The animal rights kooks were crowing about their 'victory' in intimidating one student, but that's no victory at all. Alena Rodriguez is a real person who was targeted with an intense campaign of harassment and threats, and who was made to fear for her life; all they accomplished, though, was to reveal their hand and show what kind of contemptible terrorist tactics they will use. They've engaged in a little consciousness-raising of their own, but it's all going to work against them.
Speaking of Research has a new article on their opponents' recently invigorated embrace of terrorism, and all it has accomplished is to strengthen researchers' resolve.
Though NIO may refer to students as the "Soft bellied target of the vivisection complex" who “can be shut down with relative ease," they should study their history. In the winter of 2005, the ALF launched a campaign that targeted students at Oxford University in the UK, declaring them to be "legitimate targets". Did the students bow to the threats and arson attacks on their facilities? Not a chance! The students responded by launching the Pro-Test movement in support of animal research, and gave the ALF a drubbing which helped to turn the tide against AR extremism in the UK. The hate and lies of the ALF were simply no match for the solidarity shown by students and scientists at Oxford.
Similarly, the extremists at NIO may claim one victory, but they fail to see how much dedication they create at the exact same time.
At UCLA, faculty and students alike have been the target of a heinous and criminal campaign of violence and harassment. How many students have quit animal research and/or changed their careers? To our knowledge: none. Indeed, students at institutions like UCLA have become some of the most passionate and committed defenders of animal-based research.
At NIO, they see victories in stories like these. We say those victories are hollow and pathetic. If you share our view, leave a comment below showing support for Alena and other students like her. The scientists of tomorrow need to hear our voices.
I abhor violence. That's why I'm vegan. The folks at NIO do NOT speak for the majority of animal rights activists out there. Most of us are nonviolent people who reach out to others with information on why one may want to care about taking the interests of other sentient beings seriously.
Aside from the obvious reasons that NIO's tactics are horrible (inciting violence, being pro-violence, just being general douchebags), there is also the fact of, I think, misplaced emphasis on animal experimenters.
While I don't think that animal experimentation can be morally justified, I agree with Prof. Gary Francione from Rutgers that it's really the only animal use that's not transparently frivolous. As such, spending the amount of time and effort on animal experimenters that NIO does seems to me an effort to pick the high-hanging fruit.
Another reason I disagree with NIO (and others like them) is that violence only serves to make animal rights activists in general appear crazy and anti-social. The temptation to lump all animal rights activists into one basket is just too enticing, even, apparently, for the most intelligent among us. If you have a shred of familiarity with animal rights philosophy, you'll understand that humans are included within it since we are, of course, animals.
If you would like to read some posts from animal rights advocates on why violence is counter-productive to the animal rights movement and needs to be rejected, check out: