I started this post a couple of times early this morning but kept having to walk away from the computer in disgust and disbelief.
Regular readers know that I don’t usually throw personal or demeaning statements around lightly. But today’s Santa Cruz Sentinel follow-up article on the home invasion of a UC-Santa Cruz breast cancer research and her family (during her daughter’s birthday party) contains the most ridiculous, heartless, conspiratory statement I have heard thus far from an animal rights activist:
[Peter] Young*, a Los Gatos native who served two years in a federal prison for releasing thousands of mink from Midwest farms, told the Sentinel Tuesday he had no involvement in Sunday’s incident and said no one at his talk indicated they were planning any activity against a UCSC faculty member. . .
. . .He said the case seemed to be a “P.R. smear campaign by vivisectors to discredit the work of activists. I’m quite sure somebody didn’t try to break into the house. We’re against violence.”
You have got to be kidding me. Is this insensitive cretin truly deluded into the belief that a researcher would stage an attack on one’s family to stage a “smear campaign?”
[*Note to the Santa Cruz community: This is NOT the same person as Dr A. Peter Young, an award-winning member of the UCSC physics faculty.]
The researcher, whose name is not being released currently by the press, remains steadfast in her mission to conduct breast cancer research despite the harrowing experience for her and her 2- and 8-year-old children:
The researcher said she does not know specific details of what happened between the intruders and her husband Sunday because “I was cowering in the back of the house” with the children as he chased the intruders down the street and captured their license plate number.
She said the family was in the front of the home celebrating her daughter’s birthday when the intruders began “beating on the porch and the front door.” She said the door, secured by two locks, started shaking as she grabbed her children.
“The kids – can you imagine? – I rushed to them,” she said. “I was scared [the suspects] were going to enter the house.”
She said her husband opened the door and “grappled” with the intruders, and was hit on his hand before chasing them. Neighbors shouted out to him that they were calling 911.
I respect the rights of the individual to question the use of animals in research and protect animal subjects from undue distress – in fact, that is why institutional animal care and use committees include ethicists and non-researcher citizen representatives among their membership. But how can animal rights activists negotiate the mental gymnastics necessary to protect animals from distress yet subject fellow humans to such actions?
“I am flabbergasted that people would target me,” said the UC Santa Cruz faculty member, whom the Sentinel is not naming because of ongoing security concerns. “All our work we do with animals is regulated. They are treated well.”
The woman, who said the university has hired security to protect her and her family, has no plans to halt her work with mice.
“I’m a scientist, I do research that’s really valuable,” she said. “One in seven women get breast cancer.”
If a member of Mr Young’s family is diagnosed with breast cancer, will they be principled enough to refuse treatments discovered and developed using animal models?