The American Society of Primatologists condemns the terrorist actions of the Animal Liberation Front, most recently, the March 7th firebombing of a car at the home of a UCLA primate researcher. In the past three years there has been an escalation in the number and level of violent acts directed at primate researchers across the country. The American Society of Primatologists extends its sympathy and support to those of its membership, to other scientists, and to the families that have been affected by intense harassment and violence.
At UCLA alone, between July 2006 and the March 7th bombing, animal activist groups have claimed responsibility for actual and attempted arsons, home intrusion, criminal vandalism, and intense campaigns of harassment including night-time demonstrations by hooded activists. These activities increasingly occur at private residences, jeopardizing the safety and security not only of scientists, but also their families, neighbors, and other community members.
These activities are not limited to California. Primate researchers across the country have been targeted by campaigns of harassment that include anonymous threats to scientists’ lives, massive letter and email campaigns, vicious and threatening statements posted on the internet, and threats of poison-laden razor blades mailed to their homes.
The American Society of Primatologists condemns these terrorist actions. Terrorism does not, and will not, contribute to the betterment of animal welfare.
In a response to the recent UCLA car bombing, Tim Rutten wrote in the Los Angeles Times (March 11th, Animal rights advocates must repudiate the extremists who attack medical researchers — and those who provide them support.): “At the end of the day, though, two things need to happen: Law enforcement officials need to step up their attention to this investigation, because there’s a tragedy in the offing if they don’t. And L.A.’s extensive network of animal welfare advocates need to make it clear that they repudiate not only the terrorists but all who provide them material and tacit support of any sort.”
The American Society of Primatologists endorses this statement and calls upon groups and individuals concerned with animal welfare to join in universal condemnation of all terrorist activities directed at members of the scientific community.
Statement approved by the Board of Directors, March 20, 2009