Posts Tagged ‘terrorism’

My Ultimatum to the Animal Liberation Front (ALF)

29 July 2009

If you go to the website of the Animal Liberation Front Press Office, you’ll find posts reporting and glorifying various “visits” by ALF activists to targeted institutions. Most of these include arson, graffiti, spray-painting homes, vandalizing vehicles, etc.

To be completely fair, no human or animal has ever been physically harmed in an ALF attack. All the damage done has been to inanimate objects (i.e. cars, homes, businesses) and this is in keeping with ALF’s stated goal to avoid harm to all living beings.

While many of us are squeamish about laboratory testing on animals, the simple Truth is that animal testing has yielded many benefits for humans. Medications for all types of diseases and numerous medical procedures (e.g. blood transfusions, organ transplants) were first tested on animals before any human patient ever underwent such a procedure. The simple fact that many people are alive today, who might otherwise have died, shows the value of these procedures validates the animal testing that was undergone during the research stages.

Animal testing is still needed, though there are some out there who make the claim that it is an unreliable or outdated science. The total number of animals currently being used in labs across the USA is dwarfed by the sheer number of ducks we eat in this country, for example. That’s ducks by themselves and we could make a similar comparison to the total number of lab animals versus the number of cows, pigs, chickens, etc that are killed for meat everyday in America. Yet, groups like the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) continue their campaign of terror against research labs and the people who work in them. Researchers have been threatened, their homes vandalized, false rumors have been circulated about them and so on. It takes a lot of courage to work in an animal testing lab these days.

In light of recent attacks at UC Berkely and UC Irvine, I have decided to issue an ultimatum to the Animal Liberation Front and its supporters. Here goes:

Dear ALF & Friends,

I see that you have been busy vandalizing homes and businesses, leaf-letting buildings, sending threatening letters, etc to people that are involved, even in the most peripheral way, in animal testing. I am certain that you do this because you think animal testing is bad and you want it to stop. I’m not going to try to convince you otherwise, because people who carryout these “visits” are usually True Believers who couldn’t have their minds changed by me or anyone else.

I understand that you don’t want animals to die by human hands for any reason and you would never allow yourselves to be the cause of an animal’s death.

Since the passage of laws and the threats of prison time has not deterred some of you from bombings, arson and vandalism, I have decided to try another method of convincing you to Cease & Desist your attacks on animal testing labs.

See this rabbit?

bunnyCute, isn’t he?

Well, guys and gals of ALF, I have decided that every time you people go out to bomb something, burn something down or send threatening letters/phone calls, I am going to travel to a local farm and pay for a nice, fat, juicy rabbit. This rabbit will then be killed, skinned, gutted, hacked into pieces and wrapped. I will then take this rabbit home, cook it and then eat it.

But, maybe I couldn’t find a rabbit one day. What to do?

No problem.

See this calf?

BabyCalfYou know, it’s been a long time since I had a nice serving of tender veal. Oh, yeah! Makes my mouth water, just thinking about it. I’m think that, if I can’t get a rabbit one day that I might head over to the supermarket and get myself some calf’s liver. My mom used to make the best veal for dinner and I am sure I could figure-out the recipe from memory.

Naturally, if you guys keep bombing, burning and otherwise terrorizing people, somebody is going to notice that somebody (i.e. me) has suddenly taken liking to rabbit meat or veal or goose liver pate, etc and start stocking it regularly at my local supermarket. If I can get enough people to follow-along, then more rabbits will be killed for their meat and more calves slaughtered for their livers. Heck, even goose liver could go down to a reasonable price with the increase in demand.

Now,  I normally don’t eat a lot of rabbit, veal or goose liver. Not out of any moral objections, just because I got tired of eating rabbit all the time at my grandfather’s house when I was a kid. He took me out hunting and that’s how I learned to butcher rabbits myself. I got tired of rabbit meat after eating so much of it. Veal was something we only ate on special occasions and goose liver was too high-falootin’ for our dinner table.

But, I am willing to break my habits if it means ending your reign of terror on animal research labs and their employees. Rabbit meat is pretty cheap and easily found around here, so I’ll stick with rabbit for awhile, especially since I learned so many ways to prepare it.

For every attack on an animal research lab or an employee of same, a rabbit, calf or goose will pay for your actions with its life.

