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The myth of "animal rights" - Part I

By Scott Tibbs, February 10, 2004

On March 21, 1997, I was officially diagnosed with cancer. Before my diagnosis, I was a strong supporter of biomedical research on animals. Afterwards, it became clear to me just how important that research is. That is why this article at Front Page Magazine caught my eye. Cherry has a good take here.

I've been condemning the ALF/ELF axis of evil for several years now, and my disgust at the terrorists who have waged a campaign of violence against biomedical research is as strong as my disgust for other terrorist acts in the name of "animal rights" or of saving the environment.

My use of the term "ALF/ELF axis of evil" is no accident. Just as our President referred to rouge states like Iran, Iraq and North Korea as an axis of evil two years ago, the same moral clarity is needed in dealing with ecoterrorists. These people use bombings and arson to get their way, just as Al Qaeda does. Sometimes, they go farther. An executive for Huntington Life Sciences was brutally beaten by "animal rights" terrorists.

The thuggery of these terrorists does not extend only to environmental issues, however. Craig Rosebraugh, former spokesman for the ALF and ELF, openly advocated treason to oppose the war in Iraq. In his article, Rosebraugh called for "large scale urban rioting". He called on his fellow terrorists to "physically shut down financial centers which regulate and assist the functioning of U.S. economy." Rosebraugh suggests "massive property destruction" and "online sabotage" as potential ways of reaching this goal. This clearly illustrates what kind of people these ecoterrorists are.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, America's largest "animal rights" organization, is hardly innocent when it comes to terrorism. Ingrid Newkirk said in an interview with Vegan Voice: "we will always stick up for the A.L.F., so they call us and we do." Newkirk also said, "I find it small wonder that the laboratories aren't all burning to ground. If I had a more guts, I'd light a match." Imagine for a moment if someone from the National Right to Life Committee said such a despicable thing about abortion clinics. The organization would never recover.

During my undergraduate career at Indiana University, I co-founded the Student Alliance for Responsible Research to defend IU professors from unfair attacks by the extremists in the Animal Defense League. Our rally, a counter-protest to an ADL demonstration against an IU psychology professor, drew people from all points of the ideological spectrum to defend biomedical research. I helped organize SARR because I believe that it is essential to protect biomedical research from extremists like the ADL.

Opponents of biomedical research argue it is immoral to subject animals to laboratory tests to advance human health. Nature illustrates why they are wrong. Some species use other species for survival. Whether it is a lion killing and eating its prey or a tapeworm draining needed nutrients from its host, nature shows us that it is normal and natural for humans to use animals for our benefit. But while a lion simply kills for food, humans use our superior intelligence to use animals in other ways than for just nutrition. One of those ways is the use of animals in scientific experiments to find cures or treatments for devastating diseases, disorders, and injuries.

As a Christian, I know God's word not only gives us permission to use the animal kingdom to benefit ourselves, but that it is commanded:

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. -- Genesis 1:26-28.

The emphasis added is mine. God set humans up as a special creature, above His creation and in His own image. While we are to be good stewards of what God has given us, we are to use nature for our benefit. God's word warns us about worshipping the creature, not the Creator. I can think of a no better way to describe "animal rights" extremists like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, and especially the ALF/ELF axis of evil, than what Paul wrote through divine inspiration.

Biomedical research is vital to human health. Americans for Medical Progress documents the advanced in medicine brought about by testing on animals. From insulin to control diabetes to the development of antibiotics to chemotherapy and open heart surgery, animal research has proven its worth over and over.

But to "animal rights" extremists, that does not matter. Chris DeRose, director of Last Chance for Animals, said "If the death of one rat cured all diseases, it wouldn't make any difference to me." Michael W. Fox, a former advisor to the Humane Society of the United States, said "The life of an ant and that of my child should be granted equal consideration." That statement qualifies as mental abuse, if this freak does indeed have children.

Animal research must proceed, and the extremists who use terror to prevent this needed research must be hunted down and put away. September 11, 2001 was a vivid reminder of how dangerous terrorists can be. In the post 9/11 world, "animal rights" terrorists and ecoterrorists (often the same people) must be taken as the threats they are, and fought with extreme prejudice.