Camille Marino is probably going to jail

Marino is a demented fanatical animal rights activist who runs a website called “Negotiation is Over”. NIO is notorious as the site of some of the most frothingly furious denouncers of all animal research. Marino is from Florida; she was arrested and extradited to Michigan in March to be tried for words she wrote on the internet.

Whoa. That ought to give one pause — arrested for free speech, you’re thinking? That does cause one’s knee to jerk.

But then she was also arrested in May when she chained herself to a library door to protest being banned from the Wayne State campus in Detroit. She’s been ordered to stay away from the researchers she threatens, but then she travels to their university to harass them — that sounds like stalking to me.

The situation here is that Marino’s got nation-wide bands of dedicated followers, those followers have in the past shown a willingness to undertake violent, destructive action on behalf of their cause, and Marino has been actively inciting others to kill researchers. You want an example? Here’s an example, and it’s also a great example of her incoherent state of mind.

The image on this page [a chalk outline labeled "animal abuser was here"] is not a cute logo. It is my personal belief that if you are a sadistic animal torturer, that is all you deserve – a chalk outline. That’s my opinion, not a threat. It’s not even inciting anyone because, unless you read my words and run out and murder David Jenstch (sic) (an idea that amuses me immensely), I’m not responsible. If you have time to think about it and form your own conclusions, my words cease being the impetus. Eh, that used to be the law at least. Who knows? Who cares? We have a job to do and that’s all that matters…. NIO is no longer mincing words. This is war!… Nothing is off limits at NIO!

if there are no consequences, there is no threat. If you spill blood, your blood should be spilled as well…. Some of the more high profile pacifists have said that I am “violent” and “unbalanced”. I think they finally may be right about something!

If I have my way, you’ll be praying to us for mercy!

It’s just her “opinion”, she’s not inciting anyone — she would just be amused by David Jentsch being murdered by someone who read her suggestion to go murder him. She’s not responsible, she’s just telling everyone that researchers’ blood should be spilled, and that nothing is off limits.

She’s a danger to others. It’s good news that she’s being constrained to protect the citizenry.

Comments

  1. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    She’s a real peach.

    Then he discovered something else that alarmed him: Shortly after the firebombing, an obscure Florida-based group called Negotiation is Over (NIO) had identified him as a high-priority enemy on its website. It had posted his picture and contact information, and urged the animal liberation community to terrorize him.
    Who would do such a thing?

    That person would be Camille Marino, 47, who lives in Wildwood, Fla., and who formerly worked in the investment banking business. In recent years, she has devoted herself full-time to the animal rights movement. NIO is her brainchild, and she doesn’t care if someone gets hurt.

    No in fact her goal is to hurt. To punish. To terrorize.

  2. jthompson says

    Well good. That’s one less unhinged person wandering around being a danger to herself and others.

    To lurking right wingers that love to make false-equivalences: This is the difference between us. If she were an anti-abortion protester, others would have rallied behind her. We’re just glad she might be off the streets before someone gets hurt.

  3. says

    What is and isn’t a true threat is legally tricky. I’m not sure this qualifies. She’s certainly trying to couch it in plausible deniability. I’m just not sure if she conceded. This link is a good primer on the legal issues.

  4. says

    She may not be shouting “Fire!” in a crowded theater, but instead she’s shouting, “This man deserves to die! And I’d like to see him dead. I just don’t want to be blamed for it!”

  5. Gnumann, quisling of the MRA nation says

    I’m sure Russell Blackford will come along any minute now to tell us that these are not threats. After all, she says they are not threats, and we should take that at face value no matter what else she might write…

  6. savagemutt says

    Her whackaloon followers seem to have infested the Detroit News comment thread.

  7. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    This is pure conjecture on my part but I always get the feeling that these types are more concerned with punishing and causing harm their enemies rather than forwarding their supposed cause.

    Same with a lot of the most vocal anti-abortion people.

    The bombastic displays of outrage and firing up their base of support is more important than what the “cause” is supposed to be about.

    /speculation

  8. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    More from the same link above

    Aspiring scientists envision curing cancer at the Mayo Clinic,” Marino wrote in March 2011. “We need to impart a new vision: car bombs, 24/7 security cameras, embarrassing home demonstrations, threats, injuries, and fear. And, of course, these students need to realize that any personal risk they are willing to assume will also be visited upon their parents, children, and nearest & dearest loved ones.”

    /jawfloor

  9. Musca Domestica says

    Oh my, I don’t think they have vegan wards in the prisons… Wonder if she’ll be voicing her “opinions” among that population.

  10. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    I’m on my way out the door, but wanted to link to this fairly decent treatment by Will Potter. (It’s from February, so maybe not up to date on everything she’s said/done since.)

    How about the quotes above?

  11. says

    Rev. BDC:

    How about the quotes above?

    Apparently, as long as it’s just words, it’s all okey dokey. Personally, I think that’s a fairly frivolous take on it all, given that Ms. Marino seems to seriously want *someone* to die, she simply wants someone else to take responsibility on that front.

  12. DLC says

    Do her tactics look familiar to you ?
    They’re the exact same tactics used by the anti-choice forces all over the country. The so-called anti-abortion “activists”.
    Marino and anyone else who advocates violence deserve to be kept where they can’t do harm.

  13. says

    As a current vet student with aspirations of lab animal medicine and former lab animal care technician whose facilities were stalked by PETA several years back, this is absolutely chilling.

  14. nyarlathotep says

    It’s difficult to articulate my thoughts on this as eloquently as I would like. The following is the best I can do for the moment.

    As a vegetarian: fuck Camille Marino, fuck anyone earnestly defending her, fuck her “followers,” and fuck PETA. Denounced and rejected, all of them. Of course, PETA has been on a great many shit lists for a while now, but they still merit another denouncing and rejection.

  15. Beatrice says

    re: “fairly decent treatment by Will Potter”

    Oh yeah, animal rights activists are totally going to endear themselves to people by defending this woman’s First Amendment rights to call for torture and murder of other people.

    Hint : If you are afraid of getting lumped together with this scum, the answer is not to downplay their harmfulness.

  16. w00dview says

    @ tomholder

    Wow, that comments section is a real cesspit. The kooks have taken over completely. Like all science deniers, anti-animal testing folks seem to resort to bullying and death threats when the evidence is not on their side.

  17. says

    Marino’s campaigning is controversial, but to call it a “hate group” is overreaching. Among the many differences between NIO and hate groups is that animal rights activists are opposing people because of what they do rather than who they are.

    Right! Just like anti-choice folks talking about how lovely it would be if abortion doctors were murdered and by the way here is their contact information. They aren’t targeting the doctors for who they are, just what they do!

    Nothing alarming there whatsoever!

  18. jjgdenisrobert says

    Not that much distance between what she said and what O’Reilly said about Tiller. In fact, considering the comparative sizes of their audiences, the chance that O’Reilly’s words would lead someone to kill Tiller was much greater that in this case. So one could say that there’s a much more direct link between the cause and the effect in O’Reilly’s case, since the probability of Tiller’s death considering O’Reilly’s constant prodding was near enough to 1 to constitute incitement (or at least, it should). If I shoot someone, the chance of me hitting him/her is not 100%. Depending on my skill, the chance can range from nearly 0% to near 100%. O’Reilly’s skill at incitement in undeniable, and he has repeatedly boasted of this fact.

    So if Marino ends up being convicted, can we finally deal with O’Reilly’s crime?

  19. mokele says

    I’ve idly toyed with lab security measures to stop these folks in amusing ways. So far, the top idea is letting some Gila monsters free-roam the lab. They’re actually quite sweet if captive bred and hand-raised – a friend of mine likens them to little toxic puppies.

  20. littlejohn says

    When is the chalk outline meme going to disappear? Cops haven’t made chalk outlines since the invention of user-friendly cameras early in the 20th century.

  21. jollywahlstrom says

    She sounds as bad as Bill O’Reilly when he talked about ‘Dr. Tiller, the baby killer’ day after day until someone killed him.

  22. ChasCPeterson says

    this fairly decent treatment by Will Potter

    Potter is concerned solely with the ideas that NIO is not a truly true ‘hate group’ and they don’t do truly true ‘terrorism’. He chooses to illustrate his post, ostensibly about the arrest of Marino, with a picture of a cute doggie with sad eyes (“Queenie”). It is rhetorical spin from top to bottom.

    Look. PZ has it wrong too; she was not arrested for “words she wrote on the internet”. She was arrested for flagrant violation of a court order. There is nothing ambiguous about this. She published the home address, telephone number and other contact and family information of a person who does stuff of which she disapproves. (Why? is the person’s home address an argument of any kind? It is only interpretable as a threat.) The person obtained a legal court order that mandated removal of the information. She re-posted it instead and openly mocked the court order.

    She shouldn’t be arrested for that just because no actual violence has occurred? Fucking ridiculous.

    (Wow it pisses me off when ‘animal rights’ activism is conflated with environmental activism. I don’t care who’s doing it, Potter or the FBI. Totally different motivations and goals.)

  23. ChasCPeterson says

    Not that much distance between what she said and what O’Reilly said about Tiller.

    Not a Billo fan by a longshot, but did he publish Tiller’s address and talk about how somebody should kill him in direct violation of a court order?
    That’s your distance. She was not arrested for “what she said”.

  24. lostintime says

    Oh my, I don’t think they have vegan wards in the prisons… Wonder if she’ll be voicing her “opinions” among that population

    This woman is a nasty piece of work and I’m glad she is being prosecuted, but try not to conflate animal rights extremism with veganism as if they are equivalent. They are no more synonymous than the ELF and people who use public transport.

  25. blueskyscience22 says

    Camille Marino is a nasty piece of work, and it is a very good thing that the law is finally catching up with her.

    Whatever the cause, her brand of “direct action” (read intimidation, harassment, stalking, threats and vandalism) has no place in democratic society.

    In case you’re still in any doubt as to whether or not Marino’s activities deserve jail time, these links to earlier posts on the Speaking of Research website about Marino’s harassment should help clarify the matter.

    http://speakingofresearch.com/2010/02/27/scienceblogs-fight-for-research/

    http://speakingofresearch.com/2011/03/30/a-new-low-at-nio/

  26. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    I remember something brilliant someone said on another thread: “The constitution is not a suicide pact.”

    What is and isn’t a true threat is legally tricky. I’m not sure this qualifies. She’s certainly trying to couch it in plausible deniability. I’m just not sure if she conceded. This link is a good primer on the legal issues.

    The deliberate and explicit invocation of plausible deniability ought to be regarded as prima facie evidence that the intent was to act in a fashion that violates that law.

  27. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    but instead she’s shouting, “This man deserves to die! And I’d like to see him dead. I just don’t want to be blamed for it!”

    I said that about Gaddafi prior to his death. The circumstances of his death probably violated some international laws about assassination.

  28. blueskyscience22 says

    ixchel @32

    I believe that under Gaddafi Libya may not have been a democracy…a small point, but possibly an important one.

  29. A. R says

    As a person who does non-human animal subjects research, it’s a huge relief to see her taken offline for any reason.

  30. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    I believe that under Gaddafi Libya may not have been a democracy…a small point, but possibly an important one.

    Not evidently important to the discussion here.

    The point is I advocated murder on the internets, and later that murder happened (yay).

    Does it follow that I should be legally liable for Gaddafi’s death?

  31. says

    From the article SC linked:

    While Marino and her followers may praise the tactics of anti-abortion extremist Scott Roeder and suicide bombers

    precious.

    the dissembling about how something can only be a “hate group” if they attack people for who they are rather than what they do, and only if they themselves engage in physical violence is also precious. and also applicable to Operation Rescue.

    Pretty much the only notable thing here is that Marino got her ass arrested, but no one at anti-abortion hate-groups ever does.

  32. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    ixchel @35: It’s not that simple, and you know it.

    Indeed, it’s a lot more complicated that Zeno presented back at #5, which is my point.

  33. Gnumann, quisling of the MRA nation says

    Wow it pisses me off when ‘animal rights’ activism is conflated with environmental activism.

    Thirded. With a slight order of side order of “it miffs me slightly when landscape activism gets conflated with environmental activism”.

  34. blueskyscience22 says

    Ixchel #35 Actually circumstances do matter.

    Calling for the death of a murderous dictator who cannot be touched by what’s left of the justice system in his country is hardly the same as calling for the death of somebody you don’t like because of they’re (legal) occupation in a democratic country with a functioning legal system where you can bring a lawsuit or campaign to change the law through.

  35. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    The point is I advocated murder on the internets, and later that murder happened (yay).

    Does it follow that I should be legally liable for Gaddafi’s death?

    Is anything else about the situation remotely comparable? In particular, is your position and relationship to the people who killed Gaddafi remotely similar to the position and relationship of Camille Marino to anti-research terrorists, let alone Bill O’Reilly to anti-choice terrorists?

  36. says

    actually, the only “circumstances” that matter is whether ixchel was likely to be listened to by anyone actually willing to do what he says. you see, “hate speech” is generally only legal when no one is listening, or you’re religious. [/cynicism]

    anyway, if chas is right, this entire conversation is moot.

