Peter Singer was succinct as he tweeted:
“Ugh…how will this help the animals? All it does is give the animal movement the worst possible image. http://tinyurl.com/27xmlkr”
This should not come as a surprise. Peter Singer spoke out against the use of violence in the animal movement in the 1980s, and have done so again on several occasions. This includes the preface to the 2nd edition of Animal Liberation in 1990 and the Introduction to In Defense of Animals: The 2nd Wave in 2006.
Gary Francione has been a vocal opponent of violence as well, and picked up on Singer’s tweet detailing in his blog the many reasons why moral philosophers and the public at large must oppose violence within the animal rights movement.
“Are those who promote violence willing to regard their grandparents, who cooked a turkey for Thanksgiving, as a proper target of violence? Are they willing to treat their family members or friends who eat ice cream or drink milk or consume any animal products, as “animal-abusing scum” who are the legitimate targets of violence? No, of course not.”
“If we want to see a world in which there is no violence against the most vulnerable, we must ourselves become non-violent and present our views in a non-violent way.”
Unfortunately, a small group of extremists is clear on their intent of using force, intimidation and threats to enforce their views on the rest of society, thereby fulfilling the classic definition of terrorism. Their views include not only type of medical research we should be allowed to do, but also the kind of animal conservation policies we must have, how animals shelters should be run, the abolition of pet ownership, and what we and our families should eat.
It is this small group that continues to stand between parties that want to establish an honest, civil dialogue on many important issues regarding animal welfare, including the use of animals in basic and applied medical research.
Hopefully their message will be heard: violence will not help the animals.
My own message? Give up violence and join us at the discussion table.