A recent editorial on Dissident Voice juxtaposes the fear animal researchers feel when confronted by protesters with the pain and terror animals experience in lab experiments.


Interestingly, the article was authored by Dan Kapelovitz, president of the Animal Law Society at the UCLA School of Law; Jill Ryther, communications director of the Animal Law Society at the UCLA School of Law; and Jaime Bryant, professor of law and faculty adviser to the Animal Law Society at the UCLA School of Law.


UCLA not only engages in vivisection, but it was quite vocal in its support of California’s Assembly Bill 2296, which Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law last month. The law, which takes effect immediately, provides new penalties for those who target the homes and families of academic researchers, in particular those who use animals in their research. It makes it a misdemeanor to trespass on the home property of an academic researcher “for the purpose of chilling, preventing the exercise of, or interfering with the researcher’s academic freedom,” and it establishes a new misdemeanor offense for anyone who publishes personal information about a researcher, or his or her family, in order to encourage others to commit violent acts or threaten violence against them.


UCLA Chancellor Gene Block, himself a former animal researcher, certainly must have bristled at the article by Kapelovitz, Ryther and Bryant, who write: “Every day at places like UCLA, animals are subjected to excruciating, unrelieved pain as involuntary subjects in research experiments that have not been described or justified to the public. Researchers and the heads of experiments hide behind unsupported general claims that such research is necessary and productive for human health, but they offer no information by which the public can assess their claims as to specific experiments.”


The authors end the piece by noting that “laws like this ― whose focus is the speech of protestors ― may actually increase violent acts against researchers rather than diminish them. When lawful speech is stifled by expansive use of such laws to intimidate protestors, activists concerned about imminent and ongoing violence against animals may feel the need to resort to methods other than speech to have their voices heard.”


That seems to be precisely what is happening.