  37. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    Calling for the death of a murderous dictator who cannot be touched by what’s left of the justice system in his country is

    still advocating illegal assassination under international law.

    Slow down and think about what I’m saying.

    The killing of Gaddafi was illegal. Not just under Libyan law, under international law.

    Nothing in this comment concerns morality. We can get to that later if you can find your way out of this wet paper bag. For now I am talking about the law.

  38. Paul says

    Calling for the death of a murderous dictator who cannot be touched by what’s left of the justice system in his country is hardly the same as calling for the death of somebody you don’t like because of they’re (legal) occupation in a democratic country with a functioning legal system where you can bring a lawsuit or campaign to change the law through.

    There is a more obvious circumstantial difference. The US was not reading ixchel’s blog comments, nor entering them into their consideration for action.

    What do you want to bet the Tiller murderer was an O’Reilly listener? Or that anyone acting on Marino’s speech could be demonstrated to have heard it, and thus it could be seen as an incitement to violence?

    You’re stretching, ix. While the situation isn’t always as simple as people would like it to be, you’re comparing apples and elephants.

  39. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    Is anything else about the situation remotely comparable? In particular, is your position and relationship to the people who killed Gaddafi remotely similar to the position and relationship of Camille Marino to anti-research activists

    actually, the only “circumstances” that matter is whether ixchel was likely to be listened to by anyone actually willing to do what he says.

    There’s one more circumstance that matters under the law. Gaddafi is dead, while Jentsch is not.

    let alone Bill O’Reilly to anti-choice terrorists?

    Yes, good point that Marino is not as bad as O’Reilly.

  40. says

    While the situation isn’t always as simple as people would like it to be, you’re comparing apples and elephants.

    ixchel is adressing zeno’s quote in #5, not any other comments. Thus, only thing that’s relevant is whether “This man deserves to die! And I’d like to see him dead. I just don’t want to be blamed for it!” is already, by itself, exempted from 1st Amendment protection.

    People, do try to focus on what an argument is actually about, it makes the counter-arguments less beside-the-point, and the reading less tedious.

  41. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    You’re stretching, ix.

    Again, you’re wrong.

    Zeno is stretching by suggesting that ‘shouting, “This man deserves to die! And I’d like to see him dead. I just don’t want to be blamed for it!”’ is sufficient for our decision.

    Do you or do you not agree that there is more to it than Zeno suggested? If you do not agree, then you are the one comparing apples and elephants.

  42. says

    There’s one more circumstance that matters under the law. Gaddafi is dead, while Jentsch is not.

    well, yes, I had thought that was implied in the “likely to be listened to” part, since you can’t have inspired someone to murder without at least an attempted murder. But actually, you’re right, that wasn’t clear.

  43. Esteleth, Who Knows How to Use Google says

    Specifically as regards the Roeder/O’Reilly connection, I think it is more accurate to say that Roeder and O’Reilly listened to the same people. Based on what I know of Roeder and his connections to Operation Rescue et al.

    But yes, O’Reilly created an environment where Tiller’s murder would be more likely, by increasing the number of potential assailants, and people who (even if they wouldn’t kill themselves) would support the killing.

    Marino is a nasty thug. I’ll be glad if she goes away.

  44. eclipsse says

    As someone who has been involved in health research using animal models (albeit in my case mostly insect work), and seen the huge and ongoing benefits to our species (sadly not from my work, though!), I cant help wondering if any of these … people… live on the same gorram planet?

    There is a high likelyhood she uses over-the counter or prescription medications; bet she eats foods which contain preservatives/colours/flavours… I could go on and be boring about this (OK, OK, more boring ;-))

    If we as individuals are aware of the provenance of these treatments etc – and you would have to have been walking around with your eyes & ears in your briefcase to not be aware – particularly if you are part of the ‘Animal Rights Movement’ – how does she justify this sort of violent stupidity when she and others have benefited from all of this stuff? You cannot get away from them if you live in western society?

    My old lab had its band of protesters, but this one ….

    I simply don’t understand the mindset

  45. A. R says

    Personally, I would quite like to have Marino and company live one day without any of the innovations, products, and ideas that have come through the use of animal models.

  46. says

    how does she justify this sort of violent stupidity when she and others have benefited from all of this stuff? You cannot get away from them if you live in western society?

    that’s a non-argument. It’s in fact the same non-argument used against those who try to switch from fossil-fuels to alternatives. After all, don’t we all use fossil-fuel derived products, and haven’t we all benefited from it?

  47. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    Have any green technology advocates suggested bombing oil rigs?

    Like, any at all, ever? I’m actually curious.

  48. Paul says

    Again, you’re wrong.

    How am I wrong in stating that your comparison between the US government deciding to kill Gadaffi (and you happening to have suggested such, with no reason to believe the government saw your speech) and Marino actively trying to incite people to kill a researcher (while openly lampshading the fact that she’s trying to maintain plausible deniability) makes no sense? That was what I was calling a stretch.

    And Jadehawk, I don’t care that he was responding to #5. I was pointing out that his comparison wasn’t valid. Whether Marino’s statements are sufficient to be an incitement to violence, while personally believing yes that finding would be the court’s to make. And they would take into account more factors than people would like, hence my allowing for it being “more complicated”.

  49. says

    Have any green technology advocates suggested bombing oil rigs?

    irrelevant to whether the argument from “it’s ubiquitous and we’ve benefited” is a valid argument against the demand for change and/or alternatives.

  50. says

    Will Potter:

    the Southern Poverty Law Center has included NIO in its “Hate Watch” column.

    Let’s see. The SPLC, versus an ARA who stalks and threatens people and their loved ones… The SPLC, versus an ARA who stalks and threatens people and their loved ones… wow, such a hard choice whom to side with…

    Mokele:

    I’ve idly toyed with lab security measures to stop these folks in amusing ways. So far, the top idea is letting some Gila monsters free-roam the lab. They’re actually quite sweet if captive bred and hand-raised – a friend of mine likens them to little toxic puppies.

    I want to breed with this comment and raise its venomous helodermatic litter.

    Azkyroth:

    I remember something brilliant someone said on another thread: “The constitution is not a suicide pact.”

    First said by Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson.

  51. says

    And Jadehawk, I don’t care that he was responding to #5.

    that’s unfortunate, since your “not caring” is what makes your responses meaningless to the conversation at hand. the whole point is, after all, that even though there are are very large differences between some random individual calling for the death of some dude in some other country by an organization likely unaware of the existence of said dude-on-the-internet, and an influential person saying the same thing and one of their fans/listeners actually attempting it, they are both encompassed by zeno’s description. which means zeno’s description is insufficient as a description of what kind of speech is exempt from 1st Amendment protections.

  52. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    How am I wrong in stating that your comparison between the US government deciding to kill Gadaffi (and you happening to have suggested such, with no reason to believe the government saw your speech) and Marino actively trying to incite people to kill a researcher (while openly lampshading the fact that she’s trying to maintain plausible deniability) makes no sense? That was what I was calling a stretch.

    What a shitty, stupid reply.

    The US government didn’t kill Gaddafi.

    Nobody killed Jentsch.

    Deliberately trying to distance one’s self from prosecution is legal.

  53. Paul says

    that’s unfortunate, since your “not caring” is what makes your responses meaningless to the conversation at hand.

    which means zeno’s description is insufficient as a description of what kind of speech is exempt from 1st Amendment protections.

    Considering Zeno isn’t a legal scholar, I fail to see why I should consider this unfortunate. I enjoy reading his blog, but I hold no illusions that he can summarize a whole body of case law in a pithy soundbite. And such case law would recognize a very clear difference in what qualifies “incitement to violence” based on the status of the person forwarding their “opinion”, as well as the target of such “opinion”.

  54. Musca Domestica says

    lostintime

    Oh my, I don’t think they have vegan wards in the prisons… Wonder if she’ll be voicing her “opinions” among that population.

    This woman is a nasty piece of work and I’m glad she is being prosecuted, but try not to conflate animal rights extremism with veganism as if they are equivalent. They are no more synonymous than the ELF and people who use public transport.

    I’m not, I’m just in doubt of her willingness to voice her “non-threathening opinions” on the population she’s about to spend her days with. I’m assuming that there will be a lot of non-vegans in jail (though maybe she doesn’t think using animals for other purposes than animal testing is evil).

  55. What a Maroon, el papa ateo says

    To lurking right wingers that love to make false-equivalences: This is the difference between us. If she were an anti-abortion protester, others would have rallied behind her. We’re just glad she might be off the streets before someone gets hurt.

    Do you oppose animal research?

  56. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    irrelevant to whether the argument from “it’s ubiquitous and we’ve benefited” is a valid argument against the demand for change and/or alternatives.

    The argument you’re criticizing was an attack on being “stupidly violent.”

    What was that about absorbing what people are saying and tailoring your discussion to a hyper-narrow reading of it?

  57. dysomniak, darwinian socialist says

    Wow, I have so many conflicting opinions on this subject. And interesting discussion so far.

    For now I’ll just say that as a vegan and an animal rights proponent people like Marino disgust me. And they’re the reason I’m not involved in animal rights activism. Well, them and newage brain rot.

  58. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    And in any case, if an argument has broader implications, why isn’t discussing them relevant – even if the original argument was (ostensibly) very narrowly intended? Or is intent magic this one time?

  59. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    which doesn’t transform a non-argument into an argument.

    Oh bull fucking shit.

    Observing that your attempt to argue by analogy is flawed by pointing to flaws in the analogy is not a “non-argument.” If you want to make the case that those flaws don’t actually make the analogy inapplicable, you can make that case, but fucking say that, don’t just sit around smugly gerrymandering what is and is not “an argument” or “the argument.”

  60. says

    And in any case, if an argument has broader implications, why isn’t discussing them relevant

    it would be. but pointing out the obvious, and indeed intended, differences between the different acts of wishing someone dead but not wanting to be held responsible for their death as if they were flaws is just silly.

  61. says

    Observing that your attempt to argue by analogy is flawed by pointing to flaws in the analogy is not a “non-argument.”

    the analogy is accurate, since it focuses on the argument per-se, not on its target. just because a conclusion is correct, does not mean all arguments that can be made to support that conclusion are good arguments, or arguments at all. bad arguments are bad arguments by themselves, and I chose an analogy with a non-violent movement precisely to show that the argument of “it’s ubiquitous and we’ve benefited” is not a sound argument, regardless of whether “violent stupidity” is justified or not.

  62. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    And in any case, if an argument has broader implications, why isn’t discussing them relevant

    The broader implications may or may not be relevant. The work of making-relevant is up to the writer to perform.

    “how does she justify this sort of violent stupidity when she and others have benefited from all of this stuff? You cannot get away from them if you live in western society?”

    is a shitty argument. Do people here want to make good arguments, or are you just satisfied with being on the same side of someone making shitty arguments.

    Or is intent magic this one time?

    You’re minimizing the importance of sexism now.

    The “intent is not magic” argument is about how when someone says something sexist, responding “it wasn’t my intention to say something sexist” is not a counterargument to the fact that they said something sexist.

  63. says

    i do find it unfortunate that you can’t follow an argument deeper than a single comment in. I wasn’t calling your request for irrelevant things a non-argument, I was saying the presence or absence of these irrelevant things would not transform a non-argument into an argument.

    And if you merely, tangentially wanted to know if anti-fossil fuel activists have used or advocated violence at some point, the answer is “probably yes”.

  64. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    You’re minimizing the importance of sexism now.

    The “intent is not magic” argument is about how when someone says something sexist, responding “it wasn’t my intention to say something sexist” is not a counterargument to the fact that they said something sexist.

    I KNOW you’re not meaning to imply that arguments which are primarily or originally relevant to sexism can’t be applied elsewhere without trivializing it.

    …right?

  65. ChasCPeterson says

    M: An argument isn’t just contradiction.
    A: It can be.
    M: No it can’t. An argument is a connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition.
    A: No it isn’t.

  66. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    And if you merely, tangentially wanted to know if anti-fossil fuel activists have used or advocated violence at some point, the answer is “probably yes”.

    gas pipeline, Bradford County, Pennsylvania, “sometime between March 23 and April 12″ 2012.

  67. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    gas pipeline, Bradford County, Pennsylvania, “sometime between March 23 and April 12″ 2012.

    Though that’s industrial sabotage, not violence.

  68. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    I KNOW you’re not meaning to imply that arguments which are primarily or originally relevant to sexism can’t be applied elsewhere without trivializing it.

    …right?

    I am generally saying that; the other applications should at minimum be:

    1) similarly relevant to group oppressions, and

    2) logically analogous.

    Yours is neither, so yes you’re minimizing the importance of sexism.

    +++++
    For instance if I were to say “you’re an idiot” and you responded “that hurts my feelings” and I said “I didn’t intend to hurt your feelings, I’m just saying you’re an idiot” and you replied “but intent isn’t magic”

    then that would be minimizing the importance of sexism; in this case the analogy is straightforward enough but there is no group oppression involved so you’d be minimizing the importance of sexism by appropriating a tool of anti-sexism for your interpersonal squabble.

