Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Ethics of the Animal Rights Movement, Part One

I am now heavy into the research for my paper on the AR extremist movement and can't help but be very concerned and saddened by what I am finding.  At the moment, I am still rather stunned.  I actually had to take a break, because this just really blew me away.  A young man with a history of mental illness and suicide attempts, doused himself with gasoline and set fire to himself, outside a Portland, OR fur store, this past January.  It is clear from what I could gather that this young man wanted to die for what are likely many reasons.  There is no question that his suicide was not primarily motivated by his animal rights beliefs.

Yet the ALF pressoffice includes his story in their media links.  It can also be found on some other sites around the webs.  But what the local AR extremists did on the heels of this sad affair is unconscionable.  The following is an email received by KATU, channel 2 in Portland;
The Portland Anti Fur Campaign was just alerted to the action outside Nicholas Ungar Furs earlier today [Wednesday].

We do not know who this person was nor do we know what his intentions were. If his intentions were to raise awareness of unnecessary animal suffering and killing done in the fur industry, and by businesses like Ungar Furs, then we wish him well.

We are not saying that we want people to light themselves on fire and run into fur shops, but we do understand that sometimes you have to make noise and make a scene to stand up for the animals. It is really unfortunate that one would feel as if they must take such drastic measures, yet, this Fur Store has continued their bloody business despite protests outside for 3 years now.

If the person's motivation was to bring media attention to the issue, they obviously achieved their goal.

Raise your fist, and your voice, Fox and Mink have no Choice!
 Any sane organization would have, if anything, soundly condemned Daniel Shaull's suicide as being tragically misguided.  Were the ALF press office sane, rather than throwing this into the mix without comment, they would have made it clear that anyone feeling the urge to commit an act such as this should seek help.  But these are not sane people.  Not by any stretch of the imagination.  The following is the introduction to this video of Steven Best, that I have linked to before:
There's a new civil war unfolding in this country, a new civil war. And it's a war that's unfolding about and around the politics of nature. And on one side, there are people who are exploiting the earth, and who are destroying the lives of animals by the billions. And they are prepared to defend their interest, their alleged rights. On the other side, are people like us and our fellow activists. People who are willing to escalate the struggle, to whatever extent is necessary. And when there is a war, as a war is brewing now about the politics of nature, that means the gloves are coming off.
There is also this essay by Best:
Realizing that nonviolence against animal exploiters in fact is a pro-violence stance that tolerates their blood-spilling without taking adequate measures to stop it, a new breed of freedom fighters has ditched Gandhi for Machiavelli and switched principled nonviolence with the amoral (not to be confused with immoral) pragmatism that embraces animal liberation “by any means necessary.
Or at the last link Best quotes a Communiqué from the Revolutionary Cells Animal Liberation Brigade after the 2003 bombings of Chiron and Shaklee Corporations:
We have given all of the collaborators a chance to withdraw from their relations [with Huntingdon Life Sciences]. We will now be doubling the size of every device we make. Today it is 10 lbs, tomorrow 20....until your buildings are nothing more than rubble. It is time for this war to truly have two sides. No more will all of the killing be done by the oppressors, now the oppressed will strike back. We will be non-violent when these people are non-violent to the animal nations.
What is very important to recognize here, is that while there is insanity in the movement, these people aren't stupid. Nor are these people any different than extremists and terrorists who kill in the name of a god.  The only reason that people have yet to be killed, is because of the fortitude of the young men and women who listen to Steven Best and his ilk and commit terrorist acts.  But how long is that going to last, with Best, Vlasac and a host of activists ramping up the rhetoric of escalation?

1 comment:

mherzog said...

Here's a video on animal rights http://meat.org