So, if you don’t set fire to a lab, spray graffiti on a wall, set-off a bomb or whatever, the bunnies will live.

If you decide to go ahead with your terrorism campaign, cute little bunnies will die and it will be your fault!

These are my demands. Ignore them and bunnies will pay the consequences.

Their lives are in your hands.

signature

Advertisements

Militant Veganism

4 May 2009

In case people think, due to my last post, that I am somehow opposed to protecting animals from cruel treatment: I am fully in support of laws to protect animals from cruel treatment by humans.

Partly, I support such laws because when people are cruel to animals, they tend to extend that behavior to other people. Some one who beats their dog or cat is probably going to take a swing at me if I get them mad enough and they are more likely to take that swing if they have a history of animal abuse.

Furthermore, I support protecting animals from abuse because it is a mark of civilized behavior for people to be concerned for the welfare of animals over whom they have power. The more humane we are to animals, the better people we are as a whole.

Some people take that a step further and become vegetarians or even vegans, feeling that it is immoral to kill animals for food. That’s fine with me. But, I have a problem with people for whom their vegetarianism or veganism is some kind of fucking religion and that all meat-eaters (actually, omnivores) are immoral, evil scum because we eat animal flesh. I used to hangout at a local store that caters to vegans and I would hear the daily rants against the eating of meat. It seemed that becoming a vegetarian/vegan was like a religion, with its own group of fundamentalists out to spread the word even to those who didn’t wish to hear it. Instead of the “you’re going to Hell” argument, I’d hear the “you’re murdering innocent animals” argument, which did nothing to convince me, though it might have convinced some.

Most people don’t like the idea that we are being cruel to the helpless, especially animals and most Americans have never killed an animal that they would go on to eat later. One of my earliest memories was seeing my uncle slaughter a rabbit for the family dinner to be held later that night. I didn’t eat any rabbit, but I don’t remember if it was because of personal choice or because there simply wasn’t enough to go around.

One YouTube user who engaged in the “meat-eaters are evil” tirade is a young man named Onision. For awhile, his videos consisted of the omnivore-bashing that I had heard years ago, so I took little interest in his channel and didn’t watch more than a few of his videos. Other users took exception to his rants and released videos of their own. I understand that Onision even engaged in a bit of DMCA filing against users he felt had illegally copied portions of his videos, despite such actions being covered by Fair Use. I am not aware of the outcome of these filings, having taken little interest in it. Later, Onision admitted that he was an actor and that he had been playing a role. Being a YouTube Partner, he made money as his videos got more views. A good way to generate publicity for himself and make a buck. But, his latest video consists of him whining that he is receiving hate mail from other users, as well as his still  being the subject of videos made by other users.

Oh, and he’s also upset that people are mispronouncing his name. Whatever.

Kind of hard to put the genie back in the bottle, Onision. You wanted all the publicity and now you have it. Deal with it and stop whining.

A bit more radical than simple YouTUbe rants are the animal libertation groups, like Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and Earth Liberation Front (ELF) both of whom have found themselves on lists of extremist organizations compiled by law enforcement agencies, including the FBI here in the United States. Both encourage people to become vegans, I guess because raising cows for milk and chickens for eggs somehow counts as enslavement. I wonder what these cows and chickens would be doing if people didn’t at least need them around for that.

Both ALF and ELF have websites where the latest “Direct Actions” against people and companies that are seen as exploiting animals or harming the environment are featured. ANything from simple vandalism to outright arson get mentioned without the slighest hint of condemnation from the webhosts. Despite the fact that no person is usually harmed by their actions doesn’t remove the fact that property was destroyed and people have, in fact, been threatened with serious bodily harm.

One of the most obvious cases of a radical animal rights group being their own worst enemy is the case of Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) whose primary target is Huntington Life Sciences, which is a contract animal-testing company founded in 1952 in England, now with facilities in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire and Eye, Suffolk in the UK; New Jersey in the U.S.; and in Japan.  HLS is the largest such commercial operation in Europe and conducts tests on around 75,000 animals every year — including rats, rabbits, pigs, dogs, and primates — testing pharmaceutical products, agricultural chemicals, industrial chemicals, and foodstuffs on behalf of private clients worldwide.  SHAC was successful in getting HLS’ bank accounts closed and their listing removed from both the London and New York Stock Exchanges. In fact, they nearly drove HLS out of business.

