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The site of an ELF arson attack in Seattle
Congress looks away as attacks on medical and biological researchers continue to rise.

Earlier this month, the car of a UCSC researcher was firebombed in Santa Cruz. A few minutes later, an explosive device was used to burn down the home of another researcher. The family inside -- including two small children -- narrowly escaped through an upstairs window. One injury was reported. Later that day, yet another researcher in Santa Cruz received a phone call, threatening a third attack.

Just a few days earlier, an animal rights group left threatening pamphlets in a local cafe, calling the scientists who were attacked "murderers and torturers".

In June, a van belonging to a UCLA lab was burned. Animal Liberation Front (ALF) members claimed credit. They also claimed credit for an April attack on two Staples delivery trucks, in retaliation for the trucks delivering supplies to an animal research lab. Pictures of the attacks appeared on their website, with threats of more violence.

In February, again in Santa Cruz, six masked ALF members tried to break into the home of a cancer researcher who uses lab animals. The scientist was injured after being struck by an "unidentified object". This occurred just days after an LA judge issued restraining orders against three animal rights groups for a string of attacks on local scientists. An ALF spokesman said he "laughed" at the order. "Our [members] are risking 30-year sentences for arson, and they're going to be threatened by a restraining order?"

These are just the attacks this year. In the US. Throughout Europe, Canada, and Mexico, the total is much higher. Medical researchers around the world regularly receive threatening emails and phone calls, are stalked at their homes and offices, and have their family's safety threatened. While other forms of domestic terrorism have been sharply curtailed, animal rights and eco-terrorism are on the rise.

The damages aren't always small. In 2003, a single eco-terrorist arson attack in San Diego destroyed a $50 million apartment complex. In 1998, a similar attack in Vail caused $12 million in damages. 

Medical researchers bear an ever-increasing risk. I applaud those scientists who are willing to work under such conditions. But I wonder how long they'll continue to do so. Most are motivated by their love of science, expanding human knowledge, and helping the human race. But how many will risk the lives of their children for that goal?

The stakes are high. Researchers are, quite rightly, barred from experimenting on humans. Without animal experimentation, progress in many fields of medicine and biological science is essentially impossible. While protecting the safety of U.S. citizens is always important, safeguarding scientists from terrorism is doubly so.

A PETA spokesman once said that, "Even if a cure for AIDS came from animal experimentation, we'd be against it".   PETA publicly claims to be against violence, but the group has long been accused of channeling funds and information to groups like the ALF.

Last week, a bail bondsman jokingly told colleagues he'd like to shoot Barack Obama and George Bush. Within days, he was arrested, charged, and held without bond. Yet the FBI and local authorities seem powerless to halt the organized terrorism being waged by animal rights fanatics. Why? Are these activists truly so well-organized and secretive as to withstand the full attention of professional law enforcement? These terrorists aren't hiding in the hills of Pakistan, after all; they're walking the streets of U.S. cities. Their attacks are planned in U.S. homes. How do these groups continue to operate?

Is it because their attacks -- popular in states such as California -- aren't given the full attention they deserve? Three years ago, when the FBI testified to Congress about the growing danger of animal rights and eco-terrorist groups, several members expressed outrage. Senator Frank Lautenberg, who describes himself as a "tree hugger", scoffed at attempts to label the ALF and other such groups as terrorists. Senator James Jeffords called the incidents minor as they only threaten "dozens of people", whereas an attack on a chemical or nuclear site might threaten thousands.

I don't agree. Such attacks are nothing less than an attack on science itself. And it's time they were stopped.

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If the FBI can't do their job then...
By 4play on 8/12/2008 2:55:39 PM , Rating: 5
Time for the researchers to invest in some guard dogs...

RE: If the FBI can't do their job then...
By CascadingDarkness on 8/12/2008 5:12:56 PM , Rating: 5
I was thinking mass approval on concealed carry permits and a little gun range time. That's what I'd do myself.

RE: If the FBI can't do their job then...
By FITCamaro on 8/12/2008 5:26:44 PM , Rating: 5
States like California go the extra mile to try and make it so you don't have the right to defend yourself.