    +++++
    Applying “intent isn’t magic” to things totally irrelevant to group oppressions is a favorite trolling tactic of one John Morales, FWIW.

  69. ChasCPeterson says

    that’s industrial sabotage, not violence

    I wonder if the unknown perpetrators would identify as “anti-fossil-fuel activists”.

  70. Cipher, OM, Fighting Fucktoy says

    The “intent is not magic” argument is about how when someone says something sexist, responding “it wasn’t my intention to say something sexist” is not a counterargument to the fact that they said something sexist.

    Well, if the genderbitch post is the original source, which I think it is, it wasn’t focused only on sexism but more kyriarchy in general.
    I know, I know, not useful.

  71. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    Well, if the genderbitch post is the original source, which I think it is, it wasn’t focused only on sexism but more kyriarchy in general.

    Fair point; this is still to the point that other invocations of it should be relevant to group oppressions.

  72. A. R says

    FWIW, “Intent is not magic” is something we need to be careful applying even in discussions of group oppressions.

  73. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    FWIW, “Intent is not magic” is something we need to be careful applying even in discussions of group oppressions.

    Mmmaybe? Do you have a specific example of it being misused?

  74. hotshoe says

    Or is intent magic this one time?

    You’re minimizing the importance of sexism now.

    The “intent is not magic” argument is about how when someone says something sexist, responding “it wasn’t my intention to say something sexist” is not a counterargument to the fact that they said something sexist.

    Stupid, stupid. “Intent is not magic” is NOT the trademarked property of any group, neither of those countering sexism nor any others.

    That you are trying to shame someone for “minimizing the importance of sexism” – merely for referring to that not trademarked phrase – should make you personally ashamed of your stupid overreaction.

  75. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    Silly hotshoe, calm down. You’re overreacting.

    “Intent is not magic” is NOT the trademarked property of any group, neither of those countering sexism nor any others.

    Of course it’s not “trademarked” and who cares about intellectual property anyway.

    The point though, and why you are wrong, is that this is an important tool of anti-sexism, anti-racism, and similar movements all with regard to group oppression.

    It is important not to trivialize it by using it for bullshit like “you violated modus ponens”, “oh crap I didn’t mean to violate modus ponens”, “well intent isn’t magic” — because this obscures the real damage of sexism, racism, and other group oppressions.

    There are like infinity plus one other ways to say “consequences occur regardless of desires”, which are not an appropriation of this particular activist tool.

  76. A. R says

    ॐ: I’ve seen it used (not here that I recall) to suppress legitimate discussion of intent and its effects on the perception of sexism (a truly fascinating topic by the way, I’ll link a thread or two if I can find them).

  77. consciousness razor says

    I don’t understand how trademarking is relevant.

    Don’t you know we all benefit from trademarks every day?

    </sarcasm™>

  78. Cipher, OM, Fighting Fucktoy says

    I actually think I just found an example of A.R.’s complaint. (Not here. I’m reading a bunch of posts on genderbitch, and this is Kinsey talking about Nice Guy%trade;ism, and one of her commenters tries to pull out “Intent! It’s fucking magic!” to say that the insincerity of Nice Guys™ is irrelevant when the problematic views that lead to insincerity are the topic under discussion.)

  79. betelgeux says

    These people are sick fycking bastards.

    From the NIO website (yes, I know I shouldn’t be giving them hits, but curiosity got the best of me):



    UF Vivisector Stephen Roberts: Poisons & Murders Monkeys…but is he a Pedophile???

    Vivisector Roberts is 42-years old and appears to be unattached with no apparent wife or children. However, he does have a rather rich social life as a “counselor” for a troop of boy scouts. Why would a single man who abuses innocent animals for a living spend his evenings in the company of innocent little boys??? Far be it from us to make any accusations. We’ll just say “hmmm” and let the reader draw their own conclusions.

    The picture below is of Stephen’s brother and his family: XXX, his wife XXX, and Stephen Roberts’ cute little nephew, XXX. They live in Jacksonville.

    The page features a picture of Dr. Roberts’ house (with the caption A cozy meeting place for boy scouts) and, chillingly, a picture of Dr. Roberts’ brother and his family (I deleted the names of the brother, wife, and nephew in the quote above, but they’re posted on the site).

    To claim these people have no responsibility if a scientist or an innocent family member of a scientist gets killed is absolute bullshit.
    They’ve stuck the fuse in the gunpowder and lit it, and are just waiting for it to burn down and detonate.

  80. says

    And such case law would recognize a very clear difference in what qualifies “incitement to violence” based on the status of the person forwarding their “opinion”, as well as the target of such “opinion”.

    Which is, of course, why PETA are all in jail, along with various animal liberation groups, and pro-lifers that call for murder, etc. To bad we can’t get Michele Bachmann to claim they are secretly Muslim, then all the islamophobes would be calling for a (probably violent) end to them. But, no, these people are “good Americans”, which just happen to act exactly like 90% of all the radical Imams in the middle east, who don’t actually plan, train, or personally attack, anyone, but encourage others to join groups that do.

    While I don’t much like the violence and paranoia, or the irrational stupidity that comes with thinking everyone is a damn terrorist, one of the **major** reasons I don’t is that they only count as “terrorists”, apparently, if they are foreign, and attacking something that rich, white, religious people find valuable. If they are attacking something those people don’t like… well, then they are just stating “opinions”, or, “exercising free speech”, and its pure coincidence that someone took calls to blow things up, or kill people, literally. Rational thinking would be, “This kind of shit shouldn’t be protected speech, no matter what it targets, or who *likes* it.” But then, I am not religious, Republican, or rich. Apparently just white isn’t enough to make a person totally lose their marbles, and defend bullshit, thankfully…

  81. betelgeux says

    Whoops, that should be “fucking”, not “fycking”, of course.

    Fycking! It’s the Welsh version of fucking!

  82. A. R says

    betelgeux: Damn you Welsh and your obsession with the letter “y”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

  83. hotshoe says

    Of course it’s not “trademarked” and who cares about intellectual property anyway.

    The point though, and why you are wrong, is that this is an important tool of anti-sexism, anti-racism, and similar movements all with regard to group oppression.

    Nope, still stupid. Using the phrase “intent is not magic” can be an important tool in anti-bad-things (used in regard to group oppression) while also being a valid tool in merely personal interactions (like blog post replies here)

    It is important not to trivialize it by using it for bullshit like “you violated modus ponens”, “oh crap I didn’t mean to violate modus ponens”, “well intent isn’t magic” — because this obscures the real damage of sexism, racism, and other group oppressions.

    No, just no. Using the phrase “intent is not magic” in a situation other than group-oppression does not in any way obscure the real damage of group oppression. That’s magical thinking all by itself, that using a phrase in an unapproved fashion could somehow dilute the “real” meaning of the phrase and reduce its potent magic.

    Phrases are not antibiotics. They don’t have to be used only as prescribed for diseases for which they have been found effective by scientific research.’

    Now, if Azkyroth had been referring to intent-not-magic as a way of trying to, oh, mock anti-sexism, or something like that, then you might have grounds for objecting to misuse of the phrase. But since that’s not what Azkyroth did, I’m going to assume that this is just another one of your tedious feuds with a pharyngula commenter where you will say any stupid thing that comes to mind in hopes of making your opponent look bad. And you’re welcome to double down in patronizing me and snarking at me for disagreeing with you … I’ll be honored to be cast by you as on the “wrong side”.

  84. says

    That’s magical thinking all by itself, that using a phrase in an unapproved fashion could somehow dilute the “real” meaning of the phrase and reduce its potent magic.

    actually, it’s not “magical thinking”, it’s understanding the way in which meaning dilutes and evolves, and trying to prevent it. plenty of terms, once they’ve leached out of specific use, become annoyingly difficult to use correctly. like “ad hominem”, for example. or the annoyingly confused new meaning of “ally” to mean “supprorter”.

  85. consciousness razor says

    I’m reading a bunch of posts on genderbitch, and this is Kinsey talking about Nice Guy%trade;ism, and one of her commenters tries to pull out “Intent! It’s fucking magic!” to say that the insincerity of Nice Guys™ is irrelevant when the problematic views that lead to insincerity are the topic under discussion.

    Insincerity is the problem (part of it at least), not intending to be insincere.

    But is it even possible to be insincere unintentionally? Wouldn’t that be thoughtlessness or carelessness? If you say or do something sincerely, you mean it, and you know you mean it, knowledge which implies that your statement or action is intended. Don’t you also know that you don’t mean it when you’re being insincere?

  86. says

    If we can turn protestors into stalkers, then exclusion orders are what you want. Then protestors that protest more than once can be arrested and locked up!

    But I don’t think exclusion orders are ever appropriate.

    I’d rather have reasonable, responsibility due to words than exclusion orders.

  87. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    Using the phrase “intent is not magic” can be an important tool in anti-bad-things (used in regard to group oppression) while also being a valid tool in merely personal interactions (like blog post replies here)

    No, it can’t be valid.

    It might be effective if the listener can be guilted into perceiving an interpersonal squabble as of similar importance to group oppression, but that doesn’t make it okay.

    Using the phrase “intent is not magic” in a situation other than group-oppression does not in any way obscure the real damage of group oppression.

    Yes, it does. It contributes to the fallacious evaluation of the less-important situation as though it were of similar miral relevance as the more important, with all the attendant worries about misstepping.

    That’s magical thinking all by itself, that using a phrase in an unapproved fashion could somehow dilute the “real” meaning of the phrase and reduce its potent magic.

    Calling it magical thinking doesn’t make it so. It is a fact that when distorted meanings of a phrase become widespread in public discourse, this becomes an impediment to understanding. Cf the difficulty today of teaching people what “the personal is political” means.

    Phrases are not antibiotics. They don’t have to be used only as prescribed for diseases for which they have been found effective by scientific research.’

    Also a bad analogy, since I’m not proposing a vector like antibiotics.

    Now, if Azkyroth had been referring to intent-not-magic as a way of trying to, oh, mock anti-sexism, or something like that, then you might have grounds for objecting to misuse of the phrase.

    I will agree that it would be even more important to object to this.

    But since that’s not what Azkyroth did, I’m going to assume that this is just another one of your tedious feuds with a pharyngula commenter where you will say any stupid thing that comes to mind in hopes of making your opponent look bad.

    You’re overreacting. (And if you care, I can point to other times I have objected to the misuse of “intent is not magic” — as I said, it’s a recurring problem with John Morales.)

    It is not important to me whether Azkyroth looks good or bad. Azkyroth would look very good indeed on this point if he had responded “oh, I see how this could be a problem.” Indeed Azkyroth can still do exactly that, and still look very good. I think that would be grand for everyone.

    What is important to me is that this phrase not be misused. Since this is not the first time I have objected to its misuse, your hypothesis does not hold up.

    And you’re welcome to double down in patronizing me and snarking at me for disagreeing with you

    I haven’t doubled down, hotshoe; I’ve only returned 1 for 1.

    You made a facile claim that I was overreacting; I returned a facile tu quoque. You said I was being stupid; I don’t like calling people stupid when I don’t believe it, so I called you silly instead.

    I’ll be honored to be cast by you as on the “wrong side”

    Please don’t make it personal, hotshoe. I’m not the only person here who objects to the misuse of this particular activist tool.

  88. hotshoe says

    Okay, you had no way of knowing in advance that I would rather be called stupid than silly.

    But now that you know, don’t call me “silly” again unless you want to out yourself as a patronizing douchebag.

  89. says

    Generally speaking, Vegans in prison have half-assed, if any support. In the UK, they have the right to vegan items, but have to buy them themselves and get them shipped in.

    Care2 has a good overview of the US situation. The Vegetarian Resource Group’s official advice is to pretend to convert to Jainism. A support group has a list of case law.

    Basically, the only winning strategy in the US is to pretend you are a vegan for religious reasons. Atheists should be concerned about this since it’s effectively forcing religion on people.

  90. Tethys says

    Since we are discussing intent, I will take the opportunity to ask why the phrase “Intent is not magic” is supposed to be reserved for discussions on oppression.

    It doesn’t seem to be all that different from the phrase “The road to hell is paved with good intentions” minus the mythical destination.

  91. kassad says

    I don’t really understand why “Intent is not magic” should be reserved for discussion on oppression either.

    Although I can see why in this case the use of Or is intent magic this one time? here can be seen as snarky toward feminist arguments made before, if intent is not magic, it should be pointed out if it is relevant to the conversion. Regardless of whether or not said conversation is on oppression or not.
    The only way I can see it lose its “power” (pun!) is if it is use to derail or move the goalposts. In which case it should be denounced for that. “Reserving” it for oppression related argument, even if it is valid otherwise, seems arbitrary.

