    Feet74 June 9, 2009 at 7:52 pm |

    Maybe people should take responsibility for their actions and how they impact the world. If I was in the business of child slave trade wouldnt you think I should accept the consequences of my actions. Suck it up I say, if you perform horrific, illegal, unnecessary harm to another living being, accept the backlash!

  66. EKSwitaj
    EKSwitaj June 9, 2009 at 7:56 pm |

    This conversation seems to be falling out with disagreement along these lines:

    1) Is violence not in immediate self-defense ever justified?

    2) If so, is violence justified in protecting animals from being used in medical trials?

    3) If so, is it still justified if these trials cannot be performed through other methods?

    4) Questions 1-3 substituting non-violent civil disobedience, shouting, picketing, and the like for violence.

    5) When, if ever, is it justified to publish information that may encourage the acts referenced in questions 1-4?

    6) If a group you abhor uses a tactic or a rhetorical device is it forever tainted and unusable?

    I’m a pacifist and a vegan; I also don’t believe in doing things like posting information that may be used to enact violence. Shouting and picketing may be justified, but rather than taking it to a residential neighborhood where it will bother neighbors as much as the target, going to the place where the actual act is being performed (the lab, in this case) is preferable. In certain cases, going to residential address is justified, but only if it serves an important function (ie going to a rapist’s house serves to inform other women).

    That said, the idea that a tactic used by a group you abhor should never be used troubles me. Certainly, it should give you pause, but it isn’t enough to prove that the tactic is wrong (just as a tactic being used by a group you generally support isn’t proof that it’s good).

  67. Pinko Punko
    Pinko Punko June 9, 2009 at 7:56 pm |

    Hi Jill-

    Looks like a comment of mine got the boot. It wasn’t in favor of violence, it was that those who believe they have to resort to violence must have their entire approach tarred by their stance and accept the responsibility for that, i.e. to be totally shunned for publishing home addresses on their blog.

  68. r.
    r. June 9, 2009 at 7:57 pm |

    ps: for when the post i have in moderation gets through – i notice that the link to the post i quoted in it doesn’t work. it was a text by brownfemipower called “why the firebombing will not work…” not sure if the archives of the old bfp site are offline permanently, but i hope not!

  69. Ed
    Ed June 9, 2009 at 8:27 pm |

    Pinko Punko,

    Elaine is not a terrorist, and it’s ridiculous for you to insinuate that she is or is “becoming” one. Please be careful with that term… it’s an extremely loaded political weapon these days.

  70. Angel H.
    Angel H. June 9, 2009 at 9:06 pm |

    Hmmm… I’m curious on your thoughts regarding this:

    Really, Elaine? Really? The ol’ “she’s-doing-it-too” meme is such a playground tactic. Most of us grew out of that phase after we learned our multiplication tables.

    Also: All of those addresses are to places of business. By posting their personal phone numbers and home addresses you not only leave the gate open for harassment, it also endangers the lives of their children and families.

  71. Michael Hussey
    Michael Hussey June 9, 2009 at 9:21 pm |

    The Feministe thread is starting to look like a Metafilter flame war. I suggest people read the Metafilter how to deal with a flame war guide. The best pointer.

    1. clarify exactly what you’re apologizing for
    2. clarify that you regret your actions
    3. clarify what steps you shall take to make sure you don’t reoffend

    A final thought c/o my dad who saw serious combat action in WW2. “Peace is far more important than victory.”

  72. Apparently, Anti-Choicers and Animal Rights Activists are Morally Equivalent, or Why Ends Matter « Memoirs of a Genderqueer Femme Anarchist

    [...] Anti-Choicers and Animal Rights Activists are Morally Equivalent, or Why Ends Matter Jill at Feministe sneakily pulled this moral equivalency and then said not really, and then, when so…, then people get all offended and compare ARA/antifa to fascists, because they sometimes use [...]

  73. Elaine Vigneault
    Elaine Vigneault June 9, 2009 at 10:26 pm |

    Jill,
    The post you quoted me from was a year ago.
    If you had an issue with the tactics, you should have brought it up then.

  74. Jen
    Jen June 9, 2009 at 10:50 pm |

    I was not going to comment because I should be working on something else. However, I am disturbed by the amount of attacks upon animal rights activists. I consider myself one as well as a feminist and do not really separate the two as the ideology that oppresses one does so to the other. We live in within a carnophallogocentric western paternalistic hierarchy the subsumes the other. How can we erode the structures of hegemony and oppression if we leave part of it intact? Animals-an inadequate word that is supposed to describe thousands of different beings are referred to by absent referents, just like women are. How can we have the acumen to live with others when we are always defining ourselves by the difference of others? This is saddening. I just wonder where the anger and outrage are for all the millions of animals being slaughtered needlessly. I am a researcher at UW and contrary to those who say all science research is necessary you are wrong. It is not Always necessary.

  75. William
    William June 9, 2009 at 11:29 pm |

    The title of this post was “Dear animal rights activists, please stop taking your cues from the anti-choice movement.” So far, I’ve observed the following:
    – The argument that the ends justify the means.
    – The assumption, and aggressive support of said assumption, that a group of beings that have not traditionally been considered human are deserving of the same rights as humans even at the expense of human lives.
    – An attempt to set the terms of the debate in such a way as to create an uphill battle for opposition.
    – Constant justification along the lines of “but they don’t know how much harm they’re doing.”
    – A blatant disregard for science and what actual scientists say.
    – The argument that current restrictions are simply not enough.
    – The demonization of parties who engage in a legal practice and a tacit portrayal of them as sadists.
    – Questionable comparisons of current practices to past instances of severe human rights violations.
    – Justification of harassment, stalking, and even violence.
    – Accusations that people who find such methods to be appalling are engaging in oppression/not committed enough/don’t understand/callous.
    – A portrayal of proactive, vigilante violence as self-defense in the name of others.

    Just sayin’…

  76. William
    William June 9, 2009 at 11:52 pm |

    substituting non-violent civil disobedience, shouting, picketing, and the like for violence.

    Interesting that you included shouting in your list of non-violent activity. In psychology we tend to think of raised voices as, at the very least, interpersonally violent. At the worst shouting constitutes a threat of violence, particularly if it occurs in a certain context, carries with it a certain kind of communication, comes from someone who has an obvious physical advantage (for instance, if the shouting person is twice the size of the person they’re shouting at, or if they are a mob holding picket signs with stout rods), or portrays a nonverbal threat of aggression.

    Say my wife and I disagree on what to watch on TV tomorrow night and my response is to raise my voice. Regardless of what I was saying, I’m pretty sure it would be interpreted aggressively. Many would consider such a response to be abusive and, given that I’m more than twice her weight, there would be an implicit threat of violence. If such a response was part of a pattern of behavior, even if the behavior was “only” ever shouting, I would guess that most people with experience in such things would call it abuse.

    The same is true of picketing and other forms of civil disobedience. The history of picket lines is not a peaceful one, and the workers who pioneered the practice recognized the threat they presented to scabs who tried to cross the line. 100 protesters, even if they are silent and peaceful for the moment, still constitute a mob. Their very presence is perceived as an implication of potential violence, a show of force, even if their stated or deeply felt convictions are nonviolent. Civil disobedience is an overt show of a disregard for the law. Even if the action itself is not directly violent, it sends the message that the group which is protesting is willing to transgress against even the law. All of these things may sometimes be justified, but to call them nonviolent ignores history and human nature.

  77. piny
    piny June 10, 2009 at 12:00 am |

    Elaine is not a terrorist, and it’s ridiculous for you to insinuate that she is or is “becoming” one. Please be careful with that term… it’s an extremely loaded political weapon these days.

    A terrorist is someone who uses violence to intimidate people. This tactic–publishing the private information of your opponents–makes no fucking sense unless you believe that other people will use that information to harass and intimidate and quite likely threaten your opponents. It makes no fucking sense unless you want your opponents to see harassment, intimidation, and threats as likely consequences of their actions. It makes no fucking sense unless these outcomes are at least plausible.

    I think Elaine’s actions do, therefore, fall into the category of terrorism. I don’t care if she isn’t a violent lunatic herself. She’s baiting those people in hopes that they will weight her campaign, and that’s bad enough.

  78. Ghandi
    Ghandi June 10, 2009 at 2:02 am |

    What’s all this rot about needing violent tactics to win freedom from oppression?

  79. Pinko Punko
    Pinko Punko June 10, 2009 at 3:11 am |

    My point is that if you are of the category of a “true believer” that the wrongs you protest are so wrong that their legal protection is immoral and needs to be stopped at a very high level of societal cost, such that violence is supported, or even just harassment and intimidation, even by simply tacit approval, then you have to suffer the consequences of your actions- that your actions be discussed as those of a terrorist.

    Boycotts, non-violent civil disobedience, demonstrations- these are the tools of non-intimidation. I can’t say that situations haven’t existed in history that have not deserved violence as a last resort. For one, human slavery, where violence could be described as self-defense. Violence in situations for those that cannot defend their own rights is held up as a moral choice. It certainly can’t be that cut and dried if we view the fact that as a society we believe that women and humans have rights that need be superior to fetuses and animals. In some ways I have an odd respect for people that claim to support their beliefs in the extreme, but if their beliefs infringe upon the progressive principles that “enlightened societies” supposedly share in relating to human rights, then they deserve to be discussed on a wide spectrum of terror and intimidation.

    And if Elaine sees fit to let peoples’ home addresses sit on her blog, she’s part of the problem.

  80. anarchafemme
    anarchafemme June 10, 2009 at 3:16 am |

    @piny: If we define “terrorist” as someone who uses violence to intimidate people, what do we call the entire apparatus of the state? The continued exploitation of everything by rich white men relies on people being too intimidated by the state’s use of violence against anyone who steps out of line to do anything about it. We all live under constant violence and intimidation, we’re just taught to not see the violence coming down from those in power. And echoing the government’s rhetoric against environmental and animal rights groups is particularly dangerous, given the disproportionate attention they’re getting (because they seriously threaten corporate profits) and especially when they’ve never harmed a humyn being. Also, “terrorist” is so politicized a phrase at this point as to be useless, because things the US government and corporations do are never called terrorism in mainstream discourse, and things that oppose the US government and corporations frequently are. By your definition, nearly every usage of violence is terrorism.

    @William: even permitted marches would fall into that category, then, especially since I refuse to give a legal distinction an inherent moral weight (law isn’t about morality, it’s about what people in power have agreed is the way society should be run; yes, sometimes law correlates with morality). I would refer to activities that you’re saying have an implication of potential violence as active resistance/protest, and reserve violence solely for things that cause harm to another living being. And, yes, some active resistance/protest is so effective because it shows that there is a large group of people motivated and willing to take certain risks to confront people in power, but given the way police tend to act toward protesters, I think it’s dangerous to view it as “violence waiting to happen”. Which I’m not sure is what you’re implying, especially since you’re pointing out that they’re sometimes justified. I feel like, especially since other struggles got brought up, that a lot of people here think that oppression is able to be dealt with solely through letter writing campaigns and petitions, which generally is a rather ineffective strategy.

  81. Natalia
    Natalia June 10, 2009 at 3:37 am |

    First of all, I must say that I absolutely place human needs above animal needs, and will reach no consensus with people who think otherwise. I don’t believe in torturing animals for the hell of it and have a huge problem with the way that factory farming operates, but believe that medical research must continue alongside vigilant ethics boards. Call me speciesist. I don’t mind. I am speciesist. I even like certain animal species better than others. I like interacting with intelligent guard dogs, riding horses and petting fluffy kitties. I don’t get cozy with arachnids or bullet ants.

    J’s comment here stuck out at me, and I hope no one minds if I reply to it:

    …In addition, when racists/sexists/homophobes have marches, ARA hold counter-marches, often engaging in fights with nazis. Is this okay, or is it wrong too?

    There is a large concentration of neo-Nazis activity in my parents’ neighbourhood. It’s very much out in the open.

    The Antifa are also active there. I respect what the Antifa are trying to do, because government structures have long failed us. I want to walk down the street with my boyfriend without worrying if he’ll get stabbed for looking “dark and foreign,” and I can’t do that.

    However, when Antifa themselves behave like thugs, things don’t work out.

    At least now, we have patrols in the neighbourhood. They’ve appeared as the result of direct pressure via legitimate means. The Nazis are mostly cowards, preferring to surround and beat up or kill a lone international student. They wilt before the patrols.

    I view a lot of so-called “subversive activity” as pure showmanship. Look at me! I’m so rad! I stalk the night like a secret avenger while all you sheeple worry about stupid things like keeping your kids safe in the crossfire! Haha!

    I believe that in these situations, violence will breed more violence, and make heroes and martyrs out of the Nazis themselves. Count me out of that.

    I think there is means of protest and then there is pure ludicrousness. Publishing people’s private addresses is certainly ludicrous, in my view.

