The San Francisco Chronicle posted a story earlier today, reporting that recent firebombings of the homes of two biological researchers from University of California at Santa Cruz, seem to be the work of animal rights extremists. According to the article, Santa Cruz police Captain Steve Clark, an investigator involved in the case, noted that the deadly explosive devices were similar to ones used in the past by violent animal rights activists. In addition, unsigned pamphlets were found in a downtown Santa Cruz coffee shop, which printed 13 researchers' pictures and addresses, called them "murderers and torturers" and said, "Animal abusers everywhere beware."
Assistant Professor of biology Dr. David Feldheim (the other victim chose to remain anonymous), who uses mice in laboratory research on brain formation, told The Chronicle that he and his wife, along with their 7-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter, had to drop a ladder from the window of a second-floor bedroom to escape after smoke filled the home's first floor, following the strike of a firebomb. The Chronicle also reported that both of Dr. Felheim's feet were injured during his escape. The investigation is ongoing.
This kind of violence is appalling and sociopathic. It is inconceivable that people can have such a proclaimed deep passion for the wellbeing of animals, yet carry no regard or regret for the harming of human life, even that of innocent children. The fact that acts of terrorism like this are performed under the banner of compassion make it all the more disturbing.
People that engage in terrorism as a means to advance ideals are people that live on the fringe of society. Their actions are not the result of passion for animals, but more the result of a need to fulfill an underlying desire to disrupt and damage society. People like this are a detriment to any cause at best, bringing both shame and decreased credibility to any movement.
The article highlighted the remarks in reaction to this incident, of Mr. Jerry Vlasak, a Los Angeles-based spokesman for the North American Animal Liberation Press Office, which often posts on its Web site, communication from activists taking credit for attacks. He stated that the benefit of animal research did not justify its expense or the "exploitation of animals."
Vlasak further voice that the bombers likely were not trying to hurt Feldheim, but were instead, "trying to send a message to this guy, who won't listen to reason, that if he doesn't stop hurting animals more drastic measures will be taken ... it's certainly not an initial tactic, but a tactic of last resort."
Mr Vlasak, not condemning these actions and glorifying other reugnant acts on your website, you and your organization are no better than the wretched individuals who would wreak violence upon a family.