But, SHAC went too far. Too far by a longshot. They engaged in threats against people who either worked for HLS or did business with them in some fashion, such as HLS’s business partners, their business partners, insurers, caterers, cleaners, children’s nursery schools, and office suppliers. There was even a letter-writing campaign where an employee of a company that did business with HLS was targeted in a campaign where eight hundred letters were sent to his neighbors accusing him of being a pedophile, the police had to assure his neighbors that the accusations were false. Threats, intimidation, vandalism or vehicles and property became their modus operandi and Huntington Life Sciences found itself having to move to the United States and takeout high-interest loans to stay in business. Actions against HLS became even more violent with physical assaults on the persons of HLS staff. Huntington Life Sciences’ marketing director Andrew Gay was attacked on his doorstep with a chemical spray to his eyes which left him temporarily blinded!

Then came Operation Achilles, where much of SHAC’s leadership was arrested, tried, convicted and imprisioned. HLS was able to move back to the UK and the majority of the attacks against them have ceased.

But, even without the threats, vandalism, etc. SHAC almost won! They almost drove HLS out of business, which is what they wanted. It was only because they decided to act like a bunch of badasses that the police cracked down on them and imprisoned their leadership. If they had stuck with legal protests, undercover investigations and whistleblowing, SHAC could have triumphed over HLS anyway. But, as I said, they shot themselves in the foot when they began to think they were all clones of Che Guevara or something and took their campaign in a direction where it had no business going.

Now, Huntington Life Sciences is back in the UK and rebuilding itself. Naturally, they are likely very exhausted from all of this and it will take them time to recover fully, but that will come in time.

Okay, so what would have happened if Huntington had gone out of business? Would animal experimentation have ceased?

Nope. It would have simply moved overseas to a country where animal protection laws are not as strict or which may not even exist.

You see, animal experimentation is a vital part of medical research. It has led to vast improvements of medical care for people, including the polio vaccine, insulin, tuberculosis medicines and so on.

Common medical procedures that we take for granted today were pioneered with animal research before they were tried on people, such as blood transfusions were first tried on dogs and penicillin was tried on mice. These are just a few examples of animal research leading to important medical benefits for humans.

We all see the films put out by animal rights activists that show dogs and cats being used as lab animals. But, the fact is that dogs, cats and primates amount for 1% of all lab animals, with the rest consisting of rats, mice, rabbits and guinea pigs which are not endangered species by any means and their species will certainly survive a small percentage being used for animal research.

In the USA, we eat more ducks every year than the total number of animals used in research. As we also consume more chickens, cattle and pigs than even the highest estimate of the number of total animals of all species used for research purposes. The United States has the most stringent requirements for animal research than nay country in the world. You just can’t go and start injecting animals with pharmaceuticals because you feel like experimenting. You have to get approval and there are also strict requirements for the quality of life for the animal while it is being used for these experiments. An animal that is uder a great deal of stress due to pain will not provide good data for a medicine’s effectiveness, so researchers must not subject the animal to more discomfort than is absolutely neccessary for the experiments. Violations of the law can result in research grant money being withdrawn and there can be civil and criminal liability involved for the persons responsible. This is why I am not opposed to groups like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) engaging in undercover investigations to expose violations of the law to the public and the media.  Adherance to the law results in better research, which leads to more accurate data, which leads to improved benefits for people.

While there are other ways to do research on pharmaceuticals (e.g. in vitro testing, MRI scanning, computer modeling and micro-dosing) these are supplementary to animal research and they do have their limitations. They cannot completely replace animal testing, no matter how much we wish they could. If people think that animal testing is less expensive financially than the alternatives I mentioned, then you’re wrong. Animal testing is far more expensive, time-consuming and heavily-regulated than the supplementary methods, so there is no way for medical researchers to save money by experimenting on animals. It would be cheaper if the other methods were as effective as animal testing, but they are not.

There are between 25 to 26 million animals of all species being used for animal research in the USA, which is a drop in the ocean compared to the sheer number of animals killed for food. If animal rights people wanted to save the most amount of animals, they’d be trying to get the rest of us to become vegetarians or vegans. But, there’s not much chance of that, so they go for what is a far easier target, one that they can easily pull the heartstrings of otherwise intelligent people to support them.