  82. Alderson Warm-Fork
    Alderson Warm-Fork June 10, 2009 at 4:37 am |

    Jill:
    “’m asking very respectfully that the people who are promoting violence…please bow out. If you…submit more comments promoting…“fighting violence with violence,” I will be deleting your comments as soon as I get to them.”
    I don’t think a single person on this thread believes it’s not right to fight violence with violence. I don’t think a single person really honestly rejects that principle. In fact…

    “And I do think there are serious ethical discussions to be had about when ends justify means — I’m more than willing to concede that in some cases, that’s the case. But in this case, in this context? No. Just because something works doesn’t mean it’s ok or acceptable.”
    You seem to. And you think there’s an open and interesting debate to be had. But in this case, no. So what is the point of this thread? There’s to be no discussion of when violence is justified, only – what? Everybody heartily condemning Elaine Vignealt?

  83. ARPhilo
    ARPhilo June 10, 2009 at 7:16 am |

    I am not sure how publishing the information of a researcher is any different than publishing the information of the president or a company head (maybe one that pays women less than men?) Your tax dollars pay for these people to torture animals just as they pay for a president to take us to war. I think it’s only fair that their information is available- information that can be easily found because it is open to the public!

    I find it more than disturbing that someone of a feminist background can not see the connection between the feminist movement and the animal liberation movement. Animal liberation is human liberation. The suffragists would have sooner published the info of those who were misogynists and enemies of their movement on the internet if the internet existed back then. They did PLENTY of home demos though. I guess you didn’t agree with that?

    The biggest difference between animal rightsists and pro-“life” people (if you can even call them that, let’s say “pro-fetus-only-before-its-born-but-we-don’t-care-after-that people”) is that the motto of the animal rights movement is harm no human harm no nonhuman. Anti-choice movements have nothing of the sort. That is a huge difference.

    Direct action is part of every movement. Just because SOME actions are shared by murders, it does not make those actions akin to the murderers’.

    Hey we all write letters, does that make us like the anti-choicers? This sort of logic is extremely flawed. Solidarity is important. If you are unable to see the big picture in which feminism and animal rights are directly connected, the movements will slow or even fail.

  84. ARPhilo
    ARPhilo June 10, 2009 at 7:22 am |

    I just saw that you believe animal testing is a “medical necessity”. That explains a lot. If it you were able to see the truth- that it is not- would you still oppose these actions?

    Animal testing began when the catholic church made it illegal to use human cadavers for research. It stuck around because people profit from it. Science advanced before animal testing and it will advance after it is gone. Scientific advances come from human research. Animal research actually harms humans because it makes it easy for pharm and chemical companies to get unsafe things on the market since animals react differently to them than humans. It also keeps many things that could save human lives off the market because they don’t work in animals.

    Please consult “Brute Science: Dilemmas of Animal Experimentation” and “Sacred Cows and Golden Geese: the Human Cost of Experiments on Animals.”

    Again, the fact that you are a feminist and human rights activist that sees other animals’ lives as disposable for human interest is more than disturbing. Please think hard about the connectedness of movements. Humans are animals. Speciesism is a problem like sexism or racism. It’s just harder for people to see because they aren’t the other species… but where does that sort of thinking sound familiar from?

  85. ARPhilo
    ARPhilo June 10, 2009 at 7:35 am |

    Last post, I promise. Please watch this video. http://www.shac.net/resources/movies/inside_hls.html

    If you can make it all of the way through, and think we should still play nice and write letters, I’ll be very surprised. That is animal testing.

  86. Bea Elliott
    Bea Elliott June 10, 2009 at 8:39 am |

    Natalia – these “scientists” are placing their needs above human needs does this trouble you? It’s been shown over and over again that research being done to animals is inferior in it’s findings. That more accurate results are obtained through computer models and human tissue culture. These champions you are defending put their salaries and prestige over both human and non-human animals.

    The “vigilant ethics boards”? They operate the same way as the overseerers on factory farms – You saw the incident of a pig hung from a crane didn’t you?

  87. Alderson Warm-Fork
    Alderson Warm-Fork June 10, 2009 at 8:55 am |

    “What’s all this rot about needing violent tactics to win freedom from oppression?”

    Oh wow. It’s Gandhi. I just want to say how much I admire the way you’ve been able to airbrush all the militant resistance to the British out of India’s independence campaign. Presenting your own methods, which were on part of a broad range of tactics, as if they had the sole responsibility for driving out the British – that was really a masterstroke of PR. Bravo.

  88. Natalia
    Natalia June 10, 2009 at 8:56 am |

    Actually, Bea, I don’t assume vigilance.

  89. ARPhilo
    ARPhilo June 10, 2009 at 8:56 am |

    Home demos have been effective as have been other direct actions. And are you HONESTLY telling me that you think anti-slavery and suffragist activists would not have published the information of these people if they could have in the past?

    You didn’t address most of what I wrote- for good reason- you can’t.

    Jill, the military once did experiments on black soldiers by giving them syphilis to study the progression of the disease without medication. Could we have put their information on the internet or would that have been too “extreme”?

    What about sex traffickers? Kidnappers? Sweatshop owners? Could we put their information online? Or is that too “extreme”?

    I think that in this article, you have let your own anger about the anti-choice movement’s murders as well as your own sympathy (and probably guilt that goes with it) with these researchers cloud your judgment. If anyone did to these animals at home, what the scientists do to them behind closed doors, they would face jail time for animal cruelty, wild animal trafficking, felony animal abuse, and so forth. Yet, animal rights activists have NEVER killed anyone in all of their decades of activism-because that would defeat our cause being that humans are also animals, unlike these anti-choicers you are comparing them to.

    Where do you draw the line in activism? As far as I am concerned, people who do this to animals deserve home demos and phone calls. It’s the least we can do.

  90. ARPhilo
    ARPhilo June 10, 2009 at 9:18 am |

    Do you think these researchers are going to stop doing their life’s work because you stand outside and write an email to the government once in a while?

    You have to do everything you can. Taking on animal testing is like taking on the government.

    As for public records, did you hear that they are trying not to release footage of the guantanamo torture because they are afraid it will “endanger” the government?

    Good! These people work for US! We don’t work for them. They work for our tax dollars and should be held accountable for their actions in every way possible. If that means their houses get picketed, good.

    If these people cared so much about other humans, they would not be doing research that takes valuable funding away from humans and that which tortures animals. If they care about their families and their neighbors not being “annoyed” by protests than they should stop. A little extra work goes a long way.

  91. ARPhilo
    ARPhilo June 10, 2009 at 9:20 am |

    As for legality, REALLY?!

    Slavery was legal. Owning women was legal. Beating your wife was illegal provided the stick was thinner than your thumb. Shall I go on?

    Since it’s legal I guess we should all roll over and trust the government. Animal torture in a lab IS LEGAL after all… You know, they care about you and me sooooo much.

    Honestly, you’re a feminist? Have you read any history of the women’s movement or other movements?

    The militant side was part of all of them.

  92. Damn Liberals and their Relentless Abstraction « Directionless Bones

    [...] say this in response to this thread at Feministe, on a post whose essential point was that animal rights activists used some of the [...]

  93. Alderson Warm-Fork
    Alderson Warm-Fork June 10, 2009 at 9:27 am |

    “If someone were to publish the name and address of a known sex trafficker, I’d suggest that they turn that information over to the police, since sex trafficking is illegal.”

    I definitely thinks it’s less extreme to hand people over to the police, they’ve definitely not killed or beat up hundreds of times more people than AR activists. I mean, they have badges and everything, they’re definitely not ‘thugs’ and hold no substantial or discriminatory views.

  94. ARPhilo
    ARPhilo June 10, 2009 at 9:27 am |

    You’re using the words “harassed and intimidated” to try to bait me so that you can feel good about using the word “terrorism” because you have obviously fallen directly into the FBI’s little hands in wanting to take down non-right-wing activists as much as possible.

    If you are emailing a company every day are you not harassing that company? If you picket the white house every day are you not harassing the employees?

    You know who the govt doesn’t consider a terrorist- the guy who killed Tiller.

    That’s thanks to people like you wasting your time on non-violent activists who have never hurt anyone and taking the focus away from actual murderers.

    And for- what is it- the 5th time now? You do realize that this kind of aggressive activism has been part of every social justice movement thus far, right? You would not vote had the suffragists not been aggressive and been arrested. MLK Jr once said “I am only as powerful as the man standing behind me with a molotov cocktail in his hand.”

    How long are you going to keep up the sharade before you READ SOMETHING.

  95. Elaine Vigneault
    Elaine Vigneault June 10, 2009 at 9:35 am |

    Jill, the list of names and addresses for the Congo corporate rapists published at Diary of an Anxious Black Woman comes from a comment thread where the information was compiled. The similarities here are striking.

    If they had home addresses, they would have published them. If they were serious about outing these corporate rapists and bringing justice to the Congo, they will find those home addresses and publish them.

    And I will stand by them in solidarity if their blogs are targeted for censorship.

    If you’re truly outraged by giving the public access to private information about individuals, perhaps you should write angry blog posts about the sex offender registries. After all, they’ doing what the anti-choicers do, so that makes them the same!

  96. carol h
    carol h June 10, 2009 at 9:47 am |

    Several posters above have state that computer modeling or cell culture can substitute for the use of animals in scientific research. This is false. Using animals in research is more expensive, time consuming, and difficult than using computer modeling or cell culture but scientists continue to use it because they can gain knowledge from an animal that cannot be gained any other way.

    A computer model requires detailed knowledge of the way a system works in order to be designed, knowledge that can only be gained by studying the system itself. Cell cultures consist of a single layer of cells. They are useful for many types of experiments but cannot replicate the complicated interactions of tissues and organs. A scientist can study cells isolated from skin, eyes, or livers in culture but cannot study an eye, skin, or a liver.

    You can dislike animal use in research, you can work against it and try to see it banned, but you cannot argue seriously that it can be replaced by any method currently known.

    The approval process for animal research is rigorous and scientists are carefully monitored for compliance. Things are done to animals in the food industry, pest control industry, and by things like snap and glue traps sold for home use that would never be permitted in laboratories.

    Obviously, I am against the publishing of home addresses and phone numbers, but I also think those against all use of animals in research should understand what they are advocating. Reseach would stop because it could not be done in any other way. If that is a trade off those against animal use are willing to make they should state it, and not pretend other methods are available.

  97. ARPhilo
    ARPhilo June 10, 2009 at 9:49 am |

    Wow, banning, rewriting my posts and adding words into them (which I could easily do to yours but don’t because I am not an a**hole), insulting me then accusing me of insulting you… Self-centered aren’t we? Have a nice day. Enjoy being closed minded to things that prove you wrong.

  98. Entomologista
    Entomologista June 10, 2009 at 9:54 am |

    these “scientists” are placing their needs above human needs does this trouble you? It’s been shown over and over again that research being done to animals is inferior in it’s findings. That more accurate results are obtained through computer models and human tissue culture. These champions you are defending put their salaries and prestige over both human and non-human animals.

    Wow. I really had no idea there were people out there who hated my community this much. You make creationists look like reasonable people.

  99. Elaine Vigneault
    Elaine Vigneault June 10, 2009 at 9:55 am |

    “What is the point of publishing home addresses?”

    a) I didn’t post the information. A commenter posted it. I chose not to remove it. There is a big difference, whether you care to acknowledge it or not.

    b) There are legitimate, nonviolent reasons to publish home addresses.

    c) You’ve made a wrong assumption that all the activities conducted by animal experimenters are legal. In fact, when they’ve been exposed, they are sometimes found to be violating the law. This is one reason they try to keep everything secret.

    d) I am a nonviolent activist using the legal tools currently available to make a real difference in animals’ lives.

    e) You need to read this: http://www.greenisthenewred.com/blog/green-scare/

  100. Sojourner
    Sojourner June 10, 2009 at 9:56 am |

    Bea Elliott ,

    “That more accurate results are obtained through computer models and human tissue culture.”

    And you know this b/c you are a scientist? I am a PhD student who does animal research. I build computer models too. And you know what? I need the animal testing to provide the parameters that I plug into my model. Cell culture? It’s not even relevant to what I am trying to model. You don’t even know what you are talking about. Computer models are useless without in vivo and in vitro testing. As for in vitro, human cadavers are really hard to obtain. And no my research is not one of those that would lead to cure for cancer or whatever else is deemed worthy. “the immediate results to not benefit anyone” as someone up thread said. And that’s how science works. It’s incremental. It just really infuriates me that people who don’t know anything about science , or about my field, make broad generalization about computer models, “the immediate results to not benefit anyone”, or cell culture. Oh, and “scientists” does not need to be scare quotes.

  101. SeanTheSean
    SeanTheSean June 10, 2009 at 10:07 am |

    Presenting alternate sources on the efficacy on animal testing: why computer simulations can’t replace animal testing, medical doctors support animal research, bad scientific arguments in the service of animal rights (shorter: whatever imperfections exist in animal testing, all the alternatives are inferior).

  102. ARPhilo
    ARPhilo June 10, 2009 at 10:08 am |

    If I’m not banned yet…

    Sojourner, I am a scientist who opposes animal testing. Not only because of ethics but because it is unscientific in terms of benefiting humans. While computer models may not work for your research, they work far better in predicting human response as do other methods like in vitro, cell culture, organ culture, post-marketing drug surveillance, epidemiology, clinical studies, and so on. Animal testing predicts human response about 5-35% of the time while non-animal methods do around 80% of the time or more.

