In Michigan, NIO is campaigning against an animal experimenter at Wayne State University named Donal O'Leary, who uses dogs in heart experiments. One of the dogs, the Dalmation pictured above named Queenie, was forced to run on a treadmill with a device implanted in her heart, catheters protruding from her body, and open wounds leaking fluids. Doctors have urged the federal government to investigate O'Leary's violations of the Animal Welfare Act.
Marino has allegedly posted personal information about O'Leary on the NIO website, alongside inflammatory commentary and her voicing support for physical violence. (Most of these posts appear to have been removed recently.) For example, on one of the NIO blog posts about O'Leary, a commenter wrote 800 words of gruesome details about what should be done to him, such as "We will then strap you into a monkey restraining device and use industrial pliers to crack your testicles like walnuts."
reposted from green is the new red website
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the article continues:
Americans for Medical Progress, an industry group, says NIO is an "animal rights hate group" and the Southern Poverty Law Center has included NIO in its "Hate Watch" column.
Marino's campaigning is controversial, but to call it a "hate group" is overreaching. Among the many differences between NIO and hate groups is that animal rights activists are opposing people because of what they do rather than who they are.
An even more important difference is that hate groups engage in physical violence, while NIO has only sensationally talked about it on blogs and Facebook.
As one commenter said on Hate Watch:
"Upon reading the story it looks like Ms. Marino is not guilty of any serious crime... She did have a protective order issued against her, I'm not sure it was really violated here and it may get dismissed. She has committed no specific act of violence or damage to property. An expired drivers license is no big deal either."
These are important points to consider when discussing whether NIO's blog is protected by the First Amendment. At the heart of the two key standards in First Amendment law is the question: Is the speaker using outrageous rhetoric to get attention, or will these threats be carried out?