    Or am I missing something? (Entirely possible, it’s late)

  92. says

    because the specific reason that “intent is not magic” is that systemic inequality and inequality that’s ingrained in a culture perpetuates itself regardless of (and also in spite of) your intentions.

    which is different from whether running someone’s foot over with your car intentionally is the same as doing so unintentionally

  93. says

    Jadehawk:

    because the specific reason that “intent is not magic” is that systemic inequality and inequality that’s ingrained in a culture perpetuates itself regardless of (and also in spite of) your intentions.

    which is different from whether running someone’s foot over with your car intentionally is the same as doing so unintentionally

    Which is absolutely true, and yet…not obvious in the phrase itself. Once it’s explained to you, once you’ve read about it, the phrase makes perfect sense and has a very specific meaning, but that meaning is not obvious without all of that.

    In my strictly personal opinion, that doesn’t make it a good tool of activism. It might be good for a discussion between people who are already well steeped in these things, but it’s not terribly useful outside of that context. The meaning will shift, the usefulness will degrade further.

    Protecting its usage may push that day further into the future, but it seems like wasted effort to me. If I’m going to have to explain the concept to someone anyway, I’ll just skip the phrase entirely. These sorts of things are good for shorthand within activism among people who are familiar with them, but I don’t personally find them useful when trying to explain something to someone.

    That’s why, generally speaking, if I am going to use that sort of activism language I try to link to an explicit explanation of its meaning. Even here, not everybody is agreeing on meaning or use.

  94. says

    Caerie, that’s a reasonable argument, which I may well agree with… Don’t know yet. But ultimately it is true that using “intent isn’t magic” for non-systemic-inequality purposes does dilute its meaning.

    I’d love to know if there’s better terms for the concept of the meaninglessness of good intentions to systemic harm that wouldn’t suffer from dilution and semantic drift so badly

  95. hotshoe says

    because the specific reason that “intent is not magic” is that systemic inequality and inequality that’s ingrained in a culture perpetuates itself regardless of (and also in spite of) your intentions.

    which is different from whether running someone’s foot over with your car intentionally is the same as doing so unintentionally.

    It’s a distinction without a difference. True, the legal consequences of running over someone’s foot with intention vs without intention will probably be different. But to the victim, it’s still a fractured foot. If the driver lamely says “Sorry I didn’t intend to” the most appropriate response is “intent is not fucking magic, you fucking ass.”

    Pay attention! Watch where you’re driving !

    For a bystander to then remonstrate with the broken-footed person “but no, you shouldn’t use that phrase, that phrase intent-is-not-magic is supposed to be reserved for cases of social inequality” is pathetic.

    It’s pointless to try to limit the meme “intent-not-magic” only for causes on whose behalf you approve of its use. It’s a losing battle,but more importantly, it’s a battle which should be lost, because “intent-not-magic” should be used more often. It should be used to remind inattentive humans (ie each of us, at times) that we don’t get a free pass to carelessly harm persons just because we don’t actually intend harm. This should be personal, not just limited to larger cultural causes.

    Pay attention! Watch out for the potential consequences of your actions!

  96. kassad says

    Which is absolutely true, and yet…not obvious in the phrase itself. Once it’s explained to you, once you’ve read about it, the phrase makes perfect sense and has a very specific meaning, but that meaning is not obvious without all of that.

    In my strictly personal opinion, that doesn’t make it a good tool of activism.

    Ok, that just pisses me off. I think I have a thoughtful question about something that bugged me without exactly knowing why, and the answer is so obvious and well explained I’m now sad at myself.

    This is why I don’t think that using the phrase outside oppression related topics won’t dampened its meaning. Because it is only efficient when explained. A simple “Intent is not magic” is not the argument. “Intent is not magic, so it has absolutely no relevance regarding the harm caused in a system that is based on inequalities and the opression of “minorities” is the argument.
    Without the second part, the meaningful part, the phrase is already weak.

  97. says

    If the driver lamely says “Sorry I didn’t intend to” the most appropriate response is “intent is not fucking magic, you fucking ass.”

    that’s crap. if someone run me down with a car on purpose, I’d have to take a restraining order out against them, for my safety. if they just did it because they’re idiots, I wouldn’t need to do anything.

  98. ChasCPeterson says

    hmm. Perhaps in cases that do not involve oppression we should adopt the Yoda syntax:

    Not fucking magic is intent.

    Thoughts?

  99. says

    Intent isn’t magic, but that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily worthless. Like Jadehawk said, if someone actually did it by accident and cares they’ll accept a correction and apologize. If they did by accident and don’t’ care they’ll continue upon which it’s only just ‘unintentional’

  100. hotshoe says

    Well, actually, if someone runs you down on purpose, I rather hope the result would be their arrest and then jail time for assault; not you, the victim, having to take out a restraining order against them. Sad. See, I already referred to that when I mentioned the legal consequences being different. Sorry you blew right past that part.

    I don’t know how to make this more clear, but I’ll try one more time before I go.

    The part that’s NOT different is the part about saying “sorry, I didn’t intend to hurt (anybody)” in either group oppression situations or in personal injury situations. It doesn’t make the harm go away in either situation and in both types of situation people are completely right to yell back “Intent is not magic”

    You (and some other people) want to draw a distinction between “correct” usage of intent-not-magic for fighting social inequality vs other “incorrect” usages of intent-not-magic. Too bad. Maybe it was a term of art once upon a time in social-justice circles, but it has reached a broader world nowadays. And that’s as it should be.

    “Intent is not magic” is too valuable a concept to be fenced in to only anti-group-oppression issues.

  101. says

    Well, actually, if someone runs you down on purpose, I rather hope the result would be their arrest and then jail time for assault

    you have adorable ideas about the justice system.

    “intent is not magic” is nigh worthless other than in systemic/cultural oppression. but hey, I can’t stop you from using it however you want, so knock yourself out.

  102. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    because “intent-not-magic” should be used more often.

    No it shouldn’t.

    Hey, I’m a strict consequentialist, so 100% of the ethics I advocate involve decoupling intent from consequences. I am very much in favor of people understanding consequentialism generally, both in regard to group oppressions and everything else. This is why I point out that there’s like infinity plus one other ways to say consequences occur regardless of desires, which are not an appropriation of this particular activist tool.

    But when we’re not talking about group oppressions, we should not use a phrasing that invokes that essay, because this can prime people who are familiar with its proper usage to evaluate other situations as similarly important.

    +++++
    For instance: say I’ve said something Jadehawk finds objectionable, and she calls me an assclown* for it. I proceed to give my reasoning and then I whinge that I don’t think I’m being all that assclownish about it. She says “okay, I still think you’re wrong, but I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings.” I say “intent isn’t magic.”

    Since Jadehawk knows where I picked up this phrase, she is left wondering “wait, is ‘assclown’ a homophobic slur?” Maybe she asks me, but maybe she infers that I’d have the goddamn good sense not to have used that phrase if it wasn’t a homophobic slur.

    *I thought of this example because a smart commenter here recently wondered if assclown might have a homophobic referent.** This is therefore a plausible scenario, if perhaps not with Jadehawk specifically.

    **The answer is no, assclown is not a homophobic slur.

  103. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    “No one is illegal” is a great tool of anti-racist activism. (It refers to undocumented immigrants.)

    If someone is arrested under an illegal driver campaign (this refers to anyone and everyone who drives without a license, or with a suspended license, or without insurance), and if that person publicly protests their arrest by campaigning with the slogan “no one is illegal!” that is an appropriation of the anti-racist tool. At best it is confusing and will make it more difficult for listeners who haven’t been exposed to the anti-racist tool to recognize when they hear the anti-racist slogan that it’s something they need to learn about.

  104. John Morales says

    Sometimes, it’s the intent that is problematic, not the result.

    (Have I ever mentioned my disgust at those who play practical jokes?)

  105. Tethys says

    Jadehawk

    If someone run me down with a car on purpose, I’d have to take a restraining order out against them, for my safety. if they just did it because they’re idiots, I wouldn’t need to do anything.

    I understand that getting into a discussion about intent if someone accidentally runs over your foot would be an inappropriate context to use intent is magic.

    Upthread it was stated by Ixchel that some posters here on pharyngula were using the term inappropriately. I would like to see an example of using intent is magic inappropriately in a comment.

    Pointing out that it is possible to do harm unintentionally is not a new concept. It is a common and logical response to an unjust or hurtful statement. Intent is not Magic is a good short-hand slogan. It’s short, easy to remember, and catchy. I do not see how getting people to be more aware of the unintended consequences of their words/actions is undesirable within a discussion.

    Is the concern due to not wanting the term to become over-used and meaningless? I think that is the natural trajectory for all slogans. Luckily there are a lot of brilliant creative people in the secular movement who will coin new memes. I can only hope that Intent is not Magic becomes a commonly known meme throughout the world. It is a good moral viewpoint to internalize.

  106. Tethys says

    Ixchel

    The assclown example you give above clarifies things for me a bit more, thanks.

    If I understand correctly what you are saying is this is a trivial usage, and it is overkill to invoke it in that context. Horde members in general are aware that intent is not magic. I would be shocked to see such a phrase in a comment by Jadehawk, unless she immediately followed it with a “Yes, I know, intent is not magic”.

    Including phrases like “I didn’t mean to do X” within an apology is irrelevant and annoying. It is a common phrase in notpologies, and it always makes me doubt the sincerity of an apology if the offender feels the need to justify their bad behavior.

  107. gijoel says

    @ixchel

    Someone else has probably beaten me to it. But there’s a huge difference between calling for the death of a tin-pot dictator on the other side of the world and calling for the death of a poppy-headed professor in a mid-west university.

    First of all there has to be reasonable belief that I would carry out my threat. So a once or twice of fatwa on Gaddafi isn’t the same as say posting a hundred rants/death threats on twitter/forums etc. A la David Mabus.

    Secondly there has to be a reasonable belief that I am able to follow through on my threat. So again it would be difficult to believe that I, a lone crank on the other side of the world would have a reasonable chance of assassinating Gaddafi. However it would be a lot easier to kill someone who works in a veterinary lab.

    Thirdly you’re a false equivalence troll. You’re comparing law abiding citizens who work in the animal research field to brutal dictator. Marino has a lot more in common with Gaddafi than David Jentsch. She has used intimidation and terror in order to achieve her ends.

    She tries to hide behind plausible denial in the same way a Mafia Don who merely expresses the hope that one of his enemies would have an unfortunate accident. Neither rings true because they have the means, desire and support to enact their wishes.

  108. dysomniak, darwinian socialist says

    @gijoel Read the fucking thread. Read it for comprehension. You aren’t telling ixchel anything new. In fact that was the fucking point.

  109. John Morales says

    gijoel:

    But there’s a huge difference between calling for the death of a tin-pot dictator on the other side of the world and calling for the death of a poppy-headed professor in a mid-west university.

    Do tell.

    First of all there has to be reasonable belief that I would carry out my threat.

    Nope.

    The ability to instantiate a threat is not relevant to the threat itself, but to its potential for consumation.

    Secondly there has to be a reasonable belief that I am able to follow through on my threat.

    You’ve just reiterated your first point.

    Thirdly you’re a false equivalence troll.

    This is an irrelevance.

    You made a claim you spectacularly failed support, O inane one.

  110. says

    Rev.:

    How about the quotes above?

    As I said, I was on my way out the door. Barely had time to skim the post, or to reskim the post I’d originally read back in February. Note that I didn’t say it was excellent – which I don’t hesitate to do, and would say about his book* – but that it was fairly decent. I thought this because it focuses on the question of whether her speech was protected under the first amendment and whether her group constitutes a “hate group” without diluting the term.

    Caine:

    Apparently, as long as it’s just words, it’s all okey dokey.

    I have no idea what this is in response to.

    DLC:

    They’re the exact same tactics used by the anti-choice forces all over the country. The so-called anti-abortion “activists”.
    Marino and anyone else who advocates violence deserve to be kept where they can’t do harm.

    Against slaveholders? Fascists? Islamic terrorists? Genocidal dictators? Anyone ever?

    Beatrice:

    Oh yeah, animal rights activists are totally going to endear themselves to people by defending this woman’s First Amendment rights to call for torture and murder of other people.

    Hint : If you are afraid of getting lumped together with this scum, the answer is not to downplay their harmfulness.

    We don’t know her harmfulness beyond the direct effects of her public statements themselves. This is not the anti-abortion movement. As Potter argues, the animal rights movement does not have a history of torture and murder.

    Second, if her speech is covered by the First Amendment (I’m not saying it is) and you support the First Amendment, then defending her or anyone else’s rights should endear someone.

    Caerie:

    Right! Just like anti-choice folks talking about how lovely it would be if abortion doctors were murdered and by the way here is their contact information. They aren’t targeting the doctors for who they are, just what they do!

    (Again, abortion doctors have been murdered and there are many in that movement who support that. That has not been the case with the animal rights movement.)

    I actually think people should be careful about using this label for groups that oppose others’ actions rather than who they are. Think about what this means. No matter how much suffering or death people – religious organizations, states, corporations,… – cause, strong opposition to and condemnation of their acts would mark a group as a hate group. It’s tempting because of the despicable groups, like anti-abortion groups, who are certainly hateful, and not just of abortion providers but of women, but we should question whether this is stretching the term, and think about whether it should be applied to them and if so how those groups differ from other political organizations.

    Nothing alarming there whatsoever!

