Vivisector Visits: Making An Impact
from No Compromise Issue 5

Vivisection has always been one of the hardest issues to campaign against. Most vivisection is government funded so people can't "boycott" it unless they are willing to risk arrest for tax evasion. The public have been misled by the slick, glossy propaganda of our opponents that says animal research works; and many institutions that partake in vivisection can easily ignore public outcry because they continue to get white coat welfare from Capitol Hill. And to them, as long as the money rolls in, who cares what the people think? However, vivisection is far from invincible and we must find its weak spots and attack.

Vivisection protests often consist of pickets outside of a monolithic brick and concrete building that looks as strong as Fort Knox. During these protests, the sadists of science sit smugly in the building, protected by their fortress. They can easily ignore the protest and continue their butchery, although sometimes they will come to the windows to joke with their colleagues about us.

Now, the protest might help educate some people if it gets media coverage, and it certainly is better than doing nothing, but by and large, you have to ask yourself, what can we do to be more effective?

One possible answer is "micro-targeting". Instead of targeting the "institution", you reduce your focus to the smallest possible component. In this case, that would mean an individual vivisector.

Let's face it, the animals never get a break, so why should those people who imprison, mutilate, and murder animals get one? We need to stop protesting outside of the torture labs, and start protesting the vivisectors homes! They need to be held personally accountable for their barbarity.

Print up literature specific to the vivisector you target. Be sure to include their home and work address, phone and fax number on it. Distribute this literature to their neighbors. Hold vigils and protests outside of their home. Get photographs of the vivisector to use on any literature, posters, or t-shirts you make up. Circulate the posters and literature everywhere.

If you do this, you can bet that the vivisectors will now sit up and take notice. And these protests won't just impact the targeted vivisector, but all of them and the institution as well. Because once one vivisector is intensely targeted, the other vivisectors start wondering if they will be next, and they clamor to the higher-ups to "do something about those protesters!" The institution then needs to take measures to ease their researchers concerns. This typically includes increasing security, which ups their costs. However, increasing security at work does nothing to allay the paranoid fears of the vivisectors because they are being targeted at their homes! So the vivisection institution needs to protect their homes or risk alienating their workers.

All of this has happened at the University of Minnesota, where concerned citizens have protested the home of Marilyn Carroll -- a researcher who starves primates to 85% of their body weight and addicts them to cocaine, PCP and other drugs using food rewards. One day after the home protest the Institutional Officer for the Animal Care and Use Program e-mailed a message to the deans, faculty, directors, department heads, chancellors and the President of the University warning them about "animal rights activity" (see "University E-mail") Later an e-mail was sent explaining their increased security measures (see "E-mail Update: Security Measures Taken"). Obviously, these vivisector visits have made an impact!

And because vivisectors like to play victim, they often exaggerate or make up ludicrous claims about what protesters have done. On e-mails posted on vivisection list-servers, it has been claimed that activists "egged" her home (presumably with egg-replacer), threatened to burn down her house, and -- I kid you not -- kill her dog! Despite the fact that these allegations are untrue, they have been circulated far and wide both inside and outside of the University. These rumors inevitably filter down to the up-and-coming medical students, influencing them to steer clear of becoming a vivisector, instead opting to join a less controversial field.

Micro-targeting individual vivisectors at their home and work is one of the most effective ways to combat vivisection. It takes little effort, but it affects the vivisector, their institution, and discourages potential vivisectors. I hope all activists add this tactic to their arsenal so that one day the labs will be emptied!

Vivisector Profile

Vivisector: Marilyn Carroll Santi
Victims: Rhesus monkeys and rats used in drug addiction experiments
Cost to Taxpayers: Over $4 million
Address: 621 Park Ave, Mahtomedi, MN 55115
Home Phone: (612) 426-4603
Office Phone: (612) 626-6289 or (612) 624-8935
Fax: (612) 624-8935
Employer: Nils Hasselmo, President's Office, University of Minnesota 202 Morrill Hall, Church St., Minneapolis, MN 55455. ph: (612) 626-1616