May 26, 2024

Fears of animal liberation radicals growing in US

The new president of the world’s largest animal rights group has vowed to take his group into a new era of animal protection advocacy, while shunning violence. In an interview with the Washington Post, 38-year-old Wayne Pacelle says that he will be “more aggressive” in pursuing the goals of the Humane Society of the United States. He starts from a good base, as its previous president build the HSUS up into an organisation with 8 million members and US$80 million in revenue last year.

Although Mr Pacelle is an outspoken opponent of violence, some American observers fear the hair-raising activism of radical animal liberationists in Britain could cross the Atlantic. An American trauma surgeon who advises the British movement, Dr Jerry Vlasak, recently told the Observer newspaper that violence was part of the struggle against oppression and that that assassinating vivisectors could save the lives of millions of animals. “I don’t think you’d have to kill too many (researchers),” he was reported as saying. “I think for five lives, 10 lives, 15 human lives, we could save a million, two million, 10 million non-human lives.”

The Blair government is trying to cope with sometimes violent radicals by toughening laws on harassment. Threats and intimidation by extremists have already forced Cambridge University to cancel a multi-million pound research project which would have conducted research on monkeys. Companies involved in animal R&D estimate that they are spending 70 million pounds a year on protecting their properties and staff.