    This sarcasm is pointless.

    Chas:

    Potter is concerned solely with the ideas that NIO is not a truly true ‘hate group’ and they don’t do truly true ‘terrorism’.

    Well, he’s concerned about specific issues because of the context. The context is one in which people not advocating or engaged in violence against people are being called terrorists by the government, nonviolent investigators are being criminalized, and people who’ve committed no violence against people are being charged as terrorists and locked in supermax prisons. That’s the reality, and we should all be very scared about that.

    The context is also one of tremendous violence against nonhuman animals. The fact is that millions of nonhuman animals are tortured and killed for human research. Real suffering, real deaths. This research is conducted by people, who are moral beings. For any research, the ethical case has to be made that the suffering and deaths of nonconsenting beings are justified. Is this ever the case? We’ve decided over the past several decades that it isn’t for humans (except poor people in poor countries, of course), and now other primates. For other animals, people generally want to ignore the questions and ignore activists or focus on the tactics of a few. This is a moral and intellectual abdication. You can only do it honestly if you can say honestly that you don’t believe any nonhuman animals have any moral status, and I know that few here could do that.

    He chooses to illustrate his post, ostensibly about the arrest of Marino, with a picture of a cute doggie with sad eyes (“Queenie”). It is rhetorical spin from top to bottom.

    You might have missed this description: “In Michigan, NIO is campaigning against an animal experimenter at Wayne State University named Donal O’Leary, who uses dogs in heart experiments. One of the dogs, the Dalmation pictured above named Queenie, was forced to run on a treadmill with a device implanted in her heart, catheters protruding from her body, and open wounds leaking fluids.” I’m fine with rhetorical spin if by that you mean talking about and showing a real animal who’s suffered. (I generally find him trustworthy, but it’s of course possible that the information about that particular dog is inaccurate.)

    I condemn Marino’s actions in this case, and I think she’s malevolent and at the very least profoundly misguided. At the same time, I don’t like a focus or condemnations of her actions (or those of any animal rights activists or groups) that lack any appreciation of the real violence they’re opposing, the effective efforts of corporations to criminalize protest, or the context in which the animal rights movement is being presented through individual egregious cases. Every once in a while, science bloggers will feature a story like the one about the end of using primates, but at those times the animal rights movement that pushed for that for decades is airbrushed out of the picture. Otherwise, they tend to focus on the tactics of a few nonrepresentative activists or occasionally the abuse and suffering of animals in CAM research.

    I think there are two separate questions here, and they tend to get conflated in a way that leads to both being ignored. First, there’s the question of tactics and social movement ethics. You can discuss the ethics of tactics generally or in specific contexts. For some tactics, you might want to say that they should never be used by anyone under any circumstances, but we should be careful about making this blanket statement given that almost every tactic I can think of has been used by both “good” movements and “bad” movements. I can’t think of a circumstance in which publishing someone’s address or libelous accusations would be valid, but it might exist.

    Then there’s the question of whose tactics we’re talking about. It’s easy to equate the animal rights movement with the anti-abortion movement because some people in each use similar tactics (ignoring, again, that the histories of actual violence are extremely different). But it’s harder to address what they’re fighting for. I have a problem with all of the tactics of the anti-abortion movement, violent and nonviolent, because the movement is wrong and harmful. (That doesn’t mean I think their tactics should all be illegal.) Their actions do nothing to stop suffering and lead to the suffering and deaths of thousands of women and their loved ones. The animal rights movement, in contrast, is actually opposing a system of unfathomable suffering and death. They’re comparable to opponents of other terrible oppressions. The movements are fundamentally different, in my view. People can say, “Oh, but the antiabortion activists think they’re opposing and preventing suffering rather than causing it,” but the fact is that this is empirically wrong.

    So the question is whether you’d accept certain tactics under certain circumstances if used by people fighting real harm on a massive scale. If not, you can argue a legitimate point, but comparisons to actively harmful movements aren’t appropriate or useful. “I find tactic X totally unacceptable always or in this circumstance for reasons Y and Z” is a valid argument (though of course open to reasonable debate). “I find tactic X totally unacceptable because I don’t care about the suffering the people using it are trying to stop or because some other harmful movement uses it” isn’t.

    She shouldn’t be arrested for that just because no actual violence has occurred? Fucking ridiculous.

    I don’t know that anyone’s argued that.

    (Wow it pisses me off when ‘animal rights’ activism is conflated with environmental activism. I don’t care who’s doing it, Potter or the FBI. Totally different motivations and goals.)

    You’ve said similar things in the past, and you’re wrong. Potter isn’t conflating them. He’s pointing to the very real and significant amount of overlap between the two movements (do you think the similarity of the names ELF and ALF is a coincidence?) and the fact that both movements are treated similarly by corporations and their government partners. If you read his book, you’ll see that the people sentenced as terrorists and in or threatened with supermax are environmental and not animal rights activists. And the motivations and goals are not fundamentally separate in the way you seem to think.

    *Doesn’t mean I agree with all of it. I do think he minimizes to some extent the harassment, including misogynistic harassment, involved in some campaigns. I believe it’s much better to be as clear as possible about what people have done without giving it labels and without losing sight of the context, and then to debate reasonably whether that action is justified in general or in the specific case.

    (Oh – apparently there’s a vegan prisoners’ support organization, at least in the UK.)

  111. TheBlackCat says

    Their actions do nothing to stop suffering and lead to the suffering and deaths of thousands of women and their loved ones. The animal rights movement, in contrast, is actually opposing a system of unfathomable suffering and death. They’re comparable to opponents of other terrible oppressions. The movements are fundamentally different, in my view. People can say, “Oh, but the antiabortion activists think they’re opposing and preventing suffering rather than causing it,” but the fact is that this is empirically wrong.

    In other words, “it’s okay if I agree with their goals”. Of course it is obvious they are wrong, and there is no possible way anyone could disagree with you, right?

    You speak as though it is an empirical fact that the the abortion activists are wrong, and an empirical fact that animal rights activists are right. But that is exactly what the anti-abortion activists would argue for their own side as well. In fact, every single words you say are things I have heard abortion rights activists claim for their own side.

    The fact is, both their side and yours are on the losing side of public opinion, and so have resorted to threats and violence to force their views on everyone else.

  112. dysomniak, darwinian socialist says

    But that is exactly what the anti-abortion activists would argue for their own side as well. In fact, every single words you say are things I have heard abortion rights activists claim for their own side.

    Well, yeah. Of course everyone thinks their side is right. What exactly is this argument supposed to prove?

  113. consciousness razor says

    You speak as though it is an empirical fact that the the abortion activists are wrong, and an empirical fact that animal rights activists are right. But that is exactly what the anti-abortion activists would argue for their own side as well. In fact, every single words you say are things I have heard abortion rights activists claim for their own side.

    Anti-abortion activists are wrong about that, but that doesn’t imply animal rights activists are wrong. It’s pointless to focus on what people say the facts are or how they say it, rather than what the facts actually are.

    The fact is, both their side and yours are on the losing side of public opinion, and so have resorted to threats and violence to force their views on everyone else.

    So is public opinion how facts get sorted out, or in what sense do you think you know which is the “losing side,” whatever that means? Even though I’m supportive of animal rights (as are a lot of people at least to some degree), I don’t consider people like Marino as being on “my side” anyway, like Stalin and Pol Pot aren’t on my side even if they were atheists. But how many animal rights activists do you think are threatening or violent, or even forcing their views on anyone without threats or violence?

  114. dysomniak, darwinian socialist says

    Also:

    The fact is, both their side and yours are on the losing side of public opinion, and so have resorted to threats and violence to force their views on everyone else.

    Citation needed for violence committed by the animal rights movement. Real violence only please, not threats or sabotage.

  115. TheBlackCat says

    Well, yeah. Of course everyone thinks their side is right. What exactly is this argument supposed to prove?

    That just asserting you are right does not make you right.

    Citation needed for violence committed by the animal rights movement. Real violence only please, not threats or sabotage.

    You mean like setting fire to someone’s house?
    http://www.nowpublic.com/world/violent-animal-rights-activists-set-fire-scientist-home-very-little-protection-available-scientists

  116. TheBlackCat says

    It’s pointless to focus on what people say the facts are or how they say it, rather than what the facts actually are.

    Uh, yeah, that was my whole point.

    So is public opinion how facts get sorted out,

    No, but in a constitutional republic it is usually how laws are sorted out (unless there is some sort of constitutional or civil rights issue in which cases courts get involved).

    The problem is when a minority group can’t get the laws they want passed, and decide to enforce their own ideas of what the laws should be on everyone else rather than trying to get the laws changed (either legislatively or judicially) like everyone else who disagrees with them.

    or in what sense do you think you know which is the “losing side,” whatever that means?

    Usually resorting to threats, violence, and sabotage implies that someone has not had luck getting society at large to accept their views.

    Even though I’m supportive of animal rights (as are a lot of people at least to some degree),

    I would make a distinction between animal welfare, which most people support, and animal rights which I have not seen much support for. There seems to be a lot of interest in protecting the welfare of animals, but little in giving them any sort of rights.

    I don’t consider people like Marino as being on “my side” anyway,

    I wasn’t talking to you, I was talking to SC, who didn’t make such a distinction.

    But how many animal rights activists do you think are threatening or violent, or even forcing their views on anyone without threats or violence?

    How many abortion opponents are threatening or violent? Do you think that animal rights activists would not get their ideas passed as laws if they could?

  117. Gnumann, quisling of the MRA nation says

    Citation needed for violence committed by the animal rights movement

    I can’t be arsed to dig up documentation, but the old favourite paint assault would meet many legal definitions of violence. Legal violence does include a lot of things not normally considered violence though.

    I don’t know of any instances of an animal rights activist causing bodily harm with intent, that’s an important distinction and one that makes me think any parallel with the anti-woman-activists isn’t very appropriate.

    The willingness to include fear-inducing tactics and violent hyperbole makes me very worried about the extreme animal right activist groups though. As is the frequent dissonance between what constitutes ethical treatment of humans compared to stated stadards for treatment of non-human animals in some extremist groups.

  118. blueskyscience22 says

    dysomniak asks “Citation needed for violence committed by the animal rights movement. Real violence only please, not threats or sabotage.”

    Well,the arson attack that TheBlackCat mentions that could have easily cost the life of a scientist and his family is certainly not the only case of arson attacks on the homes of scientists when they and their families are there, something that I regard as attempted murder. In particular there was a spate of arson attacks against scientists at UCLA a few years ago http://articles.latimes.com/2008/nov/29/local/me-animal-arson29 though that provoked a strong push back from UCLA staff, students and scientists http://speakingofresearch.com/2009/04/26/ucla-pro-test-post-rally-video-coverage/

    Over the past couple of decades there have been several instances of animal rights letterbombs, car bombs and assaults resulting in injuries, and again it is only through good luck that none of these resulted in more serious injury or death.

    For example:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/1494924.stm
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/this-britain/animal-rights-activists-sent-bomb-to-charity-705033.html
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/november/30/newsid_2525000/2525525.stm
    http://chronicle.com/article/British-Police-Say/67690/
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/5259774.stm

    But this is beside the point, why should we wait until somebody is seriously hurt or killed before taking action against those who insight violence and threaten people they disagree with. Is dysomniak really trying to claim that threats of violence, harassment and vandalism (especially of personal property) are acceptable campaign tools in a democratic society? I suspect that I’m far from the only one who thinks that it is far, far better to nip extremism in the bud and show estremists that their threats and intimidation are not acceptable before somebody gets hurt.

  119. dysomniak, darwinian socialist says

    @TheBlackCat So I clicked on your arson link (irritang habit , I know):

    Police spokespersons in Santa Cruz and Berkeley have not specifically identified any activist group as being responsible for the latest episodes but the two organizations under suspicion include Stop Animal Exploitation Now! (SAEN) and the Animal Liberation Front (ALF)

    Traditionally, terrorists claim responsibility for their attacks. There isn’t a whole lot of point in it otherwise. So unless you have some other evidence to link animal rights activists to this particular fire all you’ve show is that activists are “suspected” of starting it.

    That just asserting you are right does not make you right.

    And just asserting that someone else is wrong doesn’t make them wrong.

    The problem is when a minority group can’t get the laws they want passed, and decide to enforce their own ideas of what the laws should be on everyone else rather than trying to get the laws changed (either legislatively or judicially) like everyone else who disagrees with them.

    So when legal processes fail we should just shrug and move on? This line of argument invalidates all forms of civil disobedience in one fell swoop.

    Usually resorting to threats, violence, and sabotage implies that someone has not had luck getting society at large to accept their views.

    And of course that must be the fault of the people with unpopular views. There’s no way society could be wrong.

    @Gnumann:

    The willingness to include fear-inducing tactics and violent hyperbole makes me very worried about the extreme animal right activist groups though. As is the frequent dissonance between what constitutes ethical treatment of humans compared to stated stadards for treatment of non-human animals in some extremist groups.

