Violence for animal rights hurts the goal

Our cat Ernie killed a mouse the other night and I was terrified.

It is not the first time he has done in mice that have invaded our home, and now I fear he may be targeted by animal rights activists.

I buried the mouse in the dark of night in an unmarked grave and hope that the masked terrorists who attack homes with firebombs in the name of animal welfare realize that the rodent’s death was simply the result of the age-old game of cat and mouse.

But just to make sure, Ernie has been entered into a Federal Feline Protection Program and works as a gardener in the Valley. They call him Gus.


Activists have proven over the years that they are not averse to threatening the lives of other animals, namely humans, to make a point.

Their latest attack involved the firebombing of a home belonging to a biomedical researcher at UC Santa Cruz. The house was occupied by a scientist, his wife and two young children when the attackers hit, forcing them to flee out of a second-story window.

Ironically, the man’s research involved mice, fruit flies and other non-primates. If terrorists can threaten the lives of those who experiment on fruit flies to benefit the human condition, you had better be careful the next time you step on a spider or squash an ant.

Radicals in the animal rights movement feel that it’s just fine to cause injury or maybe even death to those who experiment on animals in the search for new ways of saving human lives. Recently Dr. Jerry Vlasak, spokesman for the Animal Liberation Front, was quoted as saying that in order to protect animals, “If you had to hurt someone or intimidate them or kill them, it would be morally justifiable.”

It baffles me how atrocities can be sanctified in the name of compassion. The distorted philosophy bears a striking similarity to war in the name of peace and capital punishment as civilized justice. Murder as mercy is a perverted rationale in a world that increasingly seems to exist beyond the looking glass.

Attacks by activists are on the rise, according to the Foundation for Biomedical Research. Scientists involved in animal experimentation were victimized 70 times in 2003, compared with 10 the previous year, and the increase is continuing.

Intimidation in California has also reached researchers at UCLA and UC Berkeley. The methods are not dissimilar from anti-abortionists who employ violence to protect unborn fetuses. Death in the name of life is a mantra that bears the ring of madman’s logic.

In our family, we have raised chickens and goats not as food but as pets. We have boarded horses without charge to give them a home. We have two rescue cats and a rescue dog; the newest cat, Colie, was given to me by our twentysomething granddaughter Nicole, and I adore him.


We spent thousands of dollars on our previous dog, Barkley, trying to save him when he was diagnosed with leukemia.

Raccoons, possums, coyotes and deer wander through and near our property almost nightly. We accept them as fellow occupants in the Santa Monica Mountains. When I meet a rattlesnake on a hiking trail, I let him pass.

I am opposed to torture of any kind involving either animals or humans and wonder why activists who target scientists don’t pursue with similar enthusiasm those who have approved torture of humans as national policy. Reveal them. Picket them. Bury them in petitions. And then let the process of societal pressures force them to stop.

We accept too easily murder in the name of patriotism because the perpetrators are too far away, while those who experiment on animals are just down the street. It’s easier to reach them.


“An animal has as much of a right to life as we do,” said one activist, defending whatever method is applied to fighting biomedical research. I don’t disagree with the basic premise. Animal rights organizations that neither practice nor encourage violence against humans have made me aware of the pain caused in the name of research and food processing.

On the other hand, animal rights groups that promote violence against researchers are guilty of stirring the misanthropes among us into murderous rages for causes they probably have no true interest in.

There is nothing contradictory about my love for animals and my intense dislike for those who act on their behalf by firebombing homes. It’s the violence I abhor, that quirk in human nature that can justify pain to make a point.

In the end, outrage with their tactics will weigh heavily on the conscience of the body politic and the resultant backlash will hurt compassion for God’s small creatures more than any scientist ever could.