Many weeks ago, Rick Bogle abruptly announced the cancellation of yet another Primate Freedom Tour in order to announce some Next Big Thing near the University of Wisconsin. It turned out that The Alliance for Animals and the Primate Freedom Project were in talks to buy land and sheds near the University of Wisconsin to set up an animal rights museum to protest the University’s primate research. Hardly the earth shattering revelation Bogle had promised, but hey it might come to rival the Mutter Museum.
A gentleman named Roger Charley owns a parcel of land that is situated between two University of Wisconsin research labs. Bogle claims that Charly reached a binding agreement to sell his property for $675,000.
But the University Research Park, an entity which is independent of but closely aligned to the University of Wisconsin, has offered Charly $1 million for the property, and Charly has said he does not have a binding agreement with the activists and is leaning toward selling to the University. Charly told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that he fears the building might be used to stage attacks against the laboratories,
The money is certainly a part of it. But I’ve heard from various people at various levels, various informal and not-so-informal customers, neighbors, just giving their two cents. If something were to happen a year from now because I sold this building, I would feel pretty terrible. I feel terrible about the whole thing in the first place.
But someone like Bogle would advocate for or excuse violence, would he? Well, Bogle offered this statement to the Wisconsin State Journal on what might happen if the University of Wisconsin prevails and buys the property,
If you don’t allow civil discourse on a public issue to occur, then people become frustrated and they are going to act out. My fear is that more radical elements of the animal-rights movement will react in ways that are going to upset everyone. I think the researchers at the primate center would actually be safeguarded by having us there.
Hmmm, seems Bogle has an offer for the University that they just can’t refuse.
Bogle’s evaluation of the animal rights movement is pretty telling. If they’ll react with violence if they lose out on a simple property transaction, this is a movement that isn’t worth engaging at all until it renounces such nonsense.
Imagine the situation were reversed. Imagine if by chance a building near People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ headquarters went up for sale, and the Consumer Center for Freedom made an offer on said property only to see PETA try to trump that offer with a much larger one. If CCF then said, “If they don’t sell to us I’m afraid more radical elements of the anti-AR movement might react in ways that are going to upset everyone” no one would be fooled into thinking this was anything but a veiled threat. Moreover, PETA and other activists would be justified in denouncing such an obvious appeal and encouragement of violence.
Apparently, if the animal rights movement doesn’t get its way, it will take its ball and go home and then return in the middle of the night to vandalize and destroy the opposition. Yeah, that’s certainly dedication to free speech and civil discourse there, Rick.
That said, Bogle’s quite correct that if he has a binding contract with Charly that predates any offer or contract with the University Research Park, then that should certainly prevail, as it will in court if the contract he had with Charly is as airtight as Bogle claims. Charly, however, told the University of Wisconsin that his lawyer identified unspecified problems with the document he signed with Bogle.
UW wins round on disputed land. Karen Rivedal, Wisconsin State Journal, August 14, 2005.
Land between primate labs in dispute. Associated Press, August 11, 2005.