A public falling-out between two prominent animal-rights activists has prompted a restraining order and an arrest, casting light on the volatile mix of personalities that may fuel extreme elements of the animal-rights movement.
Steven Best, an outspoken advocate of animal rights and philosophy professor at the University of Texas at El Paso, obtained a restraining order on 15 October against fellow activist Camille Marino after she allegedly stalked Best and threatened violence against him. Marino was arrested at her home in Wildwood, Florida, on 19 October for violating the injunction. According to Marino’s website, she had e-mailed Best against the terms of that order.
Marino has earned a reputation for stalking animal researchers in the past and encouraged violent action on her website, which also publishes photographs and addresses of scientists’ homes. For his part, Best has spoken internationally about the justification for extreme animal activism. As a consequence, he has beenbanned from entering the United Kingdom.
In his request for protection filed in Dona Ana County, New Mexico, Best described Marino as “an old friend”, saying that they had worked together in the past “for the animals”. But he said that Marino had developed a “fatal attraction, love/hate” relationship towards him. Best alleged that in the past several months Marino had harassed him by phone and e-mail, threatened his life and slandered his reputation online.
Best would not speak about the case to Nature, but wrote in his petition that he feared Marino could pose a physical threat to others. “I now fear that person will not be a medical researcher/vivisector she loathes so intensely, but rather me,” he said.