Response to terrorist attack by North American Animal Liberation group

The American Society of Primatologists condemns the recent terrorist action by animal rights activists who have targeted a University of California Los Angeles graduate student engaged in nonhuman primate research. As announced by the North American Animal Liberation Press Office (NAALPO), the “Justice Department”  (a subgroup of the NAALPO) reports that they “mailed to [name of student] at [address] in Los Angeles some rusty razor blades tainted with AIDS-infected blood.”

This action is part of an escalation in the number and level of violent acts directed at primate researchers across the country over the past four years. 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, since July 2006, 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, threats of poison-laden razor blades mailed to their homes, and home demonstrations.

The American Society of Primatologists condemns these terrorist actions. Terrorism does not, and will not, contribute to the betterment of animal welfare. Nor does it contribute to civil dialogue and thoughtful consideration of the role of responsible, humanely-conducted and ethical animal-based research in contributing to scientific and medical advances.

The American Society of Primatologists calls upon groups and individuals concerned with animal welfare to join in universal and public condemnation of all terrorist activities directed at members of the scientific community.

— approved by Board of Directors 26 Nov 2010.