Larry Katz, Ph.D.
Chairman, Department of Animal Sciences, Rutgers University
Dr. Larry S. Katz is an accomplished scientist and published author. He studies the sexual and reproductive behavior of domesticated ruminants and certain species in the wild. He has worked extensively with state wildlife agencies on strategies for managing wildlife populations through understanding their reproductive systems. Dr. Katz received his undergraduate degree from Cornell University and earned his Ph.D. in Animal Behavior from the University of California at Davis. He sits on the board of directors of the Foundation for Animal Use and Education. He is an outspoken advocate for biomedical research in print and broadcast outlets across the US, and his effectiveness in these appearances has made him a frequent target of animal rights harassment.
Part II of the Society’s Two Part Series on the Animal Rights Movement
Animal rights extremists are engaged in a multi-pronged campaign to end all use of animals regardless of how humane the use or how much potential benefit that use has to people or animals. They disseminate propaganda to the general public and schools, use the legal system to gain court precedents and regulation favoring their cause, and engage in civil disobedience and other activities that fit the definition of terrorism. Their terrorist acts include violent protest, break-ins, vandalism, theft and intimidation.
Two examples are activists Rodney Coronado and Jerry Vlasak. Under the auspices of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Coronado taught college students how to make Molotov cocktails. He was later convicted of burning down an animal research lab. Jerry Vlasak, is on record as advocating use of any type of violence against scientists whose work involves the killing of animals. High-profile personalities such as Jerry Greenwalt of the Los Angeles Department of Animal Services and hunting advocate Ted Nugent have been threatened with physical harm and death of their loved ones by animal rights extremists such as these.
Extreme acts of terror are often strategic in nature. They are designed to change the beliefs of moderates in society and produce a better bargaining position for the activist position. Among the organizations listed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as domestic terror threats are the Animal Liberation Front, Earth Liberation Front and Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty. These and other groups are responsible for more than $110 million in damages and more than 1,100 criminal acts to date. There has been a rapid rise in such acts since 2003, with vandalism, theft, and bombings leading the list of offenses.
It is critical that farmers and others in animal agriculture not under-estimate the efforts of these extremist groups. If they succeed in swaying public opinion to their favor, they will ultimately compromise our ability to conduct research and they will hurt farmers and the communities in which they live by inhibiting their ability to practice modern, efficient animal agriculture. Advocates of modern agriculture and science must define the terms of this debate or lose it. As Abraham Lincoln once said, “Public opinion may not always be right, but it always prevails.”
In an effort to provide wide-ranging views and perspectives regarding the practice of and issues surrounding agriculture, the Philadelphia Society for Promoting Agriculture (PSPA) seeks speakers representing a variety of perspectives. The statements and opinions they present are strictly their own and do not necessarily represent the views of PSPA.