RE: If the FBI can't do their job then...
By Flunk on 8/13/2008 12:39:47 PM , Rating: 1
How would a gun help you stop them from burning down your house with explosives? Besides, these people are terrorists, if you have a pistol they will bring assault rifles.

RE: If the FBI can't do their job then...
By CascadingDarkness on 8/13/2008 2:37:43 PM , Rating: 3
Obviously having a handgun wouldn't help you in all situations. Neither of us was foolishly suggesting there'd be a certain way to stop them.

I have no deillusions that someone wouldn't be able to murder me at any given moment of my life. The two main things society depends on for this is morals (not ok to kill people), and deterance (if you do you get in trouble).

Given these people aren't following either of those I would likely sleep better knowing that a few rounds center mass from a simple .38 revolver is going stop them.

Sure they could have body armor, but really, how far are you going to take a hypothetical scenario? Plus the higher it gets escalated the more attention they would draw, and increase likelyhood that athorities intervene.

RE: If the FBI can't do their job then...
By GaryJohnson on 8/14/2008 11:50:39 PM , Rating: 1
If they're outside your house planting explosives or setting fires while you're sleeping, when do you expect to have an opportunity to shoot them?

RE: If the FBI can't do their job then...
By CascadingDarkness on 8/15/2008 1:30:34 PM , Rating: 2
Did you miss
Obviously having a handgun wouldn't help you in all situations.

What would you have them do? Give in? Resign and move to another state, let the terrorists win?

That's the best solution if all you are worried about is your own skin, and you don't mind reinforcing the terrorist views that what they are doing works.

In that situation with a family I would have to think hard if I would risk them. I don't have a family though, so I'd be picking up a .38, going to gun range regularly, and informing the police of anything suspicious I see. Do you have any better ideas? Maybe just live in fear and practice crying in fetal position?

It's not a perfect plan, but better than nothing.

RE: If the FBI can't do their job then...
By GaryJohnson on 8/15/2008 11:42:31 PM , Rating: 2
Obviously having a handgun wouldn't help you in all situations.

It won't help you in all situations... it won't help you in ANY of the situations as presented by the article.

It's not a plan at all, it is nothing. It's like trying to protect yourself from drunk drivers by wearing a parachute.

RE: If the FBI can't do their job then...
By mindless1 on 8/18/2008 3:24:56 AM , Rating: 2
If you're effectively stalking someone and you knew they had a gun, I think that would be a bit of a deterrant if you were the kind of bleeding heart terrorist that is doing this for animal rights or whatever nonsense they believe justifies it.

A handgun is a lot better than nothing when someone is being aggressive trying to cause you or your family harm. Maybe we read about the times people didn't have the gun because the other times the gun had the intended effect. Not that it's the only solution, being at least physically fit and having a decent security system wouldn't hurt either, but if you have a terrorist walking onto your property with a fire bomb, is an alarm or a phone call to the police going to be as effective as putting that person in your gun sights? Hopefully you'll never find out.

By GaryJohnson on 8/23/2008 6:09:36 AM , Rating: 2
If you're asleep and they're outside your house in the dark all of those things would be equally effective at preventing that person form planting and setting off their device. You can't shoot them or call the police because you’re asleep, and the average burglar alarm isn't going to go off because they haven't tried to enter your home.
To secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself. Thus the good fighter is able to secure himself against defeat, but cannot make certain of defeating the enemy. - Sun Tzu, The Art of War

The best way I can think of to survive an an attack (as described in the article) is to make sure you have working smoke detectors with good batteries, fire extinguisher(s), and a fire escape plan for yourself and your family.

RE: If the FBI can't do their job then...
By TheSpaniard on 8/12/2008 7:21:49 PM , Rating: 2
4 years as a biochemical researcher and I have never had these problems, worst I had was my neighbor was picketing in front of SCRIPPS Florida, where I worked before moving out to the great state of IOWA!