    “In the opinion of leading biostatisticians, it is not possible to transfer the probability predictions from animals to humans… at present, therefore, there exists no possibility at all of scientifically based predication.In this respect, the situation is even less favorable than a game of chance…” -Dr. Herbert Hensel

    Are animal models predictive for humans: http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/picrender.fcgi?artid=2642860&blobtype=pdf

  103. Elaine Vigneault
    Elaine Vigneault June 10, 2009 at 10:18 am |

    Please read this:

    Replace animal experiments
    Testing on animals is not only cruel, its benefit for humans is doubtful.

    By John J. Pippin

    There are many things wrong with the use of intimidation and violence in the critical debate over animal research. In addition to being anathema in our society, such tactics obscure important issues regarding animal experiments and human health.

    I am a cardiologist and a former animal researcher. I stopped experimenting on animals after I came to doubt the medical value of such research. Today, a growing number of physicians, scientists and scientific agencies believe that moving to non-animal research and testing methods is critical to advancing human health.

    Numerous reports confirm very poor correlations between animal research results and human results, and the research breakthroughs so optimistically reported in the media almost always fail in humans.

    Examples abound. Every one of 197 human trials using 85 HIV/AIDS vaccines tested in animals has failed. More than 150 human stroke trials using treatments successful in animals have failed, as have at least two dozen animal diabetes cures. Vioxx was tested successfully in eight studies using six animal species, yet this anti-inflammatory medication may have caused the deaths of more Americans than the Vietnam War.

    The monoclonal antibody TGN1412 was safe in monkeys at 500 times the dose tested in humans, yet all six British volunteers who received the drug in 2006 nearly died. Conversely, simple aspirin produces birth defects in at least seven animal species, yet is safe in human pregnancy. When even identical human twins have different disease susceptibilities, how can we think answers will be found in mice or monkeys?

    The National Cancer Institute now uses panels of human cells and tissues to test treatments for cancer and HIV/AIDS, and to detect drug toxicities. And the National Research Council now recommends replacing animal toxicity testing with in vitro methods.

    I can attest that animal research is inherently cruel. Animal protection laws do not mitigate this reality. Whether the debate involves humane issues or human benefits, the evidence confirms the need to replace animal experiments with more accurate human-specific methods. That’s the best way to make progress and improve health.

    John J. Pippin is a senior medical and research adviser with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

    source: http://blogs.usatoday.com/oped/2008/12/opposing-view-1.html

  104. SeanTheSean
    SeanTheSean June 10, 2009 at 10:31 am |

    ARPhilo, Orac at my third link addresses specifically the paper you have linked, at length. Excerpt:

    Yes, we consider animal models to be somewhat predictive of human responses, but, no, we do not use animals as a substitute for human subjects. If that were the case and animals were viewed as substitutes for humans in testing drugs, then there would be no need for such extensive clinical trials after animal studies were completed. Rather, animal studies should be best viewed as the first test of a new drug or treatment on a whole-organism level in order to look for unexpected, toxic, or other effects that might not be apparent in cell culture. In other words, animal tests are a screening process, not a substitute for human studies. They are also a convenient tool that allows us to test hypotheses that we cannot test in humans, either for reasons of practicality or ethics. We can certainly argue about how good a tool or screening test animal studies can be, but it is disingenuous and incorrect to argue so strongly that animals are meant to be “substitutes” for human subjects.

    [...]not once do they show a concrete example illustrating how and why one of these methods is so “superior” to animal experiments–and by how much. One would think, if these methods were so obviously superior and already available, that it would be child’s play for the authors to spell out one or two specific examples in detail, with references from the peer-reviewed literature and concrete numbers, given how much verbiage they devoted to the deficiencies of animal testing.

    [...]The most pervasive problematic aspect of the Skeptic article (and, indeed, all arguments of this type advanced by opponents of animal research) is the utopian “impossible dream” fallacy coupled with differential standards, in which they demand standards of accuracy of animal research that are impractical or even unobtainable for nearly any disease model, while failing to make the case that the substitutes proposed will yield results at least as accurate and useful or preferably more so.

  105. Elaine Vigneault
    Elaine Vigneault June 10, 2009 at 10:42 am |

    Jill,

    Group A that you dislike uses tactic X. Group B that you dislike also uses tactic X. Group C that you’re a part of uses tactic X. That doesn’t actually mean anything about the groups or the tactics.

    You keep saying over and over how similar the anti-choicers are to animal advocates, and sure, there are similarities. But that’s all. There are similarities between all activist groups.

    If you want to make a case against publishing home addresses, make a better case than, “that’s what anti-choicers do!” It’s ad hominem and it’s meaningless.

    PS – Thanks for the update in the post because it adds some clarification. I’m surprised though that you considered your receipt of a mass email that I sent out to many civil rights lawyers and journalists to be “communicated privately.” My point of contacting you and others in this matter was to publicize the fact that UC Berkeley is trying to censor me for something written by another person over a year ago! I had hopes that your response would be more pro-free speech and less anti-vegan, though I sincerely appreciate your comment that “without a clear threat, Elaine is probably within her rights to publish the information,” so thank you.

  106. Davey
    Davey June 10, 2009 at 10:49 am |

    Jesus, I hate that this has to be said in 21st Century America: VIGILANTISM IS WRONG.

    It’s always wrong, no matter who the target is. Yes, even if it’s Nazis. Even if it’s fucking Zombie Hitler. Even if they did it first. I’ve given up trying to persuade people on moral grounds, so I’ll just put it this way- there are more of them (anti-animal rights folks in this case) than you, and it is a battle you will lose.

    And if you’re in favor of animal rights, you should be doubly outraged at this. If there’s one lesson that’s clear from the Weathermen and similar violent anti-war activists, it’s that their actions can be used to smear an entire movement. The anti-war movement and the animal rights movement differ from from the anti-abortion movement in that these violent actions represent the fringes of the group, not the core. That’s why conservatives haven’t gotten any traction on trying to blame the murder of the army recruiter on the anti-war movement, because all they have are a few posters from some idiots, not activists posting home address of soldiers and TV hosts naming specific recruiters murderers on the air.

    Like I said, I don’t believe this has to be spelled out. Jill, thanks for stating what I wanted to more eloquently than I could.

  107. Helen
    Helen June 10, 2009 at 11:23 am |

    I wouldn’t put radical animal rights activsts in the same league as radical anti-choicers

    I would. The Animal Liberation Front (ALF) has been under investigation by the FBI for years and radical animal rights are even on the FBI’s most wanted list. In much the same way as anti-choice radicals picket, harass, and threaten people like Dr. Tiller, the same occurs with scientists and researchers. Companies have been bombed and terrorized in the same ways using the same methods. Posting those names and addresses is just opening the door to more targeted methods of using fear to push people into changing.

    i’m not going to get into the whole argument of whether animal testing is effective or not, but I am 100% sure that all animal researchers would change jobs instantly if there were a consistently more effective way of experimenting. We are not heartless inhuman people. In fact, for the entire first month of my animal research career my mentor gave me a lecture everyday on how precious animal lives are. He even refuses to use the term sacrifice because he knows he is killing the animal for human gain, not the animals gain. In our lab, and I believe the majority of labs are like this, we believe in keeping our animals healthy and without pain or suffering.

    I welcome logical and well researched arguments against animal testing, but too often I find that people argue purely based on philosophy and emotion. They don’t give an alternative to animal testing, they just want it to stop. If all animal testing suddenly stopped today, the only real alternative to testing would be on humans and no board of ethics would ever allow testing on humans before extensive animal testing.

  108. j
    j June 10, 2009 at 12:12 pm |

    @Jill – “What is the point of publishing home addresses? What are you hoping to achieve?”

    The campaign against Huntington Life Sciences has used a wide variety of tactics, including lawsuits and such. There have been demonstrations at the offices and labs themselves. Companies who own stock in HLS have also been demonstrated against. Secondary and tertiary targeting has all been a part of the campaign, and is, along with diversity of tactics, it’s most valuable attribute.

    Home demos have caused made auditors, investors, and others responsible for maintaining HLS drop their support for the company. This has been incredibly effective, resulting in bankruptcy for the company.

    The point of releasing this PUBLICLY AVAILABLE information is not to incite violence, regardless of what you seem to think. The goal of such tactics is to keep the heat on the individuals responsible for this until the company falls apart. Keep in mind home demonstrations are legal, since you seem to judge ethics based on what paltry freedoms are granted by the state.

    This has been mentioned before, but such tactics are not limited to the anti-choice and animal liberation movements. This tactic has been used by ARA to out fascists and rapists to their communities; by Earth First! against earth destroyers; by protesters against I-69, IMF, the World Bank, the RNC, the military, etc.

    If even shouting is violence, then aren’t all demonstrations unethical by your standards? Should John Brown, the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, the Black Panthers, or the Jane abortion service have recognized law as the basis of their ethics and abandoned all other tactics in favor of writing letters to politicians? What about the wimmin in Ngcobo who recently killed a rapist? Or is legitimate violence the exclusive realm of police and the state?

  109. r.
    r. June 10, 2009 at 12:15 pm |

    again, when you mention the fact that animal rights groups are on the fbi’s most wanted list – if you look into it (who is being accused of what and why), that’s a *problem*, not an argument against animal rights groups. the context – that increasingly anyone working for animal rights and protection is targeted unjustly by the powers that be – and how messed up that is and how much we should all care about that get lost in the discussion, because non-animal-rights people get defensive about animal rights. and then the “by all means necessary” animal righters chime in, and they like to sound the loudest and most authoritative, as usual (which is just fine with the non-animal-righters, because that’s all they hear from the other side anyway). the thing is: the majority of those dedicated to animal rights as a matter of principle,reject violence, and reject harm to humans as well as non-humans.

    but we really can’t discuss ethics and animal rights, per se, as long as the discussion is between a great majority that refuses to see the whole picture of the treatment of animals – which is a paradigm that most people are deeply entrenched in and deeply dedicated to. when the huge majority sees no problem with consuming animals for food, and raising them as we do for that purpose, it’s ridiculous to expect that there would be general outrage at animal experimentation – and to act based on that idea, that you’ll accomplish anything by targeting a few researchers personally. all you’re doing with that is to close any discussion, to work against real change. and you really are using the same unethical methods that others employ that negate your very “philosophy” (if your philosophy really is about changing the paradigm of violence and lack of compassion to anyone deemed “other”).

    it’s been said even on this thread several times (though probably few non-animal-righters have noticed that people are saying this): what you need, if you want to change society so that animals are more valued and their interests protected, is base support. if you’re trying to just make yourself feel better that you’ve done something against one bad guy, and consequences (or ethics) be damned… then, yeah, there’s a parallel between you and “pro-life” activists who threaten abortion providers; that’s what they’re doing too.

  110. ARPhilo
    ARPhilo June 10, 2009 at 12:18 pm |

    SeantheSean, check out Greek and Lafolette’s books if you are unconvinced. And your BLOG you posted (not a scholarly published article in a science journal like I posted) has not offered any specific examples either. All I see is “these people are lying”. I don’t see any decent arguments for why and I also see a flat out lie right in the excerpt: “no, we do not use animals as a substitute for human subjects.”

    Things are tested on humans no matter what after animals. Animals are not good predictors of how humans will react to the same things. But animals are used all of the time as “substitutes” for humans and as models. The humans will be used in research whether or not animals are part of it because it is the only accurate way to know how things will work in humans.

    Your BLOG post also fails to acknowledge the stats of Dr. Greeks meta-analyses of how animal models results compare to that of humans.

    Google thalidomide. Proven safe and effective in animals. When on the market, remained on the market, pharm companies raking in the dough, because the effects of armless and legless babies could not be reproduced in animals. Human results were ignored. FINALLY, ONE species given HUGE doses of the drug had offspring missing limbs and it was taken off the market. This is the logic of animal research. How many humans and other animals suffered and died for this “science”?

    No, computer models ALONE are not a substitute for animal research. THey’re a better alternative alone but that’s beside my future point. Computer models AND cell cultures AND organ cultures AND epidemiology AND microdosing AND clinical trials AND so on together create a far superior model to nonhuman animal research… and they’re cheaper and more ethical! How about that!

    The amount of money invested in animal research is what keeps it going. It bring publications, grants, and any pharm company or chemical company can always find some animal that shows their product is “safe” and can always test their products in Africa (see: Nigeria teething drug testing) in order to get it on the market as soon as possible.

    Nonhuman animal research is fraud, plain and simple. The only reason it has played a part in cures is because the law has required it, not because it was necessary. I have yet to hear about one thing that scientists claim came out of animal research that would not have come out of human research.

    If you care about people, go into a career helping them.

