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Univ. Calif. Santa Cruz Attacks on Alleged Researchers

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SANTA CRUZ -- The FBI today is expected to take over the investigation of the Saturday morning firebombings of a car and of a Westside home belonging to two UC Santa Cruz biomedical researchers who conduct experiments on animals.

Santa Cruz police officials said Sunday the case will be handed to the FBI to investigate as domestic terrorism while local authorities explore additional security measures for the 13 UCSC researchers listed in a threatening animal-rights pamphlet found in a downtown coffee shop last week.

"The FBI has additional resources and intelligence into groups and individuals that might have the proclivity to carry out this kind of activity," police Capt. Steve Clark said. "The FBI has a whole other toolbox of tools for this kind of investigation."

The front porch of a faculty member's home on Village Circle off High Street was hit with a firebomb about 5:40 a.m. Saturday, police said. The bomb ignited the front door of the home and filled the house with smoke, police said. About the same time, a Volvo station wagon parked in a faculty member's on-campus driveway on Dickens Way was destroyed by a firebomb, police said.


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[The UCLA Daily Bruin]

On Saturday morning, two University of California, Santa Cruz faculty members and their families were targeted in what local authorities are calling attacks by animal liberationists.

The first incident occurred off-campus when a faculty member and his two small children were forced to escape from their smoke-filled home, with one family member sustaining injuries and a brief hospitalization, according to a statement released by the UCSC chancellor George Blumenthal.

The second incident occurred shortly after the vehicle of another researcher parked on campus was also firebombed and destroyed. According to Chancellor George Blumenthal, both incidents are being investigated by the FBI, the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Santa Cruz Police, UCSC Police and the state Fire Marshal's office.


These attacks in Santa Cruz, according to a press release from the North American Animal Liberation, occurred one day after receiving mass e-mails by Stop Animal Exploitation Now in addition to threatening fliers found at a local coffeehouse days before.


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A University of California-Santa Cruz biologist whose home was firebombed this weekend feared for his family's future on Sunday while a spokesman for a radical animal rights group said the attacks were the consequences for performing research on animals.

The volatile rhetoric left UC-Santa Cruz on edge Sunday, a day after a pair of firebombings on two university biomedical researchers had authorities looking for clues and tightening security around scientists named in a pamphlet left at a coffeehouse last week.

Just before 6 a.m. Saturday, molecular biologist David Feldheim's home was firebombed, forcing him, his wife and their two young children to flee down a fire escape.

About the same time, a car belonging to a different, unidentified researcher was destroyed by another firebomb.

Santa Cruz police described the explosives as a "Molotov cocktail on steroids," and said the attack on the Feldheims' house was being investigated as an attempted homicide because the family was at home.


"Obviously, I am upset and worried for my family's safety in the future," Feldheim wrote in an e-mail to the Santa Cruz Sentinel on Sunday. "This incident came close to doing some real harm."


While a spokesman said he didn't know who was responsible, the Woodland Hills-based Animal Liberation Front called the attacks "necessary," similar to the fight against civil rights injustices. Spokesman Dr. Jerry Vlasak showed no remorse for the family or children whose home was targeted.

"If their father is willing to continue risking his livelihood in order to continue chopping up animals in a laboratory, then his children are old enough to recognize the consequences," said Vlasak, a former animal researcher, who is now a trauma surgeon. "This guy knows what he is doing. He knows that every day that he goes into the laboratory and hurts animals that it is unreasonable not to expect consequences."


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SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (AP) — The FBI is investigating two bombings that targeted university scientists, the latest in a rash of attacks against biomedical researchers who experiment on animals, authorities say.

Both scientists work at the University of California, Santa Cruz. One of them and his family were forced to escape from a second-story window early Saturday when a firebomb was lit on the home's porch, Santa Cruz police said. An adult was treated at a hospital and released.

Police Capt. Steve Clark called the bombing "an attempted homicide." Also that morning, a firebomb destroyed a car belonging to another researcher. Clark said authorities were treating the attacks as "domestic terrorism."

The attacks came four days after police obtained animal rights pamphlets left at a Santa Cruz coffeehouse that contained the names and home addresses of university scientists.

"Animal abusers everywhere beware," the pamphlets read. "We know where you live."


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Two University of California-Santa Cruz research scientists were targets of firebombs early Saturday, which authorities called a troubling sign of escalating violence against university researchers who use animals in their labs.

Santa Cruz police labeled the incidents "acts of domestic terrorism." In the off-campus incident, a well-known molecular biologist and his family, including two small children, were forced to escape a smoke-filled house using a second-story ladder after a firebomb was intentionally set off, police said. One family member sustained injuries requiring brief hospitalization, and police are calling the firebombing, which occurred shortly before 6 a.m., a case of attempted homicide.

About the same time, a car belonging to a researcher parked at a home on campus also was firebombed, destroying the vehicle.


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For Immediate Release
August 3, 2008

Home, Auto of UC-Santa Cruz Vivisectors Set Ablaze
No Sanctuary for Animal Abusers

Santa Cruz: The home of one UC Santa Cruz vivisector and the automobile of another were burned early Saturday, in what local authorities are calling attacks by animal liberationists. No communiques claiming the actions have yet been received by the North American Animal Liberation Press Office as of Sunday afternoon. According to a San Jose Mercury News reporter, the automobile of a vivisector whom police refused to name was completely destroyed, while the damage to the home of animal abuser David Feldheim was limited to a door frame and smoke damage.Feldheim is fond of terrorizing and killing mice in his research, which according to his website, involves the "viral introduction of genes into living mouse brains."

The attacks occurred four days after a customer at Caffe Pergolesi, a downtown Santa Cruz coffeehouse, found fliers listing the names, home addresses, home phone numbers and photos of thirteen UC-Santa Cruz vivisectors. Police believe unidentified animal rights activists created the fliers, which were made to appear as "wanted posters." The fliers warned: "Animal abusers everywhere beware; we know where you live; we know where you work; we will never back down until you end your abuse."

The Santa Cruz incidents occurred one day after a mass e-mailing by Stop Animal Exploitation Now!, or SAEN, highlighting what the group called "mounting violations of the animal welfare act" at private labs in Santa Cruz and Berkeley. Police would not say whether there is a connection between the group and Saturday's violence. Santa Cruz police Captain Steve Clark would only say authorities are looking at several animal liberation groups, including SAEN, but have no suspects in Saturday's bombings.

"The pattern and string of attacks has been escalating against the research and science community here as well as at other University of California campuses," Clark said. Vivisectors at the University of California-Berkeley and University of California-Los Angeles also have been targeted, including firebombings in Los Angeles.

Animal Liberation Press Officer Jerry Vlasak, MD states: "UC Santa Cruz may consider themselves an institution of higher education, but they are also an institution of animal torture and killing. Their research is a colossal waste of taxpayer money, and is considered unethical and fraudulent by most physicians interested in research that might help their patients. These animals are terrified and abused beyond belief in these experiments, and this continued depravity by cruel wanna-be scientists simply cannot be justified any longer in a civilized society. This is historically what happens whenever revolutionaries begin to take the oppression and suffering of their fellow beings seriously, whether human or non human. It's regrettable that certain scientists are willing to put their families at risk by choosing to do wasteful animal experiments in this day and age."

"Only force can help where force prevails"- Bertolt Brecht

Contact: Press Officer Jerry Vlasak, MD
Animal Liberation Press Office
6320 Canoga Avenue #1500
Woodland Hills, CA 91367

[email protected]

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