The Effectiveness Of Direct Action in Reducing Public Support for Animal Research

Recent polls show public becoming further disinclined to support the use of animals in medical research.

A recent poll cited by the Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR) shows that public attitudes towards the use of animals in medical research are changing, and not the way they had hoped.  From the mid 1990s through 2008 the level of support among the public has fallen from 70 percent to 54 percent. The FBR, which was founded in 1981, and has been tracking public attitudes toward animal medical research ever since, referred to this recent finding as “a surprisingly concerning drop in public support.”

As a front group for pharmaceutical companies and others who profit from animal experimentation, FBR is worried enough to have recently spent more than $150,000 on misleading billboards around the country to advocate for animal abuse in vivisection. Ignoring the lack of scientific validity of animal testing, the billboards instead show a cute human child and appeal to the emotion of the viewer, threatening debilitating disease for the child if the mouse depicted alongside her is not killed.

In adjacent sentences in a recent ABC News report, these changes in public attitudes and perception appear to be in no small measure attributable to the stepped up activities of the Animal Liberation Front,  the Animal Liberation Brigade and other clandestine animal advocacy groups.  The utilization of more stringent means against vivisectors, including the liberation of animals and the infliction of economic sabotage to decrease the profitability of animal abuse, are evidently at least partially responsible for the change in public attitudes, as the resulting publicity of these clandestine raids increases awareness of medical funding wasted on cruel and useless animal experimentation.

The employment of direct actions, strategies and tactics by these organizations during the period from 2006 through 2008 have left their mark, not only on the animal research establishment but on the public as well. The poll results should leave no doubt as to the effectiveness of targeted activities and message reinforcement.

[ The North American Animal Liberation Press Office was founded to communicate the actions, strategies, and philosophy of the animal liberation movement to the media and the public. Many of these actions are illegal under a current societal structure that fails to recognize the rights of non-human animals to live free of suffering, but validates and promotes the “right” of industries to do whatever they want to animals for profit or research. Within these conditions, those in the underground working for animal liberation often cannot speak out directly. Nevertheless, their actions and message is urgent and deserve to be heard and understood. Since animal liberation actions either go unreported in the media or are uncritically vilified as “violent” and “terrorist” with no attention paid to the suffering that industries and individuals gratuitously inflict on animals, NAALPO seeks to clarify the motivation and nature of actions taken in defense of animals.]