University police increased security for threatening blog post

University Professor Dick Bianco’s house is under surveillance after an animal right’s blogger posted a message some considered to be threatening.

In some circles, Dick Bianco isnâÄôt very popular. Bianco, an associate professor of surgery at the University of Minnesota , uses animals for medical testing and has emerged as a voice of a million-dollar ad campaign from the Foundation for Biomedical Research. Now, BiancoâÄôs house is under police surveillance after an animal rights blogger named Camille Marino responded to the ad campaign by posting BiancoâÄôs name and photograph with a message that some consider threatening. âÄúWe cannot be complacent,âÄù Marino said in the post. âÄúâĦ We should not be surprised when the unconscionable violence inflicted upon animals is justifiably visited upon their tormentors.âÄù University police began increasing patrols this week near BiancoâÄôs home after the âÄúvagueâÄù threats were made, University police Deputy Chief Chuck Miner said. Marino , founder of negotiationisover.com , described FBRâÄôs ad campaign as an attempt to âÄúgarner support for animal abuse.âÄù The campaign is aimed at cities that reported to not have a definitive opinion about animal research. It is active in 11 markets, including the Twin Cities, Los Angeles and Boston âÄî all of which are âÄúon the fenceâÄù about animal research, FBR President Frankie Trull said . âÄúWe are not reaching out to those who are definitively opposed,âÄù Trull said. âÄúWe are not going to change their mind.âÄù Animal rights advocates have a history of activism in California and Minnesota, Trull said. âÄúI donâÄôt want to paint everyone this way, but there are those within the [animal rights] movement that are very zealous and feel that if you donâÄôt agree with them they are going to be aggressively hostile,âÄù Trull said. Marino said she did not try to stir up hostile actions with her post. âÄúMy intent is simply to provide the other side of the story,âÄù she said. âÄúIt is not a threat.âÄù Marino said she published BiancoâÄôs name and photograph because he is a public figure who is âÄúpublicly advocating animal abuse.âÄù âÄúIâÄôm simply putting a name and a face together with the movement,âÄù she said. Marino noted that she was not surprised to hear her article was interpreted as a threat. When asked why she published the article anyway, Marino replied âÄúIf my speech is unpopular, does that mean that my free speech should be inhibited simply because it may be manipulated or twisted?âÄù This is not the first time Bianco has dealt with animal rights activists. Student organizations from Compassionate Action for Animals to the Student Organization for Animal Rights (SOAR) have been well acquainted with Bianco through his work as assistant vice president of the Academic Health Center. In 1999, Bianco filed a grievance against SOAR for disorderly conduct and disruptive demonstrations when a member suspended himself from the top of Moos Tower in a small tent for six days near a hanging banner that read, âÄúStop Animal Torture.âÄù In 2000, SOAR, along with a group from Los Angeles, offered $10,000 to anybody who could âÄúend alleged animal cruelty at the University.âÄù âÄúItâÄôs outrageous,âÄù Bianco then told The Minnesota Daily. âÄúItâÄôs like putting a bounty on the head of our researchers and the people who are trying to find a cure for diseases.âÄù University police have taken extra precautions over the years since Elliot Hall and the Lions Research Building were burglarized in 1999 by animal rights activists, Miner said. The University has since increased physical security of research buildings and installed more alarms and closed circuit television, he said. Ben Kutschied , the student advisor of Compassionate Action for Animals, said live animal testing, called vivisection, is never justifiable for medical advancements. âÄúI have a hard time considering [vivisection] worthwhile no matter how many human lives we may have saved using these kinds of unethical methods,âÄù he said. Despite his beliefs, Kutschied said resorting to disrespectful or violent means are never worth pursuing and tend to cause more harm than good. âÄúAre any people who are in support of animal experimentation really going to change their minds because youâÄôve just insulted somebody and threatened somebody? Probably not,âÄù he said. âÄúIf anything else, theyâÄôve decided now that theyâÄôre not going to listen to any animal rights activists ever again.âÄù Bianco will appear in a Discovery Channel documentary on animal surgery in the next few months, he said. He is not afraid for his safety and will continue to be a supportive voice for the use of animals in surgery, he said. âÄúIf we could use computers to do this, or other simulations, we would,âÄù Bianco said. âÄúIn fact, we do. The vast majority of what we do does not involve live animals. Under law, we must test medical devices on animals before they can be used for humans.âÄù