This, in turn, means that members of the public who strongly disagree with your stand may decide to track you down and let you know they disagree with you.
Apparently, this may become an issue for those who signed the Pro-Test petition in support of ethical and human scientific research with animals. From an email sent to signatories:
[A] few websites hosted by animal rights activists have encouraged their readerships to visit the list of Pro-Test signatories in order to find names and to contact those persons to express their opposition to animal research. While your email addresses on the RaisingVoices.net website are secure and not publicly listed, the animal rights groups encourage people to use the wide array of Internet tools to find contact information and to use it.
While we regret that any person may receive negative communications as a result of this heinous effort by animal rights groups, we want to express – more than ever – our resolve that circumstances such as this are exactly why we all signed the Pro-Test Petition to begin with. Harassment of scientists and supporters of research is intolerable and only resoluteness and mutual support can overcome it.
Remember — no one on this list stands alone. We all share the support and assistance of more than 10,000 other signatories, as well as the resources of Americans for Medical Progress, Speaking of Research and Pro-Test for Science. Now more than ever, it is crucial that we find our collective voices and refuse to shy away when extremists use their predictable, tired tricks.
In case you were wondering, here’s the language from one of the ARA sites:
The public nature of this petition means that vivisectors and their supporters are now publishing their own names online; a tactic scoffed at when done by animal rights activists. Activists should not hesitate to take advantage of this petition and to use it as a directory. The petition is essentially a list of people who are without shame, who are willing to take a public stance in favor of the continued suffering and death of animals in laboratories. The signatories are people who not just support but who are actively advocating the continuation of violence toward animals.
The petition is both a directory of people whose minds need to be changed (and in many cases whose behavior needs to be changed) and is an open call to violence by vivisectors against nonhuman animals. While vivisectors present themselves as victims (perhaps because someone chalks their name on a sidewalk or calls them a “killer” after they do in fact kill); in truth they are the aggressors.
Please select as many names from the petition as you see fit and contact these individuals as soon as possible. Some common names may be difficult to trace to the particular individual but many names will not be difficult (particularly if they have listed educational credentials or academic titles with their name).
It is only just the someone who opts to take a public position in favor of violence toward animals receive some negative feedback from more compassionate individuals such as the many dedicated activists who read this blog. Anyone who openly advocated racism, sexism, or pedophilia would be thoroughly criticized…this is an appropriate response to those who advocate vivisection.
Do not hesitate to call the bluff of Novartis CEO Daniel Vasella when he claims to seek “productive dialogue” and begin contacting the names on this list.
Now, I signed the Pro-Test petition, and I was shocked to hear that by doing so, I had issued “an open call to violence against nonhuman animals,” so I went to reread what I had signed. Here it is in its entirety:
We the undersigned believe:
- That animal research has contributed and continues to contribute to major advances in the length and quality of our lives. It remains vital to understanding basic biological processes and for the development of new treatments and therapies such as antibiotics, vaccines, organ transplants, and cancer medicines.
- That animal research is morally justifiable provided animal welfare remains a high priority and no valid non-animal alternatives are available.
- That violence, intimidation and harassment of scientists and others involved in animal research is neither a legitimate means of protest, nor morally justified.
As you’ll notice, none of these items calls for open violence, torture, or abuse. The petition does not advocate the position at the extreme right of DrugMonkey’s animal welfare bell curve where scientists (and others) should get a free hand to do anything they want with animals. Rather, there is an explicit affirmation that animal welfare should be prioritized and that non-animal alternatives should be used in research where they are available.
Obviously, the folks on the animal rights side of the table disagree with the position endorsed by the Pro-Test petition signers. Given this disagreement, they view the signatories as “people whose minds need to be changed (and in many cases whose behavior needs to be changed).”
One would hope, then, that the supporters of the animal rights cause will be reaching out to the folks who signed the petition to try to change their minds (and behavior) through productive dialogue of some sort. Right?
Maybe it’s just me, but I get a little pessimistic about the prospects for dialogue when I read some of the comments posted by the animal rights activists urging their fellows to use the Pro-Test petition as a directory. At one animal rights activist site, for example:
My name is not on a petition actively calling for the mutilation and systematic abuse of innocent animals. That is the domain of obscene and violent cowards who exist because of society’s ignorance and apathy. …
I threaten no one. I am not violent. I firmly believe that vivisectors should be on the receiving end of their sociopathic torture regimens… or dead… whichever…
But this is not a threat. It is my vision of utopia.
Or, in a comment at Lousy Canuck, somewhat more bluntly:
I despise terrorists who harm sentient beings with impunity.
I completely support & defend our freedom fighters (the ALF, ARM and assorted Revolutionary Cells) who understand that oppressors will not willingly relinquish their power — they must be stopped by any means necessary. And I’m thankful we have compassionate & altruistic individuals willing to address the terrorist vivisectors on their own terms.
I’m shocked!!! Your rallies have more people than ours??? Understand this, you can gather together all of the indoctrinated, sycophantic drones you can recruit — enjoy the spectacle as they march together in step to the beat of their capitalist overlords. Do you think we’re impressed by the pathetic display of common mainstream conformity? Actually, having you all in one place might prove beneficial from my perspective.
You fail to grasp an essential element in this equation. Animal liberationists are not driven by money. We get no promotions, job offers or raises. We simply want to end the suffering of the innocent animals. We are energized, gaining momentum, and are unphased by your impotent whining.
But I am not a violent person. I simply want the violent people dead.
Or, in a comment at DuWayne Brayton’s blog, this:
while i am against animal experimentation and animal rights extremism , you have to commend what the latter do , it seems to me that doing nothing solves nothing , the vivisectors just carry on abusing animals , but if you blow them to bits they can’t abuse animals , problem solved.
I reckon there are people who hold the animal rights view who would like to change hearts and minds by way of dialogue. I’m just having a hard time understand how this kind of exhortation, to see supporters of sound science and humane treatment of animals as violent sociopaths who delight in inflicting suffering, lays the groundwork for such a dialogue.
For the record, I am always up for a dialogue on the issue of our moral relation to animals and on the ethical use of animals in scientific research. If folks inclined towards the animal rights stance want to engage in a dialogue right here, in the comments on this post, I am happy to host it.
(I will not, however, be hosting a debate. A dialogue is different from a debate, and a dialogue is what I’m prepared to host.)