Animal Rights Activists Cross the Line

6 08 2009
From: Indymedia UK, 2009
From: Indymedia UK, 2009

While I support some animal rights activists, at least one militant group has reemerged and crossed the line of  activism and moved into shameful desecration. Last week, the grave of the family of Novartis Chief Executive Daniel Vasella was vandalized. Spray paint was used to write ‘Drop HLS Now” on the grave of Vasella’s parents. Additionally, two wooden crosses were planted in the ground next to the tombstone – media sources say the the crosses bear the names of Vasella and his wife, however, this has not been confirmed. Additionally, the acronym SHAC – Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty – was painted and the urn containing Vasella’s mother’s ashes was stolen.

Some of the back story now: Novartis is a large pharmaceutical company that uses the Huntingdon Life Sciences company for animal testing of products before they are made available to the public. The SHAC group has a history of protesting Novartis and Huntingdon Life Sciences for their involvement with animal testing. SHAC has currently denied any responsibility for the blatant attack on Vasella and his family.

Whether or not animals are mistreated at Huntingdon is entirely beside the point here. Animal rights activists seem to make complete fools out of themselves from time to time. This is one of those times. In fact, this is quite beyond foolish. This is disgusting. You don’t deface someone’s grave for God’s sake, and you definitely don’t deface the grave of someone’s parents just because you don’t like what they are doing. And stealing the ashes of Vasella’s mother? I can’t even comment on that. It’s sick. It’s twisted. It’s disgusting. This action is totally counter-productive. These types of actions just make people angry. How do you ever intend to have people agree with your beliefs when they hate you out of principle because of all the stupid, foolish, or annoying things you’ve done.

I’m aware that I am ranting and possibly missing numerous parts of this story, but the point remains that vandalising the resting place of the dead is sub-human. Using Vasella’s dead parents as leverage for changing corporate policies is wrong. Absolutely, 100 percent wrong. I’m not blaming the SHAC, because for all we know it could have been anyone just trying to gain broader media exposure. We’ll have to wait for the arrest and the police report before placing any blame.

From: Cartoonstock, 2009

From: Cartoonstock, 2009

I am increasingly fed up with animal rights activists though. PETA trades sexism for animal rights with their ‘I’d rather go naked’ and ‘State of the Union: Undress’ campaigns; SHAC has smashed the windows of homeowners and spread rumours that a company manager was an alleged rapist; and the ALF (Animal Liberation Front) has planted homemade bombs on doorsteps and got itself listed as domestic terrorists in the United States. There have simply got to be better ways of dealing with these issues. Violence only leads to fear, not compassionate change.




3 responses

20 08 2009
Cynthia Henley

I am an animal activist yet I agree with your observation that the nuts go too far. I do not want people to think of me that way. Sadly for some activists, I am not against using animals for testing – within reason. (I do not think they should do things that they KNOW will hurt just to see how much or how long or whatever. You understand what I am saying. But, I believe that already much of what mankind depends upon for health is available because of the use of animal testing.)

I am still backing the fight against Vick playing football (even tho I am a CDL). I understand that it seems odd that sometimes animal activists seem more protective of animals than humans (and I am not talking about the nuts who committed the acts you discuss – but the honest to goodness caring people who don’t cross the lines.) However, I see part of that as being protecting those who (1) did not put themselves in the place of being injured, (2) cannot get away or protect themselves, (3) cannot speak for themselves or ask for help, etc. The list goes on. (And, I do not mean to say that the opposite applies for human victims. I know that many of them are not in the position to help themselves, etc. I limit this to the protection – or seemingly overprotection at times – of animals.)

I became a vegetarian about 2 months ago when I watched a video of a piglet – who acted no different than a dog. It came to its name; it was housetrained; it did tricks. It made me feel sick for eating them – just as I would about eating dogs. But, I do have a choice (and some do not. For instance when those skiers ate their own dead after the plane crash many, may years ago . . .)

I ask that you & your readers keep your minds open about those of us who fight for the protection of animals. Please do not associate us with the nuts. I would never steal ashes, or physically threaten someone (although I did say that I would agree to Vick doing whatever he wanted with his life if they cut off his hands – those hands that hold the football also strangled dogs, shocked them to death, and held them under water to drown! However, I do not mean that literally. I would not actually support cutting his hands off.)

Thank you for your comments, and for separating those of us who do rescue & give of our time, our hearts, our homes, & our money to care for those who have been abandoned & abused by the likes of Vick. : )

20 08 2009
Tyler Bradt

Thanks so much Cynthia for your comment. Its good to hear from an animal rights activist like yourself and to hear your personal opinions.

9 02 2010


I’ve recently uploaded two rare interviews with the Wobblie, anarchist, and activist Dorothy Day.

Day had begun her service to the poor in New York City during the Depression with Peter Maurin, and it continued until her death in 1980. Their dedication to administering to the homeless, elderly, and disenfranchised continues in many parts of the world.

Please post or announce the availability of these videos for those who may be interested in hearing this remarkable humanist.

They may be located here:

Thank you

Dean Taylor

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