PHOENIX—It’s not often that Stephen Lisberger, a neurobiologist at the University of California, San Francisco speaks to 400 scientists at one sitting. But there was standing room only at this month’s 19th annual meeting of the Society for Neu- roscience when Lisberger—who uses monkeys to study eye movement—and two other researchers shared their experiences with proponents of theanimal rights movement.

That panel discussion was one of three sessions designed to draft members into the war against animal rights activists. The talks were part of a larger effort by the scientific community to strike back against what it sees as the harassment—and occasional violence—it suffers at the hands of some of those activists. And the large crowds at these sessions were indicative of the research community’s increased concern about the issue.

“I think the society is really coalescing behind this effort,” says Adrian Morrison, professor of anatomy at the University of...

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