  111. r.
    r. June 10, 2009 at 12:19 pm |

    I welcome logical and well researched arguments against animal testing, but too often I find that people argue purely based on philosophy and emotion. They don’t give an alternative to animal testing, they just want it to stop. If all animal testing suddenly stopped today, the only real alternative to testing would be on humans and no board of ethics would ever allow testing on humans before extensive animal testing.

    that’s the classical animal researcher position: with one half of your mouth you talk about how animal research love and empathize with their animal subjects (but of course), and with the other you condemn all those who argue against animal testing based on such non-objective, non-scientific things as “philosophy and emotion.” actually, there are plenty of “scientific” arguments against and plenty of alternatives to much of what goes on in animal research – but those would be inconvenient to even acknowledge, because it would turn your whole paradigm upside down.

    animal researchers have numbed themselves to the reality of what they’re doing. here’s an example: when i toured an animal research facility, the person in charge of the lab talked to us about how much they cared for the animals – and, then, when we asked about a particular bunny who had just had an electrode implanted in his head and was stumbling around twitching, obviously in pain, she said “oh, he’ll recover in a couple of days: the electrodes are just like earrings.” it’s unbelievable, the extent to which people numb themselves: and you can’t even blame them. if you’re going to vivisect, that’s what you have to do (and convince yourself that you’re being “objective,” and that “emotion” has no place in science). but the whole of science, today, is steeped in the idea that such a thing as the absolute objectivity of the scientist exists, that anything a scientist needs for his/her research is justified, and that animals are simple machines – so forget any “feelings” (a la descartes). there’s a whole body of theory – most of it feminist – that criticizes this whole paradigm (bordo, haraway, harding, keller, gilligan, oreskes). but it’s something that makes people – and especially scientists – mighty uncomfortable. it’s definitely not something that gets discussed much.

    i am a scientist myself – but that doesn’t mean i’m blind (or willing to be, just because my training and society at large tells me i have to).

  112. ARPhilo
    ARPhilo June 10, 2009 at 12:28 pm |

    r. makes an excellent point.

    Scientists should know that studies show emotion can not be separated from logic (I’ll dig up the source if need be). The only rational way to do things is to consider both when making decisions (as well as ethics, philosophy, feelings, objectivity, and so on).

    Of course, we could live in a world of Ayn Randian capitalism forever… it’s done so much good for us so far hasn’t it?

  113. William
    William June 10, 2009 at 12:37 pm |

    f even shouting is violence, then aren’t all demonstrations unethical by your standards? Should John Brown, the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, the Black Panthers, or the Jane abortion service have recognized law as the basis of their ethics and abandoned all other tactics in favor of writing letters to politicians? What about the wimmin in Ngcobo who recently killed a rapist? Or is legitimate violence the exclusive realm of police and the state?

    Now whats the difference between all those groups and animal rights? Each of those groups would best be described as human rights agitators who engaged in illegal or violent activities in order to advance human rights. People. Now I know, the fundamental stance of animal rights activists is that animals deserve the same rights as humans. The thing is, thats pretty much the same stance the forced birth lobby holds about fetuses. Mirroring their tactics, even if you can try to find justification for them in past human rights battles, doesn’t distance you from them. Hell, look at how the forced birth lobby uses the Dred Scott case.

  114. John Cain
    John Cain June 10, 2009 at 12:41 pm |

    @j: I think you left out some methods used against HLS. Such as <a href=”http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/1494924.stm”assaulting the head of HLS with pickax handles. Or assaulting another head of the company after burning his barn to the ground. Or sending letters to another executive’s neighbors falsely warning that he was a pedophile.

    I’m sure you just forgot to mention these.

  115. ARPhilo
    ARPhilo June 10, 2009 at 12:58 pm |

    John, some of those actions are ones I would not condone. However, a guy who makes money from torturing animals and taking money from pharm companies so they can poison people for millions is one I won’t lose sleep over when he gets bopped on the noggin.

    I wouldn’t go about things this way, but I can see why someone would want to hit the guy in the head.

    Humans and other animals die every day because of this guy and his facility. Yet, everyone focused on a couple of stitches on him, rather than the massive death and illness he causes to others.

    The rich rule. A cut on a rich white guy reaches national news but the African babies that die from his drugs or the beagles that were force-fed drain cleaner that day or the 500 animals that perished in his facility that day were ignored. That’s some society we live in.

  116. SeanTheSean
    SeanTheSean June 10, 2009 at 1:07 pm |

    I have yet to hear about one thing that scientists claim came out of animal research that would not have come out of human research.

    Then you didn’t read that link you were criticising. Dr Judah Folkman’s work on tumor angiogenesis which has led to effective cancer treatments. It couldn’t have come out of human research, unless you want to propose giving hundreds of people tumors to see what works.

    Yes, thalidomide happened. That is evidence that animal research is flawed, something nobody has ever denied. What is lacking is evidence that there are better alternatives. Greek’s paper is full of criticisms of animal research and empty of evidence for a credible alternatives.

    The Orac post explains pretty clearly what is meant by “we don’t use animals as substitutes for humans”, and pretty clear on why the use of human research as well doesn’t invalidate the use of animals. Animal research is a screening process designed to discover what’s worth testing on humans, and for experiments that can’t be carried out on humans.

  117. William
    William June 10, 2009 at 1:08 pm |

    John, some of those actions are ones I would not condone. However, a guy who makes money from torturing animals and taking money from pharm companies so they can poison people for millions is one I won’t lose sleep over when he gets bopped on the noggin.

    Kinda like how Randall Terry doesn’t condone the murder of a doctor he’s hounded for years (at a church he gave the address too) but “good riddance” that the clinic he ran is closing?

    I wouldn’t go about things this way, but I can see why someone would want to hit the guy in the head.

    Funny, the forced birth types have been saying the same thing about assault, murder, arson, and bombings for years.

    Humans and other animals die every day because of this guy and his facility. Yet, everyone focused on a couple of stitches on him, rather than the massive death and illness he causes to others.

    Yeah, why do we focus on one abortion doctor getting shot and not the Auschwitz he ran?!

    The rich rule.

    I’ve heard tell that thats why abortionists perform abortions, for the money.

    A cut on a rich white guy reaches national news but the African babies that die from his drugs or the beagles that were force-fed drain cleaner that day or the 500 animals that perished in his facility that day were ignored. That’s some society we live in.

    WHAT ABOUT TEH BABBYS?!!?!?!?

    Enough with the self fucking parody already.

  118. ARPhilo
    ARPhilo June 10, 2009 at 1:16 pm |

    Mature, William. But you’ll find that those kinds of activism are present in all movements- there’s always a bad apple. But again, no animal rights activist has ever killed anyone. AND this one happened at his place of business so it has nothing to do with releasing his information about his home.

  119. ARPhilo
    ARPhilo June 10, 2009 at 1:20 pm |

    Just wanted to say I am out. I’m letting this whole string of conversations and couch activism (myself included) get to me. I’d rather spend my time doing something worthwhile.

    But, flame-away everyone after I leave! Enjoy defending (and JOKING about!) animal torture, human rights abuses, and so on on principle of stubbornness.

  120. r.
    r. June 10, 2009 at 1:27 pm |

    hey, william, if you’re so against animal rights as an idea, why don’t you engage anyone who supports it but those who you think are “self-parodying?” (not that i concur with you that what arphilo wrote is “a self-parody” – even though i don’t really agree with a lot of his/her approach.) since we’re doing parallels here, that’s a lot like someone saying “feminism is suspect because, look, some of the things a declared feminist is saying are suspect to me… and why should i address the other things that feminist or other feminists are saying?! i’ve already decided, feminists are suspect.” it’s circular, and all you’re “arguing” is that you don’t like animal rights. fine, but maybe out of respect for the many of us who are feminists and animal righters and moreover actually arguing that “all we have is means,” you can leave out the “what about teh babys” sarcasm.

  121. little light
    little light June 10, 2009 at 1:35 pm |

    In a nutshell, this whole liberal ‘the ends never justify the means’ line is about holding onto the right to be outraged. I don’t think that’s worth holding onto.

    I don’t think a single person on this thread believes it’s not right to fight violence with violence. I don’t think a single person really honestly rejects that principle. In fact…

    You really honestly believe that nobody can possibly honestly disagree with you on these matters? That nobody honestly draws the line at some tactics being unacceptable to use, no matter what your cause? It’s all just in bad faith? Honestly, it’s hard for me to do more than pity you.
    If your cause is just enough, By Any Means Necessary–that’s the idea, right? So long as you’re certain you’re right, you can do whatever you like with the enemy, because damn it, it works. They’ll Stop Doing Bad Things. And then you want to go and be critical of state violence, founded on the exact same principle? That the cause of the State, or the enshrined Rule of Law, or the belief that you’re protecting the lives or your citizens justifies torture, war, police brutality, because you’re going after bad people who do bad things, you’re sure of it, and trust that you’re in the right? State violence is just this principle you’re espousing–everything is justified by the right people against the right people–magnified and ossified by time and the agglutination of a bunch of organized people to carry out the eventual results of those ideas. The State just has more personnel and power to carry this idea out. It just has more oomph behind its assertion that a just cause justifies whatever means are deemed necessary or workable, and by the way, they’re just, or the thugs will be at your door. That theirs wear badges does not make it better. That ours do not doesn’t make us better, either.

    And what I honestly believe, much more than the “right to be outraged”? That if we, the “good guys,” stitch this belief in violence and anything-is-justified-if-you’re-just-enough into our movements, then when we win–when we finally create and accumulate enough power to make our ideals succeed–that violence, that belief that we can get away with anything if it’s for a just end, will be irrevocably welded into our movement, and our structure, and by the time we win we’ll be no different than the last folks who were certain that they could serve a noble ideal with ignoble actions and came to power. You know. The ones we’re struggling against.

    This isn’t a dainty let’s-not-get-my-hands-dirty can-we-call-the-cops-to-do-our-dirty-work-for-us squeamishness, okay? This isn’t about saying that I’m a magical pure person who wouldn’t deck someone who was hurting my wife. This is about saying that once we make the choice to incorporate brutal, immoral intimidation tactics and violence to serve our just end, then even if we succeed we’ll have poisoned that end by incorporating into our movement the very same Othering and hate and violence that ruined every revolution that came before. We’ll have poisoned ourselves and the ideal we believe in will be doomed because the only difference left between us and the last would-be White Hats is that we don’t have as much power as they do, yet.

    We’re not all made of wholesome pacifism, and I won’t argue that in desperate situations, people make ugly choices to survive, and I’ve even written about how it’s very hard to condemn people in such untenable places when they commit violent acts. I think I would, too, though I’m not proud to admit it. But when we’re talking about building a movement? About an ideal, a hope, a thing we’re striving for collectively to make a better world? You never get to that better world by walking on corpses. Period. You get to a sham version of that better world that will betray you in the end.

    You can choose to believe that I don’t actually believe this, in your cynicism. And if that’s your perspective, well: as an antifascist, antiracist, radical queer feminist of color who yes, does support animal rights? I wish to God you’d get off my side.

    Meanwhile? Answer Jill’s question. What precisely do you hope to achieve by publishing home addresses of political enemies? Show your work. Convince me. Walk me through the process of what happens next, who goes about it, and in what way the cause is served by this action. You want to sit on your we’re-the-real-radicals high horse? Clarify. Elucidate. Detail what you hope will happen due to these addresses being published, and why.
    Put up or shut up, people.

  122. Alderson Warm-Fork
    Alderson Warm-Fork June 10, 2009 at 1:39 pm |

    “Reseach would stop because it could not be done in any other way. If that is a trade off those against animal use are willing to make they should state it, and not pretend other methods are available.”

    For what it’s worth, I try to stay out of scientific arguments because I’m not a scientist.

    What I do know is that whether or not there are more effective methods of *drug testing* available, there are definitely more effective methods of *health promotion* available. The resources spent on animal research can be devoted to things like improving sanitation in third-world countries, training more medical professionals to provide care to those without access to medical infrastructure, improving workplace safety, vaccines, etc. etc.

    If animal research were the only effective method of drug testing, then I would, reluctantly, accept a severe impairment of drug testing. But I think the same number of lives can be saved by methods other than drug testing.

    Of course, if research on unwilling humans were the only effective method of drug testing, I would also reluctantly accept a severe impairment of drug testing. I assume everyone else here would too.

    I don’t want to say that scientists who experiment on animals are sadistic or evil, or that they’re just in it for the money. But I do think it’s true that developing new drugs or innovations is a more profitable and more politically convenient way to improve human health than making better use of what we already have, and that this is why it happens more than the latter. That’s a systematic observation, not an accusation against any particular people.

  123. r.
    r. June 10, 2009 at 1:40 pm |

    @little light: a-men

  124. On The Issues Magazine
    On The Issues Magazine June 10, 2009 at 1:43 pm |

    Just as there may be correlations or similarities in the response of animal rights and anti-choice activists–little attention has been paid to the underlying theoretical similarities and tensions in both these movements.

    Feminists should be at the forefront of the animal rights movement-but not at the forefront of their radical responses.

    See this editorial from 1990 by Merle Hoffman: http://www.ontheissuesmagazine.com/1990fall/fall1990.php

  125. Elaine Vigneault
    Elaine Vigneault June 10, 2009 at 1:43 pm |

    I am sympathetic to privacy issues. I have been the receiver of harassment and intimidation myself. So when someone tells me that they are being harassed and that information on one of my websites is enabling harassers, I’ve removed the information.

    In this case, the information has been on Vegan Soapbox for over a year, no harm has come to the individuals listed, and no one contacted me directly. There is no reason to believe that my decision to leave the comment up will result in any harm to anyone. I’ll say that again:

    There is NO REASON to believe that my decision to leave the comment up will result in any harm to anyone.

