"Meat Is Murder" Dr. Jerry Vlasak reminds the media
Jerry Vlasak turned the animal rights world on its ear when he
suggested that animal research scientists might be killed.
You can call him "terrorist," or you can call him any other ugly word
that comes to mind. It won't matter a bit. Since 2003, Los
Angeles-based physician and controversial animal-rights activist Dr.
Jerry Vlasak has been called that and worse. And it's not about to get
better, as Vlasak appeared before Congress this year and said that
killing research scientists was "morally justifiable" in the name of
"I'm thick-skinned by now," Vlasak says. "I'm willing to take the
criticism, the heat, if that's what's necessary for those who abuse
animals to know that it's wrong. The people who are most critical are
those who make their living off animals. People won't stop if we ask
Also, he was recently blasted by Congress for being the spokesperson
for a movement the FBI now calls the "biggest domestic terror threat."
Shortly after his congressional testimony, Vlasak appeared on a 60
Minutes segment, titled "Burning Rage," reiterating his charge that
scientists face death. "I think people who torture innocent beings
should be stopped," he declared. "And if they won't stop when you ask
them nicely, [and] they won't stop when you demonstrate to them what
they're doing is wrong, then they should be stopped using whatever
Vlasak was born in Austin, Texas. The first glimmers of radical animal
rights activism began to take shape in the early '90s, when he noticed
that his patients were sick because of what they ate. "I was
practicing surgery and doing a lot of work with cancer and gall
bladder disease and noticed people were sick because of what they ate.
I began to realize that a meat-based diet is responsible for premature
deaths in our society."
After reading books like John Robbins's The Food Revolution, he began
changing his practice. "I realized from a health standpoint that it
was wrong to say to my patients, 'Yes I'll take off your breast'
without telling them how to change their diet. And a lot of them said,
'Why didn't another doctor tell me?'"
Vlasak insists that he would never be violent himself – as a doctor,
he points out that it is his duty to save lives. And, he says,
reactions to the 60 Minutes segment were mostly positive. "A handful
of people said they didn't agree with me and didn't want to associate
with me. But it was easily running 20 to 1, supporters vs. detractors.
I received hundreds of e-mails in support of my message.