They are bomb-throwing Birkenstock brats. Wolves in hemp clothing. Enemies of scientific progress. Inveterate haters of humanity.
They are environmental extremists and animal rights zealots. They are running loose. And they are endangering us all.
The national press, which has put a happy green face on the environmental movement for three decades, has largely ignored a recent rising tide of violence being waged by eco-nuts across the country -- and around the world. In August, someone planted explosives at biotechnology giant Chiron Corp. in Emeryville, Calif. Less than a month later, cosmetics manufacturer Shaklee Corp. in Pleasanton was hit. Both targets have ties to Huntingdon Life Sciences, a research lab that conducts animal tests for pharmaceutical, agrochemical and biotechnology products. Huntingdon has for years been the victim of a sustained campaign of intimidation, harassment and violence by anti-science thugs.
No one was hurt in the northern California attacks, but the bomb blasts struck terror in researchers at both companies who have dedicated their careers to improving their fellow citizens' quality of life.
The chief suspect in the bombings is Daniel Andreas San Diego. The feds, who have issued an all-points bulletin listing him as armed and dangerous, say he has gone underground -- most likely with the help of a loose-knit network of radical animal-rights activists. The San Francisco Chronicle described San Diego as a "clean-cut, soft-spoken 25-year-old Sonoma County man, who was trying to invent a vegan marshmallow."
"Vegan marshmallows." What an apt metaphor for domestic terrorists who take cover under the guise of "mainstream" environmental activism with its mushy and harmless facade. PETA, the pet charity of famous vegans such as Alicia Silverstone and Paul McCartney, may seem as pale and innocuous as a marshmallow. But it doesn't just dole out money for celebrity anti-meat ads. The group has provided financial support for the Earth Liberation Front, which along with its sister organization, the Animal Liberation Front, is responsible for committing more than 600 criminal acts between 1996 and 2002, according to the FBI. In Washington, mainstream green lobbyists are silent about anti-biotech mayhem that has resulted in the destruction of experimental crops in the Pacific Northwest, Louisiana, France and India.
What's at stake? While aspiring terrorists with tofu breath build nail bombs and play with matches, the best and brightest scientists around the world are forging miraculous breakthroughs that will benefit all mankind -- and especially the poor in underdeveloped nations that the leftists and Luddites claim to care about so much.
Science journalist Michael Fumento comprehensively documents such stunning developments in his eye-opening new book, "Bioevolution: How Biotechnology Is Changing Our World." It's an invaluable antidote to the irrational hysteria of eco-terrorists. Fumento reports on how agricultural biotech researchers are refining methods of pumping up protein levels in corn, boosting vitamin levels in a wide variety of crops, making crops resistant to the cold, and finding ways to accelerate the growth of cotton, potatoes and tomatoes. They've developed a process called "gene silencing" to fight bacterial diseases that can devastate fruit and nut harvests and have even come up with a potato plant that glows green when it's thirsty.
The same technology that is producing miracle crops is producing miracle medicines to improve human health and longevity. Biotech is also being used to tackle toxic waste, reduce lead contamination and clean up sewage systems. But in the minds of the technophobes, the only politically correct way to cure disease is to wear red-string bracelets, eat organically grown ginger and pray to Gaia. The only environmentally acceptable way to improve the earth is to compost banana peels and recycle soy milk cartons. And the only morally tolerable way to use modern technology -- e.g., the Internet -- is to use it to preach violence and destroy the progress of others.
With each new scientific breakthrough, the anti-biotech militants have grown more desperate and reckless. "Ultimately," Fumento writes, "only two things can defeat such negativism. One is education; the other is the products themselves." There is a third force: the voices of biotech's myriad beneficiaries, from the cancer patients whose lives have been saved by Gleevec to the Third World consumers of golden rice. It's time to verbally roast the vegan marshmallows and let biotech move forward without fear.