    I don’t like these tactics either (as I made clear earlier) but I don’t think that they (or the attitude they represent) is representative of the animal rights movement as a whole. There are certainly problems with messaging (don’t get me started on PETA), but if you look at the actual actions, groups like the ALF tend to be scrupulously careful about avoiding any harm to humans (or non human animals).

    This follows logically from the most fundamental value held by the many AR activists: it is wrong to intentionally harm another sentient being. Of course groups like NIO argue that their actions are intended to prevent a greater wrong but this kind of crass utilitarianism can be just as easily used to justify most animal research: if 1,000 chimps have to be tortured to death to save 1,001 humans then isn’t that OK?

  120. John Morales says

    dysomniak:

    This follows logically from the most fundamental value held by the many AR activists: it is wrong to intentionally harm another sentient being.

    Unlucky for them should they become infested with parasites, no? ;)

  121. consciousness razor says

    Uh, yeah, that was my whole point.

    You have a strange way of making your whole point.

    I wasn’t talking to you, I was talking to SC, who didn’t make such a distinction.

    It sounded like you were talking quite a bit about one “side” in general, not just SC, who I’d say I generally side with, if I didn’t think all this talk of sides is very silly. Anyway, you could make such a distinction when you categorize people into particular sides, whether or not she needed to in order to say what she wanted to say.

    How many abortion opponents are threatening or violent?

    I don’t know, nor do I claim they’re all threatening or violent, nor do I take some of them engaging in threats or violence as a sign that they’re losing in the area of public opinion. (Again, public opinion is irrelevant anyway: the facts and what is right are what matters.) You might notice that some people are threatening or violent when they think the status quo (which matches their own, “winning” views) could be or is being disrupted, so threats and violence are piss poor indicators of whether someone or a group is winning or losing public opinion, if we had any reason to take public opinion seriously in the first place, which we don’t.

    Do you think that animal rights activists would not get their ideas passed as laws if they could?

    So would passing laws be what you mean by forcing it on people, or were you only talking about threats or violence? Are you saying they should or shouldn’t try to pass such laws?

  122. dysomniak, darwinian socialist says

    Unlucky for them should they become infested with parasites, no? ;)

    And this is why I believe veganism (or at least veganish>/i>ism) is the most fundamental building block of the animal right movement. There are a lot a of grey areas when it comes to animal research, pest control, etc, but I have yet to see one good argument for eating animal products (assuming you live in an industrialized country where you can buy tofu as easily as chicken and you don’t have some weird metabolic issue that “requires” you to eat meat) other that “it tastes good”. Billions and billions (yeah, I went Sagan) of animals are slaughtered for meat every year in the US alone. And then there are the uncounted male chicks “culled” (read: tossed in a chipper) because they are useless for laying eggs. It does include the calves taken from dairy cows to be raised for veal (you didn’t think they just gave milk year round on their own did you?) Honestly, if NIO wanted to make a real difference they’d be targeting the livestock industry, not researchers.

  123. John Morales says

    dysomniak:

    Honestly, if NIO wanted to make a real difference they’d be targeting the livestock industry, not researchers.

    Yes.

    Best solution, for mine, is to develop vat-grown meat products; the technology is not far away, I reckon.

    Then, it would be possible to contrast “clean” meat with “dirty” meat —that is, meat that was once part of an animal.

    (We’re still primitives)

  124. Gnumann, quisling of the MRA nation says

    I don’t think that they (or the attitude they represent) is representative of the animal rights movement as a whole.

    Just to be perfectly clear, neither do I and if I come across as implying that It was due to my own clumsiness.

    Now, I don’t share your views fully. For example I don’t think meat-eating needs any ethical justification in it self, though many practices connected to modern meat-eating is ethically unsound (both with regards to treatment of other animals and consumption of resources and use of habitat.) I also think responsible hunting is a moral obligation in the areas where we have displaced the other natural predators, but I also believe we have a moral obligation to re-establish said predators as far as possible. But even though I don’t subscribe to vegan ethics(and think it’s deeply flawed taken to the extreme) I think of that movement as a moment that warrants respect in the ethical discourse. Unlike the specimen mentioned in the OP.

  125. lostintime says

    Thank you SC for that very interesting post.

    The context is also one of tremendous violence against nonhuman animals. The fact is that millions of nonhuman animals are tortured and killed for human research. Real suffering, real deaths. This research is conducted by people, who are moral beings. For any research, the ethical case has to be made that the suffering and deaths of nonconsenting beings are justified. Is this ever the case? We’ve decided over the past several decades that it isn’t for humans (except poor people in poor countries, of course), and now other primates. For other animals, people generally want to ignore the questions and ignore activists or focus on the tactics of a few. This is a moral and intellectual abdication. You can only do it honestly if you can say honestly that you don’t believe any nonhuman animals have any moral status, and I know that few here could do that…

    You might have missed this description: “In Michigan, NIO is campaigning against an animal experimenter at Wayne State University named Donal O’Leary, who uses dogs in heart experiments. One of the dogs, the Dalmation pictured above named Queenie, was forced to run on a treadmill with a device implanted in her heart, catheters protruding from her body, and open wounds leaking fluids.”

    The problem I have with Animal Rights (in the non-general sense) is that it opposes the instrumental use of animals and tends to have an uncompromising focus on things like the wrongness of killing and the wrongness of treating animals as chattel property. I don’t agree with that approach at all, and like most people on FTB I think welfare is a much more productive way of thinking about animal ethics. Having said that, there is a discussion to be had about what constitutes serious research, whether or not severe and prolonged suffering is justified, how to safe-guard against ‘me too drugs’ and pharmaceutical research being motivated by profit rather than reducing human and animal suffering. These are ligitimate areas where we should be focussing our attention, but animal movement it seems (especially AR activists) are more interested in fighting a zealous battle against all forms of animal use. I hope the extremists don’t prevent real prgress being made on the continuing ethical treatment of animal in research.

  126. consciousness razor says

    For example I don’t think meat-eating needs any ethical justification in it self, though many practices connected to modern meat-eating is ethically unsound (both with regards to treatment of other animals and consumption of resources and use of habitat.)

    So you think killing a non-human animal doesn’t need any ethical justification? Why not? But how we treat them before we kill them does need to be justified? Why?

  127. ChasCPeterson says

    hi SC:

    he’s concerned about specific issues because of the context.

    I gathered. Coincidentally, he has a book to sell on the subject.

    The context is one in which people not advocating or engaged in violence against people are being called terrorists by the government, nonviolent investigators are being criminalized, and people who’ve committed no violence against people are being charged as terrorists and locked in supermax prisons. That’s the reality, and we should all be very scared about that.

    I agree 100%.
    And I gathered that that’s what Potter’s book is about.
    I just thought his shoehorning of the Marino story into his pre-existing narrative (buy his book) was clumsy, disingenuous, and self-serving (bhb).

    The context is also one of tremendous violence against nonhuman animals…

    yeah. As crystal-clear as these issues seem in your mind, SC, the fact is that most people simply draw their moral and ethical lines elsewhere. I don’t know what else to tell you. On this issue you are Don Quixote on a high horse. (I actually admire that in a way.)

    You might have missed this description

    I saw it. You might have missed my point. The post was about the news that Camille Marino had been arrested. The only illustration accompanying the text was a photo of a dog. If it wasn’t so pointedly rhetorical it would be completely gratuitous.

    I’m fine with rhetorical spin

    understatement, in my experience (how do you do tongue-sticking-out smiley-faces? ;P is that it?)

    For some tactics, you might want to say that they should never be used by anyone under any circumstances, but we should be careful about making this blanket statement given that almost every tactic I can think of has been used by both “good” movements and “bad” movements.

    Do you see how you just conflated the two “separate questions” you were ostensibly distinguishing?

    Then there’s the question of whose tactics we’re talking about.

    (interthreadual reference:) intent being magic and all. *glances nervously back over shoulder for sg*

    the very real and significant amount of overlap between the two movements

    Overlap in terms of what? People who support both?

    (do you think the similarity of the names ELF and ALF is a coincidence?)

    lol.

    the fact that both movements are treated similarly by corporations and their government partners.

    OK. (I gather that that’s what his book’s about.)

    And the motivations and goals are not fundamentally separate in the way you seem to think.

    Really? Please explain.
    (To be clear, what I seem to think is that the animal rights and/or welfare movement is concerned about minimizing the suffering of individual (non-human) animals, whereas the environmental movement is concerned with the preservation of ecological entities such as populations, species, functioning ecosystems, and the global biosphere.)

  128. ChasCPeterson says

    Best solution, for mine, is to develop vat-grown meat products; the technology is not far away, I reckon.

    What kind of technology you talking about, John? Protein synthesis (or resequencing) is going to require:
    a) ribosomes, either bacterial or artificial, and we’re nowhere even close to the latter. So presumably you’ve got vats of bacteria engineered somehow to synthesize and (a bigger problem) secrete meat-like proteins (collagen, actin, myosin, titin) in appropriate ratios, and you stir in the fats separately? Or what?
    b) amino acids. Lots of them. Whence? (heh)
    Monsanto™ brand soybeans?

    But see we already know how to make pretty good fake meat from soybeans. There’s a freezer-case full in all of my local supermarkets, plus more over by the tofu in the corner of Produce.
    Yet the entire back of the stores are still Meat.

  129. Gnumann, quisling of the MRA nation says

    So you think killing a non-human animal doesn’t need any ethical justification?

    No, that’s not what I said. Killing always needs an ethical justification. It’s just that under a set of circumstances, “I’m going to eat it” is good enough. (Note that this does not mean “I’m going to eat it” is always enough).

    Like all humans I hold a number of conflicting ideas. One of them is that every being has a fundamental right to live out it’s nature. And for humans, as omnivores that includes on occasion eating meat. One other is that we as sentient beings that are able to reflect on our impact on our environement have a certain responsibility to not let our own goals and desires have an unreasonable impact on our environment.

    From the first one, it follows that you don’t have to seek a justification for living out your nature. Therefore I can say that that you don’t need an ethical justification for acts like eating (including eating meat) and having children.

    From the second, I can say that how we eat meat and have children needs some ethical justification.

  130. RahXephon, Waahmbulance Driver for St. Entitlement's Hospital says

    @SC

    This may be tangential, but I’m curious: if you’re opposed to animal-based medical research (which I assume you are based on your post, but correct me if I’m wrong), how does that affect your view/usage of modern medicine? Do you eschew animal-based products like medications and vaccines, or non-animal-based medicines that were still tested on animals? What about surgical techniques that might’ve involved animal studies? If you have pets, do you take them to a veterinarian, who would also use animal-research-based tools and techniques? Or are those things “grandfathered in” and you’d like all animal research to stop now that it can be supplanted in other ways, like computer models?

    I’m not making an argument, by the way, I’m asking because I’d like to know. The vegan perspective on medicine is pretty foreign to me.

  131. says

    But see we already know how to make pretty good fake meat from soybeans. There’s a freezer-case full in all of my local supermarkets, plus more over by the tofu in the corner of Produce.
    Yet the entire back of the stores are still Meat.

    There was time when we knew how to make what was (for that time) pretty good LCD displays, yet the stores were still filled with CRTs. And it wasn’t that long ago.

  132. lostintime says

    Gnumann

    Like all humans I hold a number of conflicting ideas. One of them is that every being has a fundamental right to live out it’s nature

    I guess you’ll be avaoiding 99% of animal products then.

  133. Gnumann, quisling of the MRA nation says

    I guess you’ll be avaoiding 99% of animal products then.

    Read again, this time for understanding.

    Also, like all humans I’m a hypocrite. There’s a a lot of room with my ethical ideals and my daily life in a western, growth-driven, semicapitalistic society.

  134. gijoel says

    @dysomniak

    Dude, honestly I was expecting a torrent of STF N00B after reading your post. True I could have read the post more closely but I hoped to reinforce and (admittedly ineptly) try to discover something new in the debate.

    Given the tone of your other comments I think you should consider a change of underwear. Because those spiderman unnderoos you got when you were seven are clearly way to small for you now.

    @John Morales

    The ability to instantiate a threat is not relevant to the threat itself, but to its potential for consumation.

    Whoa, you disagree by agreeing with me. Wow, I was braced for a stream of comments about my sexuality and my mother’s weight. Maybe even a comparision to Hitler. But dude, you just took trolling to a whole new meta level. Centuries from now philosophy majors will bring home debate team gold with that tactic.

  135. consciousness razor says

    For example I don’t think meat-eating needs any ethical justification in it self

    So you think killing a non-human animal doesn’t need any ethical justification?

    No, that’s not what I said. Killing always needs an ethical justification. It’s just that under a set of circumstances, “I’m going to eat it” is good enough. (Note that this does not mean “I’m going to eat it” is always enough).

    So in some circumstances which you haven’t described, meat-eating (which implies killing) doesn’t need ethical justification, and saying you’re going to eat it is a justification. I guess that means that even though it doesn’t need a justification, as you asserted, giving it one anyway with such an absurd declaration would be supererogatory. Well done.

    Like all humans I hold a number of conflicting ideas.

    That much is clear, but merely admitting it doesn’t stop them from conflicting.

