Vancouver Animal Rights Campaigns (VARK)

Activists Uniting For The Benefit of Animals

As predicted UBC claims threats to deflect attention from real issue

As predicted, UBC now claims threats have been made to UBC researchers (see article below). This is standard operating procedure used by research facilities to deflect attention away from the real issue – the systematic experimentation on animals.

The university’s claims in the article below, and a recent internal email, clearly show UBC is worried about our efforts. After all, we have managed to generate dozens of media stories about UBC’s animal research in a just a couple of months. We are a highly effective, well organized campaign for which UBC seems utterly unprepared. They simply are not used to being scrutinized so heavily. It is no surprise, then, that UBC is playing the fear card. As you know, our efforts have been professional, open, and entirely legal.

Please know that my quotes in the article below were made to clarify that our campaign does not participate in covert activities. I have no position on actions taken by other organizations or movements. I do, however, strongly condemn any threats of physical violence toward an individual and believe our campaign must quickly denounce any threats to a person if such threats are made. Our mission statement is clear: we employ peaceful, compassionate, and legal approaches.

IMPORTANT: Email is not secure so do not respond with any comments that could in any way be misconstrued. Again, I emphasize our organization employs peaceful, compassionate, and legal approaches.


Researchers become increasingly concerned over animal activists

VP Research claims one scientist has been threatened in her home

By Arshy Mann



A university-wide email—and the removal of rocks around Kenny—are both a part of UBC’s response to the surge of interest around their animal research program.

On Monday, UBC VP Research John Hepburn sent out a broadcast email to all UBC students, faculty and staff, defending the university against “misleading information” that they believe is being spread by STOP UBC Animal Research (STOP).

“A group of activists is campaigning to end animal research at UBC by distributing misleading information in an attempt to recruit people to their cause,” the email said. “They have succeeded in gaining some media attention and we expect to see more.

“Animal activists use shock tactics in an effort to gain public sympathy via news media. In other parts of the world, such sensationalist tactics have escalated to violence against researchers, and in North Vancouver earlier this month a group called the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) resorted to acts of vandalism against an individual in the fur trade.”

Hepburn was referring to Eugene Klein, the operator of Capilano Furs, whose home was vandalized on Thanksgiving Sunday. His house was tarred and his son’s girlfriend’s tires were slashed. The ALF, a self-described ‘animal liberation’ group that uses illegal tactics that include vandalism and arson, took credit for the attack on their website.

Brian Vincent, the spokesperson for STOP, said that it was unfair for the university to associate his group with the ALF.

“Why throw that out there? Clearly it’s to whip up hysteria. He paints a broad brush that all animal advocates are this way,” Vincent said. “And for him to imply that we are associated with those kinds of activities is flat wrong.

“However, I think [the email] shows the effectiveness of our campaign. If UBC didn’t take us seriously and didn’t think we were tarnishing the university’s reputation, they wouldn’t be sending out an email.”

Hepburn told The Ubyssey that the email was sent out in response to “researchers [who] were getting concerned that UBC wasn’t defending them.”

In addition, Hepburn said that he knows of at least one UBC neuroscientist who has been threatened, although he only found out about the incident after the broadcast email had been sent out.

“The context of the call is important: this particular incident was a late-night ‘we know where you live’ call from an unidentifiable harasser, not a professional inquiry during office hours,” said Hepburn.

He went on to say that “It occurred after the STOP campaign was publicly underway,” and that “a concern is that STOP’s activities, while legitimate to date, will incite people capable of illegal activities.”

Vincent, however, did not entirely trust Hepburn’s claim that a professor was threatened.

“I don’t know if that’s true,” he said. “This is a very common tactic that universities use to deflect attention away from the real issue. And the real issue is that UBC is using taxpayer dollars to conduct experiments on animals behind closed doors with little public scrutiny.

“[However] if someone did make such a call, I certainly would condemn that.”

Hepburn’s broadcast email appears to reflect a newfound fear throughout parts of the research community at UBC.

In an internal departmental email obtained by The Ubyssey, Gary MacIsaac, the director of IT services for the psychology department, told faculty and students to keep objects away from the Douglas Kenny Building, for fear they could be used to vandalize it.

“A large rock has been sitting by the NE rear door of the building. With some of the issues around campus it’s been suggested we not leave rocks around where they can be pitched through windows or jam doors open after hours. So this rock will disappear…preferably not to be replaced by another.“

-With files from Fabrizio Stendardo

Stop UBC Animal Research is a community grassroots campaign that employs peaceful, legal, and compassionate approaches to educate the public about the grim realities of research on animals at the University of British Columbia and to ultimately bring about an end to research on animals at UBC. Please visit our website at:



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