Scientists, read this statement.
A new era has dawned for those who fund the abusers and raise funds for them to murder animals with. You too are on the hit list: you have been warned. If you support or raise funds for any company connected with Huntingdon Life Sciences we will track you down, come for you and destroy your property with fire.
Let it sink in. Now insert your research institution in the place of Huntingdon Life Sciences, and you know what might be in store for anyone doing, or associated with, animal research.
Mark over at denialism blog describes a chilling attack recently made against UCLA biomedical research scientist Edythe London. The ALF has claimed responsibility for flooding her house, causing between $20,000-30,000 damage, in retaliation for her research on nicotine addiction. Her crime: London uses primates as a model. I want to express my deep sorrow and sympathy for Dr. London, although it may not mean much, she has my support.
This incident, beyond being very frightening to me as a future scientist, deeply saddens me. Biomedical scientists do not live a wicked life, as the ALF seems to believe. They are involved in research due to a passion for knowledge and a reduction of human suffering, and I cannot sit idly by while one is victimized. It also belies a fundamental misunderstanding by some members of society as to the important role of animals in the research that results in real benefit to our lives–as well as efforts made to reduce the pain of any animals involved. Every medical experiment at a university which involves vertebrates is subject to a rigorous review by an animal research panel which, in addition to containing doctors and scientists, includes lay members such as lawyers, clergy, etc. These panels oversee the methods of the experiments as well as verify that the minimum number of animals are used and that the type of animals are appropriate, and vital, to the experiment. They are able to pose questions as to whether in vitro methodology could be substituted, and it is up to the researcher to justify that it cannot. Following approval, standards of animal care are always closely monitored and records are audited. There are *many* parties, such as technicians and vets at animal housing facilities, who provide additional oversight and care for the animals.
That said, it is the prerogative of the animals rights groups to make their opinions known. The questions surrounding the use of animals in medical research should incur continued debate, and it is that debate that infuses important and diverse perspectives into the reality of animal experimentation–and ensures that the debate will morph will the evidence available to us. However it is inexcusable for certain animal rights groups to preclude debate and resort to violence and intimidation to make their points. Instead of arguing the merits of the case, they have chosen to act like an impetuous child, all the while posturing that they have the moral high ground. Made particularly ironic as they enjoy the life-extending benefits to protest longer by the very thing they protest. It is a twisted fanaticism that wholly detracts from the otherwise honorable cause of giving animals as much protection as possible.
That goal I just mentioned above, well, scientists share it too. We get no joy out of involving animals in biomedical research, however we realize the utility and importance of the results to the generation of life-saving medicines and therapies. We realize that animal models, while useful and sometimes illuminating, are not perfect.So, I can completely understand the desire to reduce the suffering of animals, because I share it. I also share a desire for safe and effective pharmaceuticals, non-toxic products in my home, advanced surgeries that can improve and prolong my life, and therapies that can treat or eliminate global diseases. I do advance the cause of reducing animal use in research with the eventual hope of one day (far away) eliminating it, but until that day comes, the responsible and humane treatment of experimental animals AND animal researchers is the best thing we can do.