Friday, June 19, 2009

Animal Rights Terrorism Drives Research Lab Underground

This is what it is coming to; having to build an animal research lab underground as a security measure: From the story:
The University of Iowa has gotten the green light to build a subterranean vivarium that will house experimental animals to be used in biomedical research and offer an extra measure of protection from animal rights extremists.

The Iowa Board of Regents approved $11.2 million for the roughly 35,000 square foot facility -- which will lie under a grassy courtyard bordered by three research buildings -- last week. "Security is a huge issue with regard to biomedical research," the university's vice president for research, Jordan Cohen, told the regents, according to the Des Moines Register.

Paul Cooper, director of the university's Office of Animal Resources, told The Scientist that while protecting the facility against attacks from animal rights groups wasn't the primary impetus for putting the lab underground, its underground location "is an extra measure of security." In 2004, animal rights activists broke into animal research laboratories on the University of Iowa campus, destroying computers and laboratory equipment and stealing experimental animals. Damages
sustained during the attack, for which the Animal Liberation Front claimed responsibility, cost the university about $425,000.
This should be a bigger story. We still don't take the threat to the scientific enterprise from animal rights terrorists with sufficient seriousness.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Another PETA Eye-Roller: Flies are "Curious"

The President made news by swatting a fly during an interivew recently, and ever the publicity hogs, PETA, decided to horn in on the act. True to form, it criticized Obama for killing the fly, but note how Bruce Friedrick, a PETA general, anthropomorphized the insect. From the story:
"We support compassion even for the most curious, smallest and least sympathetic animals," PETA spokesman Bruce Friedrich said Wednesday. "We believe that people, where they can be compassionate, should be, for all animals."
The fly wasn't curious. It wasn't saying to itself, "Hmm, I'll see what this new president is all about" only to be cruelly killed. It was attracted by a scent or whatever it is that attracts flies. It wasn't a thought-out act.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Making A Hero Out of an Animal Rights Criminal

Rodney Coronado, now in a penitentiary for teaching people how to make an explosive devise with the intent that someone commit a violent crime–and convicted previously of torching an animal research lab–a terrorist who admits he committed other crimes for which he was not caught, is the subject of a new biography. And the “Trade” reviews are almost as atwitter for Coronado as the MSM are for President Obama. From Kirkus “starred review” reprinted on

Kuipers delivers a searing narrative on the fringe animal-activist movement. Despite his decades of experience covering the radical environmental movement, the author is careful to remain an objective narrator, presenting much contextual detail and allowing Coronado and his peers’ brimming passion to tell the story. A provocative and careful testament to the ever-changing definition of activism.

And here’s the Book List’s even more breathless “starred review”:

Passions run high when it comes to environmentalism, yet few condone the extreme tactics of such groups as the Animal Liberation Front. Los Angeles Times editor Kuipers, author of the counterculture saga Burning Rainbow Farm, focuses on eco warrior, some would say ecoterrorist, Ron Coronado as a key to the incendiary side of green activism. A Californian of Yaqui descent, Coronado began demonstrating in support of animal rights while still in grade school. He joined Sea Shepherd, a direct action anti-whaling group, instead of going to college, thus launching a life of illegal protest that turned him into a saboteur, arsonist, and fugitive; landed him in jail; and embroiled him in an infamous legal case that fuses freedom-of-speech issues with ramped-up domestic-terrorist laws. Coronado’s outlaw adventures for the cause are electrifying, from his covert videotaping of crimes against animals to his fiery destruction of fur farms and research labs, and his spiritual and moral struggles are equally compelling and genuinely instructive. As Kuipers meticulously tracks Coronado’s intense commitment to animals and eventual rejection of violence, he illuminates the tenets of deep ecology and animal rights and provides an invaluable history of radical environmentalism, a force that may gain momentum as mainstream society fails to respond to looming crises.”

Here’s a thought experiment: Replace the word “pro life” in each spot in which these reviewers used the term animal rights or referred to environmental activism: As in, “As Kuipers meticulously tracks Coronado’s intense commitment to unborn children…he illuminates the tenets of pro life ethics and provides an invaluable history of anti abortion advocacy, a force that may gain momentum as mainstream society fails to respond to the abortion Holocaust.”

Does anyone think these reviews would have so glowingly reviewed a biography of an equivalent pro life “warrior?” Of course not–nor should they. But if it is wrong–and it is–to engage in vandalism, arson, and personal attack in the name of stopping abortion, if a biography romanticizing the exploits of a pro life Ron Coronado would have been searingly condemned–and it would be–it is just as wrong to do it in causes of the Left like animal rights. But don’t expect our ideologically corrupted intellectual institutions to figure that out.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

PETA Believes Even Dead Fish Have Rights

Whenever I get up to Seattle, I try and visit Pike Place Market. One of the attractions there is the fish stand, where the workers "throw" salmon to each other to the delight of the crowd.

Well, when a veterinary group wanted to have a demonstration at a convention, PETA yelled that something was fishy. From the story:

In a letter sent to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), PETA says fish are intelligent, sensitive animals. PETA writes: "You should know that people who care about animals are appalled that a veterinary organization, whose purpose is to represent the interests of those whose jobs involve protecting the well-being of animals, would promote an event in which animals are treated so disrespectfully and are handled as if they were toys." PETA says that according to studies, fish not only feel pain, but they learn tasks, have long-term memories and show affection.
The fish are dead! They aren't feeling any pain! And yes, of course the group caved.