    Because I am sympathetic to privacy issues, I might support legislation that protects individuals from having their home addresses published on the web. However, I do not support legislation that protects one group of powerful people, but not other groups of less powerful people. And I’m especially repulsed by the idea that animal experimenters deserve special protection… when no true harm has ever come to any of them.

    As a child of a rapist, I am more concerned by the REAL VIOLENCE happening everyday to real women by their harassers, stalkers, rapists, and abusers than by any of this IMAGINARY VIOLENCE directed at animal experimenters. If anyone is truly concerned about harassment, intimidation, and violence, let’s get real and focus our energy on the real victims of these crimes, not on those who wear lab coats and cry wolf.

  126. Elaine Vigneault
    Elaine Vigneault June 10, 2009 at 1:50 pm |

    little light,
    Show me the evidence that suggests allowing comments on vegan blogs to remain uncensored causes direct personal harm to animal experimenters.
    Put up or shut up.

  127. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan June 10, 2009 at 1:55 pm |

    My favorite part is that ARPhilo seems to think that limbless babies from thalidomide could’ve been predicted using cell culture. Classic. ^^ (Sure it’s still considered a “doctorate” if it’s in English Literature but it doesn’t make you a *doctor* yanno…)

    I did an internship once in a CF lab. I felt pretty bad about killing mice (I’ve had pet mice) until I followed a pediatrician on some of his rounds and met the 2-year-old who is slowly starving because half his small intestine had to be removed and his young mother can’t feed him enough even with the formula… I went back to the lab and kept working with mice and I promised them that any research I did with them would be intended to help those kids. And I apologized to them if I got bad data, or did something wrong. I apologized ’cause then they were wasted. But I care more about those little kids than those mice, and I’m going to keep doing research.

  128. Alderson Warm-Fork
    Alderson Warm-Fork June 10, 2009 at 1:57 pm |

    Littlelight:

    “You really honestly believe that nobody can possibly honestly disagree with you on these matters? That nobody honestly draws the line at some tactics being unacceptable to use, no matter what your cause?”

    Of course I accept that we draw the line at some tactics. My point was, it would be an incredibly rare position to draw the line at violence per se.

    And no, I don’t think that the end justifies any means we want. But I also don’t think that the end is irrelevant to justifying means. It’s a very difficult question how these two fit together.

    I imagine I sounded rather over-the-top, for which I apologise. But I feel as if certain ideas are being not just asserted, not just asserted without argument, but asserted as obvious to any right-thinking person, when they are in fact held by almost no-one.

    So for example, to really be against violence per se means no self-defense, no police, no army, no prisons, not even child protection services (since it’s hard to separate an abusive parent from their child without forcibly restraining the parent). This is what I don’t think anyone really believes in. And most people believe quite strongly in legitimate violence.

    So I get irritated when I see what look to me like very one-sided positions (vigilanteism is ALWAYS WRONG, you should NEVER advocate violence) being presented as common sense, so as to condemn AR activists.

    What then also got to me was that rejecting this (to my mind very one-sided) view, was interpreted by others as implying the opposite, equally one-sided view, that all methods were appropriate and there’s no need at all to worry about using acceptable means. This seems to be how you’re interpreting me.

    Looking back over the thread I fear I’ve been more aggressive, and at times more snarky, than I should have been. This may have supported people in forming such an opinion.

    But all I really wanted to say was that there is an open question over what means are acceptable, both for non-state groups and for state groups. I’ve posted about this a few times in the last couple of weeks, I think the means that AR groups use are around the right limit.

    It’s a pity that arguing over the extreme positions (no violence at all/whatever violence we decide is necessary) has gone on so long, and probably has exhausted people too much for the more subtle discussion of what the limits should be and how to draw them.

  129. r.
    r. June 10, 2009 at 2:00 pm |

    elaine, i think you must realize that what you’ve just said is not logical. you “would” remove that information because you don’t agree with enabling harassers and intimidators, but… in this case, you won’t. because it hasn’t caused any harm to anyone yet. oh, yeah, and there’s worse things to worry about. that’s an ethical position, for sure.

  130. Alderson Warm-Fork
    Alderson Warm-Fork June 10, 2009 at 2:02 pm |

    “Meanwhile? Answer Jill’s question. What precisely do you hope to achieve by publishing home addresses of political enemies?”

    Well, if I thought this was a good tactic, I would say that it makes companies less willing to invest in certain activities, and researchers less willing to engage in them. This reduces the number of animal experiments being done.

    As to whether they are a good tactic, I don’t know. That’s a difficult strategic question (and if I honest I don’t know why there’s so much focus on vivisection instead of meat, which should be the biggest issue for AR activists). What I mainly objected to was that the strategic question was being ruled out by people saying that it’s morally beyond the pale, which I thought left a ridiculously small pale.

  131. William
    William June 10, 2009 at 2:12 pm |

    hey, william, if you’re so against animal rights as an idea, why don’t you engage anyone who supports it but those who you think are “self-parodying?”

    My problem isn’t with animal rights, I’m actually a pretty big fan of animal rights in a lot of ways. The self-parody I was referencing was how, on a thread talking about animal rights activists taking cues from the forced birth lobby, some animal rights activists decided to use language that was functionally identical to the language Randall Terry used in the wake of Dr. Tiller’s Murder. Moreover, rather than engaging in what Jill might have been criticizing many of the animal rights activists who showed up for the discussion decided to instead talk about justifications of violence. Instead of discussing why someone might be uncomfortable with certain tactics, they decided to defend the tactics and move the discussion to a broader discussion of whether animal research was bad. Its a classic hijack, the same kind of hijack you often see in discussions about abortion. It goes a little something like this:
    1) Someone talks about tactics used by forced birth groups being unacceptable.
    2) Forced birth advocates show up in force to justify those tactics.
    3) In justifying those tactics the forced birth advocates gradually shift the discussion to the morality of abortion, thus changing the discussion in such a way that their position cannot be challenged until you first challenge a new term they have introduced.
    4) Any challenge is accused of ignorance/evil/personal gain/sadism/etc.

    The fact that the same pattern of behavior was used by animal rights activists in a threat about their tactics is striking.

    it’s circular, and all you’re “arguing” is that you don’t like animal rights.

    Again, my problem isn’t with animal rights activism, or even with aggressive tactics in general. My beef is with how certain people defend certain actions and how they attempt to influence the discussion in a way that is very similar to the way forced birth agitator do. Like it or not, the aggressive stance on animal rights and personhood is not currently legally accepted. Perhaps that ought to change, but defending violence in the name of enforcing a view that is not legally accepted is the exact same behavior that makes the forced birth lobby so scary. I believe that is a discussion worth having and I believe that shifting the discussion to whether or not animals deserve rights is a hijack designed to avoid it.

    you can leave out the “what about teh babys” sarcasm.

    I’m a snarky bastard, always have been, likely always will be. When I see an animal rights activist using the equivalent of Operation Rescue’s talking points on a thread entitle “Dear animal rights activists, please stop taking your cues from the anti-choice movement” I’m going to call them out on it. My manner of calling people out tends to be sarcasm. Thats especially true when I’m trying to maintain emotional distance because I’m still stirred up from recent events. If you’re looking for me to apologize for being myself, I believe you might be disappointed.

  132. u. s.
    u. s. June 10, 2009 at 2:14 pm |

    Computer simulations have gotten to the point where we can use those instead, and I think we should.

    Scientific ethics need to come into play and consider whether an experiment is actually beneficial. Additionally I believe, and this is me speaking for me, that it shoud then be weighed against pain and suffering.

    Etc.

    If “[computer models are] a better alternative alone,” my lab would love to purchase your modelling programs. We work on immune deficiency, and we’re very, very aware that animal models aren’t enough. We try very hard to treat our mice well, but yes, we do kill them in the end. We all of your techniques and more – “computer models AND cell cultures AND organ cultures AND epidemiology [...]” And you know what? Many of those methods are not enough alone, and many of them require the data we get from our experiments in mice.

    See, we’re not talking about thaliomide here; we’re not talking about throwing chemicals at animals to see if they’re toxic. We’re talking about studying a set of proteins that are well-conserved (that is, the mouse and human versions are very similar.) Humans with the (very serious) disorders caused by mutated versions of this protein are rare; using mouse models allows us to form an outline of how things probably work that we can use to direct our efforts when we have access to human samples. The mouse models are not fully predictive – we certainly don’t think the corresponding protein systems in both organisms act identically – but we know that the proteins are very well-conserved, and that as a result, behavior is likely to be similar. If the proteins were not well-conserved, we might be working in a different organism, or we might be stuck where the neuro and psych researchers are: with a system that’s almost impossible to model, but very difficult to study in living human subjects.

    See, ultimately, the big problem is that there’s no substitute for studying how these things work in real life. When you’re studying the actual systems, studying just a cell culture or just an organ culture isn’t enough, because cells and organs interact and proteins are often expressed differently (or not at all) in different parts of the body, and we need all of that data. Human volunteers aren’t the answer, because – despite a lot of research on imaging techniques! – we can’t yet do all of the experiments we need to do (or in some cases simply use the techniques necessary to analyze the results) with living organisms. Computer simulations aren’t the answer, because we are working on discovering the basic systems that can later be used to design accurate simulations – you can’t have an accurate simulation if you don’t know what’s going on to begin with. Epidemiology, clinical trials, etc. don’t apply to basic research of the sort we’re doing.

    So we’re stuck with using animals, for now. No one in my lab wants to do animals; they’re complicated and expensive and not identical to human systems and we don’t want to have to kill anything. But there’s currently no other way we can get this data. And, unfortunately, this is data that is needed to figure out how to treat certain classes of serious immune disorders, and to eventually create those accurate and predictive computer models that you seem to think we already have.

  133. r.
    r. June 10, 2009 at 2:22 pm |

    If you’re looking for me to apologize for being myself…

    no, not at all, what i suggested is that you might engage any of the animal righters who’ve argued for both animal rights and staying away from unethical tactics. you still haven’t done that. the problem with your sarcasm is not that it’s “snarky,” but that what “you’re calling people out on” in that particular instance and in general is that they’re “emotional” and care about animal rights etc. (as to your “hijack” point: when the majority has been arguing that animal rights is by definition about terrorism, it’s totally not a hijack to talk about why that’s not so – and in your comments so far i’ve seen you constantly conflating the two: concern with animal rights and tactics a la operation rescue; that’s what i was calling you out on).

  134. u. s.
    u. s. June 10, 2009 at 2:25 pm |

    I’d also like to note that the paper cited earlier by Shanks et al doesn’t address basic scientific research of the type we’re doing. We don’t consider animal models to be “causal analogical models,” at least by their definition. We do think that in many cases, animal models can still provide some really useful data, and give us some great guidelines for research in humans and for a better understanding of how those systems evolved over time. Shanks et al do a nice job of setting up a straw man, though, and of picking some particularly badly-designed experiments to feature!

    Secondly, they say: “In medicine, even positive predictive values of .99 may be inadequate for some tests and animal models do not even roughly approximate that. Therefore, animal models are not predictors of human response. Some animals do occasionally respond to stimuli as do humans. However, how are we to know prospectively which animal will mimic
    humans?” Note that we have this problem even if we limit our sample to humans only. Humans have different genes, and may respond differently to different drugs. How, then, are we to know prospectively which human subject will mimic average human behavior? How can we research anything at all, since each organism has a unique genome, a unique and personal biochemical system? They note this, and yet end their article by saying “If we truly want predictive tests and research methods (and we do), it would seem logical to start looking intraspecies not interspecies.” How are we do do this safely and “productively” given human genetic variation? How would we do it in a way that doesn’t resemble current clinical trials (only now without the toxicity screen in animal models)? They don’t say, and they give no numbers on the “productivity” and predictive ability of “intraspecies tests.”

    I say this not in a direct defense of animal testing, but as a way of pointing out that what Shanks et al are arguing (along with the “animal testing is inaccurate! arguments of activists) is almost a reductio ad absurdum. By their standards, human trials of medications – those intraspecies tests they say we need to switch to – are also frequently useless and should in any case be taken as utterly non-predictive. Most SSRIs, for example, are barely better than placebo in general trials, but they work really well in a smaller percentage of the population, presumably because they’re a subpopulation whose depression has similar causes or at least similar neurochemical symptoms. If intraspecies tests too may not be predictive, if human variability also can cause wildly different reactions, why test anything? Why engage in research at all when it’s all potentially non-predictive, not applicable to you?

    The problem, in the end, is that one has to start somewhere. Pharma researchers are faced with the unenviable problem of figuring out 1) whether a drug is toxic and dangerous and 2) whether it works. Trying to figure out whether a drug that kills cancer in a dish will end up killing volunteers in the Phase I clinical trials is not a fun job; most researchers are very aware that animal models are not identical to humans (!) but all things considered, they’d rather mice die from an unexpected reaction to a drug candidate than their Phase I human volunteers. It’s a screen for human safety, and yes, we probably lose some potentially useful drugs to it, but incidents like TGN1412 scare the shit out of researchers, and they do not want something like that happening on their watch. By dropping animal studies (leaping straight from cell culture studies), we’d still risk human-specific deadly responses like TGN1412, but we’d also risk exposing volunteers to drugs that are toxic to all mammals, or all primates, etc. (drugs that are currently screened out), with equally disasterous results.