    One of them is that every being has a fundamental right to live out it’s nature. And for humans, as omnivores that includes on occasion eating meat.

    Not eating meat doesn’t make one non-human. So even if you have the “right”* to eat meat, it couldn’t be due to some “nature” that human beings have.

    *Are you talking about legal rights or ethical ones?

    One other is that we as sentient beings that are able to reflect on our impact on our environement have a certain responsibility to not let our own goals and desires have an unreasonable impact on our environment.

    As far as having a reasonable impact, you’ve still given no reasons. So you have an impact, maybe while trying to do the right and reasonable thing sometimes, but this is just empty blather.

    And non-human animals aren’t “the environment,” other than in the trivial sense that the environment is anything which isn’t you, including other people. It’s not just a problem with using them, like some inanimate natural resource, without regard to economic or ecological issues. It’s also a problem with how we deal with other sentient beings.

  136. says

    Catching up. Not sure how far I’ll get.

    In other words, “it’s okay if I agree with their goals”.

    I’m not sure what the referent of “it” is here. If it’s Marino’s specific actions in this case, I’ve said plainly that they’re not OK with me, and that I can’t think right now of circumstances in which they would be. (Public shaming generally and even possibly calling for someone’s death, though, can be acceptable in some circumstances– we do the former here to misogynistic harassers and threateners of RW and others.)

    There are actions I pretty much universally condemn, barring unforeseen circumstances I can’t at present imagine, but the large majority of tactics – including those two mentioned above – are harder to make blanket statements about. But, yes, I can think of some tactics of which I’d approve or disapprove depending on their meaning and effects in context. This isn’t the same as “anything goes if I agree with your goals.”

    So, for example, I approve generally of professional groups or organizations acting on their conscience to fight oppression, harm, and the violation of rights. I approve of pilots or airlines refusing to fly alleged terrorist suspect to black sites to be tortures, and I approve of El Al’s recent decision not to transport monkeys to be used for research (though I think this was the result of external pressure more than conviction). I’m not OK with pharmacists who refuse to dispense birth control or Plan B, or with public officials who refuse to marry gay couples. That’s not because I think people in these jobs should always “do their job” however it’s defined. It’s because their actions don’t fight oppression, harm, and rights violations – they cause them, as the evidence shows. (I also think that in this case this violates basic professional standards.) This is in contrast to the pilots and airlines I discussed above. I think the evidence shows that their actions oppose (however effectively or not) oppression, harm, and rights violations. This puts them in the tradition of other movements fighting these things on behalf of different groups of humans; they’re just expanding the moral circle to include nonhuman animals. That doesn’t mean every action by activists on those movements or this one are fine with me; it means that I assess them with reference to this context.

    Of course it is obvious they are wrong, and there is no possible way anyone could disagree with you, right?

    You speak as though it is an empirical fact that the the abortion activists are wrong, and an empirical fact that animal rights activists are right. But that is exactly what the anti-abortion activists would argue for their own side as well. In fact, every single words you say are things I have heard abortion rights activists claim for their own side.

    I think it’s empirically demonstrable that anti-abortion activists contribute to suffering, harm, and the violation of rights. I think it’s empirically demonstrable that the animal rights movement works against suffering, harm, and the violation of rights. If you recognize that this suffering exists and consider the ones suffering to have moral status, then you should agree that they’re right. You could argue that animal suffering on an immense scale doesn’t exist, but that would be false, or that nonhuman animals have no moral status, which would be difficult to defend.

    You’ve maybe not heard it, but these arguments have also been heard from a wide variety of anti-oppression movements: civil rights, anti-slavery, anti-apartheid, women’s rights, antiwar, and labor and independence movements around the world, amongst others. All of these have used extreme tactics, and in some cases violence. Here’s a description of some activism in the British women’s suffrage movement a century ago, from Adam Hochschild’s To End All Wars:

    WSPU supporters, shrinking in number but ever more extreme, set on fire an orchid house at Kew Gardens, a London church, and a racecourse grandstand; blew up a deserted railway station; and smashed a jewel case at the Tower of London. They cut the telephone wires linking London and Glasgow, and slashed the words NO VOTES, NO GOLF! into golf course greens and then poured acid in the letters so grass would not grow. One newspaper estimated that suffragettes had inflicted £500,000 worth of property damage, some $60 million in to-day’s money. By now, more than 1,000 of them had gone to prison, and one spectacularly sacrificed her life before a huge crowd and newsreel cameras in 1913—Emily Wilding Davison, a WSPU member who ran onto the racecourse in the midst of the Epsom Derby and grabbed at the bridle of the King’s horse, which struck her while galloping at full speed. She died of her injuries four days later. Queen Mary referred to her as “the horrid woman.” Emmeline Pankhurst called her “one of our bravest soldiers.”

    …Pankhurst’s embrace of violence was striking for someone who had always taken such care to present herself as a woman of utmost propriety. Any WSPU members who opposed the new extreme tactics or her autocratic control found themselves expelled from the Pankhurst’s embrace of violence was striking for someone who had always taken such care to present herself as a woman of utmost propriety. Any WSPU members who opposed the new extreme tactics or her autocratic control found themselves expelled from the ranks.

    …Basil Thomson’s men at Scotland Yard kept Pankhurst and her new allies under close surveillance. (pp. 71-2)

    They were force fed when they went on hunger strikes in jail, and all of the tactics governments later used against left-wing movements were being developed against them. (I discuss these in detail on my blog, if you’re interested.)

    In fact, given the tactics – including extensive use of agents provocateurs – of the FBI and their allies and the seriousness and urgency of the issues, the relatively low level of extreme or violent acts amongst environmental and AR activists is pretty remarkable.

    The fact is, both their side and yours are on the losing side of public opinion, and so have resorted to threats and violence

    This could be said of people in all rights and anti-oppression movements throughout history at some moment or other. And this is a very misleading statement. We’re talking about the words and actions of one person and a small group, not of some “side” in general.

    ***

    I agree 100%.

    I haven’t written much that you’ve said about it. Do you have links?

    yeah. As crystal-clear as these issues seem in your mind, SC, the fact is that most people simply draw their moral and ethical lines elsewhere.

    I don’t know what that means. You think nonhuman animals should suffer and die unnecessarily for our purposes, you don’t think that suffering and those deaths are a significant moral issue, or you think all of the suffering and deaths are ethically justified across the board?

    I don’t know what else to tell you. On this issue you are Don Quixote on a high horse. (I actually admire that in a way.)

    Thank you. I don’t think I am.

    I saw it. You might have missed my point. The post was about the news that Camille Marino had been arrested. The only illustration accompanying the text was a photo of a dog. If it wasn’t so pointedly rhetorical it would be completely gratuitous.

    It was that she’d been arrested for her actions related to researchers using animals. That wasn’t just a cute dog, or even a cute dog used in research. She’s specifically a dog who suffered in the research of one of the people targeted by Marino and her organization. Excluding these animals from the discussion is rhetorical spin of the worst kind.

    Overlap in terms of what? People who support both?

    Yes, and the concerns and passions motivating those people.

    lol.

    lol yourself.

    Really? Please explain.

    (To be clear, what I seem to think is that the animal rights and/or welfare movement is concerned about minimizing the suffering of individual (non-human) animals, whereas the environmental movement is concerned with the preservation of ecological entities such as populations, species, functioning ecosystems, and the global biosphere.)

    But these aren’t neatly separable in the moral sense. The environmental movement is varied, and sure there are people who, say, are against the destruction of turtle habitat or threats to turtle species from some broad, abstract, aesthetic or human-centered motives. There might also be AR activists who don’t care about what you classify as the concerns of the environmental movement. But there are a huge number of people who see habitat destruction and animal suffering from within the same frame. I mean, look at Rachel Carson. She didn’t just care about environmental destruction and harm to birds from some abstract or human-centered perspective. She cared, and assumed others did, too, about suffering birds. I think an environmentalism that doesn’t consider suffering – human or nonhuman – to be central is deeply lacking.

    ***

    Regarding the suggestion that PETA and other groups are AR “absolutists” who don’t work on animal welfare, that’s incorrect. I have many, many, many criticisms of PETA, but they’re probably the most effective animal welfare organization in the world. The fear of being targeted by PETA alone will cause businesses to change their practices. As Jonathan Safran Foer says in Eating Animals, “They call their revolution ‘animal rights’, but the changes PETA has won for farmed animals (their biggest concern), while numerous, are not victories for animal rights so much as for animal welfare: fewer animals per cage, better-regulated slaughter, less-cramped transport, and the like. PETA’s techniques are often vaudeville-esque (or tasteless), but this over-the-top approach has won modest improvements that most people would say don’t go far enough.” (p. 72)

  137. Gnumann, quisling of the MRA nation says

    Conscious razor: You misquote me, I clarify, then you misquote me again.
    I don’t feel the need to engage you any further on this question I think.

    Have a nice day.

  138. lostintime says

    For example I don’t think meat-eating needs any ethical justification in it self

    So you think killing a non-human animal doesn’t need any ethical justification?

    No, that’s not what I said. Killing always needs an ethical justification. It’s just that under a set of circumstances, “I’m going to eat it” is good enough.

    This is hilarious, it’s like talking to a chatbot

  139. w00dview says

    @SC

    I’m curious what are your views on invasive species. This tends to be a good example of conflict between environmental and animal rights folks. Can you think of any way to control the numbers of invasive species in a humane manner? Pythons in the everglades, for example are a huge threat to biodiversity and are causing untold damage. Of course, this would not have been a problem if the exotic pets trade was better regulated and if there were fewer irresponsible pet owners but when a problems gets to that scale, I just can’t see it being solved from an animal rights perspective.

  140. says

    @SC

    This may be tangential, but I’m curious: if you’re opposed to animal-based medical research (which I assume you are based on your post, but correct me if I’m wrong), how does that affect your view/usage of modern medicine? Do you eschew animal-based products like medications and vaccines, or non-animal-based medicines that were still tested on animals? What about surgical techniques that might’ve involved animal studies? If you have pets, do you take them to a veterinarian, who would also use animal-research-based tools and techniques? Or are those things “grandfathered in” and you’d like all animal research to stop now that it can be supplanted in other ways, like computer models?

    I’m not making an argument, by the way, I’m asking because I’d like to know. The vegan perspective on medicine is pretty foreign to me.

    No, I think it’s an interesting and important question. I’m probably not the one to ask since I’m relatively new to veganism and medicines aren’t a part of my life. I don’t tolerate them well, and I don’t have health insurance, so I’m not really in a position to eschew them. And I’ve never had surgery. (I know – I’ve been ridiculously lucky so far.) So it’s never come up since I’ve been a vegan or for a long time prior to that, but it could and I assume will happen that I’ll have to make a choice about a medication or surgical technique and have the time and ability to investigate its history prior to using it, and it’s a good question in general.

    It’s also a broader question. A large amount of medical research, past and present, violates the Helsinki principles. I don’t know if you’ve Harriet Washington’s books or Sonia Shah’s The Body Hunters, but they document how black people, prisoners, poor people and other vulnerable groups have suffered in medical research. (The arguments used to justify this have often been similar and contained the same fundamental contradictions – e.g., they’re similar to “us” so we can gain knowledge about ourselves from research on them but they’re so different from us that it’s OK to use them in this way.) This continues, and we’ve seen big settlements in recent years for companies that have violated human rights and caused suffering and death in pursuit of their interests. They also continue to use people’s body parts without their meaningful consent. So any arguments about the ethics of using the products of rights-violating, harmful, or exploitative research would have to encompass this as well.

    Even more broadly, almost everything we use is the product at some point of human or animal suffering or death. It’s impossible to live in rich countries like mine (I’m sitting on land right now that was stolen from people who suffered terribly and also taken over from nonhuman animals) without using products that are. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be aware of the history and provenance of the things we use and how suffering played a part in their development, manufacture, or construction, though.

    I guess in the case of medicine or surgical techniques I don’t see using existing medicines or techniques as contributing all that meaningfully to the perpetuation of the problem; or, rather, I don’t see not using them as contributing all that meaningfully to changing it. On the other hand, I can see the arguments for doing that, and circumstances in which, say, an activist publicly rejected a drug produced in a lab she’d fought that would stop her suffering or save her life would be potentially effective. Needed medications directly made from or using animals, of which I’m discovering there are far more than I’d thought, I might reject if I had the knowledge and the choice, yes. Not sure. It’s definitely something to think about, and I would be interested to hear people’s perspectives. (I’m starting to look at some discussions.)

    (I have the same issue, come to think of it, with animal research relevant to sociology. I’ve taught about those horrible maternal separation studies on primates and other cruel research. I suppose the best way to go is to discuss the ethics of the research at the time, but maybe it’s better not to discuss this sort of research at all….)