I'll believe PETA really believes in animal rights when they start picketing seals.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Using Human Tissues to Reduce Need for Animal Research

After researching one chapter in Culture of Death and a whole book for A Rat Is A Pig Is A Dog Is A Boy, I am utterly convinced of the need for animal research in the quest to find treatments for disease and otherwise ameliorate human (and animal) suffering. But that doesn’t mean it is an activity we should relish. When and if we can obtain the needed information or knowledge without using animals, we should–so long as we don’t replace animal research with unethical investigations on human subjects--a potential problem I discussed regarding this story today over at Secondhand Smoke. Indeed, that is the point of the bioethical concept “The Three Rs,” an abbreviation for, “reduce, replace, refine.”

Now, biotechnology may be finding ways to replace animal research with experiments on human tissues, thereby also promoting the reduce and refine aspects of the Three Rs. From the story:

The use of animal experiments could be replaced by research on “virtual human beings” and tests on banks of living cells within a generation, scientists say. Computer modelling and advances in cell biology will allow researchers to assess new drugs far more precisely and without the involvement of animals. One innovation is the development of “micro-lungs” — lung cells extracted from transplant tissue, grown in a laboratory culture and then tested with drops of toxicants such as cosmetics to assess the response. return false;

I doubt that we will ever be able to totally end animal research because sometimes, you need to study the impact on the entire organism, not just discreet parts of the animal. For example, animal research discovered that embryonic stem cells cause tumors when injected into the body. Merely injecting the cells into a mini lung might not have developed the same information.

Still, the Three Rs are important, an ongoing example of the moral duties that flow from human exceptionalism.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Animal Rights Terrorism on the Rise

Alas, threats, intimidation, violence and other terroristic actions continue to rise "in the name of those who can't speak for themselves." From the story:

In what law enforcement officials are calling a wave of militancy, groups like the Animal Liberation Front and another called The Justice Department are going after scientists personally, both at work and at home, and threatening the safety of their families. "There is an upswing," said Laura Eimiller, a FBI spokeswoman in Los Angeles. "What's really concerning is the tactics that are being used. Previously it was non-violent, mostly harassment or vandalism. Now we're seeing the increased use of incendiary devices to target individuals."

Over the past 18 months, there have been at least 39 criminal actions undertaken in the name of animal rights, according to data compiled by the Foundation for Biomedical Research, an advocacy group for researchers. That represents a significant rise from 2006 and 2007, when there were only 25 incidents.

A huge part of the problem, it seems to me, is that the breadth and scope of the animal rights/liberation movement does little or nothing to rein in their crazier colleagues. As I have often written, PETA refuses to condemn criminality in the name of animal rights, and indeed, some leaders have actually extolled it. Until and unless the animal rights movement as a whole rises up to unequivocally oppose these actions--and cooperates with bringing the perpetrators to justice--animal rights cannot be deemed a peaceable movement.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Why A Rat Is A Pig Is A Dog Is A Boy?

Welcome to my new blog: A Rat Is A Pig Is A Dog Is A Boy--or Rat Pig Dog Boy, for short, or to be even shorter, RPDB.

Why this blog? Clearly, I hope it will supplement, compliment, and boost my upcoming book carrying the same title currently set for release in January 2010.

Of course, that begs the question: Why the book? The answer to that is literally a book-length tale, but here is a brief section of the introduction that will give you an idea of why I am engaged in the animal rights debate:

It is not my purpose in this book to act as a defender of of animal industries. Rather, my goals are primarily to expose the anti-human ideology of animal rights/liberation, expose the movement's many deceptions, and warn against the sometimes violent tactics of the animal rights/liberation movement. I will also defend the propriety of using animals as necessary and proper to promoting human welfare, prosperity, and happiness. Finally, I will mount an unequivocal defense of the belief that human beings uniquely stand at the pinnacle of moral worth–a concept sometimes called human exceptionalism.

I am very well aware that these positions--once nearly universally accepted—have, in recent years, become intensely controversial. Indeed, few issues generate such intense emotionalism or fervent support by its adherents as does "animal rights." Thus, I want to make it very clear at the outset--as I will throughout the book--that I love animals and like most people, I wince when I see them in pain. Moreover, I believe strongly that as enlightened people, we have a profound moral and ethical obligation to treat animals humanely and with proper respect--a core obligation of human exceptionalism--and by all means, to never cause them to suffer for frivolous reasons. I also strongly support laws against cruelty to animals and support strengthening them when appropriate. Indeed, I believe that animal abuse is a terrible wrong, not only because it causes the victimized animal to suffer, but also because cruelty to animals diminishes our own humanity.

Now, consider why I felt it necessary to make such an unusual disclaimer: Over the past thirty years, the concept of "animal rights" has seeped deeply into the bone marrow of Western culture. (This is especially true among the young.) Part of this support is based on a very loose use of the term "animal rights" as about being nicer to animals. It isn't--although sometimes animal rights groups engage in animal welfare-type activism. Rather, animal rights is actually a belief system, an ideology, and for some even a quasi-religion that both implicitly and explicitly seeks to create a moral equivalency between the value of human lives and those of animals.

So what will we be doing between now and the release of the book? The same thing we will be doing afterward; thinking about, discussing, and from my perspective--exposing--the philosophy, foibles, fables, and anti-human agenda of animal rights/liberation. In fact, the human use of animals, its propriety, its controversy, and stories in the news about the animal rights and animal welfare will be the only subjects this blog will consider.

One final note: I believe very strongly in the open exchange of ideas. I do not censor comments--especially those that are critical of my views and work. But I do insist on decorum. So, no cussing, no name calling, no threats, no spamming. Other than that, let's have at it.

Oh, if you are also interested in other issues impacting on human exceptionalism such as assisted suicide, human cloning, bioethics, radical environmentalism, and all that jazz, be sure to check out my other blog: Secondhand Smoke: Your 24/7 Seminar on Bioethics and the Importance of Being Human.