Animal Rights Extremists’ Soft Targets

By Matthew Harwood

Janine Sikes, UF’s director of public relations, says the university is preparing a communications package for students to inform them of NIO’s activities and what they should do if NIO contacts them. Already the university has notified UF personnel to be aware of their surroundings, report suspicious activity, and contact their supervisor if they receive any communications from animal rights activists.

Beckman tells Security Management that NYU will do everything in its power to protect its students, but it will not discuss specific measures.

Jentsch says universities have a moral responsibility to warn their students about NIO and other militant activists.


Students against extremism

Extremist groups like NIO may want to think that students are the "soft underbelly" of animal research, they may be in for a rude shock.

Already, in response to the targeting by NIO of a cleaner (initally misrepresented by NIO as a student) at a University of Florida affiliated research institute, the UF student newspaper published a very strong editorial against intimidation od students and scientists by animal rights extremists

It is clear that any UF student who does find themselves being harassed by AR activists will find no lack of support from their fellow students, indeed the evidence so far suggests that students are unwilling to send the extremists information on other students in response to "wanted posters".

There is already a very good example of how effective students can be when they unite in the face of extremism. In 2006 students at Oxford University held a rally against animal rights extremism after threats from the Animal Liberation Front, that sent a very strong message that they would not be intimidated and would not allow the extremists to succeed

This anti-extremist - and pro-animal research - campaign, and the support it gained in the news media and from politicians,  undoubtedly contributed to the sharp decline in animal rights extremist attacks in the UK since 2005.



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