The security guards didn't even get up from the front desk and they didn't even heckle the employees

RE: If the FBI can't do their job then...
By porkpie on 8/12/2008 7:55:15 PM , Rating: 2
A lot depends on where you live. And obviously if you don't have animals in your lab, you don't have to worry about these goons.

By TheSpaniard on 8/13/2008 8:55:02 PM , Rating: 2
the SCRIPPS vivarium was kept quiet for a long time, while the facility was being built. But the moment they brought in the cages the news jumped all over it.

My project alone utilized 97 mice. other labs also used rats and rabbits.

By mindless1 on 8/18/2008 3:30:10 AM , Rating: 2
Unless you happen to be the postman, pizza delivery guy, or an employee delivering a box of paper from an office supply store, etc.

"They also claimed credit for an April attack on two Staples delivery trucks, in retaliation for the trucks delivering supplies to an animal research lab"

I wouldn't want my home next door to that of a scientist that was firebombed either. What if they only think you have animals, or your business is in some way loosely associated and they see it like the military does, to cut off all required resources so the unrelated business takes a hit? Anyone could become a pseudo-random target, that's the problem with wackos.

RE: If the FBI can't do their job then...
By tmouse on 8/15/2008 8:49:55 AM , Rating: 2
While It’s not wide spread it does happen. At one cancer center I worked at we were warned that a threat was issued to our institute from a group that had taken credit for another attack where a half dozen caretakers were severely beaten and dozens of studies costing millions of dollars were ruined when they "liberated" the animals. While taking a month long course at another institute we had to put the mouse cages in black plastic bags when we transferred them outside to another lab. I remember think THIS will surely fool the activists a dozen people in white lab coats walking with squeaking garbage bags. As an aside the animal building had mirrored glass doors but of course at night things were reversed and you could see the guard from outside but he could not see anybody through the glass. ; )
In my current grant I filled out about 35 pages of information just to use mice, other animals require a lot more.

By StormEffect on 8/16/2008 3:14:50 PM , Rating: 2
Isn't this how 28 Days Later started?

RE: If the FBI can't do their job then...
By Scabies on 8/13/2008 8:34:53 PM , Rating: 5
The truest form of personal defense is hamster ownership. Carry that around at all times, and if anything happens to you, the hamster gets it as a direct casualty of the activist (other word for extremist)'s actions.

"We will accept any number of collateral hamster deaths to stop animal cruelty in all it's forms"


By GaryJohnson on 8/14/2008 11:56:21 PM , Rating: 2
You need to have a large visual display if you really want to deter them, and you need to have more than 1 animal on board and you need to maximize cuteness/per animal. Sooo... pants made of kittens.

Anyone get this?
By CascadingDarkness on 8/12/2008 3:41:15 PM , Rating: 5
Because the best way to deal with
"murderers and torturers"
is to firebomb their homes, cars and businesses, so they die violently?

Anyone else see how backwards these people are?

RE: Anyone get this?
By kattanna on 8/12/2008 4:47:41 PM , Rating: 2
yes, too bad the irony is lost on them.

RE: Anyone get this?
By barjebus on 8/12/2008 5:59:18 PM , Rating: 3
Can you say "religion of peace" anyone? ;)

RE: Anyone get this?
By geddarkstorm on 8/13/2008 1:41:22 PM , Rating: 2
"Peace" for whom? ;) They might say it's easy to have "peace" if you wipe out everyone who disagrees with you.

RE: Anyone get this?
By Spacecomber on 8/13/2008 10:45:16 AM , Rating: 3
That was my reaction, as well. Reason seems to be lost to anyone who becomes an extremist, no matter the cause. This seems to be true by definition. These are people who are so convinced of their cause that there is no room for other points of view, and they, therefore, feel entitled to use any and all means to try and force the world to share their vision.

Unfortunately, these folks often become the symbols and spokespersons for whatever cause they have taken up. Whatever more reasonable aspects there might be to their cause get lost, as the extremists polarize the issue, engendering equally hard-core respondents against them.

I'm not saying that extremist shouldn't be dealt with as the dangerous criminals that in most cases they are, but to move all thought about whatever issue is at stake to the level of force and violence leaves out too many reasonable people and ideas.

