I just received this news from Americans for Medical Progress with a link to the Santa Cruz Sentinel reporting on the home invasion
last evening Sunday of a UC-Santa Cruz breast cancer and neurological disease researcher:
UCSC researcher targeted in attack – animal rights activists believed to be behind home invasion
26 February 2008 0645am Eastern
The news is disturbing, and if indeed the violent fringe of the animal rights movement is behind the attack, it represents a serious and criminal escalation in its tactics used to harass researchers. AMP joins others in the research community in condemning this home invasion and attack. We will continue to monitor the situation and report as developments occur.
The Santa Cruz Sentinel has related stories on its website, including coverage of the police raid on a home of some believed involved in the attack. The newspaper is certain to update its coverage as the day goes on: www.santacruzsentinel.com. The University of California Santa Cruz has issued a statement, as you will read below, but as of this writing it has not been posted to its website: www.ucsc.edu .
Tom Ragan at the Sentinel filed this report late last night:
UCSC Chancellor George Blumenthal confirmed late Monday that an off-campus home invasion by six masked intruders occurred at a faculty member’s home. In a statement, Blumenthal called the incident “very disturbing.”
Santa Cruz police reported that six people wearing bandanas tried to break into a Westside home just before 1 p.m., and that one of the family members, not the faculty member, was attacked before the intruders fled. The male victim had made sure his wife and children were safe in the back of the house before he confronted the attackers. He suffered minor injuries after being hit with an unknown object. None of the other four people in the house were injured.
The name of the faculty member was not released, but UCSC said assurances have been made to protect the faculty member and the family – in addition to other staff and students who have been targeted by animal rights activists in recent weeks, campus spokesman Jim Burns said. . .
. . .Santa Cruz police Lt. Rudy Escalante said investigators believe three UCSC students were involved in the home invasion. The investigation is continuing and Escalante said he would have more information today.
Witnesses to the Westside attack provided police with a license plate of the vehicle the attackers fled in, Escalante said.
Early Monday, Escalante would not confirm a motive or say if the attack was related to animal activists. He could not be reached to comment late Monday.
Earlier in the day, Escalante said of the suspects: “They were wearing bandanas … and were screaming and trying to break into the house. Witnesses gave us information on the suspect vehicle. We tracked it to Riverside Avenue. We obtained a search warrant. We served the search warrant last night. It’s relative to a home invasion and right now the case is continuing. We’ve got evidence we’re processing.”
Seized in the 9:50 p.m. raid were clothes, cell phones and boxes of paperwork, which Escalante said showed evidence of possible other attacks. . .
. . .A friend of the students who were inside the Riverside home told the Sentinel the incident was related to animal rights and SHAC. A group, called SHAC7, includes six activists and a corporation, Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty USA Inc. They were found guilty of multiple federal felonies for their role in shutting down an animal testing lab, Huntingdon Life Sciences. SHAC7 has an office in San Francisco. Attempts to reach them Monday were unsuccessful.
More later. But in the wake of the targeted actions against UCLA’s Edie London and other harrassment of California research university researchers by animal rights terrorists, we in the US may be reaching the situation experienced in the UK where conducting life-saving biomedical research for the greater good is itself life-threatening.
As these attacks appear to be increasing in frequency, it will be interesting to learn how the 2006-amended Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act will be applied in prosecuting these cases.
Addendum #1: Michael Stebbins, Director of Research at the DC-based Foundation for Biomedical Research, has just sent out a missive that includes these three links to activist sites:
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2008/02/25/18481563.php (activist site)
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2008/02/24/18481449.php (activist site)
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2008/02/25/18481511.php (activist site)
AMP CONDEMNS ATTACK ON UCSC SCIENTIST’S FAMILY AND HOME
Contact: Jacquie Calnan, Americans for Medical Progress E-mail
703 836 9595 x100
February 26, 2008, Alexandria, VA – Americans for Medical Progress (AMP) is greatly concerned by news that police believe animal rights militants are responsible for Sunday’s home invasion and attack on a member of a University of California Santa Cruz researcher’s family. (News coverage may be found in the Santa Cruz Sentinel at http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/localnews/ci_8360836.)
Following is a statement by AMP’s president, Jacquie Calnan:
“If members of the violent fringe of the animal rights movement are indeed behind the attack, it represents a serious and criminal escalation of the tactics they use to harass and threaten scientists across America.
“Biomedical researchers, and their loved ones, are targeted simply because of the work they do. This is terrorism, and it must be stopped.
“There is an ominous upward spiral of violence against researchers. Threats and crimes by animal rights militants have been horrific realities for two generations of scientists, from the earliest of laboratory break-ins and animal thefts in the 1980s, to booby-trapped letters in the 1990s, to recent firebombings and night-time protests at scientists’ homes. With the attacks increasing in intensity, it may be only a matter of time before someone is seriously injured or killed.
“The humane use of laboratory animals is crucial to biomedical research that leads to new drugs, therapies and cures. Thus, animal rights campaigns against scientists who work with animals also endanger the health of us all.
“The UCSC community is not alone in condemning Sunday’s heinous attack. Standing in unity with UCSC are patients who await new medical treatments and cures, scientists around the world, and each and every one of us who find the tactics and justifications of the criminal element of the animal rights movement reprehensible and against every precept of civil society.”
Americans for Medical Progress is a national non-profit organization that analyzes and counters animal rights campaigns against biomedical research. It is supported by universities, medical schools, private research institutions, health advocacy groups and individuals who seek continued advances in medicine. See www.amprogress.org.