A few weeks ago, Internet search
engine Lycos pulled its financial support of animal rights web provider
|Envirolink.Org| after a story about some of the extremist sites on Envirolink,
such as the Animal Liberation Front Information Site, circulated on the
web. Since then animal rights activists have been screaming up and down
that this is censorship, even though what happened was no different than
the results of animal rights activists’ own boycott activities — Lycos
decided to stop supporting speech it that its customers disagreed with.
This week the Animal Liberation
Front revealed just how committed it is to freedom of speech when it announced
the creation of an “Internet Division.” In a Sept. 21, 1998
release, ALF announced it would begin hacking web sites, sending mail
bombs, launching viruses, initiating denial of service attacks and other
unsavory methods to bring down the web sites and Internet access of those
with whom it disagrees.
In its release, ALF said,
In this day and age when most large animal abuse establishments have
a presence on the Internet they see the world wide web for selling their
blood products and for pushing their warped ideals to the masses. As
other warriors free animals from concentration camp [sic] around the
world, we will take the war to the Internet.
What’s next for these people, public book burnings of medical textbooks?
“Animal Liberation Front Announces New Strategy: Internet Division,”
North American Animal Liberation Front Press Office, Sept. 21, 1998.
A recently formed interagency governmental
committee approved a new skin test for irritating chemicals that will
reduce, but not eliminate, the number of animals used for such testing.
The new test checks products to
see if they cause contact dermatitis. Currently contact dermatitis tests
use guinea pigs and cost American industry up to $1 billion annually to
perform. The new test uses mice and requires only one-third to one-half
as many animals.
The test also reduces the level
of animal suffering. In the old test, chemicals were repeatedly applied
to guinea pigs several times and researchers would then wait for the animals
to develop skin irritations. The new mice protocol calls for the
application of the chemicals, but after 6 days the mice are killed and
their lymph nodes examined for antibodies indicative of contact dermatitis.
William Stokes of the National
Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and chair of the interagency
committee that gave its approval and passed the test on to the FDA for
formal approval, said the new test combines the best of both worlds.
We think it’s a win-win situation. These new methods typically use
fewer animals, no animals or cause less pain and distress … but they
also incorporate new science and technology to provide more accurate
tests that do a better job of protecting public health.
In an odd move, even People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals endorsed the new test.
“We support any new test,”
said Mary Beth Sweetland, PETA’s director of research, investigation and
rescue. “Everything is relative – using a mouse lymph node beats
blinding an animal for months. A skin sensitivity test can last for any
number of hours, weeks or months.”
“U.S. scientists endorse more human lab tests,” Maggie Fox, Reuters,
Sept. 21, 1998.
Astonishingly, rabies still kills
more than 40,000 people every year around the world, but a new DNA vaccine
being tested in animals may help push that number to 0.
Scientists at the Rocky Mountain
Laboratory in Montana announced that eight monkeys injected with the vaccine
appeared to be completely immune to a wide range of common rabies viruses.
The vaccine causes the lymph node to trigger an immune response which
caused complete immunity to rabies after about 30 days.
The main advantage to the new vaccine,
however, is cost. The DNA vaccine can be produced for a few dollars per
dose, compared to a couple thousand dollars for the traditional vaccine.
In other news, a new drug entering
animal testing provides hope that human addiction to narcotics might be
alleviated. Vigabrantin was originally developed to treat epilepsy, but
animal tests suggest it could be used as a treatment for cocaine addiction.
When administered in rats and primates the drug seemed to prevent or diminish
the “high” the animals got from cocaine. A 90-day clinical trial
to test the drug’s efficacy in human beings is scheduled for this fall.
“DNA rabies vaccine succeeds in animals,” Roger Highfield, The Daily
Telegraph, June 1998.
“Epilepsy drug could block cocaine addiction,” Reuters News Service,
August 5, 1998.
On Friday, Oct. 2, animal rights
activists will take part in demonstrations and protests marking World
Farm Animals Day.
According to a Farm USA press release,
“This year’s observance will target atrocities perpetrated in U.S.
slaughterhouses and condoned by USDA in violation of the Humane Slaughter
Farm USA portrays itself as mostly
concerned with preventing abuse, which most Americans would agree should
be prevented, but its literature indicates its ultimate goal is to end
the use of animals for food:
We view these developments as but a beachhead for our continuing campaign
to end the wanton abuse and killing of billions of innocent, sentient
animal in factory farms and at slaughter houses.
Press Release, Farm USA, September 1, 1998.
British physicist Stephen Hawking
recently denounced animal rights extremists bent on banning the use of
animals in medical experimentation. Hawking author of the best selling
A Brief History of Time, attacked the animal rights movement in
comments before a meeting of the British Association of Science.
Andrew Blake, director of the UK-based
group Seriously Ill for Medical Research, also appeared before the gathering
of scientists to denounce animal rights extremists, saying, “Medical
progress is being threatened by the extreme tactics of those who are seeking
to abolish animal research.”
Both men’s comments were occasioned
by the recent controversy over protests by UK activists against an animal
breeding farm in Oxfordshire. The establishment, |Hill Grove| farm, breeds
cats specifically to be used for animal experiments. The cats are certified
to be free of common feline viruses that might disrupt or distort medical
research. British Association of Science president Colin Blakemore, for
example, studies the cats to find clues to the development of the cerebral
cortex. Blakemore is currently developing a new imaging system for analyzing
the brain that he hopes will later be modified for use in human beings,
possibly greatly enhancing our understanding of how the brain works.
For his efforts, animal rights
activists have rewarded Blakemore with two letter bombs, packages containing
razor blades, and assorted threats over the last 11 years. Activists have
engaged in an unrelenting campaign of harassment against Hill Grove involving
everything from car bombs to rock throwing that has destroyed 80 percent
of the glass panes in the house where |Hill Grove|’s proprietors live.
UK’s Hawking condemns animal rights extremists. Patricia Reaney, Reuters,
Sept. 7, 1998.
Hawking defends tests on animals. Daily Telegraph,
Sept. 13, 1998.
The Animal Liberation Front and
its supporters are fuming that convicted animal rights terrorists Josh Ellerman, 19, and his brother |Clinton Ellerman|, 21, are apparently
cooperating with prosecutors and providing them with detailed information
about ALF activities. A press release from the North American A.L.F. Supporters
… evidence is growing that shows that Clinton Colby
Ellerman, convicted A.L.F. activist, and one of the five facing new charges,
has been willingly giving evidence on other activists to federal authorities,
possibly for a number of months.
The five indicted individuals referred
to in the release are Josh and Clinton Ellerman, Andrew Bishop, Alexander
David Slack and Adam Troy Peace. All have been indicted by federal prosecutors
in Utah for their role in the 1997 firebombing of a mink farm. Josh
Ellerman recently plead guilty to the charges against him and received
a 7-year sentence for his role in the arson. Ellerman could have received
35 years, and his relatively light sentence is believed to stem from his
ongoing cooperation with prosecutors.
The North American ALF Supporters
release claims that “no activist has the right to endanger the lives
of and liberty of others in a strategy to save their own hides.”
Got that? ALF members have the right to commit arson, burglary and a whole
host of violent crimes, but reporting said crimes endangers the safety
and liberty of ALF activists.
In response to these allegations,
the North American ALF Supporters group announced it is
removing the Ellermans from its list of animal rights prisoners for whom
it offers support.
New arrests and b possibility of grassing
surround Utah A.L.F. Actions… North American A.L.F. Supporters
Group, Sept. 17, 1998
Animal-rights bomber gets 7-year prison sentence. The Salt Lake Tribune, September 11, 1998.