Medicine Politics Pseudoscience Science Skepticism/critical thinking Surgery

Animal rights terrorism advocate Dr. Jerry Vlasak: Murder of animal researchers is “morally acceptable”


I may have joked a bit about certain surgeons whom, because they say such dumb, pseudoscientific things with alarming regularity, I consider embarrassments to the noble profession that is surgery. Usually, it’s been surgeons who reveal an astonishing ignorance of the science of evolution as they parrot long discredited and debunked canards about evolution while spouting creationist nonsense. You know about whom I speak: surgeons like neurosurgeon Dr. Michael Egnor and general surgeon Dr. Henry Jordan. But, as mind-numbingly dumb as some of the things that, for example, Dr. Egnor has said in the name of defending “intelligent design” creationism have been, at least he hasn’t advocated murder.

Animal rights terrorism apologist Dr. Jerry Vlasak, a trauma surgeon in the L.A. area, has before on multiple occasions, and he’s done it again:

At the “Confronting Animal Cruelty” conference in the Salt Lake City Library, 2NEWS Brian Mullahy got a chance to speak with Dr. Vlasak about the measures that activists should take.

Mullahy: Is murder on the table as an option?

Vlasak: Whatever it takes to stop someone from abusing animals is certainly morally acceptable.

Vlasak also said:

“Nothing is more violent and radical than what’s being done to non-human animals in our society,” said Vlasak. “If a researcher won’t stop abusing animals and is stopped physically, whether with the use of force, or is killed, I certainly wouldn’t lose sleep over that idea.”

(There’s also video of the interview with this nutcase at the same link.)

If any surgeon is an embarrassment to the profession, it’s Dr. Vlasak. The above statement is entirely consistent with Dr. Vlasak’s other greatest hits. He’s even said similar things on television and testifying in front of Congress.

Of course, Vlasak talks a big game about murdering animal rights researchers, but when it comes right down to it he won’t get down and dirty with other animal rights terrorists and actually do the dirty work that he advocates. Oh, no, he’s too good and pure for such thuggery. What he does do, however, is to give inflammatory talks full of such apocalyptic imagery and thereby inspire young and impressionable activists with a lot of zealotry but not much in the way of rational thought to do what he advocates. Meanwhile, he stays safe behind a wall of plausible deniability as the “spokesperson” for the Animal Liberation Front, piously being a holy warrior for his cause, as Brian O’Connor pointed out over similar rhetoric by Vlasak a few years ago:

Now, keep in mind that the good Dr. didn’t actually call for the killing of scientists … he just planted an idea, proposed an hypothesis … Should some anonymous useful idiot, entirely unknown to him, test Dr. Vlasak’s hypothesis and cap a few scientists, it certainly wouldn’t be Dr. Vlasak’s fault! And should such a thing happen, I’m sure Dr. Vlasak would be amongst the first to proclaim strongly that he didn’t condone the action, however much he might understand the motives that led to it, and value any chilling effect the killings might have on the activities of scientists.


Rational people may think that Dr. Vlasak is being intentionally over-the-top just for effect or to make a point. That’s mainly because they’re rational people and can’t wrap their minds around openly advocating the murder of scientists or other statements by Dr. Vlasak, such as his statement that “five lives, ten lives, fifteen human lives, we could save a million, two million, ten million non-human lives.” Dr. Vlasak isn’t rational on this score, which is why good and rational people recoil and conclude that he’s exaggerating. After all, he can’t really be serious, can he? they ask. What they forget is that Dr. Vlasak is a fanatic. Personally, I really do believe that Dr. Vlasak means exactly what he says. Once again, though, I emphasize that he himself won’t do any murder, though; he’s way too important to do anything other than give speeches and act as a spokesperson for the Animal Liberation Front. It just wouldn’t do for him to risk going to jail. Let some expendable dull-witted cannon fodder do it instead! Dr. Vlasak will then praise him as a martyr while decrying the “horrors” that drove him to it.

If there’s one damning thing about animal rights groups who claim to be nonviolent, who claim to be shocked–shocked, I say!–over incidents of vandalism, attempted firebombing, and home invasions of scientists’ homes, and who piously claim that they abhor such activities, that shows all such self-righteously deceptive nonsense to be, in fact, nothing more than self-serving nonsense, it’s that they keep inviting Dr. Jerry Vlasak agains and again to give talks and be on discussion panels at their meetings. That’s what they’ve done at the Confronting Animal Cruelty conference in Salt Lake City while, as animal rights groups have done time and time again, claiming with a straight face that they “don’t endorse the opinion of Dr. Vlasak.” Why, then, do they not only invite Dr. Vlasak, but go further than that and whitewash his record? Here is, for instance, the description of Dr. Vlasak for the SLC conference:

Jerry Vlasak, MD is a board-certified surgeon specializing in trauma and critical care. He is a former vivisector who has seen the agony of animals in laboratories. He debates the scientific invalidity of animal experimentation around the world, speaks out about the benefits of a vegan diet and offers lectures on the right of all sentient beings to live free of pain and suffering. His essays and interviews have been published in numerous journals and magazines and he has been interviewed on radio, TV and in print by journalists worldwide regarding animal rights. He resides in Los Angeles.

Nope. Nothing there about Vlasak’s ties with animal rights terrorists or his open advocacy of murder and violence in the name of the cause. They even invited him for a panel discussion on tactics, a “Direct Action Debate,” if you will:

This controversial panel will discuss the strategic and moral implications of breaking the law to achieve social change. Given the sheer numbers of animals abused every year; what price animal liberation? Civil disobedience? Vandalism? Arson? Political violence? The people represented on this panel have extremely differing views on the subject and a lively debate is likely to ensue.

No doubt. That’s about as close the group comes to admitting that Vlasak is about as extreme as it gets, short of actually doing the murder himself. I wonder if anyone on the panel told Vlasak he was a thug and a fanatic for advocating murder. Somehow I doubt it, although I would have loved to have seen it. No, supposedly “respectable” animal rights movement groups and members find Vlasak useful, and I’m guessing that a significant minority agree with him.

Of course, animal rights groups wonder why they aren’t taken seriously when they proclaim that they do not support violence in the name of their cause. Their continued silence about Dr. Vlasak and, even worse, their continuing to invite him to speak at various conferences that they hold, is but one glaring reason why I don’t believe them when they claim that they disavow violence.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

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