    One thing I should note is that I don’t agree with the notion that this sort of research has on the whole advanced medicine or science, by which I mean as compared to a hypothetical science organized around human needs and participation and fundamentally committed to reducing suffering and death and respecting the moral status of human and nonhuman animals. I really do believe that a science founded on these principles would be not just more ethical but more productive of good and useful knowledge and equal access to it. We could start by getting the corporations pushed out… /dream

  141. says

    And this is why I believe veganism (or at least veganish>/i>ism) is the most fundamental building block of the animal right movement. There are a lot a of grey areas when it comes to animal research, pest control, etc, but I have yet to see one good argument for eating animal products

    Sure, other than the fact that you can’t do “organic farming”, without farm animals, which you will do what with, just raise, then let die, and bury? Because, you do know, the alternative is “artificial” fertilizers, which are generally causing massive environmental damage, in many places. Its all so black and white, for some people…

  142. says

    These are ligitimate areas where we should be focussing our attention, but animal movement it seems (especially AR activists) are more interested in fighting a zealous battle against all forms of animal use. I hope the extremists don’t prevent real prgress being made on the continuing ethical treatment of animal in research.

    Of course, the biggest of these is how the hell you get from now, to then, which is usually presented as some entirely delusional, “We don’t need it, because computers are magic, and you can use petri dishes.” Of course, in reality, the later doesn’t tell you shit about what it does in a living organism, and the former requires ***data***, to build a model, and we don’t even have enough data to model a microbe, 100% completely, never mind a human.

  143. Gnumann, quisling of the MRA nation says

    Because, you do know, the alternative is “artificial” fertilizers, which are generally causing massive environmental damage, in many places

    Is there any negative effect of artificial fertilisers applied in modest amounts? I’m in no way an expert in the field (so to speak), but I’m under the distinct impression that damage from artificial fertilisation comes from over-fertilisation as a consequence of the low cost of artificial fertilisers.

  144. ChasCPeterson says

    I haven’t written much that you’ve said about it. Do you have links?

    Sorry, having trouble parsing this.
    To be clear, I agree 100% that it’s scary bullshit that nonviolent people are being labeled terrorists and being locked up for nonviolent protest against fundamentally corporate/profit interests. I don’t know much about the extent of such bullshit, but I gather that Potter’s book is a good source of such information.
    Are you asking me for links or offering them? Links to what?

    I don’t know what that means. You think nonhuman animals should suffer and die unnecessarily for our purposes, you don’t think that suffering and those deaths are a significant moral issue, or you think all of the suffering and deaths are ethically justified across the board?

    It means none of the above, because I didn’t say anything about what I think. I simply said that “most people” do not share your precise moral/ethical convictions about animal rights.
    That’s empirical.

    It was that she’d been arrested for her actions related to researchers using animals….

    yes, I know all that. Illustrating that story with that photograph, though, was an obvious attempt to manipulate and/or appeal to the reader’s emotions to elicit sympathy for Marino.

    there are a huge number of people who see habitat destruction and animal suffering from within the same frame.

    I fail to grok this frame, unless it is simply the frame of animal suffering.
    I’m sorry, that’s mushy-headed thinking imo.

    I mean, look at Rachel Carson. She didn’t just care about environmental destruction and harm to birds from some abstract or human-centered perspective. She cared, and assumed others did, too, about suffering birds.

    That’s either an argument from authority or just another example of somebody who cared about both.

    [also, I can't resist saying tangentially, it strikes me as a dubious assertion. It's been decades since I read Silent Spring, but what I recall being emphasized were knock-on ecological effects and potential threats to human health. Actually, afaik DDT in ecologically relevant concentrations doesn't cause suffering in individual birds anyway, it interferes with successful reproduction.]

    I think an environmentalism that doesn’t consider suffering – human or nonhuman – to be central is deeply lacking.

    But this is just another way to say that you think suffering is super-important and everybody else should be more concerned about it. So was labeling ecological concerns “abstract” in implied opposition to “real” suffering.
    Legitimate goals of legitimate environmental activism need not have anything to do at all with the putative suffering of individual (non-human) animals. Wishy-washy appeals to people’s “passions” don;t change that fact.

  145. dysomniak, darwinian socialist says

    @gijoel

    @dysomniak

    Dude, honestly I was expecting a torrent of STF N00B after reading your post. True I could have read the post more closely but I hoped to reinforce and (admittedly ineptly) try to discover something new in the debate.

    Given the tone of your other comments I think you should consider a change of underwear. Because those spiderman unnderoos you got when you were seven are clearly way to small for you now.

    Huh? Seriously, what the fuck are you trying to say? I have no idea. If you have a point please state it. (I wish I could still fit in my Spiderman undies)

    If I had to guess it seems like you’re making the animal rights version of the “feminists just have their panties in a knot” argument. Was there something more substantial that I missed or are you just trolling?

    @Kagehi

    Sure, other than the fact that you can’t do “organic farming”, without farm animals, which you will do what with, just raise, then let die, and bury? Because, you do know, the alternative is “artificial” fertilizers, which are generally causing massive environmental damage, in many places. Its all so black and white, for some people…

    I know plenty of people with organic gardens who use absolutely no animal fertilizers. Compost works wonders.

    More importantly, “organic” is a stupid and arbitrary category. It isn’t “artificial” fertilizers (which typically contain the very same nutrients found in organic alternatives) that cause environmental damage it’s the short sight, profit based, industrialized monoculture farming practices that go along with them.

  146. ChasCPeterson says

    (missed a blockquote tag: “I think an environmentalism…” is, of course, SC’s.)

  147. says

    @SC

    I’m curious what are your views on invasive species. This tends to be a good example of conflict between environmental and animal rights folks. Can you think of any way to control the numbers of invasive species in a humane manner? Pythons in the everglades, for example are a huge threat to biodiversity and are causing untold damage. Of course, this would not have been a problem if the exotic pets trade was better regulated and if there were fewer irresponsible pet owners but when a problems gets to that scale, I just can’t see it being solved from an animal rights perspective.

    Sigh. I’m not getting out of this discussion yet. :)

    I honestly don’t think I know enough to write knowledgeably about that specific case or the issue in general. I’m not sure if thinking such cases don’t necessarily have to pit those commitments against one another is naïve. Might be.

    I will say that I have read about some cases in which people insisted that only the most brutal methods of culling or depopulating a species would be effective, only to read later that others were working on alternative, humane solutions and that these were receiving no support. I’ve also seen “control” advocates who had financial interests in certain approaches or altogether too much joy in implementing them (by no means all, but some), and it leads me to be suspicious when some proposed solutions are advocated as the only effective means of addressing the problem.

    It is true, also, that the exotic pet trade is an important issue for the animal rights movement, so they are working on the problem at that level as well.

    I don’t know if cases like this, if they really do represent a fundamental conflict, and they might (though it seems possible that this is because people are only looking at a narrow range of approaches), suggest anything about a larger necessary conflict between the two movements.

    But again, it’s not a subject I know enough about to provide anything but impressions.

    OK, I’m going to try to take a break to get some other things done. Sorry or you’re welcome or whatever. I did appreciate this discussion.

  148. says

    Is there any negative effect of artificial fertilisers applied in modest amounts?

    That is a sort of “unknown”. The problem is, they often get used in areas where the top soil isn’t going to stay anyway, so it doesn’t matter how much does get used, its going to end up where it shouldn’t. Other issues arise as well, not the least being, “How do you keep some idiot from using too much, in any practical sense?” Its also a case where small farms find it simply more cost effective to have the animals, than to buy the artificial alternatives, since the animals also graze on things they don’t want there, or kill bugs, etc., which means a reduction in “other” things, like plant specific defoliants, which can get into places they shouldn’t, and which you can’t exactly “reduce” the use of quite so effectively, or pesticides, which has the same problem.

    Its a complicated thing to deal with, and while most people will agree that lines have been crossed, for a long time now, the, “Just stop, now!”, strategy is right up there with, “Lets introduce X species into the environment to do Y, and ignore the fact that 40 species will die out, and there will be 10 billion of the invasive things 50 years from now.” What I want to see is reasonable answers. The problem is, there is nothing reasonable about some of the AR movement, and some of their positions are predicated on pure ignorance of reality, and an assumption that isn’t much less absurd than watching a 1930s movie, in which someone advocates for every meal being delivered in “pill form”, and going to your job with a jet pack.

  149. ChasCPeterson says

    Is there any negative effect of artificial fertilisers applied in modest amounts?

    Not direct effects, but they are derived from natural gas via an energy-intensive process.

  150. says

    It is true, also, that the exotic pet trade is an important issue for the animal rights movement, so they are working on the problem at that level as well.

    And, then, of course, there are the ones that think “pets” are an important enough issue for the movement that whole categories of them would be better off dead, than be pets at all.

    The “exotic” issue isn’t exactly “key” anyway, there is a reason why, in many places, its now a “requirement” that pets be spayed or neutered, *unless* you are breeding them, with a license. Has something to do with that, if they go stray, they tend to “become” one of those invasive species, regardless of how exotic they happen to be.

  151. says

    I know plenty of people with organic gardens who use absolutely no animal fertilizers. Compost works wonders.

    Depending one what you are growing, yeah. And, I agree with the mono-culture thing. But, not so much that compost is an all in one solution. It certainly doesn’t seem to be for some small farmers.

  152. dysomniak, darwinian socialist says

    But, not so much that compost is an all in one solution.

    I didn’t say it was. But think about all the organic material that goes to waste in landfills. What if we had municipal compost collection alongside the trash and recycling? What if we switched to composting toilets? That could certainly go a long way toward reducing reliance on artificial or animal-derived nutrients.

  153. says

    farm animals, which you will do what with, just raise, then let die, and bury?

    What a shocking thought. Oh, wait, that’s what we do with other people and the nonhuman animals we consider pets.

  154. lostintime says

    What I want to see is reasonable answers. The problem is, there is nothing reasonable about some of the AR movement, and some of their positions are predicated on pure ignorance of reality…

    While that’s certainly true for some of the animal movement, the subject of veganic agriculture/permaculture is a burgeoning area of study and it’s far from obvious that animal husbandry is essential for sustainable farming. The proponents of symbiotic animal husbandry are often just as credulous in their claims and are often guilty of simplifying the issues at hand. Polyface farm for example (often cited as the paragon of sustainability) requires inputs in the form of chicken feed, so I think more evidence is required from all sides of the debate.

  155. RahXephon, Waahmbulance Driver for St. Entitlement's Hospital says

    What a shocking thought. Oh, wait, that’s what we do with other people and the nonhuman animals we consider pets.

    I think the question of what we would do with livestock animals if those industries were shut down isn’t a flippant question. If we shut down the beef/dairy industry, for instance, you’d be asking those farmers to pay massive amounts of money for food and care for animals they’re no longer making a return on, and you’re asking them to do that concurrent with their businesses being shut down. How would you deal with that? Massive government subsidies?

    And that’s just the animals alive right now. What about population control? Without regular cullings for meat, cattle would continue to reproduce, and the farmers would have to keep feeding them. Would we start “spay and neuter your cows” campaigns like Bob Barker?*

    *BTW, I ask this as a newly-minted vegetarian. I no longer have a stake in meat industries other than my (occasional) use of dairy. It sounds great to “end the suffering” but the logistics of such a thing are non-trivial.

  156. dysomniak, darwinian socialist says

    @RahXephon That’s assuming it were possible to end animal exploitation overnight. It isn’t, which is why the “what do we do with the stock we have” argument is nonsensical. As more people choose to stop using animal products (congrats on going veg!) the demand decreases. When the demand decreases farmers breed less animals in the first place. The idea that without meat eaters we’d be overrun by cows is just silly.

  157. lostintime says

    *BTW, I ask this as a newly-minted vegetarian. I no longer have a stake in meat industries other than my (occasional) use of dairy

    Shouldn’t that be, I no longer have a steak in meat industries…

    *crickets*

  158. RahXephon, Waahmbulance Driver for St. Entitlement's Hospital says

    As more people choose to stop using animal products (congrats on going veg!)

    Thanks…I guess? Would it cheapen that victory for you if I tell you I didn’t do it for moral or ethical reasons?

    I suppose those are just coincidental benefits.

    the demand decreases. When the demand decreases farmers breed less animals in the first place.

    Thanks for the crash course in capitalism. However, the kind of change you’re talking about isn’t switching laundry detergents, it’s removing a central portion of the human diet, which requires educating people about reasons to stop eating it, showing them alternatives, and teaching them what to cook (or even making sure they know how to in the first place). That would also require a large and strong push to accomplish, and it will still probably take a generation or two.

    The idea that without meat eaters we’d be overrun by cows is just silly.

    *takes out wand* Incendio Strawmanium!

  159. dysomniak, darwinian socialist says

    That would also require a large and strong push to accomplish, and it will still probably take a generation or two.

    Yeah, that’s what I was saying.

  160. RahXephon, Waahmbulance Driver for St. Entitlement's Hospital says

    Yeah, that’s what I was saying.

    By large and strong push, I mean a global concerted effort, not PETA throwing paint on Gloria Vanderbilt’s fur coats and making vegan-friendly porn.

  161. dysomniak, darwinian socialist says

    Just because the only animal activism you see is PETAs stunts on TV doesn’t mean that’s all there is. I explained why “what do we do with the animals” is a non argument and now you’re just criticizing tactics. What exactly is your point?