Dehumanising society


Violent surprise attacks on unsuspecting citizens in their own home are a feature of totalitarian states, and were used to intimidate dissidents in Nazi-Germany and in Stalin's USSR. But for some time now scientists in the West have been falling victim to such storm trooper assaults perpetrated by animal right activists. As in the UK, US Scientists and their families have been horrified and severely traumatised. According to the Washington Times:

Over the past couple of years, more researchers who experiment on animals have been harassed and terrorized in their homes, with weapons that include firebombs, flooding and acid… These attacks have been escalating in recent years: The Washington-based Foundation for Biomedical Research said researchers were harassed or otherwise victimized more than 70 times in 2003, up from 10 a year earlier.

To be sure, people who are concerned in non-violent ways to protect animals from harm have been around for centuries. But these eco-terrorists are a different bunch. Jerry Vlasak, who speaks for the US Animal Liberation Front, says: "if you had to hurt somebody or intimidate them or kill them, it would be morally justifiable." This is a rhetoric that dehumanises our society in another bout of egalitarian furore, which is aiming at the gradual levelling of the animal and the human world. It is in this context that we should look at the Spanish parliament. For it is the first to deal with the international Great Ape project, which attempts to impose human rights on certain monkeys.