Animal rights: Fetishizing violence?

As much as I hate to bring more attention than I did a couple of days ago to the truly evil animal rights extremist website run by a truly despicable animal rights terrorist wannabe Camille Marino, a website whose very title, Negotiation Is Over (NIO) tells you everything you need to know about the attitude of the loons running the site, especially given their targeting of researchers’ children for harassment, I can’t help but notice that the efforts of fellow science bloggers and myself have been noticed, both at NIO and another animal rights site Thomas Paine Corner.


The reaction of Marino to the valid criticism of her advocacy of violence against researchers that flowed into her blog after a Pharyngulanche led science-based individuals there, where those who saw the unhinged rants against scientists were understandably disgusted, was most instructive, as is her formal “response.” It is very clear that Marino is not used to having to defend her hate-filled, violence fetishism, as her responses consist mostly of rants against “vivisectors” coupled with “invitations” to critics to be interviewed by her. Thanks, but no thanks, Camille. Why on earth would any scientist want to come within 100 yards of you when you make it clear that you consider us to be the enemies of all that is true and good in the world and your fellow travelers to be the righteous instrument of animal vengeance:

The UCLA Pro-Test network of animal mutilators are incensed that some of us have no desire or inclination to be civil, respectful, and obedient — our disruptive behavior is a distraction when they sit down to carve up their victims. And, as they have graciously demonstrated, they feel intimidated, they are frustrated, and they are forcefully striking back in an attempt to derail our new model of non-tolerance and militant confrontation. To the pretentious pseudo-science community, get used to it. You are hereby advised that those carefree days of bathing in blood and peaceful evenings spent dreaming up torture regimens are over. Someday you will look back nostalgically at an innocent time when you had only the ALF to fear.

Of course, I have no wish to be civil or respectful to Camille, because she has forfeited any right to such considerations by her spittle-flecked rants against scientists and her advocacy of violence against them and her view that we apparently are all “serial murderers.” I am, however, glad that she included me in her list of “pro-vivisectionists.” I’d hate to think that my going to the trouble of writing such a finely constructed bit of not-so-Respectful Insolence (if I do say so myself) went to waste. Besides, the entire mentality behind the post is fascinating. Camille apparently really does think that scientists enjoy “bathing in blood” and that scientists who do animal research are all sadistic beasts who get a sexual charge out of “torturing” helpless animals. In fact, I think Ambivalent Academic and PalMD might be on to something when he points out that this is all a bit of projection, that it is animal rights extremists who get off on descriptions of the very violence that they claim to deplore. Indeed, Ambivalent Academic strikes me as being particularly insightful when she writes:

The language used by some ARAs to incite violence against researchers and their families strikes me as particularly troubling. It is not accurate for starters, but I don’t think that we’re really expecting that. Most ARA terrorists clearly have no first-hand experience with how ethical animal research is conducted, and they sensationalize their rhetoric to amplify this ignorance into an inflammatory statement.

What really strikes me is that a lot of this rhetoric reads like snuff-porn.

There is intense focus on graphic descriptions of grisly procedures (which would never be allowed under any IACUC), illustrations of the targets wearing bloodied clothes and carrying medieval torture instruments, caricatures of researchers taking pleasure in exacting pain upon animals. It’s all very sadistic-sounding, and it’s all untrue.

It’s a hook. It’s meant to grab the reader. Shock is a very effective tactic for accomplishing this and they’re employing it well towards that end. But there’s more to it than that. There is an undercurrent of appetite for the kind of violence they describe. It reads as if they take pleasure in imagining the violence they describe (starting to sound familiar?), and they are inviting the reader to join in that sadistic pleasure. You can almost hear the drool. The reader is encouraged to be titillated by violence too, to want more violence –this time, not imagined violence.

I think that Ambivalent Academic is definitely on to something here. The descriptions of violence done to animals are so over the top, so unlike anything anyone who has actual experience doing animal research has seen, that they really do read like snuff porn.

It’s not hard to find examples right on the NIO blog itself. For example, there is this description of researcher Dario Ringach:

At least intellectually, I think I understand how you are able to commit such despicable atrocities. Like all torture-murderers, you devalue and objectify the victim in order to enjoy the fetishized obscenity. I think the closest comparison I can draw is to David Parker Ray. He imprisoned, restrained, terrorized, and, with masterful precision, sadistically tortured and mutilated his victims — exactly like you. Ray referred to his victims as “packages.” You refer to your victims as “research.” The two of you may have been twins separated at birth. But Ray is dead.

Isn’t it rather creepy how seemingly detailed and–dare I say?–lovingly or admiringly this description of a serial killer is presented? I’d say that David Ray Parker isn’t the only one fetishizing violence. It’s almost as though the writer of the above passage really enjoys writing about violence. As does the writer of this description:

It appears from the latest evidence that Ringach has resumed doing vision experiments on innocent non-human primates, confining them in metal restraint devices and inserting electrodes into their brains, gluing metal coils on to their eyeballs and then allowing them to suffer immeasurable pain before killing them.

Snuff porn indeed. In fact, animal rights activists have been busted before for making their very own snuff films to inflame their allies and horrify everyone else. Then they follow with inflammatory rhetoric like Camille’s:

At UCLA we take our stand. In the guarded stench of privilege and speciesism on the green hills of this campus, where terrorism and murder have for too long been ignored and tolerated, here is where we draw a line in the sand and reinvigorate the militant direct action tactics that the pundits and pacifists say are outmoded and counter-productive. Here is the Rubicon for us to cross, and once we do, we fight, and we take the fight anywhere and everywhere animals are imprisoned, held captive, tortured, and murdered, as we burn into our hearts the words that species terrorism is never justified under any conditions!

Of course, Camille apparently thinks nothing ofintraspecies terrorism directed at her fellow human beings, even children. Again, knowing that animal rights extremists like Camille Marino view scientists as implacable enemies and pure evil personified, I see no reason even to attempt to engage her ilk. Like Ambivalent Academic, I also marvel at how she and her ilk can be so self-unaware, so utterly clueless about their hypocrisy.