Here’s a video that you can have a look at to get a better understanding of the issue. The speaker is Tom Holder, spokesman of Speaking of Research, who was a key member of the UK movement “Pro-Test”, which helped win the British public over on the issue of animal testing. In this video, Mr Holder challenges some of the misinformation that is spread around by animal rights groups on the subject of vivisection. The presentation was filmed at a Speaking of Research talk at Oregon Health & Sciences University.

I am all in favor of private groups and individuals whistleblowing on researchers that abuse the animals under their care, as was done to HLS by SHAC in the early part of their campaign. Groups like PETA have done much good in this country by exposing animal abusers, who can then be prosecuted under the law. Naming and Shaming animal abusers with accurate information does the most good for animals and for the people the research will benefit.

Of course, PETA wouldn’t go for the idea of animal testing continueing, having “Until All the Cages are Empty” as a slogan. But, you’d think that they’d be more understanding, since former PETA Vice President, Mary-Beth Sweetland, is a diabetic who injects herself daily with insulin—a treatment tested and perfected in animals. She admitted her treatment still contains some animal products, but it’s okay – for her – because using these animal products helps her stay alive to help more animals. Naturally, she doesn’t see herself as a hypocrite, which is what I think she is. I mean, if it’s not okay to experiment on animals or use animals for medical purposes to benefit humans, then it should mean any humans, especially people who are trying to stop animal research.

Is it just me or is there a bit of “Do as I say, not as I do” going-on here?

Still, Ms Sweetland does claim that she uses less insulin today since she adopted a vegan diet. So, she has to have fewer dead animals on her conscience.

I do have to give my support to PETA for their campaign against animal abuse in circuses. Their investigative work did unearth horrific treatment of circus animals. But, I think that abusers should be punished, without the need or goal to close-down circuses around the country. If a circus cannot train their animals without torturing them, then the circus owners should quit the business.

Let me boil it down for you: with laws in-place to protect animals from abuse, those laws should be enforced and transgressors punished. If an animal at a research lab, at a circus, on a farm or in some one’s home is the victim of abuse, then the abuser should be Named & Shamed,  brought to justice and punished under the law.

It is not the place or the right of groups like PETA, ALF, ELF, Sea Shepherd, SHAC or any other organization to take the law into their own hands and act as judge, jury and executioner. A civilized society cannot function any other way. It is groups like these that give vegans a bad name.

signature

Israelis & Palestinians: Enemies Forever?

5 January 2009

The conflicts between the Palestinian Arabs and the Israelis has been going-on since the birth of the modern Zionist movement in the early 1920s. This conflict has run the gamut from street demonstrations to low-level guerilla tactics to open warfare.

Despite the best attempts of successive US Presidents, especially Carter and Clinton, there seems to be no end in sight for this conflict, which some claim has its roots in the Biblical accounts of Abraham, Isaac and Ishmael. Thousand of hours have been spent attempting to negotiate a lasting peace between the two sides, with little success, if any.

The basic issue is the Land of Israel – or Land of Palestine, depending on your point of view – which both sides claim in its entirety. Both sides want the land, all of the land, and they want to be the dominant people of that land with the other side either forced into a secondary status or remove altogether. After decades of conflict, a few people on both sides are willing to share the land, each side keeping what it has, though the Palestinians want a little extra piece consisting of the Eastern half of Jerusalem to serve as their capital. Naturally the Israelis are unwilling to give-up that part, having won it in a war at the cost of many lives of Israeli soldiers.

Of course, you also have people on both sides who simply want the other side gone from the land entirely.

There doesn’t seem to be a solution in-sight to end the conflict that has engulfed so many lives on both sides for so long. There are Israelis and Palestinians who do not know what it is like to not have this conflict going-on, since such an occurrances has not happened in their lifetime.

But, let me take a stab at it and tell me what you think:

First, both sides have to acknowledge that the other exists. Strange as it may seem, there are people on both sides who doubt the legality of the others claims on the land, due to a supposedly artificial nature of the others status as a people.

Some Israelis claim that there were no Palestinian Arabs in Palestine before the creation of the State of Israel in 1948 and that they only arrived from Jordan, Syria,Egypt and Lebanon after the quality of life in Palestine improved when the Jews arrived, improved irrigation and raised the quality of life in the area. In other words, they believe that the land was vacant of people before the Jews arrived to settle there. Of course, we know that isn’t true, since there have been books written about Arabs living in the area for centuries, as well as mosques and churches that have existed for centuries in Palestine.

