He says that the end result is radical activists picking on people who are not trained or otherwise experienced, and instead on people more vulnerable than professional researchers at institutions such as Ohio State.
Holland says the research community has traditionally dealt poorly with these types of radical actions in the past, typically adopting a philosophical stance that included generally ignoring groups opposed to lab animal research.
"Quite frankly the scientific community has done a lousy job in the past of standing up and justifying its use of animals," he says. "They've listened to what our mothers used to say about bullies and turned around and walked away. As we learned as kids, if you ignore bullies, they just keep pummeling you, so to speak."
Organizations including Ohio State are increasingly turning away from that strategy, which Holland said had little chance of ever working. Rather, research institutions are attempting to handle activists more proactively, justifying the use of animals in research, and personally responding to concerned citizens.
"Ohio State has always taken the posture, even before the rest of the country, of aggressively countering these types of attacks, defending the fact that as a research university we follow all the federal, state and local guidelines to ensure the humane treatment of these animals, but that we are going to do research involving animals."
Source: Ohio State University