In May, when we first broke the news that long-time Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) spokesman Dr. Jerry Vlasak openly endorsed murdering other doctors at an animal-rights convention, we expected some skeptics to give Vlasak the benefit of the doubt. Not any more. Yesterday a stunning piece of audio surfaced on two Internet blogs (click here and here). Click here to listen to Jerry Vlasak at the "Animal Rights 2003" convention as a PCRM representative. (Note: a transcript of Vlasak’s comments as posted by blogger Brian O’Connor can be found below.)
We forgave Doubting Thomases for wondering if our notes were accurate, or if we were perhaps making the whole thing up, even after U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) closed a Judiciary Committee hearing by reading, out loud, a letter from the Center for Consumer Freedom quoting Vlasak’s homicidal sentiment. Or after the UK’s Home Secretary barred Vlasak from entering Great Britain in August Or even after his friends at PCRM began to distance themselves from him. After all, Vlasak himself insisted in Britain’s Guardian newspaper that he had been quoted out of context, calling the story "total rubbish."
Vlasak, a full-time animal rights militant — who unbelievably still has "privileges" to practice medicine at San Bernardino County Medical Center and Riverside Community Hospital — still clings to the illusion that he’s a modern-day Nelson Mandela. It would seem he forgot his promise to do no harm when he took the Hippocratic oath. If any doubt remains that Vlasak — and everything he represents — are "bad medicine," consider his latest media appearance. On Tuesday, Vlasak was featured on an Australian public-television program, defending the militant wing of his movement:
HOST: "You’ve been quoted as saying, ‘I think, five lives, 10 lives, 15 human lives would save 1 million, 2 million, 10 million non-human lives.’ And you’ve also said that violence is a morally acceptable tactic, and that it might be useful in the struggle for animal liberation. Do you stand by all that?"
JERRY VLASAK: "I do stand by all that."
Pressed for more specifics, Vlasak laid it on the line: "Would I advocate taking five guilty vivisector’s lives to save hundreds of millions of innocent animal lives? Yes, I would." (Click here to watch the program; this stunning statement appears at time index 4:55.) Taken together, these two recordings provide perhaps the single best example of the animal rights movement’s transition from "compassionate" to downright dangerous. Given Vlasak’s long-standing relationship with PCRM — and that group’s many clear connections with its financial godparent, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals — a frightening picture is emerging of a social movement run amok.
At this year’s "Animal Rights 2004" convention, Vlasak coolly predicted: "It won’t ruin our movement if someone gets killed in an animal rights action. It’s going to happen sooner or later." (Click here to watch the video.) We’re hoping he’s wrong, but the evidence is mounting that movement leaders like Vlasak are working hard to fulfill this terrifying prophecy. Brian O’Connor’s Partial Transcript of Vlasak’s Comments:
Vlasak: "I think there is a use for violence in our movement. And I think it can be an effective strategy. Not only is it morally acceptable, I think that there are places where it could be used quite effectively from a pragmatic standpoint.
"For instance, if vivisectors were routinely being killed, I think it would give other vivisectors pause in what they were doing in their work – and if these vivisectors were being targeted for assassination, and call it political assassination or what have you, I think if – and I wouldn’t pick some guy way down the totem pole, but if there were prominent vivisectors being assassinated, I think that there would be a trickle-down effect and many, many people who are lower on that totem pole would say, ‘I’m not going to get into this business because it’s a very dangerous business and there’s other things I can do with my life that don’t involve getting into a dangerous business.’ And I think that the – strictly from a fear and intimidation factor, that would be an effective tactic.
"And I don’t think you’d have to kill – assassinate – too many vivisectors before you would see a marked decrease in the amount of vivisection going on. And I think for 5 lives, 10 lives, 15 human lives, we could save a million, 2 million, 10 million non-human lives.
"And I — you know – people get all excited about, ‘Oh what’s going to happen when – the ALF accedentally kills soomebody in an arson?’ Well, I mean — I think we need to get used to this idea. It’s going to happen, okay? It’s going to happen."
Unknown female speaker: "That’s just like the pro-life movement killing abortion doctors."
Vlasak: "Absolutely. I think they had a great strategy going."