[San Francisco Chronicle - opinion]

Officials have been trying to keep it quiet, but 24 UC Berkeley researchers and seven staffers have been harassed by animal rights activists in recent months, in some cases having their homes or cars vandalized.

"What they all have in common is that they all work in animal research," UC Berkeley spokesman Robert Sanders said of the targeted employees.

In several instances, the activists have shown up outside researchers' homes in the middle of the night with bullhorns and chanting, "Animal killers." Sometimes they have scrawled slogans on the sidewalk in chalk.

On more than one occasion, rocks have been thrown through the researchers' windows and their cars have been scratched up.


Officials have been trying to keep the protests quiet, in part out of concern that publicity will only cause more incidents and an escalation in violence. At UCLA, animal rights protests have included attempted firebombings and one instance in which a researcher's home was flooded with a garden hose.

Looking at the numbers, it's pretty clear that keeping things quiet in the press hasn't toned down the protesters much. It's just as clear, however, that the protesters aren't reaching their goals, either. "All of our researchers are adamant that their research is critical and that they are not going to quit," Sanders said.


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