It's a pity, but perhaps this is one of the great weaknesses of how we get our news about the world. It's basically presented as entertainment to sell advertising. And as everyone knows, most people want to to be aroused emotionally, not intellectually, when they are being entertained.

RE: Anyone get this?
By geddarkstorm on 8/13/2008 1:50:05 PM , Rating: 2
Reason seems to be lost to anyone who becomes an extremist, no matter the cause.

There we go, that's something a lot of people miss. People might see these eco extremists and then react to the opposite and say any will to protect the environment is stupid, or all environmentalists are evil house burners. This is obviously untrue. It's a problem that so many people don't realize that /no matter the cause/ being used as a guise, extremists - people who want to murder and destroy and see the world burn - are all /exactly/ the same. All they are are arsonists and serial killers with a moniker so that people don't see them for what they are.

Ideas don't make them that way usually, but they sure love taking ideas and using them as justification, just like we see here. It's the shield of "environmentalism" that protects these insane individuals from the law. And so, they continue to blow things up, endanger lives, destroy property, and no one seems to notice; whereas any random Joe, without the name of a "cause" to hide under, who did this stuff would have the police on their tail before they could blink - rightly so!

This is messed up stuff, and it'll only get worst as these people realize they can do such horrible acts and get away wit hit. And to say I'm thankful I only work with bacteria and insect cells, as if such a difference protects me from extremists against science, would be utterly foolish; for how long will it take before they "broaden their horizons" on who's a viable target?

RE: Anyone get this?
By AlexWade on 8/13/2008 10:32:22 PM , Rating: 3
Are they any different than Torquemada and the Spanish Inquisition? Or the jihadists? How their minds get so twisted is beyond me.

Yeah. No freedom here...
By FITCamaro on 8/12/2008 5:23:52 PM , Rating: 2
It amazes me that people say the US isn't a free country anymore when we allow groups like this to exist as legitimate entities instead of throwing them on the terrorist watch list.

RE: Yeah. No freedom here...
By FITCamaro on 8/12/2008 5:29:44 PM , Rating: 4
Senator James Jeffords called the incidents minor as they only threaten "dozens of people"

Ok so I can threaten and actually make an attempt to harm just dozens of people and its ok. That's what this guy is saying.

RE: Yeah. No freedom here...
By geddarkstorm on 8/13/2008 1:52:15 PM , Rating: 3
If done in the name of flowers and fuzzy things :D

RE: Yeah. No freedom here...
By arazok on 8/13/2008 11:10:57 AM , Rating: 2
I’d say the US isn’t a free country anymore because you allow groups like this to exist.

These are the people who convince your legislators to ban herbicides, unhealthy food, and oil drilling. They then demand taxes on everything to pay for social programs that nobody wants or uses, or just to discourage things they don’t want you to do, such as smoking.

While obviously the US is a free country by most measures, these people are certainly doing everything in their power to erode those freedoms.

RE: Yeah. No freedom here...
By FITCamaro on 8/13/2008 4:04:10 PM , Rating: 2
That was my point.

And whats funny is those who complain about the lack of freedom are typically those working to make it less free.

RE: Yeah. No freedom here...
By borismkv on 8/14/2008 2:28:09 AM , Rating: 3
That's because they have a mistaken belief that freedom should mean freedom from responsibility.

RE: Yeah. No freedom here...
By mindless1 on 8/18/2008 3:34:14 AM , Rating: 2
Unfortunately having a bunch of wackos running around free is no proof of any particular level of freedom for the citizens. Hello Iraq.

By Vertigo101 on 8/12/2008 5:13:54 PM , Rating: 2
The site of an ELF arson attack in Seattle

Darn you santa! (Shakes fist)

RE: Hmm...
By masher2 on 8/12/2008 7:56:05 PM , Rating: 2
ELF = Earth Liberation Front, as distinct from ALF.

And yes, they call themselves elves.

RE: Hmm...
By Pythias on 8/13/2008 7:58:13 AM , Rating: 3
ELF = Earth Liberation Front, as distinct from ALF.

