March 1, 2024

California cracks down on animal rights extremists

Many attacks this year

California scientists are so worried about attacks and harassment by animal rights extremists that they have pushed a law through the state assembly. The Researcher Protection Act of 2008 makes it a criminal offence to enter researcher’s home or property with the intent of “chilling, preventing the exercise of or interfering with the researcher’s academic freedom”. The legislation also makes it a misdemeanor to publish personal information about researchers or their immediate family members to facilitate violent crimes.

After a number of attacks the University of California is fed up. In the past year alone, there have been 70 attacks just at its Berkeley campus, 20 of them criminal. And the violence seems to be escalating. In August, two homes were firebombed. The website of the North American Animal Liberation Press Office reproduces chilling “communiques” issued by anonymous activists. One of the recent ones reads:

"UCLA shame on you. With primates being the closest genetic relative that human beings have, that is they share over 90% of our genetic makeup, it is very reasonable to assume that in addition to DNA and similar molecules they also share our sensitivities to fear, boredom, loneliness, and above all, pain… As today began (Oct 6 2008) we caught up with a couple of your currently popular vanpools. In two different locales, using small wooden rods we slipped unfired shotgun shells into the mufflers by way of the tailpipes of two of your vans. We also phoned into your media relations desk to let them know about it. On a long enough drive or a hot enough day the mufflers will be blown off. Leave the primates out of your inept and outdated science and we will leave you out of our quest for justice." ~ Nature Medicine, October