Animal rights terrorists are suspected of two fire bombing attacks targeting biologists at the University of California at Santa Cruz, according to various media reports. The most recent attacks occurred during the morning of 2 August and follow other recent threats to researchers at UC Berkeley, UCLA and at Santa Cruz. According to a news report, more than fifty federal and local law enforcement agents from the western regional anti-terrorism task force, FBI, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives are investigating the attacks. When apprehended, the individuals responsible will likely face attempted murder charges.
On Saturday morning, an assistant professor of biology at UCSC and his family awoke to an explosion and smoke filling the first floor of their home. All involved, including two small children, escaped from an upstairs window via a fire ladder. Fire and explosives officials reported that the fire appeared to have been caused by a Molotov style device. This incident was the second time this biologist's home was attacked, last year it was vandalized. Also in Santa Cruz on Saturday morning, a car near another biologist's on-campus home was fire-bombed. No one was reportedly injured in that attack.
Authorities suspect animal rights activists because of prior acts and because the devices resemble those used in other animal rights attacks. According to reports from the San Jose Mercury News and San Francisco Chronicle, the attacks followed recent email threats to researchers by animal rights activists. Visitors to a local Santa Cruz coffee shop recently found copies of 'wanted' posters identifying by name and photograph various scientists.
California Assemblyman Gene Mullin (D, South San Francisco) introduced legislation earlier this year in response to attacks on University of California scientists. Mullin's legislation, AB 2296, which has passed the State Assembly, would prohibit individuals, organizations or associations from posting on the internet the name, home address or telephone number, or physical description "of any employee of an animal enterprise or other individuals residing at the same home address." A "victim of the violation of these prohibitions" would be able to maintain an action for damages and for injunctive relief. The introduced legislation would have also established criminal charges for individuals that interfere with or vandalize animal enterprises.
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