The Palestinian side isn’t much better. Their side has claimed that since most Israelis are decended from European Jews and not Middle Eastern Jews, that they have no right to claim that their ancestor lived on the Land of Israel centuries ago and they only came to Palestine after World War Two and the Holocaust. This ignores all genetic research and family histories, as well as documentation that Jews fled from the Land of Israel after the Romans destroyed the Temple in 70AD.

So, Step One: admit that the other side has had a history on the Land of Israel/Palestine for as long as you have.

This will be a hard one to give-up as it has served as a valuable piece of propaganda on both sides for a long time.

Secondly, both sides have to agree that the war could go on forever, unless immediate steps are taken to stop it. Generations have grown-up knowing nothing but warfare and subsequent generations should be spared. Nothing could be gained by expelling either side from the Land. The Jews waited two thousand years to return and would fight for another two thousand years to return. Likewise, if the Palestinians were evicted, they would also fight to return and would fight as long as it took to win.

Both sides need to admit that the other would fight for as long as it took to return to the Land, if they ever were evicted enmasse.

So, once we have that out of the way, we can get started building a lasting peace.

Third, Israel and the other Arab states, including the Palestinians negotiating on their own, would agree to allow the other to live in peace and formally recognize the other side. All would grant complete freedom of religion to the Three Major Faiths of that region (Israel already does this, anyway) and would agree that holy site belonging to any of the three would be sacrosanct from then on. So, Jews would have complete freedom of religion in Arab states and Arabs would enjoy the same rights in Israel. This part would be easiest for the Israelis, since they already make this guarantee to Arabs living there. But, it would be more difficult for the Arabs, where freedom of religion is less guaranteed in their countries, especially in the Gulf States.

After this, the work should begin to build-up the infrastructure of the Palestinian areas of Israel. Roads, hospitals and schools should be built; houses repaired; sewage treatment and water supply systems need to be installed, all of which would be paid for by the Arab States, who have previously been the major suppliers of arms to Palestinian terror cells and locations provided for training of militants. Since they have helped finance the fighting, they should now finance the building of the Palestinian areas to be fit for human habitation.  For the Israelis, they should allow the public works to be allowed to be built and to be left alone and free from their interference.

As for the Palestinian capital, the Palestinians already have their potential capital under their control and it is just as good a capital as Jerusalem would be: Bethlehem.

Bethlehem is the city where the Jewish Messiah is supposed to be born in and was the birthplace of King David, a major figure in all three of the major faiths. The current mayor of Bethlehem is a Palestinian Christian and a strong supporter of the Palestinian National Authority. Given the sheer number of Christian tourists who come to Bethlehem every year and the worldwide interest Christians have in the city, it would be a potential tourist attraction and money-maker for the PNA for years to come. It would also be a source of comfort for Christians that, by law, the mayor of the city must be a Christian. Mayor Victor Batarseh is Roman Catholic and a former member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

A secondary capital could be Nazareth, also under the administration of a Christian mayor, as far as I know.

Whichever city they chose – though I believe that the far better choice would be Bethlehem, since it is both David’s birthplace and the future birthplace of the Messiah, which would be a good thing for the Arabs to claim a victory, of a sort, over the Israelis – the Palestinians should be guaranteed access to religious sites in Jerusalem, as Jews would be guaranteed the same rights in Bethlehem.

The Israelis would have to give-up any thought that they can pick and choose whichever Palestinian government they wish to recognize. If Hamas wins a victory, the Israelis should recognize them as the legitimate government. After all, the Hagannah and Irgun committed acts of terror against the British in their war for independence, but yet the British recognized the Israelis who had been in both groups when they became heads of state, as was the case with Menachem Begin, a former member of the Irgun.

None of these ideas is perfect and each of them asks a lot from both sides. Some might be easier for one side to fulfill than the other side. But, this entire conflict has not only affected the lives of the Israelis, but all citizens of the Arab states as well. Israel has long been used as a scapegoat by successive Arab regimes as the chief reason they must arm themselves and the arms buildups have made arms dealers wealthy, while leaving much of the Arab world in poverty.

None of these ideas is a solution in itself. But, taken together, might be a good place to start.

signature