Those who believe themselves to be morally righteous have a virtue -- they are usually candid in their public statements. With an absolute conviction in their world views, it is not surprising they also have a rather loose tongue. The hate and violence that lives within animal rights extremists is always near the surface. This was evidenced in a recent interview by Camille Marino of the extremist site “Negotiation is Over” with Leah Nelson, a journalist with the Southern Poverty Law Center, a well-known and respected nonprofit civil rights organization dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry in our society.
The SPLC blog is worth a read as it will raise the eyebrows of anyone that has a minimal respect for our democratic institutions, highlighting the hateful speech that comes from the fringe of the animal rights movement. Apparently, Ms. Marino had second thoughts about the views she offered to the journalist and attempted to backtrack. The SPLC Editor refused, noting that:
Marino was fully aware during the interview that she was talking with a blogger from the Southern Poverty Law Center, even volunteering that she is familiar with the SPLC’s history of denouncing radical animal rights activists like the Animal Liberation Front (ALF). She approved a transcript of her interview, writing in an E-mail, “I think you captured everything I said perfectly.” Hours later, Marino contacted the blogger and said she wanted to withdraw her consent to be quoted, saying that she did not want to be quoted on “a blog filled with the most contemptible groups of racists, bigots, madmen, and hatemongers … groups that I despise.
It was too late for that... the SPLC editor further explained:
Following widely accepted journalistic practice that once an on-the-record interview is conducted, permission cannot be withdrawn, Hatewatch decided to publish quotes from the interview.”
Of course, Ms. Marino is accompanied in her crusade against the use of animals in biomedical research by Dr. Steve Best (Caution: extremist website), Professor of Philosophy at the University of Texas at El Paso, an active contributor and participant in the NIO web-site and vocal defender of Marino’s words and actions. Dr. Best has previously been banned from entering the UK. He was deemed a threat to the “public good” and “public order” and joined a list thatalso includes Islamic extremists and neo-nazis. Here is an example of the kind of speech that probably prompted the Home Office to keep such individual away from British soil.
Hopefully, and given the available evidence, SPLC will take the logical step of declaring animal rights extremist groups like NIO hate groups. This is, after all, what these groups are and, hopefully, they will formally be recognized as such in the SPLC hate map where they belong.
Of course there are many who do not need to be told that animal rights extremist groups like Negotiation is Over and the Animal Liberation Front are hate groups. The University of Florida students newspaper "The Independent Florida Alligator" recently published an editorial strongly condemning the harassment of students and scientists by extremists, indicating that any students who may be targeted by extremists will find a lot of support among their fellow students, and in California the neighbors of scientists target by extremists have made their support for their harassed neighbors very clear. We've also seen the success of the Pro-Test movement in Oxford a few years ago, when students, scientists and members of the public joined to express their support for animal research, and delivered a decisive blow to the campaigns of harassment, intimidation and violence then being waged by animal rights hate groups in the UK.
Extremism and hate can be defeated, and the first step in doing so is to recognize it for what it is, and we applaud the SPLC for once again doing so.
As originally published in Speaking of Research.