    Finally, the same crew had an article in The Skeptic; one of the blogs listed by SeanTheSean has a very, very detailed takedown of that article. Note also that it turns out that while Greek has no competing financial interests, he’s a member of AFMA. Their manifesto states that “AFMA/EFMA/JFMA opposes animal-modeled research as a modality for seeking cures and treatments for human disease based on overwhelming scientificevidence that findings from animal models cannot be reliably extrapolated to humans”, which makes me suspect that he may not be the model of a disinterested and objective reviewer of animal research effectiveness.

  135. r.
    r. June 10, 2009 at 2:35 pm |

    and if you look at what even those couple of people who might fit your description of “showing up in force to justify those tactics” have said and are saying, they have at one point or another done exactly the opposite of your points 1-4. at the same time, the “shift to the morality of [animal rights]” was made (and always is) by the defensive majority. the thing is, you’re just projecting your ideas about animal rights activists onto animal righters, and it’s unfair – that’s also a very tired, dangerous tactic that we all shouldn’t want to have anything to do with. (that’s why i’ve mentioned the context: the majority is quite happy with the repression of animal righters no matter what we do.)

  136. William
    William June 10, 2009 at 2:37 pm |

    what i suggested is that you might engage any of the animal righters who’ve argued for both animal rights and staying away from unethical tactics.

    I don’t really see what there is to engage there. If you’re an animal rights activist who is opposed to these kinds of tactics, then I have no issue. I’m not against animal rights (rather, I’m just not particularly passionate about them) but these tactics. You seem to have the opinion that because I’m rather aggressive in my attack of these tactics, and because I don’t view animals as having the same total level of rights as humans, that I’m against all animal rights. Thats simply not accurate.

    the problem with your sarcasm is not that it’s “snarky,” but that what “you’re calling people out on” in that particular instance and in general is that they’re “emotional” and care about animal rights etc.

    No, what I was calling out was language that was functionally identical to the rhetoric of violent organizations like Operation Rescue. Compare the post I was responding to to Randall Terry’s recent public statements. Its the same “I’d never condone violence but I understand it and won’t lose sleep over it and sometimes it produces results” trope that the forced birth lobby has been trotting out for years. Is that indicative of all animal rights people? No, of course not. Was it indicative of the poster I was responding to? Yeah, I think so.

    concern with animal rights and tactics a la operation rescue; that’s what i was calling you out on

    I was conflating the advocacy and support of violence and harassment with the advocacy and support of violence and harassment. There are certainly people within the animal rights community who are in favor of violence and harassment, and some of them have posted here. No, not all (or even most) animal rights activists approve of violence and the vast majority of animal rights activists are as far from PETA and ALF as can be, but I’m not sure why you think I’m talking about all animal rights activists.

    At #10 I was careful to use the word “extremists” not “activists. At #81 I observed some rhetorical similarities I had observed on the thread. At #82 I made a comment about being honest about what aggression means in the specific context of shouting. At #125 I pointed out that both animal rights groups and the forced birth lobby (violent or not) faced the problem that they were making an argument based upon a belief that was not yet legally supported which, I believe, makes certain kinds of behavior more difficult to justify. At #129 I was responding to a specific person. At #143 I was addressing some of what you had said. Where, exactly, did I accuse all animal rights activists of violence?

  137. r.
    r. June 10, 2009 at 2:42 pm |

    at the same time, i hope it’s clear that i for one believe it’s completely legit to call people out on actual misguided arguments in favor of bad tactics and unethical behavior – be snarky, be categorical, whatever. i don’t want to minimize the importance of doing that in any way.

  138. r.
    r. June 10, 2009 at 2:49 pm |

    well, what exactly are you saying with something like this:

    Now I know, the fundamental stance of animal rights activists is that animals deserve the same rights as humans. The thing is, thats pretty much the same stance the forced birth lobby holds about fetuses.

    ? (it’s at the basis of a lot of what you’ve argued on this thread)

  139. DaisyDeadhead
    DaisyDeadhead June 10, 2009 at 2:58 pm |

    I’ve spent the last 10 days deleting dozens and dozens of comments (I haven’t counted, but I would guess there have been about 50) celebrating Dr. Tiller’s death, promoting violence as a way to end abortion, and every once in a while telling the Feministe bloggers that we’re going to join him in Hell.

    Maybe you should have left those comments up, Jill. Maybe then everyone would understand exactly what is at stake when you publish addresses and personal info such as where someone attends church, etc.

    I mean, what else are they going to do with the addresses? Leave PETA leaflets on the door?

    Why do they need to know where people live? Go ahead and go after their professional career, UC Berkeley is a public institution and the address is public.

    What is the necessity of the private info?

    As a veteran of the wacko 70s left, let me just say, when someone appeared at a political meeting waving some politician’s home address? This was never a good sign, and we distanced ourselves very quickly from that person.

  140. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub June 10, 2009 at 3:02 pm |

    What is your real goal here, Jill? Are you really interested in promoting change through nonviolent activism or do you simply want to condemn animal advocates at any cost through any means?

    Elaine, you are completely full of shit. You call these tactics “tried and true”. Sure. Intimidation, stalking, and harassment are all tried and true tactics. So are assasinations. These are also tactics that have been used against the powerless more than the powerful.

    No one would quibble with protests at coprorations or universities. Publishing the names and home addresses of people is beyond the pale because you are putting them and their families, friends, and neighbors in danger. As in: someone decides that it’s okay to shoot them or firebomb their house, and their blood is on your fucking hands.

    You really are a fucking hypocrite, you know that?

  141. Tapetum
    Tapetum June 10, 2009 at 3:03 pm |

    I’m not going to comment much here. This is too sensitive a topic for me.

    My father’s home address & phone number (I.e. also mine) was given out by an animal rights group when I was eight.

    Suffice it to say that I don’t think that’s justified under any circumstances. Not when it’s animal research people, not when it’s OB/Gyn’s, not when it’s neo-Nazis – not ever.

    Are you trying to create an actual lasting change in our collective society – one which values lives we don’t currently value? Or are you after the satisfaction of intimidating people into doing your will? Because achieving the latter is a very poor way of attaining the former.

  142. Elaine Vigneault
    Elaine Vigneault June 10, 2009 at 3:11 pm |

    Jill,

    you wrote, “As for UC Berkeley trying to censor you, give me a fucking break. They aren’t “censoring” you any more than I was trying to ‘censor’ AutoAdmit by asking them to remove personal information about me from their website.”

    I don’t think you fully understand what happened. UC Berkeley never bothered to contact me at all. Nor did any of the individuals listed. UC Berkeley sent an email to my web host and asked them to remove the info and/or remove my entire website. My web host chose not to act immediately and forwarded the info to me.

  143. William
    William June 10, 2009 at 3:13 pm |

    well, what exactly are you saying with something like this

    Pointing out that there is a similarity between the legally unsupported positions you use as starting points and the use of similar rhetorical faints by some members of your respective organizations in order to avoid that simple fact. I’m not drawing a moral equivalency, the forced birth movement is certainly repugnant while most of the animal rights movement is fairly noble, but it is difficult to avoid noting that basic similarity. It seems that violent rhetoric is the stock-in-trade of the extremes of groups which cannot use the law to advance their cause because their cause is alegal or illegal.

    If the animal rights movement wishes to keep itself from moral equivalency to the forced birth movement it needs to reject the kinds of tactics used by the forced birth movement. More than that it needs to reject the platitudes and half measures of condemnation so often seen in the latter group when it’s members engage in violence.

    For me, thats the big issue here. Fundamentally, animal rights are defensible and banning abortion is not. But if the animal rights movement begins to engage in indefensible behavior not only will it lose the ability to gain the broad support it needs to create change, but it will lose those individuals who are sympathetic to the cause but not so passionate that they are willing to overlook tactics which they find morally offensive. By allowing into it’s ranks individuals who advocate violence, stalking, and harassment the animal rights movement hurts it’s cause by alienating people who would otherwise be supporters or allies.

  144. r.
    r. June 10, 2009 at 3:28 pm |

    just want to say i don’t want to take the discussion in an OT direction, or to dwell on tangential points and certain people’s arguments – because i think the main point of this post is an important one in itself.

    i believe what i’m saying, though, is that if you draw a parallel between some tactics of a.r. activists and those of groups like operation rescue, if you want to call those activists out and criticize the approach that would make it ok to employ those tactics, that’s absolutely great (and absolutely needed). however, if part of your argument is to draw a parallel between animal rights and anti-choice as a matter of principle, then i, as an animal righter and a critic of those tactics, have to ask if you’re being honest: are you really talking about certain tactics, or do you just have a problem with animal rights as an issue and want to bash animal righters?! if you’re doing both, you’re detracting from any argument you may be making about behaving ethically and not using just any means for one’s ends. i think the big thing here for everyone is honesty and (self-)reflection. a lot of animal rights people (of whom a large number are feminists) pay special attention to that – animal rights is part of a socially just vision of the world. which is hardly something you could say about the forced birth/anti-choice/”pro-life” position. unfortunately, the fact that people conflate their discomfort with anything that amounts to calling our culture of animal oppression into question and actual legitimate criticisms of the animal rights “movement” is always a problem when we deal with the issue of animal rights at any level. i feel it’s an important point – in this discussion and in general.

  145. r.
    r. June 10, 2009 at 3:29 pm |

    william, then agreed 100%.

  146. William
    William June 10, 2009 at 5:32 pm |

    the fact that people conflate their discomfort with anything that amounts to calling our culture of animal oppression into question and actual legitimate criticisms of the animal rights “movement” is always a problem when we deal with the issue of animal rights at any level. i feel it’s an important point – in this discussion and in general.

    I think maybe you’re misreading what I’m saying when I point out the current similarity between animal rights and the forced birth lobby. Right now animals are not legally equal to humans and have very few rights. That is not an opinion or a value judgment but an observation of the current context of the discussion. While we might be able to agree that animals deserve more rights, and while some people might believe that they deserve equal rights, we cannot ignore that the context of any such discussion is going to occur in a society in which both the law and the force of public opinion support the current situation. Moreover, because of the nature of animals, we cannot depend on members of the oppressed group speaking out or agitating for change themselves as other rights movements were able to. The forced birth lobby faces similar problems when it comes to fetuses.

    What then becomes important is how the animal rights movement chooses to deal with the challenges our social context presents. The forced birth lobby is a fairly successful model for one way of attempting to circumvent those problems and it seems to be a model that some members of the animal rights movement are adopting. I think thats dangerous both because we see where it has lead them morally and because I believe it is likely to do damage to animal rights in the long run.

    Yes, people are not likely to be thrilled at having their major assumptions challenged, but how that challenge is issued makes all the difference. To put it bluntly: I don’t really care what movement someone is supporting, if they come at me and I feel physically endangered I’m going to shoot them. If they wake me up at six in the morning because my neighbor is doing something they don’t like I’m going to be predisposed to view them (and, by extension, their cause) in a negative light. If someone I know ends up unemployed because his place of business was shut down, I’m going to sympathize more with the person I know than the cause that put them out of work. If my little cousin goes home crying because she saw some terrible image on a sign and we happened to drive by a targeted business, I’m not going to be angry at the business. I wouldn’t buy fur, but leather simply isn’t something I can do without. I could write a check to support the former, I might actively fight the latter. These are, fair or not, real concerns that the animal rights movement needs to take into consideration.

  147. ansel
    ansel June 10, 2009 at 8:08 pm |

    I’d like to shout j and ARPhilo for making a valiant effort in this thread.

    To Jill and others who view protesting or “harassing” an individual at home as “extremist,” who want to condemn the tactic because it’s been used by the right-wing: please get a clue. Nothing “morally reprehensible” about it. Here’s the Washington editor of the Nation magazine writing approvingly of an annual convergence of hundreds community organizers from across the country on the homes/workplaces of influential members of the politico-corporate elite: Naming the Enemy

    So this isn’t just a fringe thing. Sometimes it works when other tactics do not. It does not encourage or result in harm against anyone when activists make clear they don’t want people to get hurt, like Elaine did in her post. Again, no one has been killed (or significantly injured, I believe) by the modern animal rights movement since its inception several decades ago. To suggest that certain folks in that movement are on the same moral plane as the die-hard anti-choicers… well that’s morally reprehensible.

