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In a New Letter, AAAS Backs House Bill on Animal Rights Extremists
AAAS has expressed support for a bill pending in the U.S. House of Representatives that would strengthen laws against harassment, threats or intimidation of those involved in animal enterprises, including biomedical research with laboratory animals.
The bill, which is expected to be considered soon by the House Judiciary Committee, prohibits use of violence or intimidation against both organizations and individuals, including researchers’ family members.
In a 7 September letter to U.S. Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), chairman of the committee, AAAS Board Chairman Gilbert S. Omenn wrote: “It is becoming increasingly difficult for scientists to advance scientific understanding and public health because of the increasingly aggressive tactics that animal rights extremists are using to frighten and intimidate the families of researchers and the businesses that have ties to animal enterprises.”
He cited a recent case in which a UCLA neurobiologist discontinued his animal research on Parkinson’s disease after phone harassment and threats to his family.
It is particularly troubling, Omenn said, that individuals and businesses with only remote connections to animal enterprises have been targeted by radical groups. The laws need to be strengthened, he wrote, “in a manner that that will allow law enforcement officials to protect against these tactics while also protecting our First Amendment rights.”
For the text of the letter, click here.
During its nearly 160 years, AAAS has issued seven resolutions on the value of animals in research. For the most recent one, see the AAAS Resolution: Use of Animals in Research, Testing, and Education.
7 September 2006