In 2006, according to court documents, animal rights activists harassed UCLA professor Dario Ringach and other scientists who conduct research with laboratory animals.
Documents stated that they hurled firecrackers at his house and planted Molotov-cocktail-like explosives at the homes of other faculty members and threatened to burn down their houses.
Ringach was afraid for his family and their safety and wrote an email to the animal activists begging to be left alone: “Effectively immediately, I am no longer doing animal research. Please don’t bother my family anymore.”
In response to the threats by the activists, the University of California regents are suing UCLA Primate Freedom, the Animal Liberation Brigade, the Animal Liberation Front and five people allegedly affiliated with this group.
From Washington Post:
Harassment by violent animal rights activists has climbed at universities across the country, including Oregon Health and Science University, the University of Utah, and Ohio State University, where researchers have been victims of home visits or, in one case, found their windows slathered in glass-eating acid. Scientists, administrators and lawyers are closely watching the effectiveness of the California regents case.
Experts say the shift toward more personal attacks is a response to increasingly fortified laboratories, which universities began securing in the 1980s and 1990s as attacks heightened.
Now, groups have shunned “Fort Knox” in favor of ill-prepared homes, said Jerry Vlasik, the former vivisector turned spokesman for the North American Animal Liberation Press Office. Vlasik has repeatedly advocated for using “whatever force against animal research scientists necessary.”
“If killing them is the only way to stop them,” he said in a telephone interview, “then I said killing them would certainly be justified.”
Some scientists refuse to relinquish their work, but others are not taking chances. Like Ringach, some continue to work but not with animals. Most who leave the profession make their decisions quietly, not wanting to fuel the movement.
Still, ripples are spreading through the science community. Positions in animal research are increasingly difficult to fill, according to Frankie Trull, president of the Foundation for Biomedical Research, a national organization that supports the humane and responsible use of animals in medical and scientific research.
“I do hear scientists say that they have open positions and nobody to fill them because it’s animal research,” Trull said. “The bigger question, and we worry about this a lot, is what will happen to the future of biomedical research? Will brilliant young minds go to some other field because this field has become too contentious?”
Source: Washington Post