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New protections for animal researchers

August 23, 2008 |  3:33 pm

California lawmakers have adopted new protections for animal researchers. Patrick McGreevy reports from Sacramento:

On Friday, three weeks after firebomb attacks on UC Santa Cruz animal researchers and months after vandalism at a UCLA professor's home, state senators unanimously approved an emergency measure to strengthen laws protecting academics against violence and intimidation.

It would create a new misdemeanor charge for entering residential property of an academic researcher with the intent to intimidate or interfere with research.

The measure also would make it a misdemeanor to publish information on the Internet that describes an academic researcher or his or her family members, or gives the location of their residence with the intent that another person use the information to commit violence or make threats.
The home of a UCLA researcher incurred more than $20,000 in damage after being flooded by animal-rights activists who inserted a garden hose into the house. An incendiary device destroyed a car outside the home of a UC Santa Cruz researcher and a firebomb exploded nearby on the front porch of another researcher's home.

The attacks are believed to have been orchestrated by activists who regard the use of animals in research as inhumane. Lawmakers say the targeting of academics in such ways is intolerable.
The bill, AB 2296 by Assemblyman Gene Mullin (D-San Mateo), is subject to final approval in the Assembly before it goes to the governor, whose signature would make it effective immediately.
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