Ethical Treatment

Animal rights activists' violent attacks on researchers only attract negative attention to their cause.

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They say you should separate work from home. But some animal rights activists fail not only to recognize the importance of this saying but also lack general human decency. Instead, they chose to make their point by encroaching on the safety of UC researchers and their families where they live. While it's certainly acceptable to voice an opinion about using animals in scientific experiments, resorting to terrorist tactics to garner attention is reprehensible.

Sounding bullhorns, breaking windows by throwing rocks, scrawling graffiti-these are just a few fanatical antics employed by the shameless protesters-all at the homes of researchers. Though the latest firebomb attacks targeting UC Santa Cruz biologists are still under investigation, the fact that these extremists have instructions on how to make these explosives on their Web site and had distributed pamphlets with researchers' pictures and addresses points to their culpability.

Using violence only hinders their cause, which might actually be one that deserves consideration. While we don't question if these experiments are carefully reviewed and approved by committees or if scientists have had proper training before handing monkeys and mice, having an open dialogue about the ethics of the practice could help further illuminate the issue.

But the activists' behavior pushed any chance of having a civil debate about using animals in scientific work out of the picture. The prior restraining order against them clearly did not work, and we will have to see if the legislation to protect researchers is any more effective.

Until then, it's up to the animal rights activists to decide the best way to get their message across. But the activists' hypocrisy-endangering the lives of scientists and their families all the while advocating against endangering the lives of animals-isn't getting them anywhere.

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