  148. r.
    r. June 10, 2009 at 8:11 pm |

    … and the animal rights movement (or rather the various people and groups, big and small, that together make a movement – maybe) are taking into consideration these concerns (and more). a post like this is needed. people from within the movement speaking up against misguided tactics and approaches is needed. actually, what you or the majority of non-a.r. people may consider to be the most “radical” elements (for instance, peta) are seen by many from within the movement as the ones that most cater to the mainstream, using tactics that plug into some existing values (for instance, sexim, violence – and, yes, violence is widely accepted in most situations), that are a lot about superficiality and gaining publicity for a group, and much less about substance or real change. the thing is, the “message” of a.r., at its core, is not something that’s going to be readily embraced in society the way it works right now: and it’s going to be even less embraced the less diluted it is, even though it’s more “noble” when it’s undiluted. so the question becomes: do we really value ethics all the way and want to create real, long-term change, or are we just interested in appealing to people in the short term? ironically, the majority is more comfortable with seeing a.r. people use stupid stunts and scare tactics, than with any discussion about animal oppression, about how it’s linked to other injustices, and how people both profit and suffer from it. it’s easy to sort out your feelings about violent harassers and such, to decide they represent animal rights and then brush aside the whole business, but when you have to question your own stance on animal oppression, that’s much harder. that’s more of what people in the movement must negotiate, and it’s particularly difficult. for some thoughtful a.r. commentary, i recommend bob and jenna torres (veganfreaks.net), gary francione (abolitionistapproach.com), living opposed to violence and exploitation (loveallbeings.org), sistah vegan (sistahveganproject.com), the vegan ideal (theveganideal.blogspot.com)… and, again, i highly recommend that post by brownfemipower. it’s brilliant (and talks about some of this.)

    william, i got what you were referring to when you compared “the fundamental stance” of a.r. with anti-choice. but i don’t think it stands up to scrutiny. to a great extent all radical social change is about a complete overhaul of public opinion and moving from a current situation where there are a lot of people in favor of maintaining the status quo, and comparatively fewer who propose a major change (in mentality, systems, laws). sure, the case of animal rights is special because the oppressed cannot speak for themselves. but when there’s a system of oppression, it’s at least as important for those who oppress to be taken to task and stopped as it is for the oppressed to be expected to rise up, organize, lead. ideally, yes, those two things go hand in hand. it’s true that in the case of animal rights, by definition, this isn’t possible. however, the comparison between animal rights and anti-choice just because in both cases there are people who speak on behalf of others only goes so far. the burden, when you’re deciding whether to sympathize with and support a movement, should not rest on the shoulders of those oppressed to convince you that you should care, that you too should act somehow – the question for you is whether you recognize the system of oppression that the movement criticizes, and whether you feel the movement seeks to eliminate injustice or not.*

    and that goes back to how people feel about a.r. as an issue. i agreed completely with your previous post. with this latest one, well, when you easily put in the same category tactics of intimidation, personal attacks etc. and the possibility that someone may see an upsetting sign at a protest against a business that profits from animal cruelty, then i have to ask you again if you are against some objectively problematic tactics or all tactics that bring the problem of animal oppression into public discussion. as a rule, we are actively lying to our children, we teach them that it’s ok not to know and care about what is being done to animals, we show them we condone cruelty and worse – for no other reason than because society is made that way; we are harming them and warping their natural sense of compassion and identification with other beings (yes, i know, that’s sentimental – but sentimentality is only a problem when it’s on one side, perhaps?!). that’s the reality. and if you’re saying that nobody should speak up against this state of affairs, that the hidden horrors of animal exploitation should not be revealed, ever, because that would be inconvenient for those who get to see it – well, that’s the whole point. does it remind you of anything else that goes on in society, how other movements against oppression from the past or the present were/are received? and if even at this level – when we’re talking about any tactic at all – it reminds you first and foremost of anti-choicers, whose fault is that, really?!


    * let alone that in the case of a.r., it’s extra-cynical of people to say that maybe there is injustice against animals – which of course just happened and we had no hand in creating it, and which of course doesn’t affect us at all – but the animals cannot speak up so how are we to know that they want justice?!

  149. Elaine Vigneault
    Elaine Vigneault June 10, 2009 at 8:16 pm |

    “what else are they going to do with the addresses? Leave PETA leaflets on the door?”

    Yeah, actually, that’s one of the things they do:
    http://www.foodfightgrocery.com/2009/06/fight-vivisection-one-door-at-time-caat.html

    What else do they use home addresses for? Well, they do home demonstrations like Cindy Sheehan did.

  150. r.
    r. June 10, 2009 at 8:53 pm |

    more from that post by bfp, which unfortunately remains unavailable at its original location, as it relates to the question of tactics for a.r. in particular (and the dynamic of violent stunts actually enforcing the problem even more, because people tend to react “in solidarity against that tactic,” exacerbate the problem and welcome increased repression, even if unwarranted – as we see time and again):

    [....] Did my community need or even want these protests?
    Did they even know that they were supposed to be protesting?
    Did they have any say in formulating the ‘goal’ I personally decided on for them?

    With animal rights activists, answering these questions is harder for the obvious reasons. Thus, rather than focusing on empowering animals and allowing animals to speak for themselves (which is what my revelation was after working through the responses to the previous questions), I think animal rights organizers need to focus more on changing a culture that does not consider the needs of animals on any level at all. For example: why is it that when 99% of the people in the U.S. by a new product, they do not ask themselves, how would/does this product affect animals? Would things change for animals if this *was* one of the first questions asked?

    Changing cultural beliefs does NOT happen by firebombings. Violence as a strategy has NEVER changed cultural beliefs for the better–indeed, as many post colonial and radical women of color activists would argue, it actually *reinforces* cultural beliefs, turning what once was a pain in the ass cultural standard that could be ignored or only ‘performed’ in certain spaces to shut up the complainers, into a standard that is severely (and usually violently) enforced and highly policed in the name of ’showing solidarity’ against violence.

  151. little light
    little light June 10, 2009 at 9:22 pm |

    Elaine:

    little light,
    Show me the evidence that suggests allowing comments on vegan blogs to remain uncensored causes direct personal harm to animal experimenters.
    Put up or shut up.

    I wish I could call this an astonishing cop-out, Elaine, but you just don’t astonish me any more. You’re still refusing to answer the question, but I’ll happily answer yours:

    This is cutesy hairsplitting bullshit. Let’s lay it out.
    “This woman is a murdering, torturing monster who commits horrific acts of genocide, vivisection, and the destruction of lives, a goddamn Mengele. She has to be stopped somehow. Oh, and here’s this monster’s home address. Now I’m not giving it to you, I’m just going to allow someone else to do it on my site–and then proudly declare that I refuse to take the information and call attention to it. But I hope that all of you out on the Internet know that while this dame is a horrific serial murderer who must be stopped and you have her home address, that you don’t do anything untoward or violent.. We have to shut her down, and this is where she and her family live, everyone, but I sure do hope nothing happens to her.”

    Yeah, how could that possibly direct personal harm toward someone? I just can’t imagine how that could be at all connected to someone taking the information you’ve proudly furnished–by calling attention to your refusal to take down what someone has posted on your website that amounts to a threat and publicizing it–and doing something violent with it. You’re not involved, after all. Your hands won’t be dirty.

    This is like buying a billboard that advertises someone as an inhuman serial rapist who lunches on puppies with a big white space that says, “OH BY THE WAY HE LIVES HERE:” and leaving a can of spraypaint for someone else to add the address, and then refusing to paint it over. And maybe sending a letter to the local paper letting them know where your billboard is.
    To pretend that this has nothing to do with consequences just because nobody’s been killed yet is the most disgusting ethical flimflam I’ve seen this week. I mean, are you listening to yourself? It’s okay because nobody’s been killed yet?

    So there. I’ve put up. Now explain why I’m wrong, and why this is just a simple, innocent case of “allowing comments on vegan blogs”–because it’s clearly the vegans we’re after, not the people of any cause who enable extremist violence to further their ideals, even when they’re vegan or feminist or antiracist or whatever!–and how there is no possible way that your handing out the home address of someone you want to intimidate into stopping an action you find immoral to the entire Internet, some of whom are more dangerous than you are, could possibly be connected to someone doing something with that home address. Explain how and in what world this is not a threat meant to frighten someone into complying with your wishes.

    In fact, no, that’s not fair, that’s too hard. Simply–simply!–explain why you feel that it’s a good idea to put up the home addresses of political enemies on the Internet. You don’t even have to explain why it isn’t connected to violence for me to be satisfied here. Just simply explain why you think it’s a good idea–what it will accomplish, and how. Just that. Convince me.

    And then tell me one more thing: if someone posted my real name and home address on your blog, after I’ve argued with you this way, would you publish it? Would you publicize it? Should I be afraid? I’ve never vivisected an animal, but I’m certainly not a good guy here, by your lights. Am I next? Do you see why this bothers people at all? This isn’t about your veganism or your AR ideals. This is about the ethics of your behavior in serving your cause, and would be just as much of a concern to me no matter what your cause was.

  152. William
    William June 10, 2009 at 10:41 pm |

    the burden, when you’re deciding whether to sympathize with and support a movement, should not rest on the shoulders of those oppressed to convince you that you should care, that you too should act somehow – the question for you is whether you recognize the system of oppression that the movement criticizes, and whether you feel the movement seeks to eliminate injustice or not.

    Perhaps ideally, you’re right. The problem is that on the ground, the reality is somewhat different. It costs someone nothing to go through their lives ignoring animal rights. A medical test subject chimp isn’t going to march on the evening news, they’ll never visit a factory farm, they’ll never work in a slaughterhouse, in our society there is simply no emotional cost. On the other hand, becoming involved does cost. There is the investment of time, money, and emotional involvement. There is the difficulty of adapting to a new way of life. Leather looks good, meat tastes good, and we’d all rather have cures for various ailments than not. That means that your average person on the street has a considerable incentive to stay out of the movement. Because of that incentive the movement, if it wants to have any hope of success, needs to convince people to join. Thats why tactics matter. People are looking for an excuse to write animal rights off because its the easiest thing in the world to do. Right or wrong, if the movement cannot overcome that it cannot overcome.

    as a rule, we are actively lying to our children, we teach them that it’s ok not to know and care about what is being done to animals, we show them we condone cruelty and worse – for no other reason than because society is made that way;

    And is that likely to change if you alienate large segments of society before you have a next move?

    It isn’t a matter of objecting to all tactics, but of recognizing that the animal rights movement starts from further back than other movements. It doesn’t have the entrenched legal standing that a movement involving humans would. The tactics that would be useful aren’t going to be the same. Animals cannot force their rights the way humans can, not in this society, not without major social change. That social change might or might not be necessary, but the only movement served by pushing people away is the status quo.

  153. DoctorL
    DoctorL June 11, 2009 at 12:10 am |

    I know one of the scientists on the list. To say that his work is grossly misrepresented in a manner bordering on libel is a serious understatement. I would be shocked if this were not true of the others as well.

    They’re doing basic neuroscience research. I’m grateful to them for it.

  154. Liz
    Liz June 11, 2009 at 2:52 am |

    hear hear, little light. A-fucking-men.

    I’m waiting too, Elaine. Something a bit more specific than “it’s a proven tactic”, please.

  155. r.
    r. June 11, 2009 at 7:54 am |

    elaine, it’s ludicrous: organizing door to door flyering somewhere and giving out the home address of animal experimenters so that they and their families may be harassed (or worse) are not similar, and you know it. you said that you wouldn’t want to enable harassers – then don’t, it’s not ok and what’s the use, are you accomplishing anything at all? from the way you react and what you say i’m pretty sure you won’t change your mind, but that’s a problem. for all of us.

    william, you saw that i’m arguing the opposite of “the tactics don’t matter.” but in addition i’m saying that it’s disingenuous when people take a.r. activists to task ostensibly for tactics, to demonize a.r. in the same breath: either your point really is about some tactics, or you would say the same about any tactic as long as it’s employed by people who support a.r., because your point is that “the fundamental stance” of a.r. is misguided. either you really are taking specific activists to task for using the tactics of anti-choicers, or you’re actually comparing a.r. to anti-choice as an issue.

    of course, you can do both at the same time: but it’s 2 different things, and while being right about one, you may be wrong about the other.

    a few more things:
    – the emotional cost of ignoring animal interests is actually huge (again, think of how little kids first react to the realization that we eat or otherwise subjugate and mistreat animals): we’ve just been taught to live with it.
    – becoming involved in anything costs. with any movement, the reality on the ground is that it costs the privileged less to stay ignorant and uninvolved than to notice and renounce privilege.
    – on one hand, you described privilege (having the luxury of “ignoring” an oppression, because you actually benefit from the order of things); and that applies not just to animal rights. on the other hand, as with all oppressions, we all play a role in it and are affected by it: if i may put on my preachy vegan hat for a moment (and hope not to be treated to some dismissive sarcasm for it), animal exploitation is interwoven with everything about human society, from what we eat and wear to the utilization of energy and resources to how we treat those around us… actually, it costs us a whole lot to ignore animal rights: our environment suffers immensely with us emerged in it, our honesty and awareness suffer, and our health suffers. this quite aside from the fact that our fellow beings suffer uselessly for our whims and profit, which we should care about anyway. the fact that we haven’t figured out just how much it costs us all, is exactly the problem.
    – a.r. people came into the movement too, so we know perhaps better than anyone what it takes to become involved; we realize how the majority thinks, because we were once in the same spot. maybe some people forget a lot once they’re “on the inside,” but i think most remain aware of both the reality of the culture at large which rejects animal rights and the reality of someone who is working for animal rights – as is the case with people in any movement. but, sure, the a.r. movement starts from further back; agreed on that.

