Animal Rights Extremism: Recognize the Signs
Animal rights extremists are becoming more sophisticated by focusing on heavily limiting research through policy. Here are many of their targets and tactics.
- Organizations and individuals conducting animal research
- Supply chain: animal transportation, research animal breeders, and financial supporters such as charitable foundations
- Support to secondary organizations: banks and investors who may not be fully aware of the extremists’ agenda
- Working through the legislative process to limit the ability to perform research
- Increasing pressure on the research animal transportation industry
- Burying institutions and agencies in Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to get and misuse the personal information of researchers
- Instigating institutional and individual harassment through letter writing campaigns, personal attacks, and home protests
- Infiltrating institutions with the express intention of filming as much as they can to create the most dramatic, shocking short video possible, publicizing the video out of context
- Launching email campaigns that consume administrators’ time, require IT support, and involve public relations officials
- Lobbying to increase regulatory oversight, which requires researchers and institutions to jump through more hoops
- Fostering a negative perception of animal research in the public arena through the media, the Internet, and social media
These strategies tie up vast resources and leave important studies at a standstill. In some cases, animal rights extremists are successful because researchers don’t want to be subjected to the harassment, or institutions will decide it is not worth the time, effort, and negative publicity to continue defending the research in question.
Awareness of animal extremists’ methods is the first step in being proactive to protect your research. Make sure you stay informed to be better prepared.
Adapted from the presentation, "Global Ramifications of Animal Rights Tactics," by Patricia Foley, DVM, DACLAM, director of the division of comparative medicine at Georgetown University.
SfN offers several resources for members and institutions, some of which are designed to assist members' whose research has been attacked. Read “Support for Members and Institutions” for more information.