While these are distinct groups, I believe they share the same medicine cabinet.

RE: Hmm...
By 1078feba on 8/13/2008 2:22:15 PM , Rating: 2
Biblical Terrorist #1: "We're not the People's Front of Judea, we're the Judean People's Front! Pfffft! The PFJ...."

Biblical Terrorist #2: "Where are they?"

Biblical Terrorist #1: "He's over there..."

RE: Hmm...
By bubba551 on 8/13/2008 2:34:21 PM , Rating: 2

RE: Hmm...
By bodar on 8/13/2008 2:15:40 PM , Rating: 3
So is ALF named after the 80's sitcom muppet from Melmack? Not a very good role model. I mean, didn't ALF always want to eat the family cat?

Bah, I'll be concerned when the Army of the 12 Monkeys throws their hat in...

I agree with you
By HaZaRd2K6 on 8/12/2008 3:02:18 PM , Rating: 2
I think the only way groups like the ALF and others will get the punishment they deserve is when somebody is killed. It's a sad reality that the US will go halfway around the world to "fight terrorism," yet this terrorism hits them where they sleep.

RE: I agree with you
By FITCamaro on 8/12/2008 5:25:31 PM , Rating: 2
The problem is that they play the system and claim free speech. Then they've got their groups high priced attorneys to keep them out of jail when they commit crimes like this. There is no value to human life for these wackos.

RE: I agree with you
By Ringold on 8/13/2008 2:05:27 AM , Rating: 2
UCF some time this past year had a former animal-rights terrorist out for a talk. He apparently drew a standing-room only crowd. If I remember the news paper right, he'd just got done serving something like a 12 year jail sentence. He didn't kill anybody; he burned a lab down.

I don't know what is worse. Paying a terrorist to give a speech, or that it drew a big crowd. I thought about going to hear what he had to say, just to see what radical ideology he had to justify terrorism, but decided not to pretend it was dignified with my presence.

RE: I agree with you
By BarkHumbug on 8/19/2008 6:30:06 AM , Rating: 2
I'd rather see him in a UFC event. ;)

This has hit home.
By nidomus on 8/12/2008 7:28:03 PM , Rating: 5
A few years ago in the town I live in ELF claimed responsibility for setting some houses in a new development ablaze. Kind of caught me off guard. My city's population is only about 45k, however it was expanding quite rapidly at the time.

PETA, ALF, and ELF are terrorist groups. Plain and simple.

If they love animals so much...
By Baked on 8/13/2008 4:23:10 AM , Rating: 5
Maybe they should volunteer to substitute for lab animals as test subjects.

Lots of ALFers in prison
By JustTom on 8/13/2008 2:07:07 AM , Rating: 2
There is a slew of these eco-terrorists in prison. Their fellow nut jobs call them POWs imprisoned for thought crimes.

Here is a link for prison addresses in case anyone wants to send coupons for Big Macs to those poor POWs.

RE: Lots of ALFers in prison
By mindless1 on 8/18/2008 3:39:55 AM , Rating: 2
That's mean. Why not just send the real thing UPS Ground, 5-7 day, along with a picture of a cow - no ice included.

Animal Liberation Front (ALF) ?
By kattanna on 8/12/2008 2:52:06 PM , Rating: 2
how can they expect to be taken seriously with such a lame sounding name?

when i read that i laughed.

anyways, they are terrorists, plain and simple. say.
By Joz on 8/12/2008 9:19:52 PM , Rating: 2
There was a county that had terrorist groups we din't arreast so the man around the corner loaded up his shotgun with nails and dynamite. I waited and I waited for those bastards to turn the corner, now they lay 6-feet under, standing head too toe.

Whose crazier
By saen on 8/18/2008 8:04:28 PM , Rating: 2
Whats crazier, Republicans outlawing Stem Cell research, or Democrats letting their fanatical nut job left wing supporters blow up Stem Cell researchers homes and families?

"It looks like the iPhone 4 might be their Vista, and I'm okay with that." -- Microsoft COO Kevin Turner

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