  156. Some Days I Am the Blind Leading the Blind - The Pursuit of Harpyness

    [...] you won’t hear any clichéd paeans to the rule of law from me, either, as Jill at Feministe made the other day.  On the subject of law and legal institutions, I am not a centrist.  These are men’s laws, [...]

  157. Rebecca
    Rebecca June 11, 2009 at 12:06 pm |

    Elaine:

    If you want to make a case against publishing home addresses, make a better case than, “that’s what anti-choicers do!” It’s ad hominem and it’s meaningless.

    If you’d bothered to read the comments in this thread, or in previous threads about Scott Roeder’s murder of Dr. Tiller, you’d have noticed all the times we made the case against publishing home addresses. IT’S BECAUSE WE DON’T APPROVE OF VIGILANTISM, nor tacit encouragement of violence, nor harassment of scientists’ families.

    And I’m especially repulsed by the idea that animal experimenters deserve special protection… when no true harm has ever come to any of them.

    As a child of a rapist, I am more concerned by the REAL VIOLENCE happening everyday to real women by their harassers, stalkers, rapists, and abusers than by any of this IMAGINARY VIOLENCE directed at animal experimenters. If anyone is truly concerned about harassment, intimidation, and violence, let’s get real and focus our energy on the real victims of these crimes, not on those who wear lab coats and cry wolf.

    Wow, “special rights,” denial of reality, and a derail, all in two short paragraphs.

    Protection from harassment and murder is not a special right.

    Many links have been posted to instances where researchers have been attacked.

    “Why are you focusing on animals, when you could be focusing on HUMAN rape and abuse victims?”

    ARPhilo:

    a guy who makes money from torturing animals and taking money from pharm companies so they can poison people for millions is one I won’t lose sleep over when he gets bopped on the noggin.

    I wouldn’t go about things this way, but I can see why someone would want to hit the guy in the head.

    Humans and other animals die every day because of this guy and his facility. Yet, everyone focused on a couple of stitches on him, rather than the massive death and illness he causes to others.

    And you complain that we compare you to anti-choicers?

  158. Elaine Vigneault
    Elaine Vigneault June 11, 2009 at 12:07 pm |

    I’ll say it again: If you’re so concerned about privacy issues, why aren’t you attacking sex offender registries?

    The answer is simple: you don’t really care about the victims of animal experimenters, but you do care about the victims of sex offenders. It’s that simple and it’s time to get honest with yourself about who you are and who you protect.

  159. William
    William June 11, 2009 at 12:32 pm |

    either your point really is about some tactics, or you would say the same about any tactic as long as it’s employed by people who support a.r., because your point is that “the fundamental stance” of a.r. is misguided.

    Ok, I think we’re either having a disconnect here or you’re projecting a position onto me that I have not taken. I never said that the fundamental stance of a.r. was misguided, just that it wasn’t legally supported. That isn’t even remotely the same thing. For a long time the fundamental right to be gay or not be a slave wasn’t legally supported either. Thats the central conflict in most liberation movements, a demand for full rights. However a.r. is complicated by the oppressed group not being able to take control of it’s own movement and because of that, pragmatically, the movement unfortunately has to employ tactics that won’t alienate potential supporters. I’m not against protests, even ones with gory signs, but I think protesting in a residential neighborhood or making signs likely to piss of parents is going to be counterproductive. Movements where the oppressed people themselves are able to speak up don’t really have to care about making allies because they can achieve a critical mass on their own or with a very small pool of allies. A.R. simply cannot do that.

    the emotional cost of ignoring animal interests is actually huge (again, think of how little kids first react to the realization that we eat or otherwise subjugate and mistreat animals): we’ve just been taught to live with it.

    Neither myself nor my colleagues have seen an influx, or really any great number, of people seeking therapy with the emotional toll of animal rights being their central (or a significant) complaint. There is only a cost to ignoring an oppression if the denial can be overcome, if you can get someone to bring the matter into conscious awareness and connect with it emotionally. For some people I’m sure its huge but, for most, it isn’t. If it was we wouldn’t be having this discussion. It costs far less to ignore animal rights than it does to support them otherwise people wouldn’t react so aggressively when their voluntary ignorance was challenged.

    animal exploitation is interwoven with everything about human society, from what we eat and wear to the utilization of energy and resources to how we treat those around us…

    You could cut the word animal out of that sentence and it would be just as accurate. We’re vicious, rapacious little predators. Ever studied chimp behavior out in the wild? Rape, aggressive infanticide, murder, torture, and racism are the rules rather than the exceptions. The only thing thats really unique about human beings is that we have some small capacity for empathy that we can try to use to stem the tide of aggression that is our biological endowment.

    Challenging bigotry towards gays cost most people relatively little because the only real gain most people reaped was a sense of superiority, which could be easily moved around. Challenging bigotry on racial grounds costs somewhat more because it means competition for limited resources as well as the loss of emotional benefits that come with a feeling of superiority. Ending slavery required a war. In each of these cases, however, the costs of not challenging bigotry were somewhat more visible because the oppressed parties were human beings that one was likely to encounter in public.

    Animal rights is a different ballgame. The oppression of animals is largely invisible and the costs of it are largely hidden. Most people will never see the runoff from a swine farm or have to think about problems with ground water because of it. Most people will never see the suffering animals. Most people don’t have to kill the chicken in their pot themselves, or pluck it, or dress it. On the other hand the benefits are visible. We’ve all seen a.r. people mocked, many of us have heard how difficult it is for a vegan to eat out, its tough to find good shoes that aren’t leather (especially if you like boots), its an additional complication to your day trying to figure out what is in a given product or where its derived from (like keeping kosher or being diabetic), you have to give up things you actively enjoy for nothing but a sense of moral righteousness in return. In short, you have to challenge a society you enjoy for a creature you’ll never meet that likely can’t even understand what happened.

    I’m not making a value judgment or saying that it isn’t worth it. What I am saying is that thats a steep hill. At any step along the path people are looking for a reason to write the whole exercise off. The question then faced by the animal rights movement is a very difficult one: how do you balance an aggressive enough policy to overcome inertia with the threat of alienating people? Too little pressure and no one bothers to care, too much and they write the movement off.

  160. r.
    r. June 11, 2009 at 3:46 pm |

    william: again, i think a.r. people know better than anyone the hardships and dilemmas that we’re faced with in our work, which we must consider, juggle and negotiate – i’d already mentioned some. yes, it’s how things are.

    if you understand this, too, then it’s all the more reason not to dismiss and attack a.r. offhand. and you did do so in several instances here – i’m not buying that with your comparison between “fundamental stances” in a.r. and anti-choice you were just saying that the a.r. one isn’t legally supported (you yourself said it was as much about the possible “moral equivalency” – which you’re tying to legality, somehow, but i think that’s grasping at straws).

    anyway, i wasn’t talking only about you when i said that people conflate criticizing some tactics and criticizing any tactics of a.r. supporters – in fact, i was referring to a trend i saw in this discussion, which is a trend that you always see in such situations: no matter what an a.r. person is saying/doing, people project their own negative ideas about a.r. onto that person, and act dismissively, condescendingly, unfairly towards that person “just because.” that makes a dialog impossible – and allows people to behave and argue badly and yet still believe that they’re on the moral high ground and, what’s more, that they dislike a.r. for valid reasons, not out of defensiveness or bigotry.

    i don’t think this is necessarily true in any case:

    Movements where the oppressed people themselves are able to speak up don’t really have to care about making allies because they can achieve a critical mass on their own or with a very small pool of allies

    i already agreed that a.r. has farther to go, and i gave the main reasons why myself – as well as some thoughts on what that means as far as tactics. now i think you are trying to come up with all sorts of reasons why a.r. is just SO different than any other movement might possibly be, which don’t hold up.

    all movements for radical change are about a lot of people giving up things that they take for granted and some comforts, about paradigm shifts, one way or another: as you say yourself, in history, some change has “cost” (to use your term) much more than others – depending on how much different systems of economy, politics and cultural hierarchy and values rely on the oppression that needs to be eliminated – but that shouldn’t stop a struggle for justice, and anyone can either join that struggle or not (staying “ignorant” because the personal cost of not doing so would be too high is also a position). this is no different, fundamentally speaking, in the case of a.r. – i understand what you are saying, but i think that you are grasping at straws to exacerbate the difference of a.r. to other justice struggles.

    in fact, i don’t even know what we are debating anymore. i was talking about the very concrete problem that a lot of people (you among them up until recently) ostensibly criticize some wrong tactics employed by a.r. activists (like harassment and vigilantism), but pretty quickly veer off into criticizing any stances or actions that a.r. work might mean, and dismissing a.r. as a whole (without real arguments). [e.g. your "what about teh babys"] for me, it’s troubling to see that people are convincing themselves that it’s ok if they think anything an a.r. activist does or says is misguided because it’s based on a problematic premise (like “pro-life”) and that we shouldn’t be allowed to bring the issue into public discussion ever. i believe it’s not ok.

    the “funny” thing to me here is that while you are going on about the obstacles that the a.r. movement should know it faces, about just how hard it is to get people to listen about a.r. and how much mockery and hardships one can expect if they became vegan or supported a.r. (which deters people from doing it), at the same time you are an example of someone who mocks, dismisses, etc.. you know, this hardship and mockery doesn’t just fall from the sky: it’s enforced – or not – by people like you and me and anyone here.

    especially if you see things so clearly as to what kinds of obstacles the a.r. movement must surmount, you should not be so flippant about not knowing any “people seeking therapy with the emotional toll of animal rights being their central (or a significant) complaint.” the fact that you haven’t seen this proves nothing. i think every single one of us knows multiple cases in which children were traumatized when they realized that they had to eat an animal whom they cared about – or some similar scenario (and isn’t it amazing that we don’t talk about this – because it would be absurd to dwell on it, right?!)… and there’s a lot of information about the link between abuse of animals and domestic violence or other abuse towards humans: because that type of violence is interlinked, and learning early on that it’s ok to be cruel to others, through abusing an animal, oftentimes leads people to asocial, abusive behaviors (towards people, who may count) – do you perhaps know anything about that? the fact that in society we don’t take this stuff seriously and people don’t talk about it because you just don’t is a symptom of the problem, not a proof that there’s no problem.

    i could go into a whole bunch of other issues that you brought up: actually, if you pay any attention, most people run into the costs of animal oppression all the time, and more an more as we “progress” (health problems from overconsumption of animal products, diseases and environmental disasters caused by animal industries, energy and food waste because of unwise use of resources benefiting the same…); or, being vegan is not as hard as you think it is (yeah, you can find boots); or, no, you’re not saying anything when you come with the “argument” of the natural viciousness of all of creation (in fact, humans are the only species that is raising other species for food and profit – and yet we like to think ourselves superior); or, if you think the potential for empathy is what’s unique about humans, you haven’t met very many animals (or read much about them)… and so on, and so forth. but i really don’t want to dwell on the topic, it’s a long discussion that i don’t have time for right now (and i don’t think this is the right place for it anyway, i’m already quite OT, i guess). so i’ll stop.

  161. Elaine Vigneault
    Elaine Vigneault June 11, 2009 at 10:26 pm |

    Today they sent me an email saying that it’s not just the home addresses they want removed from Vegan Soapbox, they also want the work addresses removed.

    They appear to be more interested in silencing me and stifling dissent than in promoting democracy or free speech.

    Reminders:
    1) “Animal rights and environmental advocates have not flown planes into buildings, taken hostages, or sent Anthrax through the mail. They have never even injured anyone.”
    from Green Is The New Red

    2) My post reminds people to be nonviolent.

    3) The addresses have been available on Vegan Soapbox for over a year without any harm coming to anyone.

    There is NO reason to believe the animal experimenters are in any danger. NONE.

    There is NO urgency to remove the information. NONE.

  162. Rebecca
    Rebecca June 12, 2009 at 3:08 pm |

    There is NO reason to believe the animal experimenters are in any danger. NONE.

    Except for the MULTIPLE STORIES already cited. Kindly read them before repeating things commenters here have already disproven.

  163. ARPhilo
    ARPhilo June 16, 2009 at 3:53 pm |

    I’m back but only for a second. I think this person’s blog entry is very relevant to this discussion. http://veganprimate.wordpress.com/2009/06/08/guess-whos-really-at-the-bottom-of-the-shitpile/

  164. Vegetarian Don’ts « The Czech
    Vegetarian Don’ts « The Czech June 20, 2009 at 1:58 pm |

    [...] into a post, goddamn it! It got a good response over there, but I think my ideas were inspired by a post at Feministe, so I can’t take all the [...]

  165. Albert
    Albert June 20, 2009 at 6:56 pm |
  166. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan June 20, 2009 at 9:45 pm |

    They appear to be more interested in silencing me and stifling dissent than in promoting democracy or free speech.

    Bullshit. If they insisted that you stop yelling “FIRE” in a crowded theater it would be about the same; they aren’t trying to “stifle dissent” they are trying to protect people’s lives and families from a dangerous asshole.

    You seem to be forgetting the purpose of terrorism. It is to *terrorize* (even without actual physical violence) by the *threat* of actual physical violence in order to coerce people. Posting home addresses is a threat and is meant to be a threat and serves no purpose *other* than a threat. What you’re doing is terrorism in the most classic sense. You’re sick.

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