Animal rights activists are joining up with anti-genetic improvement activists for a series of protests in Toronto, for the first time formally linking two anti-consumer movements that have sometimes resorted to violence to promote their political goals.



Animal rights fanatics have burned down restaurants, set fire to meat production facilities, beaten medical testing employees with baseball bats, and more. Anti-biotech zealots have also destroyed restaurants — and have chopped down fields of crops and set fire to genetic improvement research facilities.



Now, the two movements have joined forces for bioJUSTICE 2002 demonstrations set for June 7-9, with the anti-biotech Luddites spouting tired rhetoric about “Frankenfoods,” and the animal rights crowd claiming biotech turns animals into “pharmaceutical machines.” Both groups say working together will lift their anti-technology cause beyond a “‘fringe’ issue” and force industry to give in to their demands.



In so doing, they may be condemning many to suffer. The director of the World Health Organization has said biotech products can save countless lives. And according to Cox News Service, researchers gathered in Minnesota last week are seeking vaccines for rabies, cholera, and other diseases from everyday foods. Remedies for gastrointestinal ailments and hepatitis B are already being tested in biotech corn and tomatoes.



Says Charles Arntzen, director of the Arizona Biomedical Institute: “We believe there is a huge future for plant-based vaccines.” There are many benefits, and no drawbacks. The U.S. General Accounting Office concluded last week that genetically improved foods “pose no greater health risk than conventional foods,” Reuters reports.



Groups like the Center for Food Safety have built themselves by trashing genetic improvement technology, receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars from the fringe Foundation for Deep Ecology. That organization is among those promoting the new and dubious notion that animals and humans should have the same rights, and argues for giving equal moral weight to all elements of nature, from the living to the inanimate — which leaves a lot of room for animal rights extremists to enter the fray.



The alliance between anti-biotech and “anti-human” activists represents a new threat to consumer freedom. PETA brings a “tenacious approach and slick, media-savvy tactics” to each of its campaigns, Ethical Corporation magazine writes. “If getting what you want defines a successful campaign,” PETA works.



[Click to find out more about anti-genetic improvement activists and animal rights activists.]