It’s still on line, and it’s scary. An open threat to bomb buildings and the homes of those they consider their enemy. Yet except for a few segments on the TV show “Law and Order”, it is a topic that rarely hits the news: the ongoing threat to scientists who do research on animals so that they might cure human disease.

Last week, one professor’s home was firebombed; no one was home, but this was not the first attack on this professor’s home. Nor is this the first terrorist attack in that state. There has been a rash of arson attacks in California by environmental terrorists, but the most evil of these attacks are those directed at researchers who are trying to alleviate human suffering.

In response to the growing violence, the American Academy for the Advancement of Science has released a statement deploring the attacks, and the Utah legislature has made it illegal to disclose personal data on researchers.
UCLA has had to have a judge issue a restraining order to those who have harassed and even placed incendiary devices at employee’s homes three times since June 2006:

The order by Superior Court Judge Gerald Rosenberg forbids the activists from engaging in acts of harassment and threats of violence, and requires that they stay away from anybody who is known to be a university employee involved in animal research…

It also ordered the activists and their groups to remove the researchers’ personal information from Web sites that name them as targets of their protest.

Well, even though the court order was placed five days ago, the website is still up. I removed the name and address for obvious reasons:

X (Name Deleted), you and your work are deplorable. You are given paychecks in exchange for addicting primates, the closest kin that the human species knows, to numerous sickeningly addicting drugs like crystal meth. For forcing these innocent and sensitive beings to suffer through a type of hell that they would never encounter if it wasn’t for your deranged science you deserve to know true justice.

This is why on February 3rd 2008 we left an incendiary device at your house at (address deleted)xxxx in Beverly Hills. X(name deleted), the fire that night was exactly ther size we wanted it to be. It was just a little outreach because we want to see you make the sound ethical choice to stop vivisecting primates. We know what we are doing and fires can be much larger.

Yup. It’s not a game, it’s scary stuff. Some scientists have actually quit research for fear of their own and their family’s safety. And one researcher who does cancer research on mice describes the terror:

SANTA CRUZ – A biomedical researcher who was the target of Sunday’s attempted home invasion by masked animal rights activists said Tuesday that she and her young children were terrified, but she will not be deterred from her work to fight breast cancer….”I’m a scientist, I do research that’s really valuable,” she said. “One in seven women get breast cancer.”…

The researcher said one of the assailants struck her husband on the hand with an unknown object after he confronted them on the front porch, but he is OK. She said her two children, 2 and 8, who were home at the time, are “terrified” but OK.

PETA might warm the cockles of the average Hollywood blond, but their inverted concern that makes animals more important than people is chilling.

Here in the Philippines, animal rights protesters protest eating chickens (chicken meat and eggs are the cheapest source of protein here) while ignoring nearby rural migrants who are camping out under the street overpasses.

In SriLanka, the Tamil Tigers are an especially vicious terrorist group known for their suicide bombings. In response to one bomb near the Zoo that wounded at least four people, PETA was quick to protest:

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, said in a letter dated Feb. 15 to Velupillai Prabhakaran, the reclusive rebel leader, that “the explosive device that was set off near the zoo’s bird enclosures terrified many animals at the zoo.”

PETA president Ingrid E. Newkirk pleaded with the rebel leader “to leave animals out of this conflict,” the letter said.

Critternewsblog sarcastically commented:

Next time you toss a few grenades in a public place, how about a pre-school instead? But watch out for Nibbles the hamster in the back of the classroom. He gets very jumpy when grenades go off near his cage…

In Africa, they are busy protesting the culling of Elephants, who if left alone would overgraze the area and cause massive deforestation, and would migrate out of the parkland, eating crops of local villagers who rely on those crops to survive.

So who speaks for the poor people who won’t have enough to eat?

Sorry, I’m old enough to think that the ecology movement should go back to their roots, and remember to put people first.What they have forgotten is balance: to see stewardship should be the goal.

The choice is not between “preserving traditional lifestyles” (a pretty word for ignoring the horrors of backbreaking poverty) and environmental destruction. There is a third choice: recognizing that prudent stewardship of resources should be encouraged.

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Thanks to SecondhandSmokeBlog for bringing the issue to my attention.

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Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. Her website is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket.

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