Chides Boatner
E.B. Boatner’s editorial “Closer than a Brother” [Lavender, August 15] states that animal activists claim they have the right to kill researchers and their families. I don’t know where Boatner got his information, but inaccurate generalizations like this do a disservice to your readers and to legitimate animal rights organizations.

The Animal Rights Coalition (ARC), your friendly local animal rights group right here in the Twin Cities, has been advocating for animals in Minnesota for over two decades. We have a published policy on nonviolence which states, “ARC dedicates itself to a violence-free society for all animals, both human and nonhuman….We seek to eliminate violence and suffering in the world, not to contribute to it.”

So please, Mr. Boatner, try to refrain from painting large groups of people with a broad brush. Just as the GLBT community has many types of activists and many forms of activism, so, too, does any other social justice movement.

ARC has had a booth at the Pride Festival for many years, and I’d hate for people to think they have to don flak jackets before picking up one of our popular “Vegetarians Taste Better” buttons, or stopping by to get some water for their overly hot and tired dogs.

Heidi A. Greger
ARC Board Member

Boatner Responds

One of the difficulties in examining an issue in only 450 words is that if you omit a single word, you have, as Greger justly points out, tarred a large group of people with a single brush. In this case, the word should have been “extremists.” I would amend that sentence to read: “animal activist extremists.”

I have nothing but praise for the individuals and groups working tirelessly to see that animals are treated humanely (the very point of this column is that all creatures deserve ethical treatment).

There are, however, groups/individuals whose extremist position on animal rights has led to threats and actual violence against researchers, their family members, and their property, which goes beyond what I feel is the right of every life to be held sacred.
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