Four arrested in string of animal rights attacks on UC scientists
By Jennifer Squires and J.M. Brown, Santa Cruz Sentinel 02/21/2009
SANTA CRUZ — Federal authorities have arrested four animal rights activists suspected in violent protests in Santa Cruz and Alameda counties, a federal terrorism task force reported Friday.
Three of the four were linked to the Riverside Avenue home police raided after the attempted home invasion attack of a UC Santa Cruz researcher a year ago, according to Santa Cruz police spokesman Zach Friend. None of them has been charged, however, in what authorities consider the most egregious of animal rights-related incidents targeting UC scientists during the past year: two August 2008 firebombings at the homes of UCSC biomedical researchers. […]
“We are extremely grateful for the efforts of federal law enforcement officials, the Santa Cruz Police Department, and other organizations that have been involved in this ongoing investigation,” said Stephen E. Thorsett, the dean of UCSC’s Division of Physical and Biological Sciences. “Our students, staff, and faculty — who are doing important research into the causes and cures for human diseases such as cancer and Parkinson’s — deserve to work and live in a safe environment, without fear that they and their families will be targets of violent actions and threats.”
The suspects will be charged at least in part under the federal Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, which carries a penalty of up to five years for each violation. It wasn’t immediately clear how many counts the suspects will face when they appear in U.S. District Court later this month.
The foursome are accused of being involved in demonstrations in front of homes of UC Berkeley researchers in October 2007 and January 2008, as well a protest and home invasion attempt at the California Street house in February 2008. In that attack, which occurred during a child’s birthday party, the scientist’s husband suffered minor injuries.
Berkeley scientists who use animals in their research have reported a string of vandalism attacks at their homes since then. UCLA researchers have also been the target of firebombings. […]