UC DAVIS: Animal Rights Group Target Scientists
Ten University of California-Davis researchers, along with "[m]ore than 80 research scientists who use animals in their studies at universities nationwide," began receiving letters and packages "booby-trapped" with razor blades this week, the Sacramento Bee reports. FBI offices across the country stepped in yesterday to study the threats, some of which read: "You have been targeted and you have until autumn of 2000 to release all your primate captives and get out of the vivisection industry." A list of targeted scientists was posted on the Internet, along with a claim by an animals rights group, England-based "Justice Society" who said it was responsible for the mailings. UC Davis, which holds 3,500 animals in captivity for research purposes -- including the largest primate research center in the country -- had the second-highest number of targeted researchers after the University of Washington. No one has been injured yet from the letters, in part because UC Davis official began inspecting mail with an X-ray machine. "We are considering this a terrorist threat," said UC Davis Police Lieutenant Mike Adams. Kevin Smith, vice chancellor for research at UCD, said, "This is a very serious escalation," pointing out that in the past the university has had "very orderly" demonstrations at the primate center that were "fairly predictable." Smith added, "We know about them in advance, they're usually very orderly and only those people who want to get arrested do get arrested." UC Davis animal scientist and Animal Welfare Center director Joy Mench indicated that she had received urgent e-mails about the Web site from the Americans for Medical Progress and the National Association for Biomedical Research. Mench said, "This particular group I find very unnerving because it's the only group that in fact condones violence against people in the name of animal liberation." Two other California researchers, one at Stanford University and another at UC-San Francisco, also were targeted (Stanton and Lau, 10/28).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.