BERKELEY, Calif. | In the hills above the University of California's Berkeley campus, nine protesters gathered in front of the home of a toxicology professor, their faces covered with scarves and hoods despite the warm spring weather.
One scrawled "killer" in chalk on the scientist's doorstep, while another hurled insults through a bullhorn and announced, "Your neighbor kills animals." Someone shattered a window.
Animal rights activists are increasingly taking their rage to scientists' front doors.
Over the past couple of years, more researchers who experiment on animals have been harassed and terrorized in their homes, with weapons that include firebombs, flooding and acid.
Scientists say the vandalism and intimidation threaten themselves, their families and the future of medical research. Specialists in fields such as addiction, eyesight and the aging brain have been targeted.
"It used to be everyone was worried about their laboratories being broken into and their data being destroyed, their animals being taken away," said Jeffrey Kordower, head of the Society for Neuroscience's animal research committee. "What they've decided to do now is make things more personal."
Accompanying the attacks is increasingly tough talk from activists such as Jerry Vlasak, a spokesman for the Animal Liberation Front press office. In an interview with the Associated Press, he said he is not encouraging anyone to commit homicide, but "if you had to hurt somebody or intimidate them or kill them, it would be morally justifiable."
The Washington-based Foundation for Biomedical Research said researchers were harassed or otherwise victimized more than 70 times in 2003, up from 10 a year earlier. The number of attacks has held steady or risen since, according to the group.
Activists say the escalation in tactics results from a frustration that nonviolent methods have failed to stop what they call the needless torture and killing of animals.
As soon as they broke his window they committed an assault upon his home and he should by law, at the very least, be allowed to hold a firearm aimed at them with no legal consequences. It could have been a bomb or incendiary device or that could have come next. No one should be able to get away with these barbaric assaults upon a person's home like these eco terrorists do.
The good prof needs to get himself a 12 Gauge Mossberg and keep it loaded. The next time those "animal advocates" cross the line and threatens his family, he should unload a couple of slugs into their backsides. Oh I forgot...this is Bezerkly we are taking about. I bet the local cops would probably lock him up if he were to do that. "Wolves don't hunt when the sheep are armed." - Thomas Jefferson.